Schengen borders code: Council adopts regulation to reinforce checks at external borders
7 March 2017, the Council adopted a regulation amending the Schengen
borders code to reinforce checks against relevant databases at the
our external border controls is an important tool for fighting the
terrorist threat in Europe and improving the security of our citizens.
Systematic checks at the external borders will provide us with a means
to address potential risks to internal security, including that posed by
foreign terrorist fighter returnees."
Carmelo Abela, Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security
The amendment obliges member states to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases on all persons, including those enjoying the right of free movement
under EU law (i.e. EU citizens and members of their families who are
not EU citizens) when they cross the external borders. The databases
against which checks will be carried out include the Schengen
Information System (SIS) and Interpol's database on stolen and lost
travel documents (SLTD). The checks will also enable member states to
verify that those persons do not represent a threat to public policy,
internal security or public health. This obligation shall apply at all external borders (air, sea and land borders), both at entry and exit.
where systematic consultation of databases could lead to a
disproportionate impact on traffic flows at a sea or land border, member
states are permitted to carry out only targeted checks against
databases, provided that this will not lead to risks related to internal
security, public policy, or the international relations of the member
states, or pose a threat to public health.
regard to air borders, member states may only carry out targeted checks
against databases for a transitional period of 6 months from the entry
into force of the regulation. This period may be extended by up to 18
months in exceptional and specific cases, where there are
infrastructural difficulties requiring a longer period of time to make
the necessary changes.
Council and the European Parliament now need to sign the adopted
regulation. The signed text will be published in the EU Official Journal
and will enter into force 20 days later.