travel

New EU Travel System Causes Concerns About Fundamental Rights

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) recently expressed various concerns regarding the European Commission’s proposal to create a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) that would be aimed to ease travel to the EU and simplify border checks.

The Commission has proposed the creation of a new large-scale EU-wide information system that will apply to all Schengen countries. Similar to the US’ ESTA travel system, ETIAS will screen people from visa-free countries before they travel to check whether or not they can enter the EU. Border controls will still apply but should be much simpler for ETIAS-authorised travellers.

The European Parliament recently asked FRA for its Opinion on the fundamental rights impact of the ETIAS proposal. The FRA expressed concerns regarding the collection of sensitive personal data, who can access the data and how long the data are kept.

The FRA listed a number of observations that include the need to embed fundamental rights into ETIAS, only collect data that is necessary, prevent discriminatory profiling, review when law enforcement agencies can access ETIAS data, respect the right to asylum and allow users to complain, appeal decisions, and amend the data in the system.

FRA issues Opinions on specific thematic topics, following requests for advice from the European Parliament, the EU Council or the European Commission. These Opinions are part of the agency’s fundamental rights assistance and expertise that it provides to EU institutions and Member States.

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