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JHA Council: travel authorisation system tops the agenda
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The recent proposal from the European Commission for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which would require non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to enter the EU to instead pay and apply for "travel authorisation", tops the agenda of today's Justice and Home Affairs Council. The system would gather the personal data of millions of people for "screening" against "specific risk indicators" to determine whether they "pose an irregular migration, security or public health risk".

Also on the agenda are recent EU-wide policing "Joint Action Days", information exchange and the interoperability of databases, counter-terrorism, the work of the EU Internet Forum and the implementation of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) travel surveillance Directive.

See: Provisional agenda: 3501st meeting of the Council of the European Union (Justice and Home Affairs) (14272/16, 17 November 2016, pdf); List of 'A' items (non-legislative) (14273/16, pdf) and: background briefing (pdf)

Many of the non-public documents forming the basis of discussions have recently been published by Statewatch. Indeed, much of the main agenda of the JHA Council is a re-run of a meeting of the Council's internal security committee (COSI) held on 8 November. See: Internal security: Council documents on information exchange, foreign fighters, counter-terrorism, internet, PNR, organised crime (Statewatch News Online, 14 November 2016)

With regard to ETIAS, discussions will focus on the Commission proposal (pdf) and financial statement, published on Wednesday, and the questions put forth in a paper by the Slovakian Presidency of the Council (14084/16, pdf):

"For the purpose of the policy debate, the Presidency suggests the following questions:

1. In light of the above, do Ministers consider that the European Travel Information and Authorisation System proposed by the Commission is, in principle, an appropriate tool for closing the information gap on visa exempt visitors and would therefore reinforce the EU's security and border management policy?

2. Which elements of the future system do Ministers consider to be crucial for the usefulness of that system?"

See also: Feasibility Study for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) (7 MB, pdf) and further background: European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS): the EU's next border control database (Statewatch News Online, 15 November 2016)

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