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16 May 2018

EU Commission proposes reforms to Schengen Visa Information System

EP Approves Giving Bulgaria Partial Access to Schengen Visa Information SystemThe European Commission has proposed today changes for the Visa Information System, which is the Schengen Database that contains information on persons that apply for Schengen visas. These changes have been proposed with the aim of a better responding to the evolving challenges on security and migration as well as to improve the management of EU’s external borders.

According to the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos the upgrade of Visa Information System will remove the blind spots in the information system, thus giving visa authorities and border guards the information they need to do their job properly.

“Criminals and potential terrorists should not be able to come to Europe unnoticed. Europe is not a fortress – but we need to know who is crossing our borders. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of European citizens and build a Europe that protects while not hampering mobility for those travelling to the EU in good faith,” he said.

According to the EU Commission, the upgrade of the VIS database would be achieved through the following measures:

  • Enhanced Security checks across all databases – by automatically checking every visa application against every other EU information system for security and migration. This measure would help in the detection of applicants that use multiple identities and individuals that pose security or irregular migration risks.
  • Better data and information exchange – by including the information of long-stay visas and residence permits, which have not been recorded by VIS so far.
  • More efficient return procedures – by including copies of applicants travel documents into the VIS database, and authorizing the European Border and Coast Guard Agency staff to have access to the VIS.
  • Strengthened capacity to prosecute and prevent crime – by allowing law enforcement authorities and Europol have a more structured access to the VIS

According to the EU Commission the next step to be taken, is making the eu-LISA the EU agency responsible for the development and management of the upgraded VIS database.

The Commission also calls on the European Parliament and the Council to complete their legislative processes as swiftly as possible in order to close the remaining information gaps, as well as to facilitate traveling to the EU for legitimate Visitor.

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