Europe will face massive waiting times at airports once the new EES is in place

Despite Europe’s long-awaited border reforms coming into force in just a few months, authorities are already predicting a “large increase” in waiting times at entry points from 2023.

At the external Schengen border, people arriving without visas must now apply for a new travel permit and be fingerprinted.

Schengen is the European passport-free zone that currently includes 26 different countries, regardless of whether they are members of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). Traveling within the Schengen area is as easy as traveling from one US state to another: there are no ID checks and people can travel between countries as if they were traveling within the country.

This is both one of Europe’s greatest victories and one of its greatest weaknesses, at least when it comes to international crises.

After the dramatic 2015, Europe spent years preparing for a new Entry-Exit System (EES) that would subject all foreigners wishing to enter the territory to check-in on arrival. The goal is to protect Schengen and strengthen control over third-country nationals. This will require you to submit your fingerprints and other personal information.

The EES will facilitate the speedy prosecution of “overdues” and the identification and processing of unverified migrants in Europe. Citizens of countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland are only allowed to stay in the border area for up to 90 days out of 180 days, according to Schengen rules. A non-European citizen who overstays his visa by more than 90 days is breaking the law.

This means that anyone who breaks the law will be arrested as soon as they enter or leave Schengen, because Frontex, the organization responsible for protecting Europe’s borders, will store their biometric data for this specific purpose. The entry-exit system has the disadvantage of increasing delays at the border, at least during the first registration period.

The Czech Republic, one of the first countries to trial the system, said the average processing time was just 89 seconds, but other recent findings from other EU members have been far more alarming. The updated “collection of comments” on the implementation of the UES expressed the unanimity of various countries that longer delays cannot be avoided.

Germany, for example, has admitted that the “screening time” for passengers will “significantly increase” during the implementation of EES. Austria, their neighbor, confirmed this, saying “we expect the process time to double compared to the current situation”. Croatia, a candidate for the Schengen area, shared the Balkan negativity.

In preparation for the EES, they tested both fixed and mobile technology at crossings “repeatedly” and determined that “waiting times for border checks will definitely be significantly longer.” The report is 45 pages long also features commentary from Portugal, France, Italy and other popular European travel destinations. Europe will face massive waiting times at airports once the new EES is in place

Back to top button