Commission presents REFIT evaluation of the Visa Information System

As part of the Commission’s better regulation agenda, ensuring that EU legislation remains fit for purpose, the Commission has today adopted an Evaluation Report on the implementation of the Visa Information System (VIS), analysing the use of fingerprints at the EU’s external borders and the use of biometrics in the visa application procedure. The Report is part of the Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme and is the first in a series of evaluations of the EU’s information systems for borders and security. Today’s Report looked at the VIS legal framework and examined whether the instrument is fit for purpose, delivers on its objectives at a reasonable cost and has a clear EU added value.  The evaluation found that the VIS meets its objectives and functions well but would need to be further developed to respond to new challenges in visa, border and migration policy. VIS remains one of the most advanced systems of its kind, with close to 23 million visa applications and 18.8 million fingerprints registered by the end of March 2016. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans,responsible for Better Regulation, said, “We need our visa systems to continue to be strong, reliable and effective for the security of our Union and the European citizens they serve. Our border management systems are facing unprecedented pressures and it is therefore essential that we evaluate them, not only to see  whether they are still fit for purpose today, but especially to ensure that they remain so in the face of future challenges.” Based on the evaluation carried out, the Commission recommends that the VIS is further developed to improve its interconnectivity with other systems, including the proposed Entry-Exit System (EES) and the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) which the Commission will put on the table later this year. The full Evaluation Report, the accompanying Staff Working Document and Executive Summary are available online.