State of the Union 2016: Commission Targets Stronger External Borders

“Tolerance cannot come at the price of our security. We need to know who is crossing our borders. We will defend our borders with the new European Border and Coast Guard. We will defend our borders with strict controls on everyone crossing them.” – President Juncker, State of the Union 2016

On the occasion of President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union address, the Commission today set out how the European Union can enhance security in Europe by improving the exchange of information in the fight against terrorism and strengthening external borders. The measures proposed include the accelerated operational delivery of the European Border and Coast Guard, quick adoption and implementation of an EU Entry-Exit System and upcoming proposals to create a European Travel Information and Authorisation System. Additionally, as part of the Commission’s efforts to pave the way towards a genuine and effective Security Union, the Communication also proposes to take further actions to improve the security of travel documents to prevent document fraud and to strengthen Europol’s European Counter-Terrorism Centre.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Security is one of the major concerns of Europe’s citizens. Today the Commission is proposing practical measures to upgrade information exchange – essential to fighting terrorism – and to secure our Union’s external borders and strengthen control over who enters and leaves the EU. These measures will require closer coordination and cooperation within the EU and between Member States. There’s no escaping the fact that in this mobile world only truly closer cooperation will make us more secure.”

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “By strengthening our external borders we will be better prepared for facing severe migratory challenges. Enhancing the exchange of information will enable us to fight terrorism more effectively. To ensure Europe’s security, we need both strong borders and smart intelligence. Measures like the European Border and Coast Guard, the Entry-Exit System and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System will help secure Europe’s borders, while strengthening Europol’s role in the effective sharing of information and combatting document fraud are concrete steps towards establishing an effective Security Union.”

The Communication adopted today sets out a number of practical and operational measures to accelerate the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration and the European Agenda on Security and pave the way towards a genuine and effective Security Union.

Details on the Commission’s initiative can be found here