The European Commission and the European Parliament have agreed to introduce mandatory security checks of all travelers, including EU nationals, when they cross the EU’s external borders.

Key points:

  • The Commission and the Parliament must formally adopt the proposal before it is implemented, but the program would involve checking identification of all travelers against relevant databases, including the Schengen Information System and the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Documents Database.
  • The proposal builds on existing programs that already require security checks of non-EU nationals crossing external EU borders. Non-EU nationals would continue to be subject to security checks when entering and exiting the EU, while EU nationals would only be subject to checks when entering.

Background: The proposal is one of a number of security measures the EU has undertaken following terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. The union launched the European Border and Coast Guard in October. The European Commission proposed a new electronic screening system for visa-waived travelers in November. And internal border controls have been extended in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden. Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said the external checks represent “another crucial step in our work to preserve the freedom of movement within the Schengen area and ensuring the security of our citizens.”

BAL Analysis: The changes, once implemented, may slow entry into Europe for EU nationals who, until now, have not had to undergo systematic security checks when crossing an external border.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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