The Member States are planning to step up surveillance of air travel as well as extend the scheme to ferry, rail, and bus journeys.
Such plans to increase and extend surveillance of all passengers, regardless of the mode of transport, are being discussed in order to better control the movement of people within and in and out of the bloc, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Back in December 2022, the Commission of the EU unveiled a proposal to extend the existing scheme for the transition of passport data of air passengers to the border authorities as well as police.
This new proposal will collect and transmit data on all passengers entering the EU so that the border authorities are able to carry out pre-arrival checks and identify people that might pose a security threat before their arrival in the bloc.
As for the other proposal, Statewatch explains that it is for policing purposes, and the same revealed that it would apply to all flights to and from the EU and on selected flights within the EU. The second proposal will supplement the existing Passenger Name Record Directive, covering data that is collected by travel agents as well as operators.
As for the gathering of data on passengers using ground transport – trains and buses – the Council said that delegations have already been assigned to discuss the matter and decide whether the collection and transfer of advanced passenger information can be applied to these modes of transport.
Commenting on the matter, the Belgian authorities said that other modes of transport should be included in the scope of regulations as a growing number of travellers are using train transport within Europe.
On the other hand, the Czech delegation to the Council said that the extension of surveillance to include passengers using ground transport would have a negative impact. The same noted that the majority of Member States do not have the infrastructure to make such changes, as each passenger would need personalised tickets and identity checks.
“In rail and bus transport, the issue of personalised tickets and identity checks onboarding are not standard practices and would require significant investments,” the statement of the Czech delegation reads.
As for maritime transport, it ha been explained that the EU might initiate a study on how to regulate the collection, transfer, as well as processing of Advance Passenger Information data from maritime transport.
Currently, all operators of inbound and outbound maritime transport are required to submit passenger and crew lists to the border authorities, so data can be checked against different databases.
Nonetheless, ferry connections with ports in non-EU countries are excluded from such a requirement. Thus, the EU authorities want to apply the same measures to all so they can keep in check the entry and exit of passengers.
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