The EU Council adopted on Tuesday a resolution on amendments to the Schengen code, providing for the strengthening of controls at external borders, by use of appropriate databases.

“Strengthening of controls at external borders is an important instrument for combating terrorist threats in Europe and to enhance security of our citizens. Systematic checks at the external borders will give us the means to eliminate the potential risks to internal security, including those that come from returning (from the regions of hostilities – if) militants”, – said the Minister of internal Affairs and national security presidency in the EU Council of Malta Carmelo Abela.

In the communiqué of the Council of the EU, issued in Brussels, his press service explained that the adopted amendments require member States to carry out systematic checks through relevant databases for all persons, including those who have the right of free movement in EU law (i.e . EU citizens and members of their families who are not citizens of the Union) when crossing external borders.

The database, which will be inspected include the Schengen information system (SIS) and the Interpol database on stolen and lost travel documents (SLTD). Such control would also allow member States to check that individuals do not pose a threat to public policy, internal security or public health. These measures apply to all external borders (air, sea and land) as at the entrance and at the exit.

The new rules stipulate cases where systematic checks on databases could lead to a disproportionate impact on the flows of people crossing sea or land borders. Then member States are permitted to carry out “targeted checks, provided that this will not lead to risks related to internal security, public policy, international relations of the member States and will not create threats to health of citizens”.

As regards air borders, member States may carry out only targeted databases during the transitional period of 6 months after the entry into force of the new provisions. This period may be extended up to 18 months in exceptional cases where there are infrastructure challenges that will require a longer period to make necessary changes.

Now the EU Council and the European Parliament shall sign the adopted resolution. The signed text will be published in the Official journal of the EU and will enter into force 20 days, reported the press service of the Council.