Kalinak: ETIAS System to Increase Union’s Security

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Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (right) heading a Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) session in Brussels (photo by www.eu2016.sk)

Brussels, November 18 (TASR-correspondent) – The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) represents a basis for increasing the security of EU citizens in the future, stated Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who headed a Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) session in Brussels on Friday.

At the meeting the EU interior ministers approved the European Commission-sponsored ETIAS system which allows for advance checks and, if necessary, denies entry to visa-exempt travellers.

“It was mentioned at the Bratislava summit that it was necessary to put a new system of travel authorisation into life and today we’ve been confronted by the Commission’s complete and comprehensive proposal,” said Kalinak, praising the fast action from the part of the EC. He considers it as a great success of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council and of the informal EU summit that took place in Bratislava on September 16.

“The ETIAS system is a tool that gives us a chance to prevent those who might be dangerous for Europe from entering the continent. It informs us about how people come to Europe,” added the Slovak interior minister, noting that the system has plenty of advantages. Following Friday’s approval of interior ministers, the ETIAS system proposal will be further discussed by European institutions. It’s set to be definitely approved in the first half of 2017. “We can now rely on the fact that Europe will be much secure, let’s assume by 2020, when this system will have been launched,” said Kalinak.

Eurocommissioner for Migration, Internal Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopulos welcomed the greenlighting of ETIAS by EU interior ministers as well. “ETIAS will be quick, cheap and will provide us with a lot of information,” said Avramopulos, adding that the system will enable safer and supervised migration from countries that are exempt from visa requirements.

Moreover, Kalinak noted that the EU ministers also discussed the improvement of information exchange among EU-member states, which is one of the priorities of the Slovak Presidency. The Slovak minister saw progress in this area and believes that the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive, aimed at increasing security in air transport, will be implemented as soon as possible.