The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs committee has today voted in favour of proposed regulation for the creation of an entry/exit system for people from third countries travelling to and from the EU. Under the measures backed by the majority in committee, data will be gathered and stored on third country nationals travelling in or out the EU, including tourists and business people.
Data would include basic details such as name, place of origin and passport number, alongside fingerprints and face scans. The data will be held for two years and will be accessible by police and law enforcement authorities. The Greens/EFA MEPs voted against, citing threats to civil liberties and concerns about efficacy and cost.
Commenting after the vote, Vice Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee Jan Philipp Albrecht said:
"The majority of committee members have today chosen to sacrifice fundamental civil liberties in the interests of looking tough on crime and terrorism. These measures are not only completely disproportionate, they would also prove to be highly expensive, and largely ineffective. By backing these proposals, conservative and social democrat MEPs are choosing to treat all tourists and business people as potential suspects. The scheme is estimated to cost as much as €1 billion, money that would be much more effectively spent on the people and resources needed to tackle genuine threats."