European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS)

27 Apr 2017
Adopted References: SOC/556 EESC-2016-06889-00-00-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Simons (Employers - GR I / Netherlands) Plenary Session: 525 - 26 Apr 2017 - 27 Apr 2017 (Summary Plenary Session)
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and amending Regulations (EU) No 515/2014, (EU) 2016/399, (EU) 2016/794 and (EU) 2016/1624

EESC opinion: European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS)

The EESC considers the intention to create ETIAS as a currently inevitable step corresponding to the threats caused by external and internal circumstances. ETIAS should be based on the right balance between risks and safety, at the same time avoiding increased administrative burdens and barriers for people travelling to the EU. The Committee stresses that ETIAS should fully respect the fundamental rights of applicants and avoid any discrimination. All data gathered by the system must be protected and access to it should be strictly limited. All applicants should be allowed to use the services of intermediaries to obtain the travel authorisation, if needed. However, the costs charged by these intermediaries for their services should be monitored and evaluated by EU delegations in the third countries.


Key points

  • The EESC considers the intention to create a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), to identify risks associated with visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen Area, as a currently inevitable step corresponding to the threats caused by external and internal circumstances.
  • The Committee welcomes the fact that that the information gathered via the system will allow for the prior verification of potential security or irregular migration risks to protect EU citizens against persons entering with ill intent.
  • The Committee strongly stresses that ETIAS should fully respect the fundamental rights of applicants and avoid any discrimination. All data, especially relating to sensitive information about health, education, criminality etc., gathered by the system must be protected and access to it should be strictly limited to the authorities investigating criminal activities, terrorism, illegal immigration and other threats. ETIAS must also respect the right of applicants to appeal against refusal to grant them travel authorisation or to withdraw it.
  • The Committee is aware of the need to solve many technical issues concerning ETIAS, especially interoperability and interconnectivity with other data collecting systems and governance. ETIAS should be based on the right balance between risks and safety, at the same time avoiding increased administrative burdens and barriers for visitors travelling frequently to the EU.
  • Attention should be paid to the political aspects of the establishment of ETIAS. The relevant countries should be informed about the reasons for the obligation to obtain travel authorisation and about its advantages. The Commission should also take care that any eventual reciprocal measures from the relevant countries for EU citizens are proportionate to the EU measures.
  • ETIAS should give consideration to people who are not able to apply online and provide "application booths" for applicants at the main departure air- and seaports and also at major land border crossings. All applicants should be allowed to use the services of intermediaries such as travel agencies. However, the costs charged by these intermediaries for their services should be monitored and evaluated by EU delegations in the third countries.
  • The Committee calls for solutions to be found for the Member States that have not yet fully applied the Schengen acquis (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) and consequently have no access to SIS, VIS and EES.