Macron threatens longer airport chaos for British travellers

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British travellers planning to visit the EU may face another 18 months of chaos and passport queues at airports as Emmanuel Macron pushes for a faster system to be introduced by the Brussels bloc to be delayed.

Visa stamps on passports at EU borders are currently needed for UK citizens travelling across the bloc over post-Brexit rules.

The introduction of such measures saw thousands of Britons forced to queue for passport controls at EU airports since Brexit was finalised.

The EES system, proposed by the EU, would alleviate the border friction caused by Brexit, but the French President is pushing for a delay of its implementation.

The system will mean non-EU citizens will have their photo and fingerprints taken the first time they try to enter an EU state.

France is worried that with the introduction of the new system this year, chaos would spark in Paris’ airports as thousands are expected to visit the French capital for the Olympics in 2024.

Macron is therefore pushing for the system to be introduced after August 2024.

Long term the system aims to speed up the process of entering and exiting.

The European Union explained: “The Entry/Exit System (EES) will be an automated IT system for registering travellers from third-countries, both short-stay visa holders and visa exempt travellers, each time they cross an EU external border.

“The system will register the person’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and captured facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit, in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection.

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“It will also record refusals of entry. EES will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports, which is time consuming, does not provide reliable data on border crossings and does not allow a systematic detection of over-stayers (travellers who have exceeded the maximum duration of their authorised stay).

“EES will contribute to prevent irregular migration and help protect the security of European citizens.

“The new system will also help bona fide third-country nationals to travel more easily while also identifying more efficiently over-stayers as well as cases of document and identity fraud.

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“In addition to this, the system will enable a wider use of automated border control checks and self-service systems, which are quicker and more comfortable for the traveller.”

When it is actualised, the EES will apply to all EU member states – aside from Cyprus and Ireland – as well as four non-EU countries – Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

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