CPT works to mitigate potential border crossing turmoil

Trade organisation Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says it is working to mitigate the impacts of the EU’s biometric border arrangements on coach travellers heading into Europe, especially in peak periods. The assurance comes as a Lords Committee concludes the change could lead to travel disruption at borders, including Dover and Eurotunnel.

The Entry and Exit System (EES) at EU borders is currently slated to come into force from October this year. It is an automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay, each time they cross the external borders of European countries using the system. Designed to replace passport stamping, it automates border control procedures and is intended to make travelling to European countries more efficient.

However, there are concerns the system could lead to disruption at borders, according to the Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the House of Lords. The Committee writes that unless the Government acts quickly, there could be travel turmoil as the UK continues its roll-out of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) alongside the imminent launch of the Entry/Exit System (EES) and Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) by the EU. The Committee also concludes that public confidence in the UK’s border management could be undermined by a pace of change which is too swift and by a potentially uncoordinated approach to implementation.

The Committee concludes there is limited public awareness about the forthcoming changes at the border. It believes the implementation of these changes is ‘extremely ambitious’, with a lack of coordination with the EU on the launch of its schemes, with the potential for challenges and delays.

The Committee is concerned about the operation of ETA in the Common Travel Area (CTA), and in particular relating to cross-border tourism in Northern Ireland.

“The introduction of the new EES from October will inevitably add to processing times for coach passengers passing through Dover and Eurotunnel” – Confederation of Passenger Transport CEO, Graham Vidler

Confederation of Passenger Transport CEO, Graham Vidler, said: “The introduction of the new EES from October will inevitably add to processing times for coach passengers passing through Dover and Eurotunnel. We are pressing Ministers and port authorities to ensure that dedicated facilities are available for coaches with sufficient capacity to handle flows in school holidays and other peak periods.”

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