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​​​​​​Vision-Box Spotlights The Importance Of EU Stakeholders Collaboration To Maximise The Potential Of Schengen Smart Borders In The Travel Ecosystem



  • The two-day webinar hosted by Vision-Box brought together some of the industry’s leading thinkers, border agencies and forward-thinking innovators to explore the challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the EU Smart Borders package
  • The mandatory enforcement of the Schengen Entry/Exit System by early 2022 is predicted to be the next frontier of border control as 26 European countries embrace state-of-the-art smart technologies and improved operational means to protect national borders in a fully interoperable manner

Vision-Box hosted a two-day webinar bringing together some of the aviation and travel industry’s leading experts as well as government figures, to identify the opportunities and challenges for the implementation of EU Smart Border systems for Air, Land and Sea border crossing points within the Schengen area.

The Live Talks entitled Smart Borders Explained, were organised between Wednesday, 30th September and Thursday, 1st October and primarily focused on the need for digital innovation and enhanced collaboration across the Schengen nations, and in particular, the impact it will have across their respective Air, Land and Sea borders as the region prepares for the enablement of the Schengen Entry/Exit System in 2022.

Moderated by Jeff Lennon, VP – Head of Strategic Sales & Global Partnerships (Vision-Box), speakers included Marta Pimentel, Entry/Exit System (EES) Business Consultant (Vision-Box), Krum Garkov, Executive Director, eu-LISA (The European Agency for Operational Management of Large-scale information systems), Serge Hanssens, Advisory Partner at PwC, Matti Lehto, Head of Process Development, Helsinki Airport – Finavia Corporation, Nikos Mertzanidis, Director, European Government Affairs, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Pasi Nokelainen, System Manager for Border Checks, Finnish Border Guard, and Carsten Jensen, Advisor, Danish National Police (POLITI).

The webinars were attended by over 250 participants, including representatives from Rome Airport, Finavia, Republic of Slovenia, Sea Milan, Fed Pol Germany, FBG, Her Majesty’s Passport Office UK, Frankfurt Airport, Prague Airport, SEF, Zurich Airport, ANA, Brussels Airport and Athens Airport.

The Schengen Entry/Exit System is predicted to be the next frontier of border control as 26 European countries embrace state-of-the-art smart technologies and improved operational means to protect national borders in compliance with the new EU regulations. However, there is a need to overcome the complexity of integrating human-machine-operated systems into pre-existing national security measures, while unleashing the power of the centrally offered interoperability between the current and future EU wide IT systems (SIS, VIS, sBMS, ETIAS, EES, Eurodac).

The panel discussions offered insightful analysis on the implementation of Smart Borders and its wider impact on the EU border control ecosystem including on security, situational awareness, efficiency, and traveller experience. On a live poll held during the webinars titled ‘What do you believe will be one of the major challenges regarding the EU Borders Entry/Exit Systems?’,  45% responded ‘changing business processes’ as the primary concern, 37% believed adapting facilities and infrastructures would be a challenge; 8% were worried about guaranteeing compliance, while 5% felt training personnel would the challenge.

Over the last seven years, the European Commission has launched a bundle of initiatives to improve the management and movement of non-EU citizens or Third Country Nationals (TCNs) in and out of the Schengen states in an interoperable manner. TCNs are individuals who are not citizens of the EU and don’t have the EU right for free movement. The European Commission’s package for TCNs consists of two key initiatives. Together, the harmonisation of EU borders through Entry/Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) seeking to improve efficiency, increase accessibility to traveller information, standardise data collection methods, reduce illegal movement and identify potential TCN overstayers.

Speaking of the success of the two-day webinar, Jeff Lennon, VP – Head of Global Sales & Strategic Partnerships of Vision-Box, said: “The Live Talks were an opportunity to provide the ecosystem of Public/Private actors involved with a platform to discuss and deliberate the sweeping technological changes that will be implemented in 2022, and offered a constructive insight into the challenges and opportunities ahead.  We were able to de-construct some of the complexities surrounding the infrastructures and the policies across the EU Schengen Area, thanks to the in-depth subject knowledge of the speakers. 

One of the most interesting talking points throughout these two days were the equal calls for collaboration across Air, Land and Sea border crossing points and the need for involvement from all stakeholders. This will be crucial in ensuring the process will be a success before, during and after the Schengen Entry/Exit System and will pave the way for a shift in the paradigm, as an unprecedented yet harmonious orchestration of the border control checks will have to be adopted, at pace.

Although there is still much more work to be done, we are confident that by the time 2022 arrives, the industry, all Travel operators and the Schengen member states will be gradually  in the best possible position to deliver an efficient travel experience like no other, enhance the GDP’s growth of each Member State while further securing the Schengen borders.”

This latest series of webinars was another pioneering moment for Vision-Box, having already hosted a successful live debate earlier this year, which brought together key sector representatives to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the aviation industry.


See also Vision-Box white papers regarding Smart Borders:

For further information, please visit the Smart Borders Microsite.



Date: 12/10/2020