An ESTA in Europe: myth or imminent reality?

The European ESTA is largely inspired by the American ESTA and its formalities, which has been in place for many years. The exemption of VISA, within the bloc of European Union countries consists in the establishment of a system for international travellers, travelling to Europe to apply for entry to an online territory. This is for a fee, but without having to hold a visa.

An ESTA in Europe: myth or imminent reality?

The reflection on this electronic system for authorizing travel within the European Union is initiated by two countries; France and Germany. It appears that the first draft of the legislative proposal on European ESTA was expected to be produced in November 2016.

This information has recently been confirmed by EURACTIV, an information site specializing in the European Union’s policy activities. Moreover, the idea of a European ESTA had already been formulated in 2011. At that time, reflections were quickly abandoned. The possible introduction of an electronic travel authorization follows the recent attacks in Brussels and Paris. The French Minister of Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, justifies the establishment of the European ESTA by the need to be able to control all the trips of world citizens who are not concerned by the need to get a visa.

With this form, the movements of each citizen would be known. As a result, they could be anticipated. Furthermore, it could have a positive impact on tightening up controls at the EU’s external borders.

Other measures taken by Europe to control persons

The future establishment of European ESTA is not the only measure and line of thought that European policies have looked at after Paris and Brussels attacks. For example, strengthening of counter-terrorism cooperation between the various countries of the European Union has been put in place.

As a first step, this strengthening of counter-terrorism cooperation will take the form of a crisis simulation exercise. This full-scale exercise will take place on the external borders of the European Union bloc. Its aim will be to ensure that the deployment of each country’s armed forces is efficient and speedy.

Pending the establishment of a European ESTA, France and Germany have proposed measures to oblige mobile operators to facilitate access by anti-terrorist investigators to the data of their customers suspected of terrorist activity. Besides, some member states of the European Union (Ireland, Hungary, Spain, Finland and Hungary) have decided to join the ADEP axe project, which was initiated by France and Germany.

This project includes an automatic transfer of the criminal record of each traveller among police forces in these countries. It is not impossible that the ADEP pilot project will soon be extended to all EU countries.

A travel authorization, for better control of the entrances

The main goal of the European ESTA will be to determine whether people wishing to travel to European territory are eligible for this trip. It will then be essential to consider whether they a risk to the country, to which he or she wishes to travel. The second aim of this system is to ensure that the person does not remain illegally in the territory in question.


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