Policy Themes

Border security and customs

As the volume of international trade continues to expand and an increasing emphasis is placed on supply chain security and trade facilitation, the role of Customs is evolving. As an example, the use of data analysis has become as important as the use of detection technologies in dealing with existing and emerging threats. This continuous drive for more efficient and more effective customs processes calls for the integrated application of innovative information and detection technologies on the land-, see- and air borders.

The Union Customs code (UCC) is part of the modernisation of customs and serves as the new framework regulation on the rules and procedures for customs throughout the EU. The use of detection technology and control equipment, together with the mandatory data submission (Entry Summary declarations) and the EU risk management system, are important elements of the overall customs control and supervision process.

Technology and Border Security

The development of new technologies to support border security (both in terms of aviation and land borders) is outlined/described in the framework of Examining the Creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR). New capabilities are needed to enhance systems, equipment, tools, processes, and methods for rapid identification. At the same time human rights and privacy have to be respected.

Increasing control and surveillance issues have contributed to the further development of EUROSUR. EUROSUR is the information-exchange framework designed to improve the management of Europe’s external borders. It aims to support the Member States by increasing their situational awareness and reaction capability in combating cross-border crime, tackling irregular migration and preventing loss of migrant lives at sea. This also affects the Smart Borders legislative initiative, and the European Commission published the initial relevant communications on 13 February 2008 for both EUROSUR and Smart Borders.

Marine Border Security

At sea, the main challenge is detecting and identifying small non-cooperative vessels and their behaviour. The need to improve information exchange amongst all the key agencies involved in maritime surveillance is a key priority. Dialogues have taken place with other Commission DGs (DG HOME, DG MARE, DG JRC, DG MOVE) as well as with EU agencies (Frontex, EMSA and EDA). This has helped Frontex to create a concept of operations, or CONOPS, related to small boat detection.

Related information

Frontex: Frontex annual risk analysis (2017), available online: last accessed at: 10/12/2017

European Commission COM (2015) 675 final. Eighth biannual report on the functioning of the Schengen area 1 May - 10 December 2015, available online. Last accessed at: 10/12/2017

Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea border, available online, last accessed at: 10/12/2017

Details of projects in this theme can be found on the Explore DRM Projects tool.