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Published on November 20th, 2018 | by Elpida Tsiaka

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A Europe that Protects: The Commission reports on progress made on travel document security

Commission reported on the implementation of the December 2016 Action Plan on travel document fraud. A stronger European response against travel document fraud is crucial in the fight against terrorism and organised crime and contributes to improving border protection and migration management, paving the way towards an effective and genuine Security Union. The 2016 Action Plan contained concrete measures to improve the security of travel documents issued by EU Member States to EU citizens and non-EU nationals, such as passports, national identity cards and residence permits.

Commission’s report shows that good progress was achieved over the last year and a half in all four key areas of the identity infrastructure identified in the Action Plan, namely registration of identity, issuance of documents, document production and document control. About half of the 32 measures proposed in the Action Plan were completed, while the remaining ones are either long-term measures or will be implemented in the coming months. The Action Plan has had a positive impact by increasing the visibility of the issue of travel document security.

Member States have improved information exchange on national identity practices and agreed to enhanced security features for uniform visas and residence permits. Discussions on the Commission’s April 2018 proposal on improving the security of identity cards are ongoing. The reinforced Schengen Information Systemthe most widely used EU information system for migration, security and border management, will also contribute to EU’s response against document fraud as it will now include information on falsified travel documents. The Action Plan also contributed to promoting training and improving data collection on document fraud, with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency having for instance developed a pilot course on identity expertise.

The Action plan has been instrumental to the setup of the Centre of Excellence to combat document fraud, intended to support the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s coordinated joint operations. The new proposal of the Commission on the European Border and Coast Guard proposes to integrate the False and Authentic Documents Online system (FADO), a system for the exchange of information on genuine and false documents which until now was based on cooperation between Member States, in the Union legal framework and to be managed by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Member States should continue implementing the remaining measures and proactively cooperating and improving EU-wide information sharing on identity-related processes.

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