The Malta Police Force will be investing in more high-end security systems at the airport. With €13.6 million allocated in European funds, these systems will lead to better security management at the border.
These details were provided during a press conference addressed by Minister for Home Affairs, Law Enforcement and National Security Byron Camilleri and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi.
In his address, Minister Camilleri explained how this investment is yet another example of how, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Government’s work did not slow down, even in relation to the country’s security. “We are working to strike a balance between the response needed to face the country’s security challenges whilst also protecting the freedom to travel within the Schengen area,” stated the Minister.
Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzoaprdi held that with European funds we will continue to strengthen the security of our country whilst ensuring we honour the obligations as a European Member State which forms part of the Schengen Area. He explained that these funds were split amongst 4 projects which together form one holistic system that will ensure that EU borders are protected, and that information can be accessed efficiently, therefore strengthening the fight against terrorism and criminal offences. He concluded by saying that all this will help the authorities for enforcement to conduct their work whilst providing better management of third country nationals since with these systems, amongst other things, people who no longer satisfy the requirements for entry or whose term has expired to reside in the EU will be identified.
Among these systems, is the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which with an investment of €3.4 million will allow law enforcement agencies to keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors. Member States will be notified of any wanted persons due to extradition requests, missing persons and other alerts.
The Entry/Exit System will complement ETIAS with an investment of €6.4 million. The EES will register travellers from third-countries each time they cross an EU external border with the aim of strengthening border control of member states within the Schengen area.
The Schengen Information System is a large information sharing system for security and border management in Europe. The system which costs €1.2 million, enables competent national authorities to enter and consult alerts on persons reported missing and other relevant alerts.
In addition, €2.67 million in funds have been allocated to the training of police officers in border control systems along with the purchase of technological equipment.