The European Union has yet to set a new timetable for the deployment of the Entry/Exit System, according to eu-LISA, the agency in charge of the operational management of the EES and other large-scale IT systems in the fields of freedom, security, and justice.
The press team at the eu-LISA confirmed that no date has been specified for the EES's operationalization, despite certain media reports that the timeframe has been pushed back to 2024.
“eu-LISA is currently working on a revised planning approach for the implementation of the EES and the overall interoperability architecture, taking into account all possible foreseeable impacts,” the agency said in an email.
They also stated that, while the current planned schedule would be dependent on the resolution of existing technical challenges, eu-LISA and the other EU bodies involved seek to accomplish the system's earliest feasible entry into service while staying realistic and doable.
“At the moment, no date has been communicated for a possible entry in operation of EES,” they however noted in their response.
The EES was meant to go into force in May, however the eu-LISA reported in January this year that May 2023 was no longer feasible due to contractor delays. The agency was scheduled to propose a revised timeline for approval at the JHA Council meeting in March, but this has yet to happen.
The EES, one of the EU's newly constructed automated IT systems, will follow visitors entering and departing the EU and Schengen Area, with the exception of Ireland and Cyprus. Passport stamps will likewise be replaced by digital technology.
Its delay has also hampered the operation of another critical system, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
The latter was meant to go into effect in November 2023, however due to the EES's delay, the ETIAS has also been pushed back to the middle of 2024, though the exact date is still unknown.
Earlier in March, Anita Hipper, the EU Commission's Spokesperson for Home Affairs, indicated that because the ETIAS is being built in tandem with the EES, it cannot go live before the EES.
"We anticipate that the IT system required to run ETIAS will be available in 2023." ETIAS is currently projected to be completely operational in 2024. "The ETIAS can only begin operations 5 to 6 months after the EES begins operations," Hipper explained.
It has previously been claimed that the EES could be delayed even further in late 2024, following the conclusion of the Paris Olympics on August 11, the same year. If this occurs, the ETIAS will be further postponed, maybe until 2025.
By fLEXI tEAM