Swiss justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga met with her EU counterparts in Brussels on Friday to discuss improvements to information exchange and compatibility in the interest of tightened security throughout the Schengen zone.
According to a Swiss government press release, Sommaruga specifically asked the assembled council of EU justice and interior ministers that Switzerland be better integrated into exchanges of information at the European level, in the interest of security for all.
She emphasised that Switzerland supports EU efforts against terrorism, and has reinforced its cooperation with Europol in recent months.
Sommaruga and her fellow ministers discussed a proposed European Commission plan called The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) – similar to the United States’ ESTA programme. If approved, ETIAS would require a security check of all third-country nationals exempt from visa requirements (for example, those visiting Europe only for a short period of time time) before entering countries in the Schengen zone – including Switzerland.
The goal would be to allow for preliminary checks to be carried out relating to risks linked to irregular migration and interior security.
“It must be simple, it must be fast, and it must be cheap,” Sommaruga said near the end of the meeting. “We do not want to add new obstacles.”
Other ministers also pointed out the importance of data protection in such a system.
During her visit to Brussels, the Swiss justice minister also participated in discussions devoted to enhancing the compatibility of different European information systems dealing with migration and security.
swissinfo.ch and agencies