COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL Adapting the common visa policy to new challenges
1. This series of documents sets out a proposal made by the European Commission to adapt the EU’s visa policy to new challenges. EU Visa policy is part of the Schengen Acquis and the UK does not participate in the Border & Immigration aspects of that agreement. This proposal therefore has no direct impact upon the UK. In light of that this explanatory memorandum focuses on the proposed changes rather than the underlying analysis for the proposals.
2. A key part of the policy is the Visa Code and that is what most of the above documents discuss. A recast of the Visa Code was proposed in 2014, however due to the diverging position of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union it was abandoned at the end of 2017. Meanwhile the increased security and migratory challenges made some aspects of the 2014 recast seem outdated. The Commission therefore withdrew the recast proposal to develop this new package.
3. The new policy approach’s overall aim is to strengthen visa policy so that it becomes a more effective tool to respond to heightened migratory and security challenges faced by the EU. It includes a recast of the visa code which will make it easier to process visas for legitimate travellers and formalises the existing approach of bringing together visa policy and readmission co-operation by third countries. Another important aspect will be a significant revision of the Visa Information System (VIS). The detail of this revision will be presented later in the spring. A key aspect will be greater interoperability of systems to allow visa officers greater access to data and enable them to make better decisions. Finally, it seeks to link visa policy to other areas of EU policy such as trade and security policies.