x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

EU should introduce electronic tourist checks, minister says

EU needs a similar procedure to the one the United States has imposed on travellers from countries with which it has visa-waiver deals, interior minister says.

BERLIN // Germany's interior minister called in a Sunday newspaper interview for the European Union to introduce tourist entry applications similar to a US programme, in a measure that would primarily affect US travellers.

Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Welt am Sonntag that in the interest of security, the EU needed a similar procedure to the one the United States has imposed on travellers from countries with which it has visa-waiver deals.

He said authorities would review before a Europe-bound traveller boards a plane "whether someone is on a wanted list", mirroring the US programme Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Friedrich, from the right wing of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Union bloc, called ESTA "straighforward to manage" and said such a programme should be rolled out in the EU "as soon as possible".

He said the current $14 (10-euro) fee per person would be appropriate for the EU as well.

The ESTA programme requires travellers without a visa to supply their name, date of birth, address and credit card number to US authorities online before embarking on a trip to the country.