HSRG has responded to the European Scrutiny Committee’s enquiry into the EU’s proposed new Entry/Exit System (EES). The EES will replace manual passport stamping with an automated IT system, to record when travellers enter and exit the EU area. The EU says this new system will help to enforce existing rules, for example that travellers cannot stay for more than 90 days within any 180 day period, and the system could be in operation as soon as the Autumn of 2024.

Whilst we acknowledge the introduction of the new system is inevitable, we felt it was important to respond to this inquiry to make clear that steps must be taken to avoid significant disruption to passengers when the EES is introduced later this year. As our submission states, the lengthy delays to international rail travel of the magnitude that are possible due to EES rollout, could dissuade many would-be rail users from travelling by train more frequently for longer journeys.

If rail customers are forced to wait for several hours in St Pancras for Eurostar services as has been forecast, the kind of modal shift toward rail that our industry is trying to achieve could be severely undermined.

Our submission calls on the UK Government to provide greater clarity on timelines around the implementation of the technology, and to proactively collaborate with EU member states wherever possible to manage delay and mitigate harm to the UK rail industry.

You can read the full submission here: HSRG Response – call for evidence on EU Entry Exit and the UK border