Risk-based screening at border crossing

The concept of 'borders' has changed in recent times. The purpose and function of borders have been, and remain, to delineate and demarcate one sovereignty from another. However, borders must also allow for the smooth movement of people and goods.

Maintaining the current level of checks is becoming increasingly expensive given the ever growing volumes of people and goods on the move, and increasingly more disruptive of flows. It would remain sustainable if thorough checks could be limited to fewer individual goods and people pre-selected further to a preliminary (and non-disruptive) risk-based screening of the flows.


Proposals should take account of the four-tier access control model developed in the EU: measures undertaken in, or jointly with third countries or service providers (e.g. those managing Advance Passenger Information or Passenger Name Record systems); cooperation with neighbouring countries; border control and counter-smuggling measures; control measures within the area of free movement in order to prevent illegal immigration and cross-border crime inside the Schengen area.

Innovative, international alert systems can be developed further to more co-operative law enforcement and investigative efforts. Building upon lessons learned and field experience is essential.

The combination of a variety of arrays of sensors, new operational methods, and improved data management techniques can support appropriate law enforcement responses and enable better, transnational, interagency access to reliable and secure situational intelligence and information, on a real-time and cost-effective basis.

Collaboration with IATA, the air transport industry and other partners and international stakeholders in other fields of transport safety (e.g. maritime, rail) may lead to the development of new solutions.

Particular attention should be paid to personal data protection and to other ethical concerns that may arise from the development of risk-based screening at borders.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Indicative budget: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of € 8million would allow for this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

Short/Medium term:

  • Enhanced situational awareness for border control practitioners, enabling the timely and proper identification of potentially dangerous people and goods, and preventing smuggling and human trafficking;
  • Improved risk-management coordination and cooperation between border control (passport/persons), customs (baggage/goods) and security in transport (pre-boarding security checks on persons and baggage);

Long term:

  • Improved solutions for remote detection of abnormal behaviours;
  • More effective use of intelligence to reduce risks at borders;
  • Improved and people-respectful border automated screening systems through close cooperation with actions resulting from SEC-18-BES–2017: Acceptance of "no gate crossing point solutions".


Application date
Social sciences
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology