The European Commission has presented a proposal to improve the Visa Information System (VIS) – the database containing information on applicants for Schengen visas in order to respond better to the evolving security and migration challenges and to improve the management of the EU’s external borders.

The proposed changes will allow for more in-depth checks on visa applicants, remove information gaps in terms of security through better exchange of information between Member States and ensure full interoperability with other EU databases.

The Commission has called on EU MS to step up their efforts to return migrants who are without a to asylum.

“The number of return operations is steadily increasing. The situation with migration in the EU is now calm, although there is an increased pressure on the Greek-Turkish land border, in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea and on the way through the Western Balkans. The Commission calls on all Member States to adopt at least 25,000 displaced migrants by October, although they have pledged to shelter twice,” EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Avramopoulos said.

According to the Commission’s latest figures since the beginning of the year, migratory pressures over the central part of the Mediterranean have decreased by 77%. At the same time, on the Greek-Turkish land border, the number of arriving migrants has increased nine times over the last year. On the Balkans there is a path through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Figures show that more than 6000 migrants have voluntarily returned to Libya since the beginning of this year. So far, only one of three migrants that EU orders to leave is being deported, the EC notes.

Since the beginning of the year, European border guards have participated in 111 return operations.

The European Union is expected to abolish visas for Kosovo citizens by the end of this year. The EP’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) approved the visa abolishment for Kosovo citizens wishing to travel to Europe some time ago, but in 2016 the process was frozen. The reason was the need for demarcation of the border with Montenegro and the establishment of a municipality of Serbian minority in the country.

Kosovo is the last country in Europe which has a visa regime with the Schengen States. Travel restrictions for Albanians and other citizens of the former Yugoslavia dropped in 2010 and 2009 respectively.