The mission of the Association économique romande pour une infrastructure aéroportuaire performante (AERIA+) is to defend an efficient airport infrastructure in the interest of the regional economy. As such, AERIA+ supports Switzerland’s contribution to Frontex in order to continue to benefit from the freedom of travel acquired through the Schengen area.
Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, was created in 2004 to help EU member states and Schengen associated countries protect the external borders of the EU’s free movement area. Switzerland has pledged to provide a higher solidarity contribution in 2021, but a referendum has been filed against this increased Swiss participation and will be put to a vote on May 15, 2022.
Frontex plays a key role in the fight against international crime and illegal migration. Thanks to this revision, the border guard will have the necessary financial and human resources to fulfill its mission.
Participation in Frontex is a condition for Switzerland to remain in the Schengen area. Otherwise, the mechanism of automatic termination set out in Article 7 of the agreement will come into force after only six months, and the Schengen and Dublin agreements will automatically cease to apply.
The position of AERIA+
- Thanks to the integration of the Schengen area, we enjoy freedom of travel in a large part of Europe. This freedom must be preserved!
- Without Schengen, systematic border controls would have to be reintroduced while 600,000 vehicles pass through Swiss customs every day. Swiss and foreign travelers would have to wait not only at land borders, but also at our country’s international airports. Erik Simonin, secretary general of AERIA+, explains: “Airports will have to completely reorganize their terminals, which are currently divided into Schengen and non-Schengen zones. For a flight to Paris or Berlin, for example, travelers will have to present their passport and wait in line at a customs counter, which would represent a considerable loss of time, especially for business travelers. Jean-Marc Probst, president of AERIA+ adds: “The withdrawal of Frontex will not only result in a loss of time at border crossings for users, but also in enormous additional costs for airports, which will obviously be transferred to passengers.”
- The pandemic has highlighted the need to maintain favorable conditions for cross-border collaboration and travel mobility.
- Schengen benefits the tourism industry in particular, as more tourists from China, Asia, India and the Gulf States arrive with a Schengen visa. Without this visa, the tourism industry, which has already been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis, risks losing an important client base.
Considering these elements, AERIA+ is concerned about the consequences of a Schengen/Dublin exit for professional and private users of the airport infrastructure and therefore invites to support the Swiss contribution to Frontex by voting YES on May 15, 2022.