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EUROPEAN UNION

Merkel says EU aid fund will protect the euro

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that an emergency trillion-dollar rescue package for crisis-hit eurozone countries would serve as bulwark for the beleaguered euro.

Merkel says EU aid fund will protect the euro

“This package serves to strengthen and protect the common currency,” she told reporters, hours after the European Union announced an unprecedented intervention worth more than €750 billion backed by the International Monetary Fund and central banks worldwide.

“We are protecting our currency in an extraordinary situation,” Merkel said, adding that that nevertheless the eurozone must do more to tackle its stability problem by pressing member states to balance their budgets.

“We must attack the problem at its roots,” Merkel said. “In this process, budget consolidation in all member states becomes extraordinarily important.”

Merkel welcomed new austerity measures pledged by Spain amid fears that the perilous Greek debt crisis could spread throughout the 16-nation eurozone, saying they sent “an important message to the markets.”

After days of plummeting in value on world markets, the euro surged in Asian trade on the news of the latest rescue package, which leaders hope will represent a game-changing financial war chest in the face of damaging economic instability.

On Monday, Europe’s single currency traded for $1.29 after bouncing back from €1.2523 – its lowest level since March 2009.

Merkel added that Germany as the eurozone’s biggest economy would also introduce budget cuts to get its own fiscal house in order.

Berlin’s participation in the EU rescue package requires parliamentary approval however, and Merkel said she planned to meet party leaders later on Monday and that her cabinet would examine the necessary legislation on Tuesday.

But she added that approval of the legislation would take “a bit longer” than the passage of a law rushed through last week that gave the green light to Germany’s €22.4-billion ($29.2-billion) contribution to a €110-billion package of loans to Greece.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Foreigners officially resident in Europe not covered by new EES passport rules, EU Commission confirms

The European Commission has clarified that foreigners officially resident in the EU are not covered by EES - the far-reaching changes to passport control rules due to come into effect next year.

Foreigners officially resident in Europe not covered by new EES passport rules, EU Commission confirms

The EU’s new entry and exit system (EES) is due to come into effect in May 2023, followed by the new ETIAS system in November, and between them they will have a major effect on travel in and out of the EU and Schengen zone.

EES means automated passport scans at EU external borders, which will increase security and tighten up controls of the 90-day rule – you can find a full explanation of how they work HERE.

But the system is aimed at tourists and those making short visits to the EU / Schengen area – not non-EU citizens who live in an EU country or second-home owners with visas, and there had been questions around how those groups would use the new system.

Now the European Commission has confirmed that EES does not apply for non-EU citizens who are living in those countries taking part, telling us: “Non-EU nationals holders of residence permits are not in the scope of the Entry/Exit System and ETIAS. More about exceptions can be found on the website.

“When crossing the borders, holders of EU residence permits should be able to present to the border authorities their valid travel documents and residence permits.”

What this means in practice is that foreign nationals living in France, Germany or other EU /Schengen states cannot use the new automated passport gates that will be introduced with EES in May 2023.

The reason for this is that the automated passport gates only give the option to show a passport – it is not possible to also show a residency permit or a visa.

The automated system also counts how long people have stayed in the Schengen area, and whether they have exceeded their 90 day limit – since residents are naturally exempt from the 90-day rule, they need to avoid the 90-day ‘clock’ beginning when they enter the EU.

You can listen to the team at The Local discuss the pklanned new EU passport checks in the latest episode of our Talking France podcast. You can play the link below or download it here.

READ ALSO How does the EU 90-day rule work?

A Commission spokesman said: “EES is an automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay, each time they cross the external borders of European countries using the system (exemptions apply, see FAQ section).

“This concerns travellers who require a short-stay visa and those who do not need a visa. Refusals of entry are also recorded in the system.

“Non-EU citizens residing in the EU are not in the scope of the EES and will not be subject to pre-enrollment of data in the EES via self-service systems. The use of automation remains under the responsibility of the Member States and its availability in border crossing points is not mandatory.”

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