An Assessment of the Proposals of Regulation and Decision Which Define the Purpose, Functionality and Responsibilities of the Future SIS II

01-02-2006

The reform of the Schengen Information System (SIS) is a major milestone in the development of the Area of Freedom, Justice and Security, if not for the EU as such, but the process has not been carried out with the appropriate levels of publicity and democratic control. With the Commission proposals of May 2005 marking the emergence of the new SIS II from the more secretive ‘Third Pillar’ environment, there is now a golden opportunity to examine the proposed legislation thoroughly. It is widely held that the current drafts are a clear improvement on earlier versions. However, a number of sensitive features still need attention, in particular how far new mechanisms and the wider involvement of enforcement and judicial authorities have come with legal safeguards to ensure that data protection and other human rights are respected. The introduction of biometric data into alert records, the interlinking of alerts and possible ‘mergers’ with separate databases (e.g. VIS) should also be examined. The European Parliament can expect to have an attentive audience given that, in addition to the opinion it is requested to deliver on the ‘Third Pillar’ part of SIS II (proposed Decision), it has full co-decision power on the ‘First Pillar’ project of Regulation.

The reform of the Schengen Information System (SIS) is a major milestone in the development of the Area of Freedom, Justice and Security, if not for the EU as such, but the process has not been carried out with the appropriate levels of publicity and democratic control. With the Commission proposals of May 2005 marking the emergence of the new SIS II from the more secretive ‘Third Pillar’ environment, there is now a golden opportunity to examine the proposed legislation thoroughly. It is widely held that the current drafts are a clear improvement on earlier versions. However, a number of sensitive features still need attention, in particular how far new mechanisms and the wider involvement of enforcement and judicial authorities have come with legal safeguards to ensure that data protection and other human rights are respected. The introduction of biometric data into alert records, the interlinking of alerts and possible ‘mergers’ with separate databases (e.g. VIS) should also be examined. The European Parliament can expect to have an attentive audience given that, in addition to the opinion it is requested to deliver on the ‘Third Pillar’ part of SIS II (proposed Decision), it has full co-decision power on the ‘First Pillar’ project of Regulation.