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New functions for the Schengen Information System in the fight against terrorism

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These two acts make a number of amendments to the 1990 Schengen Convention and add new functions for the Schengen information system (SIS) that will make it possible to combat terrorism more effectively.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 871/2004 of 29 April 2004 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, in particular in the fight against terrorism.

Council Decision 2005/211/JHA of 24 February 2005 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, in particular in the fight against terrorism.

SUMMARY

At the Laeken European Council, the Member States undertook to step up cooperation between departments specialising in counter terrorism and to find a common definition of terrorist crimes (cf. point 17 of the Conclusions). In June 2002, the Council adopted a framework decision designed to approximate legislative provisions establishing minimum rules at European level relating to the constituent elements of offences and penalties in the field of terrorism.

In addition, it is necessary to improve the Schengen Information System's operational capacity so as to facilitate effective cooperation with other agencies, such as Europol and Eurojust, which will be authorised under these measures to access a limited number of categories of SIS data.

The Regulation and Decision discussed here were adopted on a Spanish initiative and aim to improve the operation of SIS-I as a useful instrument in combating illegal immigration, crime and terrorism by introducing new functions.

At present, the SIS allows the competent authorities of the Member States to access data on certain categories of persons and objects. As such, it is vital to the smooth operation of the area of security, freedom and justice. It helps to implement the provisions concerning free movement of persons (Title IV of the EC Treaty) and those concerning police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Title VI of the EU Treaty).

Cf. Article 93 of the 1990 Schengen Convention states that the purpose of the SIS is to maintain public order and security, including state security, and to apply the provisions of this Convention relating to the movement of persons.

Since certain provisions of the 1990 Schengen Convention serve both purposes, they have to be amended in identical terms by parallel instruments based on each of the two Treaties. The amendments to the Schengen acquis required for that purpose come in two forms:

  • the Regulation, based on Articles 62, 63 and 66 of the EC Treaty;
  • the Decision, based on Articles 30(1)(a) and (b), 31(a) and (b) and 34(2)(c) of the EU Treaty.

These initiatives are without prejudice to the future development of a second generation Schengen Information System, referred to as " SIS II ", which will be set up with a view to enlargement and will provide for major innovations in information technology.

The main amendments made to the SIS by the Regulation and the Decision concern:

  • access for Europol and the national members of Eurojust to the data stored in the SIS;
  • extending the list of missing objects for which alerts can be entered - boats, aircraft, containers, residence permits, registration certificates, etc. (category added by Regulation No 1160/2005) and means of payment.

So as to provide the authorities designated to exchange any additional information with a legal basis and to establish rules applicable to deletion of data held by them, other amendments relate to:

  • access to the SIS for the national judicial authorities responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime;
  • the obligation for the Member States to record all transmissions of personal data (in place of the current rule requiring one transmission in ten to be recorded) and extending the period for which records must be kept to up to three years;
  • determination of a common legal basis for the existence and operation of SIRENE (Supplementary Information Request at National Entry) offices - the SIRENE network.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 871/2004

20.5.2004

-

OJ L 162 of 30.4.2004

Decision 2005/211/JHA

24.2.2005

-

OJ L 68 of 15.3.2005

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision 2005/451/JHA of 13 June 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 871/2004 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 158 of 21.6.2005].

Council Decision 2005/719/JHA of 12 October 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 271 of 15.10.2005].

Council Decision 2005/727/JHA of 12 October 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 273 of 19.10.2005].

Council Decision 2005/728/JHA of 12 October 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 871/2004 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 273 of 19.10.2005].

Last updated: 22.08.2006
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