Select Committee on European Union Ninth Report

FOREWORD—What this Report is about

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is an EU-wide system for the collection and exchange of information relating to immigration, policing and criminal law, for the purposes of law enforcement and immigration control. The System raises fundamental questions concerning the balance between, on the one hand, the operational effectiveness of immigration control and public security by law enforcement authorities, and on the other hand the protection of civil liberties. It is against this potential conflict that the Committee has examined the working of the SIS, and its planned development into a second-generation system, known as SIS II. We have looked at SIS II with the aim of assessing whether the proposed system is efficient, transparent, accountable and secure.

The United Kingdom is not one of the full Schengen States, because it maintains its border controls with other Member States. It will therefore be denied access to immigration data on SIS II, although it will have access to other data for the purposes of police and criminal cooperation.

SIS II will store an enormous volume of sensitive personal data. The processing and protection of such data will be governed by many different legislative instruments, often conflicting. We consider how the provisions should be made clear and unambiguous, and whether the United Kingdom should have access to all the data.

We have also looked at the delay in setting up SIS II, and the consequences this will have for the United Kingdom and for other Member States.

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