Select Committee on European Union Ninth Report


Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union is conducting an inquiry into the legislative proposals which will govern the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II).

In June 2005, the Commission submitted three proposals which together form the legislative basis for SIS II: a Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of SIS II with respect to immigration matters (COM (2005) 236 final); a Decision governing SIS II for policing purposes (COM (2005) 230 final); and a Regulation giving access to SIS II data by vehicle registration authorities (COM (2005) 237 final).

The three measures put in place a revised version of the
Schengen Information System (SIS)—the computerised database, operational since 1995, which enables Schengen States to exchange data on persons and objects in order to maintain security in an area without internal border. The new SIS will enable up to 30 States to connect to the System and integrate biometric data.

The package of legislative proposals for the establishment of SIS II was agreed by the EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers on 2 June 2006. All
25 Member States, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein will be connected to SIS II once the technical work has been completed. The System is not likely to be rolled out until late 2007. The United Kingdom and Ireland are included in the database only for the purposes of police and judicial cooperation. They are not part of the free travel zone, and hence do not have access to the immigration data in the current SIS; nor is it envisaged that they should have access to this data in SIS II.

The aim of the inquiry is to examine the interpretation and application of the SIS II provisions, including points relevant to the specific position of the United Kingdom, taking into account the planned adoption of implementing measures by the Commission. The inquiry will also look at the development of SIS II against the wider context of exchange of data on Justice and Home Affairs matters, particularly with regard to current plans on interoperability of EU databases and proposed data protection rules in the third pillar.

Written evidence is invited on all aspects of the SIS II proposals. The Sub-Committee would particularly welcome comments on:

  • the decision-making process which has led to the development of SIS II, particularly the adequacy of public consultation and lack of impact assessment;
  • the operational management of SIS II by the Commission, and whether the rules ensure accountability;
  • the implications of including biometric data;
  • the provisions allowing the interlinking of alerts;
  • the criteria for listing persons to be refused entry;
  • the appropriateness of including third-country national family members of EU citizens in the SIS II;
  • the clarity of the rules governing collection of and access to data, including the desirability of granting access to immigration data to police and asylum authorities;
  • the adequacy of data protection rules, in particular as regards data which might be transferred to third countries;
  • the implications of the plans on interoperability of EU databases;
  • the United Kingdom's position on the SIS, particularly the need for access by the UK to immigration data.

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