Examination of Witnesses (Questions 475-479)|
Mrs Laura Yli-Vakkuri
28 NOVEMBER 2006
Q475 Chairman:Welcome. I think a glass of
water is a rather poor response to the excellent hospitality which
I enjoyed from your government at COSAC in Helsinki last week.
We were very well treated and got rather more than a glass of
Mrs Yli-Vakkuri: This is fine for now.
Q476 Chairman: Mrs Yli-Vakkuri, welcome
and thank you very much indeed for coming to give evidence to
us. Just for the record, this meeting is on the record. If at
any point you want to go off the record you are entirely welcome.
In due course you will be sent a transcript of your evidence and
you are very free to make corrections and amendments, but if on
reading the transcript anything else occurs to you that would
be useful to us you are very welcome to send it to us. For the
record, again, this is our Committee's scrutiny on Schengen II,
SIS Mark II. Thank you for coming to give evidence to us from
your very important and crucial position as Chair of the Schengen
Acquis Working Party, if I am correct.
Mrs Yli-Vakkuri: Yes.
Q477 Chairman: Would the Finnish Presidency
have preferred the Commission to submit an impact assessment for
its SIS proposals?
Mrs Yli-Vakkuri: I was prepared to say something
about myself, my Lord Chairman, I do not know if you know who
Q478 Chairman: I beg your pardon, please
Mrs Yli-Vakkuri: Other than I am the Chairman
of the Schengen Acquis Working Party.
Q479 Chairman: I am so sorry, that was
very impolite of me.
Mrs Yli-Vakkuri: No, no. Just for the record,
I come from the Ministry of the Interior of Finland, the Unit
for International Security Affairs. This time aroundthis
is the second Finnish PresidencyI have chaired two working
groups, the Schengen Acquis and the Schengen Evaluation Working
Party which deals with Schengen enlargement issues. The last time
around in 1999 I also chaired the Schengen Acquis Working Group.
As to the SIS II legal instruments, I am a lawyer so I can say
that as a lawyer it was indeed a privilege to be involved in this
negotiation process within the Council and the European Parliament
because we are talking about an important information system.
Even on a global scale it is a huge system. Now we have reached
political agreement on this issue and we are waiting for the formal
entry into force of these instruments because the linguist lawyer
process still takes a few weeks, if not more, and there are still
some parliamentary reservations pending concerning in particular
the third pillar instrument in this package. You went straight
to the first question of the questions that were sent to me. Yes,
normally, ideally, of course, legislative instruments should be
accompanied by an impact assessment. That would be preferable
in normal cases. In this case it was not that necessary because
it had been decided already in 2001, if I remember correctly,
that there was a need to develop a second generation Schengen
Information System. The decision had been taken then by the Council
so it was for the Commission to implement that decision. The Schengen
Information System has been in use for ten years now so the Member
States know how it works. These SIS II proposals did not change
the fundamental issues in that system, we are just developing
them further. Ideally, yes, but maybe it was not absolutely necessary
in this case.