Correspondence with Ministers October 2006 to April 2007 - European Union Committee Contents


Letter from the Chairman to Joan Ryan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office

  Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Committee on the European Union considered the revised proposals at a meeting on 13 December 2006.

  The Committee is aware that the revised texts were agreed in principle by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4-5 December. As you know, we are in the process of completing an inquiry on the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) which will seek to make recommendations that would be useful as regards the interpretation and application of the SIS II provisions, including points relevant to the specific position of the UK. We are therefore retaining these documents under scrutiny, but given that our scrutiny will not affect the adoption of the legislative measures, we are happy for a Minister to agree to the proposals being adopted in the Council, in reliance on paragraph 3(b) of the Scrutiny Reserve.

  The previous drafts (documents 5709/06 + Rev 1, Rev 3, Rev 6, Rev 8 and 5710/06 + Rev 2, Rev 4) are cleared from scrutiny as they have been superseded.

14 December 2006

Letter from Joan Ryan MP to the Chairman

  During the course of the Committee's inquiry into the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) I provided you with information on SISone4all, a technical solution which will allow nine of the new Member States who joined the European Union in May 2004 to connect temporarily to the Schengen Information System I+ (SIS I+) currently in use by other member states. As you are aware from my letter of 14 December, the December Justice and Home Affairs Council gave the go-ahead for SISone4all to proceed. The UK currently has no intention of joining SISone4all, and we negotiated the terms of the Council Conclusions relating to financing the project so as to exempt the UK from future additional costs associated with implementing SISone4all. This letter updates you on progress on SISone4all and the impact on SIS II, and on two legislative measures which we expect to be adopted shortly at a forthcoming Council.

  The December Council conclusions noted that some delay to SIS II would be caused by the implementation of SISone4all, and invited the European Commission to present by February 2007 a revised timetable for SIS II which takes into account the consequences of the implementation of the SISone4all project.

  The Commission presented this revised SIS II schedule in January 2007. The overall impact of the implementation of SISone4all is to push back the SIS II operational date for Member States using the SIS I+ from June 2008 to December 2008. The Government regrets the impact on SIS II, and has consistently underlined the need for rigorous project management of SISone4all to minimise any delays. However, this delay will not impact on our domestic SIS II programme.

  The December Council Conclusions also noted that amendments would need to be made to the financial regulation governing the budgetary aspects of SISNET, which is the communication infrastructure for SIS I+. This is necessary to account for the financial implications for all States participating in the SIS I+ so as to cover the extra costs flowing from the extension of the network. A Council Decision which will allow for these amendments to the financial regulation has been drawn up, and a copy is enclosed at Annex A (not printed) (document number 6606/07). We expect this document to be adopted at a forthcoming Council. It should be noted that this document specifically states that the United Kingdom should not contribute to additional costs entailed by the SISone4all project.

  The second legislative measure will allow the Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union to act as representative of the Member States in a tendering process to allow for a new contract to be drawn up for the SISNET. This is necessary as the current contract will end on 13 November 2008, but those member states currently connected to the SIS I+ will now be using the system until migration to SIS II. A copy of this document is attached at Annex B (not printed) (6605/07).

  I hope the Committee finds this information useful.

5 March 2007

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