The Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (COREPER) on Wednesday endorsed on behalf of the Council of the EU a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on changes to be made to the Schengen Infomation System (SIS).
On the basis of this mandate, the Estonian presidency of the council of the EU will launch negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as possible, according to a European Council press release.
According to the Council, negotiations are to take place on three regulations on the use of the SIS: in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, in the field of border checks, and for the return of third-country nationals staying in a country illegally.
"The SIS is a vital tool for ensuring security in Europe," said Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE). "It has repeatedly proven its value in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. With these new regulations we look to build on existing experience, closing potential gaps in the system and further encouraging information sharing in the areas of security and migration management."
The proposed changes address potential gaps and will introduce several changes to the current system. The Council noted that they will also help fight terrorism and serious crime, ensuring a high level of security in the EU, as well as contribute to migration management.
The changes will introduce new system alert categories, expand the list of objects for which alerts can be issued, e.g. for false documents and banknotes, expand the types of data which the SIS can use to include facial images and DNA profiles, grant Europol access to all categories of data in the SIS, and grant the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency access to alert categories in the system.
The SIS is the most widely used IT system in the EU area of freedom, security and justice, containing more than 70 million alerts, thanks to which more than 5,000 persons and objects are found each day throughout the Schengen area.
Editor: Aili Vahtla