New rules on reinforced Schengen Information System enter into force

Photo: EPA EU Commissioner for migration and home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos.

New rules to strengthen the Schengen Information System (SIS) are entering into force today, the European Commission press service reported on Friday. The changes were proposed by the Commission in December 2016 and adopted earlier this year.

As of today, national authorities are obliged to create a SIS alert for all cases related to terrorist offences. By the end of 2019, Member States will also have to inform Europol of hits alerts linked to terrorism, which will help to connect the dots at the European level. A number of other new functionalities in the SIS will be implemented in phases, with a requirement for the system to be fully operational in Member States 3 years following entry into force of the legislation:

SIS is Europe's most widely used information sharing system for security and border management. Consulted over 5 billion times by national authorities in 2017, the upgraded database will help border guards to better monitor who is crossing the EU's borders; support police and law enforcement in capturing dangerous criminals and terrorists; and offer greater protection for missing children and vulnerable adults, in line with the new data protection rules.

"We are closing a critical security gap today in the EU. Member States will have an obligation to introduce terrorism alerts into the reinforced Schengen Information System”, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said. Anyone posing a threat should not go unnoticed anymore, he pointed out. Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King also noted that the new obligation to create SIS alerts will help make Europe safer.

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