As part of an effort to streamline information gathering within the EU concerning anti-terrorist activities, European Union members are, as of December 28, obliged to create a report in the Schengen Information System (SIS) to help apprehend potential terror suspects when they attempt to cross into the Schengen Zone.
While EU members Ireland and Cyprus are not yet parts of the Schengen area, 26 of the EU’s 28 members, including 4 associated countries Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland, already share safety data via the Schengen Information System.
The SIS has served as an important tool for investigators in the past as it was consulted 5 billion times by the national authorities in 2017 alone. At present, it contains nearly 79 million records, providing information on individuals who have been flagged as security risks in the Schengen Zone. In addition to providing data about terror suspects, the SIS also the authorises access to data on lost or stolen items.
The system has not escaped harsh criticism, however, as it originally suffered from several shortcomings in its data management, due to the low interoperability of existing information systems.
“Today we are filling a very important gap in security in the EU”, said the European Commissioner for for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos. “The Member States will be required to create reports related to terrorism in the enhanced Schengen Information System now threatening any individual should not go unnoticed.”
According to the new rules, EU nations will be required to inform Europol of terror warnings and information about unknown persons who are wanted for a criminal offence. In addition.
A new category of alerts has also been introduced for third-country nationals who are illegally in the country, which will be accompanied by a system to flag individuals who should be banned entry into the Schengen Zone.