Page last updated at 20:54 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Schengen Information System debate

EU governments have been criticised by MEPs for delays to reform of the Schengen Information System (SIS).

SIS allows EU governments to obtain and share data about certain categories of people, such as known criminals.

Member states supply information to the system through national networks (N-SIS) connected to a central system (C-SIS).

But speaking during a debate on 20 November 2012, Portuguese centre-right MEP Carlos Coelho pointed out that upgrading SIS to SIS II should have been completed by 2007.

He said EU member states needed to accept their responsibilities, saying that an upgraded SIS would provide greater security for EU citizens, given that the original SIS was founded before EU expansion.

Speaking on behalf of the Council of Ministers, which represents EU governments, the Cypriot Justice Minister, Loucas Louca, said he hoped that SIS II would be in place by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

SIS II is due to have enhanced functionalities, such as the possibility to use biometrics, and new types of alert, such as suspicious vehicles.

Although the UK is not in the Schengen area of free movement, it does have some input into sharing data amongst the Schengen Information System.

The committee's report was approved during the daily voting session on 21 November 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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