04 Apr 2011

The difficult road to the Schengen Information System II

Joanna Parkin

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This Liberty and Security working paper seeks to understand the reasons behind the considerable complications facing the project to develop a new, second generation version of the Schengen Information System (SIS II). Despite the centrality of this large-scale EU database for immigration and border control purposes and the increasing prioritisation of security technologies within the EU’s internal security strategy, the project has encountered substantial delays, an escalating budget, political crises and criticisms of the new system’s potential impact on fundamental rights. To uncover the underlying causes of these difficulties and deficiencies, the paper examines the decision-making processes that have shaped the development of SIS II over the last decade.

CEPS Research Assistant Joanna Parkin argues that there are strong parallels between the policy processes surrounding SIS II and decision-making under the old Schengen regime, where expert driven, security oriented and fragmented decision-making took place outside the EU framework and beyond the reach of democratic and judicial oversight. The paper contends that decision-making on SIS II undermines principles of proportionality, accountability and fundamental rights and, by extension, puts into question the political legitimacy of the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. The paper concludes with a set of policy recommendations intended to inform the future development of large-scale EU IT systems.

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