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Schengen Information System

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the case for joining the Schengen Information System in 2009-10; and what account he has taken in that assessment of the UK's inability to join the upgraded Schengen Information System II until 2012. (291336)

[holding answer 16 September 2009]: The UK originally committed to connecting to the first generation Schengen Information System (SIS). However, during the development stage of the UK's national system, the European Commission proposed developing an upgraded central system, known as SIS II. The latter system is capable of handling with European partners additional useful functions for law enforcement such as biometric data and would represent an improvement over the original SIS system.

We therefore took the decision that the UK should refocus its development resources to connect to SIS II. This remains the case.

The UK's efforts are still focused on developing the UK connection to the central SIS II system. However, the scheduled launch date for the central SIS II system has been put back by the European Commission from April 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011, primarily due to technical difficulties experienced by the Commission's contractor. This means that the UK SIS II service will not be able to connect to the EU central system until December 2011 at the earliest.