The Minister of Justice and Home Affairs, Mr Ionas Nicolaou, participated in the proceedings of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU, held today in Brussels.
At the heart of the discussions was the strengthening of the security of the EU by preserving the internal borders. In this framework the Ministers discussed the interoperability of databases and information systems of the EU, which will enhance the quality and efficiency of information exchange between law enforcement authorities for the prosecution of serious cross-border crime and terrorism. During the discussion, the support of Member States, to the efforts for the maximum possible utilization of the available information contained in various databases – with particular emphasis on those contained in the Schengen information system II (SIS II) – became obvious.
In his speech, Mr Nicolaou agreed with the findings on the value of interoperability between the systems and the need for substantial improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of the SIS II System. He also highlighted the importance of the participation of all Member States in the System and highlighted the political will and readiness of Cyprus, at a technical level, for its operational inclusion into the SIS II System.
Furthermore, the Commission presented, for a first reading, its proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) which will introduce control measures and transit licensing of third-country nationals, for whom a visa is not required, in the EU. The ETIAS system aims at increasing the level of security by providing the possibility to the travelers of obtaining an electronic ‘pre-approval’ on the basis of a preliminary check, but it does not negate the ability and responsibility of border guards to deny entry to foreigners.
Moreover the Ministers exchanged views on the activities of the European forum for the Internet, in the framework of which the cooperation with Internet service providers is promoted. During the discussion the establishment of a framework for cooperation with Internet providers as well as the likelihood of the adoption of legislative measures aiming at reducing access to terrorist propaganda on the Internet, was scrutinized.
Finally, the Ministers were briefed on the progress of work on the implementation of the Directive on the use and exchange of data contained in the Passenger Name Record (PNR), for the prevention and investigation of terrorist actions and serious crime with the aim of solving the problems faced by the Member States in the adoption and application of this Directive, both at the technical and legal level.
Source: Press and Information Office.