The creation of an EU information technology agency to manage data flows for the Schengen border check-free area was approved by Parliament on Tuesday. The agency, to be based in Tallinn (Estonia) will manage the processing of shared data on security, visa applications, and asylum seekers’ fingerprints. It starts work in summer 2012.
“The agency will keep these large-scale IT systems functioning 24/7, ensuring a continuous flow of data among the Member States concerned responsible for entering data in the systems”, said Carlos Coelho (EPP, PT).
Parliament and the Council have agreed that the IT agency will based in Tallinn (Estonia). However, since technical development work and management preparations for the Schengen Information System (SIS II) and Visa Information System (VIS) have already been carried out in Strasbourg (France) and a backup site for IT systems is already in place in Sankt Johann im Pongau (Austria), this work should continue to be done at these sites, says the resolution.
SIS II aims to help ensure a high level of security within the area of freedom, security and justice of the EU, including maintaining public security and public policy.
The VIS enables consulates and other competent authorities to exchange visa information in order to facilitate the visa application procedure, prevent “visa shopping”, help to fight fraud, facilitate checks at external borders, and help to identify third-country nationals.
The Eurodac data base of asylum seekers’ fingerprints helps to determine who is responsible for handling asylum applications lodged in any EU Member State.
Apart from SIS II, VIS and Eurodac, the IT agency will also be responsible for managing any other IT system to be developed in the area of freedom, security and justice..However, any integration of further systems within this area will require a specific decision by Parliament and Council.