EU-UK: Commission not happy with UK's 'action plan' to fix unlawful use of Schengen database

The European Commission has condemned a UK action plan to remedy its mismanagement and misuse of the Schengen Information System as "not adequate... mainly because the implementation timelines of at least 10 of the recommendations are very lengthy and cannot be considered acceptable."


Furthermore, "the UK challenges nine recommendations adopted by the Council, meaning that UK disagrees on those recommendations," says the Commission's assessment of the action plan.

The implication is that "the UK will not implement at all at least three of those recommendations, up to four of them will be implemented only partially and only two will be implemented in full."

See: Assessment of the United Kingdom's action plan to remedy the deficiencies identified in the 2017 evaluation on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the Schengen Information System (COM(2020) 165 final, 27 April 2020, pdf)

Misuse and mismanagement

Last year it emerged that the UK had been systematically misusing the Schengen Information System (SIS), including by illegally copying classified personal data and failing to keep information up-to-date and available at the right time.

EUobserver reported on an internal evaluation that "listed years of violations by British authorities following restricted access to the Schengen Information System (SIS), an EU-run database used by police to track down undocumented migrants, missing people, stolen property, or suspected criminals."

The UK failed to keep data up-to-date, ignored alerts from other EU states, illegally copied data and allowed it to be held by private contractors and stored on back-up laptops, in breach of the rules.

See: UK unlawfully copying data from EU police system (EUobserver, link)

The UK is aiming to maintain access to the SIS, and other EU policing and migration databases, after it finally leaves the EU, but the concerns over the SIS - or, perhaps, the fact that the concerns were finally made public, having been known about by EU institutions since at least 2015 - are not likely to aid in what is already a fractious debate.

See: Assessment of the United Kingdom's action plan to remedy the deficiencies identified in the 2017 evaluation on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the Schengen Information System (COM(2020) 165 final, 27 April 2020, pdf)

 

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