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Schengen Information System - S.I.S. Μεγέθυνση κειμένου Σμίκρυνση κειμένου Print E-mail

 Background

On June 14, 1985, in the little town of Schengen in Luxembourg, five (5) countries, namely Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Holland signed an agreement aiming at “{….} the free crossing of internal borders by the Member-States’ nationals {….}“ and “the free movement of goods and services”.

The relevant Schengen Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement was signed in 1990 and came into effect in 1995. In conformity with it, the gradual abolition of checks at the participating States’ internal borders was materialized while common external borders were created; at the same time, entry checks for entering the Schengen area have started, on the basis of the same procedures and common rules.

Greece signed the Agreement in 1992. In 1997, the Hellenic Parliament ratified both the Agreement and the Schengen Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, as per Law 2514/26-06-1997. In 2000, internal borders checks were abolished with regard to the borders of Greece.

 Member - States

The Schengen area almost coincides with the European Union area comprising the Union’s Member-States with the exception of some of them, and certain third countries as well. European Union countries which are not Schengen Convention full members are: Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, while the third countries, non-European Union members, that belong to the Schengen area, are: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein.

 Freedom & Security in the Schengen area

One of the conditions related to the implementation of the Agreement stipulated that internal borders abolition would not endanger the security of the States and of their nationals. The ruling concept of the Schengen Agreement is that freedom and security should be as closely linked as possible.

The main rules that were adopted in the context of the Schengen Agreement, include:

  • abolition of checks at internal borders,
  • a common series of rules applicable to persons crossing the external borders of European Union Member-States,
  • harmonization of the rules regarding entry and visa conditions for a short-term stay,
  • strengthening of police cooperation by establishing the S.I.RE.N.E. Services in each Member-State,
  • enhancement of judicial cooperation
  • establishment and development of the Schengen Information System (SIS)

The Schengen Information System – S.I.S. is a common electronic database which, in conformity with specific articles of the Convention, is provided with information by Member-States. It gathers two large categories of information : the first concerns person alerts {persons under prosecution, missing adults and minors, etc.} and the second one is populated with alerts related to lost, stolen, or misappropriated motor vehicles, identity documents, registration plates, vehicle circulation licenses, etc.

At a national level, the 3d Section of Technical Support N.S.I.S. / Information Technology Division/Hellenic Police Headquarters is entrusted with the responsibility for the smooth running of S.I.S.

SIS has been in operation since March 26, 1995, on the day when the checks at the internal borders of the States participating in the Schengen cooperation were abolished.

Given the progress achieved in the field of information technology, the development of a new system of advanced operations was deemed necessary. Thus, in the European Parliament and the Council’s Regulation (EC) 1987/2006, of December 20, 2006, and in the Council’s decision 2007/533/JHA of June 12, 2007, the provisions related to the establishment, operation, and use of the SIS II were adopted.

By decision of the competent JHA Ministerial Council of 7/8-3-2013, the 9th April of 2013 was fixed as the day that all the area of Schengen would switch from SIS I over to SIS II.

 Services having access to SIS II

In compliance with the legal acts of SIS II (article 27 of the Regulation and article 40 of the Decision SIS II) the following Services/Authorities may have access to the System :

  • Police Services and Border Guarding Services,
  • Customs Authorities
  • Judicial authorities which are competent for prosecuting somebody in the context of penal proceedings and for conducting judicial inquiries before bringing charges against someone
  • The authorities that are competent for granting visas and/or residence permits,
  • The authorities that are competent for issuing motor vehicles registration documents.

At a national level the following Services/Authorities may have access to the SIS II- Schengen General Searches:

  • The Hellenic Police
  • The Coast Guard
  • The Customs
  • The Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • The Ministry of the Interior
  • The Ministry of Transports

Every agency may have access to those data of the entries which are relevant to the object of its mission.

For the time being, the Hellenic Police and the Hellenic Coast Guard have access to SIS regarding all entries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding entries of article 24 of the SIS II Regulation and the Customs Authority regarding articles 36 and 38 of the SIS II Decision.

 The S.I.RE.N.E. Section

Every country of the Schengen area has to establish a central authority, which will operate as a single contact and coordination point regarding the exchange of supplementary information on SIS data.

The contact point in question is named “S.I.RE.N.E. Bureau” after the initials of the words Supplementary Information REquest at the National Entries.

At a national level, the 3rd S.I.RE.N.E. Section of the International Police Cooperation Division at the Hellenic Police Headquarters has the responsibility of handling information entered in the SIS.

 Security Policy & Data Protection

The SIRENE Section operates within the security standards established by the national legal framework and the E.U. Council decisions.

The access to the Section’s facilities is strictly controlled in order to secure data protection, the SIRENE personnel has codified access to the Section’s facilities and the records, while especially strict regulations are in force in the sector of handling personal data with a view to protecting the citizens rights.

 Right to Access

According to the SIS II legal acts (article 41 of 1987/2006 (EC) regulation and article 58 of 2007/533/JHA decision) as well as the relevant provisions of law 2472/1997 (articles 12 &13), the right of the persons entitled to have access to the data concerning them and having been entered in the SIS II, is provided for. The right is exercised by submitting a request to the 3rd S.I.RE.N.E. Section of the International Police Cooperation Division at the Hellenic Police Headquarters, 4th P. Kanellopoulou Str., 10177 Athens, Tel.: 210-6998263 & 210-6998262, Fax: 210-6998264 & 210-6998265, e-mail: sirene@sirene.gov.gr

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