Today, the Council adopted the Commission’s proposal to strengthen eu-LISA, the EU Agency responsible for the operational management of large-scale information systems in the area of freedom, security and justice.

A political priority for 2018-2019, the reinforced eu-LISA Agency will ensure EU information systems for migration, security and border management are more interoperable and will help close important security gaps.

Welcoming the adoption, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “From today onwards, the eu-LISA Agency will be transformed into an even stronger nerve centre of all our information systems for borders, migration and security. Information is a powerful tool and the stronger Agency will help to make sure that immigration officers, border guards and law enforcement authorities have the right information, at the right time. It will help us connect all the dots towards an effective and genuine Security Union ”

The upgrade of the eu-LISA Agency, proposed by the Commission in June 2017, will enable the Agency to take on more tasks and provide centralised operational management of EU information systems for migration, security and border management. The reinforced eu-LISA will:

“Strengthening eu-LISA is an essential step forward in our efforts to make our information systems more interoperable. This in turn will ensure police officers and border guards on the ground get complete, accurate and reliable information so that they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently. We will now work with the co-legislators to reach agreement on our interoperability proposals as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King.

In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted the importance of overcoming the current shortcomings in data management and of improving the interoperability of existing information systems. In April 2016, the Commission presented a Communication on stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security, starting a discussion on how to make EU information systems work better to enhance border management and internal security.

Since then, the Commission has tabled, and regularly reported on the progress made in closing the remaining information gaps in EU information systems, so that they work together more intelligently and effectively. This includes strengthening the mandate of eu-LISA, which the Commission proposed in June 2017, and which the European Parliament and the Council committed to adopting as a matter of priority in the Joint Declaration on EU legislative priorities 2018-2019.

The eu-LISA Agency started its operations in December 2012 and is responsible for the operational management of the EU information systems: SIS II, VIS and EURODAC. The main operational task is to ensure that these systems operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Agency is also tasked with ensuring that the necessary security measures are in place, and that data security and integrity, as well as compliance with EU data protection rules, is effectively ensured.

Roll-out interoperability of EU information systems: once the Commission proposals are adopted, eu-LISA will be responsible for rolling out the technical components to make EU information systems interoperable; Develop future systems: with a proposed budget of €2 billion for the period 2019-2027, the Agency will develop and manage future large-scale EU information systems such as the Entry/Exit System (EES), the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and the upgraded European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN); Upgrade existing systems: the Agency will maintain and upgrade existing systems, such as the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac, for which it is already responsible; Support Member States: the Agency will be able to provide greater ad-hoc technical and operational support to Member States.

The proposal adopted by the Council today, and which had been voted upon by the European Parliament on 5 July 2018, will now be signed jointly by the President of the European Parliament and the Austrian Presidency of the Council. The text will then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and it will enter into force 20 days later. The strengthened eu-LISA Agency will develop vital infrastructure for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and the Entry Exit System (EES) to make those new information systems operational by the end of 2021.