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12° Nicosia,
26 May, 2024
 
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Cypriot law enforcement to shed Schengen’s lone sheep status

Island to access upgraded SIS this summer for alerts, biometrics, DNA records for persons reported missing

Source: CNA

Justice Minister Anna Koukkides - Prokopiou has said she is pleased with the launch of the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the fact that the Republic of Cyprus will be able to have access to the system starting from the end of July. The Minister was speaking at the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union that is held in Brussels.

The agenda of the first day included asylum and migration issues, the functioning of the Schengen area and internal security. During the second day of the Council on Friday, ministers will discuss issues related fundamental rights, issues arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as bariers to access to justice and the fight against crime.

"I am particularly pleased because today we announced the launch of the SIS, the Schengen Information System. I particularly welcome the fact that the Republic of Cyprus will be able to access this system from the end of July after years of efforts by all the authorities of the Republic," the Justice Minister said.

'This database will allow us to have full access to a common database of the other EU member states and will facilitate cooperation of our own authorities, whether police, customs, or immigration '

"This database will allow us to have full access to a common database of the other Member States of the European Union which will facilitate the cooperation of our own authorities, whether it is the police, customs or the immigration service," she continued.

She added that this will mean that we will be in a better position to identify and prevent risks to the security of our citizens in a timely manner, as it will allow us, among other things, to exchange information with other Member States on issues such as wanted persons, persons illegally staying on EU territory, persons involved in terrorist organisations and vulnerable persons at risk of abduction such as in the case of minors and children.

Koukkides - Prokopiou also pointed out that the system will be able to store fingerprints or other biometric data of suspected criminals, in order to allow their immediate identification and arrest before entering the country.

The Justice Minister pointed out that the second issue discussed during Thursday’s meeting was how to safeguard free movement within the European Union given the migratory pressures faced by Member States.

"We particularly focused on ways we can improve visa policy for third country citizens or even citizens of specific countries without exempting them from criteria - based visa requirements, and without this creating either immigration risks or risks to the security of Cypriot citizens," she said.

On the external dimension of security, she added, the ministers discussed "the external challenges arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its consequences for the immediate region and what exactly this means for the security of Moldova, another country at high risk."

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