European Commission sets out New Approach on interoperability of Information Systems.

On May 16th 2017, the EC issued a report which provides an update on progress made on key files while addressing the ongoing work to improve information management for borders and security and setting out the Commission’s new approach towards achieving the interoperability of EU information systems of security, border, and migration management by 2020. As a result of the recent global cyberattack, the report emphasizes the necessity of accelerating these developments in order to provide an effective response to future cyber threats.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs & Citizenship, stressed the need for enhanced interoperability by declaring: “"The value of our security information is maximised when our systems talk to each other. The complex and fragmented systems we have today make us vulnerable. Actionable information is not always available for the law enforcement officials that need it. Today, we present a clear vision on how to act to correct this. To connect the dots and to eliminate blind spots to step up the security of our citizens across the EU."

This report comes subsequently to another EC report on stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security issued in April 2016 and which launched the work of the High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability.The new report takes stock of the recommendations of the expert group towards the interoperability of Information systems, and proposes the way forward to address structural shortcomings under the three main areas: (i) maximising the utility of existing information systems; (ii) where necessary, developing complementary systems to close information gaps; and (iii) ensuring interoperability between our systems.

Recent efforts by the EC to close the outstanding information gaps include the establishment of new systems such as the EU Entry/Exist System and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) as well as reinforcing existing ones such as the Schengen Information System, Eurodac and the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).

In its last report, the EC highlights a new approach to data management where all centralised EU information systems for security, border and migration management are interoperable in full respect of data protection and fundamental rights. The main features of this approach are a European Search Portal, a Shared biometric Matching Service and a Common Identity Repository. The proposed approach would overcome the current weakness in the EU's data management architecture eliminating blind spots. As a result, the EU Agency responsible for information system IP/17/1303 management, eu-LISA, would play a crucial role in providing technical expertise and bringing the work towards the interoperability of information systems forward. In order to allow eu-LISA to implement this new approach, the Commission will present a legislative proposal to strengthen the Agency's mandate in June 2017.

The full report is available here.
The April 2016 Report on stronger and smarter information systems is available here.