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EU implements tighter terrorism tracking measures

Just before start of the new year, on December 28, 2018, new measures to fight terrorism and other crime in the European Union came into force, with an ultimate goal of improving security through a more efficient sharing of the information.

Strengthening the Schengen Information Systems

The European Commission has stated that by strengthening the Schengen Information System (SIS), the new rules should provide additional support to border guards and law enforcement agencies (LEAs). With the intention of narrowing the chances of the suspects falling through the cracks, EU member states must set up SIS alerts for all cases linked to terrorist offences. By the end of this year, Europol will also have access to SIS alerts derived related to terrorism.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, noted that the objective is to close the security gap to a minimum in the EU so that anyone posting a threat would not go unnoticed anymore.

EU security commissioner Julian King added that it was essential to bolster information sharing and assure that information systems work together more effectively. The implementation of such changes will also go in line with strengthened EU personal data protection regulations, which took effect earlier last spring.

Tighter rules seek to protect the public

Back in May 2014, despite having been listed on the SIS in 2012, French militant Medhi Nemmouche ended up killing four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum. This is just one example of the threat that the tighter rules seek to protect against.

Entry bans and decisions to return people staying “irregularly” in the EU are also to be recorded in the system. In addition, stronger provisions are now in place regarding missing children and people in need of protection such as the mentally disabled.

According to the commission, as of today the SIS has got just under 80 million contains records and in 2017 alone it was consulted over five billion times.

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