On the 25th and 26th of May, in Warsaw, there was a ministerial meeting on the Project SISone4ALL, where Portugal was represented by the Deputy Secretary of State of Internal Affairs, Dr. José Magalhães.
The council, chaired by the Polish Minister of the Interior and attended by the Ministers and Secretaries of State of the Interior of the New Member States and by the Secretaries of State of the Internal Affairs of Portugal and Germany, applauded the fact that the informatics system is already installed in all new Member States and also the positive results of the simulator tests meanwhile performed.
Given the excellent performance of the Portuguese team of Portuguese experts, it was possible to keep the project within the period of time scheduled. It was also possible to assess the evolution of the various preparatory assignments under the charge of each new Member State.
Towards the end of March, in a public session held in Lisbon at Centro Cultural de Belém, attended by the Ministers of the Interior of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic, Portugal delivered kits containing all features and necessary instructions for installing a system in each of those member States that will permit their full integration in the Schengen Area, thus allowing the free movement of persons and the abolition of internal border controls.
The European Council and the Hague Programme had established as priority political target, the entry of the new Member States in the Schengen territory up to October 2007.
However, one of the sine qua non conditions for abolishing those controls is an information exchange through the Schengen Information System (SIS), which is an instrument of police cooperation that, by functioning in network, secures alternative ways of control over persons and objects such as locked vehicles.
Designed in the nineties, SIS would not have the scope to withstand the connection of the Member States that joined in 2004. Therefore, the EU decided to implement a second generation system (SISII), which was subject to various delays and therefore was not ready to start functioning in 2007, thus jeopardizing the political target of abolishing border controls, and the full accomplishment of the principle of free movements of persons, in the enlarged European territory, within the scheduled date.
In order to overcome this situation, Portugal gave it careful consideration and announced in the Tampere Informal Council, in September 2006, to be in the process of preparing a temporary technical solution for the problem. Such proposal was based on a simple and feasible concept: to put SIS within the reach of every State. For that reason it was called “SISone4all”.
A technical feasibility study was prepared in strict cooperation between SEF and the company Critical Software, under the supervision of the Deputy Secretary of State of the Internal Affairs, José Magalhães. This proposal was carefully assessed by the experts of the Member States, and the JAI Council gave its provisional assent to the initiative in October 2006, and finally adopted it in December, with a tight execution schedule, that has been being accomplished.
For further information on the subject, vide http://sisone4all.mai-gov.info/