Tuesday, 9 April 2019
EU Regulations: Referral to Joint Committee
That Dáil Éireann approves the following:(i) the exercise by the State of the option or discretion, provided by Article 4 of Protocol No. 19 on the Schengen Acquis integrated into the Framework of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to request to take part in the following measure to the extent that it relates to the operational management of the Visa Information System (VIS), the establishment, operation and use of which are governed by Council Decision 2004/512/EC, Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 and Council Decision 2008/633/JHA, the operational management of the Entry/Exit system (EES), established by Regulation (EU) 2017/2226, the operational management of the European Travel Information and Authorisation system (ETIAS) established by Regulation (EU) 2018/1241, and the operational management of the parts of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) governed by Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 in which Ireland does not participate:Regulation (EU) 2018/1726 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA), and amending Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 and Council Decision 2007/533/JHA and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011, and(ii) the exercise by the State of the option or discretion under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to accept the following measure, insofar as the measure relates to the operational management of Eurodac, as governed by Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, and the operational management of DubliNet, established by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1560/2003:Regulation (EU) 2018/1726 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA), and amending Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 and Council Decision 2007/533/JHA and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011,copies of which were laid before Dáil Éireann on 22nd November, 2018, be referred to the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality, in accordance with Standing Order 84A(4)(k), which, not later than 11th April, 2019, shall send a message to the Dáil in the manner prescribed in Standing Order 90, and Standing Order 89(2) shall accordingly apply.
It is unusual to have a motion such as this debated on the floor of the House. It is normally done by the committee, but here we go.
The European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, known as eu-LISA, was established in 2011 and has operated since December 2012 to provide a long-term solution for the operational management of large-scale information technology systems which are essential instruments in the implementation of the asylum, border management and migration policies of the European Union. eu-LISA currently fulfils the operational management tasks for the Schengen information system, the visa information system and the European asylum dactyloscopy database, known as Eurodac.
eu-LISA keeps all IT systems under its responsibility functioning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows the continuous uninterrupted exchange of data between the national authorities that use the systems. eu-LISA is also responsible for adopting and implementing security measures on the IT systems; organising training for national authority IT experts on the systems under its management; providing relevant reporting and statistics; and monitoring research activities. eu-LISA is responsible for ensuring security and data protection requirements are fully met. The agency has responsibility for the sophisticated communication tools and networks that support the various IT systems. For instance, eu-LISA provides the communication infrastructure for SIS II, Eurodac and VIS. In addition, it is responsible for the operational management of Vision and DubIiNet which ensure the communication infrastructure for the VIS and Eurodac systems respectively.
The headquarters of eu-LISA are in Tallinn, Estonia, while its operational centre is in Strasbourg, France. There is also a business continuity site for the systems under management based in Austria and a liaison office in Brussels.
EU Regulation No. 2018/1726 repeals the regulation establishing eu-LISA and provides the agency with a renewed mandate. It is proposed that eu-LISA will provide centralised operational management of EU information systems and be responsible for the preparation, development and operational management of the new information systems proposed by the Commission. They include the entry-exit system, EES, and the EU travel information and authorisation system, ETIAS. It is also proposed to provide for the extension of the eu-LISA mandate in respect of DubliNet which, to date, has been entrusted to eu-LISA via a service level agreement. The regulation places additional responsibility on eu-LISA for improving the quality of the data, establishing common data quality indicators and developing a central repository for reporting and statistics. The regulation requires eu-LISA to develop the main technical features of the Commission's approach towards interoperability, consisting of a European search portal, a shared biometric matching service and a common identity repository to ensure all EU information systems interact efficiently.
The regulation extends the mandate of eu-LISA with regard to research, in particular, giving eu-LISA the task of implementing the parts of the framework programme for research and innovation that relate to IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. It is proposed that more pilot projects may be entrusted to eu-LISA. It is proposed that eu-LISA may be requested to provide advice for member states on national systems connection to the central systems and ad hocsupport. eu-LISA may also be requested to provide advice and support for the Commission on technical issues. It may also be tasked to develop, manage and host common IT systems by a group of least six member states in the area of freedom security and justice.
Ireland's participation in this regulation is complicated because the instrument builds on Schengen measures in which Ireland may participate, for example, police co-operation aspects of SIS Il; Schengen measures in which Ireland has chosen not to participate, for example, VIS, the border aspects of SIS II, EES and ETIAS; and non-Schengen measures in which Ireland participates like Eurodac. The Schengen aspects are subject to Protocol 19, known as the Schengen protocol, while the non-Schengen aspects are subject to Protocol 21, known as the JHA protocol. In order to participate in this regulation amending eu-LISA and, therefore, continue our participation in the agency that manages the operations of large-scale IT systems in which we participate, both Protocol No. 19 and Protocol No. 21 annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union are engaged.
The opt-in process follows the process devised in 2012 to permit limited opt-in by Ireland to the supervision, management and oversight by eu-LISA of those aspects of the eu-LISA system in which we actually do not participate such as the border aspects of SIS Il and VIS, as well as those in which we do participate such as Eurodac.
Ireland issued a request to the European Council under Article 4 of Protocol 19 to take part in certain provisions of the Schengen acquis consisting exclusively of those aspects of the regulation that concern the operational management only of the Schengen-related IT systems in which we are not participating, that is to say, VIS and the border aspects of SIS II. Ireland simultaneously exercised its option under Article 4 of Protocol No. 21 to notify the Council and the Commission of our wish to accept the Eurodac aspects of the regulation. No adverse consequences arose on foot of this process, whether in respect of the operation and understanding of Protocol No. 19 or Protocol No. 21. The Attorney General's office has, therefore, advised that it is appropriate to use the same process to opt in to this regulation and thereby continue our participation in eu-LISA.
The European Commission proposals that preceded this regulation were laid before the Oireachtas in July 2017. They worked to enable Ireland to opt in to the regulation. The process has been ongoing since that time. The variable geometry of Ireland's participation in the regulation is complex and prevented the exercise of our opt-in under Article 3 of Protocol No. 21. Ireland's Permanent Representation to the European Union consulted the European Council's legal service. The service suggested the bespoke legal solution used to opt in to the establishing regulation of eu-LISA in 2012 could be used again. This was confirmed by the Office of the Attorney General in June 2018. The Government approved the bringing of a motion before the Oireachtas in September to approve Ireland's exercise of the opt-in to the regulation. The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 20 November 2018 and laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 22 November.
I have more to say, but my time is up.