UK Negotiates to Retain Access to Europol and SIS After Brexit

EU Flag and Union Jack - Schengen Visa UK Brexit

Amid the expected British exit from the European Union date being set at 01 January 2021, Britain has requested that they retain access to Europol, the Europol Information System (EIS), and the Schengen Information System (SIS), according to a report written by the German government and leaked to The Guardian.

According to the leaked report, British negotiators demanded that the UK retain access to Europol, EIS, and SIS; they may have even gone as far as to demand that the reach of their access be extended.

The report also stated that the British government would like to “approximate the position of a member state as closely as possible” in regard to EIS, SIS, and Europol.

This comes in contrary to the first draft of the Brexit referendum introduced in January 2020, specifically a motion within the draft. The drafted resolution stated that the EU and Britain should maintain close ties and share as much information with each other, but Britain’s access to European information sharing systems should be terminated at the end of the transition period, set to end on 31 December 2020.

“[The European Parliament] stresses that the UK cannot have direct access to EU information systems data or participate in the management structures of the EU agencies in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice, while any sharing of information including personal data with the UK should be subject to strict safeguards, audit and oversight conditions, including an equivalent level of protection of personal data to that provided by EU law,”  the motion states.

Although most things in Europe have slowed or been temporarily suspended, the UK has denied offers to extend their transition period amid the current COVID-19 crisis.

Europol is the EU’s law enforcement agency, headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The Europol Information System, launched in 2005, is Europe’s central criminal and intelligence sharing database. Data is stored in at least 22 languages in various online entities that correspond to physical things like cars, documents, people, etc.

The Schengen Information System is the largest and most widely used information sharing system for security and border management in Europe. It enables authorities such as police and border control units to issue alerts on persons or objects. These alert reports will include not only information about the sought-after person or object, but also instructions for what other law enforcement entities should do with the person or object after they are apprehended. SIS emphasizes cooperation between different agencies that specialize in law enforcement, border control, and vehicle registration.

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