Implementing the latest IT solutions for efficient control on EU's external borders
Today, the Republic of Slovenia, as holder of the Presidency of the Home Affairs Council of the EU and the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice(eu-LISA) held the 8th Eu-LISA Annual Conference entitled Towards the Digital Schengen Area. The participants of the annual conference discussed the progress achieved and shortcomings in the implementation of modern technologies on the external EU borders.
‟With technological progress, digitalisation has become the key for provision of security,” the Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs said in his opening address, adding: ‟By adopting legal frameworks in response to the challenges of digitalisation, especially the interoperability and the regulations in the field of Smart Borders, the EU has laid down foundations to address these challenges successfully”. In this context, the Minister emphasised the importance of the implementation of interoperability (connectivity of all information systems), which enjoys a high level of support from all member states, despite certain delays in testing the upgraded Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Entry/Exit system (EES) at the central level. Eu-LISA has been tasked to prepare detailed analysis and, if necessary, propose a new timeline for full implementation of the project, by the next meeting of interior ministers in December. Minister Hojs said: ‟At this point, it is important for me to underline and make very clear that changes in the timeline should not under any circumstances impact the duration of the period available to the member states for testing the system and training personnel.”
The Covid-19 pandemic clearly showed that EU requires better IT solutions in order to address these challenges. This is why we chose the title of the conference Towards the Digital Schengen Area. The Minister said: ‟Our common goal is to return to the normal functioning of the Schengen and I believe that modern technologies, when efficiently implemented and functioning reliably are an important, if not crucial factor in this process.”
Using the potential offered by artificial intelligence is one of the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency and intense activities are now underway towards adopting the new artificial intelligence regulation, with Slovenia playing an active role. Minister Hojs concluded by saying: ‟As we the interior ministers have emphasised on several occasions, the specific needs of the police have to be taken into account and any restrictions imposed on law enforcement authorities within the new regulation should in no way prevent the investigations of criminal activities. It is therefore vital that we adopt solutions that will enable the police to keep up with the technological development and encourage the use of artificial intelligence to prosecute crime. At the same time, we need to ensure adequate protective and control mechanisms.”