The first step towards a pan-European agency that will manage the large IT systems common to all member states has been taken, reports Computerworld.
The EU’s General Affairs Council has given the go-ahead for planning to begin and, if all goes well, the agency should start with its work in summer 2012.
As is usual with similar agencies in the European Union, operation will be distributed across the continent: the agency’s headquarters will be located in Tallin, Estonia; development and operational management will be effected from France (Strasbourg), and Austria (Sankt Johann im Pongau) is where the back-up site will be.
Among the systems that the agency will be responsible for operating and protecting are:
- the Visa Information System – a database containing information and biometrics of visa applicants from non-Schengen countries who require a visa to enter the Schengen group,
- EURODAC – EU’s automated fingerprint identification system for comparing the fingerprints of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants,
- Schengen Information System – a database containing information on individuals and pieces of property of interest, maintained and used by law enforcement agencies from over 25 European countries.
Also, all IT systems that might be established in the future will be managed by the agency, after having received the seal of approval from the European Council and the European Parliament.