39. SPECIAL MEASURES CONCERNING THE
MOVEMENT AND RESIDENCE OF CITIZENS OF THE UNION WHICH ARE JUSTIFIED
ON THE GROUNDS OF PUBLIC POLICY, PUBLIC SECURITY OR PUBLIC HEALTH
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee to Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State, Home Office
Sub-Committee F of the European Union Committee
considered the above communication at their meeting on 26 January.
The Committee expressed some concern at the inadequacy of the
mechanism described in the Communication for the removal of data
held in the Schengen Information System on persons who are or
have become Union citizens. It is unsatisfactory that the removal
of these data should depend on the individuals concerned or Member
States becoming aware of their existence.
We note that the House of Commons European Scrutiny
Committee has raised the same point, and that in your reply of
13 December 1999 you have assured it that the Government will
pursue this matter in the detailed discussions preceding the UK's
active participation in the SIS. The House of Lords Committee
would wish to draw your attention to Article 105 of the Schengen
Convention, which states that the Member States entering data
on the SIS "shall be responsible for ensuring that data .
. . is accurate, up-to-date and lawful". This would seem
to suggest that Member States are required to play a more active
role in detecting and erasing inaccurate or unlawful data. The
Committee would welcome your views on the meaning and effect of
this provision. We would also draw your attention to the conclusions
of the Committee's Report on European Union Databases,
which was published on 12 January 2000. A copy of this Report
We trust that the Government will give data
protection the importance it deserves in discussion with European
partners, and the European Union Committee will continue to examine
these issues closely. However, the Committee has decided to clear
the scrutiny reserve on the present document.
27 January 2000
Letter from Barbara Roche MP, Minister
of State, Home Office to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee
Thank you for your letter of 27 January about
the comments in this Communication on arrangements for removal
of data on the Schengen Information System on people who are or
have become EU citizens.
You asked about the meaning and effect of Article
105 of the Schengen Convention. As the UK is not at present a
participant in the SIS, I am unable to comment on how Article
105 is applied by other Member States. But I can confirm that
it is our understanding this Article requires Contracting Parties
to have in place mechanisms to ensure that data is checked regularly
and up-dated or deleted as necessary. This would include removing
data on EU citizens, whose inclusion on the system on immigration
grounds would be unlawful and contrary to the Schengen Convention
This Article is clearly one of the provisions
built into the Convention with a view to ensuring the protection
of individual rights, and compliance with data protection principles.
My letter of 13 December to the House of Commons European Scrutiny
Committee referred to the inclusion of such provisions in the
Convention, and drew attention to the role of the Joint Supervisory
Authority and the Data Protection Registrar in supervising matters
of compliance with data protection requirements.
I have read with interest the Committee's report
on European Union Databases, to which we will respond separately.
I note in particular the interesting evidence from Justice about
the SIS data protection arrangements. We will bear their comments
in mind in assessing the adequacy of the safeguards as we progress
to implementation of the system.
21 February 2000
12 23rd Report, Session 1998-99, HL Paper 120. Back