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Controversy in Parliament over the accession of Cyprus to Schengen on the occasion of a harmonizing law

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Controversy in Parliament over the accession of Cyprus to Schengen on the occasion of a harmonizing law

The Parliament passed by a majority a law on the operation and use of the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) in the Republic of Cyprus, amid disagreements over the issue of Cyprus's accession to the Schengen area. 24 deputies voted in favor, 15 against, while there was an abstention.

The law provides for the installation of a National Information System N. SIS II and the determination of its operation and use.

The necessary implementing rules for the integration of the rules of the Schengen acquis concerning the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) are also being introduced into the domestic legal order. It is noted that the National Information System N. SIS II includes entries for the purpose of refusing entry and residence to third-country nationals in the Member States, as well as entries for persons wanted for the purpose of arresting, surrendering or extraditing persons who have disappeared, persons wanted in criminal proceedings, persons and objects for the purpose of discreet surveillance or special control, and objects to be confiscated or used as evidence in criminal proceedings.

It also designates the Cyprus Police as the central competent authority for the installation and operation of the system.

The National Office SIRE.NE, which reports to the Directorate of European Union and International Cooperation of the Police Headquarters, is also designated as the competent body for the purpose of exchanging additional information on entries included in the system.

The national authorities which may have access to the registrations contained in the system for the purpose of carrying out their responsibilities shall also be identified. The designation of the Personal Data Protection Commissioner as the competent national supervisory authority is also foreseen.

There is also provision for criminalizing the misuse of system data,

During the discussion, the MP of Ecologists Alexandra Attalidou expressed doubts about the reasons for the accession of Cyprus to the Schengen, for which the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulidis had announced in the Parliament that an application was submitted in September 2019 “without anyone receiving it”.

He noted that three Presidents of the Republic had refused Cyprus to apply to Schengen in order not to create a hard border that would legitimize the division. He attributed the change in the attitude of Cyprus to the need to serve the financial interests of land development entrepreneurs after the abolition of the KEP and said that this Government does not have the good evidence from outside that it wants to serve the well-meaning interests of Cyprus and not an elite. He said they would vote against the bill.

AKEL MP Aristos Damianos expressed his disagreement with the content and status of the Schengen area, which he said was related to the non-protection of human rights and civil liberties. He also said that it is one thing to have a sensible control of the green line and another to invoke immigration to serve major economic interests. He said they were voting against the bill because they disagreed on both the philosophy and the principle.

DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou, after saying that she understands the doubts, however, said that they will vote for the bill as it is a necessary evil, because unfortunately “we live in very dangerous times and the trafficking of people and unfortunately it has proven to be unsafe for every country and Cyprus.

DISY MP Nikos Tornaritis said that his party does not view our EU membership as an ala carte process. He stated that the Republic of Cyprus has been implementing a large part of the Schengen acquis since 2004. The specific legislation, he said, has nothing to do with what was mentioned, but strengthens the position of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU, strengthening security and preventing various types of criminals from entering the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, for whom a European arrest warrant has been issued. He also said that this was the first declaration of readiness to join Schengen. He also said that the legislation does not speak of a hard border or barbed wire, but is the practical implementation of Cyprus's obligations to the EU.


Source: politis.com.cy

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