Cyprus Starts Evaluations to Achieve Schengen Member Status

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Following their 6-day official visit to Cyprus last month, EU and EC supervisory authorities will assess the islands infrastructure next week based on their findings. Following the application made earlier this year in summer for accession to the Schengen area.

The Schengen area covers 26 nations within Europe that have officially removed all passport and other similar border controls at their common borders.

The Schengen area is named after the Schengen Agreement established in 1985 and currently 22 out of the 28 EU member states participate, with a collective population of over 400,000,000 inhabitants. Cyprus, the UK, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia are currently the 6 EU members who are non-members of the Schengen area.

The official visit examined the Cyprus commissioners office for personal data protection who stated how experts will assess the Nicosia-based department to evaluate whether it has the ability to keep up with the high level of fundamental monitoring and system checks that the public authorities will require, which are the minimum requirements for Schengen members.

The assessment of the personal data protection office is the first evaluation to take place. A few other areas will be tested in 2020, including border management, Schengen IT systems, police and judicial cooperation.

The tests in 2020 will be carried out provided Cyprus receives a positive assessment in the field of personal data.

Joining the Schengen will lead to the following improvements for Cyprus citizens:

External European borders will become strengthened.
Travel within the Schengen area will be easier as passport & ID checks are not required.
The general economy and tourism will improve as a result of the ease of access and other trade related agreements within Europe.
All departments have been working very hard alongside the interior, foreign and justice ministries including the Cyprus police to effectively fulfil the criteria.

Cyprus Minister of Justice Mr Giorgos Savvides stated that following a visit to police that the government was focusing on efforts to develop at national level the Schengen Information System SIS II, the largest database for public security in Europe and a system that allows data exchanges between national border controls, customs and police forces such as Interpol.

Currently SIS is used by 25 EU countries including microstates and the following non-EU members: Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

It is essentially an information exchange system that will boost the abilities of the police in crime prevention as it can help in the early detection of stopping suspected or wanted criminals who try to stay concealed by arriving to the Republic off the coast in the British occupied areas; an increasingly common circumvention, Mr Savvides stated.