SIS II.The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a key ingredient of the Schengen Area. The main purpose of the SIS II policy is to allow countries now queuing up for EU membership to join the SIS once they are in. SIS II should include new features in the technical platform. In budgetary and administrative terms, the sole scope for paying for SIS II spending in 2001 is to assign the expenditure to the SIS central system deployment budget.Under the terms of the Amsterdam Treaty, inter-governmental funding requires a unanimous agreement. All it needs is for one Member States to object for the EU budget to come into the picture. This possibility came to pass for the first time during the Council, Home Affairs Council held last May 28/29. For want of a unanimous agreement on government-to-government funding, the Council agreed funding for the development of SIS II should be channelled via the EU budget after 2002.The July 20 Budget Council entered Euro 950,000 into the Schengen line so as to allow the curtain to go up on SIS II. A this involves a new large-scale activity set to expand (decided upon by the Council but due to be managed by the Commission) the EU's executive arm is urging the budgetary authorities to add the cost of extra human resources tied in with the new SIS II development activities in 2002. The preliminary draft budget did not include any appropriations for the Schengen line nor for the matching administrative resources (Euro 267,000), so these have been...

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