Photo: Ministry of Interior
Heads of the national SIRENE Bureaux gathered in Sofia on 12-13 June 2018, in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Representatives of all EU Member States and all Schengen associated countries, Europol, eu-LISA, the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council took part in the meeting, which was hosted by the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior.
The delegates discussed strategic and practical aspects of the cooperation between SIRENE Bureaux and reviewed the Member States’ experience with the Schengen Information System (SIS) – the most efficient IT system in the area of freedom, security and justice that enables competent authorities to enter and consult alerts on specific categories of wanted or missing persons and objects. The Presidency reported on the activities during the past six months, the main initiatives being focused on enhancing the role of SIRENE Bureaux in countering terrorism.
“SIRENE Bureaux are a decisive factor in facilitating the free movement of people within the Schengen area and in safeguarding the security of Europe. They have proven the added value of their work in the field of international police cooperation and border control,”
said the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr Milko Berner. He emphasised that the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council has recognised the SIS and SIRENE Bureaux co-operation as one of the most successful tools for effective collaboration between police, customs, other law enforcement and judicial authorities in the EU and the Schengen associated countries.
During the meeting, the delegates exchanged information on best practices and experience in view of the capabilities of SIRENE Bureaux for an efficient implementation in practice of the Conclusions on strengthening the cooperation and the use of SIS to deal with persons involved in terrorism or terrorism related activities, including foreign terrorist fighters, adopted by the Council in the beginning of June. The participants also got acquainted with the priorities of the forthcoming Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
SIRENE stands for Supplementary Information Request at the National Entries. Each state operating the Schengen Information System (SIS) has set up a national SIRENE Bureau, operational 24/7, that is responsible for any supplementary information exchange and coordination of activities connected to SIS alerts. The Bulgarian SIRENE Bureau was established in 2006 as a specialised unit within the International Operational Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Interior.