Débora Di Giacomo

Wavestone supports the European Commission on the exchange of security information with third countries

Debora Di Giacomo

Debora Di Giacomo, Senior Manager at the Luxembourg office, talks about a project carried out for the European Commission.

What is the context of this mission for the European Commission?

The European Union and its Member States benefit from a very sophisticated system to exchange security-related information between law enforcement and border control agents, in great part supported by the Schengen Information System (SIS). The SIS contains alerts on missing or wanted individuals or objects, which are detrimental to, amongst other things, better detect wanted or missing individuals at our border, share information on ongoing investigations, and counter drug trafficking. However, unlike what is currently in place in the United States, this information is used solely by EU Member States and is not exchanged with other countries. Considering that many security threats faced by the Union such as drug trafficking, human smuggling, or child sexual abuse and exploitation, are cross-border and at times conducted by international criminal organisations, the collaboration with foreign law enforcement authorities needs to be strengthened.

How is the EU going to collaborate with third countries?

The ‘how’ of this initiative is exactly the driving question of our study. Wavestone teams are tasked with the exploration of several technical and policy options, each of which needs to be assessed to ensure their feasibility, efficiency, and coherence with EU legislation. In this study, particular attention needs to be paid to the protection of personal data and fundamental rights. Our mission is to leverage our expertise to provide policy-makers with all possible scenarios to make this initiative come to light, as well as the best research available on the impact of each option. It will then be the responsibility of EU institutions and Member States to make an informed choice and take decisions on whether and how to move forward.

We know that Wavestone has been supporting the European Commission for many years now, but what are the key success factors for this specific mission?

Wavestone’s Luxembourg office is mobilised alongside the Public Sector practice for this complex exploratory study. Our combined expertise on the design, assessment, and implementation of large-scale IT systems in the Justice and Home Affairs domain is detrimental to the success of this mission. The Wavestone’s Luxembourg office’s long-standing experience in these IT systems, and the SIS in particular, is complemented by the Public Sector practice’s in-depth knowledge of all operational aspects related to IT systems in the law enforcement environment. Additionally, in the recent years, Wavestone’s Luxembourg office has strengthened its efforts to accompany the interoperability of these large-scale IT systems to ensure the cross-border exchange of security and judicial information in a secure way, which respects EU citizens’ fundamental rights.