Lack of coordination among agencies
Following an agreement in 1985 among the Schengen group of EEC/EU countries concerning border controls, it was agreed to set up a Europe-wide police database covering wanted persons and illegal immigrants. This was due to be launched in 1993. In 1994 it was still not in operation and it was believed that it might never function correctly. Problems arose because for political reasons it proved necessary to allow each country to design its own databank to be linked to a central computer, even though this approach was more expensive and less efficient. The proposal finally selected for the central system had disadvantages relating to planning, conception and implementation but was also selected primarily on political criteria. The recommendations made by computer experts that the project be placed under a single responsible authority were ignored in favour of a rotating system of responsibility among the nine participating countries. As a result the nine countries worked on their own systems without any particular group being charged with the responsibility of ensuring the management of the overall project and compatibility with the central system. Projects with a broader focus and involving more politically-sensitive countries tend to raise even more problems of coordination.