MEPs and EU ministers agree on closing information gaps to enhance security
- EU security and border control information databases to exchange information
- False or multiple identities registered in the EU information systems will be easier to detect
- Safeguards to protect fundamental rights and access to data
New measures to improve data exchange between EU information systems to manage borders, security and migration were informally agreed with Council negotiators on Tuesday.
Currently, EU information systems used in security, border and migration management do not talk to each other and the information is stored separately in unconnected systems. This creates a risk that terrorists and criminals can escape detection by using multiple or fraudulent identities, endangering the EU's internal security and making border and migration management more challenging.
Making the systems interoperable will enable data exchange. The provisionally agreed measures would facilitate the tasks of border guards, migration officers, police officers and judicial authorities by providing them with more systematic and faster access to various EU security and border-control information systems.
The main elements agreed are:
- European search portal allowing simultaneous searches, rather than searching each system individually;
- Shared biometric matching service for cross-matching fingerprints and facial images from several systems;
- Common identity repository providing biographical information such as dates of birth and passport numbers for more reliable identification;
- Multiple identity detector, detecting whether a person is registered under multiple identities in different databases.
Parliament and Council negotiators also agreed on safeguards to protect fundamental rights and access to data.
The systems covered by the new rules would include the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and three new ones: the European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Rapporteur Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, NL) said: "Without changing access rights or endangering the data protection rules that govern them, interoperability will ensure faster, more systematic and more complete access to EU information systems for professionals on the ground: police officers, border guards, migration officers and consulate staff members, in order for them to do their job better. Better decisions can be made on the basis of better information."
Rapporteur Nuno Melo (EPP, PT) said: “These rules will ensure effective and efficient information exchange between EU information systems, by providing fast, systematic and efficient access to data that authorities need to accomplish their tasks. During the negotiations, we had a shared objective of reaching an agreement to reinforce citizens’ safety. This, the safety of our citizens, is and should remain a priority for the EU every single day.”
The agreed texts now need to be formally approved by the Civil Liberties Committee, Parliament as a whole and the Council before entering into force.