EU legislation on an improved fingerprint database of asylum seekers, EURODAC, was approved today by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. EURODAC will now allow Member States to store and search for the data of persons found staying irregularly in the EU to facilitate their return to their countries of origin.
Jeroen Lenaers MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on the new legislation, said: “The significant increase of migrants over the last few years has shown shortcomings in the current system of fingerprint evidence of people arriving. As a result, migrants, including children, have been staying 'invisibly' on EU territory. The new EU law addresses situations when Member States at the frontline are unable to take fingerprints due to the high numbers of migrants arriving. From now on, facial imaging will be an additional feature stored in EURODAC which will help identify irregular migrants. Thanks to the extended scope, it will also be possible to monitor unwanted secondary movements of these persons around the EU.”
“One of the key priorities for the EPP Group has been to improve the process of identification of unaccompanied children from an early age in order to better guarantee their rights and speed up their asylum application procedures. In order to improve the security of EU citizens, we also insisted on giving effective access to Europol and we will continue striving for the full interoperability of EURODAC with Schengen and the Visa Information System and the Extry-Exit System of the EU, currently being negotiated”, added Lenaers.
EURODAC was established in 2000 as a part of the 'Dublin System' to provide fingerprint evidence to help determine the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application made in the EU. The improved EURODAC database, identifying irregularly-arriving migrants, will, together with the Entry-Exit System, detect third-country nationals entering the EU legally, and create a complex EU framework of information-sharing for security and migration management purposes. The draft EURODAC law is part of the revision of the Common European Asylum System.