The EU already shares data on EU citizens who have committed crimes. Police and judges, however, lack information on crimes committed by third-country nationals around the EU. Today’s vote in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs brought an EU-wide database of crimes committed by both EU and third-country nationals one step closer to reality. The European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) will now allow all Member States to share information on convicted third-country nationals who were until recently excluded from the scope of the database.
Pál Csáky, EPP Group spokesperson on the ECRIS-Third Country Nationals (TCN) legislative proposal, says: “With the ECRIS being applicable to third-country nationals, we will finally have a complete picture of crimes committed in the EU. If a crime is perpetrated anywhere in the EU, a Member State will be able to easily verify if the suspect has been convicted in another EU country. Criminals, including terrorists, won’t be able to escape on EU territory and the investigation of crimes will be faster and more efficient.”
Since 2012, when ECRIS, the database that allows sharing of information on the previous convictions of EU nationals around the Union, became operational, judicial cooperation was facilitated: “With almost 300,000 requests for information sent via the System every year, ECRIS has become an irreplaceable tool for crime investigation in the EU. Now we extend its scope to all criminals moving around the EU. No matter who was convicted of a crime - or where - all Member States will be informed. More cooperation and data sharing is the answer to the ongoing terrorist threats EU citizens face,” adds Pál Csáky.
Immediately after a third-country national is convicted, national authorities will be obliged to enter their name, address, fingerprints and facial image in the ECRIS-TCN database. This data can be consulted by law enforcement and judicial authorities in other Member States. ECRIS, including the version for third-country nationals, is also part of the recent interoperability proposal. That means that information in ECRIS will be connected with other EU information systems to allow border guards, law enforcement and judicial authorities and immigration officials to access information stored in all databases relevant to their work.