Should police and border guards be able to quickly find what they need on escaped criminals in a one-stop-shop portal connecting data from all EU security and border control information systems? This is what the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee will vote on today. Once approved, two pieces of legislation plugging the gaps between information databases will improve security and migration management around the EU.
Jeroen Lenaers MEP, who negotiated the borders and visas information system interoperability proposal on behalf of the EPP Group, explained: “Interoperability will ensure faster, more systematic, more complete access to EU information systems for professionals on the ground: police officers, border guards, migration officers and consulate staff members will be able to make better decisions on the basis of better information. Furthermore, interoperability will equip Member States’ police authorities with an important tool to facilitate identity checks on the territory of the states. The proposals significantly improve the way EU information systems are used to enhance the security of European citizens, while at the same time safeguarding fundamental rights such as privacy. We are not collecting more data, we are simply using the existing data to its full potential.”
Nuno Melo MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on the legislation on the interoperability of police, judicial, asylum and migration information systems, added: “One of the success stories of European cooperation is the way law-enforcement authorities work with data across borders. We have developed systems to share information about missing persons, objects or the criminal history of convicts. Thanks to existing databases and databases under construction, we know who arrives in the EU with or without a visa and we are able register the identity of those who cross our borders to apply for asylum. However, all these databases haven’t talked to each other until now. It could thus happen that fingerprints of an escaped terrorist were registered during his arrival in the EU under one name and under another one in a database on missing persons. Such a disconnection could easily set him free. We need to change this now.”
With a unique European search portal, border guards, law enforcement, customs officers, immigration officials and judicial authorities will be able to simultaneously search multiple EU information systems: the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System, the Entry-Exit System, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), the European Criminal Records Information System for third-country nationals (ECRIS-TCN system) and Interpol's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database. The portal will be based on a common identity repository of biographical and biometric information and a shared biometric matching service using biometric data to scan all the databases.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States