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Brussels, 27 November 2008

Enabling police and judiciary in the EU to obtain the necessary information in the fight against crime whilst ensuring the appropriate protection of our citizens' personal data: Council adopts legislation on the use of personal data in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in Europe

The Council today decided to further strengthen the protection of personal data in the EU by adopting a framework decision that regulates the collection and use of such data by police and judiciary in the course of their activities.

Vice-President Jacques Barrot, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, stated: "We need to ensure that our police forces and judges get the necessary and relevant information to do their job properly. However, this should be done in a manner which respects our citizens' right to protection of their personal data. We observe a growing need for police and judiciary to obtain information from other countries than their own in order to better tackle cross-border crime. So Europe needed an instrument containing safeguards on how to protect personal data exchanged between law enforcement authorities in the EU. Today we achieved that goal. "

In an integrating Europe information on crimes is increasingly shared across borders. This instrument responds to this phenomenon by laying a common foundation for such information exchanges from the perspective of data protection. Member States should ensure that cross border exchange of personal data for their police and judiciary takes place in a manner that sufficiently guarantees the protection of those data. Aiming for a high level of security can go hand in hand with full respect for human rights.

The new instrument is applicable to cross-border exchanges of personal data within the framework of police and judicial cooperation. It regulates issues like the right to be informed, right of access to one's personal data held by law enforcement authorities, right of compensation in case of damage as a result of unlawful processing of one's personal data and limitations on the use of sensitive data. Last but not least, in a world where crime does not stop at the EU' external borders, the instrument also contains rules applicable to onward transfers of personal data to third countries. Member States have to implement the instrument within a period of two years from adoption.

Vice-President Jacques Barrot also stated: "In the context of the terrible events in Mumbai, it is even more important for Europe to show that we can act together in an area which lies so close to the heart and interest of our citizens."

For more information on the activities of Vice-President Barrot, please see:

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