Today, the European Parliament and the Council reached political agreement on the Commission's proposal to close important security gaps by making EU information systems for security, migration and border management work together in a more intelligent and targeted way. A political priority for 2018-2019, this interoperable framework will ensure that border guards and police officers have access to the right information when and where they need it to perform their duties.
Welcoming the agreement, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Today we agreed to give law enforcement officials the right tools help them catch criminals and better protect Europeans. Law enforcement, border guard, and migration officials anywhere in the EU will be able to work directly and instantly with all the available information. Europeans expect to be kept safe in Europe, and today we increased our collective ability to do just that.”
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Today we deliver on a quintessential piece of our security infrastructure. In the future, all the dots between our different information systems will be interlinked. This is the European Union at its best: empowering and supporting our border guards and police officers with the right tools to do their job and protect European citizens."
Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King added: “This is about responding to calls from those at the frontline, police and border guards. It is not about creating one big database or collecting more data, but using existing information in a smarter and more targeted way to help law enforcement do their job, all while fully respecting fundamental rights."
The new tools will allow the existing as well as future EU information systems, such as the Entry/Exit System (EES), the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN) to talk to each other, preventing important pieces of information from going undetected. The new tools will:
- Crosscheck existing data with one click: A European search portal will allow border guards and police to carry out simultaneous checksof identity documentsagainst all EU information systems on asingle screen, in accordance with their existing access right. Officers will no longer have to verify documents against multiple databases, as within seconds they will have a complete and accurate picture;
- Better detect identity fraud: border guards and police will be able to better identify dangerous criminals thanks to the shared biometric matching service, which will use fingerprints and facial images to search across existing information systems, and a common identity repository, which will store biographical data of non-EU citizens. In addition, a multiple-identity detector will cross-check and immediately flag anyone who is using fraudulent or multiple identities;
- Improve access for law enforcement: Law enforcement officers will be able to consult EU information databases in a more efficient and secure way based on a two-step approach. Once the information searched by an officer matches information contained in one of the systems (i.e. gets a "hit"), he/she will be able to request more targeted access, in line with the specific rules for each system;
- Protect fundamental rights: The interoperability framework will not change the rules on access and purpose limitation of the EU's information systems, thus ensuring that fundamental rights remain protected. Moreover, a dedicatedweb service will make available to third-country nationals the contact details of national authorities, facilitating the exercise of their data protection rights.
The two Regulations establishing the framework for the interoperability of EU information systems for security, border and migration management will now need to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
Once adopted, eu-LISA, the EU Agency responsible for the operational management of large-scale information systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, will be responsible for the development and the roll-out of the technical components that will make EU information systems interoperable.
Currently, EU information systems do not talk to each other enough – information is stored separately in unconnected systems, making them fragmented, complex and difficult to operate. This risks information slipping through the net. Overcoming the current shortcomings in data management and improving the interoperability of existing information systems has been a priority for the Juncker Commission.
Alongside President Juncker's 2016 State of the Union Address, the Commission presented a Communication on stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security, starting a discussion on how to make EU information systems work better in order to enhance border management and internal security.
Since then, the Commission has regularly reported on the progress made in closing the remaining information gaps in EU information systems, so that they work together more intelligently and effectively. In May 2017, the Commission proposed a new approach to achieve full interoperability of EU information systems for security, border and migration management by 2020 and followed up with legislative proposals in December 2017.
For More Information
Press Release – Security Union: Commission closes information gaps to better protect citizens
Press Release – Security Union: Commission sets out new approach on interoperability of information systems
Factsheet – Security Union: Closing the information gap
Factsheet – EU Information Systems