The European Parliament and the Council on February 5 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.
“Today we agreed to give law enforcement officials the right tools help them catch criminals and better protect Europeans,” said Welcoming the agreement, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. “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.”
According to a Commission press release, 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.
From the European Parliament, Rapporteur Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, NL) said: “Without changing access rights or endangering the data protection rules that govern them, interoperability will ensure faster, more systematic and more complete access to EU information systems for professionals on the ground: police officers, border guards, migration officers and consulate staff members, in order for them to do their job better. Better decisions can be made on the basis of better information.”
According to Rapporteur Nuno Melo (EPP, PT), these rules will ensure effective and efficient information exchange between EU information systems, by providing fast, systematic and efficient access to data that authorities need to accomplish their tasks. “During the negotiations, we had a shared objective of reaching an agreement to reinforce citizens’ safety. This, the safety of our citizens, is and should remain a priority for the EU every single day.”
The agreed texts now need to be formally approved by the Civil Liberties Committee, Parliament as a whole and the Council before entering into force.