European Interest

MEPs agree to close criminal records loophole

Flickr/Kalliop3/CC BY-SA 2.0
A view of the European Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium.

Civil Liberties MEPs approved on Wednesday the deal reached with Council on an EU database enabling EU countries to exchange non-EU citizens’ criminal records faster.

Currently, national authorities often rely solely on data on non-EU nationals’ convictions available from their own national criminal record systems. The new centralised database on third country nationals (ECRIS-TCN) will improve the exchange of information on non-EU nationals’ criminal records throughout the EU and contribute to the EU-wide fight against cross-border crime and terrorism.

The database will complement the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), which EU countries already use to exchange information on EU citizens’ previous convictions.An agreement that will close a loophole currently hampering the fight against cross border crime and terrorism has been approved today in the European Parliament.

The proposals, that are being led through the Parliament by ECR MEP Daniel Dalton, will enable national authorities to quickly establish whether another EU member state holds criminal records on a non-EU citizen.

Speaking after the vote, Dalton said:

“This measure aims to make it harder for criminals to slip through the net. Authorities must have the necessary tools to fight crime and terror effectively; they cannot do that with their hands tied behind their backs with red tape.”

“EU nationals and third country nationals will now be on an equal footing in the eyes of our national and European criminal justice systems. This also means that EU nationals who also hold a third country passport will no longer be able to hide their past criminal convictions by showing just one of their passports,” Dalton added.

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