The European Parliament and European Council on Tuesday reached agreement on the Commission’s proposal to close security gaps by making siloed EU information systems for security, migration and border management connect with each other.
The new tools will allow the existing EU information systems (Schengen Information System (SIS), Eurodac and Visa Information System (VIS)) as well as future systems (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.
“Today we agreed to give law enforcement officials the right tools help them catch criminals and better protect Europeans,” said 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.”
“In the future, all the dots between our different information systems will be interlinked,” added Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos. “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.”
A new European search portal will allow border guards and police to carry out simultaneous checks of identity documents against all EU information systems on a single screen. Officers will no longer have to verify documents against multiple databases, gaining a complete picture within seconds.
The new shared biometric matching service, which will use fingerprints and facial images to search across existing information systems, and a common identity repository, will store biographical data of non-EU citizens. A multiple-identity detector will cross-check and immediately flag anyone who is using fraudulent or multiple identities.
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, he/she will be able to request more targeted access in line with the specific rules of each system.
“This is about responding to calls from those at the frontline, police and border guards,” stated Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King. “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.”
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.
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