EP Takes Position on Interoperability Legal Framework
16 January 2019
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

On 24 October 2018, the plenary of the European Parliament backed the position of the LIBE Committee regarding legislative proposals on the interoperability between EU information systems in the area of justice and home affairs. EP negotiators have now green light to enter into informal talks with the Council and the Commission.

The general approach of the Council was endorsed by the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) in June 2018 (see eucrim 2/2018, p. 101). The Council adopted a revised mandate in September 2018 after the Commission had published amendments to its original 2017 proposal (see eucrim 4/2017, p. 174) on 13 June 2018 (COM(2018) 478 and COM(2018) 480). The amended proposals of the Commission take into account recently adopted or agreed legal instruments (ETIAS, SIS, and eu-LISA). The legislation on interoperability consists of two proposals for two regulations: the first would establish an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas; the second between EU information systems on police and judicial cooperation, asylum, and migration. For a summary of interoperability between EU border and security information systems, see also the briefing paper of the EP Think Tank EPRS of October 2018.

The LIBE Committee nominated two main rapporteurs to deal with the two dossiers on the interoperability legal framework. Although the rapporteurs (Jeroen Lenaers, EPP, NL, responsible for the borders and visa proposal, and Nuno Melo, EPP, PT, responsible for the police and judicial cooperation proposal) generally welcomed the proposed measures, a bulk of amendments were tabled. The file on borders and visa contains over 1000 amendments; the file on police and judicial cooperation over 920.

MEPs agree on the practical and technical necessity of interoperability. However, they also raised concerns about compatibility with fundamental rights and data protection principles, in particular the principle of proportionality. It remains to be seen whether the legislative proposal can be adopted before the end of the parliamentary term in May 2019.