JHA Council Gives Guidance on Legislative Proposal for Interoperability
At its meeting on 8 March 2018, the Home Affairs Ministers of the EU Member States gave political guidance on the ongoing examination of the legislative proposals for establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems.
The initiative, consisting of two legislative proposals, was launched by the Commission in December 2017 (see eucrim 4/2017, p. 174). The aim is to improve the search and comparison of data available in the various EU information systems, by establishing the following interoperability components:
- A European search portal, which would allow competent authorities to search multiple information systems simultaneously;
- A shared biometric matching service, which would enable the search and comparison of biometric data (fingerprints and facial images) from several systems;
- A common identity repository, which would contain biographical and biometric identity data of third-country nationals available in several EU information systems;
- A multiple identity detector, which would verify whether the biographical identity data contained in the search exists in other systems, in order to enable the detection of multiple identities linked to the same set of biometric data.
At the JHA Council meeting, the Ministers concluded, above all, the following:
- The proposed interoperability components adequately address the needs of the end users and will help enhance external border management and internal security;
- Development of central interoperability components will require action at national level, and certain coordination at the EU level to prepare this implementation is needed;
- The Commission should further examine the impact of interoperability at national level.
The majority of Ministers also feel that work should focus on the issues currently on the table, in order to make rapid progress. However, the Commission, together with the Member States, must examine the feasibility of other longer-term recommendations by the High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability in order to address the remaining information gaps and contribute to the completion of the interoperability landscape.
The discussion on the interoperability proposal is now continuing at the technical level in the Council working groups.