EC proposes major IT overhaul for border control, migration management

12/12/17

The European Commission has proposed a major upgrade of EU information systems for security, border and migration management.

The EC says the measures will enable information exchange and data sharing between the different systems and ensure that border guards and police officers have access to the right information exactly when and where they need it to perform their duties, whilst ensuring the highest data protection standards and full respect of fundamental rights. In the context of recent security and migratory challenges, the proposal will ensure greater safety of EU citizens by facilitating the management of the EU's external borders and increasing internal security.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Speed counts when it comes to protecting our citizens against terrorism and saving lives. At this moment our EU information systems for security and border management are working separately which slows down law enforcement. With our proposal they will become fully interoperable. That means that law enforcement anywhere in the EU will be able to work directly and instantly with all the available information."

Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "Today we are delivering the final and most important element of our work to close gaps and remove blind spots in our information systems for security, borders and migration. From now onwards, border guards, immigration and police officers should have the right information at the right time to do their job. This is a flagship initiative for this Commission, and I urge the co-legislators to also make it their priority and complete their work within 2018."

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "Terrorists and serious criminals should not be able to slip through the net or under the radar. This is an ambitious new approach to managing and using existing information: more intelligent and targeted; clamping down on multiple identities and reinforcing effective police checks; connecting the dots to protect EU citizens while also protecting data by design and by default."

The body noted that currently, EU information systems do not talk to each other – information is stored separately in unconnected systems, making them fragmented, complex and difficult to operate.

“This risks pieces of information slipping through the net and terrorists and criminals escaping detection by using multiple or fraudulent identities, endangering the EU's internal security and making border and migration management more challenging,” said the EC.

“The measures proposed today will plug those gaps and make sure that information provided to border guards and police is complete, accurate and reliable. The new tools will help better detect people who pose a threat not only when crossing EU borders, but also when travelling within Schengen. By simultaneously cross-checking information in different databases and streamlining access by law enforcement, the new tools will quickly alert border guards or police if a person is using multiple or fraudulent identities. It will also help to better identify vulnerable people such as unaccompanied minors, while making sure that fundamental rights and data protection are fully respected.”

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