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European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: An overview

Written by Costica Dumbrava,

immigration control at airport, security technology concept.

© laufer / Fotolia

High levels of irregular migration and the increase in transnational terrorist activities have pushed the EU to take concerted measures to strengthen its external borders and to enhance internal security. The revision and development of information systems for border management and law enforcement has been a key aspect of this response.

As identified by the European Commission, the European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs have a number of important shortcomings related to: suboptimal functionalities, persistent information gaps, limited utilisation, fragmented overall architecture, and limited interoperability. To address these shortcomings, the Commission has put forward a series of proposals to revise existing information systems and to establish new ones.

A general trend has been the expansion of the law enforcement components of information systems, including of those that were not originally intended for such purposes. The recast Eurodac Regulation, which came into force in July 2015, allows for the use of the Eurodac database of asylum-seekers’ fingerprints for preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offences and other serious crimes. Similarly, access to the Visa Information System was given to national law enforcement authorities and to Europol.

While the use of information systems has improved in most cases, the full potential has not yet been reached. For example, alerts on foreign terrorist fighters are still not systematically inserted and checked in the Schengen Information System. Only a minority of Member States make use of Eurodac and the Visa Information System for law enforcement purposes. Member States’ contributions to databases remain uneven. For example, just five Member States have reported almost all the cases of verified foreign terrorist fighters recorded in the Europol Information System. Some Member States are not yet connected electronically to the Interpol stolen and lost documents database, as they have not yet implemented the Prüm framework. Although Europol was given access to most databases, it has not yet made full use of its access rights.

Apart from taking measures to maximise the use and benefits of the information systems, the Commission has put forward legislative proposals aimed at expanding the scope of the existing systems. The proposals revising the Schengen Information System oblige Member States to issue alerts on persons related to terrorist offences and to introduce information about entry bans and return decisions in the system. The recast Eurodac Regulation makes it mandatory for Member States to collect data on third-country nationals or stateless persons who have been apprehended crossing EU borders irregularly or remaining illegally on EU territory. The proposal for a revised criminal records information system enables authorities to determine which Member State holds criminal records of a third-country national.

In view of closing information gaps concerning persons who might pose a security threat but are not covered by the existing systems, the Commission has presented proposals to establish two new information systems. The entry/exit system will record entry and exit data from all third-country nationals (including from visa-exempt third countries) crossing Schengen borders. The European travel information and authorisation system will collect pre-arrival information on third-country nationals (including family members of EU citizens) travelling to the EU. The new information systems will be built to ensure interoperability with other relevant information systems, while ensuring data protection rules are respected.


Read the complete in-depth analysis on ‘European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: An overview‘ in PDF.


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Illegal border crossings and first time asylum applications (in millions)

Figure 2 – Illegal border crossings and first time asylum applications (in millions)

International tourist arrivals in the EU, including projections

International tourist arrivals in the EU, including projections

Terrorism related arrests, attacks and deaths

Figure 3 – Terrorism related arrests, attacks and deaths

European information systems in the area of justice and home affair

Figure 4 – European information systems in the area of justice and home affair

Alerts on persons in the SIS (in millions)

Figure 5 – Alerts on persons in the SIS (in millions)

Searches in the SIS (in billions)

Figure 6 – Searches in the SIS (in billions)

Applications for Schengen visa (in millions)

Figure 7 – Applications for Schengen visa (in millions)

VIS searches for asylum purposes and for visa verification in the territory

Figure 8 –VIS searches for asylum purposes and for visa verification in the territory

Data subjects in Eurodac (in millions)

Figure 10 – Data subjects in Eurodac (in millions)

VIS searches for law enforcement purposes

VIS searches for law enforcement purposes

New data subjects related to asylum claims and corresponding hits in Eurodac

Figure 11 – New data subjects related to asylum claims and corresponding hits in Eurodac

Data subjects in the EIS (in millions)

Figure 13 – Data subjects in the EIS (in millions)

New data subjects related to illegal stay and corresponding hits in Eurodac

New data subjects related to illegal stay and corresponding hits in Eurodac

Foreign terrorist fighters in the EIS

Figure 14 – Foreign terrorist fighters in the EIS

Member states implementing the Prüm Decisions on key types of data

Figure 15 – Member states implementing the Prüm Decisions on key types of data

Requests and notifications sent through ECRIS (thousands)

Figure 16 – Requests and notifications sent through ECRIS (thousands)

Single search interface for European information systems

Figure 18 – Single search interface for European information systems

Eurojust's cases

Eurojust’s cases

Discussion

2 thoughts on “European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: An overview

  1. Bine punctat.

    Like

    Posted by Doru | May 19, 2017, 10:09

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

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