Common European Asylum System reform: Council ready to start negotiations on Eurodac

Council of the EU
  • 09/12/2016
  • 16:50
  • Press release
  • 756/16
  • Home Affairs
09/12/2016

The Council endorsed a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the recast of the Eurodac  regulation. On the basis of this mandate, the presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the latter has adopted its position. 

This is an important part of the Common European Asylum Reform, one of our top priorities. I'm glad to see the progress on which the Maltese presidency can build on.

Robert Kaliňák, Minister for the Interior of Slovakia and President of the Council 

Ministers adopted the text on the understanding that the parts relating to other files of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) reform will be revisited once there is agreement on them. The mandate will also be updated in the light of the discussions on the issue of interoperability of information systems.  

The aim of the reform is to adapt and reinforce the Eurodac system and to expand its scope, with a view to facilitating returns and helping tackle irregular migration.  

The new proposal, as it stands now, will extend the scope of the Eurodac Regulation to include the possibility for member states to store and search data belonging to third-country nationals or stateless persons who are not applicants for international protection and are found to be staying irregularly in the EU, so that they can be identified for return and readmission purposes. The expansion of the scope and simplification of the access of law enforcement authorities to Eurodac should help member states maintain security in the EU.

Besides collecting an additional biometric data - facial image, it will also allow member states to store more alphanumeric data in Eurodac, such as names, dates of birth, nationalities, identity details or travel documents of individuals.

Background 

Eurodac is a biometric database for comparing fingerprints, which helps EU member states and associated countries participating in the database to verify whether an asylum applicant has previously claimed asylum in another European state or whether an asylum applicant has been previously apprehended when entering European territory unlawfully. It aims to make it easier for European states to determine responsibility for examining an asylum application and facilitates the application of the "Dublin" regulation. 

Following its Communication of 6 April 2016 on the reform of the common European Asylum System, the Commission presented in May and in July seven legislative proposals, including the above-mentioned proposal for a regulation on Eurodac, with a view to: 

  • improving the functioning of CEAS by eliminating differing treatment of asylum seekers and varying recognition rates among member states;
  • reducing secondary movements and contributing to a fairer distribution among the Member States of the responsibility to offer protection to those in need.