Romanian law enforcement databases opened up to other EU Member States
Romania's law enforcement databases have become more readily accessible to the authorities of other Member States after the country submitted to the General Secretariat of the Council its declarations in line with the 'Swedish Framework Decision', under which the rules applying to cross-border exchange of information and intelligence amongst EU Member States' law enforcement authorities cannot be any stricter than the rules applying to the exchange of information and intelligence amongst authorities within a Member State. The intention is to introduce the "principle of availability" to cross-border law enforcement information exchange.
All EU Member States are obliged to submit documentation listing the competent authorities to which the Swedish Framework Decision applies, the point of communication for requests from other Member States' authorities for information and intelligence, a list of bilateral and multilateral agreements which it will continue to apply (these must "help to simplify or facilitate further the procedures for exchanging information and intelligence falling within the scope of [the Swedish] Framework Decision").
A list of databases containing information readily available to the authorities of other Member States must also be provided. Romania's list is lengthy and includes amongst others databases on:
- wanted persons;
- stolen vehicles;
- persons banned from particular localities or subject to travel restrictions;
- DNA and fingerprint databases;
- the "IMAGETRAK database: digital facial recognition";
- criminal records;
- "database containing violations of the law regulating the traffic on public roads (crimes and minor offences)";
- "database containing incidents reported to the Romania Police-National System of Reporting Incidents";
- and "database on entries/exits in/from Romania of third-country nationals".
Article 5 of the Swedish Framework Decision says that:
"Information and intelligence may be requested for the purpose of detection, prevention or investigation of an offence where there are factual reasons to believe that relevant information and intelligence is available in another Member State. The request shall set out those factual reasons and explain the purpose for which the information and intelligence is sought and the connection between the purpose and the person who is the subject of the information and intelligence."
When an exchange of information relates to an offence that comes within the mandate of Europol or Eurojust, the two agencies are also supposed to receive the information.
One justification for the introduction of the Swedish Framework Decision, contained in the preamble to the legislation, is that:
"[E]ffective and expeditious exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities is seriously hampered by formal procedures, administrative structures and legal obstacles laid down in Member States' legislation; such a state of affairs is unacceptable to the citizens of the European Union and it therefore calls for greater security and more efficient law enforcement while protecting human rights."
- NOTE from: Romanian delegation to: Delegations, 7809/14, 18 March 2014
- Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 2006 on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union
- 'Widespread implementation of the "principle of availability" further eases information exchange amongst European police forces', Statewatch News Online, November 2012
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