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Centralised biometric database for convicted third-country nationals: European Parliament negotiating position published
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On 25 January the European Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE) adopted its position on the proposed European Criminal Records Information System for Third-Country Nationals, which will be a centralised EU database holding identity data on non-EU nationals convicted in a Member State. This will allow national authorities to see which Member State(s) hold information on previous convictions of non-EU nationals, to whom they will then be able to make a request for that information.

The LIBE committee report will serve as the Parliament's position for negotiations with the Council: Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 (pdf)

The commmittee favours gathering fingerprints for inclusion in the database only when foreseen under national law (Amendment 28), while the Commission's proposal and the Council's position would like to make the gathering and storage of fingerprints mandatory for all crimes.

A similar provision has been inserted by the committee in relation to facial images, although these are seen as optional in both the Commission's proposal and the Council's position.

The Parliament and the Council are both opposed to the Commission's proposed definition of third-country national (Amendment 23), which would have led to the inclusion of dual nationals (who hold EU and non-EU citizenship) in the database, were they to be convicted in an EU Member State. However, data on such individuals is already available through the decentralised ECRIS, which networks Member States' criminal records systems.

See: the Council's general approach (Council document 15102/17, pdf) and the Commission's proposal (COM(2017) 344 final, pdf)

The Commission originally proposed creating a decentralised ECRIS for third-country nationals, but this option was discarded following a series of technical assessments and the increasing prominence of the "interoperability" initiative, for which a centralised database containing fingerprints and photos is seen as particularly useful.

And see: European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on the proposal for a Regulation on ECRIS-TCN (pdf)

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