20 November 2018
Planned centralised "Big Brother" database coming your way by 2023
The Council Presidency has produced a Note on: Interoperability: state of play (LIMITE doc no: 14193-18, pdf) which says that:
"The Presidency and the co-rapporteurs [of the European Parliament] are committed to reaching a political agreement on this file by the end of December." [emphasis added throughout]
If this objective is achieved:
"it would mean that the entry into operations of the four interoperability components (European Search Portal, shared Biometric Matching Service, Common Identity Repository and Multiple Identity Detector) could be achieved by 2023 if the delegated acts and implementing acts included in the interoperability file are all adopted by 2020."
This timetable notes that delegated acts and implementing acts are still to be adopted between 2019-2020.
There is just one snag. Three underlaying measures on reception, resettlement and the Regulation on establishing a common procedure for international protection are being blocked by the European Parliament as it considered agreement had been reached in June this year. Within the Council a number of Member States want to change these texts. See: Common European Asylum System (CEAS): Asylum procedures at the border a sticking point for Member States (Statewatch News) and Reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is in a mess - disagreement amongst Member States blocking adoption (Statewatch News)
The underlying Regulations cover two legislative Regulations on (i) borders and visa and (ii) police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration and a third Regulation covering both of the above (the latest Council position on the latter is below).
The current process
"A mandate for negotiations on the two proposals was agreed upon by Coreper on 14 June 2018. Establishing interoperability between EU information systems (VIS, SIS, EES, ETIAS, Eurodac and ECRIS-TCN) requires the amendment of the legislative texts setting up those systems.
Therefore, the Commission tabled two amended proposals (the so-called 'consequential amendments') on 13 June 2018. A revised mandate was adopted by Coreper on 12 September 2018.
Following the adoption of its report by the Parliament's LIBE Committee on 15 October, the first political trilogue took place on 24 October. A second political trilogue followed on 15 November. Two other political trilogues are scheduled for 27 November and 13 December. As regards technical trilogues, they are taking place at a steady pace, twice a week, for 4 hours each."
The Council has produced a Note on: Presidency compromise proposals regarding the recitals (LIMITE doc no: 13799-18, pdf);
"In view to the discussions in the Visa Working Party of 12-13 November 2018, delegations will find in the Annex the Presidency compromise suggestions regarding the recitals of the Proposal.
The changes are marked in bold/underlined for additions and in strikethrough for deletions."
The Council changes include:
"The visa procedure and the VIS should benefit from the technology developments related to facial image recognition and taking live facial images as part of the shortstay visa procedure (...)
"If a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third-country nationals and stateless persons is established at Union level, VIS may be able to query it."
A second document: Latest Presidency compromise proposals after the third examination (LIMITE doc no: 13725-18, 87 pages, pdf). with extensive deletions and insertions particularly resulting from consideration of "amendments" of other revisions to underlying measures (eg: changes to the Eurodac Regulation).
See: Statewatch's Observatory: Creation of a centralised Justice & Home Affairs database is "a point of no return"
And: Statewatch Analysis: The “Point of no return”: Interoperability morphs into the creation of a Big Brother centralised EU state database including all existing and future Justice and Home Affairs databases (pdf): This Analysis looks at key critiques of EU plans to create a pervasive EU state database bringing together all existing and future Justice and Home Affairs databases.
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