17 September 2021
The Slovenian Presidency of the Council is planning to accelerate negotiations on a vast expansion of the Eurodac database, which will hold sensitive data on millions of asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation, by 'delinking' the proposed rules from other EU asylum and migration laws under discussion.
See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Amended proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of 'Eurodac' (Council doc. 11873/21, LIMITE, 15 September 2021, pdf):
"The main aim of these new amendments is to delink the text of the draft Regulation from the other proposals of the Pact which are under negotiation. This will make it possible to continue the negotiations and possibly proceed to the adoption of the Regulation. Consequently, references to the other proposals of the Pact were replaced by references to existing legislation and the newly proposed concepts which are under consideration (e.g. relocation and creation of a separate category of persons disembarked following SAR operations under AMMR, or screening under the Screening Regulation) were removed from the text."
Under the proposals, more personal data could be gathered from asylum seekers, and authorities would also be able to store data on irregular migrants, which would hold not just fingerprints but facial images and other information.
This change would be introduced without any need for agreement on other measures proposed as part of the EU's 'Pact on Migration and Asylum', a negotiating tactic that has also been used in talks on the revamped rules for the European Asylum Support Office, due to become the European Agency for Asylum.
Under the new Eurodac rules, records held in the system could also be linked, making it possible to track peoples' journeys within the EU (known in official discourse as "secondary movements"), and the data held would also be used for checks against visa and travel authorisation applications.
Some of the data gathered under the Eurodac rules would be held in the new 'Common Identity Repository', a vast biometric database that will be able to hold up to 300 million individual records on non-EU nationals, currently under construction in accordance with the EU's 'interoperability' initiative.
The Presidency's proposal comes a week after 31 human rights organisations called on the European Parliament to "implement a temporary delay to the legislative process to give due time for significant consideration of the fundamental rights implications of the proposed EURODAC reform," something that has not yet been taken meaningfully into account.
See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Amended proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of 'Eurodac' (Council doc. 11873/21, LIMITE, 15 September 2021, pdf)
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