Tuesday 9 October 2007, by European Council
Under the Hague Programme (No. 2.1.), better exchange of information, including by means of more extensive access to existing EU information systems, is one of the ways in which the aim of strengthening security is to be achieved.
To combat terrorism and other serious crimes it is inevitable that police and law enforcement authorities have access, within the scope of their powers, to the most comprehensive and up-to-date information possible.
Already in March 2004, in the light of the terrorist attacks in Madrid, the European Council invited the Commission in its Declaration on Combating Terrorism to explore the creation of synergies between existing and future information systems as SIS II, VIS and Eurodac in order to exploit their added value in the prevention and fight against terrorism and to bring forward proposals to enable national law enforcement agencies to have access to EU systems.
The biometric information contained in Eurodac may be under specific circumstances the only information available to identify a person suspected of having committed an act of terrorism or other serious crime.
Having this in mind, the Commission in its Communication to the Council and the European Parliament from November 24th 2005 considered the access of authorities responsible for internal security to Eurodac as part of the further development of existing systems.1
As is already known, Germany intends to introduce a proposal for a Council Decision concerning access to Eurodac by Member State’s police and law enforcement authorities. Entry into force of such a Council Decision requires an amendment to Council Regulation (EC) No. 2725/2000 of 11 December 2000 concerning the establishment of «Eurodac», which is subject to the Commission’s exclusive right of initiative.
As was also recommended by the Commission, the Presidency would like to submit the following proposal for Council conclusions on access to Eurodac by Member States’ police and law enforcement authorities. The Article 36 Committee meeting is invited to examine and endorse this proposal with a view to submitting it to COREPER and Council for agreement.
The proposal takes into account the amendments suggested by the delegations in the course of the discussion at the meeting of the PCWP on April 12th 2007.
The delegations of Belgium and Sweden have expressed general reservations both on the content and the timing of the proposal.
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