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MEPs demand data protection guarantees for fingerprint exchange with UK

MEPs demand data protection guarantees for fingerprint exchange with UK

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(STRASBOURG) - The EU Council should not allow fingerprint data exchange between the UK and EU countries without guarantees on reciprocity and data protection in place, the European Parliament said on Thursday.

MEPs rejected the Council draft implementing decision on the exchange of fingerprints with the UK with 329 votes for, 357 against, and 4 abstentions.

MEPs are urging the Council not to take any decision on the topic until the UK gives guarantees on full reciprocity and data protection and to wait until the new legal framework for the new partnership cooperation with the UK has been concluded.

The launch of the fingerprint exchange between the United Kingdom and EU member states, bound by the Prüm decision, would allow the responsible national authorities to share fingerprint data to prevent and investigate crimes.

This decision on the fingerprint data exchange would be limited to the transition period ending on 31 December. MEPs say however that, since it is not clear if the UK will meet EU data protection standards after this date, such a decision could pose a serious risk to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of EU citizens after the transition period.

Furthermore, MEPs think that the reciprocity of the data exchange should be guaranteed before any decision on the matter is taken. As stated in the Council draft implementing decision, the UK does not intend to make fingerprint data from suspects' profiles available, in contrast with other member states participating in the Prüm system.

Decisions on automated exchange of fingerprint data in the EU are enabled by the Prüm framework. It lays down provisions under which EU member states grant each other access to their automated DNA analysis files, automated fingerprint identification systems and vehicle registration data.

The Parliament has a consultative role in the decision.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text (13.05.2020)

Procedure file


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