Completing the Common European Asylum System
In 2011, the 27 EU Member States received more than 300,000 asylum applications, a 16.2% increase from 2010.
Although this remains far below the peak of 425,000 applications received in 2001, increases in asylum flows can stretch the reception capacity of some Member States. The European Commission has proposed to improve the overall efficiency of EURODAC, the system which facilitates the quick and correct identification of the Member State responsible for assessing an asylum claim.
EURODAC, a system for collecting asylum seekers' fingerprints, has been operating since 2003 and is an essential part of the EU's Common European Asylum System. It is a European flagship biometric IT system which helps ensure the proper implementation of the Dublin Regulation, contributing to the identification of third country nationals who generally don't possess identity documents. It has proved to be a useful tool in establishing the Member State responsible for the assessment of an asylum claim and in protecting the asylum system from abuse by avoiding multiple applications by a same person in different Member States.
The proposal provides clearer deadlines for transmission of data, ensures full compatibility with the latest asylum legislation and better addresses data protection requirements. It also foresees the possibility for national law enforcement authorities to consult the EURODAC database for the purpose of prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and other serious criminal offences, as requested by EU Member States.
The provisions on access to data and data security ensure that the fundamental rights of those whose fingerprints are stored in EURODAC are respected and that the asylum seekers and irregular migrants' privacy rights are protected.