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Migration and Home Affairs

Consultation on the interoperability of EU information systems for borders and security

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Policy field(s)

Borders and security

Target group(s)

Members of the public, practitioners, other interested parties

Period of consultation

From 27 July 2017 to 19 October 2017

Objective of the consultation

This consultation seeks views on the interoperability of EU information systems for borders and security. It is a public consultation, and we welcome views from individuals and organisations alike. We are particularly interested in views from members of the public and practitioners in the fields of borders, law enforcement and security, as well as those active in a field of fundamental rights.

The EU currently faces the parallel challenges of migration management and the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cyberattacks. Threats are becoming ever more complex and transnational, so cooperation and information are becoming ever more important to ensure the safety and security of citizens across the EU. Effective information sharing is key to tackling these threats. As President Juncker said in his 2016 State of the Union address, "Border security means that information and intelligence exchange must be prioritised (…) We need to know who is crossing our borders."

One of the ways of improving this information sharing and making it more efficient and more effective is by increasing the interoperability of EU information systems. This means that European IT systems for border management and policing will be able to work better together, sharing and exchanging data to support border guards and the police in doing their jobs more effectively across Europe, and in particular in the Schengen states.

In June 2016, the Commission set up a high-level expert group to look into the best way to improve the interoperability of EU systems relating to border management, migration and security. The group reported in May 2017, recommending three new elements:

  • a European search portal
  • a shared biometric matching service
  • a common identity repository.

These measures will allow authorised users, such as police officers, migration and asylum officials and border guards, to more efficiently search the information they have the right to access, and more easily discover if someone is registered in different databases using different identities.

As set out in the Seventh progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union, the Commission is also considering the potential merits of more streamlined rules for law enforcement access to information to prevent, detect or investigate terrorist offences and other serious criminal offences. This approach would be based on two steps, where officers can first check to see if the information they need is present in any of the EU information systems involved in this process. Then if it is, they can request access to the information.

The aim is to ensure that users such as border guards, migration and asylum officials and the police have access to information more efficiently and can use it most effectively. Privacy and protection of personal data are of key importance in this proposal, as interoperability may impact the personal data of EU citizens and third-country nationals stored in any of the EU information systems in this field. The information may be shared between systems originally created for distinct purposes. Sharing information across these systems means that queries in one system may disclose whether related information is present in another system. This will enlarge the scope of access to data that is needed in a specific situation compared with the current situation.

In order to ensure that interoperability is implemented in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection legislation, the Commission will undertake an analysis of necessity and proportionality, and implement effective safeguards. We therefore also seek your views on these issues, including on possible safeguards.

This consultation seeks views on the Commission's proposed approach to improving interoperability of EU information systems.

For more information about this initiative, you can read the following:

How to submit your consultation

You can reply to this consultation by answering this questionnaire on EU survey.

The questionnaire is structured as follows:

  1. an introductory section to collect information about respondents;
  2. a section seeking your views on the issues and objectives we have identified;
  3. a section seeking your views on our proposed policy options;
  4. a sub-section on the European search portal;
  5. a sub-section on the shared biometric matching service;
  6. a sub-section on the common identity repository;
  7. a sub-section on more streamlined rules for law enforcement access being considered; and
  8. a final section which asks for any comments or suggestions you have and gives the opportunity to complement your answers to the questionnaire by uploading a document. You may also send this by email to

Responses may be submitted in any EU official language. Given possible delays in translating comments submitted in some languages, responses in English are welcome, as they will help the Commission to process results more swiftly. Versions of the questionnaire in all EU official languages will be made available as soon as they are ready. Please note that this will not impact on the consultation period: the deadline for replying is 19 October 2017, regardless of the language version of the questionnaire you are replying to.

Responses received to this consultation (including any written responses mentioned above), together with the identity of the contributor, will be published on the European Commission's website, unless the contributor objects to the publication of personal data on the grounds that such publication would harm his or her legitimate interests. In this case, the response may be published in anonymous form.

Protection of your personal data

The policy on "protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions" is based on Regulation (EC) N° 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000.

Important notice:

As part of the European Transparency Initiative, organisations are invited to use the Register of interest representatives to provide the European Commission and the public at large with information about their objectives, funding and structures, by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.

  • If you are a registered organisation, please fill in your Register ID number in the questionnaire. Your contribution will then be considered as representing the views of your organisation.
  • If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to register now. Then return to this page to submit your contribution as a registered organisation.

If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the Commission's stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions (Consultation Standards, see COM (2002) 704, and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see COM (2007) 127 of 21/03/2007). These replies will be published separately.

For more detailed information on the protection of your personal data, please read this consultation's specific privacy statement.

Reference documents and other, related consultations

Results of consultation and next steps

The results of this public consultation have been taken into consideration when developing policy on interoperability, and we are grateful to all those who responded to the consultation.

The responses to this consultation are available online – please note that some personal data has been removed from these answers, and some responses have been anonymised at the request of the respondent. A synopsis report has been produced and will be published alongside the Impact Assessment in due course.

Contact details

  • European Commission
    Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs:
    Unit B3 – Information Systems for Borders and Security
  • E-mail:
  • Postal address:
    European Commission
    Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME)
    Unit B3 – Information Systems for Borders and Security
    Rue du Luxembourg 46, B-1049 Brussels

Deadline: from 18/10/2017 to: 18/10/2017