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Migration and Home Affairs

Strengthening the automated data exchange under the Prüm framework

Serious and organised crime in Europe acts across borders. In 2017, more than 5000 serious and organised crime groups were under investigation in Europe, with 7 out of 10 organised criminal groups active in more than 3 countries and with altogether more than 180 nationalities involved (European serious and organised crime threat assessment SOCTA, 2017). Fighting national and cross-border crime requires daily operational cooperation and information exchange between Member States’ law enforcement authorities.

At EU level, the Prüm Decisions are one of the core instruments for supporting cooperation between law enforcement authorities to fight cross-border crime. The Prüm framework for automated data exchange allows a Member State to query DNA, dactyloscopic and vehicle registration data in one or several other Member States’ national databases. The system provides a reply including no personal data, but only reference data, if any matching data sets (“hits”) were found. After a “hit” is confirmed, i.e. a forensic expert verifies matching data sets, a request to receive personal and case related data from the Member State concerned should be sent. In case of vehicle registration data, the additional data is provided immediately with “a hit”.

Possible obstacles to exchanging data under the Prüm framework may affect the efficiency of law enforcement authorities’ investigations of criminal and terrorist offences, and the establishment of possible cross-border links between the offences. Although the Prüm framework is considered a successful EU tool for law enforcement cooperation that has helped to solve many crimes in Europe, several issues seem to hamper timely and smooth exchange of information.

In particular, the Commission initiative aims at tackling some specific problems that have been identified and described in the Inception Impact Assessment (see below):

  1. Speed up and streamline the exchange of personal and case related data after a “hit” has been confirmed by forensic experts;
  2. Enable automated exchange of additional data categories that are available in Member States’ criminal or other databases for the purpose of criminal investigations;
  3. Facilitate the implementation, use and maintenance of the information system;
  4. Enable search and comparison of data received by Europol from 3rd countries;
  5. Improve the automated exchange of existing data categories (DNA, dactyloscopic and vehicle registration data);
  6. Provide high level of data protection and align the Prüm Decisions with the Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680).

This legislative initiative will be supported by an evaluation and impact assessment; please find details on how to contribute below.

View the inception impact assessment for this initiative

The Inception Impact Assessment, published on 11 August 2020, serves to inform stakeholders and citizens about the initiative. The feedback received is published alongside the inception impact assessment.

Stakeholder Consultations

The consultation strategy outlines the consultation objectives, maps the relevant stakeholders and explains which consultation methods and tools the European Commission is using in the course of the evaluation and impact assessment. Please note that this document is provided for information only and does not commit the European Commission in any way.

View the reference documents