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EU: Council and Parliament reach provisional agreement on automated data searches between authorities

On November 20, 2023, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a political agreement on the regulation on automated data exchange for police cooperation (Prüm II Proposal) proposed by the European Commission, which welcomed the agreement. The Prüm II Proposal aims to revise the existing Prüm Convention of 2005 (Prüm I Convention) by, among other things:

  • starting automated data exchanges on facial images and police records;
  • establishing a central router to simplify the automated exchanges of biometric data; and
  • aligning exchanges under the Prüm I Convention to the data protection framework with strong safeguards.

New types of data categories

In particular, the Prüm II Proposal would expand the scope of data searches under the Prüm I Convention between police, customs, and other relevant authorities to facial images and police record index numbers of suspects and convicted criminals, if Member States opt in to share these records. Moreover, when a positive match is found, core data including names, dates of birth, and criminal case numbers could be exchanged.

Human review of matches and human rights due diligence

In addition, the Council and the Parliament agreed to include in the Prüm II Proposal a human review of data matches, and a provision that facial images and police records may only be exchanged to investigate crimes carrying a prison sentence of at least one year. In addition, a due diligence clause was introduced ensuring that data exchanges fully respect fundamental rights.

Next steps

The provisional agreement must be formally approved by both the Parliament and the Council in order to become law. Once approved, the Prüm II Proposal would enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. 

You can read the Council's press release here, the Parliament's press release here, and the Commission's press release here.