EP wants data protection guaranteed before allowing fingerprint exchange with UK

General view of hemicycle during voting at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 17 April 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the plenary session is reduced to one day and mainly through video conference. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

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 MEPs urge 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.

In a vote taken yesterday afternoon, MEPs rejected the Council’s decision on the exchange of fingerprints with the UK with 329 votes for, 357 against, and 4 abstentions.

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.

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