Friday

22nd Feb 2019

EU ministers discuss recording personal data of all visitors to bloc

  • The data-gathering would affect all non-EU visitors coming by land, sea or air (Photo: Wikipedia)

EU justice ministers meeting over the weekend examined proposals that would require all visitors to the EU to have their personal details recorded upon entry to the 27-nation bloc.

The informal meeting, held in Slovenia, the current holder of the EU presidency, on Friday and Saturday, discussed obtaining finger prints, biometric and personal data from non-EU visitors to cut down on the risk of terrorists entering the Union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

According to French daily Liberation, the project, spearheaded by EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini, aims to file the data of all those entering the EU by land, air or sea.

The information would be stored in a European database and modelled on the US system.

"We have to find a balance between security and the right to freedom of movement," said Mr Frattini.

His words come just weeks after the EU extended its borderless internal zone to cover a further nine member states.

The commissioner indicated that the database would allow authorities to know the date of entry of a person and whether they stayed or left.

"We cannot tolerate that people who arrive legally enter into illegality," said the commissioner, according to Liberation.

"Public opinion expects that a Europe of security be a Europe that protects them, which requires securing [Europe] against external risks," said French interior minister Michele Alliot-Marie

Mr Frattini is expected to unveil concrete proposals to his national counterparts at a formal meeting next month.

No divorce rules

Meanwhile, the same meeting saw member states unable to agree on common EU rules for divorces between couples coming from two different member states.

At the moment, divorce rules vary widely across the bloc from flexible rules in Nordic countries to Malta, where divorce is banned.

The European Commission has been seeking to set up rules to determine which country should have jurisdiction when a couple from different countries divorce. There are some 170,000 such cases each year.

However, Sweden blocked the proposal, fearing its liberal laws would be undermined.

"In Sweden, we always apply Swedish law on divorce," the country's justice minister, Beatrice Ask, said, according to the Reuters news agency.

"The right to divorce is fundamental to gender equality," she said, adding that applying other laws in the country would be a step backwards.

Malta, Ireland and the Netherlands also raised concerns about the proposal at the meeting, Reuters reports.

EU data verdict imminent on Romania's €20m reporters' fine

National data protection authorities from around the EU are about to make public their decision on a threat by Romania's data chief to force journalists to reveal their sources, in a case involving high-level political corruption.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Russia offered Italy's Salvini €3m for EU election
  2. EU and US could 'quickly' clinch mini-trade pact
  3. Belgium to gather evidence on Syria 'foreign fighters'
  4. Dozens of Tory and Labour MPs threatening to quit over Brexit
  5. UK will struggle on free-trade deals, EU says
  6. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  7. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations
  8. No-deal Brexit danger 'very serious', Corbyn says after Brussels meeting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals
  2. EP budget chair seeks clarity on Saudi lobbying and College of Europe
  3. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  4. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  5. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  6. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  7. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  8. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us