Monday

23rd Jan 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Fury over UK 'cover up' of failed missile test
  2. Theresa May: I will not be afraid to stand up to Trump
  3. Brexit will destroy NI peace deal, says Gerry Adams
  4. EU housing price increase by 4.3%
  5. EU trade chief says UK deal will take 'couple of years'
  6. German defence spending boost not enough for Nato goal
  7. Belgian MPs refuse to give up free alcohol
  8. Merkel last leader to get call from Obama

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. World VisionEU Urged to do Better Ahead of Helsinki Conference on Syria
  2. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  3. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  5. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  6. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  7. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  8. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  10. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  11. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!

Latest News

  1. Future of euro on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Pope warns populism could lead to 'saviours' like Hitler
  3. How the EU can protect the world’s forest by tackling corruption
  4. Leftist newcomer takes lead in French Socialist primary
  5. Far-right groups pledge allegiance ahead of elections
  6. Trump pledges US-first foreign policy
  7. GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room
  8. Trump: New sheriff in town