Tuesday

23rd Jan 2018

Balkan countries want access to EU asylum database

  • Western Balkan nations want access to the fingerprint details of asylum seekers and migrants. (Photo: Amnesty International)

Western Balkan nations are pushing to get access to the EU's vast asylum database as part of a broader effort to stem the migrant flows.

"Third countries said they want access to the EU databases. We said we would look into what is possible," an European commission spokesperson told this website on Thursday (18 February).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The demand to get access to the asylum database Eurodac was made at a dinner in Brussels on Wednesday. The move would possibly grant Balkan police access to a database that contains the fingerprint details of a large archive of asylum seekers and migrants.

Launched in 2003, the database is used by asylum authorities to crack down on people not entitled to be in a territory. It was updated last year to allow police access. The EU's police agency Europol can also probe the database.

But the move to possibly grant non-EU states access represents a big departure. The commission had previously stated that "no data received from Eurodac may be shared with third countries."

The fear is that information on legitimate asylum seekers fleeing persecution could somehow be leaked back to the oppressing government, possibly placing that individual's family or friends at risk of harm.

Organised at the request of the Slovenians in the margins of conference on Syria in London earlier this month, the dinner was hosted by EU Council chief Donald Tusk. At the table were the presidents of Macedonia and Serbia. The prime ministers of Slovenia and Croatia also attended.

Balkans are seeking Eurodac access to better identify people should bottlenecks appear along the route after Austria announced a controversial decision to cap the number of asylum seekers.

"The meeting proved even more useful in light of the Austria's decisions," an EU source told this website.

"The countries in the region consider themselves as primarily transit countries and will not accept to become destination countries," noted the contact.

Meanwhile, EU leaders at a summit in Brussels postponed any decision making on migration until March as the UK's possible exit from the Union dominated talks.

The gathering of 28 heads of state in Brussels comes amid mounting uncertainity over the future of a Union that is being stretched by both issues.

Talks on how to best deal with all the people seeking international protection was instead reserved for a late evening dinner conversation as leaders preferred wrangling over British demands ahead of its In/Out referendum.

With around a half dozen EU summits dedicated to migration and little to show in terms of results, any expectations of breakthrough at the summit were never high.

Instead, hopes were placed on getting Ankara to step up its efforts to stem the flow of people to Greece as part of a larger €3 billion EU deal.

But those too were quashed when Turkey's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu cancelled his visit following a deadly explosion in the capital.

Pressure for a more rapid solution to bringing down in the numbers is instead coming from Austria, central EU states, and now the Western Balkan nations increasing the likelihood of a ring-fenced Greece.

Analysis

Russia's Syria tactics imperil EU-Turkey migrant plan

Events in Syria pose questions if the EU-Turkey migrant plan is still relevant. They show the need for solidarity. But there’s little of that and few options on how to stop Turkey's “nightmare.”

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

News in Brief

  1. Belgium lowers terror alert level
  2. France, Spain set to gain seats in post-Brexit EU parliament
  3. Orban family probed over 'fraudulent' EU projects
  4. Spanish judge rejects Puigdemont arrest warrant
  5. Austria plans to sue Commission over Hungary's nuclear plant
  6. Puigdemont proposed as sole candidate for Catalan leadership
  7. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  8. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. EU stands by Palestine on Jerusalem
  2. MEPs may bar killer robots and drones from EU research cash
  3. Europe's social democrats are having a hard time
  4. How Oettinger's CO2 permit sale could fill Brexit blackhole
  5. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  6. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on agenda This WEEK
  7. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  8. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems