ECRE has today published comments on the European Commission’s proposal to recast the Eurodac Regulation,  which governs the establishment and operation of a database containing fingerprints of asylum seekers and irregular migrants.

ECRE raises concerns over the expansion of the purpose of the Eurodac to control irregular migration and identify migrants for return. The original purpose of Eurodac was to assist the application of the Dublin Regulation by enabling Member States to verify whether a person has lodged an asylum application in another Member State. The 2013 Eurodac Regulation introduced access to the database by law enforcement authorities for the prevention and detection of terrorism and other serious offences, in a move that sparked high controversy and critique for its interference with fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. The latest proposal by the European Commission for a further recast of the Eurodac Regulation predominantly entails another substantial mandate expansion, with the aim of assisting the control of irregular migration, secondary movements and the identification of irregular migrants for return purposes

The document also highlights that the Commission’s proposal provides for a legal basis for “effective, proportionate and dissuasive” sanctions when a person refuses to give fingerprints or a facial image for Eurodac purposes. ECRE argues that the Regulation should strictly specify and circumscribe the powers of EU Member States to sanction non-compliance by laying down exhaustive sanctions that may be applied in such situations. Those need to be compatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, namely with rights to dignity, physical and mental integrity, freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment, liberty, privacy, as well with the best interests of the child.

Read all of ECRE’s comments, recommendations and proposed amendments here.