Politics / Law, Germany
Cross-border exchange of DNA data
Berlin/Brussels – Seven EU member states, which have already ratified the Prüm Treaty of 2005, have laid down the legal basis for cross-border exchange of enforcement data such as digitalised DNA profiles. The move is intended to strengthen the EU police Europol and to improve judicial cooperation in the era of trans-national threats, such as terrorism, illegal immigration, and crime.
Last December, justice ministers from Germany, Austria, Spain, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Belgium agreed on practical rules on how to manage data exchange with respect to a high degree of data protection. These foresee the use of a hit/no hit procedure without any need for submission of personal data, a time limit for data storage and preconditions for data submission.
The Prüm Treaty is, at present, in force in Germany – the initiator of regulation – Austria and Spain. Germany and Austria have already been exchanging 3,000 DNA profiles since December and Spain is currently in the process of creating the technical preconditions for safe data transfer.
Similar rules are to be transposed into EU law in the first half of 2007, according to the domestic policy work programme “Living Europe Safely” of the German EU presidency. In early January, Wolgang Schäuble, German minister of interior stressed: “The transposition of the Prüm treaty into EU law will be one priority of the German EU presidency.” During an informal meeting of the EU Council in Dresden in mid-January, only 4 member states disagreed. After implementation police would have access to every crime-related DNA database in the European Union.