UK opts in to EU Council Decisions allowing Switzerland and Liechtenstein third country access to Prüm:Written statement - HCWS1524

Home Office
Made on: 25 April 2019
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)

UK opts in to EU Council Decisions allowing Switzerland and Liechtenstein third country access to Prüm

The Prüm framework lays down provisions stating that EU Member States grant each other access to their automated DNA analysis files, automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS), and vehicle registration data. The European Commission has proposed Council Decisions that, if adopted, would extend participation in the key data-sharing elements of Prüm to Switzerland and Liechtenstein as third countries.

The UK is fully supportive of data sharing to assist the investigation, prosecution and prevention of serious crime and terrorism. It is the Government’s position that data sharing regimes between countries, with appropriate safeguards, enhance the safety and wellbeing of citizens of and visitors to those countries. The UK has opted in to the Prüm Decisions and remains committed to fully implementing Prüm in the UK.

The UK is also fully supportive of extending the law enforcement access to Prüm to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The UK has no current biometrics data sharing agreements in place with Switzerland or Liechtenstein. These states are close partners and enabling further data sharing with them will enhance both their security and ours.

The Government has therefore decided to opt in to the EU Council Decisions authorising the signing and conclusion of agreements between the EU and Switzerland, and the EU and Liechtenstein, to enable their access as third countries to Prüm, stepping up cross border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime.

The UK Government will continue to consider the application of the UK’s opt-in to EU legislation on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising the UK’s efforts to collaborate with the EU on a security partnership once the UK leaves the EU. The UK is committed to fully implementing Prüm and continuing the international exchange of biometric data with the EU as part of this Future Security Partnership.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1486

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