The S&D Group in the European Parliament voted to uphold high standards of data protection and safeguard fundamental rights of EU citizens when MEPs rejected granting the UK access to a mechanism for sharing fingerprint data.
Under the Prüm Decision, which sets out rules on police cooperation between European countries, member states can grant each other access to the fingerprint database. S&D MEPs believe that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU means that decisions related to future cooperation in justice and home affairs should continue to be dealt with in the on-going negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, S&D chair of the civil liberties committee, said:
“As a world leader when it comes to data protection standards, the protection of citizens’ data is absolutely paramount in the EU, and reciprocity is key.
“There has been no sign that the UK will reciprocate in sharing access to information, so we have no choice but to say no to the UK’s participation in the EU’s fingerprint data exchange scheme at this stage.
“This shows a lack of goodwill from the UK government when it comes to cooperation. When it was an EU member state, the UK authorities acted irresponsibly by illegally copying information from the Schengen Information System. This type of action, and the inaction from the UK government to remedy these failings, is more than problematic.”
Pedro Silva Pereira, S&D spokesperson on EU-UK negotiations, said:
“The nature of the UK’s relationship with the EU is changing and we need to build a future partnership based on mutual trust and reciprocity. Any future cooperation with the UK must be based on high standards of protection on both sides, not just on data exchange systems but also in other areas of judicial and police cooperation.
We need to see a more comprehensive approach to justice and home affairs issues in our future relationship with the UK, and the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK are the right framework in which to discuss these issues. We have full trust in Michel Barnier and his negotiating team to reflect our strong position on reciprocity and guarantee the high protection of standards and rights for European citizens.”