Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

Brussels, 25 October 2022

  • Terrorist activities are increasingly transnational
  • Parallel investigations in member states should be better coordinated at EU level
  • MEPs want to make sure information is up-to-date and available at an early stage

A report adopted by the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday aims to smoothen information exchanges to combat transnational terrorism in the EU.

Civil Liberties Committee MEPs approved new rules for cross-border information sharing to fight and investigate terrorism, which is often transnational in nature. The new legislation would make it easier for the EU’s judiciary agency Eurojust to find links between parallel investigations in different countries, giving it timely access to data and the possibility to cross-reference data. The report was adopted with 52 votes in favour, 1 against, and 3 abstaining.

Under current rules, Eurojust receives information from EU countries related to terrorist offences that concern several of them. The new proposal would strengthen the requirements on member states to share this information with Eurojust, and allow the agency to store, share and cross-check new types of data, including biometric data, on current and past investigations to establish links between them. Also, Eurojust could support investigations related to a member state and a third country, or a member state and an international organisation, for example the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the same time, the Eurojust Case Management System (CMS) would be integrated with the European Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register (CTR), and the CMS would be modernised.

In the adopted report, MEPs proposed amendments to the Commission proposal. They want to allow information exchanges at an early stage in investigations, extend the retention periods of data in the CTR, and ensure the respect of data minimisation principles. Also, MEPs want to see information deleted when competent authorities consider it no longer necessary and updated when it is no longer accurate.

Comment

Rapporteur Patryk Jaki (ECR, PL) said: « Present-day terrorism is a dynamic, complex, and often transnational phenomenon requiring a robust response and more effective, coordinated EU cooperation. Today, we propose to clarify and strengthen the current tools for sharing data on terrorist offences with Eurojust. My objective is to strengthen Eurojust’s mandate, so it can fulfil its role better and more proactively when supporting and strengthening the coordination and the cooperation between the national investigating and prosecuting authorities in relation to serious crime, in particular terrorist offences. »

Next steps

Next, the full house of the Parliament will discuss the report. It will then form the Parliament’s mandate for negotiations with the Council of the EU on the final form of the law.

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