December 13, 2015 -
The EU executive has started legal procedures against Croatia, Greece, and Italy for not registering migrants and refugees in the EU-wide fingerprint database, Eurodac, when they first arrive on the continent.
According to reports in the EU Observer, between July 20 and the end of November, Frontex, the EU’s border agency, found that 65,000 migrants arrived by sea in Italy, but only 29,000 were fingerprinted and entered into the database. In Greece, 492,000 arrivals were registered and only 121,000 fingerprinted. Croatia saw 340,000 people arriving since 16 September and only registered 575 in Eurodac.
“What is needed is systematic registration,” said commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud, noting that the EU is sending Frontex officials to these countries to help with registration.
Registering new arrivals would help with security, as national police forces and Europol can compare fingerprints linked to those in Eurodac but member states have said that the massive number of arrivals means there is no time to register everyone in Eurodac, which has been criticised for being too time-consuming.
The commission first raised the issue to the three countries in October, but nothing has changed.
The member states have two months to make their cases, and if the commission still thinks they’re breaking EU rules, they can go to court.