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EU target for interoperable police, border biometrics databases delayed until 2027

EU target for interoperable police, border biometrics databases delayed until 2027

The implementation target for the European Union’s plans to make biometric databases for law enforcement and border control interoperable has been delayed to 2027, according to Statewatch.

The databases include the Eurodac system, which stores the fingerprint biometrics of asylum seekers, and the Schengen Information System (SIS), which collects data on people entering the region. A document from the EU’s Spanish Presidency, shared by Statewatch, sets out the new timeline proposal.

The Justice and Home Affairs Council, made up of interior ministers of EU member states, agreed to a revised timeline for the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), the launch of which was recently pushed back to May 2025. The ministers say the EES system will be ready in autumn 2024.

The announcement sets out a new schedule for the delivery of the interoperable system by eu-LISA, concluding with the biometric Multiple Identity Detector (MID) capability coming on-line by the fourth quarter of 2026.

The shared Biometric Matching Service (sBMS) is the first interoperable component for the EES and Visa Information System (VIS), is scheduled to reach operation at the same time as the EES. The document also refers to the possibility of “derogation measures” for the gradual implementation of the biometric checks at individual border crossings “to prevent long waiting times.” Launches will be coordinated to avoid “major events and high travel times.”

“In addition to the biometric devices (fingerprint scanners and cameras) that must be installed at each border crossing points, major border crossing points should be equipped as much as possible with self-service kiosks, automated gates and automated border control systems to facilitate and speed up controls,” the EU Presidency warns member states.

Frontex is working on an EES pre-registration app, which is already in the pilot stage, and is on track to be ready ahead of the EES itself. The agency has also been looking into deploying mobile biometric identification for the Schengen area’s internal borders.

Belgium’s delegation proposed to “decouple” the EES and ETIAS databases earlier this year, but that proposal does not appear to have gained significant traction, Statewatch says.

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