Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Tony McNulty MP, Minister of State, Home Office

  Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Committee on the European Union examined the communication on improved effectiveness, enhanced interoperability and synergies among European databases at a meeting on 25 January.

  The Committee considered that, in the Commission's rather cursory assessment of the functioning of existing EU databases, the case for their interoperability and synergy rests almost entirely on the fact that the law enforcement community and authorities responsible for internal security consider access to databases, which are designed for other purposes, necessary for the pursuit of their objectives. While we understand that such databases may contain personal information about individuals that might be useful for law enforcement purposes, we wish to ensure, as a matter of principle, that questions of proportionality and fundamental rights are fully taken into account and properly dealt with and that interoperability will not lead to a situation where an authority, not entitled to access or use certain data, can obtain this data via another information system.

  The Committee understands that this Communication is to be followed by the Commission's thorough impact assessment on interoperability, which will precede concrete legislative proposals in this area. We look forward to seeing the Commission's impact assessment and have decided to clear this document from scrutiny.

26 January 2006

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