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ECRIS (European Criminal Records Information System)

ECRIS was created in April 2012 to facilitate the exchange of information on criminal records throughout the EU. It establishes electronic interconnections between Member States and puts rules into place to ensure that information on convictions as contained in the criminal records system of the Member States can be exchanged through electronic standardised formats, in a uniform and speedy way, and within short legal deadlines.

ECRIS is built on the principle of the Member State of nationality. Full criminal records information on EU-nationals can be obtained from the Member State of nationality of the convicted person independent of the Member State in which the conviction was handed down. Convicting Member States must notify and regularly update convictions of EU-nationals other than their own nationals to the Member State(s) of nationality.

Member States designate national "Central Authorities" which deal with all obligations related to ECRIS, such as sending notifications and updates, storing information received from other Member States, requesting information from other Member States, and answering to requests from other Member States.

The contact details of the central authorities of the Member States are available on the e-Justice portal:

Purpose

  • Information must be exchanged for the purposes of criminal proceedings against a person, (in implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/675 on taking account of previous convictions in new criminal proceedings against the same person).
  • Information must be exchanged if requested for recruitment procedures with regard to posts involving direct and regular contact with children (as required by Art. 10 of Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, and child pornography,
  • Information through ECRIS may also be exchanged for any other purpose according to national law (such as recruitment procedures, naturalisation procedures, asylum procedures, firearm licence procedures, child adoption procedures etc.)

Implementation

A large majority of EU Member States implemented the system already in April 2012. On 19 January 2016, the Commission adopted an report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHApdf(394 kB). At that point not yet all Member States had transposed the ECRIS Framework Decision into their national law. Today, all Member States are connected to ECRIS.

On 28 June 2017, the Commission published its first statistical report since the operational start of ECRIS in April 2012. The report gives an overview to which extent ECRIS has been used by the Member States and gives information on how the individual Member States exchange information, covering the period from ECRIS becoming operational in April 2012 to December 2016.

Legislative instruments

The ECRIS legal framework consists of:

Commission proposal for a Directive to improve the exchange of information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) of January 2016

The principle of the Member State of nationality as repository for all convictions handed down in the EU against their nationals cannot be applied to TCN. Conviction information on TCN can therefore only be obtained from the respective convicting Member State(s). Although ECRIS allows for the exchange of criminal record information on convicted TCN, the system lacks a mechanism to identify Member States holding such information.

Therefore, on 19 January 2016, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive amending Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA, as regards the exchange of information on TCN.

The new ECRIS-TCN decentralised system would allow for the efficient identification of Member States having convicted a particular TCN. Identified Member States can be requested to provide conviction information through ECRIS.

Commission proposal for a Regulation complementing the Directive proposed in 2016

After adoption of the draft Directive, over the course of 2016 it became clear that the decentralised system proposed poses technical problems with respect to the exchange of pseudonymised fingerprints. Such technical problems do not exist for a centralised system.

Therefore, on 29 June 2017 the Commission proposed a supplementary Regulation focussing on establishing and regulating a centralised ECRIS-TCN system, located at eu-LISA.

The 2016 proposal is still relevant to regulate the obligations of the Member State at Member State level and the decentralised exchanges of full conviction information on TCN after the convicting Member State(s) have been identified through the ECRIS-TCN system.