EURODAC makes it easier for EU States to determine responsibility for examining an asylum application by comparing fingerprint datasets.
The EURODAC Regulation establishes an EU asylum fingerprint database. When someone applies for asylum, no matter where they are in the EU, their fingerprints are transmitted to the EURODAC central system.
Since it was established in 2003, EURODAC has proved to be a very important tool providing fingerprint comparison evidence to assist with determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application made in the EU. Its primary objective is to serve the implementation of Regulation (EU) No. 604/20133 ('the Dublin Regulation') and together these two instruments make up what is commonly referred to as the 'Dublin system'.
Due to the large scale arrivals since the start of the migration and refugee crisis in 2015, some Member States became overwhelmed with fingerprinting all those arriving irregularly to the EU at the external borders, and who further transited through the EU en route to their preferred destination. As a consequence, thousands of migrants have remained invisible in Europe, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, a situation that facilitates unauthorised secondary and subsequent movements and irregular stay within the EU.
As part of the first reform package of May 2016, the Commission presented a proposal to reinforce EURODAC to reflect the changes in the Dublin Regulation proposal and to make sure that it continues to provide the fingerprint comparison evidence it needs to function. In addition, the Commission also considered in its proposal the use of other biometric identifiers to be used for EURODAC, such as facial recognition and the collection of digital photos to counter the challenges faced by some Member States to take fingerprints for the purposes of EURODAC.
The proposal also extends its scope for the purposes of identifying irregularly staying third-country nationals and those who have crossed the EU external borders irregularly and contribute in an effective manner to the return procedure. Furthermore, the proposal:
Discussions on the individual proposals are currently ongoing and follow a comprehensive approach on both reform packages.