Opinion on the modified proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) 1030/2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals, OJ C 320, 28.12.2006, p. 21
Following the introduction of biometric features in European passports and Schengen visas, this proposal is the third one to rely on biometric data. The EDPS supports the proposal but stresses that the residence permit should not be seen as a travel document. Also, he underlines that the highest security standards need to be adopted.
If the safeguards recommended in the opinion are implemented, the EDPS does not oppose the use of biometric data which are justified by the enhancement of the security level and by facilitating the fight against illegal immigration and illegal residence. The EDPS welcomes the progress to have better respect for the principle of purpose limitation, but is concerned by the definition of authorities which have access to the data stored.
The EDPS supports the equal treatment of European citizens and third country residents whereby they have access to electronic services, such as e-government services. However, he recommends postponing the insertion of an additional chip for such services until a complete impact assessment study has been conducted.