Today, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted two interlinked opinions relating to the proposal for a revision of the EURODAC Regulation and the proposal recasting the so-called "Dublin Regulation" which determines the EU Member State responsible for an asylum application.
These proposals are part of a first package of proposals presented by the European Commission in December 2008 and aiming to ensure a higher degree of harmonisation, increased efficiency of the system and better standards of protection for the Common European Asylum System.
The proposals are of special relevance to the EDPS given his current role as the supervisory authority of Eurodac, a database containing digital fingerprints of asylum seekers which supports the operation of the Dublin Regulation.
The EDPS supports the objectives of the revision and welcomes the considerable attention which has been devoted in both proposals to the fundamental rights of third country nationals and/or stateless persons and, in particular, the protection of personal data.
Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "I am aware of the wide fundamental rights' dimension of the two proposals which concern the rights of one of the most vulnerable populations in the European Union: asylum seekers. They are faced with great difficulties when it comes to defending their rights. Hence, it is crucial that an adequate level of data protection is embedded in the system and that privacy rights are ensured around Europe in a thorough and harmonised manner. These proposals represent a step in the right direction."
The opinions also include the following observations and recommendations:
mechanisms for information sharing: the EDPS draws particular attention to the new mechanisms for information sharing introduced in the proposal revising the Dublin Regulation, as it will involve the extremely sensitive personal data of the asylum seekers.