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European Union: Exchange of Data with Interpol on Lost and Stolen Passports

(Sept. 4, 2008) Pursuant to Common Position 2005/96/JHA, European Union Member States are required to report information on stolen and lost passports to Interpol. The objective of the Common Position is to prevent and fight organized crime, including terrorism, committed through the misuse by criminals of lost or stolen passports. In practice, national authorities, once they become privy to such information, must enter the data in their national database and in the Schengen Information System (SIS), and then forward the information to Interpol.

The European Commission has issued two evaluation reports on implementation of the system, the first adopted in 2006 and the secondon August 1, 2008. The Commission noted an overall improvement in the functioning of the system since the 2006 evaluation report. However, the Commission did recommend that the national authorities enlarge their use of this tool to include border control issues, in addition to criminal investigations. It also emphasized that Member States must abide by the EU legislation on privacy and personal data protection during the processing and handling of personal data. The EU Members have drawn the attention of the Commission to some drawbacks of the system and suggested direct access byauthorized staff to national passport databases and images of passport holders as well as the assignment of additional staff to minimize delays in responding to queries. (Press Release IP/08/1228, EUROPA [portal site of the European Union],The European Commission Adopts Its Second Monitoring and Evaluation Report About the Operation of Council Common Position 2005/96/JHA on the Exchange of Data on Lost and Stolen Passports with Interpol (Aug. 1, 2008), RAPID database, available at