In his opinion sent to the Federal Government on 4 April 2007, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, welcomes the creation of a legal basis for closer police cooperation at EU level and expressly endorses the anonymized approach using reference data (hit/no-hit procedure) on which the Prüm Treaty is based. He also praises the fact that data protection provisions are differentiated according to data type.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior and the German EU Council Presidency note with approval the EDPS’s emphasis on these positive aspects. The Prüm Treaty provides for even more rapid and intensive cooperation between law enforcement authorities and is thus an effective instrument for fighting crime and preventing threats in Europe. In addition to the seven original signatories, numerous Member States have declared their desire to accede to the Prüm Treaty. A Council Decision to be adopted if possible during the German Presidency will incorporate the substance of the treaty into the EU’s legal framework, thus extending these benefits to all 27 Member States.
The criticisms of the EDPS are primarily of a formal nature. For example, he notes, not for the first time, that the Prüm Treaty was conceptualized and initiated outside of EU institutional bodies by a number of individual Member States and is to be incorporated into EU law within two years of its signing. The Federal Ministry of the Interior sees this as evidence of the high expectations for improved police cooperation and for the efficiency of the European decision-making process on this issue. The EDPS also acknowledges this unique aspect of the history of law enforcement cooperation.
In his opinion, the EDPS also reiterated his call for a general framework for data protection in the third pillar. The German Presidency supports a framework decision on data protection in the third pillar. It should be stressed that incorporating the Prüm Treaty into the EU’s legal framework does not depend on first achieving agreement on the proposed data protection framework decision. On the contrary, both the Prüm Treaty and the draft Council Decision to replace the treaty already contain very carefully drafted data protection provisions.
Other comments by the EDPS of a minor substantive or formal nature are currently being examined to see whether they can be incorporated into the draft Council Decision.