June 12, 2018 / 3:13 PM / 4 months ago

EU agrees new steps to bolster security data sharing

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union agreed on Tuesday to require member countries to share more information about suspected extremists and more records of fingerprints and other biometric data, as part of a security upgrade to thwart militant attacks.

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Countries will now be required to add more data to the bloc’s Schengen Information System (SIS), making it easier for police in other EU states to trace suspects using fingerprints, palm prints or facial images. Police will receive more timely alerts about suspected militants.

“We have been making the SIS stronger and smarter,” Europe’s Security Commissioner Julian King said in a statement. “A strengthened SIS will provide police and border guards with the information they need to do their jobs and help keep Europeans safe.”

The move comes as the EU is negotiating with London about the future of security cooperation once Britain leaves the bloc. Britain has never been part of the EU’s Schengen common border area, but has participated in the SIS database since 2015.

The SIS, in operation since 2013, collates member states’ information on matters such as dubious documents, stolen cars, wanted persons or missing objects.

Reporting by Megan Dollar; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Peter Graff

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