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EU states back plan to link databases to fight crime

The interior ministers of the 27 nations that make up the European Union signaled yesterday that they back plans to link national police databases to fight crime more effectively, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

The proposal, to be discussed in the months ahead, will be based on a treaty signed by seven EU states, including Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany in 2005. That accord sets out the rules for greater cooperation between police forces and judicial authorities in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration. International crime has become easier in Europe as many EU members reduced or abolished passport and border controls along internal borders. Sharing information and allowing police to chase suspects into other countries will help fight illegal activities. Countries will be able to access each others national DNA databases, fingerprint files and motor vehicle registers. Access to national police databases will be „a quantum leap” in sharing information, Schaeuble said yesterday at a press conference in the eastern German city of Dresden. EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini also welcomed the initiative. „Getting a political agreement before the end of June is within a reach,” Frattini said. The US government has also shown interest in the treaty, Schaeuble said, adding that if the EU wants to cooperate with the US as closely as possible both partners need to discuss the possibility of a similar mechanism. (Bloomberg)