The Prüm Convention (inaccurately known as Schengen III Agreement) is a treaty which was signed on 27 May 2005 by Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain in the town of Prüm in Germany, and which is open to all members of the European Union, 14 of which are currently parties.
The treaty was based on an initiative by the then German Minister Otto Schily from mid-2003. Core elements of the convention were picked up by EU Council Decision 2008/615/JHA on 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime.
The full name of the treaty is Convention between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Austria on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration.
Contents of the Convention
The Convention was adopted so as to enable the signatories to exchange data regarding DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration of concerned persons and to cooperate against terrorism. It also contains provisions for the deployment of armed sky marshals on flights between signatory states, joint police patrols, entry of (armed) police forces into the territory of another state for the prevention of immediate danger (hot pursuit), and cooperation in case of mass events or disasters. Furthermore, a police officer responsible for an operation in a state may, in principle, decide to what degree the police forces of the other states that were taking part in the operation could use their weapons or exercise other powers.
Relation to the European Union
The Convention was adopted outside of the European Union framework (and its mechanism of enhanced co-operation), but asserts that it is open for accession by any member state of the European Union and that:
Additionally the text of the Convention and its annexes were circulated on 7 July 2005 between the delegations to the Council of the European Union.
Some of the Convention provisions, falling under the former third pillar of the EU, were later subsumed into the police and judicial cooperation provisions of European Union law by a 2008 Council Decision, commonly referred to as the Prüm Decision. It provides for Law Enforcement Cooperation in criminal matters primarily related to exchange of fingerprint, DNA (both on a hit no-hit basis) and Vehicle owner registration (direct access via the EUCARIS system) data. The data exchange provisions are to be implemented in 2012. The remaining provisions of the Convention falling under the former third pillar are not yet adopted into EU law.
Parties to the convention
The states which have ratified the convention are:
While the Decisions were originally applicable to all EU member states, the United Kingdom subsequently exercised their right to opt-out from them effective 1 December 2014. However, the UK committed to assess their future participation and make a decision by 31 December 2015 on whether to rejoin the Decisions. On 22 January 2016 the UK notified the EU of its desire to resume participating in the Prum Decisions, which was approved by the Commission on 20 May 2016.
Norway and Iceland signed a treaty with the EU in 2009 to apply certain provisions of the Decisions. Neither state has ratified the agreement as of 2015. This agreement does not apply to Denmark, as a result of its opt-out. The Council of the European Union authorized the launch of negotiations with Switzerland and Liechtenstein on their participation in the Prum regime in June 2016. Proposals to conclude agreements with each state were put forward by the European Commission in January 2019. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom have opt-outs from participating in the Council Decision, but Ireland and the UK decided to opt-in. The agreements were signed on 27 June 2019.