US direct access to Europeans’ biometric data for visa-free travel?

The US government demands direct access to databases of European police services containing biometric data of European citizens. The US makes this entry mandatory for countries participating in the so-called Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States without a visa. At the beginning of this year, US authorities sent a letter to almost all EU member states demanding access to fingerprints and facial images. This would concern suspected or convicted criminals and terrorists and asylum seekers. Later, the registration data of residents were also mentioned, as stated by journalist Matthias Monroy in a presentation this week. The European Council confirmed last September that the US had sent the letter to conclude an Enhanced Border Security Partnership (EBSP) by 2027, with more data to be exchanged to continue participating in the Visa Waiver Program. The European Council says it has discussed the US plans internally and additional information is required, particularly on the scope of biometric data requested. “A dialogue at a technical level will take place between the EU and the US for this purpose,” said the Council. Talks between the EU and US took place two weeks ago, which also discussed the Enhanced Border Security Partnership and the “value of bilateral information sharing” under this program. No further details have been given, except that the proposal will be discussed at European level in the future.