The EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council reached agreement on 11 June 2007 about a Council Decision on the stepping up of cross-border co-operation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime, incorporating in the framework of the Union important provisions of the Prüm Treaty dealing with police co-operation and information exchange on DNA-profiles, fingerprints and vehicle number-plates.
These elements of the Prüm Treaty, signed by Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria on 27 May 2005, have now become part of the legislative framework of the European Union and will be implemented in all member states.
After this implementation, designated contact points of member states' law-enforcement agencies will have mutual access to each others' DNA, fingerprint and vehicle-registration information systems.
Commission Vice-President Franco Frattini, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, welcomed the agreement: "This is the result of very expedient discussions in the Council with a view to rapidly achieving real progress. Cross-border crime and terrorism demand an effective and efficient cross-border response by police and criminal justice. It is a very important first step in view of the implementation of the principle of availability."
In response to the agreement on transferring Prüm provisions into EU law, UK Home Office Minister Joan Ryan said: "I am delighted that we have reached an agreement today on this important issue. The proposed measures will help to protect the public by improving the ability of law enforcement authorities across the EU to share information with each other.
"Criminals do not respect borders. It is therefore vitally important that our law enforcement authorities have the tools available to obtain information held by other EU countries as quickly as possible to help with the investigation and prevention of crime."
But British Conservative MEP Syed Kamall, speaking to the BBC, described the Prüm Treaty as "a dangerous pet project of the German presidency".
"In forcing it through, the Germans have ignored the views of the European Parliament and the concerns of the EU data protection chief," he said.
"We are sleepwalking into a Big Brother Europe while our government stands idly by."