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Cabinet seeks to extend access to EU database

Switzerland joined the EU fingerprint database in 2008 as an associate member Keystone

The Swiss government wants to grant prosecutors access to the Eurodac fingerprint database of asylum seekers and people illegally crossing into the European single border territory.

The proposed agreement with the European Union is aimed at improving internal security, according to a statement by the Federal Migration Office on Friday. The move comes amid concerns about criminal foreigners.

The cabinet plans to consult the two foreign policy committees of parliament before defining a mandate for negotiations with Brussels.

Non-EU member Switzerland joined Eurodac, operational since 2003, as an associate member in 2008. The EU recently revised its regulations to allow prosecutors access to the database; Switzerland now wants to follow suit.

Last week, the House of Representatives agreed to adapt Swiss laws to the EU’s Dublin rules which allow police to send asylum seekers back to their first European country of arrival.

The Senate, the other parliamentary chamber, still has to discuss the amendment.

Satellite navigation

In another development, parliament on Thursday approved a cooperation treaty with the EU which paves the way for Switzerland to participate in the Galileo global navigation satellite system, being built by the EU and the European Space Agency.

 Its aim is to provide an alternative high-precision positioning system, independent from a network controlled by the United States army.

Switzerland and Brussels have concluded more than 120 major accords over the past 40 years.

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