The Criminal Procedure Out of Itself: A Case Study of the Relationship Between EU Law and Criminal Procedure Using the ETIAS System

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Table of Contents: I. The cumulative complexities of ETIAS. – II. ETIAS, element of a Global Information System. – II.1. Integration conditions. – II.2. The integration mechanisms. – III. ETIAS, element of a penal mechanism. – III.1. Differentiating the criminal and administrative functions of ETIAS. – III.2. Blurring of the penal and administrative functions of ETIAS. – IV. Conclusion.

Abstract: In order to manage migratory flows, the large-scale information system ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) aims to establish whether third- country nationals whose country takes part in visa-waiving agreements could be authorized to travel to the EU. This Article intends to shine a light from a legal perspective on the ambivalence of the means and ends of the ETIAS database. ETIAS is not solely an instrument of migratory flow management. It is also, more discretely, a criminal justice instrument. In addition to the administrative function of ETIAS, there is a law-enforcement capability: once data pertaining to candidates seeking travel authorization is collected, it becomes available to ends which are estranged from the administrative function of ETIAS. This Article intends to highlight the opaque nature of ETIAS resulting from its cumulating complexities at the crossroads of law and information technology, EU and member states competences, administrative and criminal laws. ETIAS is indicative of a more global model that it is helping to deploy, suggesting the prospect of a data set pertaining to migrants and available for criminal purposes. In conclusion, this Article raises the following questions: is ETIAS compatible with fundamental liberties? And in this respect should its hidden criminal dimension raise concerns?

Keywords: databases – large-scale information systems – area of freedom, security and justice – criminal repression – migration management – fundamental rights.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 473-492
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/478

* Lecturer in European Law, University of Rennes,
** Lecturer in Criminal Law, University of Rennes,


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