Deutsche Welle : Bad News for Europe's Criminals

Quote Originally Posted by DW
Freedom of movement within the European Union is one of its greatest advantages, not only for its law-abiding residents but also for its criminals. But inter-European networking has proved to be simpler for those with illegal intention than for law enforcement officials, hampered by legal systems that differ from country to country and technical and administrative limitations. The borders that have long been open to every else have just recently opened for the police.

Five EU countries -- Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Spain -- officially linked their criminal data bases on Tuesday, a step that Belgium Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx considers "a small revolution."

In the past, public prosecutors investigating cross-border criminals were required to file a formal request in the language of the respective country -- which could easily cost weeks and lots of paperwork. With the new electronic version, it is now possible to access crucial information on suspects and criminals in just a matter of hours. The e-mailed request will even be answered in the language in which it was made.
This is an excellent initiative, but I am surprised that with Europol and common Schengen visas this kind of common database didn't exist yet.