Information databases / repositories from various practitioners at National and European level are not interconnected.
Information exchange among practitioners of EU Member States, as well as between Member States and third countries, is of crucial importance. Limited access to information regarding third countries provides an additional obstacle. Municipalities, NGOs, and universities have been working on a system to predict migration flows from data received from migrants and countries of origin. European projects along with their respective online platforms create a valid means to share information and develop these data exchange tools. Information exchanges must exercise caution as data security should be guaranteed and well protected, and technological glitches addressed promptly. A sizeable amount of information may be found in social networks and it has been observed that social media have the capacity to drive migration flows. It should be noted that it is vital in this aspect to not forget the human factor. Often, information exchange between practitioners is not technological but procedural. Similarly, in several cases, physical meetings are preferred by practitioners for the exchange of personal data since certain technological systems are not always secure. Information exchange between LEAs and EU agencies such as Europol and FRONTEX is continuous. There is also exchange between the Member States with the support of the European agencies. It should be noted that certain information exchanges between Member States’ LEAs need a specific judicial or high rank hierarchy authorization. NGOs have a protocol for exchanging information with LEAs, which takes in consideration the confidentiality of the data. Furthermore, NGOs frequently exchange information with other NGOs. This information exchange is especially important when dealing with vulnerable migrant cases. In addition, those who work with unaccompanied minors are always in contact with public authorities and prosecutors. Understandably, information related to minors is delicate and must comply with the GDPR. Consequently, before sharing personal information with other organizations or practitioners it is necessary to ask for permission from the public prosecutor’s office.
There are EU networks available for information exchange vis-à-vis reception and asylum services, namely the European Migration Network (EMN) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) network.
NGOs have more opportunities to get information directly from migrants through interviews which can complement LEAs’ information. Similarly, reception centres and municipalities that approach in a second phase need the received information by the NGOs who approach migrants immediately after arrival.