Interoperability (IOP)


On 20 May, 2019, the European Union adopted two regulations on interoperability (IOP). They provide for the development of four new interoperability components, to be made available by the EU to the Schengen Member States and the associated countries to support the implementation of interoperability:

  • European Search Portal – ESP
    Makes it possible to run simultaneous searches in multiple EU information systems
  • Common Identity Repository – CIR
    Provides a shared container for storing biometric and alphanumeric identity data from EU information systems
  • Multiple Identity Detector – MID
    Enables the detection of possible multiple identities. These identities can then be linked to one another and the information saved in the different EU information systems
  • Shared Biometric Matching Service – sBMS
    Makes it possible to cross-check biometric data from several EU information systems

The ESP can be used to consult alphanumeric identity data (e.g. surname, first name and date of birth) and biometric identity data (fingerprints and facial images) in the CIR, which includes the following EU information systems: the EES (Entry/Exit System), the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), the VIS (Visa Information System), Eurodac, the SIS (Schengen Information System), Europol and Interpol databases.

Interoperability (IOP) of information systems

When suspected multiple identities are identified automatically using MID data from two systems, but these identities cannot be attributed definitively to one and the same person, the MID match must be verified manually by the relevant authorities.

Implementation in Switzerland

The implementation of the IOP regulations in Switzerland falls within different spheres of competence of the Confederation and the cantons. Firstly, the national systems need to be connected to the four main IOP components (ESP, CIR, MID and sBMS). Secondly, it should be ensured that the generated MID matches are verified manually.

Since the EU’s interoperability project also concerns systems and organisational entities that fall within the sphere of competence of fedpol, fedpol has established its own project organisation. The two projects, IOP SEM and IOP TO fedpol, are basically carried out independently, but are closely coordinated. The project teams are in close contact and coordinate the project phases.

The EU intends to gradually roll out the IOP components by the end of 2023. Switzerland is implementing the components in accordance with this timetable. The IOP SEM project was initiated in February 2019 and released for implementation in November 2020.

Last modification 14.12.2020

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