From the 25th to 28th of April, Friends of Europe organised the Security Jam, a massive online brainstorm on global security and defence challenges. Held every two years since 2010, it brings together several thousand participants to discuss security in real time on a state-of the-art online platform, from anywhere in the world, for 77 straight hours.

In 2014, we published the top ten recommendations from the Security Jam 2014. None of the recommendations have been fully adopted, but progress has been in some of them, including on the top recommendation of an EU / NATO strategy update, as well as stronger international coordination on cybersecurity.

However, one of the Security Jam 2014 recommendations seems more timely than ever. The Jammers suggested the creation of an EU public database on migration, asylum and human trafficking flows. They argued the EU should set up and maintain an up-to-date and public common picture of migration, asylum and human trafficking flows and operations to ensure an integrated, comprehensive, and coherent approach, just as ReliefWeb does for disaster response.

ReliefWeb is a digital service run by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Set up in 1996, it publishes round-the-clock disaster and crisis updates and analysis for humanitarian organisations, so they can make timely decisions and better plan and coordinate assistance. A clear, visible platform could keep public opinion informed of the facts and help coordinate the response of public authorities and NGOs from across the EU.

In fact, one of the Jam participants argued that the main attraction of a public website tracking migration flows is to provide a big picture of what various organisations are doing, and to help them to coordinate more effectively:

Image of a citizenOne of the major problems that’s been made very clear in all the forums during this year’s Security Jam is that we just don’t know who is doing what… Partnering is a great innovative way to leverage all the resources committed to a common cause, but to find partners one has to know who is doing what. A Common Operating Picture is needed. ReliefWeb is a great example of the power of knowing what’s going on.

However, another Jammer cautioned that there were limits to how effective a public website could be:

Image of a citizenI agree that ReliefWeb is excellent, but let’s be clear: it’s a platform for public information, and operational agencies absolutely do not share their sensitive information or even their internal planning and objectives… Perhaps a good platform for aggregating public information and thinking would be useful, but this won’t translate to real coordination, let alone strategic alignment, any more than it does for the humanitarian sector.

Should there be an EU public migration database? Or would a public website tracking migration flows fail to translate into real coordination? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!


39 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Sebastien Chopin

    no databases for anyone… if we create one for the refugees then there wil be a time soon after that when we justify creating it for everybody else

    • avatar
      bert van santen

      Ofcourse not, why do we need a database for migrants?
      First: it`s a known fact that lots of migrants use ID`s provided by IS.
      In other words, it`s impossible to check anything.

      Second, it`s a known fact that migrants who have tried the Balkan route, have thrown away their ID to try the Libyan- Italian route.

      In an Italian check up was the result that almost 40% of the migrants had already passed one or more check points in Greece.

      Merkel announced in August 2015 that all migrants where welcome in Germany, so why a database with mainly false names?

      Mr Chopin, I have got nothing to hide, truckdriver, almost 60 years of age.
      If the EU losers want to put me in a system, go on, do it, spill more good taxpayers money.
      I need to pay taxes anyway, and since the social system in the Netherlands has been destroyed for that crazy 3% EU nonsence talk since 2002, there will be no state pension left.

  2. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    There are over 1 million migrants already in Schengen so its a bit late for a database & even if you did have one they would all claim to come from Syria.

    Just more pro EU nonsense.

  3. avatar
    Olivier Dutreil

    We should have border control and european data base.it s EU Job that you ahould have done at schengen enforcement…but you are paid to sleep…

  4. avatar

    Please tell me that you let million refugee untagged, fingerprinted, DNA sampled in.

    • avatar
      bert van santen

      That`s correct yes.
      And You know what? Check Greece and Italy, what`s coming towards us, ………another million.

  5. avatar
    Antonios Forlidas

    As long as we the christian civilized West did not intervene in the extermination of the countries where the refugees come from , we did not have any problems with death , destruction, terrorism and refugees influx, Now we should not complain, We should pay the price of our arrogance, And this is only the beginning,

  6. avatar
    Željko Komšić

    OOOHHH…YOU WANT TO TELL ME THAT EUROPE DOESNT HAVE ANY..!!!?..’nough sad what politicians in Brussel actually do..
    actually Antonios….some of european politicians MUST pay the price…names are well known…

  7. avatar
    Franck Néo Legon

    of course. non Schengen peoples should be checked and then possibly let in. that is what a border means.

  8. avatar
    Claudio Bartoletti

    shengen , does it really exist, or are borders being closed to put Italy on their knees, bunch of bafoons all that was needed was a naval blockade at the root of the problem, but we all know some people are making money, i hope that these european countries in primis Germany will get what they deserve, the wheel does turn

  9. avatar
    Vlasta Peric


  10. avatar
    Chloe Mavrommati

    Databases are not enough. Migrants get rid of their passports during their voyage at sea, then they all become Syrian refugees…. How do you get real data on each person arriving in Europe? What should be done, is return migrants on the spot to where they came from, if they present no papers. It is stupid to believe that they have lost their documents in the short psssage between Dikili and Lesbos, when at the same time they arrive with their last model CELL PHONE INTACT!!!! Turning them back would discourage them ftom “losing” their passports. I think that Europeans should wake up and deal with this dangerous situation NOW, database or no database……

  11. avatar
    Danny Boy

    Over a million migrants wandering at will around the continent and now they start talking about a database.Stable doors and bolting horses spring to mind.

  12. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Yes, of course!

    It is imperative that the UK has a database of EU foreigners on its soil,

  13. avatar
    catherine benning

    More surveillance of us all you mean don’t you? Not simply those who enter our lands illegally or even legally. It is us you have relentlessly watched, not those who mean us harm. We are the easy target.

    Free movement of people was not meant to import millions from outside our borders in order to reduce the living standards of the indigenous. It was meant for ‘Europeans’ to be free and prosper in any part of the continent they felt a connection to and with.

  14. avatar
    Claudio Bartoletti


  15. avatar
    Pier Dal Ri

    There is an inhabiitants database, we get also a tax id as we are born, and you dare to question wether we should know and record who is coming or not! You must be kidding.

  16. avatar
    Sue Anderson

    Since I live in France and I am a UK citizen I might be finger printed should Britain leave the EU. So be it.

  17. avatar
    Franck Néo Legon

    of course, checking and then maybe registering and letting in if everything is ok is the meaning of a border.

  18. avatar
    RW Buck

    Greeks ignored data provided by Dutch specialists about the huge numbers of forged travel documents they encountered at the border. Therefore, registration of refugees should include some unalterable marker: e.g., DNA, fingerprints, eye scans. Names, places of former residence, etc., are no longer a reliable proof of identity in today’s world.

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