Council Regulation 2725/2000 of 11 December 2000 (pdf) establishes a system known as "Eurodac", i.e. a fingerprint database that assists the asylum procedure. It mainly helps to determine which Member State is competent for asylum applications (see Council Regulation 407/2002 (pdf) laying down certain rules to implement Regulation 2725/2000 concerning the establishment of "Eurodac" for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of the Dublin Convention).
The system consists of a central unit, a computerised central database for comparing the fingerprint data of asylum applicants, and means of data transmission between the Member States and the central database. The EDPS is responsible for supervision of the system in cooperation with the competent national data protection authorities.
► Read more on the supervision of Eurodac
When a participating country sends a set of prints to Eurodac, it knows immediately if they match up with others already on the database. If so, it can choose to send the individual back to the country where he or she first arrived or applied for asylum; the authorities there are responsible for making a decision about the candidate’s right to stay. If not, the country that submitted the prints handles the case.
► Read more on the Commission's Freedom, Security and Justice website