The European Parliament on Thursday approved the Metsola Report, which establishes an EU law to create a new European “False and Authentic Documents Online System (Fado)”.
The report was approved with a huge cross-party majority, clearing the final hurdle to becoming part of European law.
The vote followed months of negotiations, led by Dr Metsola, between the European Council, the European Commission and all the political groups in the EP.
Dr Metsola, Parliament’s rapporteur on the new law, said citizens had a right to security. The new Fado system supported EU states in the rapid sharing of images of genuine, false and forged documents, which is essential to fighting criminality.
The fraudulent use of documents across Europe increased significantly in the last years and it had to be tackled. Criminals were changing their methods and the law had to be one-step ahead.
"This law is especially important for States like Malta. It will ensure the better protection of the Union’s external borders, safeguard the free movement of people in Schengen and facilitate the movement of people across borders who carry valid travel, identity and residence documents.
"It will help our authorities detect false documents and give them the tools they need, and are asking for, to do their job."
It would also protect the rights of people whose identities were being used by criminal networks, even without their knowledge.
The law finalised the reform of the European Border and Coast Guard, for which Dr Metsola was also rapporteur.