Vol 4 no 1, January 2004
Contents: * Irish Presidency * Immigration & asylum * Police & criminal law * Europol & SIS * Terrorism * Drugs policy * Civil law * Key Resources
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IRISH PRESIDENCY, JANUARY-JUNE 2004
1. January 2004 sees Ireland take over the rotating six-month presidency of the EU. Four Justice and Home Affairs Councils have been scheduled, for February, March, April and June. The Irish presidency work programme is available here (17.12.03, pdf file). Specific work programmes have been produced for external relations policy (7.1.04, pdf file), immigration, border controls and asylum policy (9.1.04, pdf file) and the Article 36 Committee (7.1.04, pdf file). There is also an Irish presidency website.
While media attention focuses on the Irish government's handling of the draft EU constitution, its presidency is also significant because of the May 2004 deadline for the implementation of Amsterdam Treaty provisions and "Tampere conclusions" on the creation of the so-called "area of freedom, security and justice" (AFSJ).
2. An "Operational Programme of the Council for 2004" has been prepared by the incoming Irish and Dutch Presidencies (19.12.03, 51pp, pdf file) together with a "Multiannual Strategic Programme 2004-2006" from the next six EU presidencies (Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, UK, Austria and Finland, 1.12.03, 25pp, pdf file). The Irish/Dutch document is called "Seizing the Opportunities of the Enlarged Union" and the three year plan covers the constitution, enlargement, the AFSJ and "the Union as a global player" (1.12.03, 25pp, pdf file).
3. The Commission's DG for Justice and Home Affairs has updated its "JHA scoreboard", a 121 page report on the "progress made in implementing the conclusions of the Tampere European Council as well as the delays in the legislative process and what remains to be achieved" (draft version, unreferenced, pdf file). The scoreboard has been produced bi-annually since March 2000. Another review has been published by the Commission's DG for Press and Communication, entitled: "Freedom, security and justice for all: Justice and home affairs in the European Union" (December 2003, 21pp, MS word document). In June 2004, the Commission will produce a "Communication that will provide a global and objective assessment of the achievements and eventual failures in implementing the Tampere agenda and meeting the obligations set by the Amsterdam Treaty. The assessment will take into account the outcome of an on-line consultation of the EU citizens and interested parties, which is going to be launched shortly".
4. The SEMDOC Legislative observatory has been updated with all policy developments during December and the legislative schedule of the Irish presidency. Forthcoming measures in specific fields are listed below.
IMMIGRATION & ASYLUM
5. The Directive on expulsion by air, adopted by the Council in November 2003, has been published in the Official Journal. The member states have until 6 December 2005 to comply with the Regulation.
6. Draft Conclusions that replaced the proposed Directive on expulsion by land were adopted by the Environment Council of 22 December 2003 (2.12.03).
7. The Environment Council of 22 December 2003 also adopted, without debate, three Decisions amending the EU Common Consular Instructions on visa applications. The first relates to interviews of visa applicants at consulates: CCI amendments 1 (12.3.03).
8. Under the second amendment to the CCI, visa applicants will have be required to travel insurance in most cases: CCI amendments 2 (2.6.03).
9. The third decision allows greater possibility for the member states to issue Schengen visas on each others' behalf: CCI amendments 3 (3.6.03).
10. The European Parliament is not consulted on the amendments to the CCI because of Regulation 789/2001, which reserves to the Council implementing powers with regard to certain detailed provisions and practical procedures for examining visa applications. The same is true of updates to the Common Border Manual (see Regulation 790/2001). The EP is seeking to annul these Regulations at the Court of Justice.
11. A matter in which the European Parliament enjoys full "co-decision" and the Agriculture Council of 17 December 2003 adopted the EP's amendments to the Commission's proposed Regulation on financial and technical assistance to third countries in the field of migration and asylum policy. This is a "Third Pillar", JHA initiative - part of broader EU plans for global migration controls - but comes under the "First Pillar" (economic and social policy). The proposal will now be adopted following legal and linguistic checking.
12. A decision to conclude the readmission treaty with Hong Kong was adopted by the Agriculture Council on 17 December 2003. The negotiations were completed back in November 2001 (link includes the full-text of the agreement).
13. Another proposal, to conclude the treaty on Approved Destination Status with China, was presented by the Commission on 15 December.
14. The following initiatives are expected during the Irish presidency:
- Commission report on single asylum procedure, resettlement programmes and external asylum applications;
- European Refugee Fund programme for 2005-2009;
- proposals on the Visa Information System (see also SIS, below);
- proposed restructuring of the EU Common Border Manual;
- draft Regulation on the inclusion of biometrics in the passports of EU citizens;
- Commission report on the connection between legal and illegal migration (i.e. "quotas" in return for readmission);
- proposal on EC funds to assist returns;
- report on EU readmission policy.
A full list of forthcoming immigration and asylum measures, based on the Commission "scoreboards", action plans, work programmes and presidency schedules is available here.
POLICE AND CRIMINAL LAW
15. On 1 January 2004 the EU Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant entered into force between eight member states - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The main hearing in extradition procedures between these countries will no longer consider the facts of the case (the allegations, evidence etc.) but only whether any of the "barriers to extradition" apply. The other seven member states have missed the deadline set by the Council.
This report from Statewatch News Online examines the new procedures in the UK. A table summarising the EAW and extradition procedures in the 15 member states has been produced by the EU Working Party on cooperation in criminal matters (Experts on the European arrest warrant) (12.1.04, pdf file). Sweden has also summarised its EAW procedures (22.12.03,pdf file).
16. A Framework Decision on the sexual exploitation of children was adopted by the Environment Council on the 22 December 2003 is fourteenth the Framework Decision on police and criminal law since the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty (May 1999). It requires the member states to criminalise and prosecute offences relating to forms of child pornography and prostitution.
17. The European Commission announced a "compromise" on the exchange of Airline travellers data (PNR) with the US. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, said that the deal:
"heralds a EU-USA axis initiative seeking to impose the exchange of passenger data globally through the ICAO. This will be the first step to vetting all passengers before they get on a plane, boat or cross-border train - denying boarding to those considered an immigration or security risk. The global surveillance of travel will not be limited to combating terrorism but will extend to "other serious crimes" - which is now defined so broadly as to include everything but very minor offences. What is quite unforgivable is that the European Commission thinks that the EU-USA deal - with a state which has no data protection laws and no intention of adopting them - is a better basis for a global standard than the EU's data protection laws which have served as a model for many countries around the world." (Statewatch News online).
18. A report on the implementation of the Title VI funding programmes - Grotius II-Criminal, Oisin II, Stop II, Hippocrates and Falcone programmes - for the year 2002 has been produced by the Commission (23.10.03, pdf 92pp).
19. The Irish presidency has presented a proposal to give legal personality to the European police college (15.12.03). A "provisional" European police college was established in January 2001.
20. An evaluation report on the activities of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) was produced by the Commission in August 2003 (4.8.03). It was accompanied by a report from the OLAF Supervisory Committee (4.8.03). The Council adopted conclusions on the OLAF report on 22 December 2003 (18.12.03).
21. An annual report on the activities of the European network for the protection of public figures has been published (11.11.03 and COR 1, 16.12.03, pdf files). A seminar on the protection of public figures was also held in Madrid between 11-14 November (3.12.03, and COR 1, 9.12.03, pdf files).
22. The Agriculture Council of 17 December 2003 approved the signature of a mutual legal assistance treaty with Norway and Iceland.
23. The Commission has proposed EU signature of the UN Convention on corruption (4 Dec. 2003).
24. A Decision extending the EU Convention on corruption to Gibraltar, taken in June 2003, has been published in the Official Journal.
25. The Resolution on football match bans has also been published in the OJ.
26. The following initiatives are expected or have been provisionally scheduled during the Irish presidency:
- proposals on Financial intelligence units and terrorist funding;
- the long awaited Proposal concerning minimum guarantees for criminal defendants;
- draft Framework decision on money laundering via means of cash checks;
- Commission Communication on police and customs authorities.
A full list of forthcoming police and criminal law measures, based on the Commission "scoreboards", action plans, work programmes and presidency schedules is available here.
EUROPOL & SIS
27. A draft Europol cooperation agreement with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has been prepared. It excludes the exchange of personal data (21.11.03 and COR 1, 1.12.03, pdf files). For more information on the UNODC, see their website. A full list of Europol treaties with third states and agencies is available on the SEMDOC legislative observatory, Title VI international treaties.
28. The Commission has produced a Communication on development of Schengen Information System II and Visa Information System (11.12.03).
TERRORISM & CRISIS MANAGEMENT
29. Amendments to the EU's "Terrorist List" are becoming a Christmas tradition. As usual, the update was made by "written procedure". Seven members of ETA have been removed from the list of terrorist individuals (18 members of ETA remain on the list) and the Great Islamic Warriors Front (IBDA-C) in Turkey has been added to the organisations (from Statewatch News online).
30. The Environment Council of 22 December 2003 adopted a "Non confidential report on the terrorist activity in the EU" covering the period October 2002 to October 2003 (9.12.03, pdf file; note: this is the first draft of the report, REV 1 and REV 2 (the adopted version) have not yet been made available by the Council).
31. A report on the implementation of the EU work programme to improve cooperation in preventing and limiting the consequences of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear terrorist threats was also adopted by the Environment Council (18.12.03, pdf file).
32. The JHA Council on 28-29 November 2003 agreed to exchange of classified documents with third states on "crisis operations", including Justice and Home Affairs issues (from Statewatch News online).
33. The last issue of the Monitor reported "general agreement" on the Framework Decision on drug trafficking. A revised version of the text has now been produced (25.11.03).
34. A Commission proposal criminalising the synthetic drugs 2C-I, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7 and TMA-2 was adopted by the JHA Council of 27-28 November 2003. The substances are amphetamine derivatives and have hallucinogenic and stimulant properties. Although there have been no reported cases within the EU of death or poisoning due to the drugs,they have been banned on the same grounds as other hallucinogens in the 1971 Schedules of the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Decision was taken within the framework of the 1997 Joint action on new synthetic drugs.
35. The Environment Council of 22 December 2003 approved the work programme of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for 2004-2006. See the EMCDDA website for information about their work, which includes the risk assessments on new synthetic drugs for the EU Council.
36. The Regulation on Parental responsibility has been published in the Official Journal. The Regulation will enter into force on 1 August 2004 and be applicable from 1 March 2005 (see Article 72).
37. The Decision on the signature of Paris Convention on liability in case of nuclear accident has also been published in the OJ.
38. A case on the interpretation of Council Regulation 1348/2000 on the service of civil law documents has been lodged at the Court of Justice: Case C-443/03.
39. The Commission has proposed EU signature of the Convention on securities held with an intermediary (15 Dec. 2003).
KEY RESOURCES on the SEMDOC website
a. For all new material added to SEMDOC, see: What's New
b. Observatory on the draft EU Constitution
c. Key Texts, all the primary texts for reference: Key Texts
d. Justice and Home Affairs acquis: 1993 - ongoing: JHA Acquis
e. Justice and Home Affairs Councils (Agendas, Background Notes, Press Releases and minutes) are added as soon as they become available
f. The main Legislative Observatory is listed on the SEMDOC home page: Legislative Observatory
g. Back issues of this version of the Statewatch European Monitor:
December 2003 (vol 3 no 6)
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