European Parliament supports EU definition of terrorism and European arrest warrant

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On Wednesday 6 February the European Parliament voted, by an overwhelming majority, to support the two proposed Framework Decision on combating terrorism and on creating a European arrest warrant. An attempt by the Green/EFA group of MEPs to get an amendment to the European arrest warrant proposal was defeated by 412 votes to 122 against with 20 abstentions. The Green/EFA group and the ELDR (Liberals) group backed the amendment, the PSE (Socialist) and PPE (Conservative) groups voted against. The Framework Decision on combating terrorism was agreed by 484 votes to 32 against with 34 abstentions.

The two Framework Decisions, originally put forward by the European Commission, were substantially amended by the Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) and thus had to be re-submitted to the European Parliament. However, the European Parliament chose to simply endorse the Council proposals. The way is now clear for the Council to formally adopt the measures after national parliamentary scrutiny reserves, by Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and UK, are withdrawn - this is expected by May. The Framework Decision on combating terrorism will come into effect on 1 January 2003 and the European arrest warrant on 1 January 2004.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The European Parliament has now endorsed the EU governments' definition of terrorism - a definition which has already been massively extended by the governments in a later decision on which the parliament was not even consulted. The parliament has also agreed to the creation of a European arrest warrant which fundamentally lacks provisions to protect the rights of the individual.

These two measures are just the start of the "war on freedom and democracy" which is now underway"

Background documentation

1. Council of the European Union text on combating terrorism: Full-text (pdf) Full-text (Word 97) correction: COR (Word 97)
2. Council of the European Union text on definition of terrorism: 14845/1/01
3. European Parliament report adopted 6.2.02: EP report (pdf)

4. Statewatch critique of the European arrest warrant proposal: Analysis (pdf)
5. Statewatch's critique on original Commission proposal on combating terrorism: Analysis (pdf)
6. Statewatch's critique of the Council's agreed position (now agreed by the EP): Analysis (html)
7. Statewatch's critique of the "Christmas coup", 27.12.01, redefining terrorism and agreeing list of terrorist groups and individuals on which the EP was not consulted: Analysis
8.Critical report by the UK parliament's European Scrutiny Committee on the European arrest warrant: UK

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