Statewatch news online: EU coverage (06/08)

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Statewatch News Online,  23 April 2008 (06/08)
Home page:

1. EU: Protests: Proposal to create EU-wide
"troublemakers" database: full story:

- to "prevent individuals or groups who are
considered to pose a potential threat to the
maintenance of public law and order and/or
security from travelling to the location of the
event" - and to put in place: "The necessary
arrangements for a quick and efficient
implementation of the potential expulsion
measures" - EU Security Handbook: "The scope of
the manual is now such that it applies to the
security (both from a public order point of view
as well as counter-terrorism) of all major
international events, be it political, sporting, social, cultural or other."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"We can now see a pattern emerging across the EU
where people who exercise their democratic right
to attend cross border protests are confronted by
aggressive para-military policing, surveillance,
preventive detention and expulsion.

This is a reflection of the EU's definition of
"security" at international events which is now
defined as covering both "counter-terrorism" and "public order".

Back in 2003 the bilateral exchange of
information on "suspected troublemakers" between
EU states for international events was agreed.
What is proposed now is not the one-off exchange
of information related to a specific event but a
permanent EU-wide database of suspected
"troublemakers", this is utterly unacceptable in a democratic Europe."

See also: Policing protests in Switzerland, Italy and Germany:

Liberties Union (ACLU) Letter to the President of
the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party:

The letter, from Barry Steinhardt, Director of
ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, says that
US agencies, through agreements with EU service
providers which allow data and content to "pass
through" the USA, is conducting extrajudicial surveillance of Europeans.

      - "Internet transactions and email between
Europeans is increasingly sent through servers in the U.S."

      - "In many ways this situation is similar
to the SWIFT case: transactions between two
individuals in Europe may well transit
      through U.S. telecommunications companies
and as a result will be made accessible to the U.S. government."

      - "This activity involves no oversight or
legal protections for non-U.S. persons. As a result, the communications of
      European citizens are completely vulnerable to abuse."

      - "We believe that this situation clearly
violates European legal requirements for the fair
and lawful processing of personal

3.  EU: Council of the European Union: Annual
report on access to documents, 2007:

Worthy of note is the growth in the number of classified documents:

"350 (original language) sensitive documents were
produced in the period concerned, 26 classified as "SECRET UE" and
324 as "CONFIDENTIEL UE". Of these, 3 "SECRET UE"
document and 61 "CONFIDENTIEL UE" documents are
mentioned in the register, in accordance with
Article 9(2) and Article 11(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001."

Of the 350 classified documents produced during
the year only 64 were listed on the Council's register of documents.

In addition, applications were examined for
access to 802 documents classified as "RESTREINT UE" - 35,3 % concerned
European Security and Defence Policy, 28% Common
Foreign and Security Policy CFSP and 25.5% Justice and Home

The top issue for which documents where applied
to the Council for access to was Justice and Home Affairs: 20,1 % in
2004 to 22,5 % in 2005 and 24,5 % in 2006, reaching 26,8 % in 2007.

4. EU-JHA-ECRE: Memorandum to the JHA Council:
Ending the asylum lottery ­ Guaranteeing refugee protection in Europe:

5. EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN: Annual report:
"Ombudsman: EU institutions must become more transparent":

Press release:
Executive Summary:
Annual report - full text (link):

6. EU: European Institute of Public
Administration (EIPA) Seminar: Transparency and
Data Protection: Cooperating or Conflicting
Elements of Good Governance? Programme, 15-16 May
2008, Maastricht (NL):

7. EU: Draft Framework Decision on the
enforcement of decisions rendered in absentia and
amending Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the
European arrest warrant and the surrender
procedures between Member States (EU doc no: 8074/08):

8. ECJ-TRANSPARENCY: Interesting new opinion on
transparency issues re aviation security rules
which were kept secret: Opinion of Advocate
General Sharpston delivered on 10 April 2008,
Case C-345/06 Gottfried Heinrich (Full-text):

Aviation security Liberal's & Democrat's
opposition to secret annexes vindicated by EU
advocate general (ALDE, press release):

9. EU: Opinion of the European Data Protection
Supervisor (EDPS) on proposed changes to privacy
in electronic communications directive:

10. EU: Dick Marty, Chairman of the PACE
Sub-Committee on Crime Problems and Fight against
Terrorism cautions European Union against
endangering cohesion and effectiveness of
anti-terrorist action:

Mr Marty questions the Commission's proposal on
incorporating the Council of Europe's Covention on terrorism which would:

      "establish the criminal offences of public
provocation to commit a terrorist offence,
recruitment for terrorism and training
      for terrorism. However, it omits to include
the convention's Article 12 safeguard clause in the operative text of the
      framework decision. Mentioning fundamental
human rights only in the preamble or in a recital is not enough. The message,
      outside as well as inside Europe, must be
clear: anti-terrorist measures must be conditional on respect for fundamental
      human rights." (emphasis in original)

and see: "White man's burden": criminalising free speech by Ben Hayes:

      "While the recurring publication of the
'Danish cartoons' of the Prophet Mohammed continues to provoke anger in the
      Muslim world and a defence of 'free speech'
in the West, a proposed EU law on "public provocation" to terrorism could
      criminalise widely held political views ­
but it has barely raised a murmur."

11. EU: Article 29 Working Party Opinion on:
Opinion on data protection issues related to search engines:

Search engine activities threat to privacy, says EU report (euobserver, link):

12. EU-EUROPOL-TERRORISM : EU terrorism situation and trend report 2008:

CHILDREN: The latest Council (EU governments)
text on visas and biometrics comparing their
current position with that of the original
Commission proposal and that of the European Parliament: EU doc no: 6962/08):

It should be noted that there are many
differences between this draft and the views
of  the European Parliament. On the controversial
issue of finger-printing children for EU
passports and travel documents the Council
position is that: "the majority view is 6 years
with the possibility of going lower on the basis
of national law" (EU doc no 75679/08):

Thus any government would be able to adopt a lower age, even at birth.

14. European NGOs ask Court to annual data
retention Directive: Submission concerning the
action brought Ireland v Council of the European Union Case C 301/06

43 civil liberties NGOs and professional
associations based in 11 European countries today
submitted a brief to the European Court of
Justice, asking it to annul an EU directive
ordering the blanket registration of
telecommunications and location data of 494 million Europeans.

15. EU-LISBON TREATY: Report from the House of
Lords European Union Committee: The Treaty of
Lisbon: an impact assessment - Vol 1 (5.4 MB):

and Evidence Vol 2 (4.3 MB):

16. EU: Standing Committee of experts on
international immigration, refugees and criminal
law: Views on the Commission report on the
evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX


Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error