(Council docs. 13689/02; 13689/02 add 1; and 13996/02)
The Charter should become part of the treaties, subject to a number of important clarifications made to its horizontal provisions as regards competence, limitation clauses, and rights other than those based on the EC/EU Treaties and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The European Union should also be granted competence to accede to the ECHR.
The Commission's recent Communication on border control (COM (2002) 233) sets out a number of proposals for developing common control of the EU's external borders. The principal elements in this plan are a 'common unit' of senior border control officials to control the implementation of a common border control policy; further exchange of information between a large number of authorities, including the Schengen Information System, the visa information database, police authorities and Europol; and the development of a Common European Border Corps with powers to check people at the border, deny them entry, board vessels and arrest individuals.
Submission by Statewatch to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, sub-committee "E" on the proposal to combat terrorism
Many of the “operational" initiatives in the Conclusions and the "roadmap" concern the creation of ad hoc, informal, groups, targets and cooperation. There is little or no mention of accountability to the European parliament or national parliaments. No mention at all of data protection or to recourse to courts for individuals who might be affected. Moreover, there is a real danger that these "temporary" arrangements will become permanent leaving a whole layer of EU inter-agencies informal groups, information and intelligence exchanges and operational practices quite unaccountable.
In sum, the “anti-terrorism” programme amounts to little more than the fast-tracking of a raft of law enforcement legislation that was already on the EU’s agenda and goes well beyond the investigation and prosecution of terrorism
The following analysis comments on the context of the proposal; the future of the proposal; the legal effect of the proposal if adopted; and the text and civil liberties implications of each Chapter of the proposal.
The Council has expressed its intention to fast-track two Framework Decisions on terrorism and the European Arrest Warrant, both of which were due to be proposed at this time anyway. The proposal on terrorism has raised concerns because it includes a definition that could also cover protests and “urban violence”.
Statewatch submission to UK House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee inquiry into democracy and accountability in the EU and the role of national parliaments
EU to adopt new laws on terrorism: definition of "terrorism" to cover groups with the aim of "seriously altering... the political, economic or social structure" of one or more countries and their institutions and includes "urban violence"
EU plans on public order would give control of operations to the newly-created EU “Task Force of Chief Police Officers” which has no legal basis for its activities; create mechanisms for “operational” cooperation for which there are no legal powers; legitimise the ongoing surveillance by “police and intelligence officers” (internal security services) of “persons or groups likely to pose a threat to public order and security”; create national databases of “troublemakers” based on suspicion and supposition without any legal standards or data protection and the unregulated exchange of this data; and allow EU member states to pass laws to prevent people from going to protests in other countries if their names have been recorded as “suspects” or if they have been convicted of minor public order offences (obstructing the highway).
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