EU plans to extend the Schengen Information System (SIS)
01 December 2001
The Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) are discussing plans to create two new dedicated databases on the Schengen Information System (SIS). The first database would cover public order and protests and lead to:
"Barring potentially dangerous persons from participating in certain events [where the person is] notoriously known by the police forces for having committed recognised facts of public order disturbance"
"Targeted" suspects would be tagged with an "alert" on the SIS and barred from entry the country where the protest or event was taking place.
The second database would be a register of all third country nationals in the EU who will be tagged with an "alert" if they overstay their visa or residence permit - this follows a call by the German government for the creation of a "centralised register".
Both of these new databases are being put forward under the post 11 September "Anti-terrorism roadmap" (item 45 on the version of 15.11.01, to "Improve input of alerts into the SIS").
In its report following the protests in Gothenburg and Genoa on 13 July the Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed to the creation of national databases of "trouble-makers" but put off the decision to create a centralised EU-wide database, see: Statewatch report: EU plans the surveillance of protestors
This initiative comes in the context of the debate over the definition of terrorism to be agreed by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 6-7 December. The draft on the table
would embrace protests and protestors in the definition of terrorism.
Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, commented:
"After the protests in Gothenburg the EU governments adopted far-reaching plans to put protestors under surveillance. After 11 September the European Commission proposed a definition of terrorism which also extended to protests.
Now under the EU's "Anti-terrorist roadmap" we have the frightening prospect that details of suspected protestors and dissenters will be held by the Schengen Information System on one centralised, computerised EU-wide database and all "foreigners" in the EU held on another - and both are to be the subject of "targeted" action and/or surveillance. Protestors and "foreigners" are to be targeted as representing primary "threats" to the internal security of the EU."
The full Statewatch report with more details on "foreigners" registers and the European Commission's Communication on illegal immigration: Full report - the "enemy within" II
SIS to hold database on protestors
The Conclusions of the special Justice and Home Affairs Council on 13 July - after Gothenburg but before Genoa - said that:
1. Police and intelligence officers should: "identify persons or groups likely to pose a threat to public order and security"
2. All legal and technical "possibilities" should be used for the: "more structured exchanges of data on violent troublemakers on the basis of national files". At that time the Council (EU governments) were divided 8-7 against the creation of a "European database of troublemakers".
3. All legal possibilities: "should be used to prevents such individuals.. from going to the country hosting the event". The criteria for preventing people attending protests is to be "serious reasons" (in the eyes of police and security agencies) to believe that: "such persons are travelling with the intention of organising, provoking or participating in serious disturbances of public law and order".
The rationale of these Conclusions feed into the post 11-September definition of "terrorism" put forward by the European Commission which extends to protests and demonstrations (see,
European Commission publishes new security rules before its rules on the public's right of access to its documents