Analyses on new EU measures affecting civil liberties post-11 September

Statewatch has completed two analyses of the new measures being proposed in the EU following 11 September. One covers the new legislature measures, the other new "operational" measures.

Analysis of legislative measures

Of the eleven measures being rushed through in the EU, six were proposed before 11 September 11 and another four were firmly on the EU’s agenda. The only genuinely new ‘anti-terrorist’ measure is the commitment to examine immigration and asylum legislation “with reference to the terrorist threat”, which suggests a general tightening of controls on all asylum-seekers, immigrants and third-country nationals entering the EU.

The Framework Decision on terrorism (which would have been proposed at this time anyway, regardless of events in the USA) is the only measure that is specifically directed at ‘terrorism’. All the other proposals in the action plan are geared towards the investigation and prosecution of a range of crimes, and none are limited specifically to terrorism.

A number of the proposals raise important civil liberties and human rights issues, with the Framework Decisions of particular concern. European Arrest Warrants will replace all extradition procedures in the EU but will also remove some of the legal and procedural safeguards currently enjoyed by people sought by other states. The proposed mechanism for freezing assets has been negotiated in secrecy, with no drafts available to the public since February 2001. It is balanced heavily in favour of the prosecuting (or “requesting”) state, and in the long-term may replace the presumption of innocence with an obligation on suspects to prove to the authorities in another country that their assets were acquired lawfully.

As it stands, 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 it goes well beyond the investigation and prosecution of terrorism.

Statewatch analysis of the legislative measures, full-text: Analysis no 6 (html) Analysis no 6 (pdf)

The "Anti-terrorism roadmap" - analysis of "operational measures"

The EU's plans post-11 September concerning justice and home affairs and civil liberties have been set out in a number of documents. The general plan was set out in the "Conclusions" of the special meeting of Justice and
Home Affairs Ministers on 20 September. This report analyses the "operational" measures as distinct from the new legislative measures proposed.

Many of the "operational" initiatives 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.

Statewatch analysis of "operational" measures, full-text: Analysis no 7 (html) Analysis no 7 (pdf)

For details of all new post 11.9.01 measures and full documentation please see: Statewatch "Observatory": In defence of freedom & democracy: New laws & practices affecting civil liberties and rights after 11 September in the EU, UK and US


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