Statewatch News Online: Emergency Justice and Home Affairs Council - press release

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EU: Emergency Justice and Home Affairs Council - press release, 19.3.04

The press release from the emergency meeting of the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels on Friday 18 March 2004 has been released. Full-text of JHA press release, 19.3.04 (pdf) Daily Telegraph (link)

It is extraordinarily vague and general and contains no detail. The only new ideas which were not covered in the Commission's Action Plan - which strangely is not even mentioned - are:

1. A European Programme for the protection of witnesses

2. "Priority" for "the proposals under the retention of communication traffic data" (which was on UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett's "wish-list"). It is not at all clear what this refers to. In August 2002 Statewatch published a leaked draft Framework Decision on mandatory data retention EU-wide, see: Statewatch: Special Report which contains: Full-text, report and analysis (pdf) - the Danish Presidency denied the existence of any plans: Report

3. Mr Solana's proposal for "the establishment of the position of a counter-terrorism coordinator" was "examined" by the meeting. Mr Solana argues that the post should be based in the Council not the Commission.

4. The press release also seeks to distinguish between measures "specifically aimed at combating terrorism" and "others" which "have more general aims" (that is to deal with crime in general and with surveillance).

5. A new concept of "Permanent Security" was discussed - what is this, the EU version of "Homeland Security"?

The proposals will be discussed at the General Affairs Council on 22 March and then finally endorsed at the EU Summit (the 15 Prime Ministers) on 25-25 March - maybe by then more information will be available.

See also: Homeland Security comes to the EU: European Commission publishes Action Plan on terrorism (and crime): Report and documentation

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