G5 meeting in Evian, 4-5 July 2005 - operational conclusions

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G5 meeting in Evian, 4-5 July 2005 - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK

Points of note in the Conclusions below:

1. The intention to back the extension of the gathering of biometrics from EU passports (agreed December 2004) to:

"the use of biometrics to all identity documents including driving licences"

2. Cooperation (2.2.3) on notification of "illegal content" on the Internet and creating the legal means to "allow illegal websites to be closed down without delay".

3. Ministers agreed to develop "joint grouped flights for the repatriation of irregular immigrants" (3.5)

4. "Strengthened controls at the internal borders" (3.7) building on bilateral actions on rail networks between France and Italy, France and Spain, and Germany, Austria and Italy.

Operational conclusions

"The Ministers of the Interior of the G5 countries meeting in Evian on 4-5 July 2005 resolved to adopt the following policy directions:

I - Electronic national identity cards

In the absence of Community competence, the G5 has set itself the target of ensuring that the new electronic identity cards to be issued in the future by the five partner counties are technically compatible and interoperable, in order to enable their citizens to take advantage, wherever they may be, of the facilities now made possible by e-administration. With the objective of enhancing security for travel documents, the use of biometrics, compatible with the european standard for passports, is aimed at id cards.

A comparative technical study on the existing projects is to be conducted between now and the end of the year. This standard will cover common modes of identification, authentication and signature. The G5 countries wish to open up a dialogue with the other States in the Union, in line with the Hague programme which stated: "the European Council requests the Council and Commission to prepare the development of minimum standards for national identity cards"

Generally speaking, G5 will work to extend the use of biometrics to all identity documents including driving licenses.

II - The fight against terrorism and organised crime

2.1. Information exchange: the principle of availability

The principle of availability was laid down by the Hague Programme adopted at the end of 2004 and is in the process of being defined within the European Union. It assumes that a police officer in Member State would have access to information of an other Member State relevant to his investigations The Member States of the G5 have therefore set themselves the goal of making relevant law enforcement data available to each other in order to enhance the effectiveness of national law enforcement agencies. Methods of implementing this "principle of availability" continue to be investigated by G5 experts, who will work closely with the EU Presidency.

Concerning fingerprinting and DNA, the ministers resolved to establish an exchange mechanism on genetic traces and fingerprints. The ministers are to give instructions to the G5 experts to define the technical and legal parameters for such a project.

Concerning missing persons and unidentified bodies, in the context of natural disasters, the ministers agreed to facilitate exchanges of information on missing persons.. A G5 working group is to put forward proposals to the ministers before their next meeting.

Concerning identity theft, an alert network will be formed between the G5 countries: each country will designate a national contact point with responsibility for new forms of document forgery. The G5 countries will look to take joint action against the
practices of certain countries which falsify travel documents.

Concerning stolen vehicles, the G5 Member States, the main producers of motor vehicles in Europe, will conduct a consultation of carmakers and insurance companies in order to put in place a system for the identification and location of stolen vehicles. They will pay close attention to the work undertaken by the Commission and the Council.

Concerning ballistics, the ministers have agreed to implement the same software program for the analysis of evidence and comparison of firearms and munitions, with a view to facilitating exchanges of data and analyses.

Concerning intelligence on criminal activities, the Member States have agreed to enhance input into analytical files and to further improve cooperation with Europol.

2.2. The fight against international terrorism

2.2.1. Exchanges of operational intelligence

Exchanges of operational intelligence within the G5 are well-established and have shown themselves to be useful. The ministers therefore decided that they should be continued, notably in order to improve the information they have on international terrorism. They will continue the systematic exchange of information about individuals and groups that have been involved in terrorist networks as early as the next meeting of experts to be arranged by the future German presidency of the G5.

2.2.2. Weapons and materials capable of being used for terrorist attacks

The ministers have put in place an alert system to ensure that all thefts of weapons and explosives that might be used to carry out attacks will be immediately notified to all relevant agencies in the five countries. To this effect, the five ministers designated national points of contact whose task will be to circulate the operational intelligence.

The G-5 will continue to promote the initiative proposed by Spain to start an integrated system for explosives protection in order to prevent and fight terrorism while developing reglementation and control of commercial explosives manufacturing, transporting, storage and use. After the system has been implemented and its operation has been checked within the G-5 countries, its aim will be its application within the whole European Union.

2.2.3. The use of the Internet to further terrorist or criminal activity

The five ministers request that Europol consider the improvements that it might be able to make to efforts to counter terrorist or criminal use of the Internet, on the basis of the following policy focuses:

- encouragement for the creation of national hubs for the notification of illegal content on the Internet in order to speed up and optimise processing of detected offences by the legal system,

- facilitation of exchanges of information on identified websites, their locations and the nature of their content,

- consideration of possibilities for a joint or shared analysis.

In addition G 5 members will examine in an expert group:

- implementation of the legal means and the instruments for international cooperation in order to allow illegal websites to be closed down without delay,

- a raising of the awareness of actors in the private sector, and notably Internet Service Providers, to their responsibilities and the behaviour our democracies wish to see them adopt with regard to these issues.

The ministers agreed on the need for the European Union to speed up the adoption of the European framework decision on the retention of connection data by telephone and electronic communications operators, this being an essential reform if legal proceedings are to be successful with respect to the new forms of criminal activity now using telecommunications

2.3. The fight against narcotics

On the model of the joint platform against cocaine trafficking that they had established in Colombia and Martinique, the five ministers agreed to pool their resources to combat with greater effectiveness all forms of trafficking (heroin, cocaine, cannabis and synthetic drugs) and all sources inside and outside the European Union (Latin America, Afghanistan, the Mediterranean, The Balkans). Several projects will thus be commenced:

On the Atlantic front: the possibility of setting up a centre for the analysis of maritime intelligence on the Atlantic front is being studied. Europol has a major role to play in the success of this initiative. Five countries are partners in this project:

Spain, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Portugal,

and the meeting of the G5 has also made it possible to obtain the approval of the German and Italian partners.

On the Mediterranean front: the member countries of the G5 could adopt an approach on cannabis trafficking which should lead on to actions undertaken in partnership with Morocco.

On the Middle Eastern front, the Balkans and Central Asia : a mechanism to combat heroin trafficking will be put in place in the region on the basis of the pooling of G5 liaison officers. The aim is to optimise the gathering of operational intelligence of use to our countries, to provide support for investigations and to facilitate the execution of operations involving deliveries under surveillance.

On the distribution of drugs in Western Europe, the G5 Ministers agreed on the need to take urgent action to tackle the problem of illegal drug production in EU member states and to improve intelligence on the methods of distributing cocaine and heroin entering the G5 and neighbouring countries as a basis for collective action to disrupt supply.

III - Border control and the fight against illegal immigration

3.1. Generalisation of biometrics and pooling of consular resources

On the basis of lessons learnt from conclusive experiments carried out by France, Germany and the United Kingdom in several of their consulates abroad, the ministers express their agreement in principle to speed up the generalisation, of the use of biometrics (photos and fingerprints) for delivery of visas. They decided, together with the ministers of Foreign Affairs, to pool the equipment used in their respective consulates for collecting biometric data. They agreed to establish jointly a list of their consulates in third countries which should be given priority in the implementation of an activity which would eventually lead to the VIS system. These could be consulates in countries such as the Maghreb region, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

3.2. Deliverance of visas and consular passes

The G5 will study the terms under which a link can be established between policies for delivering visas and those used by countries of origin for delivering consular passes.

This exercise will carried out on an experimental basis with a list of countries to be defined jointly. It will take into account historical ties already existing with some of these countries in matters of immigration.

3.3. Exit checks

To strengthen the combat against illegal immigration resulting from the fact that legal immigrants stay on and become illegal, the ministers have decided to set up control and registration mechanisms not just for entry but also for exit from their territory.

For the Schengen area, they note that the application of VIS could represent a concrete basis to enable them to control entries and exits.

3.4. Air borders

Furthermore, they welcome the approach of air borders proposed by the United Kingdom, they will support the deployment of each others Airline Liaison Officers (ALOs), use national ALOs to the benefit of all wherever possible, and create G5 ALO teams in certain high risk locations. They will exchange experience on the copying of documents by airlines before travel. The UK will keep partners informed of progress on its E-borders programme, with a view to seeing if the Schengen area could benefit from adopting any elements of it, while respecting Community rules and in particular Schengen legislation on border crossing.

Responding to the proposal made by the United Kingdom, the five ministers agreed to study jointly the data of relevance to the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism, along with the techniques recommended, and to work with the Commission in tabling a proposal at the JHA Council in 2005, (PNR).

3.5. Immigration by sea from Africa

The G5 welcomed the following proposals from Italy on this problem, which will soon be studied by a group of experts:

- joint patrols in the Mediterranean

- co-operation in repatriation

- joint analysis of migration flows from sub-Saharan Africa

- joint investigation teams at the departure point for immigrants

The ministers also agreed to develop joint grouped flights for the repatriation of irregular immigrants.

3.6. The European Border Agency and co-ordinated border control

Recognising the importance of the European Border Agency in the co-ordinated EU fight against illegal immigration, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring the Agency has a positive early effect and is able to begin its operational work as soon as possible. In this regard they support the proposal to form a pool of operational experts in each member country, who can take part in operations under the co-ordination of the Agency.

3.7. Implementation of strengthened controls at the internal borders of the European area Taking as a model the bilateral actions currently being organised on the rail networks between France and Italy, between France and Spain, and between Germany, Austria and Italy, the ministers resolved to undertake further operations within the G5 framework, specifically:

- on eastern routes linking Slovenia, Austria, Germany Italy and France as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France,

- with regard to east-west routes, common targeted action will also be undertaken with regard to coach companies providing international passenger transport services.

3.8. Readmission and direct repatriation to the country of origin

The G5 partners designated national points of contact forming an alert network in the event of an exceptional situation arising, as decided on 12 May 2005.

The ad hoc expert group will examine the issues surrounding readmission chains, taking into account the positions of the partners concerned.

In addition, the G5 partners will continue to support the Commission in its negotiation of Community readmission agreements and will exchange experience of bilateral readmission negotiations.

3.9. The dismantling of people smuggling organisations

In order to be more effective on this issue, the G5 ministers resolved to strengthen exchanges of intelligence, relying for this on the liaison officers in place in each of the countries and on regular meetings between specialist agencies. The commitment of these departments to common objectives and an increase in operational exchanges will make it possible to build a common core, in anticipation of future joint investigations.

IV. Avoiding abuses of family immigration

The five ministers noted that their countries were facing similar conditions and challenges in the area of family immigration. Without calling into question the principle of family reunion which is a right recognised in Europe for regularly settled foreigners, they agreed to put an end to abuses and violations of procedures.

For this reason they agreed to carry out and in depth comparative study of the state of family immigration and the rules applied to it in each of their five countries. On the basis of this study, a common frame of reference for family immigration could be established for the five countries in order to create similar rules which could strengthened and applied with a long term prospect of changes in the Community directive on family reunion. This will be reexamined in 2007.

V. Promoting the immigration the best students

Wishing to improve the hosting and training of the best foreign students in their universities, without prejudice to the future development of their countries of origin, the ministers agreed to call jointly for a considerable increase in the number of students receiving scholarships from the European programme Erasmus Mundus and to open it up to doctorate students.

Moreover, they decide to create similar conditions for hosting foreign students so as to afford them equivalent access to a first professional experience in one of the five countries."

Press comments:

1.Europeans join forces on migrants: Ministers for the Group of Five want to control illegal immigration Five major European countries have agreed to organise joint flights to deport illegal immigrants from the EU: BBC

2. G5 interior ministers agree to joint expulsions: expatica

3. Guardian

4. AKI, Italy: AKI

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