EU: Parliaments to have no say over the "harmonisation" of national ID cards

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The Council of the European Union: National ID cards: State of play of identity cards (EU doc no: 13152/1/10, pdf) includes chart with further details on national ID card plans. Background see: Statewatch Briefing: ID Cards in the EU: Current state of play (pdf).

The Council Presidency also proposes that as there is no legal basis to discuss "harmonisation" under the comitology procedures (Article 6 Committee) the Lisbon Treaty should be used to extend the scope of the existing False Documents Working Party. So the very same day, 14 September 2010, the Council Presidency also circulated: Presidency's proposal regarding the activities of the Working Party on Frontiers / False Documents (EU doc no:13151/10, pdf), to extend the role of the False Documents Working Party in order to combat organised crime, "illegal" immigration and criminal activities. The Working Party will also be producing "legislative acts" in the "Mixed Committee" (the EU 27 member states plus the additional Schengen members - Norway, Switzerland and Iceland). The legal basis for this change is to be Article 77(3) of the TFEU under Lisbon whereby the Council can adopt measures concerning:

"passports, identity cards, residence permits or any other such document with a view to facilitating the freedom of movement in the territory of the Member States"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Despite the general move to ordinary legislature procedure (co-decision) for the adoption of new measures jointly by the Council and the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty a number of policy areas retain the old bad system of simply "consulting" the parliament - and Article 77(3) is one of them.

The content (eg fingerprints) and use of data collected, processed, stored and exchanged, within the EU and outside, for passports and ID cards (citizens and resident third-country nationals) is highly controversial.

Yet in this critical area affecting peoples' freedom and liberty the European Parliament will simply be "consulted" - asked for its opinion which on historical precedent will simply be ignored and national parliaments will have no role at all."

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