EU: Internal security: "common risk indicators", internet monitoring, a European police register, entry bans and more

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

On 23 November the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council sent produced a detailed note outlining who is doing what within the Council to implement the EU's Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy, which was adopted in June 2015.

The strategy covers everything from terrorism to environmental crime and the note provides information on dozens of projects trying to put it into practice. This includes work on "common risk indicators" for border guards, cooperating with technology corporations to launch a counter-terrorism "IT platform", proposals to interconnect national police databases through a "register", and cooperation to better implement "certain categories of entry ban".

The note: Presidency to: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security, Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy: Report on Implementation, 14079/15, 23 November 2015 (pdf)

Fundamental rights

Given the vast number of projects aimed at enhancing surveillance, information-sharing and operational cooperation between law enforcement agencies, it is interesting to first examine the role of the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens' Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP). The note says:

"Regarding security and respect for fundamental rights...

– security and respect for fundamental rights are consistent and complementary policy objectives;
– Member States and the EU need to work together to ensure that all security measures comply with the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, with appropriate safeguards to ensure accountability and judicial redress;
– proportionate and legitimate responses also foster peaceful, inclusive and diverse societies and integrate respect for fundamental rights into planning and implementing counter-terrorism and other law enforcement actions from the outset."

Aside from its "overrarching human rights angle," FREMP took part in the Commission-organised "Colloquium on Fundamental Rights" in October, which:

"focused on actions ahead, centred around 4 areas: empowerment of local level, especially through education, cooperation with IT companies, civil society and media, implementation of hate crime laws and strengthening anti-discrimination laws."

The working party also "took note of outcome of conferences".

Many other Council working parties have lengthier agendas.

Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI, 12 items)

"COSI, as established by Article 71 TFEU [Lisbon Treaty] and laid down in the Council Decision of 25 February 2010, has a central role in ensuring that operational cooperation on internal security is promoted and strengthened within the Union as well as in developing, implementing and monitoring the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020. The progress in the implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy will therefore be closely monitored by COSI, which will discuss a number of operational issues related to the priorities identified in the renewed ISS. For some of the items listed below, this will be done on the basis of work carried out by other Working Parties."

  • Implementation of the EU Policy Cycle [Measure 35]: The Policy Cycle is aimed at enhancing operational law enforcement cooperation. A growing number of non-EU countries are getting involved, as are customs authorities; remaining work includes involving more non-EU states, adopting Operational Action Plans for 2016 (by the end of 2015), examining "the possibility to develop a methodology for a structured and multilateral approach for operational cooperation on countering terrorist threats," as noted in Council conclusions of 20 November (pdf)
  • European Agenda on Migration [Measure 33]: COSI will "ensure that the actions of the Policy Cycle are streamlined with the European Agenda on Migration, in particular with regard to THB [trafficking in human beings] and smuggling of migrants," including through joint meetings with other Council working parties
  • Integrated Border Management [Measures 13]: Currently being implemented: the "operationalisation of the common risk indicators," intended to be use for spotting potential foreign fighters at border crossings, enhanced use of the Schengen Information System and Interpol databases
  • Terrorism [Measures 21, 22 and 25]: COSI is starting to take much greater interest in Europol, which recently presented its TE-SAT (Terrorism Situation and Trend Assessment) report to the working party; COSI has also held discussions on Europol's European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC) and Internet Referral Unit (IRU)
  • EU Forum with IT companies [Measure 23]: "The Commission briefly referred to the EU Forum at the COSI meeting on 21 October 2015. First meeting is planned to take place on 2 December 2015." COSI will "give guidance on the activities of the Forum."
  • Firearms [Measure 29]: COSI is awaiting proposals from the Commission on new firearms legislation, due in 2016, and is meanwhile concerned with the outcome of the current Policy Cycle Operational Action Plan on firearms, "the specific Europol threat assessment on firearms", trafficking in firearms, initiatives with Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries; and increasing the use of Interpol's firearms database
  • Administrative approach [Measure 32]
  • Links internal-external security [Measure 36]. See: Plans emerge for the collection of personal data outside European borders to obtain "comprehensive situational awareness and intelligence support" (Statewatch News Online, October 2012)
  • Cooperation between JHA Agencies [Measure 15]
  • Information exchange [Measure 5]
  • Fight against drug trafficking [Measure 30]: "COSI will also discuss the future of the MAOC-N [Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics] structure on the basis of a presentation by the Presidency."
  • Development of a global approach to PNR: "COSI will be invited to express itself on various possible options for exchanging PNR with third countries."

    Article 36 Committee (CATS, 4 items)

    "CATS is a Council senior level committee of the Directors and Directors General at the Ministries of Justice and Home Affairs in the Member States. It assists Coreper in relation to legal, horizontal and strategic matters in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters."

  • (Additional protocol to) the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism [Measure 24]: The EU has signed up to the Additional Protocol, and: "A proposal from the Commission to update the existing Framework Decision 2008/919/JHA on combating terrorism with a view to implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 on foreign terrorist fighters is expected in 2016."
  • Data Retention Directive [Measure 9]: National justice ministers will discuss the current situation and future of data retention at the JHA Council on 4 December, after which: "Specific follow-up will be provided, as appropriate"
  • E-evidence [Measures 17 and 38]: Numerous discussions have been held on the acquisition and sharing of digital evidence, and: "This issue will be taken further and specific follow-up will be provided, where appropriate, further to the debate of the Ministers of Justice in December."
  • Criminal justice response to radicalisation: The meeting of justice ministers in December is likely to adopt conclusions on "the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism"

    Terrorism Working Party (TWP, 8 items)

    "The Terrorism Working Party discusses the operational aspects of CT(as opposed to COSI, which discusses CT issues at strategic and policy shaping level). It should assess the terrorist threat; manage and improve cooperation instruments, define new cooperation instruments (e.g. the role and responsibilities of Europol in the field of terrorism) and continue cooperation with COTER (Second Pillar) ["external" terrorism, i.e. outside the EU] via a joint meeting during each Presidency"

  • EU Forum with IT Companies [Measure 23]: "The next meeting within the internet platform with industry will take place on 27 November 2015. Apart from all the big internet providers, the platform counts 21 Member States and the CTC among its participants. The meeting will focus on the production of counter-narratives, culminating in the launch of an IT-platform back-to-back with the December JHA Council."
  • Prevention of radicalisation [Measures 21, 22, 25 and 28]: Radicalisation "hotlines", prisons, criminal justice, updates from the Syrian Strategic Communications Advisory Team (SSCAT) and launching the Internet Referral Unit (IRU) at Europol.
  • Presentation of R&D contribution to actions against radicalisation [Measures 25]: The TWP is due to be given a presentation by the EU-funded SAFIRE project (Scientific Approach to Finding Indicators and Responses to Radicalisation), which "has focused on the real needs of the policy-makers and of the security practitioners"
  • Western Balkans counter-terrorism initative (WBCTI) [Measure 27]: The TWP has adopted "draft Council Conclusions on the Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, including an attached action plan covering 2016-2017 to be adopted at the December 2015 JHA Council."
  • Foreign terrorist fighters [Measure 24]: "On 21 October 2015 the Presidency made a summary of the questionnaire on withdrawal of travel documents, focusing on recent MS legislation that had been introduced by a number of MSs, establishing power to seize travel documents to hinder persons intending to travel to engage in terrorism activity. A written summary was circulated at the following TWP meeting."
  • The link between terrorism and organised crime [Measure 36]
  • CBRNE-E Progress report on the implementation of Action Plans [Measure 26]
  • Presentation of R&D contribution to the detection of improvised explosive devices (IED) [Measure 26]

    Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP, 11 items)

    "The main goal of LEWP is to contribute to ensuring security in the Union by enabling police and other law enforcement agencies to better combat cross-border crime. In line with the principles set out in the renewed ISS, this is done, inter alia, by increasing cross-border cooperation, including operational cooperation, and mutual trust, as well as ensuring a cross-sectorial approach."

  • Europol Regulation [Measure 2]: "Negotiations on the draft Europol Regulation are ongoing and political agreement with the EP is expected to be reached by the end of 2015."
  • Glossary of Firearms Terminology [Measure 29]
  • Security-related research and industrial policy: "The report on the recent activities of ENLETS [European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services] and the implementation of the Council Conclusions will be discussed by the LEWP on 25 November 2015." For more on ENLETS, see: EU funding for network developing surveillance, intelligence-gathering and remote vehicle stopping tools (Statewatch News Online, January 2015)
  • Financing of organised crime and the infiltration of the licit economy by organised crime [Measure 36]: "The report on the recent activities of the @ON network and its contribution to addressing the financing of organised crime and the infiltration of the licit economy by organised crime will be discussed by the LEWP on 25 November 2015."
  • Combatting the environmental crime [Measure 34]
  • Development of the European Forensic Area [Measure 14]
  • Assessing strategic training needs [Measure 19]: "On the basis of the ongoing preparatory work by CEPOL [the European Police College] on this subject, a thematic discussion on training needs could take place at the LEWP at a later stage."
  • Organisation of Joint Police Operations [Measure 15]
  • Cooperation between customs and law enforcement agencies [Measure 15]
  • Internet based organised crime [Measure 36]
  • Administrative approach [Measure 32]

    Customs Cooperation Working Party (CCWP, 3 items)

    "The CCWP deals with the operational cooperation between customs authorities from Members States, at experts and plenary level. In this sense, the outcomes and conclusions of debates, actions, Joint Customs Operations etc. organised under the auspices of this Working Party should feed into the work related to the renewed ISS, bringing on board the customs perspective on aspects like firearms, drug trafficking and NPS, cash movements, counterfeit goods, the use of Internet or criminal activities etc."

  • Finalise the Action Plan 2014-2015 and adopt the Final Reports for Actions 7.1-7.4, 7.8, 7.9 and 7.11. The Presidency will finalise Action 7.10, which concerns environmental crime [Measure 34]
  • Adopt a new Action Plan 2016-2017 [Measures 29, 30 and 37]: "the following challenges and threats should be taken into account for the drafting of the next Action Plan: firearms, cigarette/tobacco smuggling, synthetic drugs (NPS), counterfeit goods, use of information technology and internet for criminal activities, cash movements, excise duty/MTIC fraud and environmental crimes."
  • Cooperation between customs and law enforcement agencies [Measure 15]

    Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX, 4 items)

    "With regard to information exchange, the Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) is mandated to improve cross-border law enforcement exchange while taking due account of the protection of personal data, in particular by examining the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA ("Swedish Framework Decision" (SFD)) and the "Prüm Council Decisions" 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA. To that end, DAPIX is furthermore implementing the Council's Information Management Strategy (IMS) aiming at technical solutions to current information exchange issues."

  • Prüm Decisions [Measure 6]
  • Swedish Framework Decision on "simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the EU" [Measure 6]: "Since the legal implementation has been nearly completed, awareness rising at both political and practical level should be envisaged."
  • IMS (Information Management Strategy) [Measure 5] concerning the improvement of interoperability of national and international systems (both on a organisational and technical level)
  • European Police Register Information System (EPRIS) [Measure 7]: DAPIX is planning to offer information to the Commission for legislative proposals, but as DAPIX's work is based on the French/Finnish ADEP (Automation of the Data Exchange Process] project, it has been delayed.

    Friends of the Presidency Group (FoP) on Cyber Issues (5 items)

    "FoP has been created with the main objective of ensuring a horizontal coordination of cyber policy issues within the Council by providing a platform for information exchange and priorities setting through strategic political discussions covering a broad range of issues related to security and resilience of networks and information systems, cyber defence, fight against cybercrime and EU international cyber policy"

  • Monitor the implementation of the EU Cybersecurity strategy [Measures 37 and 38]
  • Ratification of the Budapest Convention [Measure 37]
  • EU positions in international fora [Measure 39]: "The FoP will, through thematically focussed meetings, seek to form/consolidate EU position or to provide political guidance in respect to the ongoing external discussions on international security issues, including the norms for responsible state behaviour. It will also continue to be involved in the preparations for the World Summit on Information Society+10 Review Process, the IANA transition and to work for reaffirming the MSH model in Internet governance."
  • Discuss (legal) gaps in the fight against cybercrime and practical responses [Measure 37]: "The obstacles to cybercrime investigations were the central topics for discussion at the last two cyber attaches meetings held on 19 October 2015 and 9 November 2015: lack of information, loss of location, interaction with the private sector, e-evidence, abuse of encryption and anonymity, data retention, IP addresses."
  • Presentation of R&D contribution against cybercrime [Measure 38]

    Working Party on Schengen Matter ("SIS/SIRENE" configuration) (5 items)

    "This Working Party, which meets in different configurations (Evaluation, Acquis, SIS/SIRENE and SIS TECH) deals with all aspects regarding the correct implementation of the Schengen acquis by Member States. The SIS/SIRENE configuration examines measures related to checks on persons and efficient monitoring of the crossing of external borders."

  • Monitoring the application by Member States of the common risk indicators [Measure 14]: "In most Member States, the implementation of the recommendations led to an increasing number of alerts and hits and had, as a consequence, an enhancement of the cooperation between the different involved authorities, both law enforcement and State security."
  • Coordination mechanism to improve the implementation of certain categories of entry ban alerts [Measure 11]
  • Monitoring the application by Member States of the common risk indicators [Measure 13]
    SIS II [Measure 12]

    Working Party on Frontiers (1 item)

    "The Working Party on Frontiers (including its Mixed Committee formation) is the Council body primarily responsible to examine the EU Borders Policy related issues (be it of legal, or practical nature)."

  • Examine the application by Member States of the common risk indicators [Measures 13 and 14]: "The Presidency has received replies from 19 MS on questions regarding i) the use and the operationalisation of common risk indicators, ii) the inclusion of these indicators in the respective national analysis, iii) the possible increase of checks on persons enjoying the freedom of movement under Union law and the relevant statistics on these checks and iv) information on reasons why (if any) the recommendations contained in the Schengen Handbook have not been implemented."

    Working Party on General Matters including Evaluatons (GENVAL, 2 items)

    "The GENVAL Working Party is a horizontal and cross-cutting justice and home affairs Working Party, covering both criminal law and related security aspects. It deals with issues in these areas that are not dealt with by COSI or any other Working Party, in particular relating to organised crime, crime prevention (excluding terrorism), and coordinates the process of mutual evaluations of Member States' practices in the area of law-enforcement (except Schengen evaluations)."

  • PNR Directive [Measure 1]: "The main work on this file obviously took place in the context of the trilogues and technical meetings with the EP." See: PNR: Mass surveillance legislation creeps closer: leaked compromise text (Statewatch News Online, 1.12.15)
  • Support to local authorities on the administrative approach to prevent and disrupt organised crime [Measure 32]

    Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG, 2 items)

    "The Horizontal Working Party on Drugs is tasked with leading and managing the Council’s work on drugs. It performs both legislative and general policy work and takes a strategic approach, in particular via the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020, which is implemented through the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016. This Action Plan named the fight against drug trafficking as one of the key pillars of the Strategy. It also is in charge of new legislation on drugs.

    "In practice its work is more focused on horizontal issues, demand reduction side and international cooperation on drugs rather than on operational aspects related to fighting drug trafficking."

  • International cooperation in the field of drugs [Measure 31]: "On 4 September 2015 the Presidency organised the EU-Western Balkans dialogue on drugs which discussed among other topics drug supply reduction. A similar meeting with The Russian Federation was held on 8 October 2015, where an important part of the agenda was devoted to reducing drug supply and tackling NPS as well as drug trafficking as regards Afghanistan and Central Asia. On 2 December a similar meeting will be held as a videoconference between the EU and the US drug experts."
  • Legislative package (Regulation and Directive) on new psychoactive substances (NPS) [new Measure 4]: "The Horizontal Working Party on Drugs continues to examine the legislation on new psychoactive substances, aiming at establishing the most efficient mechanism to tackle this challenge."

    Working Party on Cooperation in Criminal Matters (COPEN, 2 items)

    "COPEN is tasked with legislative activities regarding the cooperation between the Member States in criminal matters, where a core principle is the mutual recognition of judicial decisions. The working party examines initiatives relating to mutual legal assistance in criminal proceedings, the surrender and transfer of sentenced persons, the enforcement of judicial decisions."

  • Implementation of mutual recognition instruments (e.g. European Arrest Warrant, European Investigation Order) [Measure 17]: "Continuing the ongoing evaluation of Member state implementation and discuss possible solutions to difficulties encountered."
  • European Public Prosecutor's Office [Measure 18]: "COPEN has continued working on the Commission proposal for a European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Presidency aims at reaching an agreement in principle on the text of Articles 17-37 at the Council of 3 December. This would mean that the core chapters of the Regulation (organisation, investigation, prosecution, procedural safeguards) will have been provisionally closed by the end of the year."

    The note: Presidency to: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security, Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy: Report on Implementation, 14079/15, 23 November 2015 (pdf)

    Our work is only possible with your support.
    Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


    Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

    Report error