Statewatch news online: EU coverage (03/08)


The Council of the European Union (the 27
governments) and the European Parliament are
currently in co-decision negotiations over the
content on which includes the issue at what age
should children be finger-printed for the issuing
of visas. The Council is proposing children of 6
years of age and above while the European
Parliament wants it to be 12 years of age and
above: EU doc no: 6067/1/08 REV 1 (the document
contains a useful chart comparing the positions
of the Council, Commission and European Parliament):

In a different, but complementary Council fora,
the SCIFA/Mixed Committee is discussing the same
issue not just for visas but also for all EU
passports and travel documents (ie: resident
third country nationals, Schengen ID cards): EU doc no: 6138/08:

In this high-level Working Party the Council
Presidency notes that while there is a "majority"
of governments in favour of 6 years and above
three governments - Czech Republic, France and
Portugal - think it would be "possible" to take:

"fingerprints even for children below the age of 6 years"

While two governments - Germany and Austria -
support the 12 years old and above proposal from the parliament.

The Council Presidency is proposing that it
should be decided whether each government should
be able to decide its own limits - some would be
12 years, some 6 years and some at birth?

"It needs also to be decided if member States
should be allowed to collect fingerprints of
children under the age of 6 on the basis of the national legislation."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"It is to be hoped that the European Parliament
will not budge on this issue. EU governments have
been discussing this issue as a technological
one, at what age is it possible to take reliable
fingerprints from children, when it is a moral
and political question. This comes in parallel
with the Commission's idea that peoples' visas,
passports and travel documents, including those
of children, will be processed in an enclosed box
by machines. What kind of Europe are we heading for?"

2.  EU: Schengen police cooperation handbook (119 pages):

3.  ECtHR vs. POLAND: Unprecedented inquiry about temporary arrests:

4.  EU: Brussels attacks new US security demands (euobserver, link):

"The text is unacceptable. It's just way beyond
anything that can be done," Jonathan Faull, the
head of the commission's home affairs department,
said on Wednesday (13 February), referring to a
US-proposed memorandum of understanding distributed to EU capitals."

5. EU: Integrated European Border Management
Strategy: "None of the policy options contribute
markedly to reducing terrorism or serious crime"
Perhaps the most revealing document in the EU's
Justice and Home Affairs package on exit-entry
and border management is: Commission Staff
Working Document: Accompanying document to the
Communication New tools for an integrated
European Border Management Strategy: Impact Assessment, Draft v (17/1/2008):

- On the role of EU databases like the Schengen
Information System (SIS) and terrorism: As the
"perpetrators" have mainly been EU citizens or
living in the EU with official permits:

"None of the policy options contribute markedly
to reducing terrorism or serious crime...In view
of the latest terrorist acts in the area of the
EU, it can be noted that the perpetrators have
mainly been EU citizens or foreigners residing
and living in the Member States with official permits.

Usually there has been no information about these
people or about their terrorist connections in
the registers, for example in the SIS or national
databases. The entry/exit system does not
register entries or exits of the EU citizens or
their relatives. Therefore, the entry/exit system
will not be able to have an impact on this specific target group."

- USA entry-exit procedures: "A total of 1,500
people were rejected at the border (but it is not
clear how many of them could be classified as
serious criminals or terrorist).Information on
how many terrorists were rejected at the border is not available."

- a number of Case Studies are cited but these
include those using irises as the biometric
identifier - which are not going to be used in
any EU-wide system and none of the examples
involved large-scale numbers of passengers being handled.

Finally, the proposed "Automated Border Control"
processing is described in detail - which is
labour-saving as no people are involved:

"Automated Border Control processes normally
consist of the following: Fingerprint matching
would be used in conjunction with an automated
gate and kiosk. The traveller enters the
automated gate area, possibly by presenting their
passport in order to open a door that closes
behind them once they have entered (to ensure
only one passenger uses the gate at a time). The
kiosk prompts the traveller to present the
e-passport for scanning (visual and electronic)
and is prompted to present one or two
fingerprints for scanning. The fingerprint image
is captured and the system converts both the
captured image and the image stored on the
e-passport into templates and attempts to match
them, according to predetermined thresholds. If a
good match is achieved, a second gate opens and
the traveller is allowed to cross the border. If
there is not a good enough match, or any other
problem occurs, the gate does not open and the
traveller is directed for processing by a border guard." (p65)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The idea that visitors and possibly EU citizens
- including children aged six and above - should
enter an enclosed box and be told what to do by
machines and for computers to decide whether to
let us out or not is a quite appalling proposal.

We are told it will save money because no
officials need to be involved and that the EU
should embrace all the benefits of modern
technological developments. If this is the price
of "progress" it is a bridge too far"

6. EU: JHA PACKAGE: Press Releases: 13 February 2008:

- A comprehensive vision for an integrated
European border management system for the 21st Century:

- Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)

- The FRONTEX Agency: evaluation and future development

Early drafts and Inter service consultations:

- Commission Inter-service Consolation document
on the future of FRONTEX, 11 December 2007:

- Commission exit-entry system draft and
Inter-Service Consultation document, 12 December 2007:

- Commission Inter-Service Consultation on
European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), 11 December 2007:

See below.

7. EU: European Commission proposes "entry-exit" system (Communication):

The Commission is proposing that the entry and
exit of all visa-holders will be recorded
automatically - these visa-holders have to give
their finger-prints and be vetted before getting
a visa in their country of origin. However,
non-visa entrants (eg: from the EU's "white list"
countries like the USA) will also have to be
fingerprinted and cleared - EU's "white" and
"black" visa lists:

  Hidden inside the Communication is a reference
to "Automated Border Control systems" which could
apply to EU citizens as well as visitors:

"The introduction of Automated Border Control
systems can enable the automated verification of
travellers' identity without the intervention of
border guards. A machine reads the biometric data
contained in the travel documents or stored in a
system or database and compares them against the
biometrics of the traveller, accelerating border
checks by creating automated separate lanes
replacing the traditional control booths."

Experiments are taking place along the above
lines where a person enters a closed box, is
automatically checked and cleared or not cleared
- if a person is not cleared a side door opens
and they are taken away for questioning.

The Communication proposes the issuing of
"tokens" to EU citizens who do not have biometric
passports (ie: those who have not had their
fingerprints taken) subject to vetting as the
full "roll-out" of EU biometric passports will not be complete until 2016.

  Also proposed is the adopted of "common vetting criteria" across the EU.

These developments need to be seen alongside the
introduction of biometric passports and travel
documents across the EU requiring the taking of everyone fingerprints, see:

- EU governments blackmail European Parliament
into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports:

- EU: "biometric passports" We will not just have
to be finger-printed once but over and over again:

- and the Commission's proposed introduction of
an EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record) covering
everyone (citizens and visitors) leaving and
entering the EU: See Statewatch's Observatory on EU-PNR:

8. EU: FRONTEX: Report on the evaluation and
future development of the FRONTEX Agency:

Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying
document: Report on the evaluation and future
development of the FRONTEX Agency: Impact Assessment:

Commission Staff Working Paper: Annex to the
Report from the Commission on the evaluation and
future development of the Frontex Agency: Statistical data:

9. EU: German Institute for Human Rights: Border
Management and Human Rights A study of EU Law and
the Law of the Sea by Ruth Weinzierl and Urszula
Lisson (Final Study: 95 pages):

10. Updated: EU-USA: Ministers confirm that US
wants armed guards on transatlantic flights -
American demands could put visa-free travel at
risk - East Europeans ignore Brussels united-front plea (Guardian, link):

Bush orders clampdown on flights to US: EU
officials furious as Washington says it wants
extra data on all air passengers (Guardian, link)

and EU plans to require biometrics of all
non-European visitors (International Herald Tribune, link):

11. EU: UNDERCOVER OFFICERS: Overview of replies
to questionnaire on undercover officers

12. EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: 10741/2/07 REV 2:

10741/07 ADD 1 REV 2:
10741/1/07 REV 1 (French):

13. EU-USA: Review of the Framework for Relations
between the European Union and the United States:
An Independent Study (Prepared for European
Commission, Directorate General External
Relations, Unit C1 . Relations with the United States and Canada):

14. EU-USA-PNR: Dissertation: Freedom, Security,
and Democracy in the European Union: the
intervention of the European Parliament in the
negotiation of the Passenger Name Record Agreement by Richard M Spooner:

15. Norway suspends Dublin transfers to Greece:
Norway suspends asylum seekers referrals to
Greece because of rights violations. Iraqi asylum
seeker alleges ill-treatment and deception (Greek Helsinki Monistor):

16. GREECE: CPT REPORT: The CoE's Committee for
the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reviewed the
treatment of persons detained by law enforcement
officials and examined the conditions of
detention in police and border guard stations,
coast guard posts and in special facilities for
illegal migrants in order to evaluate progress
made since the CPT's last visit to Greece, in
2005. The CPT also paid a targeted visit to
Korydallos Men's Prison in order to examine the
conditions of detention in the segregation units
and to assess developments in relation to the
prison?s health-care service: CPT Greece report:

and Government's response:

Decision on the implementation (Detail on DNA and
vehicle registration access and exchange, 93 pages):

Council Decision on the implementation of
Decision on the stepping up of cross-border
cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime:

Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor:

(ESDP): Series of research reports from the European Parliament:

- Parliamentary Oversight of civilian and
military ESDP Missions: The European and national levels

- The impact of the Lisbon Treaty on ESDP

- The Lisbon Treaty and its implications for CFSP/ESDP

questionnaire on quantitative information on the
practical operation of the European arrest warrant - Year 2006:

20. EU-SIS: SIS Database Statistics - 01/01/2008:

See: Statewatch Analysis: SIS II: fait accompli?
Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway:

Search Statewatch database for "SIS" (link):

21. EU-UK: European Scrutiny Committee of the
House of Commons report: The Conclusions of the
European Council and the Council of Ministers:

22. EU: Note of the Standing Committee of experts
on international immigration, refugees and
criminal law on the proposal for a Council
Directive amending Directive 2003/109/EC to
extend the scope to beneficiaries of international protection:


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