Statewatch news online: EU coverage (04/08)


1.USA-CZECH REPUBLIC MOU: Visa Waiver Scheme:
Full text of the US-Czech Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2008:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/us-czech-mou-visas-etc.pdf

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has
held bilateral talks in addition with: Estonia,
Germany, Greece, and the UK. The MOU would
introduce exchange of personal data on
passengers gathered by Czech law enforcement and
passed to the USA and the USA would check and
inspect the systems in place to gather the data.

The Council of the European Union is seeking to
negotiate from a common position on US demands
for the implementation of the visa waiver scheme
- the USA  has been negotiating bilaterally with
individual member states. A statement issued on 5
March: US Visa Waiver Program Legislation (Press release):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/eu-us-visa-waiver.pdf

and EU doc no: 7337/2008):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/eu-us-visa-waiver-decision.pdf

Unusually from the Mixed Committee at Permanent
Representative level (ie: including Schengen
members such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).
This sets out negotiating positions in reaction
to the MOU circulated by the USA. These include:

- On PNR (passenger name record) the EU says that
the EU-US PNR agreement "should suffice and no
additional requirements should be added"
- extraordinarily: "No commitment as to access
for the US to EU/EC databases or information
system". The Czech MOU envisages law enforcement
personal data on passengers being passed over to
the USA and the US checking the systems through which checks are made
- data on lost and stolen passports should be, as agreed, via Interpol
- international law sets out the obligations to
take back expelled citizens and any agreement
should be on the basis of reciprocity negotiated at EU level
- the sharing of PNR data obtained from third
countries should be consistent with the EU-US PNR agreement

2.  EU-USA: NEGOTIATING AWAY EU DATA PROTECTION:
The EU and USA are negotiating in a secret
committee - the High Level Contact Group - to
come up with a proposal covering data protection
in all future exchanges of personal data to the
USA. To this end they are discussing: Data
Protection principles for which common language
has been developed (EU document):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/eu-us-dp-principles.pdf

Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Policy at the US DHS said, in November 2007, on
the EU requirement that data can only be passed
to third states whose laws passed the "adequacy"
test guaranteeing equivalent rights:

"The EU should reconsider its decision to apply
notions of adequacy to the critical area of law
enforcement and public safety. Otherwise the EU
runs the very real risk of turning itself into a
self-imposed island, isolated from the very
allies it needs" (Privacy and Security Law)

He is also opposed to the EU's draft Framework
Decision on data protection in police and
criminal matters (covering the exchange of
personal data within the EU), on this:

"The draft seeks to apply the same tired, failed
standards of adequacy that it has applied in its
commercial laws." [EC Directive 95/46/EC)

The 1974 US Privacy Law gives no protection to
non-US citizens, from the EU or elsewhere.

3. EU: COMITOLOGY: European Parliament draft
Recommendations on implementing measures:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/eu-ep-com-comitology-recommendation.pdf

An important issue on a seemingly obscure area of
EU decision-making. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"EU decision-making does not finish with the
formal adoption of a legislative measure, the
detailed implementation is decided in secretive
comitology committees of member state
representatives and the Commission - for example,
the discussion over the age at which children
should be fingerprinted for passports and travel documents.

The European Parliament is right to insist that
all documents should be made public as soon as
they are put on the table and that they should be
accessible on a public register. Otherwise there
will be no public access until after measures
have  been adopted which is quite unacceptable in a democracy"

4. EU-USA: Status of ratification of EU-US
Agreements of 25 June 2003 on extradition and
mutual legal assistance and of bilateral instruments (21 February 2008):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/eu-usa-mla-extraition-agreements.pdf

5. EU-BORDERS: EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION
SUPERVISOR: Border Management (press release):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/edps-border-package-prel.pdf

EDPS issues first comments on EU border management package (7 pages)
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/edps-border-package-comments.pdf

Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says:

"It is crucial that the impact on the privacy
rights of individuals crossing the EU borders is
adequately taken into account. A lack of data
protection safeguards would not only mean that
the individuals concerned might suffer unduly
from the proposed measures, but also that the
measures will be less effective, or even counter
productive, by diminishing public trust in government action."

The EDPS comments cover:

      - piling up of legislative proposals in the
area...making it difficult for stakeholders to have a comprehensive overview;
      - heavy reliance on biometric data;
      - lack of evidence supporting the need for new data systems;
      - lack of evaluation of existing systems.

6. EU: EUROJUST Annual Report 2007L:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/eurojust-annual-report.pdf

7. EU: The European Network of Ombudsmen Statement:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/omuds-statement.pdf

"The European Network of Ombudsmen has prepared
this statement to make the European Union (EU)
dimension of the work of ombudsmen better known
and to clarify the service they provide to people
who complain about matters within the scope of EU law."

8. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT-CIA: Follow up to the
investigations of CIA illegal activities in Europe:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/ep-cia-follow-up-prel.pdf

9. EU: RIFID and privacy: The European
Commission is consulting on the use of RFID
chips, privacy and security: Consultation (link):
http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=RFIDRec

Background:

- Commission propsal, COM 96, 2007:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-rfid-com-96-2007.pdf

- Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-rfid-edps-opinion.pdf

- Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on personal data (WP 136):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-rfid-art-29-136-opinion.pdf

Thanks to EDRI see: EC Draft Recommendation on
RFID Privacy and Security published:
http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number6.4/ec-recommandation-rfid

10. EU-SIS: Schengen Information System Article 99 report
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/08SISart99.htm

- Massive discrepancy among member states use of SIS for surveillance
- France and Italy responsible for 83 % of all Article 99 alerts
- Schengen data protection authority demands more checks and balances

  Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments:

"The massive discrepancies in the current use of
the SIS by certain member states are
unacceptable. There is clear need to restrict the
scope for entering alerts and improve
significantly the arrangements for supervision and control.

Instead of 'harmonising' the use of SIS II and
encouraging more surveillance, the EU should
impose much stricter limits to ensure it is only
used when justified as absolutely necessary. This
demands far more robust mechanisms for
accountability and control than we have at present".

Search Statewatch database for SIS:
http://database.statewatch.org/searchdisplay.asp?searchfield=123&noofresults=100&resultsperpage=10&display=123&searchtype=1&searchtext=SIS&submit1=Search

11. EU: CONSTITUTION-REFORM-LISBON TREATY:
Cementing the European state - new emphasis on
internal security and operational cooperation at the EU level by Tony Bunyan:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/07lisbon-european-state.htm

12. EU Reform Treaty: The rhetoric of
transparency and public debate in the EU by Deirdre Curtin:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/07lisbon-curtin.htm

13. EU: Second Report from the Commission:
Implementation of the Convention on the
Protection of the European Communities' financial
interests and its protocols (COM 77,
2008):  http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-fin-com-77-08.pdf

makes some interesting threats regarding possible
suits against Member States before the European
Court of Justice and Annex to Report (SEC 188, 2008):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-fin-sec-188-08.pdf

14. EU: Overview of replies to questionnaire on
undercover officers - texts of national legislation:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-undercover-national-laws.pdf

Useful summary of the national laws on the use of
undercover officers. Survey ((EU doc no: 5001-Rev 1-08)
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-undercove-5001-rev1-08.pdf

and Replies to questionnaire on undercover officers - Discussion paper:
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-undercove-paper-6323-08.pdf

15. EU: European Commission borders package:

- Preparing the next steps in border management
in the European Union (COM 69 2008, pdf):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-69-08-borders.pdf

- Preparing the next steps in border management
in the European Union - Impact Assessment (SEC 153 on COM 69 2008, pdf):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-69-08-borders-ia.pdf

- Examining the creation of a European Border
Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (COM 68 2008, pdf)
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-68-08-eurosur.pdf

- Examining the creation of a European Border
Surveillance System (EUROSUR) - Impact
Assessment- (SEC 151 on COM 68 2008, pdf):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-68-08-eurosur-ia.pdf

- Report on the evaluation and future development
of the FRONTEX Agency (COM 67 2008, pdf):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-67-08-frontex.pdf

- Report on the evaluation and future development
of the FRONTEX Agency - Impact Assessment (SEC 148 on COM 67 2008, pdf):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-67-08-frontex-ia.pdf

- Report on the evaluation and future development
of the FRONTEX Agency (SEC 150 on COM 67 2008, pdf):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-com-67-08-frontex-stats.pdf

16. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: MEPs reject report on
factors favouring the support for terrorism and
recruitment of terrorists (Press release):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/ep-res-radicaisation-prel.pdf

"MEPs rejected a report on factors favouring the
support for terrorism and recruitment of
terrorists. A lack of consensus among the main
political groups regarding the best instruments
to fight radicalisation led to MEPs rejecting the
report as a whole with 241 votes in favour 332 against and 87 abstentions."

17. EU: AMENDING THE FRAMEWORK DECISION ON
TERRORISM: Council Framework Decision amending
Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating
terrorism (EU doc no: 6561/08):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-council-fd-terrorism-amend-coe.pdf

The purpose is to: "update the Framework Decision
and align it with the Council of Europe
Convention on prevention of terrorism, by
including public provocation to commit terrorist
offences, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism"

18. EU: TERRORISM GUIDELINES: Guidelines for a
Common Approach to the fight against terrorism
(EU doc no: 9864/03 EXT 1, Partially Accessible)
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-council-terrorism-guidelines-pa.pdf

Includes a series of definitions and tries to
explain why "state terrorism" is not covered.

19. EU: FRONTEX: Conclusions from the Expert
Meeting on the Follow-up of the Joint Frontex
Europol Report on the High Risk Routes of Illegal
Migration in the Western Balkan Countries within
the Frontex Risk Analysis Network (EU doc no: 5685/08):
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/feb/eu-council-frontex-illegal-migration-routes.pdf

20. EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Statewatch Analysis:
The Proposed EU Returns Directive by Professor
Steve Peers, University of Essex:
http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/eu-ret-dir-sp.pdf

"The Council's version of the Directive sets
standards so low that it would be difficult for
Member States go any lower ­ most obviously with
the indefinite period of detention (along with
the weak rules on judicial control of detention),
but also as regards exclusions from the scope of
the Directive, the deletion of the general human
rights  safeguard, the limited grounds for
mandatory postponement of removals, the mandatory
re-entry ban following a return decision, the
lower standards for remedies, the accelerated
procedures without a right to any remedy at all
in the Directive, and the nearly non-existent safeguards pending removal."

See:  http://www.statewatch.org/news

 

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

Report error