Statewatch European Monitor: February 2004

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Vol 4 no 2, February 2004                


* Statewatch special report on Schengen Information System
* Irish Presidency & the institutions
* Immigration & asylum
* Policing & criminal law
* Europol
* EU-US cooperation on PNR data
* Key Resources

The Statewatch European Monitor is a monthly, web-based publication covering developments in EU justice and home affairs policy. This page contains links to material on the SEMDOC website which is PASSWORD CONTROLLED. Document references have been removed from this version of the monitor. Subscribers to the Statewatch European Monitor get unlimited access to SEMDOC website which contains full-text documents, extensive background material and systematically covers every single measure. For more information about SEMDOC and to take out a subscription to the Monitor, click here


"From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information System (VIS): the proposals explained" (pdf)
by Ben Hayes (44 pages, 16,000 words)

Executive summary
Introduction, background and statistics on SIS operation


New role for intelligence agencies
Access to SIS for vehicle registration authorities
Europol access to the SIS
Eurojust and national judicial authorities access to the SIS
New categories of data
Increased use of SIRENE
Data protection and storage limits
The legislation: has Poland stalled adoption of the measures?


Scope and function of SIS II
"Latent" technical development
No public debate: another cover-up?
Timetable for SIS II development


A "shared technical platform"
but separate legal frameworks
The data to be held on VIS


Appendix: The 1990 Schengen Convention: Proposed amendments to Title IV (Articles 92-119)

A. Full-text of report: "From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information System (VIS): the proposals explained" (pdf)
B. Full access to sources used in the report (html)

1. An informal JHA Council was held in Dublin on 22-23 January 2003. Documentation is provided below.
2. The first of four formal JHA Councils under the Irish presidency will be held on 19-20 February. The agendas, background notes, press releases and minutes will be available here as soon as they are available.

3. The work programme of the Article 36 Committee (5092/04, 7.1.04) includes draft agendas for the four JHA Councils scheduled for the Irish presidency (see pp. 11-17), a summary of work in progress and extracts from the Irish Presidency programmes (see last month's monitor).

4. The European Commission has produced ten "fact sheets" on JHA issues to explain - in uncritical language - to "the non-specialist what the policies or activities are and why the European Union is involved" (link).

5. The European Parliament Committee on "Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs" met on Wednesday, 21 January 2004 in Brussels (link to agenda).

6. The SEMDOC Legislative observatory has been updated with all policy developments during January 2004.


7. The Commission proposal for a Regulation on financial and technical assistance to third countries in the area of migration and asylum has now been agreed by the Council (3698/03, 6.2.04). It establishes a EUR 250 million budget for the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2008, of which EUR 120 million is for the period until 31 December 2006. At this point the Commission will produce an interim evaluation report and the Council may decide to extend the budget for 2007-8.

8. The informal JHA Council on 22-23 January 2004 debated "the application of safe third country concept and designation of neighbouring safe third countries" in the proposed asylum procedures directive (Irish presidency discussion document). The on 4 February the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum discussed the provisions on appeals in Articles 38-40 (5697/04, 29.1.04). Coreper discussed the Directive on 11 February, looking again at appeals (5970/04, 9.2.04); safe third countries have also been discussed (5712/04, 29.1.04). The Council is to adopt the Directive before the deadline of 1 May 2004 and the transfer of asylum policy to co-decision with the EP.

9. An Irish presidency text on a European Returns Policy was discussed at informal JHA Council, 22-23 January 2004 (pdf file). reported that the JHA ministers agreed to commit 30 million euro to assist in the return of illegal immigrants (link).

10. The EU's Centre for Land Borders has forwarded a report on its "7th Joint Operation" to the Council (14397/03, 6.11.03). Operation "Semper Vigilia" took place on 6-31 October 2003 and was aimed at preventing "illegal entry by scheduled bus" into Germany, Italy and Austria. Seven countries were involved and checks were carried out on "11 552 vehicles and approximately 160 000 travellers". "416 persons were turned back at borders on suspicion of illegal entry into Europe; charges were brought against 308 persons". The operation was concentrated on Nickelsdorf, the border crossing between Austria and Hungary, and "most of the checks and arrests were carried out there". The report concludes that this shows Nickelsdorf is "a focal point for illegal entry into the EU from Eastern Europe". However, only 0.26 per cent of those checked (or one in 400) were refused entry and even less were charged with any offence. The EU Centre for Land Borders is part of the developing EU Border Police (Statewatch analysis).

11. A "Report on the follow-up to the Recommendation of the EP and the Council of 10 July 2001 on mobility within the Community of students, persons undergoing training, volunteers and teachers and trainers" has been produced by the European Commission (COM (2004) 21, 23.1.04, pdf file).

12. The draft EC Directive on Internal Market services also includes provisions on the posting of third-country national employees (PROVISIONAL VERSION, pdf file).

13. Directive 2003/109/EC on the status of long-term residents has been published in the Official Journal. Member states must implement the Directive by 23 January 2006 (Article 26; OJ 2004 L 16/44).

14. A number of recent Decisions concerning the Common Consular Instructions on visa applications and Common Border Manual have also been published in the Official Journal:
- Decision 2004/17/EC (requires visa applicants to have travel insurance in most cases (CCI Parts I & V); implementation date: 1 June 2004 (Art. 3); OJ 2004 L 5/79)
- Decision 2004/16/EC (downgrades Annex 5 to CCI and Annex 14b to Common Manual and declassifies Annexes 9 and 10 to CCI and Annexes 6b and 6c to Common Manual, OJ 2004 L 5/78)
- Decision 2004/15/EC (allows greater possibility for one MS to issue Schengen visas on behalf of another (CCI Part II and new Annex); implementation date: 9 Jan. 2004 (Art. 3); OJ 2004 L 5/76)
- Decision 2004/14/EC (concerns interviews of visa applicants at consulates; implementation date: 9 Jan. 2004 (Art. 2); OJ 2004 L 5/76)


15. The UK has proposed that the headquarters of the European Police College (CEPOL) be transferred to the national police training college in Bramshill, Hampshire (OJ 2004 C 20/18); the provisional HQ is in Denmark. Bramshill is already home to an international faculty (see Centrex website (link: UK Central Police Training and development authority). The governing board of CEPOL has submitted a three year report on the activities and future of the EU police college to the Council (15722/03, 9.12.03, 89pp).

16. The European Parliament has adopted its report on the proposed Council Decision on new synthetic drugs (A5-0438/2003, 18.12.03). The proposal, from the Commission, would replace the 1997 Joint Action 97/396/JHA on risk-assessment and the control of new narcotic drugs and new synthetic drugs, under which several substance have been banned (see also last month's Monitor). The rapporteur, Hubert Pirker MEP, "basically endorses the reshaping of the Joint Action with a view to combating new synthetic drugs in a more resolute and more efficient manner" but suggests "the reorientation should concentrate on a simplification of the structures involved" (Europol, EMCDDA, the REITOX Network).

17. A 148 page handbook on EU police cooperation has been produced for EU police forces (15732/04, 12.12.03). It contains an updated version of the Schengen handbook on cross-border police cooperation and lists contact points in various operational and policy networks. Schengen cooperation covers mutual legal assistance (art. 39(1-3), Schengen Implementing Convention), cross-border surveillance (Art. 40), "hot pursuit" (art. 41), public policy and public security (art. 46), the exchange of information (art. 7), liaison officers (art. 7) bilateral agreements (art. 39(4-5)), the Schengen Information System (arts. 92-119), the Sirene manual (OJ C 2003 38/1), specific national measures (art. 2(3)). The EU police cooperation networks covered in the handbook are crime prevention; football information points; genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; missing persons; police training; private security; and the protection of public figures.

18. Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA on combatting the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, adopted on 22 December 2003, has been published in the Official Journal (OJ 2004 L 13/44). Member states have until 20 January 2006 to implement the measure (Article 12(1)).

19. An "EU-NATO co-sponsored Seminar on the fight against terrorism" shows the extent of cooperation that is envisaged and the way in which NATO is bidding for a counter-terrorism role to complement its military capabilities. The "options paper" (5444/04, 19.1.04) suggests possible topics to be addressed: threat analysis and thematic assessment (reports on Extreme Fundamentalism and Terrorism); EU relations to third countries, including technical assistance;fight against the financing of terrorism (further work as regards the freezing of funds); Police, Judicial and Intelligence Cooperation / Illegal immigration and border control (implementation of the Arrest Warrant; agreement on mutual legal assistance with the USA; implementation of the plan for the management of cooperation of the external borders; role of Europol, Eurojust; etc.); protection of civilian populations and military forces against the effects of terrorist attacks including CBRN (implementation of the joint Council-Commission programme to improve cooperation in the EU; work on the question of the use of military assets and capabilities&). The seminar will take place in March 2004 "at the earliest".


20. The Protocol to Europol Convention adopted on 27 November 2003 has been published in the Official Journal (OJ 2004 C 2/1). It amends a number of provisions in the original Europol Convention, including the agency's objective, competence and mandate; the Europol database and access to it.

21. After 18 months of negotiations, Europol and Eurojust have agreed on the terms of a draft cooperation agreement which includes the sharing of personal information (15829/03, 9.12.03, pdf file). The Joint Supervisory Body has produced an opinion raising a number of data protection concerns and the draft agreement will now be revised.

22. The Joint Supervisory Body on data protection has produced its opinion on the Europol-Malta cooperation agreement. While it concludes that "from a data protection perspective no obstacles exist for the Council to allow the Director of Europol to conclude the agreement", it did suggest some amendments to ensure greater clarity on some of the data protection provisions (the draft treaty has not been released the by Council).

23. The "open version" of the Europol annual situation report on organised crime in the EU for 2003 has been submitted to the Council (14017/03, 4.11.03, pdf file). Organised crime was also discussed by the informal JHA Council on 22-23 January 2004 (Presidency discussion document, pdf file).

24. A third draft of Europol's "Non-confidential report on the terrorist activity in the European Union from October 2002 to October 2003" has also been submitted (15877/2/03 REV 2, 15.1.04, pdf file). It is evident from the national contributions from some member states (eg: Italy) of a slippage in the concept of "terrorism" to include political activists.


Statewatch News Online has been reporting all the developments on:

i) the exchange and use of PNR data between the EU and USA:

- EU planning to nod through use of PNR data for use by CAPPS II: Report and documentation

- EU's data protection working party produces damning report on EU-US exchange of passenger data: Report and documentation

- Statewatch special: Full-text of EU-US agreement on the transfer of personal data: EU-US agreement

- Privacy International report on transfer of PNR data to USA: Press release and report

- EU: Belgian Privacy Committee supports MEP's complaint on illegal transfer of perosnal data to USA: Finding

- EU-USA PNR agreement: ACLU letter to EU Commissioner Bolkestein - Northwest Airlines Privacy Violations

- Commission did agree that PNR data can be used for CAPPS II testing, but the question is why? Report and analysis

- USA to use EU PNR data for CAPPS II testing despite assurances no agreement covering it: Report

25. Observatory on exchange of passenger data (PNR) with the USA

ii) the development of the EU's own scheme for vetting passengers

26. Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)

  KEY RESOURCES on the SEMDOC website

a. For all new material added to SEMDOC, see: What's New

b. Observatory on the draft EU Constitution

c. Key Texts, all the primary texts for reference: Key Texts

d. Justice and Home Affairs acquis: 1993 - ongoing: JHA Acquis

e. Justice and Home Affairs Councils (Agendas, Background Notes, Press Releases and minutes) are added as soon as they become available

f. The main Legislative Observatory is listed on the SEMDOC home page: Legislative Observatory

g. Back issues of this version of the Statewatch European Monitor:

January 2004 (vol 4 no 1)

December 2003 (vol 3 no 6)

PO Box 1516, London, N16 0EW. UK
tel: +44(0)20-8802-1882; fax: +44(0)20-8880-1727

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