Statewatch News Online, 28 February 2011

28 February, 2011 — Statewatch

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1. EU-USA SWIFT DEAL: MEP Swift ‘secrecy’ may hamper new data deals with US
2. EU-COE-ECHR: Draft agreement on the accession of the EU to the Convention
3. EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Press release
4. EU: BODY SCANNERS: Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee
5. EU: BODY SCANNERS: European Parliament: Highly critical: Draft Opinion
6. EU: INTERNAL SECURITY: European Parliament: Working documents
7. UK: Home Office: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000
8. EU: European Commission Communication: Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements (EURAs)
9. EU/Africa: Migreurop statement on the EU’s migration policy as supportive of dictatorships
10. EU: Council of the European Union: Council conclusions: A comprehensive approach on personal data protection
11. EU: MEPs question ‘Big Brother’ urban observation project
12. EU: Confusion over new comitology rules coming into force on 1 March

1. EU-USA SWIFT DEAL: MEP Swift ‘secrecy’ may hamper new data deals with US (euobserver, link): “The secrecy in transposing an agreement allowing US investigators to access EU banking data for anti-terrorism purposes has irked MEPs who warn the European Commission and member states they may block other transatlantic data deals.”:
euobserver.com/9/31880?print=1

See also Statewatch: European Commission and Europol refuse to supply data on the implementation of the EU-US TFPT (SWIFT) agreement as it is “Top Secret”:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/01eu-usa-swift-data-secret.htm

2. EU-COE-ECHR: Draft agreement on the accession of the EU to the Convention:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-echr-draft-treaty.pdf

and Explanatory Note:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-echr-draft-treaty-explanatory-note.pdf

3. EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 24-25 February 2011, Brussels: Press release, 24-25 February:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-jha-council-prel-24-25-feb.pdf

– “B” Points Agenda:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-jha-council-24-25-feb-11-b-points.pdf

– “A” Points: non-legislative (adopted without debate):
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-jha-council-24-25-feb-11-a-points-non-legis.pdf

– Council conclusions on the Commission communication on the European Union internal security strategy in action:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-council-conclusions-internal-security-feb-11.pdf

See: European Parliament: Internal Security: Working Document no 2: Rapporteur: Rita Borsellino MEP:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/ep-internal-security-working-doc-no-2-feb-11.pdf

“The disregard shown to date by the Commission and Council for the role of the European Parliament and national parliaments in drawing up this strategy is unquestionably a cause for concern… In order to meet its responsibilities in this respect, it is essential for Parliament to have all the information necessary for it to fulfil its role as co-legislator”

For all Conclusions adopted (December 2007 ongoing) see Statewatch’s Observatory: Council of the European Union: Policymaking through Council “Conclusions”:
www.statewatch.org/observatory-council-conclusions.htm

4. EU: BODY SCANNERS: Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Use of Security Scanners at EU airports:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-eesc-body-scaners.pdf

See also: Douwe Korff: The politico-military-industrial security complex & the sale of snake-oil:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-eesc-body-scaners-dk.pdf

5. EU: BODY SCANNERS: European Parliament: Highly critical: Draft Opinion: on aviation security with a special focus on security scanners: Rapporteur: Judith Sargentini MEP: www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/ep-draft-resolution-body-scanners.pdf

6. EU: INTERNAL SECURITY: European Parliament: Working document no 1: Rapporteur: Rita Borsellino MEP:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/ep-internal-security-working-doc-no-1-feb-11.pdf

Working Document no 2:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/ep-internal-security-working-doc-no-2-feb-11.pdf

7. UK: Home Office: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation: Arrests, outcomes and stop & searches Quarterly update to September 2010:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/uk-terr-stats-11.pdf

Stop and search numbers fall after change to counterterrorism powers (Guardian, link):
www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/feb/24/stop-and-search-fall-counterterrorism-powers/print

8. EU: European Commission Communication: Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements (EURAs):
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-com-readmission-evaluation-70-2011.pdf

EURAs: “impose reciprocal obligations on the contracting parties to readmit their nationals and also, under certain conditions, third country nationals and stateless persons. They also set out in detail the operational and technical criteria for this process. In policy terms, EURAs are considered a necessary tool for efficient management of migration flows into the EU…”

The inconsistent application of EURAs [by EU Member States] undermines greatly the credibility of the EU Readmission Policy towards the third countries, which are expected to apply the EURA correctly…”

Future agreements should: “indicate possible retaliation measures by the EU in cases of persistent and unjustified denial of cooperation by the partner country.”

See also:

– Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements (SEC 209):
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-com-readmission-evaluation-sec-209-2011.pdf

– The aggregated data for the chosen categories gathered by the Commission from the MS on the basis of a questionnaire (SEC 210):
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-com-readmission-evaluation-sec-210-2011.pdf

– Eurostat data (SEC 211):
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-com-readmission-evaluation-sec-211-2011.pdf

– Implementing protocols signed/concluded by the MS under the EU readmission agreements in force (SEC 212):
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-com-readmission-evaluation-sec-212-2011.pdf

9. EU/Africa: Migreurop statement on the EU’s migration policy as supportive of dictatorships

On 22 February 2011, Migreurop issued a statement highlighting how the EU’s migration policy has effectively resulted in support for dictatorial regimes, arguing that in the light of recent events it must make a choice as to whether its avowed principles of “defence of democracy” and support for human rights are mere rhetoric, or whether it is ready to rise to this historic moment and “open a new era in the relations between the European Union and its Mediterranean neighbours”:

– The European Union’s migration policy: support for dictatorships to the south of the Mediterranean:
www.migreurop.org/article1817.html

– Jusqu’à quand la politique migratoire de l’Union européenne, va-t-elle s’appuyer sur les dictatures du sud de la Méditerranée?
www.migreurop.org/article1811.html

¿Hasta cuándo la política migratoria de la Unión Europea va a apoyarse en las dictaduras del sur del Mediterráneo?
www.migreurop.org/article1812.html

10. EU: Council of the European Union: Council conclusions on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-council-dp-conclusions-5980-rev4-11.pdf

11. EU: MEPs question ‘Big Brother’ urban observation project (euractiv, link):
www.euractiv.com/en/print/infosociety/meps-question-big-brother-urban-observation-project-news-502266

“Greek MEP Stavros Lambrinidis, a vice-president of the European Parliament, has called on the European Commission to clarify the purpose of an EU-funded project that develops “observation” algorithms to enhance the “security of citizens in urban environments… Under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7) from 2007 to 2013, the European Commission is sponsoring research in security projects. One such scheme is the INDECT project, which is about developing “algorithms” through “observation” to enhance the “security of citizens in urban environments”.

See: Written Declaration: on INDECT (intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment) Alexander Alvaro, Carlos Coelho, Stavros Lambrinidis, Judith Sargentini, Rui Tavares:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/ep-indect-declaration.pdf

See also: Wikinews report on INDECT project (Neoconopticon: European security-industrial complex, link):
neoconopticon.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/wikinews-report-on-indect-project/

12. EU: Confusion over new comitology rules coming into force on 1 March: Commission official Tenreiro conceded in parliamentary debate: “ even Commission officials admit that comitology is difficult for citizens to get to grips with. “I must admit that for the general public the new rules are a step back for transparency””: See: EU lawyers struggle with new ‘comitology’ rules (euractiv, link).
www.euractiv.com/en/print/future-eu/eu-lawyers-struggle-new-comitology-rules-news-502310

The Comitology committees will have to decide whether EU legislation is classified as a delegated act (Article 290 of the Lisbon Treaty) or implementing act (Article 291): a distinction “which is by no means clear at the moment.”

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

“When the new comitology Regulation comes into force the Commission will be obliged to provide even less public information than it does at present. Citizens and civil society will not be able to track the procedure because there is no obligation to make the documents under discussion public – until the decision has been taken. Though MEPs have a say they will struggle to take on the additional task of scrutinising hundreds of measures going through every year. The new procedure represents a major step backwards for openness and accountability.”

Background: New Comitology Procedures: Regulation laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers:
www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-new-comitology-procedure.pdf

Introduces two new comitology procedures: the “examination procedure” or “advisory procedure”.

See critique of Article 10 which severely limits the information to be publicly available: EU: Deepening the democratic deficit: the failure to “enshrine” the public’s right of access to documents (pdf) by Tony Bunyan:
www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-121-eu-access-to-documents.pdf

See also: Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan:
www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-115-lisbon-treaty-decision-making.pdf

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