EU state in the making
by Heiner Busch
The EU draft constitution has failed. The real constitution remains: the expansive internal market, the militarised external EU policy, restrictive external border policy and an increasingly repressive development of „internal security“ policy. The EU presents itself as an incomplete state. Although governments and Member States control the Council, they pursue an EU legislation that allows them to abolish restrictions they would face under national law.
Five year plans: Tampere and The Hague
by Norbert Pütter
After the Tampere Conclusions, passed in 1999, the Hague Programme, passed in 2004, represents the second five year plan for the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs policy. The plan contains a convoluted mass of individual measures that have to be implemented within respective time limits. The Commission’s „scoreboard“, which traces the progress in the implementation of the Programme, does not provide transparency either. The Programme in particular serves to speed up the creation of an „area of freedom, security and justice“. The fact that restrictive external border policy and repressive measures against asylum seekers and immigrants are being sold to the public as a promotion of „freedom“ is only one of many cynical absurdities of EU politics.
„Availability“: free market for police data
by Tony Bunyan
Following the Hague Programme, by the year 2008 the EU will introduce the „principle of availability“ as a basis for data exchange amongst its police forces. Police forces of Member States are to provide online access to each other’s data banks. The „formalities“ should be reduced to a minimum, the legal protection of those affected is thereby sidelined. The Prüm Treaty, signed by seven Member States last year, will hereby serve as a blueprint.
False legal basis: passenger and other data
by Mark Holzberger
Three years ago, the EU and the US signed a treaty on the exchange of passenger data. According to a judgement by the European Court of Justice, the treaty is unlawful because the use of this data should be regulated in the third and not in the first pillar. A report by the Scientific Service of the German Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) has similar criticisms of the Directive on retention of telecommunications data.
EU information systems: state of affairs and future plans
by Heiner Busch
The Schengen Information System (SIS), online since 1995, was the first common police information system used by EU Member States. Since then, the information-technological arsenal available to police and immigration control agencies has seen a massive increase: currently it comprises a customs information system, Eurodac (holding fingerprints of asylum seekers) and the data systems of Europol. The second generation SIS and the Visa Information System are in the making.
Europol: more powers and less regulation
by Ben Hayes
Since early 2006, the EU is again discussing the future of Europol. In its report, the „Friends of the Presidency“ working group demands a massive increase in powers for the agency. Instead of the Europol Convention, which came into force only in 1999, the working group wants a more „flexible“ legal instrument which only the Council should have powers to amend and which does not need to be ratified by national parliaments.
Frontex: Europol’s little sister
by Mark Holzberger
On 1 May 2005, Frontex, the external border security agency of the European Union started its operations in Warsaw, Poland. Currently it comprises 60 employees, but its staff and budget can be expected to grow quickly in future years. The agency, similar to Europol, does not have executive powers, but is responsible for coordinating the activities of the national border guards. „Rapid border intervention teams“, coordinated by Frontex, are currently operating off the shores of the Canary Islands.
Deadly police shots 2005
by Otto Diederichs
The police has fired five deadly police shots last year. In four cases it was possible to receive at least some information surrounding the incidents. In one case, however, the interior ministry of Saxony refuses to disclose any information.
BND: deformation by information
by Wolf-Dieter Narr
Over the years, the German external intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst – BND) put journalists in the country under surveillance, allegedly to find information leaks within its own ranks. In March 2003, two BND members were stationed in Baghdad and, according to press reports from the US, they helped identify military targets for bombardments – despite the fact that the German government did not officially take part in the war. Both cases were investigated by the parliamentary control commission. This control cannot be effective, not least because the controllers at no point question the alleged necessity of the existence of the service and its spying activities.
The World Cup: an assessment
by Anja Lederer
Crime rates during the World Cup were comparable to those of a country fair, according to the responsible police forces. This makes the security measures appear even more absurd. Around 2,000 persons were refused permission to work in the stadiums on grounds of negative outcomes of security checks they had to undergo. The number of persons held in the police database „Violent Sports Offenders“ rose from around 6,200 to 17,600 after the World Cup.