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19/4/06
Statewatch News Online, 19 April 2006 (09/06)
 

Statewatch News Online, 19 April 2006 (09/06)
Full contents see: www.statewatch.org

1. EU: Data Protection Commissioners call for harmonised safeguards:mandatory data retention
2. EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) worried about SIS II
3. Council of Europe: “we no longer need to speak about “alleged” cases of rendition”
4. EU: Still a total of 414 EU citizens wrongly on Schengen Information System (SIS)
5. Euro-Med: Barcelona Process: summary of meetings
6. Europol: Council of the European Union planning to replace the Europol Convention
7. Europol: Annual report (2005), Work Programme (2007) and Budget (2007)
8. UK: Statewatch Observatory on UK laws updated
9. UK: Identity Card Act 2006: full-text
10. EU: Council of the European Union to call for an increase in removals from the EU by air
11. Spain: 11-M judge charges 29 suspects
12. EU: Draft Council Conclusions (for JHA Council on 27-28 April) on common asylum system
13. EU commitments – agreements with third countries
14. EU: Response: Green Paper on Conflicts of Jurisdiction: European Criminal Bar Association

1. EU: Data Protection Commissioners call for harmonised safeguards on the use of mandatory data retention:
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/06eu-art-29-opinion-data-retention.htm

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: “Time and time again EU governments are “harmonising” the powers of the state to place individuals under surveillance, when are they going to “harmonise” the right of the individuals against the misuse and abuse of state power?”

2. EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) writes to the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties expressing concern at the planned delegation of its management to France for the Central Unit and to Austria for the back-up central unit. He calls for the Commission to ensure that the legislation allows for “checks on the spot” and the full exercise of his powers. This is perhaps alluding to the time, years ago, when the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority turned up at Strasbourg to check on the Central Unit to be told to get lost by the French officials running the SIS:
Full-text of EDPS letter (pdf): www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/edps-sisII-letter.pdf

3. Council of Europe: “I am now in position to say that we no longer need to speak about “alleged” cases of rendition”, Terry Davis, Secretary-General Council of Europe. Text of press release (link): www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/PA-Sessions/April-2006/20060412_Speaking-notes_sg.asp

4. EU: Still a total of 414 EU citizens wrongly put on the Schengen Information System (SIS) – Switzerland tops the list by a mile. Under Article 96 which allows aliens to be refused entry. Article 96 concerns data placed on the SIS “relating to aliens who are reported for the purpose of being refused entry” by a member state (from its own state or other EU states). The grounds include “a threat to public order or national security” (Art 96.2). In April 2005 the Heads of national units (SIRENE Bureaux) “were kindly requested to check their national data and to delete the respective data from the system”. In June 2005 a report from the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority recommended that member states: “prevent Article 96 alerts on nationals from EU Member States.”

Yet a check on 31 March 2006 found 414 (previously 503) citizens from the EU and associated countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) register under Article 96. Top of the list is Switzerland with 356 (389) people registered – which perhaps begs the question whether the people registered are protesters at the World Economic Forums held in Davros, Switzerland? (previous: EU doc 7005/05 (pdf): For the full list see: EU doc no: 8281(pdf):
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/eu-art-96-eu-citizens-8281-06.pdf

Article 96 is primarily used to exclude from entry “illegal aliens” including refugees deported from the EU, See: Three-quarters of a million “illegal aliens” banned from Schengen area: www.statewatch.org/news/2005/apr/08SISart96.htm

5. Euro-Med: Barcelona Process: Follow-up to the Barcelona Conference: Euromed Committee and Senior Officials meetings’ summary records (2003-2006):
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/euro-med-2003-2006.pdf

6. Europol: The Council of the European Union (25 governments) is planning to replace the Europol Convention – which had to be ratified by all national parliaments – with a Council Decision (and to turn it into an EU agency). The replacement of the Convention by a Decision would circumvent national parliaments, including for future amendments.

Europol : the way forward towards more efficiency and accountability- draft Council conclusions:
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/europol-council-decision-draft.pdf

Chairman’s Summary of the High Level Conference on the Future of Europol (23 and 24 February 2006):
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/europol-future-06.pdf

This includes the consensual positions that: “ways should be found to enable Europol to exchange information also with countries that do not have the same data protection standards as those that are applicable within the European Union” “the present legal framework allows for sufficient parliamentary control.” Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: “In other words, data protection should be abandoned so that countries like the USA can get whatever information or intelligence they want and use it as they want without fundamental safeguards. As to “parliamentary control”, this is non-existent in practice. The Council is alone in thinking the existing framework for accountability is “sufficient””.

7. Europol Annual Report for 2005:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/europol-report-2005.pdf

Europol Work Programme for 2007:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/europol-work-programme-2007.pdf

Europol Budget for 2007:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/europol-budget.pdf

8. UK: Statewatch Observatory on UK laws updated
www.statewatch.org/docbin/uklaws.htm

9. UK: Identity Card Act 2006: full-text (pdf):
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/uk-identity-card-Act-2006.pdf

Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 – full-text (pdf):
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/uk-immigration-asylum-act-2006.pdf

Terrorism Act 2006: full-text (pdf):
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/mar/uk-terrorism-act-2006.pdf

The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, said: “This new legislation together will allow us to uphold our democratic right to freedom of speech and to free movement within the United Kingdom”

10. EU: Council of the European Union to call for an increase in removals from the EU by “a further increase in the use of joint flights” and for the EU-wide FRONTEX (European Border Agency) to be given a coordinating role where “special attention should be paid in particular to criteria of economic efficiency and to the need to accelerate and facilitate the relevant procedures”.

Draft Council Conclusions (for JHA Council on 27-28 April) on: – Draft Council Conclusions on improved operational cooperation on joint return operations by air (EU doc no: 8246/06, pdf): www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/eu-returns-draft-concl.pdf

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

“How many flights have taken place, how many people were removed and from which countries and to which countries, were they voluntary or forced removals, what conditions are those removed now living in? So-called “efficiency”, needs to be matched by public accountability. We have a right to know what is being done in our name.”

11. Spain: 11-M judge charges 29 suspects
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/04spain-11-mar-2004-trial.htm

12. Draft Council Conclusions (for JHA Council on 27-28 April) – Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on strengthened practical cooperation New structures, new approaches: improving the quality of decision making in the common European asylum system – Draft Council Conclusions (EU doc no: 8240/06, pdf): www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/eu-asylum-draft-concl.pdf

13. EU commitments vis--vis third countries (pdf) (50 pages, EU doc no: 8146/06). Useful summary of external agreements
See: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/eu-agreements-third-states.pdf

14. EU: Responses to the Commission’s Green Paper on Conflicts of Jurisdiction and the Principle of ne bis in idem in Criminal Proceedings: European Criminal Bar Association (pdf): www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/ecba-reaction-ne-bis-in-idem-Greenpaper.pdf

BOOKMARK

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