13 Apr 2004 @ 21:34, by S Barua
EU set to agree sweeping counter-terror policies
Thursday March 25, 2004
Police, security and intelligence agencies across Europe will have authority to hold and exchange data on individuals - and detain them - under a draft declaration on combating terrorism to be agreed by EU leaders meeting in Brussels today. Under the plans, which will be approved by the EU summit in Brussels, officials would win sweeping powers to arrest and question individuals on suspicion of involvement in terrorism. The summit opens two weeks after the Madrid train bombings injected new urgency into remedying glaring deficiencies in Europe's anti-terrorist defences.
A draft declaration seen by the Guardian contains over 50 proposals which amount to a formidable array of measures in an area of European cooperation - involving the criminal justice system as a whole - in which Britain has hitherto been reluctant to get enmeshed. Whitehall signalled yesterday that the government is preparing to drop its veto over important areas of EU judicial cooperation. The draft declaration prepared for today's European summit by Ireland, holder of the rotating EU presidency, has been obtained by Statewatch, a London-based bulletin monitoring EU decision making and potential threats to civil liberties.
Civil liberties campaigners say that many of the measures in the document are too widely drawn and amount to an "electronic fishing expedition" that could catch innocent people or those suspected of relatively minor offences. Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, said yesterday: "Under the guise of tackling terrorism, the EU is planning to bring in a swath of measures to do with crime and the surveillance of the whole population. After the dreadful loss of life and injuries in Madrid we need a response that unites Europe rather than divides it."
An internal note of a recent meeting between European and American officials in Dublin on "the new transatlantic agenda" reveals, for example, that the FBI prefers to deal with individual EU states rather than Europol.
This seems like the EU version of Patriot Acts here in US (both enacted quickly within a month or less of 911 and Madrid bombing). Wish they could be as prompt in nabbing the hijackers& terrorists before the events took place.
Also meet the Tom Ridge of EU [link]
Pray that Citizens everywhere remain vigilant and fearless!
Peace to all.