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European Achievement


DRESDEN (Own report) — In spite of the mas­sive resis­tance put up by sev­er­al EU mem­ber states, the Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter is demand­ing that a restric­tion on rights of nation­al sov­er­eign­ty in the field of secu­ri­ty be applied through­out the EU. Fol­low­ing a meet­ing with his EU coun­ter­parts, Wolf­gang Schäu­ble announced that Ger­many intends to obtain access to police data of all EU mem­ber states. Berlin can already take sov­er­eign action in some of its neigh­bor­ing states. The legal basis for this was pro­vid­ed by the Prüm Treaty, signed two years ago by a group of EU pio­neers. Using its EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, Berlin is plan­ning to ini­ti­ate the incor­po­ra­tion of the Prüm Treaty into the EU’s legal frame­work. This Treaty has come under crit­i­cism in Ger­many because of deficits in the pro­tec­tion of data pri­va­cy and its lack of demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol. The attempt to sub­vert legit­i­mate resis­tance in the oth­er coun­tries, through reach­ing a spe­cial agree­ment with some of the mem­ber states, is being described in the Ger­man press as “a nov­el­ty in the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion process”. It is being voiced, that this is open­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of enforc­ing numer­ous legal norms, in spite of their far reach­ing con­se­quences, with­out rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the entire EU. Because of its dom­i­nat­ing posi­tion, Ger­many can set its own norms. Berlin has suc­cess­ful­ly reject­ed Por­tu­gal’s plan to adopt the admirable migra­tion pol­i­cy mod­el leg­is­la­tion.

The Prüm Treaty was signed, by the Inte­ri­or and Jus­tice Min­is­ters of the sev­en core Euro­pean states,[1] May 27, 2005, but been rat­i­fied, for the time being, only by Ger­many, Lux­em­bourg, Aus­tria and Spain. For the par­tic­i­pat­ing states, the Treaty pro­vides access to DNA and fin­ger­print data­bas­es as well as vehi­cle reg­is­tra­tion data. This access is avail­able for pur­pos­es of pros­e­cu­tion or for pre­ven­tive mea­sures. An exchange of infor­ma­tion on “vio­lent offend­ers” and “ter­ror sus­pects” — both very elas­tic terms — is already in progress. The Prüm Treaty also autho­rizes police oper­a­tions on for­eign ter­ri­to­ry. The Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­istry calls this a “rev­o­lu­tion­ary” Treaty because it cur­tails sov­er­eign rights in the field of security.[2] Inter­na­tion­al­ly it is con­sid­ered unique and derives from an ini­tia­tive made by the for­mer Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or, Otto Schi­ly (SPD).

Berlin has always sought to extend the “Prüm Treaty” to cov­er the entire EU. Accord­ing to the Ger­man Min­istry of Jus­tice, the con­tract­ing part­ners’ goal is “to con­vince as many Euro­pean states as pos­si­ble to join this pro-Europe Treaty”. The ini­tial plan was to eval­u­ate the Treaty’s effects and “after three years, at the most” to ini­ti­ate the incor­po­ra­tion of the terms of the Prüm Treaty into the EU legal framework.[3] In great haste, the Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter has already tak­en this ini­tia­tive, even though this treaty has only been enact­ed in two coun­tries (Ger­many and Aus­tria), effec­tive for about six weeks. At the recent meet­ing of the EU’s inte­ri­or and jus­tice min­is­ters, he tabled this plan for dis­cus­sion. Even though this Treaty is heav­i­ly con­test­ed not only by sev­er­al Euro­pean states, but also in Ger­many, its EU-wide adop­tion will be for­mal­ly exam­ined, under Ger­man EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, at the next inte­ri­or and jus­tice min­is­ters’ meet­ing, sched­uled for Feb­ru­ary 15 and 16 in Brus­sels.

No Con­trol
Gisela Piltz, the FDP par­lia­men­tary group’s domes­tic pol­i­cy spokes­woman in the Ger­man Bun­destag, crit­i­cis­es that the Prüm Treaty reduces demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trols over the secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus. Police forces, inter­ven­ing on for­eign ter­ri­to­ry, are not sub­or­di­nate to the sov­er­eign rep­re­sen­ta­tives of that nation. “Only ref­er­ence to the EU Coun­cil’s rec­om­men­da­tions from 1987 (!), which are explic­it­ly non-bind­ing” serve as a min­i­mum stan­dard for the data pri­va­cy laws, accord­ing to a pri­va­cy expert.[4] Even if defi­cien­cies should be dis­cov­ered, there is no way to “pre­vent the exchange of data from tak­ing place one day after the Treaty’s enact­ment.” The intend­ed appli­ca­tion through­out the EU has also come under mas­sive protest. It is expect­ed that this inter­na­tion­al treaty, elab­o­rat­ed and signed by the exec­u­tive, will, at best, be slipped though nation­al par­lia­ments, with­out debate, and have super­vi­sion renounced by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. Great Britain, Ire­land, Poland and the Czech Repub­lic have, until now, strict­ly refused to join this treaty.[5]

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment, while prais­ing restric­tions on rights of nation­al sov­er­eign­ty in the field of secu­ri­ty, as a “Euro­pean achieve­ment,” con­tin­ues nev­er­the­less to resist an EU migra­tion pol­i­cy for Ger­many. Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, brusque­ly reject­ed Por­tu­gal’s ini­tia­tive to intro­duce the “Green Card” pro­ce­dure through­out the EU. Schäu­ble wants to be in charge of restrict­ing immi­gra­tion to Ger­many and a lim­it­ed entry into the EU, only on the basis of quo­tas of labour con­tin­gents from impov­er­ished coun­tries on the demand of businesses.[6] An addi­tion­al objec­tive of the Ger­man EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy is the elab­o­ra­tion of the defence against refugees [7] and the fur­ther rein­force­ment of the Fron­tex Agency, to seal off not only the south­ern but also the east­ern EU bor­ders against unso­licit­ed immi­gra­tion.

With Machetes
To facil­i­tate the depor­ta­tion of migrants, Berlin is hop­ing to con­clude, dur­ing its EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, so called, part­ner­ship treaties, con­tain­ing claus­es reg­u­lat­ing the evac­u­a­tion of refugees, with African third-par­ty coun­tries. Accord­ing to Berlin, Mau­ri­ta­nia, Mali and Sene­gal are coun­tries being con­sid­ered as mod­els for such treaties. It is known that Mau­ri­tan­ian secu­ri­ty forces have aban­doned refugees, deport­ed from the EU, in the desert.[8] Mau­ri­ta­nia is not the only West African coun­try known for “excep­tion­al” treat­ment of refugees. Gam­bia, which like­wise is presided over by a pres­i­dent, brought to pow­er through a putsch, is report­ed to have tak­en, last fall, 50 ille­gal immi­grants from var­i­ous West African coun­tries “as soon as they crossed the bor­der from Sene­gal into Gam­bia, they were arrest­ed and were brought to the Marine head­quar­ters in the Gam­bian cap­i­tal, Banjul.[9] Tied with cords and elec­tric cable, they were trans­port­ed by the mil­i­tary to dif­fer­ent loca­tions on the out­skirts of Ban­jul, where they were exe­cut­ed, some with machetes.” It is with Gam­bia, of all coun­tries, that Ger­many intends to con­clude its fourth mod­el treaty, includ­ing reg­u­la­tions for depor­ta­tion.

[1] Bel­gien, Deutsch­land, Frankre­ich, Lux­em­burg, die Nieder­lande, Öster­re­ich und Spanien.
[2] Die Rev­o­lu­tion von Prüm; Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung 16.01.2007
[3] Vere­in­fachte gren­züber­schre­i­t­ende Zusam­me­nar­beit — Prümer Ver­trag; www.bmj.bund.de
[4] Thi­lo Weichert: Wo liegt Prüm? Der polizeiliche Date­naus­tausch in der EU bekommt eine neue Dimen­sion; www.datenschutzzentrum.de/polizei/060329-pruem.htm
[5] Ger­many seeks to mod­ern­ize polic­ing across EU; Inter­na­tion­al Her­ald Tri­bune 15.01.2007
[6] see also Nicht ver­w­ert­bar and Nicht ver­w­ert­bar (II)
[7] see also Fes­tung Europa
[8] see also Um jeden Preis and In die Wüste
[9] Präsi­dent bleibt, die Bürg­er gehen; taz 22.09.2006


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