Category Archives: Fight against Terrorism

Since terrorism represents a threat to the security, freedom and values of the European Union and to its citizens, EU action aims to provide an appropriate, tailored response to combat this phenomenon. Prevent, protect, pursue and respond are the four pillars of its overall approach. The EU is working hard on preventing and cracking down on terrorist acts and on protecting infrastructures and citizens. It is also tackling the causes, resources and capacities of terrorism. Coordination between the law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities within the EU and international cooperation are also essential to ensure the effectiveness of combating this transnational phenomenon.
The Amsterdam Treaty created the bases for action by the EU, at the time confined to a few Member States. This action has gathered pace with the terrorist attacks in the United States (in 2001) and Europe (Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005).

Decision establishing Eurojust

Decision establishing Eurojust

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Decision establishing Eurojust

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Decision establishing Eurojust

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime [See amending act(s)].

Summary

In order to step up cooperation in the fight against crime, the Tampere European Council decided (in point 46 of its conclusions) to set up a unit called Eurojust, with the objective of coordinating the activities carried out by national authorities responsible for prosecution. Several documents were presented on this subject during the year 2000:

  • an initiative of the Federal Republic of Germany;
  • an initiative of the Portuguese Republic, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Kingdom of Belgium;
  • a communication by the Commission to clarify its position on the setting up of Eurojust.

Subsequently, at the Intergovernmental Conference held in Nice in December 2000, the Heads of State and Government decided to amend Article 31 of the Treaty on European Union (EU), introducing a reference to, and a description of, Eurojust’s tasks. At the Laeken European Council in December 2001, Member States decided (in point 57 of the Council conclusions) that, pending a decision on the location of the headquarters of certain agencies, Eurojust would have its provisional headquarters in The Hague. At the December 2003 European Council, Member States decided that Eurojust would be headquartered in The Hague definitively.

Composition, competencies and tasks of Eurojust

This decision establishes Eurojust as a body of the Union with legal personality. Each Member State must appoint a national member to Eurojust headquarters: a prosecutor, judge or police officer (the latter must have competencies equivalent to the judge’s or the prosecutor’s). These national members are to be assisted by deputies and assistants. They are all subject to the national law of the Member State that appointed them. The length of the term of office of national members is a minimum of four years. The appointing Member State may renew the term. It also decides on the nature of the judicial powers conferred on its national representative. However, national members are to be granted at least certain ordinary powers, as well as other powers to be exercised in agreement with the competent national authority or in urgent cases, as defined in the decision.

Regarding investigations and prosecutions (concerning at least two Member States) in relation to serious crime, Eurojust has competence for:

  • promoting coordination between the competent authorities of the various Member States;
  • facilitating the execution of requests and decisions relating to judicial cooperation.

Eurojust’s competence covers, inter alia, the types of crime and offences for which Europol has competence at all times.

An On-Call Coordination (OCC) is to be established with one representative from each Member State and with a contact point at Eurojust. It is to act on a 24-hour/7-day basis, so that Eurojust may fulfil its tasks at all times.

Eurojust may fulfil its tasks through one or more of the national members or as a College. Eurojust may ask the authorities of the Member States concerned, inter alia, to:

  • undertake an investigation or prosecution;
  • set up a joint investigation team;
  • take special or other investigative measures.

The national authorities are to respond to these requests without delay.

The College issues non-binding opinions in cases where two or more national members are unable to resolve conflicts of jurisdiction as well as where competent authorities report recurrent refusals for, or other difficulties relating to, judicial cooperation.

The Commission, which is fully associated with the work of Eurojust, will jointly agree upon the necessary practical arrangements with Eurojust.

Each Member State is to appoint one or more national correspondents for Eurojust. Each Member State is also to set up a Eurojust national coordination system to coordinate the work of the Eurojust national correspondents, Eurojust national correspondent for terrorism matters, European Judicial Network national correspondent and contact points, as well as the national members or contact points of the Network for Joint Investigation Teams and representatives of Networks for War Crimes, Asset Recovery and Corruption.

Personal data

In order to realise its objectives, Eurojust must be able to exchange any relevant data with the competent authorities. To this end, the application of the principles of the Council of Europe Convention of 28 January 1981 for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data must be guaranteed.

Eurojust may only process data on persons who are suspected of having committed, or have been convicted of, an offence for which Eurojust has competence, as well as on victims and witnesses. The types of data that can be used include the person’s identity (full name, date and place of birth, nationality, contact details, profession, social security numbers, identification documents, DNA profiles, photographs, fingerprints, etc.) and the nature of the alleged offences (criminal category, date and place of the offence, type of investigation, etc.). A case management system with temporary work files and an index for personal and non-personal data is to be set up by Eurojust. Personal data are accessible only to national members and their deputies and assistants, to persons participating in Eurojust national coordination systems who are connected to the case management system, as well as to authorised Eurojust staff. It should be noted that the obligation of confidentiality continues to apply after the termination of their activities with Eurojust.

Within Eurojust, one member of staff is specially appointed to be responsible for data protection. His/her tasks include ensuring that the processing is lawful and that a written record of the transmission and receipt of data is kept.

Generally speaking, any individual may consult data concerning him/her and ask the data to be corrected or deleted if they are incorrect or incomplete. Any person who considers that they have suffered damage because of incorrect processing of data has the right to lodge a complaint. Eurojust is liable in accordance with the national law of the Member State where its headquarters are situated, while Member States are liable in accordance with their national law. The decision sets limits on consultations in relation to Eurojust’s activities (for example, in order to avoid compromising an investigation).

The data are kept only as long as strictly necessary after the conclusion of Eurojust’s activities. In any case, there is provision for a periodic review every three years.

Eurojust and the Member States protect the data in particular from destruction, loss, disclosure, alteration and unauthorised access.

An independent body monitors all of Eurojust’s activities in order to ensure that the processing of personal data is carried out in accordance with the decision. The Joint Supervisory Body meets periodically and when it is convened by its chairman. The chairman is appointed from permanent members that are in their third year of mandate.

Relations with other bodies

In order to carry out its tasks, Eurojust maintains privileged relations with the European Judicial Network, the European Police Office (Europol), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European External Borders Agency (Frontex) and the Joint Situation Centre of the Council. After approval by the Council, Eurojust will also be able to conclude cooperation agreements on the exchange of information with non-Member States, international organisations or bodies and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol). Furthermore, Eurojust may coordinate judicial cooperation with non-Member States as well as to post liaison magistrates to these states for the purpose of facilitating this cooperation.

Final provisions

This decision includes provisions on the organisation and operation of Eurojust (organisation of the secretariat, appointment and length of term of office of the Administrative Director, status of staff, language arrangements, etc.).

The Council and the European Parliament are periodically informed of Eurojust’s activities and the state of play in terms of crime in the EU. In the annual report to the Council, Eurojust may make proposals for the improvement of judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2002/187/JHA

6.3.2002

6.9.2003

OJ L 63 of 6.3.2002

Amending act(s)
Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/659/JHA

1.10.2003

OJ L 245 of 29.9.2003

Decision 2009/426/JHA

4.6.2009

4.6.2011

OJ L 138 of 4.6.2009

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 6 July 2004 on the legal transposition of the Council Decision of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime [COM(2004) 457 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In this report, the Commission analyses the implementation of the Eurojust decision, which it deems to be disappointing: by the deadline set (September 2003), only one Member State (Portugal) had passed the complete legislation necessary to comply with the Eurojust decision. Despite the fact that by April 2004 three more Member States had adopted the relevant laws (Austria, France, Germany), six others still need to bring their national law into conformity with the decision (Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain). The remaining Member States concluded that they did not need to amend their national law. The Commission therefore wonders whether the existing rules in Member States will suffice to give full effect to the Eurojust decision and to make Eurojust an efficient and effective tool. Accordingly, it calls on all Member States to ensure a rapid and complete transposition of the Eurojust decision. In this connection, it recommends the drawing up of guidelines or circulars clarifying certain essential issues even where legislation is not indispensable; the promotion of a sufficiently rapid information flow; and the conferral on their Eurojust national members the judicial and/or investigative powers necessary.

New functions for the Schengen Information System in the fight against terrorism

New functions for the Schengen Information System in the fight against terrorism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about New functions for the Schengen Information System in the fight against terrorism

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

New functions for the Schengen Information System in the fight against terrorism

These two acts make a number of amendments to the 1990 Schengen Convention and add new functions for the Schengen information system (SIS) that will make it possible to combat terrorism more effectively.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 871/2004 of 29 April 2004 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, in particular in the fight against terrorism.

Council Decision 2005/211/JHA of 24 February 2005 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, in particular in the fight against terrorism.

Summary

At the Laeken European Council, the Member States undertook to step up cooperation between departments specialising in counter terrorism and to find a common definition of terrorist crimes (cf. point 17 of the Conclusions). In June 2002, the Council adopted a framework decision designed to approximate legislative provisions establishing minimum rules at European level relating to the constituent elements of offences and penalties in the field of terrorism.

In addition, it is necessary to improve the Schengen Information System’s operational capacity so as to facilitate effective cooperation with other agencies, such as Europol and Eurojust, which will be authorised under these measures to access a limited number of categories of SIS data.

The Regulation and Decision discussed here were adopted on a Spanish initiative and aim to improve the operation of SIS-I as a useful instrument in combating illegal immigration, crime and terrorism by introducing new functions.

At present, the SIS allows the competent authorities of the Member States to access data on certain categories of persons and objects. As such, it is vital to the smooth operation of the area of security, freedom and justice. It helps to implement the provisions concerning free movement of persons (Title IV of the EC Treaty) and those concerning police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Title VI of the EU Treaty).

Cf. Article 93 of the 1990 Schengen Convention states that the purpose of the SIS is to maintain public order and security, including state security, and to apply the provisions of this Convention relating to the movement of persons.

Since certain provisions of the 1990 Schengen Convention serve both purposes, they have to be amended in identical terms by parallel instruments based on each of the two Treaties. The amendments to the Schengen acquis required for that purpose come in two forms:

  • the Regulation, based on Articles 62, 63 and 66 of the EC Treaty;
  • the Decision, based on Articles 30(1)(a) and (b), 31(a) and (b) and 34(2)(c) of the EU Treaty.

These initiatives are without prejudice to the future development of a second generation Schengen Information System, referred to as ” SIS II “, which will be set up with a view to enlargement and will provide for major innovations in information technology.

The main amendments made to the SIS by the Regulation and the Decision concern:

  • access for Europol and the national members of Eurojust to the data stored in the SIS;
  • extending the list of missing objects for which alerts can be entered – boats, aircraft, containers, residence permits, registration certificates, etc. (category added by Regulation No 1160/2005) and means of payment.

So as to provide the authorities designated to exchange any additional information with a legal basis and to establish rules applicable to deletion of data held by them, other amendments relate to:

  • access to the SIS for the national judicial authorities responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime;
  • the obligation for the Member States to record all transmissions of personal data (in place of the current rule requiring one transmission in ten to be recorded) and extending the period for which records must be kept to up to three years;
  • determination of a common legal basis for the existence and operation of SIRENE (Supplementary Information Request at National Entry) offices – the SIRENE network.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 871/2004

20.5.2004

OJ L 162 of 30.4.2004

Decision 2005/211/JHA

24.2.2005

OJ L 68 of 15.3.2005

Related Acts

Council Decision 2005/451/JHA of 13 June 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 871/2004 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 158 of 21.6.2005].

Council Decision 2005/719/JHA of 12 October 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 271 of 15.10.2005].

Council Decision 2005/727/JHA of 12 October 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 273 of 19.10.2005].

Council Decision 2005/728/JHA of 12 October 2005 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 871/2004 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism [Official Journal L 273 of 19.10.2005].

Democratic control over Europol

Democratic control over Europol

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Democratic control over Europol

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Democratic control over Europol

The Commission is clarifying the tasks and powers of Europol compared with those of national police forces. It is also analysing possible methods of exercising democratic control over Europol’s activities while preserving the confidentiality and freedom of action that are essential if Europol is to carry out its tasks.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council. Democratic control over Europol [COM(2002) 95 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In the interests of creating an area of freedom, security and justice, Article 29 of the Treaty on European Union provides for closer cooperation between police and customs authorities in preventing and combating crime. The competent authorities of the Member States may cooperate directly or through Europol.

In October 1999 the Tampere European Council recognised the key role of Europol in crime prevention and called on the Council to provide it with the necessary support and resources for carrying out its tasks (point 45 of the Conclusions).

When the Scoreboard was updated in October 2001, the Commission raised the question of revising the Europol Convention in order to introduce some form of democratic control [COM(2001) 628 final]. The importance of the issue was then highlighted in December 2001 in the Laeken Declaration on the future of the European Union, in which the Member States expressed their commitment to greater transparency and efficiency.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) recently launched a debate on the possibility of exercising democratic (and more particularly parliamentary) control over Europol.

European Parliament’s position

Maintaining that the arrangements for informing it about Europol’s activities did not constitute an adequate level of control, Parliament formulated proposals in a recommendation on reinforcing parliamentary controls and extending Europol’s powers (April 1999) and two reports on initiatives by the Member States to extend Europol’s powers (October 2000 and 2001).

Parliament made a number of suggestions in these documents. It called on the Council to:

  • provide for adequate parliamentary control in the event of Europol being given operational powers;
  • provide for the creation of a European public prosecutor in the event of Europol being given cross-border operational powers;
  • make the Director of Europol accountable to the competent Parliamentary committee.

Parliament also asked the Commission to present a proposal for a comprehensive reform of Europol which would include other topics, such as judicial review of the instruments of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (third pillar) by the Court of Justice and the funding of the instruments in question from the Community budget.

Analysis of Europol’s current tasks

In order to assess the effectiveness of existing control over Europol, the Commission believes it is necessary to analyse the tasks currently performed by the European Police Office. These essentially consist of exchanging information and analysing criminal activity. On a practical level, Europol stores, analyses and distributes the information it receives from the Member States or collects on its own initiative.

Unlike national police forces, Europol has no powers of enforcement or investigation (search, arrest, use of firearms, etc.). But, whereas until January 2002 Europol was competent to deal only with certain types of criminal activity, the Council Decision of 6 December 2001 extended Europol’s mandate to include all the forms of crime listed in the Annex to the Europol Convention (Official Journal C 362, 18.12.2001).

As Europol’s principal task is to collect information, its activities have a direct bearing on the right to privacy. The Europol Convention devotes a number of articles to the problem of the processing of personal data (Title IV), requiring each Member State to designate a national supervisory body and set up an independent joint supervisory body. In addition, the Council has adopted measures over the years to regulate the transmission of data originating from third parties or intended for third-party organisations.

Europol’s Management Board, which consists of representatives of the Member States and in which the Commission has observer status, meets at least six times a year. It performs a number of tasks which essentially amount to a close monitoring of Europol’s activities.

Practicalities of parliamentary control

Each year the Management Board reports to the Council meeting at the level of the ministers responsible for police cooperation. The ministers are accountable to their national parliaments.

The Europol Convention provides for:

  • the Presidency to present an annual report on Europol’s activities to the European Parliament. This report is not exactly the same as the annual report that Europol presents to the Council. The Commission is suggesting amending the Convention to provide for a single report to Parliament and the Council;
  • the European Parliament to be consulted before any amendment to the Convention.

In addition, the Treaties contain provisions allowing Parliament to intervene in the decision-making process relating to Europol, namely:

  • Article 39 of the EU Treaty introduces the procedure whereby Parliament must be consulted before the adoption of the measures referred to in Title VI of the EU Treaty (decisions, framework decisions). The same article also states that Parliament must be regularly informed by the Commission of activities carried out in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and that it may ask questions of the Council. Provision is also made for an annual debate on the progress that has been made;
  • Article 195 of the EC Treaty gives the Ombudsman the power to handle complaints of maladministration relating to Community institutions and bodies, including Europol.

Outlook

Debate is currently focusing on Article 30(2) of the EU Treaty, which states that within five years of the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1 May 1999 – 1 May 2004) Europol should be able to participate in joint investigation teams, to ask the Member States to conduct investigations and, in general, to wield more extensive operational powers than it does at present.

As soon as such powers are conferred upon Europol, the question of democratic control over the European Police Office will have to be discussed.

Given the very limited nature of Europol’s powers at present, compared with those of the national police forces, the Commission believes that the controls provided for are formally adequate. They are, however, fragmented and in some cases insufficiently explicit.

The Commission therefore suggests that, as soon as Europol’s powers are extended, the arrangements for controlling it should be revised so as to provide for:

  • a regular, formal exchange of information between Europol, the national parliaments and the European Parliament;
  • the creation of a joint committee consisting of representatives of the parliamentary committees (in national parliaments and the European Parliament) that are responsible for police cooperation;
  • the amendment of the Europol Convention (presentation of a single annual report on Europol’s activities to both the European Parliament and the Council, the right of the European Parliament to summon the Director of Europol to appear before the competent committee).

Freezing funds: list of terrorists and terrorist groups

Freezing funds: list of terrorists and terrorist groups

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Freezing funds: list of terrorists and terrorist groups

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Freezing funds: list of terrorists and terrorist groups

Document or Iniciative

Council Common Position 2001/931/CFSP of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism.

Summary

The extraordinary European Council of 21 September 2001 defined terrorism as one of the main challenges facing the world and identified the fight against terrorism as one of the European Union’s (EU) priority objectives. The purpose of this common position is to apply further measures to combat terrorism, in addition to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001). Specifically, it establishes a list of individuals, groups and entities involved in terrorism whose funds and other financial assets are to be frozen as part of the fight against the financing of terrorism.

Definitions

“Persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts” means individuals, groups and entities on whom there is accurate information proving that they have committed, are attempting to commit or are facilitating the commission of terrorist acts.

“Terrorist acts” are defined as intentional acts that may seriously damage a country or an international organisation by intimidating a population, exerting undue compulsion of various types or by destabilising or destroying its fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures. The list of terrorist acts includes:

  • attacks on a person’s life or physical integrity;
  • kidnapping or hostage-taking;
  • causing extensive destruction to a public or private facility, including information systems;
  • seizure of means of public transport, such as aircrafts and ships;
  • manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport or use of weapons, explosives, or nuclear, biological or chemical weapons;
  • release of dangerous substances or causing fires, explosions or floods;
  • interfering with or disrupting the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource;
  • directing or participating in the activities of a terrorist group, including by funding its activities or supplying material resources.

Merely threatening to commit any of these criminal acts is also to be treated as a terrorist offence.

The common position also defines “terrorist groups” as structured groups of persons, acting in concert to commit terrorist acts, regardless of their composition or the level of development of their structure.

List of individuals and entities concerned

The list annexed to the common position is drawn up on the basis of investigations carried out by the competent judicial and police authorities in EU countries. It must be revised at least every six months, so as to keep it up to date. The list comprises revolutionary activist groups, as well as the names of individuals belonging to such groups, including:

  • CIRA (Continuity Irish Republican Army);
  • E.T.A (Basque Fatherland and Liberty);
  • G.R.A.P.O (the First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group);
  • Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem (terrorist wing of Hamas);
  • LVF (Loyalist Volunteer Force)
  • PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad).

Osama bin Laden and individuals and groups associated with him do not feature on the list, as they are already covered by Council Common Position 2002/402/CFSP of 27 May 2002 concerning restrictive measures against Osama bin Laden, members of the Al-Qaida organisation and the Taliban and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them. The measures in this common position are applied by Regulation (EC) No 881/2002, adopted on the same date.

Measures to be taken by the EU and its countries

Acting within the limits of its powers, the EU is to freeze the funds and other financial assets of the individuals and groups on the list. It is also to ensure that these individuals and groups do not gain access to the frozen funds and assets.

Through appropriate police and judicial cooperation, EU countries are to afford each other assistance in preventing and combating terrorist acts. For the purposes of investigating and prosecuting any of the persons and entities on the list, they may fully exploit the powers conferred on them by acts of the EU or under any other bilateral or international agreements.

Similarly to this common position, Council Common Position 2001/930/CFSP of 27 December 2001 on combating terrorism provides for the freezing of the funds and other financial assets and economic resources of individuals and groups facilitating, attempting to commit or committing terrorist acts on the territory of the EU.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Common Position 2001/931/CFSP

27.12.2001

OJ L 344 of 28.12.2001

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism [Official Journal L 344 of 28.12.2001].
This regulation is a necessary EU-level measure that builds on the administrative and judicial procedures relating to terrorist organisations in EU and non-EU countries. It sets out to clamp down on any sort of financing of terrorist activities. To this end, it specifies what is meant by “funds and other financial assets” to be frozen, “banking and other financial services” and “controlling a legal person”. The regulation also provides for exceptions to unfreeze assets in certain circumstances.
The regulation provides for the establishment, review and amending of a list of persons, groups and entities to which it applies. This list has been updated by successive regulations and decisions.

Council Decision 2005/671/JHA of 20 September 2005 on the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences [Official Journal L 253 of 29.9.2005].

European Agency for the Management of External Borders – Frontex

European Agency for the Management of External Borders – Frontex

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Agency for the Management of External Borders – Frontex

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

European Agency for the Management of External Borders – Frontex

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) is set up in response to the need to improve the integrated management of the external borders of the European Union (EU).

Although responsibility for the control and surveillance of external borders lies with Member States, the agency will facilitate the application of existing and future EU measures relating to the management of these borders.

In this context, “external borders” means Member States’ land and sea borders, airports and seaports to which the provisions of EU law on the crossing of external borders by persons apply.

Tasks of the agency

The main tasks of the agency are to:

  • coordinate operational cooperation between Member States as regards the management of external borders;
  • develop a common integrated risk assessment model and prepare general and specific risk assessments;
  • help Member States train their national border guards by developing common training standards, providing training at European level for instructors of national border guards, holding seminars and offering additional training to officials of the competent authorities;
  • monitor research relevant to the control and surveillance of external borders;
  • assist Member States in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders;
  • provide Member States with the necessary support in organising joint return operations. The agency may use the Union resources available for this purpose and must draw up an inventory of best practice for the removal of third-country nationals residing illegally in Member States;
  • deploy Rapid Border Intervention Teams to Member States under urgent and exceptional pressure due to, for example, a massive influx of illegal immigrants.

Without prejudice to the competencies of the agency, Member States may continue cooperation at an operational level with other Member States and/or third countries where such cooperation complements the action of the agency. Member States must report to the agency on such activities where they are conducted outside the framework of the agency.

Structure and organisation of the agency

The agency is an EU body with legal personality. It is independent in relation to technical matters and is managed and represented by its executive director. The executive director, who is independent in the performance of his/her duties, is appointed for five years by the management board on the grounds of merit, documented administrative and management skills, and relevant experience in the field of management of external borders. He/she is assisted by a deputy executive director.

The management board also adopts the agency’s general report, work programme and staffing policy and establishes the agency’s organisational structure. It is composed of one representative from each Member State and two Commission representatives. Each Member State also appoints an alternate, while the Commission appoints two alternates. The term of office of management board members is four years, renewable once.

Countries associated with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis participate in the agency and appoint each a representative and an alternate to the management board.

With regard to communication, the agency is responsible for publishing its general report, as well as for providing the public and any interested party with objective, reliable and easily understandable information on its work.

The agency is funded by an EU grant, a contribution from the associated countries, fees for services provided and voluntary contributions from Member States. The financial rules applicable to the agency are adopted by the management board after consulting the Commission.

The management board commissions an independent external evaluation of the implementation of this regulation within three years from the date the agency takes up its responsibilities and will commission a similar evaluation every five years thereafter. It will issue recommendations based on the findings of these evaluations.

The agency takes up its responsibilities on 1 May 2005.

Background

The aim of EU policy in the field of external borders is to set up integrated management ensuring a high and uniform level of checks on persons and surveillance as a prerequisite for the establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice. In its communication of 7 May 2002 entitled “Towards integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union”, the Commission advocated the setting-up of an “external borders practitioners’ common unit” tasked with managing operational cooperation at Member States’ external borders.

The plan for the management of the external borders of Member States, agreed by the Council on 13 June 2002, endorsed the setting-up of the external borders practitioners’ common unit as a means of establishing integrated management of the external borders. However, this unit has demonstrated structural limitations as regards coordination of operational cooperation.

This regulation is in response to the request made by the Thessaloniki European Council in its conclusions of 16 and 17 October 2003. It builds on the experiences gained from cooperation between Member States within the common unit, over which the agency takes responsibility for coordinating operational cooperation.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004

26.11.2004

OJ L 349 of 25.11.2004

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 863/2007

20.8.2007

OJ L 199 of 31.7.2007

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 February 2008 – Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency [COM(2008) 67 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In response to the Hague European Council, the Commission submitted a political evaluation of the agency. Its short-term recommendations include exploiting to the full the database of national technical equipment, merging joint operations with the European Patrols Network (EPN), acquiring equipment for Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) and having Frontex manage the ICONet and take over the activities of the Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration (CIREFI).
The Commission also makes long-term recommendations for Frontex’s involvement in the:

  • mechanism of Schengen evaluations of Member States’ external borders;
  • European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR);
  • acquisition of equipment and recruitment for the creation of a European Corps of Border Guards.

Council Decision 2005/358/EC of 26 April 2005 designating the seat of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 114 of 4.5.2005].
This decision establishes the seat of the agency at Warsaw, Poland.

Arrangements

Council Decision 2010/490/EU of 26 July 2010 on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Arrangement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein, of the other part, on the modalities of the participation by those States in the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 243 of 16.9.2010].

Council Decision 2007/511/EC of 15 February 2007 on the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of an Arrangement between the European Community and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway on the modalities of the participation by those States in the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 188 of 20.7.2007].
The objective of the arrangement is to involve Norway and Iceland in Frontex. Under the regulation establishing the agency, countries associated with the development of the Schengen acquis participate in the agency. The arrangement is intended to set out the details of the participation of Norway and Iceland (the voting rights of their representatives on the Frontex management board, their financial contribution, data protection and recognition of the legal status of Frontex in Icelandic and Norwegian law).

Compensation to crime victims

Compensation to crime victims

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Compensation to crime victims

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Compensation to crime victims

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2004/80/EC of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims.

Summary

Crime victims should be entitled to fair and appropriate compensation for the injuries they have suffered, regardless of where in the European Union (EU) the crime was committed. This directive contributes to this by:

  • requiring Member States to provide in their national legislation for a compensation scheme for victims of violent intentional crime committed in their territories;
  • setting up a system facilitating access to compensation for victims of crimes in cross-border situations (possibility of making an application in the Member State of residence, designation of central contact points in Member States, etc.).

Guaranteeing adequate compensation for victims of crime throughout the EU

It is often difficult to obtain compensation for victims either because the offender does not have the necessary financial resources or because it has not been possible to identify or prosecute the offender (the possibility of obtaining compensation from the offender is dealt with in the framework decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings). Most Member States are aware of this fact and have already introduced state-funded compensation schemes. However, these schemes differ greatly, and these differences have engendered substantial inequalities in terms of full coverage of all EU citizens and amount of compensation.

Following the entry into force of the directive, it will be possible for the victim of a crime to be compensated in cross-border and national situations irrespective of the victim’s country of residence or the Member State in which the crime was committed. The amount of compensation to be paid to individual victims is left to the discretion of the Member State in which the crime was committed, but it must be fair and appropriate.

Facilitating claims for compensation by victims in cross-border situations

This directive sets up a system of cooperation to facilitate access to compensation for victims of crimes in cross-border situations. This system is to operate on the basis of Member States’ compensation schemes for victims of violent intentional crime committed in their respective territories. All Member States must therefore set up a compensation mechanism and introduce national legislation providing for a compensation scheme for victims by 1 July 2005.

Providing for the setting up of a compensation scheme and reinforcing cooperation between Member States

All Member States must ensure that their national legislation provides for the existence of a compensation scheme ensuring that victims of violent intentional crime committed in their respective territories receive fair and appropriate compensation.

This directive sets up a system of cooperation between national authorities to facilitate access to compensation for victims in cross-border situations. Victims of crimes committed outside their Member State of habitual residence may ask an authority in the Member State in which they are residing (assisting authority) to provide information on how to apply for compensation. The authority in the Member State of habitual residence transmits the application directly to the authority in the Member State where the crime was committed (deciding authority), which is responsible for assessing the application and paying out the compensation.

The Commission has established standard forms for the transmission of applications and decisions relating to compensation to victims (see “Related acts”).

With a view to implementation, the directive makes provision for the drawing up and publishing of a manual for the assisting authorities on the internet. The directive also provides for the setting up of a system of central contact points in each Member State to facilitate cooperation in cross-border situations. Additional information is available on the website of the European Judicial Atlas in Civil Matters.

Member States are required to implement the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this directive by 1 Janaury 2006 at the latest.

Not later than 1 January 2009, the Commission will submit a report on the implementation of this directive to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

Background

In 1999, the Commission presented a communication with a view to improving the situation of crime victims in the EU. In addition, at the Tampere European Council, Member States recognised the need to lay down minimum standards on the protection of victims of crime in the Union. On 15 March 2001, the Council adopted a framework decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings. This framework decision contains provisions on compensation by the offender, but does not otherwise address the matter of compensation of crime victims.

Subsequently, on 28 September 2001, the Commission presented a green paper on the compensation of victims of crime, which targeted two main areas for potential action:

  • the adoption of minimum standards with regard to compensation at European level by requiring Member States to guarantee victims a reasonable level of state compensation;
  • the adoption of measures making access to compensation easy in practice, irrespective of where in the EU the crime was committed.

This directive follows on from the green paper. After the terrorist attacks in Madrid in March 2004, the Commission called for the adoption of the directive before 1 May 2004 in its declaration on combating terrorism.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2004/80/EC

26.8.2004

1.1.2006

OJ L 261, 6.8.2004.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 20 April 2009 on the application of Council Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims [COM(2009) 170 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report evaluates the application of the directive in Member States during the period of 1 January 2006 – 31 December 2008. Only 15 Member States met the deadline for the transposition of the directive (1 January 2006). Subsequent notifications have been received from 11 Member States. The evaluation is thus not complete.
In any case, 25 Member States have put in place schemes for victims to submit applications, established the responsible authorities and implemented the provisions concerning administrative procedures. Most have also notified of their measures and methods for providing applicants information on compensation schemes.
Due to the recent implementation of the directive in some Member States, language barriers that some have encountered as well as a lack of knowledge of other legal systems and procedures, the number of cross-border applications and actions has remained very low. Furthermore, the processing and transmitting of applications and decisions varies greatly from one Member State to another.
All but one Member State have in place fair and appropriate national compensation schemes. Most compensate victims for personal injury, long-term disability and death, as well as close relatives in cases of homicide, but exclude unintentional injuries from their scope. However, the offences must have been reported to the police. Most Member States impose time limits for applications and upper limits for compensations. Most also provide for reduced compensations when the victim contributed to his/her injury.
Only 13 Member States transmitted to the Commission full details of the assisting and deciding authorities, the languages in which information may be transmitted between these authorities, the measures for providing information to applicants and the application forms. Consequently, the manual containing these details, which is published in the Atlas, will be updated regularly.

Commission Decision 2006/337/EC of 19 April 2006 establishing standard forms for the transmission of applications and decisions pursuant to Council Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims [Official Journal L 125 of 12.5.2006].
The Commission has established standard forms for the transmission of applications and decisions relating to compensation. These forms are attached as an annex to the decision.

EU counter-terrorism policy

EU counter-terrorism policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU counter-terrorism policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

EU counter-terrorism policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 20 July 2010 – The EU Counter-Terrorism Policy: main achievements and future challenges [COM(2010) 386 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The communication presents the main European Union (EU) level legislative and policy developments, as well as some of the future challenges, in the field of counter-terrorism. It forms a preparatory step in the EU’s internal security strategy, building on the Stockholm Programme’s counter-terrorism related measures. The communication focuses on the four strands identified in the EU counter-terrorism strategy:

Prevent

The framework decision on combating terrorism is the main EU level legal instrument for dealing with terrorist offences. Amended in 2008, it now also harmonises national provisions relating to the prevention aspects of the fight against terrorism, including terrorist use of the internet. The Commission has also launched a dialogue with law enforcement authorities and service providers to counter terrorist use of the internet. To facilitate this kind of public/private partnerships, a European Agreement Model is currently being developed.

Of the several important policies the EU has adopted in recent years to combat radicalisation and recruitment, the specific EU strategy is a key instrument. Action and implementation plans were approved in 2009 to further the objectives of this strategy. The Commission’s contribution to work in this field has included its communication concerning terrorist recruitment and support for the production of a number of related studies. Furthermore, it has set up a European Network of Experts on Radicalisation (ENER) to facilitate dialogue between academics and policy makers.

In the future, the most effective ways to counter radicalisation and recruitment must be identified more accurately. The related national policies must be assessed, to which end the Commission will launch a communication in 2011, which will also serve as a basis for updating the EU strategy. More effective approaches must also be put in place to counter terrorist use of the internet, including further support to national law enforcement authorities.

Protect

Great efforts have been made in recent years to improve border security, including the introduction of new technologies in the development of the integrated border management system and of biometric passports. The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (VIS) are currently being developed. Cyber security is dealt with in the framework decision on attacks against information systems and the action plan to protect critical information infrastructure. To improve transport security, especially regarding civil aviation and maritime transport, an extensive legislative framework has been established. In these two fields, the Commission also closely cooperates with national administrations on a system of inspections of airports and port facilities.

In 2008, an EU action plan for enhancing the security of explosives was approved. The Commission is also working on proposals for measures that aim at improving control of access to precursor substances used for preparing explosives. Several programmes have also been established to support the development of security and counter-terrorism policies, such as the security research programme (as part of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development) and the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure (EPCIP). In relation to the latter, a directive on European critical infrastructures was adopted in 2008 as a first step in creating an EU-wide approach.

Future work must concentrate on improving transport security through the use of new technologies and on developing industrial security policy with focus on standardising and certifying security solutions. Efforts should also be made to ensure the effectiveness of security research policy, in particular by strengthening links between public sector users and the research community as well as technology providers and the industry.

Pursue

In recent years, several instruments relating to data gathering and exchanges have been adopted, such as the Data Retention Directive, the decision on stepping up cross-border cooperation and the framework decisions on simplifying the exchange of information between national law enforcement authorities and on the European evidence warrant. At the same time, improvements have been made to the functioning of Europol and to its cooperation with Eurojust.

The main legislative instrument dealing with the financing of terrorism is the directive on money laundering adopted in 2005. The same year, a regulation on controls of cash entering or leaving the EU was also adopted. There are also non-legislative measures to counter terrorist financing, such as the voluntary guidelines to address non-profit organisations’ vulnerability to abuse for terrorist financing purposes.

An assessment of the new legal instruments for exchanging information is currently underway and will be presented in a separate communication. The need for EU legislation on investigation techniques will also be assessed. In addition, there is the need to establish a methodology based on common parameters for threat assessments at EU level in order to ensure that counter-terrorism policy is adequately supported by evidence.

Respond

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is the main instrument for responding to terrorist attacks. Additional EU level mechanisms include the Crisis Coordination Arrangements (CCA) and the ARGUS system, which aim at coordinating responses to crises. Europol also supports coordinated responses to terrorist incidents through its information exchange mechanisms.

The EU action plan on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security was adopted in 2009, with a view to better preparing and responding to incidents in which terrorists would obtain such materials. The Commission also provides support to victims of terrorist attacks, including financial support.

The EU civil protection policy is currently being evaluated to better prepare for the follow-up actions. An assessment of ways to reinforce coordination and cooperation to facilitate consular protection during crises is also underway. Furthermore, it is essential that the EU rapid response capacity be further developed on the basis of existing instruments.

Horizontal issues

The EU counter-terrorism strategy also includes horizontal issues that are relevant for its implementation:

  • respect for fundamental rights – the tools used to fight terrorism must comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
  • cooperation with external partners – cooperation should be further developed through international organisations, such as the United Nations, and with non-EU countries, particularly the United States;
  • funding – the multi-annual financial frameworks (currently the Security and Safeguarding Liberties Programme) provide funding for counter-terrorism; the feasibility of creating an Internal Security Fund will be examined in future.

Exchange of certain data with Interpol

Exchange of certain data with Interpol

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exchange of certain data with Interpol

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Exchange of certain data with Interpol

Document or Iniciative

Council Common Position 2005/69/JHA of 24 January 2005 on exchanging certain data with Interpol.

Summary

One of the Union’s objectives is to provide citizens with a high level of safety and, therefore, it is essential to enhance cooperation between the Union’s law enforcement authorities. Issued or blank passports that are stolen, lost or misappropriated are used to elude law enforcement and to carry out illicit activities capable of jeopardising the security of the Union.

To combat organised and international crime and terrorism, this Common Position meets the requirement to implement an integrated system for the exchange of information on stolen and lost passports * making use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Interpol STD database *.

All Member States are affiliated to the International Criminal Police Organisation – Interpol. This organisation receives, stores and circulates data to assist the competent law enforcement authorities in preventing and combating international crime. Its database on stolen travel documents allows Interpol’s members to share data on lost and stolen passports.

The Common Position requires Member States’ competent law enforcement authorities to exchange certain non-personal data on stolen and lost passports with the other States who are members of Interpol by using the database on stolen travel documents. Europol ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data and also respects the fundamental rights and liberties regarding the automatic processing of personal data.

 Each Member State may agree with Interpol the modalities for exchanging all passport data. Such data are contained in the relevant national database *, if it participates, or in the SIS. They also ensure that their competent law enforcement authorities query the Interpol database in accordance with this Common Position.

The Commission will, submit a report to the Council on the operation of this Common Position by December 2005. The Council will assess the extent to which Member States comply with this Common Position and take the appropriate action.

Key terms used in the act
  • Passport data: data on issued and blank passports that are stolen, lost or misappropriated and formatted for integration in a specific information system. 
  • Interpol database: the automatic search facility for the stolen travel document database managed by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
  • Relevant national database: the police or judicial database or databases in a Member State that contain data on issued and blank passports that are stolen, lost or misappropriated.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Common Position 2005/69/JHA OJ L 27 of 29.1.2005

Related Acts

Commission report on the application of Council Common Position 2006/69/JHA [COM (2006) 167].
As provided for in the Common Position, the Commission has presented its report on the application of the Common Position. Of the 25 Member States contacted, 18 participate in Interpol’s STD database on stolen documents and provide the database with data on lost or stolen travel documents.
However, the figures reported by Interpol show that, even though the EU is the main provider of information to the database on travel documents, it carries out only a small proportion of the searches. The report thus calls on the Member States to adopt a more pro-active approach, providing active encouragement to officials of the law enforcement authorities to use the database.

Addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation

Addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council concerning terrorist recruitment: addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation [COM (2005) 313 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This communication is the Commission’s initial contribution to the development of a long-term EU strategy for addressing the factors contributing to radicalisation and recruitment to terrorist activities. The measures set out are a combination of:

  • soft measures, such as inter-cultural exchanges among young people;
  • hard measures, such as the prohibition of satellite broadcasts inciting terrorism.

All the measures and recommendations in this communication must be viewed as complementary to, and in support of, current national efforts.

Broadcast media

The [TWF] prohibits any incitement to hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality in broadcasts. Under some circumstances, this includes third-country programmes transmitted to the EU. The Commission notes that the effective application of this prohibition in third-country programmes is working quite well.

In addition, it plans:

  • to organise a conference on the role of the media in radicalisation and in the fight against terrorism;
  • to support cooperation between national regulatory authorities in the broadcasting field.

Internet

The E-Commerce Directive provides for the possibility of taking appropriate measures against violent radicalisation. Member States may:

  • derogate from the rules governing freedom of movement to take measures, such as sanctions or injunctions, that restrict the provision of a particular on-line service from another Member State where there is a need to protect certain public policy interests;
  • to oblige information society service providers to inform the public authorities immediately of illegal activities;
  • to require the removal of any illegal information.

The Commission encourages Member States to make use of the enabling provisions in the Directive in the most effective way to address violent radicalisation in Europe.

Education, youth engagement and active European citizenship

Various European programmes make it possible to combat violent radicalisation:

  • the Youth programme develops understanding of cultural diversity in Europe;
  • the 2007 Culture programme promotes intercultural dialogue and enhances the understanding of cultural diversity;
  • the Socrates programme is designed, among other things, to develop concepts of European citizenship.

In the same connection, the Commission has launched a proposal to adopt a new programme entitled “Citizens for Europe”. One of the objectives of this programme, which is designed to promote active European citizenship, is to enhance mutual understanding between European citizens by respecting and celebrating cultural diversity.

Encouraging integration, inter-cultural dialogue and dialogue with religions

As regards integration, the Commission notes that policies in this field can have positive effects on preventing violent radicalisation. It is committed, therefore, under the Hague Programme to take action to promote more vigorous national integration policies. It has:

  • set out its proposals in a communication adopted in September 2005;
  • proposed, under the financial perspectives 2007-2013, the setting up of a European Integration Fund.

The Commission will stress that a holistic approach to integration is necessary that includes not only access to the labour market for all groups but also measures designed:

  • to combat discrimination: a number of directives have been adopted in this respect. In addition, 20% of the European Social Fund budget is already being allocated to improving equal opportunities in employment for disadvantaged groups;
  • to reduce social inequalities: the Commission here takes the view that Community policies may prove helpful, particularly those designed to step up the regeneration of deprived areas and neighbourhoods, to improve housing conditions, to encourage access to education and to protect against social exclusion.

As regards the cultural dialogue, the Commission plans to launch a proposal to establish 2008 as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

As regards dialogue with religions, the Commission organises regular conferences and seminars to strengthen mutual understanding and to promote European values. For instance, a Conference of EU Home Affairs Ministers was held in 2002 on “The inter-faith dialogue – a social cohesion factor in Europe and an instrument of peace in the Mediterranean area”. The aim was to discuss establishing a “European Forum for inter-faith and faith-governments dialogue”.

Law enforcement authorities and security services

The Commission:

  • suggests that those Member States that promote the recruitment of people from different backgrounds should also encourage other Member States to do likewise;
  • urges Member States that have already attained good results to share their experiences and best practices with other Member States via EU structures, and in particular Europol and the Joint Situation Centre (SitCen).

Expert networks

The Commission is planning to allocate funds to establish a network of experts that will submit a preliminary contribution on the state of knowledge on violent radicalisation at the beginning of 2006.

It will also launch a public tender for studies in this area that will focus in particular on:

  • the motivational and desisting factors for violent radicalisation;
  • the socio-economic factors contributing to such radicalisation.

Monitoring and collection of data

The Commission:

  • has received feedback in the form of a study from the Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights about the link between violent radicalisation and fundamental rights within the legal framework of Member States;
  • has taken note of the studies by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), notably with regard to racist violence and Islamophobia. It will ask the EUMC for studies on different manifestations of hatred towards fundamental constitutional values of the EU, such as religious freedom and equality between men and women.

External relations

Dialogue with and, where appropriate, technical assistance to third countries and regional partners must be an integral part of the EU approach to addressing violent radicalisation and terrorist recruitment.

The Commission is planning to promote development aid as an instrument for combating violent radicalisation and terrorist recruitment. Such assistance can help erode the support base for terrorist networks through a focus on reducing inequalities, providing support for democratisation and ensuring good governance.

The Commission would also like:

  • to deepen the dialogue with the Mediterranean countries on anti-radicalisation measures within the framework of the institutions created by the Association Agreements. This dialogue can be based on the EU action plans adopted under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which includes a number of anti-radicalisation measures;
  • to promote moderate Islam in the third countries where Islam is the predominant religion, with support being given to moderate Islamic groups;
  • to direct the funding priorities under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights towards the need to fight racism and xenophobia in the content of its cooperation with third countries in the field of human rights.

Context

The Hague Programme provides for the development of a long-term EU strategy for combating violent radicalisation. This measure forms part of a holistic approach to the preventive side of fighting terrorism. The recent terrorist attacks in London (July 2005) and Madrid (March 2004) have underscored the priority nature of addressing violent radicalisation. This communication served as the basis for the document drawing up an EU counter-terrorism strategy that was adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in December 2005.

Key terms used in the act
  • Violent radicalisation: the phenomenon by which certain individuals holding certain points of view, opinions and ideas may be led to commit terrorist acts.

 

Access to the Visa Information System by the national authorities and Europol

Access to the Visa Information System by the national authorities and Europol

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Access to the Visa Information System by the national authorities and Europol

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Police and customs cooperation

Access to the Visa Information System (VIS) by the national authorities and Europol

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2008/633/JHA of 23 June 2008 concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences.

Summary

The designated national authorities responsible for the prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist or other serious criminal offences and Europol officials are authorised to access VIS data.

Access by the national authorities

The operating units within the designated national authorities may access VIS data through central access points assigned by Member States. Access to the data is applied for on a case-by-case basis with reasoned written or electronic requests. The requests are verified and processed by the central access points prior to querying the VIS. They transfer the data obtained from the query to the operation units. Only in urgent cases may the requests be submitted in written, electronic or oral form, with the verifications carried out ex-post.

The authorities designated by Member States are authorised to consult the VIS within the limits of their powers, provided that:

  • it is necessary for the purpose of investigating, preventing or detecting serious criminal offences;
  • it is necessary due to a specific case;
  • there are reasonable grounds for believing that the consultation will contribute to the prevention, detection or investigation of a serious criminal offence.

VIS data, which may be used for the search, are limited to:

  • surname, surname at birth, first names, sex and date, place and country of birth;
  • current nationality and nationality at birth of the visa applicant;
  • type and number of the travel document, the authority that issued it and the date of issue and expiry;
  • main destination and duration of the intended stay;
  • purpose of travel, and intended date of arrival and departure;
  • intended border of first entry or transit route;
  • residence;
  • fingerprints;
  • type of visa and number of the visa sticker;
  • details of the person that has either issued an invitation for the visa applicant or is liable for the applicant’s subsistence costs during his/her stay.

If the search with any of the above data is successful, the authorities may in addition access other data. This includes any other data on the visa application, photographs and any supplementary information added onto the application when the visa was issued, refused, annulled, revoked or extended.

Access by Europol

Access to the VIS for consultation by Europol takes place within the limits of that organisation’s mandate.

The officials of a specialist unit designated by Europol act as the central access point authorised to consult the VIS.

Processing of information obtained by Europol via the VIS is subject to the consent of the Member State that entered the data in question.

Protection of personal data

Personal data are processed by:

  • the national authorities as provided by national law, with a level of protection comparable to that granted by the Council of Europe Convention of 28 January 1981 for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data;
  • Europol by virtue of the Europol Convention and the rules adopted for its implementation, under the supervision of the independent joint supervisory body.

Only in urgent cases, and for the purpose of preventing and detecting terrorist and other serious offences, may personal data be transferred to third-countries or to international organisations. However, in such cases, the consent of the Member State that entered the data into the VIS must be obtained.

Member States are responsible for adopting security measures to guarantee data security during transmission and retrieval. Similarly, they must take measures that provide for administrative and criminal penalties if the use of VIS data contravenes with this Decision.

VIS data may be kept in national files only in individual cases and only for the duration necessitated by that particular case.

Each Member State and Europol must keep records of all data processing operations so that checks can be made to ensure that operations are lawful. These records must be deleted one year after the expiry of the retention period referred to in Regulation (EC) No 767/2008.

Costs

Each Member State and Europol is to set up and maintain, at their expense, the technical infrastructure necessary to implement this Decision. They are also to bear the costs of accessing the VIS.

Monitoring and evaluation

Two years after the VIS starts operating, and every two years thereafter, the Management Authority referred to in Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 will submit to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission a report on the technical aspects of its operations. Pending the Management Authority becoming operational, the Commission will be responsible for the task.

Three years after the VIS starts operating, and every four years thereafter, the Commission will produce an overall evaluation of the system.

Background

The VIS, which allows Member States to exchange visa data, was established by Council Decision 2004/512/EC of 8 June 2004. It not only contributes to the implementation of the common visa policy, but also to the Union’s internal security and especially to the fight against terrorism.

On 7 March 2005, the Council adopted conclusions stating that the authorities of the Member States responsible for internal security should be guaranteed access to the VIS “in order to achieve fully the aim of improving internal security and the fight against terrorism”.

This Decision follows from these conclusions. It builds on the bridging clause contained in Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 on the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (VIS Regulation) by establishing the legal basis for the national authorities’ and Europol’s access to the VIS.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Decision 2008/633/JHA

2.9.2008

OJ L 218 of 13.8.2008


Another Normative about Access to the Visa Information System by the national authorities and Europol

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Access to the Visa Information System (VIS) by the national authorities and Europol

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2008/633/JHA of 23 June 2008 concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences.

Summary

The designated national authorities responsible for the prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist or other serious criminal offences and Europol officials are authorised to access VIS data.

Access by the national authorities

The operating units within the designated national authorities may access VIS data through central access points assigned by Member States. Access to the data is applied for on a case-by-case basis with reasoned written or electronic requests. The requests are verified and processed by the central access points prior to querying the VIS. They transfer the data obtained from the query to the operation units. Only in urgent cases may the requests be submitted in written, electronic or oral form, with the verifications carried out ex-post.

The authorities designated by Member States are authorised to consult the VIS within the limits of their powers, provided that:

  • it is necessary for the purpose of investigating, preventing or detecting serious criminal offences;
  • it is necessary due to a specific case;
  • there are reasonable grounds for believing that the consultation will contribute to the prevention, detection or investigation of a serious criminal offence.

VIS data, which may be used for the search, are limited to:

  • surname, surname at birth, first names, sex and date, place and country of birth;
  • current nationality and nationality at birth of the visa applicant;
  • type and number of the travel document, the authority that issued it and the date of issue and expiry;
  • main destination and duration of the intended stay;
  • purpose of travel, and intended date of arrival and departure;
  • intended border of first entry or transit route;
  • residence;
  • fingerprints;
  • type of visa and number of the visa sticker;
  • details of the person that has either issued an invitation for the visa applicant or is liable for the applicant’s subsistence costs during his/her stay.

If the search with any of the above data is successful, the authorities may in addition access other data. This includes any other data on the visa application, photographs and any supplementary information added onto the application when the visa was issued, refused, annulled, revoked or extended.

Access by Europol

Access to the VIS for consultation by Europol takes place within the limits of that organisation’s mandate.

The officials of a specialist unit designated by Europol act as the central access point authorised to consult the VIS.

Processing of information obtained by Europol via the VIS is subject to the consent of the Member State that entered the data in question.

Protection of personal data

Personal data are processed by:

  • the national authorities as provided by national law, with a level of protection comparable to that granted by the Council of Europe Convention of 28 January 1981 for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data;
  • Europol by virtue of the Europol Convention and the rules adopted for its implementation, under the supervision of the independent joint supervisory body.

Only in urgent cases, and for the purpose of preventing and detecting terrorist and other serious offences, may personal data be transferred to third-countries or to international organisations. However, in such cases, the consent of the Member State that entered the data into the VIS must be obtained.

Member States are responsible for adopting security measures to guarantee data security during transmission and retrieval. Similarly, they must take measures that provide for administrative and criminal penalties if the use of VIS data contravenes with this Decision.

VIS data may be kept in national files only in individual cases and only for the duration necessitated by that particular case.

Each Member State and Europol must keep records of all data processing operations so that checks can be made to ensure that operations are lawful. These records must be deleted one year after the expiry of the retention period referred to in Regulation (EC) No 767/2008.

Costs

Each Member State and Europol is to set up and maintain, at their expense, the technical infrastructure necessary to implement this Decision. They are also to bear the costs of accessing the VIS.

Monitoring and evaluation

Two years after the VIS starts operating, and every two years thereafter, the Management Authority referred to in Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 will submit to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission a report on the technical aspects of its operations. Pending the Management Authority becoming operational, the Commission will be responsible for the task.

Three years after the VIS starts operating, and every four years thereafter, the Commission will produce an overall evaluation of the system.

Background

The VIS, which allows Member States to exchange visa data, was established by Council Decision 2004/512/EC of 8 June 2004. It not only contributes to the implementation of the common visa policy, but also to the Union’s internal security and especially to the fight against terrorism.

On 7 March 2005, the Council adopted conclusions stating that the authorities of the Member States responsible for internal security should be guaranteed access to the VIS “in order to achieve fully the aim of improving internal security and the fight against terrorism”.

This Decision follows from these conclusions. It builds on the bridging clause contained in Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 on the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (VIS Regulation) by establishing the legal basis for the national authorities’ and Europol’s access to the VIS.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Decision 2008/633/JHA

2.9.2008

OJ L 218 of 13.8.2008