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Identifier
Created
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04BRUSSELS4619
2004-10-26 14:01:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

NEW EU PROGRAM FOR FREEDOM, SECURITY AND

Tags:   PTER  SMIG  PREF  CMGT  CVIS  KCRM  EUN  USEU  BRUSSELS 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 004619 

SIPDIS

DHS FOR IAO, BORDER PATROL
DOJ FOR CRM
ROME ALSO FOR INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER SMIG PREF CMGT CVIS KCRM EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: NEW EU PROGRAM FOR FREEDOM, SECURITY AND
JUSTICE TO BE ENDORSED BY LEADERS ON NOV 5

REF: USEU BRUSSELS 3101

SUMMARY
-------



1. EU Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)
on October 25 reached broad agreement on a new multi-
annual program for strengthening freedom, security
and justice in the EU for the next five years. The
prevention and repression of terrorism will be a key
element of the plan, which provides for an
"innovative approach" to the cross-border exchange
of law-enforcement information, to be governed,
under certain conditions, by the "principle of
availability." The plan will be endorsed at the
November 4-5 European Council, when EU leaders will
be called to decide whether the Council should move
to qualified-majority voting and co-decision with
the European Parliament for all asylum and migration
decisions by April 1, 2005. The Dutch Presidency
draft provides for the establishment of a Common
European Asylum System by 2010. A rapid reaction
force of national experts to assist with the control
and surveillance of the EU external borders could
"ultimately be converted into a European corps of
border guards." The draft also provides for minimum
standards for national identity cards and for
further development of judicial cooperation in
criminal and civil law matters. END SUMMARY.



2. The October 25 JHA Council completed its
preparations for a new multi-annual program of EU
measures to strengthen "justice, security and
freedom" in the Union. The plan, based on
discussions at the September 30 - October 1 informal
JHA in The Hague/Scheveningen, will be endorsed as
the so-called "The Hague program" at the European
Council meeting on November 4-5. Dutch officials
said EU leaders would have to solve persisting
differences on further moves from unanimity for
Council decisions in JHA matters. The Dutch draft
contains language requiring a switch to qualified-
majority voting (QMV) and co-decision with the
European Parliament for allasylum and migration
policy measures by April 2005. The UK, Ireland and
Denmark invoke a "legal exemption" (opt-out) to
resist the proposal but other countries, including
Germany, are said to be hesitant.

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION AND COUNTER-TERRORISM



3. Speaking to the press, Dutch Justice Minister
Donner and other Dutch officials described the new
plan, which is building on the 1999 "Tampere
program" of EU JHA activities, as both ambitious and
practical. Donner highlighted the plan's provisions
on the cross-border exchange of law-enforcement
information as an "important step forward." The
draft's section on "strengthening security" calls
for an "innovative approach," saying cross-border
exchange of law-enforcement information should be
governed, under certain conditions, by the

"principle of availability." The implication is
that, effective January 2008, "a law enforcement
officer in one Member State who needs information"
to perform his duties "can obtain this from another
Member State" and that the law enforcement agency in
the other Member State that holds that information
"will make it available for the stated purpose."
Without prejudice to work in progress -- a reference
to the draft Framework Decision on simplifying
information and intelligence between law enforcement
authorities of the EU Member States, the draft tasks
the Commission to submit proposals by the end of
2005 for the implementation of the principle of
availability. Spanish Interior Minister Alonso was
particularly pleased, saying information would "flow
directly, immediately and without obstacles when one
country requests it from another." EU officials
made it clear that other ministers failed to display
the same enthusiasm.



4. Noting the "new urgency" arising of 9/11 and the
03/11/04 attacks in Madrid, the Dutch draft
recognizes that EU citizens expect "a more
effective, joint approach to cross-border problems"
such as terrorism, organized crime, illegal
migration and the smuggling of human beings. The
prevention and repression of terrorism will be a key
element of the new program and the common approach
"should be based on the principle that preserving
national security requires that full account is
taken of the security of the Union as a whole." In
Donner's words, "the security of one Member State
contains the security of the other Member States"
and "rules to protect public security in one country
can also be used to protect public security in other
countries."



5. The program calls for full implementation of the
March 2004 EU Declaration and Action Plan on
combating terrorism. Effective January 1, 2005, the
SitCen located within the EU Council should provide
"strategic analysis of the terrorist threat based on
intelligence from Member States' intelligence and
security services and, where appropriate, on
information provided by EUROPOL." The Council and
the EU CT Coordinator are tasked to develop, by the
end of 2005, "a long-term strategy to address the
factors which contribute to the radicalization and
recruitment for terrorist activities."

TOWARD A COMMON EUROPEAN ASYLUM SYSTEM



6. The draft calls on the EU and its Member States
to develop a "comprehensive approach" covering all
stages of migration, from its root causes to entry,
integration and return policies. The new phase in
the establishment of a common EU policy in the field
of asylum, migration and borders "should be based on
solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility,"
including in "its financial implications." The aims
of the Common European Asylum System will be the
establishment of a common asylum procedure and a
uniform status for those who are granted asylum or
subsidiary protection. The Council and Commission
should establish in 2005 "appropriate structures
involving the national asylum services of the Member
States with a view to facilitating practical
cooperation." Following the establishment of a
common asylum procedure by the end of 2010, these
structures would be transformed into a European
office "to assist all forms of cooperation between
Member States relating to the Common European Asylum
System." The draft further tasks the Commission to
"look into the merits" and "feasibility of the joint
processing of asylum applications outside EU
territory." The EU will provide support for
capacity building, border control and wider
cooperation on migration issues to "those countries
that demonstrate a genuine commitment to fulfill the
obligations under the Geneva Convention on Refugees"
(watered down from an earlier version that required
countries to "keep their obligations" under the
Convention).



7. The plan tasks the Council to establish teams of
national experts to "provide rapid technical and
operational assistance" to Member States for the
control and surveillance of the EU external borders.
The question of whether such teams of national
experts can "ultimately be converted into a European
corps of border guards" would be part of a 2007
review of the tasks of the European Agency for the
management of cooperation at the EU external borders
to be established on May 1, 2005. The leaders will
also task the Council and Commission to draw up a
plan in 2005 to develop "common standards, best
practices and mechanisms to prevent and combat
trafficking in human beings."

BIOMETRICS AND VISA POLICY



8. The draft calls on the Council, Commission and
Member States to pursue their efforts to integrate
biometric identifiers in travel documents, visas,
residence permits, EU citizen's passports and
information systems, and to prepare for the
development of minimum standards for national
identity cards. A common visa policy will be
developed through further harmonization of national
legislation and handling practices at local consular
missions. Common visa offices would be established
in the long term, taking account of discussions on
the establishment of an EU external action service
as envisaged under the EU Constitution. The draft
tasks the Commission to submit in 2005 a proposal on
the establishment of common application centers and
calls for the swift implementation of the Visa
Information System (VIS) "starting with the
incorporation of among others alphanumeric data and
photographs by the end of 2006 and biometrics by the
end of 2007 at the latest."

POLICE AND JUDICIAL COOPERATION



9. The program calls on the EU Member States to
enable EUROPOL in cooperation with EUROJUST (EU
Prosecutors' Office) to "play a key role in the
fight against serious cross-border (organized) crime
and terrorism by providing all necessary information
to EUROPOL in good time." Member States are pressed
to set up joint investigative teams. The Council
and Commission will set up "within the existing
structures an integrated EU crisis management
arrangement for cross-border crises" to be
implemented by July 1, 2006.



10. The program also calls for EU judicial
cooperation in criminal and civil matters to be
enhanced by "strengthening mutual trust" and the
"progressive development of a European judicial
culture." This should be achieved through exchange
programs and the creation of a European training
network for judicial authorities. The program calls
for full completion of the program of EU measures to
implement the principle of mutual recognition of
judicial decisions in both criminal and civilian
matters. The draft will refer to preparations for
the establishment of a European Public Prosecutors'
Office at EUROJUST, as provided under the EU
Constitutional Treaty, but Donner said the exact
wording on this controversial point remained subject
to amendments. The Commission will be tasked to
table legal instruments regarding family and
succession law for completion by 2011.

EXTERNAL ASPECTS AND NEXT STEPS



11. The leaders will task the Council SG/HighRep to
present to the Council, by the end of 2005, a
strategy encompassing all external aspects of EU
policy on freedom, security and justice. The
strategy should reflect the EU's "special relations
with third countries, groups and regions" but an
earlier, more specific reference to relations with
the U.S., Russia and the Balkans has been dropped
from the text.



12. The new European Strategy on Drugs 2005-2012,
to be adopted at the December 17-18 European
Council, will be added to the multi-annual program.
In adopting the Hague program next week, the EU
leaders will task the Commission to present an
Action Plan in 2005, in which the aims and
priorities of the program will be translated into
concrete actions, with a timetable for their
adoption and implementation. The Commission will
present to the Council an annual evaluation report
("scoreboard") on the implementation of the Hague
program.

FAREWELL TO VITORINO



13. Outgoing JHA Commissioner Vitorino told his
final Council press conference he fully backed the
efforts of the Dutch Presidency to extend the use of
QMV in JHA matters but cautioned this was "not a
magic solution" as the EU would still have to
overcome differences in the legal cultures of its
individual Member States. Looking back to his five
years in office, Vitorino assured that the EU had
been able to maintain a "fair balance between
justice, security and freedom." He expressed hope
that the same equilibrium would be maintained in the
implementation of the new program. Pressed to offer
his advice to JHA Commissioner-designate
Buttiglione, Vitorino said the Commission "should be
part of the solution, not of the problem."
MCKINLEY