Campaign against the next five-years plan for EU homeland affairs
Following Tampere 1999 and Hague 2004, the EU plans to decide the next five-year plan on „Justice and Home Affairs“ (JHA) this year.
After the implementation of data retention and new databases, the creation of „Frontex“ and the „European Security Research Programme“, the „harmonization“ of terrorism laws and more surveillance of the internet, next severe changes are foreseen to bet set in the new guideline.
Under swedish EU presidency in the second half of 2009, probably in November or December, the ministers of interior and justice will meet to agree the new „Stockholm Programme“.
A self-announced „Future Group“ of some of the ministers, initiated under german EU presidency 2007, already published the wishlist „European Home Affairs in an open world“:
An EU population register, ‘remote’ forensic searches of computer hard drives, internet surveillance systems, more implementation of satellites and ‘drone’ planes for surveillance, automated exit-entry systems operated by machines, autonomous targeting systems, risk assessment and profiling systems, e-borders, passenger profiling systems, an EU ‘entry-exit’ system, joint EU expulsion flights, dedicated EU expulsion planes, EU-funded detention centres and refugee camps in third countries (even „overseas“), expansion of the para-military European Gendarmerie Force, deployment of EU Battle Groups, crisis management operations in Africa, permanent EU military patrols in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, more power for EU agencies, interlinking of national police systems, an EU criminal record, a permanent EU Standing Committee on internal security (COSI) dealing with operational matters, more partnerships with the security industry.
By 2014, the ministers wish to establish a „transatlantic security partnership“ between the EU and USA, that can be seen as a kind of a „domestically NATO“. NATO strategists on the other hand approach to internal politics by claiming in the paper „Towards a grand strategy in an uncertain world“ that military could only supply „strong defence“ if there is a „strong homeland security“.
Simulating a „participation of the citizens“, the EU organized a „survey“ asking online opinions towards the changes foreseen in the „Stockholm Programme“. Participants could only choose between provided answers, that didn’t allow any serious critique towards the plans. Only 700 user were counted.
For more information see the studies of Statewatch: http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/the-shape-of-things-to-come.pdf Gipfelsoli: http://www.gipfelsoli.org/Gipfelsoli/Gipfelsoli_english/5575.html
We urge to act quickly and europeanwide against the „Stockholm Programme“:
- We see a realistic chance to influence the decisions by mobilising a critical civil society and forcing a discussion about the wishlist of the ministers.
- There is a lack of an europeanwide understanding of „home affairs“ politics.
- The consequences of the new „Stockholm Programme“ will not be recognized until a few years later, if they are ratified in the EU member countries.
- Many struggles and campaigns against changes concerning surveillance and control are acting nationwide, while the decisions are made on a european level.
- The responsible national politicians prevent to „be forced“ to implement european guidelines into national law, which is formally true. But, like the german minister of interior at the EU presidency 2007 or president Sarkozy 2008, they are also important actors in setting these guidelines on the european level.
- The „crisis“ will lead to more repression and boost the security industry.
- The fact that the presidency is to be held by Sweden (as a country that sees itself under democratic tradition with a high value of civil rights) might help to scandalize the foreseen changes, e.g. for migrants, regulation of internet, but also the shrinking of military and police.
- There are no strong, actively working european networks of civil liberty and antirepression groups. Although the structures exist (European Civil Liberties Network ECLN, Repression Network ESF, European Legal Team ELT, noborder network, Frassanito, Chaos Computer Club), there is no collective collaboration. The campaign might help bringing them together.
- We might link to the succesful struggles and structures that took place in recent years (and with the „crisis“ in recent months): The migrant revolts in France, Spain and Italy, mass protests at G8 and NATO summits, the „Freedom not fear“ actiondays.
The campaign against the „Stockholm Programme“ started in summer 2008 and ends in December 2009 and consists of three pillars:
As a first pillar we researched the last five-years plans (Tampere and Hague) and analyzed the wishlist of the minsiters of interior for the new programme, that led us to write several articles and studies to make the problem known among human and civil rights groups, critical lawyers, activists. We took part at meetings of the social movements, like the European Social Forum in Malmö to make contact to groups in Sweden, Denmark and other countries. We made contact and met with other groups, such as Statewatch, other members of ECLN, civil rights groups and activists in Germany to develop two calls against the „Stockholm Programme“: One to gather as much groups as possible under a common campaign to raise awareness about the problem; another to link the protests against NATO in April, G8 in July (in Italy with the inofficial slogan „We produce security“), the noborder camp against Frontex in August (Lesvos, Greece), the european actionday „Freedom not fear“ in September and the „Stockholm Programme“. We produced a presentation to hold lectures and workshops and organized an „Infotour“ in France and Germany in the run up of the NATO summit in Strasbourg and Baden-Baden. Our aim was to point out the „comprehensive approach“ of both military and police building up the „global security architecture“. We initiated an actionday at the protests against the NATO summit to go deeper into this issue. This was the official, public begin of the campaign.
The actionday marked the starting point of the second pillar, the europeanwide Infotour. Continuing in May 2009, we want to spread first in Scandinavia and Germany, followed by other countries in Europe (priorities are Italy, France, Poland, UK, Switzerland, Austria) to inform about the campaign and helping to boost the networks of civil rights, activists, lawyers and migration. We will produce materials like leaflets, stickers, posters to distribute and collect all activities on the website that we already started (http://stockholm.noblogs.org).
The Infotour should help to discuss and design the third pillar, a common action. Unless the „physical“ expression of protest and resistance yet remains unclear, we want to evaluate how we might give birth to a common european finale of the campaign. Probably it makes no sense to call for a europeanwide mass mobilisation for Stockholm in November or December. There will be the foreseen very big protest in Copenhagen in December against the Kyoto II „climate summit“, so not many people will make their their way twice to Scandinavia (beside the circumstance that the meeting in Stockholm will be scheduled around the date of the Copenhagen summit). But swedish groups announced to have a demonstration in Stockholm anyway, that might be called for mostly in Scandinavia. To solve this, there might be decentral protests in countries that participate in the campaign. Another idea for a common protest is to hold an „online demonstration“ targetting websites of european police agencies, that we might call „online remote search“ (which is planned by the ministers, carried out by Europol) to make clear what we are protesting against. The collected ideas and opinions that we bring from the „Infotour“ should lead to a decision at an international preparation meeting.
This text first appeared here.
Image: Genoa G8 protest 2001 (Still from „OP“, Secretaria Legale).