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[Nettime-bold] News from Statewatch
statewatch-news on Mon, 14 Jan 2002 22:00:02 +0100 (CET)


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[Nettime-bold] News from Statewatch


Statewatch, 14 September 2002

1. US government vetoes Statewatch request for access to EU-US 
agendas
2. All refugees and asylum-seekers to be vetted under new EU 
terrorism policy
3. New EU Regulation on access to documents - first assessment

US GOVERNMENT VETOES STATEWATCH REQUEST FOR 
ACCESS TO EU-US AGENDAS

- Council of European Union says it has no choice but to back US 
veto 
- Refusal of access follows two successful complaints to the 
European Ombudsman 
- Decision would exclude from access any document on 
international policy vetoed by third parties

The US government has vetoed a request by Statewatch to the 
Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) for access 
to copies of the agendas of the "Senior Level Group" and the "EU-
US Task Force". The Council has says it has no option but to deny 
access. The agendas cover a wide range of global issues including 
policing and immigration, trade and aid.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments:

"This decision confirms our worst fears on the implementation of 
the new Regulation on public access to EU documents, namely 
that third states or organisations will have an absolute right to veto 
access by EU citizens to documents which third parties have 
authored, or co-authored, and which are the basis of, or an 
influence on, EU decision-making.

If this decision stands it will remove whole swathes of documents 
from public scrutiny on all aspects of international policy making 
and practice and yet again undermine democratic standards and 
accountability. We have lodged an appeal against the Council's 
decision and will, if necessary, take the issue to the European 
Ombudsman or the Court of Justice."

In July last year - after a four year fight and two successful 
complaints to the European Ombudsman - Statewatch finally 
obtained the agendas of ten EU-US high-level planning meetings 
between September 1996 and February 1998. The agendas 
concern meetings of the "Senior Level Group" and the "EU-US 
Task Force" set up under the New Transatlantic Agenda agreed in 
1995.

The full report is on: 
<http://www.statewatch.org/news/2002/jan/03usveto.htm>

NOTE: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, will be attending a press 
conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg at 5pm on 
Monday 14 September on the subject of EU openness


ALL REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS TO BE VETTED 
UNDER NEW EU TERRORISM POLICY

Statewatch has published a report on four new policies adopted by 
the Council of the European Union on 27 December by "written 
procedure". The two of the measures adopted are Common 
Positions (under Articles 15 and 34 of the Treaty on European 
Union).

The effect of the "Common Position on combating terrorism" is that 
it will be binding on EU member states to vet all refugees and 
asylum-seekers to ensure that they have not facilitated or 
participated in terrorist acts. 

The Common Position also widens the definition of terrorism to 
include "any form of support, active or passive".

EU policies agreed as Common Positions are not referred to the 
European Parliament for its opinion and their validity and effect 
cannot be challenged in the European Court of Justice.

The full report is on: 
<http://www.statewatch.org/news/2002/jan/02euter.htm>


NEW EU REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS - FIRST 
ASSESSMENT

- the first major problem is going to be what will, and what will not, 
be on the public registers of documents
- the second will be the exclusion of "internal documents"
- the third will be the right of "third parties" (like the US) to veto 
access to EU documents

The new Regulation (1049/2001) on public access to EU 
documents came into effect on Monday 3 December 2001. The 
position and practice of the Council of the European Union is pretty 
clear. Its internal rules of procedure follow almost exactly the terms 
of the new Regulation. The Council also has had a public register of 
documents on the internet since January 1999.

The positions of the European Commission and the European 
Parliament are less clear especially as neither has a public register 
of documents. Both are obliged to make available a public register 
by June 2002.

The full report is on: 
<http://www.statewatch.org/news/2002/jan/04access.htm>

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e-mailing us at <office {AT} statewatch.org> 


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