Statewatch article: RefNo# 6952
Plan to put protestors under surveillance and deny entry to suspected troublemakers
Statewatch News Online, August 2003
- "information and alerts regarding named individuals from other countries who may
disrupt the holding of European Council meetings or other comparable international
events... [can facilitate] targeted close checks on individuals believed to be intending to
enter the country with the aim of disrupting public order and security at the event"

(Italian proposal, doc no 10965/03, emphasis added)

- "if implemented this proposal will legitimate the ongoing surveillance by the political
police of any person or group who they think might go to a protest in another
European country on a whole range of issues from racism to the environment, from
globalisation to peace. Most people in Europe do not take part in protests, but those
that do express a wider, and historic, concern over democracy and its future.
Politicians may choose to ignore them but, in between elections, protests are one of the
few ways that people can collectively express themselves"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor


The incoming Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (the 15 EU
governments) from 1 July 2003 moved swiftly to put forward proposals, on 30 June 2003, to
counter protests (and football "hooliganism", see: National bans to become EU bans).

Since 2001 the Council of the European Union has been urging members states where
European Summit meetings (the 15 EU prime ministers) and other international meetings (eg:
G8) are being held to use their powers under the Schengen Convention to stop
"troublemakers" entering the country. Article 2.2 of the Schengen Convention allows states,
for a limited period, to introduce checks on those entering (by sea, land and air).

The location of EU Summits is about to change - it has always been the practice that they are
held in the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (eg: in
Thessaloniki for Greece, Rome for Italy) - now it is planned to hold the six-monthly Summits
in Brussels (other meetings such as EU Intergovernmental Conferences (IGCs) and G8
meetings will still be held in the state holding the Presidency). This move increases the role of
the Council's "units responsible for maintaining public order and security at such events".

One of the problems of using Article 2.2 says the Italian report, especially at land borders, is
that wholesale checks on all those entering has "led to the border being blocked", that is, the
"inconvenience" caused at some border crossings because of the "large-scale influx of
travellers to be checked" many of whom are nothing to do with planned protests.

The main problem, according to the Italian Presidency, is the:

"Lack of specific information and of alerts regarding named troublemakers from
another country"

The Italian Presidency has prepared a nine-point Resolution to tackle the issue. "Resolutions"
are non-binding under EU law ("soft law") and any actions taken under them (whether by a
few states or all EU states) are lawful. "Resolutions" are a convenient method of lawmaking
for EU governments as national parliaments and the European parliament do not even have to
be consulted.

Article 1 says that any member state applying Article 2.2 of Schengen shall take "every step
to limit, as far as possible, the inconvenience caused by checks to travellers" and Article 2
says such states:

"have to give precedence to targeted close checks on individuals believed to be
intending to enter the country with the aim of disrupting public order and security at the
event"

Article 3 says that in order to make it:

"easier" for the host country to carry out targeted close checks on travellers, Member

Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions oof that licence and to local copyright law. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.


Click here to return to your search results
For a print friendly version click here
To start a new search, click here
To return to the Statewatch home page click here
Statewatch, PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW, UK. Tel: + 44 (0)207 697 4266 Fax: + 44 (0)208 880 1727 email office@statewatch.org