Body Scanners: an effective tool to address perceived rather than real increased security?

Several countries around the world have already installed body scanners in airports, including the Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam.

Several politicians coming from both sides of the Atlantic visited the airport, in order to assess the extent to which such a measure is proportionate and effectively increases security in the airports.

The technology employed in Schiphol has been welcomed by several legislators. For example, the three United States Senators Collins, Kyl and Chambliss praised the advantages of the Schiphol technology in addressing health and privacy concerns (see previous post) in a letter to Secretary Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security, urging to reconsider such technology also for U.S. airports.

Health concerns

The body scanners technology employed in Amsterdam Airport is based on millimeter waves using extremely high frequency radio waves to produce images with no-ionizing radiation. This frequency range is just below the (related) sub-millimeter “Terahertz radiation” (or “T-ray”) range.

While the digital journal reports that  Health Canada says the scanners are safe, the UK Health and Safety Executive states that relatively little appears to be known about the possible health & safety implications of exposure to Terahertz radiation, as a EU project in this area  confirms.

Thus, the question related to the effect that body scanners have on human bodies remains opened and needs to be investigated further.

Privacy

Concerning the privacy aspect, the body scanners can “see” through passengers’ clothes, revealing sensitive information (implants, piercings…).

Nonetheless, the letter of the three senators explains that such a loopholes can be reduced by computer-based auto-detection:

“Computer-based auto-detection technology identifies potentially threatening objects on a person and highlights with boxes on a featureless human body outline those areas of the individual that may require further inspection.  If the computer scan finds no problems, then the passenger and screener at the imaging machine are notified almost immediately that the passenger may proceed (…). The automated review of images by a computer, rather than by a screener examining the image in a separate room, address privacy concerns.”

Although this option does represent an improvement compared to the systems currently used in several airports, it does not solve the privacy issues.

Especially if added to the fact that no certainty exists over the fact that images are immediately deleted, despite the fact that manufacturers insist that images cannot be stored or transferred. In fact, the machines have the ability to store images on hard disk storage, and that they possess the ability to send the images.

On top of this, the capacity of these machines for detecting devices/weapons concealed inside a body is still very limited, questioning the effectiveness of such a measure to prevent terrorist attacks. One can even argue that if an individual willing to attack an airport reach the airport, it is already too late.

Hence, once again the balance between effectiveness and invasion of fundamental rights, remains to be verified and therefore the use of body scanners in airports seems more a measure to address perceived rather than real greater security.

LB

Schengen Border Code: the European Parliament reject the guidelines but does not reach the necessary absolute majority

Parliament voted to reject the guidelines by 336 votes to 253 with 30 abstentions, but this was not enough as, under the rules, an absolute majority of all Members (369) was needed for rejection.

The LIBE Committee opposes the adoption of the European Commission Draft Council decision on supplementing the Schengen Borders Code in operations coordinated by Frontex

The Committee on Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) opposed (12 in favour and 25 against) the Proposal for a Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Border Code and then approved the consequent Motion for a resolution on the draft Council decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders.

Continue reading “The LIBE Committee opposes the adoption of the European Commission Draft Council decision on supplementing the Schengen Borders Code in operations coordinated by Frontex”

Full body-scanners: risks of violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

The recent attempted bombing to the Detroit flight on 25 December 2009 confirmed the weakness in aviation security to detect non-metallic items. As a consequence a reignited interest towards the introduction of full-body scanners in airports is taking place worldwide. 

Full-body scanners create an image of the full body which shows the surface of the skin and reveals objects that are on the body, not in the body. Personal identification is not possible and the image is not retained. The two main technologies used are: backscatter (relying on low intensity x-ray) and millimetre wave (using non-ionizing radio frequency energy). These technologies are capable of detecting body-worn threat items and have the potential to reveal and retain sensitive information about the individual, including health conditions.

Therefore, in order to understand whether such measure should be permitted, the following three cumulative conditions must be met:

Legitimacy: a legal basis for the restriction should exists. The objective of the full-body scanner must be legitimate and be coherent with the values and principles of the European Union as well as the need to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals;

• Respect the principle of Rule of Law: the conditions under which the restriction to the above-mentioned rights is imposed must be provided for by law and accessible to the individual affected by the restriction and sufficiently precise to enable the person to understand its scope and foresee the consequences of his actions so as not to break the law and protect him from arbitrariness;

Proportionality: the use of the full-body scanner must be proportionate to the end pursued so that they can be considered necessary.

Legitimacy

At the European level, the legal basis for the implementation of full-body scanner can be found in Regulation (EC) 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

This Regulation aims to protect persons and goods within the European Union by preventing acts of unlawful interference with civil aircraft, including screening of persons before they enter security restricted areas at airports and board and aircrafts. Hence, the use of body scanners is included within the scope of the Regulation.

However, not only full-body scanners do not screen body caveats, but experts also say that plastic, chemicals and liquids can go undetected even in a full-body screening, greatly reducing their effectiveness. Hence, despite the existence of a legal basis for permitting such searches, the fact that full-body scanners are not able to detect unlawful material puts under question their legitimacy and proportionality thereof.

Furthermore, the legal basis for screening passengers has been put under question by the European Parliament. In its non-legislative Resolution on the impact of the use of body scanners in the field of aviation security on human rights, privacy, personal dignity, health and data protection it stated:

“This draft measure could exceed the implementing powers provided for in the basic instrument, as the measures in question cannot be considered mere technical measures relating to aviation security, but have a serious impact on the fundamental rights of citizens”.

This is because the Commission proposed a draft regulation supplementing the common basic standards on civil aviation security to include “body scanners” implying that within the existing common basic standards, body scanners were not included.

Proportionality

The European data protection authorities have emphasised the great impact on passengers’ privacy that full-body scanners have and, therefore, they have underlined the necessity to strike the right balance between the body scanners’ necessity and the intrusiveness derived from their introduction.

To reduce the invasively nature of the full-body scanners, the Privacy Impact Assessment of the Homeland Security suggests that passengers may choose alternative screening to the full-body scanner.

However, as the Data Protection Working Group stated, “making them voluntary undermines the(se) reasons for needing them”. As the European Data Protection Supervisor correctly pointed out, this will depend on how, where, when, and with which rigorous procedures they are installed and used and also on which guarantees for the interested persons are put in place.

Although this measure may reduce the invasive nature of the body scanners, the absence of safeguards, such as the monitoring of who is being scanned and how, means that the authorities are unable to check if anyone is being unfairly selected on the basis of their race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability, as the leading human rights lawyers of Matrix Chambers stated (Matrix Chambers is multi-disciplinary barristers’ chambers which has been called upon by  the Non Departmental Public Body Commission on Equality and Human Rights of the United Kingdom to assess the human rights and equalities implications of the United Kingdom’s introduction of full-body scanners at Heathrow and Manchester Airports).

Furthermore, this intrusiveness should be considered together with the health impact that the backscatter X-ray machines have, by exposing individuals to ionizing radiation similar to those used by common medical X-rays. According to Dr. James Thrall of the American College of Radiology and chief of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the radiation levels are well below the threshold that could be considered a risk to an individual’s health. However, additional studies should be carried on to verify the validity of such position.

Another important issue to be taken into consideration concerns the costs of the full-body scanners vis à vis their efficacy. The fact that the cost of ordering them amounts at approximately €115,000 each, summed up to all the changes that would have to be made to airports, require a precise cost assessment which should be delivered before validating the introduction of such a measure.

Respect the principle of the Rule of Law

Assuming that the first two conditions can be met, despite the aforementioned limitations, there still remains a third non-negotiable aspect that legislators should carefully validate when considering the introduction of full-body scanners: the respect of the rule of law.

According to this principle, decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws, without the intervention of discretion in their application and providing safeguards against arbitrary interventions. Such safeguards are laid down in a variety of legal instruments, including Article 8 of the ECHR, Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as detailed in Directive 95/46/EC.

All these instruments establish data protection as a fundamental principle, which with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, has become a fundamental right on its own.

In addition to these instruments, under the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, the parties are required to apply the principles it lays down in order to ensure respect in their territory for the fundamental human rights of all individuals with regard to processing of personal data.

Therefore, the question that needs to be answered concerns whether the use of full-body scanners complies with these provisions.

According to Matrix Chambers, the introduction of full-body scanners “is on balance likely to infringe Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.” It recalls, that in S and Marper v United Kingdom the European Court of Human Rights found that the mere storing of data relating to the private life of an individual amounts to an interference within the meaning of Article 8 and that the concept of “private life” as established in Article 8 ECHR covers the physical and psychological integrity of a person, including the person’s right to their image (Sciacca v. Italy).

Therefore the use of such scanners generates an invasion of privacy which in Matrix Chambers’ view cannot “be “in accordance with the law” as required under article 8(2) and in relation to which no effective waiver is currently routinely secured”.

In order to minimise the level of intrusion, the Privacy Impact Assessment on the whole body imaging conducted by the Homeland Security, foresees that the screener will be used at remote distance of the person being examined.

However, rating the level of intrusion of body scanners depends, on the one hand on cultural and personal context and, on the other hand on the technical features of the scanner.

 Scanners providing a detailed picture of the human body are highly intrusive, whereas scanners that present a standardised body image (mimic board) with identification areas to be searched further are less intrusive.

Furthermore, although it is true that passengers forgo their right to privacy to the extent necessary in the interest of security at the moment they purchase their ticket, not all such waivers are automatically effective.

Clear and comprehensive information about full-body scanners should be provided before the ticket is purchased and alternative body search should be foreseen if a passenger refuses to be screened. However, as it has been explained earlier, this undermines the  reason for having them in first place. 

Despite the risk to breach privacy and anti-discrimination laws, the US strongly support the boosting of airport security with full-body scanners and this request has the backing of the EU’s anti-terror coordinator Gilles de Kerchove. On the contrary, Member States of the European Union still have doubts in this regard. While during the informal meeting of the EU interior ministers with the U.S. Homeland Security chief on Thursday 21 January 2010 in Toledo, Spain and Germany expressed reservations about scanners, their counterparts with responsibility for transports who met in La Coruña on Friday 12 February are less opposed to the introduction of full-body scanners.

The European Commission is expected to publish a report examining all the above mentioned issues by April, on the basis of which the Transport Council will then adopt a common position.

The legitimate reasons behind the introduction of these measures may be considered proportionate if there is a balance between the level of intrusion and the added value in terms of security for passengers. The use of body scanners as such is not against EU privacy laws. However, the feasibility of the introduction of full-body scanners is one thing, another is their desirability.

LB

European Parliament approves Barroso II

The European Parliament has approved by a very large majority, 488 votes in favour, 137 against and 72 abstentions, the Barroso II team on Tuesday 9 February, in Strasbourg.

The new Commission begins to work today, Wednesday the 10 February and its mandate will expire on 31 October 2014.

The major political groups (the EPP, the Socialist Group (S&D) and the Liberal Group (ALDE)) supported the new Commission, the Greens/EFA, the GUE/NGL, the Europe Freedom and Democracy Group (EFD) and non-attached members voted against and the Conservative Group (ECR) abstained.

Barroso asserted in front of the plenary that the main priorities of the new Commission (already presented to the EP in September 2009) will be to tackle the current economic and social situation in the EU, the fight against climate change, developing social cohesion, the creation of the freedom and security area, and strengthening Europe’s place in the world.

As part of the new framework agreement between the EP and the Commission, in which the main elements were approved by MEPs on Tuesday Barroso committed to carry on social impact analysis when there is a new legislative proposal.

According to the resolution in order to place the Parliament on an equal footing with the Council where the ordinary legislative procedure applies the Commission should:

1) Provide to the EP similar access to information than that guaranteed to the Council on legislative and budgetary matters

2) Provide full documentation to the EP on the Council’s meetings with national experts on the preparation and implementation of EU legislation

3) React to the EP’s legislative initiative within three months and present a proposal within one year or in case of refusal by the executive explain to the plenary the reasons that led to such a decision

4) Recognise the EP’s enhanced role in international negotiations (following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty) by providing it with “immediate and full” information at “every stage of negotiations” and by giving it observer status at international conferences.

5) Defend the EP’s position during the negotiation of the European External Action Service and involve it in the revision of the better legislation’ interinstitutional agreement.

6) through its President hold regular dialogue with the EP president .

Despite, President Barroso promised to abide by it during the second phase of negotiations on procedural matters that will get under way, the Parliament did not obtain everything it wanted. First of all, the Commission did not accept to allow the European Parliament to hold hearings of future EU ambassadors. Secondly, although Barroso chose to set a deadline for Parliament’s power of initiative, he did not agree to systematically respond to EP requests, to keep from hindering the Commission’s right of initiative. Finally, It also remains to be seen how far the Commission will agree to go on delivering information upstream to Parliament on certain aspects of EU external policy.

Now that the Barroso II has been approved by the European Parliament it is interesting to look back at what the newly elected commissioners responsible for the area of freedom, security and justice presented during the auditions held in January in front of the legislative assembly.

The Commissioners related to the area of freedom, security and justice Ms Viviane Reding will be the Vice-President of the European Commission and the Commissioner for European Justice, Fundamental Rights, Citizenship and Equal Opportunities. During her hearing, held in January, Ms Reding stated that her main objective will be to create a single justice area and enhancing equal opportunities policies, ending any forms of discrimination and, above all strengthening the legal instruments against violence towards women. In specific the three priorities presented to the Parliament in the field of Justice are:

(1) guaranteeing accused persons and suspects clear rights in the EU

(2) ensuring strong fairness rules in trials and prisons, and

(3) enhancing victims’ rights.

Ms Reding also highlighted the importance of “free circulation of administrative documents and European authentic acts” and therefore announced the publication, at the start of the year, of a Green Paper on the free movement of civil and political rights, expected at the beginning of 2010. Always in this domain, the newly elected Commissioner aims to turn Eurojust, into “a European public prosecutor’s office”. Concerning the promotion and respect of fundamental rights the Commissioner explained back in January that there will be a very specific impact evaluation on our fundamental rights. Ms Reding specified that equal opportunities should be fully integrated into employment and this would be a priority of the Belgian presidency of the Union. Finally Ms Reding stated that together with the Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Cecilia Malmström they will bring forward 169 initiatives under the Stockholm Programme.

Concerning her part, Cecilia Malmström during her hearing held on 19 January, presented immigration and the review of security legislation as the main priorities for the Commission. In relation to immigration three directives will be presented in 2010, namely: seasonal work, internal changes within multilateral companies and payment to trainees. Always in January, the newly elected Commissioner indicated that she propose a strengthening of Frontex at the beginning of 2010. The other main objective is the implementation of an internal security strategy in the EU, although little legislation will be put forward in this domain. Ms Malmström announced a review of the data retention measure at the beginning of 2011 which together the setting up of the Second Generation Information System (SIS II) she will tackle as soon as possible. She also affirmed that she supported the creation of the post of European coordinator of fighting human trafficking. The Commissioner stated that she will also present a communication on the fight against corruption and that she is keen in cooperating with Ms Reding in this domain.

LB

American authorities access to banks data: challenges…and perspectives

The EU parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties provoked a certain sensation by deciding on the 4 February to suggest to the European Parliament plenary not to conclude the interim agreement which allows the Treasury Department of The United States of America to access financial data processed by SWIFT (already published in this blog).

What the press has not explained is that this negative vote does not end the transatlantic cooperation in this domain. In fact, the second paragraph of the Recommendation invites the Commission and the Council to submit proposals complying with the new legal framework established by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Indeed, a successful conclusion of the agreement signed by the Council seems to be too shy and too advanced at the same time.

Too shy since the data protection legislation applied will remain that of the Member State where the data are stored (the Netherlands) or that of the State controlling SWIFT (Belgium). Furthermore, the authority verifying the admissibility of the request will also belong to one of these two countries despite the participation of the European Union.

The transatlantic legal framework will be the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance between the European Union and the United States of America, or if the conclusions will not be ratified, the bilateral agreements EU-Netherlands and EU-Belgium.

As the European Parliament’s rapporteur points out the type of access to financial data as foreseen by the TFTP is not admissible on the basis of the ordinary procedures applied in case of judicial cooperation in criminal matters. In this respect there is a risk to exceed the scope of the agreement by giving for granted the existence of a clarity in the field of data protection as well as police and judicial cooperation which does not exist not even between the Member States of the European Union.

In this regard, suffice to say that the European Union does not have a comprehensive legal framework to adequately face internal security challenges related to data protection in the field of security and police and judicial cooperation despite the numerous requests made by the European Parliament. This kind of solidarity has started with Schengen although it does not involve all the Member States.

 At this stage it is inevitable to recall the old saying “nemo plus juris transferre potest quam ipse habet”, i.e. the European Union cannot transfer more powers of what itself has.

Indeed, the European Union has given to the United States all it could on the basis of the current legislation on the Agreement on mutual legal assistance between the European Union and the United States of America concluded in Washington on 28 October 2009.

The Agreement foresees:

  •  The possibility to access banks’ data of natural or legal persons provided the latter are identified (see article 4 of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance) on the basis of the European legislation in this domain (Third Directive on Money Laundering and Financial Information Regulation)
  • The possibility to extradite individuals to the United States applying the same conditions of the European Arrest Warrant
  • the possibility to create common investigation teams (on the basis of European norms concerning Europol and the Convention on Criminal Assistance).

This said, it is still technically feasible to make the transatlantic cooperation even more ambitious and make sure that the jurisprudence produced by international agreements may be translated in internal legislative measures.

To reach this goal it will then be necessary to put forward a series of simultaneous political operations which have been impossible to develop before.

Now, the first question concerns whether the American pressure will convince Member States to finally set up the necessary legal framework.

Secondly and more significantly, it is necessary to understand whether the requests put forward by the United States are compatible with the Treaty of Lisbon and the Charter on Fundamental Rights.

Thirdly, it is necessary to identify which European authority will be responsible for the Member States. For instance, one possibility to assess will be whether it would be possible to extend Eurojust and/or Europol’s powers instead of that of Dutch and Belgian authorities, ensuring at the same time loyal cooperation between the Member States.

Moreover, challenges do not only arise on this part of the Atlantic. The American negotiator is facing other equally demanding questions. For example, in case the authority in charge of the conclusions of the Agreement remains the Administration it will not be possible to seal an “executive agreement” since -by definition- it cannot modify the legal status of the American and European citizens.

What is more, an executive agreement will hardly secure the respect of those guarantees which the Charter requires avoiding hazardous appeals in front of the European and National Courts (see Karlsruhe …).

To do that it would be necessary, as in the case of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters to pass the Congress and obtain two-thirds of the votes in the Senate. Once again, as it is often the case during the challenging evolution of the European Union, with fantasy and mutual respect it will be maybe possible to build a Transatlantic area of freedom, security and justice to which the Stockholm Programme and the inter-ministerial declaration referred on 28 October.

Towards a European regime of sea border rescue operations?

How is it possible to avoid conflict of competences between Member States concerning the surveillance of maritime borders in the south of the Mediterranean, as well as possible conflict concerning the responsibility to rescue vessels in danger or to reject illegal immigrants at the border?

These questions have been raised several times in the past by both the press and assiduous public opinion. Starting from the case of Cap Anamur, debates spread at the European Union level, where the control of the external borders of the Schengen area is now regulated by the Schengen Borders Code (which entered into force on 13 October 2006, CE Regulation  N. 562/2006 of the EP and the Council).

In fact the Schengen Code does not include a comprehensive regulation on sea borders control although it foresees, respectively in articles 12 and 13, surveillance modalities and rejection by costal guards. (*)

Events related to marine assistance and rescue are not regulated and therefore Member States refer to international conventions (and related protocols) such as the Montego Bay United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 – UCLOS- which requires the master of a ship to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger or distress under article 10 of the 1989 Convention on salvage, or, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974 (SOLAS), – and more importantly  the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue of1979 –SAR-.

The main problems arises at the particle level. Thought the regulation may be consistent, the implementation varies widely between Member States. As the European Commission pointed out in its Study on the international law instruments in relation to illegal immigration by sea in 2007, “There is indeed a duty to respect fundamental rights when implementing the Schengen Code, but it is not stated explicitly in relation to surveillance operations. As regards the principle of non-refoulement, there are differences in the Member States’ interpretations of this principle of international law, with some Member States, for example, contesting its applicability in international waters.”

“Another difference between Member States relates to how they identify a situation requiring assistance: for some Member States the vessel must be on the point of sinking; for others it is sufficient for the vessel to be unseaworthy; some Member States require the people on board to request assistance, while others do not. The proposal is based on the SAR system and stipulates that as soon as there is any question about the safety of a vessel or a person the SAR authorities must be contacted and given all the information they need to determine whether or not this is an SAR situation According to the Sar Convention each search and rescue area have been delimited for each of  the country concerned search and rescue regions for which they are responsible and these regions do not necessarily correspond to the existing maritime borders.”

The SAR Convention also imposes a precise obligation to rescue and assist persons and ships in distress at sea regardless of nationality, status or circumstances in which the persons are found. The obligations relating to search and rescue include the transport to a safe place.

According to the Commission “Deciding where the people rescued should be taken is a difficult question and is seen as one of the weaknesses of the SAR system. The 2004 amendments require all states to cooperate in resolving SAR situations; the state responsible for the SAR region must, with their cooperation, decide where those rescued will be taken. One Member State did not accept these amendments. A particular point of contention was where those rescued should be disembarked if the state responsible for the SAR region failed to fulfil its obligations in this respect. Some Member States are reluctant to take part in operations because they fear that they will end up having to take those rescued to their own country.”

Such difficulties often become emergencies for the persons involved in the rescue operations. Therefore, last November the Commission suggested to integrate the Schengen Code with the main international norms applicable in the field of marine search and rescue and the disembarking of individuals in safe harbours in order to guarantee fair and equal treatment at the European level and clear signing rules especially when surveillance operations take place under the coordination of the Frontex Agency.

Initially, the proposal did not obtain the support of national experts; however it may go through after the abstention of Italy and Malta.

If the Council adopts it, it will then be up to the European Parliament to intervene. In this case the legislative assembly will have time up to the 7 April to raise its objections concerning the procedure followed by the European Commission to integrate these provisions within the Schengen Code.

The European Commission defined these provisions as purely implementing measures (which seems a rather brave interpretation given the nature of their content), allowing therefore for their quicker adoption than if they were considered as measures having a fundamental impact in the Code. Within a few weeks it will be possible to know what will be the outcome of this, nonetheless, good initiative of the Commission.
EDC.

(*)From the SCHENGEN CODE
Article 12

Border surveillance

1. The main purpose of border surveillance shall be to prevent unauthorised border crossings, to counter cross-border criminality and to take measures against persons who have crossed the border illegally.

2. The border guards shall use stationary or mobile units to carry out border surveillance. That surveillance shall be carried out in such a way as to prevent and discourage persons from circumventing the checks at border crossing points.

3. Surveillance between border crossing points shall be carried out by border guards whose numbers and methods shall be adapted to existing or foreseen risks and threats. It shall involve frequent and sudden changes to surveillance periods, so that unauthorised border crossings are always at risk of being detected.

4. Surveillance shall be carried out by stationary or mobile units which perform their duties by patrolling or stationing themselves at places known or perceived to be sensitive, the aim of such surveillance being to apprehend individuals crossing the border illegally. Surveillance may also be carried out by technical means, including electronic means.

5. Additional rules governing surveillance may be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 33(2). (Paragraph modified by the (CE) Regulation N. 296/2008 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 March  2008)

Article 13

Refusal of entry

1. A third-country national who does not fulfil all the entry conditions laid down in Article 5(1) and does not belong to the categories of persons referred to in Article 5(4) shall be refused entry to the territories of the Member States. This shall be without prejudice to the application of special provisions concerning the right of asylum and to international protection or the issue of long-stay visas.

2. Entry may only be refused by a substantiated decision stating the precise reasons for the refusal. The decision shall be taken by an authority empowered by national law. It shall take effect immediately.

The substantiated decision stating the precise reasons for the refusal shall be given by means of a standard form, as set out in Annex V, Part B, filled in by the authority empowered by national law to refuse entry. The completed standard form shall be handed to the third-country national concerned, who shall acknowledge receipt of the decision to refuse entry by means of that form.

3. Persons refused entry shall have the right to appeal. Appeals shall be conducted in accordance with national law. A written indication of contact points able to provide information on representatives competent to act on behalf of the third-country national in accordance with national law shall also be given to the third-country national.

Lodging such an appeal shall not have suspensive effect on a decision to refuse entry.

Without prejudice to any compensation granted in accordance with national law, the third-country national concerned shall, where the appeal concludes that the decision to refuse entry was ill-founded, be entitled to correction of the cancelled entry stamp, and any other cancellations or additions which have been made, by the Member State which refused entry.

4. The border guards shall ensure that a third-country national refused entry does not enter the territory of the Member State concerned.

5. Member States shall collect statistics on the number of persons refused entry, the grounds for refusal, the nationality of the persons refused and the type of border (land, air or sea) at which they were refused entry. Member States shall transmit those statistics once a year to the Commission. The Commission shall publish every two years a compilation of the statistics provided by the Member States.

6. Detailed rules governing refusal of entry are given in Part A of Annex V.

Immigration, asylum and borders: the priorities for the next 18 months

Interesting elements  emerge on the implementation of the Stockholm Programme (2010-2014) from the working document of the Council presidency. It is necessary, as it is often the case for official documents, to interpret the silences as well as some cryptic or general information. It therefore follows a summary of the main proposals with some complementary explanatory notes.

Continue reading “Immigration, asylum and borders: the priorities for the next 18 months”

Internal security in the EU: the priorities of the next 18 months

Following the previous note on borders, immigration and asylum we wil now proceed with the priorities announced by the Spanish presidency in the field of internal security of the EU. These come from the working document of the Spanish, Belgium and Hungarian Council Presidencies which will follow one after the other in the next 18 months. As usual, additional notes will provide a comprehensive overview of the different topics.

Continue reading “Internal security in the EU: the priorities of the next 18 months”

The new powers of the Court of Justice after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty

The press release published on November 30th by the Court of Justice is worth reading by everybody interested in the European Law as well by the every individual whishing to bthe protection of its rights.
The very essential and clear text is the following:

The Treaty of Lisbon and the Court of Justice of the European Union

The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed on 13 December 2007 by the 27 Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the Union, comes into force on 1 December 2009. It amends the two fundamental treaties – the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European Community, with the latter to be known in future as the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (TFEU). (1)
The Treaty of Lisbon makes changes to the organisation and jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Continue reading “The new powers of the Court of Justice after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty”