Stockholm programme – the new EU dangerous surveillance system

By EDRi · June 17, 2009

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Deutsch: [Das Stockholmprogramm – das neue gefährliche Überwachungssystem der EU |]

Civil rights groups are worried about a new EU proposal that would enhance a
“dangerously authoritarian” European surveillance and security system that
will include ID card register, Internet surveillance systems, satellite
surveillance, automated exit-entry border systems operated by machines
reading biometrics and risk profiling systems.

On 15 June 2009, EU justice ministers discussed on the so called
Stockholm programme trying to set up the first EU “domestic security
strategy for the EU”, by the end of this year. The ‘Stockholm Programme’ is
the Swedish EU Presidency’s proposed legislative agenda in the area of
justice and home affairs for the 2009-2014 period.

According to the Swedish Presidency, the Stockholm Programme aims to “define
the framework for EU police and customs cooperation, rescue services,
criminal and civil law cooperation, asylum, migration and visa policy”.

“National frontiers should no longer restrict our activities,” said Jacques
Barrot, the European justice and security commissioner on 9 June when he
presented the EU priorities in the justice area for the next five years. The
measures include increased security co-operation and improved immigration

The paper presented by the commissioner calls for stricter border controls,
a better exchange of information on criminal and security issues between the
member states and an increased police co-operation.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that “in future, EU
action must aim above all at delivering the best possible service to the
citizen in an area of freedom, security and justice more tangible for the

“We want to promote citizens’ rights, make their daily lives easier and
provide protection, and this calls for effective and responsible European
action in these areas. In this context, I consider immigration policy
particularly important. This is the vision the Commission is presenting to
the Council and Parliament for debate, with a view to the adoption of the
new Stockholm Programme by the European Council in December 2009,” he added.

But civil liberties advocates commented in a different way the
proposal: “What stands out are the proposals related to the Future Group
report. A promise to balance better data protection and EU standards for
‘Privacy Enhancing Technology’ with the law enforcement agencies demands for
access to all information and communications. An ‘information system
architecture’ to bring about the sharing of all data across the EU. The use
of ‘security technologies’ to harness the ‘digital tsunami’ to gather
through mass surveillance personal data on peoples’ everyday activities
through public-private partnerships.
What is new is the clear aim of creating the surveillance society and the
database state. Future generations, for whom this will be a fully developed
reality, will look back at this era and rightly ask, why did you not act to
stop it.” said Tony Bunyan from Statewatch.

The paper reintroduces proposals related to immigration and asylum,
insisting on “burden-sharing and solidarity” between member states as
regards asylum seekers and stating legal migrants should have the same
status across the EU and that they should have easier access to the job
market. Frontex, the external borders agency should be given more powers in
preventing human traffic and irregular immigrations at the EU borders.

In the opinion of liberty advocates, these plans will only get us closer to
a surveillance type of society. “An increasingly sophisticated internal and
external security apparatus is developing under the auspices of the EU,”
commented Tony Bunyan.

One of the main concerns is the intention of standardising European police
surveillance techniques and of creating common data gathering systems
operated at the EU level. A particularly worrying statement of the proposal
is: “The SIS II and VIS information systems will have to enter their fully
operational phase. An electronic system for recording entry and exit and a
registered traveller programme must be established. The usefulness of a
system of prior travel authorisation must be examined.”

The plans have in view an extension of the sharing of the present DNA and
fingerprint databases stored for new digital ID cards to CCTV video footage
and material gathered from Internet surveillance.

The Daily Telegraph stated they had information from EU officials that the
new plans would need the coverage of the Lisbon Treaty presently stopped by
the Irish referendum in 2008 and waiting for a second Irish vote this
autumn. The Treaty stipulates the creation of a Standing Committee for
Internal Security to co-ordinate policy between national forces and EU
organisations such as Europol, the Frontex, the European Gendarmerie Force
and the Brussels intelligence.

The Stockholm programme will be discussed at the informal ministerial
meeting in Stockholm in July 2009, to be further on examined by the European
Parliament in November with the hope that it would be approved at the Summit
in December 2009, under the Swedish presidency.

EC proposals for the Stockholm Programme (COM(2009) 262/4)



EU security proposals are ‘dangerously authoritarian’ (10.06.2009)

Brussels outlines justice priorities for next 5 years (10.06.2009)

Sweden’s EU immigration plans facing headwinds (11.06.2009)

Justice and Home Affairs – Stockholm Programme

Closer cooperation between EU countries on the agenda for justice and home
affairs. – Freedom, justice, security: a balancing act (10.06.2009)

European Commission outlines its vision for the area of Freedom, Security
and Justice in the next five years (10.06.2009)

European Commission – Communication – An evaluation of the Hague Programme
and Action Plan (10.06.2009)

Statewatch Observatory
The “Stockholm Programme” – “The Shape of Things to Come”

European Civil Liberties Network – Oppose the “Stockholm Programme”