Stockholm Programme moves quickly towards adoption

By EDRi · September 9, 2009

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Deutsch: [Annahme des Stockholmprogramms steht kurz bevor |]

The timetables for the Stockholm Programme have become a great deal
clearer since the return of the Parliament following the summer break and
the communication between the Swedish Presidency and relevant parliamentary

The Programme aims to set the priorities for a variety of justice issues
(including criminal and civil law enforcement cooperation) for the period
2010-2014 and beyond. This initiative takes over from the 2004-2009 Hague
Programme. Little new information about the potential content of the final
document has been communicated so far, despite the fact that the broad
direction of the document is expected to be finalised by the end of
October. How any subsequent proposals will be scrutinised by the EU
institutions will depend heavily on the outcome of the Irish referendum on
the Lisbon Treaty.

Beatrice Ask, Swedish Minister for Justice, presented the plans of the
Presidency to the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee on 2
September and focused on the Stockholm Programme. Minister Ask made
great efforts to assuage fears regarding the scope and balance of the
Programme, repeatedly referring to the need to place the rights of the
citizen at the centre of all decision-making on this issue and to ensure
that measures that are proposed are properly justified. MEP Sophie In’t Veld
(ALDE, Netherlands) was very sceptical about the assurances given by the
minister. In particular, she said that such an approach would be a break
with tradition and that experience to date on SWIFT, ACTA, CIA renditions
and that the evaluation of current anti-terrorism policies suggested that
little has changed.

At the meeting, Minister Ask said that the incoming Spanish Presidency
would be relied upon to propose concrete projects on the basis of the
priorities in the Programme. Spanish MEP De Mera (EPP, Spain) offered the
full and unequivocal support of the largest political group in the
Parliament. There were various interventions regarding the status of
Europol and whether it should become an EU agency. The Minister was clear
in her answer, stating that Europol was and would remain intergovernmental.
As regards ACTA, she was surprisingly direct, criticising the lack of
transparency of negotiations and stating that border searches of MP3 players
would not take place as a result of this planned agreement. She appeared to
imply that fears concerning ACTA are unfounded and caused by lack of

It is expected that the bulk of discussions in the Council will be
completed in late October, with an informal adoption by Justice Ministers
in November and a formal adoption by the Council in December. The Civil
Liberties Committee, with input from the Constitutional Affairs and Legal
Affairs Committees, will produce an own-initiative report on the
Declaration. It is expected that this will be adopted in Committee in
November and in Plenary in December, although this is highly likely to
change. There will be an inter-parliamentary hearing in the Parliament in
October, involving representatives of the European Parliament and national
Parliaments. The Green Group in the European Parliament will also hold a
hearing, probably in October.

Commission Communication on “An Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
Serving the Citizen” (10.06.2009)

UK written comments on the European Commission’s Communication on the
Stockholm Programme (27.08.2009)

EDRi-gram: Stockholm programme – the new EU dangerous surveillance system

(contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)