Secret Security Plan would form “Euro-Atlantic Area of Cooperation,” sharing intelligence between U.S.-EU to combat ‘terrorism and crime’
August 7, 2008
Europe should consider sharing vast amounts of intelligence and information on its citizens with the US to establish a “Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation” to combat terrorism, according to a high-level confidential report on future security.
The 27 members of the EU should also pool intelligence on terrorism, develop joint video-surveillance and unmanned drone aircraft, start networks of anti-terrorism centres, and boost the role and powers of an intelligence-coordinating body in Brussels, said senior officials.
The 53-page report drafted by the Future Group of interior and justice ministers from six EU member states – Germany, France, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic -argues Europe will need to integrate much of its policing, intelligence-gathering, and policy-making if it is to tackle terrorism, organised crime, and legal and illegal immigration.
The report, seen by the Guardian, was submitted to EU governments last month following 18 months of work. The group, which also includes senior officials from the European Commission, was established by Germany last year and charged with drafting a blueprint for security and justice policy over the next five years.
Baroness Scotland, the UK attorney general, had observer status with the group to assess the implications for Britain, whose legal system, unlike continental Europe, is based on the common law.
The group’s controversial proposals are certain to trigger major disputes, not least its calls for Europe to create an expeditionary corps of armed gendarmerie for paramilitary intervention overseas.
The report said the EU would fail to beat terrorism unless it developed a full partnership with Washington, a process currently pushing ahead in fits and starts.
“The EU should make up its mind with regard to the political objective of achieving a Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation with the United States in the field of freedom, security and justice,” it said.
Such a pact, which should be finalised by 2014 at the latest, would entail the transfer of vast volumes of information on European citizens and travellers to the US authorities. Negotiations have long been under way to agree such a pact, but have been bedevilled by divergences in privacy law and data protection regimes.