[ 09. Sep 2000 // letzte änderung: 09. Sep 2000 ]

Tampere & Amsterdam - EUropean imperialism and the history of Justice and Home Affairs Borders creat

The EU summit in Tampere (Special Meeting of the European Council) has been prepared to implement a concrete harmonisation of EUropean immigration and asylum laws. The aim is to get full control over who is allowed to travel to, and to live in, EUrope in a common policing effort.


The EU summit in Tampere (Special Meeting of the European Council) has been prepared to implement a concrete harmonisation of EUropean immigration and asylum laws. The aim is to get full control over who is allowed to travel to, and to live in, EUrope in a common policing effort. The EUropean governments argue that they are forced to close the borders and prevent people from living where they wish because, as they say, the citizens of the EUropean countries are racist and demand such measures. While it is accurate to say that large parts of the population in EUropean countries have come, in recent years, to act and vote in racist ways, we should not confuse the cause and the effect. Whatever fears of "the other" exist in people in usual times, they do not usually lead to the complete negation of these people"s right to exist, or even to choose the place where they want to live. Only a consistent and sustained effort by the governments to promote racist attitudes allows them to use the rising racism as an excuse, as a facade for their restrictive and dehumanising policies. Thus government policies breed racism, and racism is then used to justify the government policies.

"Foreigners" as security risk
The way government policies breed racism is by depicting so-called "foreigners" (people who can be recognized by the fact that they have the "wrong" passport) as a security risk to the country in which they live. The people who have the right passport are artificially described as all having the same interests (whether they are men or women; employers, employed or free-lance; old or young), and those who have the wrong passport are described at the same time as being a threat to those interests. In this way, the migration with its wide range of questions (from personal tragedies of why people are fleeing the place they used to call their home to difficulties of living in a new place with a different language and partly hostile and racist people) is reduced to a security question, an administrative, rationalised question of policing and repression. Thus, questions of migration have become the responsibility of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) ministries in EUrope. In addition, issues related to asylum, which are conceptually different from other migration issues, have been mixed with the latter and thus incorporated into the general JHA policing-repression scheme.

Note that the entire discourse on internal security and the threats to security posed by "foreigners" is a construction serving the political interests of a class of politicians, and as such it is based on no hard facts. The role of ideology is therefore central if we want to understand how EUrope has been constructed as a "fortress", relying on discourses about organised crime, international crime, "evil" human traffickers (rather than heroic escape agents helping people - the choice of words describes two completely different perceptions of reality), the use of vocabulary taken from natural catastrophes, such as "refugees flooding into Europe", and the outright lies about refugees and other migrants exploiting the social security system.
Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)

For the purpose of discussing the Special Meeting of the European Council in Tampere and the issues it deals with, the only way to understand it is by looking at decision-making processes in the EU and the increasing importance of `Justice and Home Affairs` (JHA).
The German presidency, in its final 1999 report*, quite aptly describes it like this:
"The Federal Republic of Germany took over the presidency during a decisive phase in the intensification of cooperation in the area of Justice and Home Affairs ... The Amsterdam Treaty, which came into force on 1 May 1999, stands for a marked development of justice and home affairs co-operation in the EU, through the harmonisation of important JHA themes, the improving of the institutional framework for the remaining areas of inter-governmental cooperation as well by integrating the Schengen "acquis".

After the coming into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam it can be said that JHA has increased in weight and taken a central position in the overall framework of EUropean activities. This is why the fact, that the European Council will, for the first time exclusively deal with JHA issues on 15-16 October in Tampere, should be welcomed."
The centrality of JHA within EUropean politics is evident. But what does it encompass? JHA includes everything that is important for citizens" rights, freedom of movement (migration and asylum), state control of personal life, data protection, the definition of "security" and "foreigners", and consequently issues of racism and fascism:
Officially, it includes immigration (visa, external border control, asylum law and practise, deportation, "re-admission" ...), policing (Europol, collection of data not only of "suspects", but their friends and family, cross-border police cooperation, mutual training...) and judicial cooperation (harmonisation of all laws dealing with asylum, providing the legal basis for police cooperation, recognising across EUrope court decisions made in one member state...).

The Council, JHA, and most importantly: who decides what and how
EUropean integration has been a long-standing process. Since the end of the second world war, Germany and France have pooled their coal resources to reduce the "potential source for economic tension" and to strengthen "the potential backbone of Europe"s war machines". Jean Monnet finalised the project: "France and Germany should relinquish national sovereignty over their countries" coal and steel production and pool it in a supranational and entirely independent (read: not under the control of national, elected parliaments) organisation, a High Authority".*

This is a very basic outline of the origins of the Council of the European Union*, or the European Council (not to be confused with the Council of Europe, an entirely different organisation!). The Council consists of the Heads of Government of all European Union member states. Other EU councils deal with specific aspects of the EU and their members are ministers (e.g., the Justice and Home Affairs Council is made up of justice and home affairs ministers). The General Council and the specific councils are often not distinguished other than calling the general one the "European Council" and the ministerial one the "Council of the European Union", so beware of confusions.

EUropean Political Cooperation
Although economic integration has a long history, political integration has turned out to be more difficult. The Single European Act (SEA) of 1986 however defined a new policy area of EUropean integration: European Political Cooperation (EPC). During the negotiations leading up to the treaty of Maastricht (Treaty of the European Union, TEU, which came into force 1993), the Heads of Government, as distinct from parliaments, thought about the method of integration as well as the nature and content of political cooperation.

Decision making... the EU had, until the introduction of JHA into EUropean integration, relied on what is known as the Community method: the Council acts on the basis of a Commission proposal, which can be withdrawn by the Commission at any stage in the legislative process. For many acts, the Council has to consult the European Parliament (and the Economic and Social Committee), and all of its acts are subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Now especially France proposed a different method for future policy making: the so-called "pillar method". It was proposed that the EU be built on several pillars. Only one of these would fall under the Community method. More "sensitive" areas, such as foreign and security policy as well as JHA would be negotiated and decided through an intergovernmental process. That basically means Heads of Government, ministers, officials, security officers, heads of police etc., sit down informally, talk, work out action plans, produce lots of documents which lay the basis for policy, but all this without having to consult national or the European Parliament. The whole area of JHA is not under the jurisdiction of any court. That makes the Council the most powerful and most unaccountable organ in the European Union.

Maastricht, JHA and the EUropean state
The Maastricht treaty (proposed in 1991, ratified by member states in 1992, came into force in 1993) consists of 6 Titles. Titles V and VI define the second and the third pillar which are intergovernmental (read: undemocratic). This is the first time that the economic and the political dimension of EUropean integration were brought together in an institutionalised, structured way. Note that the EUropean system therefore acquired state structures
mechanisms for the maintenance of "law and order" through courts and judiciary as well as law enforcers (the police)
a system of internal security for threats to the existence of the state)*.

What is new about the EUropean state is that the usual notions of liberal democracy (not that liberal democracy has got anything to do with justice and equality...) don"t apply to it: there"s no separation of powers, no checks being made by the judiciary (the European Court of Justice) on the legislative and executive (the Council and Europol). As Tony Bunyan puts it "This state has been conceived by governments, honed by state officials, and passed back to governments to agree - only then have national parliaments been asked to ratify the whole package. Although national parliaments are asked to ratify the Conventions, the Conventions are not open to amendment. "Resolutions" and "Agreements" between the EC states, which set out new policies, do not even require parliamentary approval." (in "Statewatching the new Europe", p.32)

Back to Maastricht and JHA: Title VI of the Maastricht treaty (or, Treaty of the European Union - TEU) specifically deals with JHA. Article K4 foresees the setting up of a committee to control JHA in the EU - this was named the K4 Coordinating Committee which, in turn, has (or had, because Amsterdam gives JHA a completely new structure again) several working groups under its wings. It is also responsible for setting a European Information System EIS (parallel, and later merged with the Schengen Information System ISI).

TREVI (Terrorisme, Radicalisme, Extr"©misme et Violence Int"©rnationale)
The K4 Coordinating Committee and thereby the whole issues dealt with in the third pillar, draw on the work of the TREVI group. TREVI was set up as early as 1976 by the then 12 member states to counter terrorism and coordinate policing in the EC. All its work is based on intergovernmental cooperation, that means excluding the European Commission and the European Parliament. A whole book could be written on the work and impact of TREVI, I will therefore leave it at that and just stress that one should never see the work of justice and home affairs ministers and heads of government in terms of committees which are created and then abolished (although it is important to know the changing structures of the decision making processes). Their work has been ongoing, continuous and consistently an attack on people"s rights. Often, the same people sit in different committees even if the latters" name changes. Although structures change, the people and their ideas do not.

Migration, "Internal Security" and the myth of compensation
The interconnection between concepts of migration and security can also be seen through the similarity of Schengen and TREVI. In 1989, TREVI 92 was set up to specifically deal with "policing and security implications of the Single European Market" and to improve cooperation to "compensate for the consequent losses to security and law enforcement".

Schengen - free movement vs. policing 1 : 141
In the Schengen Implementation Agreement, which is popularly (and misleadingly) known as a Convention on free movement, only one (!) article deals with free movement. The other 141 deal with external border controls (restriction of movement), police cooperation, the SIS etc.. TREVI 92 has, in fact, worked closely together with the customs group (MAG 92) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Immigration, where the idea of the European Information System was developed. "Freedom", in the European sense, is therefore not really freedom, but restriction. And this applies not only to refugees and migrants, but to EUropean citizens as well. The idea that the breakdown of borders leads to an increase in crime (for which there is absolutely no proof) and therefore requires "compensatory measures", implies that data is collected on everybody. Legal rights that ensure the protection of your private life, even the right to privacy in your own home, are severely undermined.

There"s an abundance of material on Schengen, this is, therefore again only a brief outline. Parallel to these informal policy making structures and a wealth of "ad hoc" groups springing up amongst EUropean security circles, there is Schengen. Originally set up by France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, later joined by Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece (now, the UK and Ireland are the only countries not fully signed up, although they are "opting in" to certain clauses), Schengen allegedly set out to abolish internal borders. As already mentioned, only one of the 142 articles deals with internal borders, the remaining articles concern themselves with policing immigration and asylum, drug trafficking, legal problems with police cooperation and external border control. As with TREVI and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Immigration, Schengen co-existed with the post-Maastricht K4 structure. With the Amsterdam coming into force, the Schengen acquis will be fully integrated into the EU framework.

The Treaty of Amsterdam and the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration
The most recent change to the whole structure of immigration, policing and judicial cooperation in the EU has been the coming into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. Before anyone gets upset and frustrated about the fact that s/he doesn"t understand the text of the Amsterdam Treaty, is has to be said that "...the treaty is almost unintelligible, even to the reasonably seasoned observer" (SW Bulletin 7(3) May-June 1997). It basically changes the pillar structure, which was based on the Treaty on the European Community (first pillar) and the Treaty of the European Union (Maastricht - third pillar). This should mean that JHA issues will be transferred onto the first pillar and thereby in future be decided under the Community method, i.e. the European Parliament, the Commission and the Court of Justice will gain power over decisions. This however, is not the case.

Chapter 2 of the Amsterdam Treaty amends the old Title VI of the TEU (covering policing, customs and legal cooperation) and sees to a "progressive establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice". There"s a new title on free movement, immigration and asylum, which indicates the shift of these issues from the third (intergovernmental) to the first (community method) pillar. However, although the European Commission is given the right of initiative, the Council for Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will, for the first five years of the treaty, have to agree measures unanimously. Further, the European Parliament is only "consulted" (rather than having the right of co-decision).

The Treaty also integrates Schengen into the EU framework, which is a rather complicated task as a legal base has to be found for each Schengen provision.

Article C includes a Treaty commitment to the "repatriation of illegal residents" and the revised Title VI sets out "revised provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters". These include giving Europol operational powers and allowing "competent authorities" to operate in another member state. The revised Title VI also holds that "The Court of Justice shall have no jurisdiction to review the validity or proportionality of operations carried out by the police or other law enforcement agencies of a Member State or the exercise of responsibilities incumbent upon Member States with regard to the maintenance of law and order and the safeguarding of internal security."

Law, order and internal security includes all aspects of free movement, internal controls and checks, police operations, public order issues, alleged "illegal migrants" and refugees (including the centers in which they are held and the manner of their treatment and enforced deportation).

The general idea becomes clear: before the Council relinquishes any power, it wants to make sure that Fortress Europe really is in place. In the next five-year "transitional" period, Europol will become fully operational, a EUropean data system will be fully functional and the deportation machinery will be coordinated. There are already plans between Austria, Switzerland and Germany for common charter flights for deportation. Last, but not least, EUrope will use its "economic and political muscle" to force Third World countries to stop people from leaving in the first place.

The Austrian Strategy Paper
The first day the Austrian presidency took its seat on 1 July 1998, it launched a "Strategy Paper on migration and asylum policy". It was condemned by EU governments, the UNHCR and community-based non-governmental organisations alike. Although they withdrew the proposal, it was not abolished but pursued by other means:
A revised draft was produced for the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Vienna in October in 1998. After another revision the JHA ministers thought the strategy paper would be "a useful contribution to the work of the cross-pillar task force", which was set up on the initiative of the Netherlands in order to rescue the strategy paper.

The strategy paper proposes so-called Action Plans for six targeted countries. It says:
a model of concentric circles of migrant policy could replace that "of Fortress Europe"
The first circle is the EU, the second circle consists of the states aspiring to join the EU, i.e., Central and Eastern Europe (CEE countries). They have to be in line with the so-called first circle standards. The third circle encompasses the former Soviet Union (CIS), Turkey and North Africa, where the EU wants to institute "transit checks and combat facilitator networks". The really important sentence here is this:
intensified economic cooperation is linked to the fulfillment of their obligations that means these states, given their weak economic position and heavy dependency on trade exports, are forced to institute the border regime EUrope has instituted at its own borders already. The EU countries force their neighbours in the East and South to pass on the pressure to potential migrants on their own Eastern and Southern borders, thus moving the repression eastwards and delegating the responsibility and the cost for this repression to other state authorities.

The fourth circle is the "Middle East, China and black Africa", where the EU wants "eliminate" so-called "push factors" (reasons pushing people to move away from a place, as opposed to "pull factors", which are reasons - like the demand for cheap, illegalised and thus dependent labour in the EU - that pull people to move to a place). Also, "the extent of development aid" will be tied to their "cooperation".

Cross-pillar or Imperialist?
The ideas outlined above constitute the new "global approach" of the EU and "must incorporate world wide all the main regions of origin of immigrants" the strategy paper says. This is called cross-pillar, which means that instead of just using interior policies to stop migration into EUrope, first and second pillar economic, diplomatic and political pressure is being used to enforce EUrope"s ideas of a "global approach" onto the rest of the world, defining who is free to move, when to move and where to move. The authors of the report do not attempt to hide this new version of imperialism:
economic aid will have to be made dependent on visa questions, greater border-crossing..guarantees of readmission...
In other words, setting out the provisions to hinder people from entering the EU and making sure they can be easily deported if they manage to get in despite the barriers.

There is also the idea of "information campaigns". "The clear, targeted notification of potential immigrants about potential immigration management measures, which, from past experience, can itself have just as much effect as the actual measures themselves".

Fingerprinting (EURODAC)
In order to "guarantee repatriation", EU justice and home affairs ministers, police and security officials also think that
States with a particularly high potential of illegal emigrants must be induced to set up effective fingerprint files.
This language was too harsh for the EU member states, so they changed it to, States with a particularly high potential of illegal emigrants must develop effective systems which make it impossible to change the identity by changing place of residence.

Now what exactly could that be? All 15 member states agreed to the final provision.
The High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWGAI)
These action plans described above would have to be worked out by somebody so it was decided at the General Affairs Council on 7-8 December1998, to set up the HLWGAI "to establish a common, integrated, cross-pillar approach targeted at the situation in the most important countries of origin of asylum seekers and migrants". The group consists of "high level officials" from each EU member state and the Commission. They targeted six countries: 1.Afghanistan/Pakistan 2.Albania (Kosovo) 3.Morocco 4.Somalia 5.Sri Lanka and 6.Iraq and the neighbouring regions, an action plan which had already existed. The informal working parties are headed by different EU member states. Roughly, the criteria seem to be that colonial countries are allocated to their so-called ex-colonies: UK for Sri Lanka, Spain for Morocco, and so forth.

During the German presidency, the Migrant Working Party was given the job of tackling (quote) "the increasing number of countries of origin (which) refuse to take back their own nationals". In order to do this, Germany wants the EU to use "its international political and economic muscle". It also wants to adopt an "international legal instrument" to allow the EU to determine a person"s country of origin. The job of fingerprinting the Third World was given to the Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime.

to be added: specifics of the country reports by High Level Group
also final paragraph relating everything back to Tampere

The above information has been taken from several issues of the Statewatch Bulletin, the Statewatch European Monitor and Statewatching the new Europe - a handbook on the European state (ed. Tony Bunyan). All available from PO Box 1516, London N16 OEW. You can view the material on: