FECL 13 (March 1993):

EC LINKS SECURITY SERVICES

As the British based journal Statewatch reveals, the countries of the European Community have set up a powerful group of senior officials to coordinate activities bewteen their security and intelligence services - one of the EC's fastest-growing, most successful, and most secretive areas of cooperation. The group, called the K4 committee, was formed at the London conference of Home Affairs and Justice Ministers on 1 December 1992 (see FECL No. pp.1-3, and p.10).

The K4 committeee has the task of establishing the Maastricht treaty's "third pillar", which covers inter-governmental cooperation on law and order, asylum and immigration policy, and the setting up of Europol.

The committee will answer only to national governments. It will be responsible for implementing initiatives now in the hands of working groups set up under the TREVI process. Documents made available to Statewatch reveal the TREVI network's current activities. They show that 60 meetings of security service officers, custom officials and Home Affairs civil servants were held alone during Britain's six-month EC presidency last year. The UK ministry of Home Affairs warned other EC states that the volume of paper work was so great that it caused "operational difficulties" for TREVI's secure fax network.

To overcome the problem, it was agreed at the London meeting to consider using an electronic mail system with secret codes.

The documents also describe the work undertaken by three TREVI working groups.

WG1, concerned with poitical violence, has agreed a "full terrorist threat assessment document", including an unprecedented analysis of future threats. "Terrorist finances" are the subject of a separate judicial cooperation working group.

WG2 is responsible for cooperation among police forces, including the exchange of information on training, forensic science, computers, public order and the policing of road traffic. It has set up a study on telephone tapping.

WG3 deals with serious crime, including drug-trafficking and money-laundering, and is responsible for setting up the European drug intelligence unit as the first step towards the creation of Europol.

This group is also responsible for establishing common definitions. For example, terrorism is defined as "the use and attempt to use violence by a structured group to obtain political objectives". Organised crime is "an uninterrupted series of criminal activities committed by a group of individuals with the intention of obtaining benefits, influence or power."

The British Home Affairs minister, Kenneth Clarke said at the London conference on 1 december that he had thought this would be the last meeting of TREVI and he looked forward to the K4 committee taking over with a permanent office and secretariat in Brussels, when the "third pillar" of the Maastricht treaty (article K for Cooperation on borders, immigration, asylum, law and policing) came into effect.

 

Compounded from the Guardian, 4.2.93, and Statewatch
Source: Statewatch Vol.3, No.1, January/February 1993.

 

Contact: Statewatch, PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW, Tel:+44/81 8021882, Fax:+44/81 8801727