|Author (Person)||Taylor, Simon|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.18, 3.5.01, p1|
GERMAN Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's ruling Social Democrats are calling for a European Union-wide police force and border protection service.
The party released a paper on the future of Europe this week that sparked intense debate with its calls for more centralisation of Union power, including an enhanced European Parliament with a second chamber made up of national ministers.
But what was overlooked amid the media frenzy over the proposals was perhaps the most controversial of all - the SPD's call for a European police force. It wants the Union's law enforcement cooperation body, Europol, to be upgraded to an FBI-style unit to prevent criminal gangs from taking advantage of a border-free Europe.
It states: "The SPD is committed to expanding Europol into an operative European police with executive powers based on the model of the Bundeskriminalamt [German Federal Criminal Police Office]." The move is certain to be resisted by other EU countries that are not prepared to hand control of their police to a supranational body.
Schröder's party is also arguing for a common border-guard service to protect the Union after enlargement, when its frontiers will be extended to the south and east. "[We need] to create a common European border police which will ensure effective protection of the future external borders of the EU against organised crime and illegal immigration," the SPD paper declares.
The document, called Responsibility for Europe, is due to be debated at the party's congress in Nuremberg. It also demands better economic cooperation among EU member states, calls for Euro-zone countries to coordinate industry-wide wage deals and reiterates Germany's long-standing plan for tax harmonisation.
Emphasising the importance of Russia to Germany's foreign policy goals, the paper argues that Moscow should take part in the Union's security and defence initiatives. "The integration of Russia into European security structures is a precondition for stability and security in the euro-atlantic area," the party states.
The proposals have met with stinging criticism in France, where Europe Minister Pierre Moscovici described them as "scarcely balanced" and outside "the mainstream of European thinking". Alarm bells are also ringing in Paris over the paper's call for member states to "co-finance" all future farm spending. This proposal, which Germany floated in the last round of farm reform negotiations in 1999, would slash France's hefty benefits under the existing farm-support policy.
It also called for control over regional aid and farm spending to be given back to national governments.
The document provoked a rather milder reaction across the rest of the EU with its call to strengthen the European Commission, to increase the powers of the European Parliament and turn the Council of Ministers into a second chamber. The UK called it an "interesting contribution" to the debate.
However, in Germany, the paper won cross-party support from both SPD politicians and the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU). German CDU MEP Elmar Brok described the SPD paper as "exactly right".
German Chancellor Gerhard Shröder's ruling Social Democrats are calling for a European Union-wide police force and border protection service. The party released a paper on the future of Europe that sparked intense debate with its calls for more centralisation of Union power, including an enhanced European Parliament with a second chamber made up of national ministers. But what was overlooked amid the media frenzy over the proposals was perhaps the most controversial of all - the SPD's call for a European police force.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs, Politics and International Relations|