Nr. 17/2001, Bruxelles, July 4th, 2001
Secret Services: The European Parliament's Echelon CommitteeOn Tuesday evening, July 3rd , the European Parliament's Echelon Committee voted its final report. Together with the Green MEPs Alima Boumediene-Thiery (France) and Patricia McKenna (Ireland) Ilka Schroeder MEP has handed in the following minority position:
This report makes an important point in emphasizing that Echelon does exist, but it stops short of drawing political conclusions. It is hypocritical for the European Parliament to criticise the Echelon interception practice while taking part in plans to establish a European secret service.
No effective public control mechanism of secret services and their undemocratic practices exists globally. It is in the nature of secret services that they cannot be controlled. They must therefore be abolished. This report serves to legitimize a European Secret service which will infringe fundamental rights -- just as Echelon does.
For the majority of the Parliament, the focus is the industry whose profit interests are supposedly threatened by industrial espionage. The vital issue however is that no one can communicate in confidence over distances any more. Political spying is a much greater threat than economic spying.
This report constantly plays down these dangers of Echelon, while it remains silent to the ENFOPOL interception planning in the EU. For every society it is a fundamental decision whether to live under permanent control. By adopting this report, the European Parliament shows that it is not concerned about protecting human rights and citizen's liberties.
(note: a minority opinion is restricted to 200 words.)