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Policy and Research Papers

The results of inquiries into the CIA's programme of extraordinary rendition and secret prisons in European states in light of the new legal framework following the Lisbon Treaty

This note provides an assessment of the ‘state of play’ of European countries’ inquiries into the CIA’s programme of extraordinary renditions and secret  detentions in light of the new legal framework and fundamental rights architecture that has emerged since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force. It identifies a number of ‘EU law angles’ that indicate a high degree of proximity between the consequences of human rights violations arising from the alleged transportation and unlawful detention of prisoners and EU law, competences and actions – which challenge the competence of EU institutions and/or their obligation to act. The note presents a scoreboard and a detailed survey of the results, progress and main accountability obstacles of political, judicial and ombudsmen inquiries in twelve European countries. It argues that in addition to the various accountability challenges, the uneven progress and differentiated degrees of scrutiny, independence and transparency that affect national inquiries compromise the general principles of mutual trust, loyal cooperation and fundamental rights that substantiate the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and in particular, those policies that are rooted in the principle of mutual recognition. Finally, the note uses the findings to formulate a number of policy proposals for the European Parliament.


Parliamentary Oversight of Justice and Intelligence Agencies in the European Union

This study evaluates the oversight of national security and intelligence agencies by parliaments and specialised non-parliamentary oversight bodies, with a view to identifying good practices that can inform the European Parliament’s approach to strengthening the oversight of Europol, Eurojust, Frontex and, to a lesser extent, Sitcen. The study puts forward a series of detailed recommendations (including in the field of access to classified information) that are formulated on the basis of indepth assessments of: (1) the current functions and powers of these four bodies; (2) existing arrangements for the oversight of these bodies by the European Parliament, the Joint Supervisory Bodies and national parliaments; and (3) the legal and institutional frameworks for parliamentary and specialised oversight of security and intelligence agencies in EU Member States and other major democracies. 


Assessing the EU’s Approach to Security Sector Reform (SSR)

SSR activities are key for stabilizing fragile and post-conflict states through their emphasis on training, institutional reform and governance. The EU has engaged in aspects of SSR for the past decade through its CFSP/CSDP as well as development and enlargement policies. The recently launched CSDP missions in the Horn of Africa take place in a new institutional context, and address European security concerns in a fragile but geopolitically important region. The EU’s engagement with SSR in general and the Horn of Africa in particular shows the difficulties in simultaneously pursuing dual objectives of stability and institution-building and in adopting and coordinating long-and short-term approaches to the problems facing the region. To do justice to the holistic conception of SSR and its emphasis on accountability and democratic oversight, the training of security forces and capacity building needs to be framed in a long-term approach that aims for sustainable structural change. The creation of the EEAS has given the EU the right tools – but a continued emphasis on policy coordination is necessary to address old and new, institutional and operational, challenges so as to attain a comprehensive approach to SSR. The input and continued commitment of member states to CSDP also remains vital


EU and NATO: Co-operation or Competition ?

Recent years have seen protracted attempts to agree and then to consummate a durable strategic partnership between the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. With the globalisation of security concerns and with the series of major terrorist attacks beginning on 11th September 2001, it has become increasingly difficult to rationalise a Cold War-style separation of the two organisations, with NATO offering ‘hard’ or military power, and the EU offering a ‘soft’ or civil alternative. There are compelling reasons to expect close collaboration between the two organisations: there is considerable overlap in membership; members of both organisations, new and old, are constrained in their defence spending and cannot maintain commitments to support two entirely separate multilateral military structures; and contemporary security challenges no longer respect institutional boundaries, if indeed they ever did. Furthermore, the simple proximity of the two organisations in Brussels creates a widespread expectation that the EU and NATO should be in constant dialogue on issues of mutual concern. It can only  appear inefficient and dysfunctional, for example, that the representative of a foreign government might visit one body but not the other, that NATO does not offer a conduit to the EU, and vice versa, and that the two organisations have not developed mutually reinforcing diplomatic positions. 

Collaboration between NATO and the EU has become an enduring theme in speeches and
statements concerning transatlantic security.

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Radicalisation and violent extremism – focus on women: How women become radicalised, and how to empower them to prevent radicalisation

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, focuses on Islamist radicalisation and violent extremism in the EU and has two aims: 1) to explore and assess the question of women’s radicalisation and their involvement in violent extremism in the EU as well as to look into the mechanisms in place to prevent women and girls from radicalisation and propose further actions; and 2) to identify the potential of women in preventing radicalisation, in particular by looking into women’s current role in counter-radicalisation strategies and to explore potential gendered approaches and best practices to counter-radicalisation.

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