Franco Frattini wants EU high tech security shake-up
The European Union's top justice official on Wednesday called for a massive shake-up of the bloc's border security, recommending that all visitors be screened and fingerprinted and a satellite surveillance system be set up to keep illegal migrants out.
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said EU nations had to use "the most advanced technology to reach the highest level of security" to prevent visitors from overstaying their welcome in Europe and to prevent terrorists from entering. Frattini's proposals, if approved by all 27 EU governments, would represent one of the largest security overhauls in the EU and could cost billions of euros.
(Ed Comment: November 30, 2007 the 27 EU transportation ministers reached an agreement that the Galileo Positioning System should be up and operational by 2013, so parts of this suggestion laid forth by Franco Frattini now, is already a done deal! Read more about the Galileo Positioning System below.)
Civil liberties and human rights advocates have already criticized the plans as an attempt to keep out unwanted foreigners from Africa and other poor regions under the veiled excuse of fighting crime and terrorism. They also decry the plans as an attempt to move to a surveillance society, trampling on the right to privacy.
The sweeping measures would replicate many of the border checks already being rolled out in the United States, but would go further in demanding EU citizens also submit fingerprints to participate in computerized fast-track entry-exit customs controls.
Frattini said the proposals would safeguard the union's passport-free travel zone, which includes 24 countries. The proposals are also designed to prevent visitors from entering Europe illegally or overstaying their visas.
The plans foresee collecting fingerprints or other biometric identifiers of visitors to record their entry and exit, as well as an electronic visa system similar to one already being used in Australia, which would give an "electronic travel authorization" to visitors before they book flights.
Wednesday's border plans would come on top of a separate proposal to collect detailed data on airline passengers flying into the 27-nation union amid warnings that the threat of terrorist attacks remains high.
Such a system, modeled on one adopted by the U.S., would store 19 pieces of sensitive passenger information — including e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and payment details of flight tickets — for 13 years.
The plan now goes to the EU parliament and council of ministers before it can become law.
Article from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/
The Galileo Positioning System
Ed Comment: "The most advanced technology" that Franco Frattini is talking about is already in the works, it's called the Galileo Positioning System (GPS). On November 30, 2007 the 27 EU transportation ministers involved reached an agreement that GPS should be up and operational by 2013. Read more below.
The Galileo positioning system is a planned Global Navigation Satellite System, to be built by the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA). The €3.4 billion project is an alternative and complementary to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS. On November 30, 2007 the 27 EU transportation ministers involved reached an agreement, that it should be operational by 2013.
When in operation, it will have two ground stations, one in Munich, Germany, and another in Rome, Italy. Since 18 May 2007, at the recommendation of Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the EU took direct control of the Galileo project from the private sector group of eight companies called European Satellite Navigation Industries, which had abandoned this Galileo project in early 2007.
Galileo is intended to provide: more precise measurements to all users than available through GPS or GLONASS, better positioning services at high latitudes, and an independent positioning system upon which European nations can rely even in times of war or political disagreement. Named for the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, the positioning system is referred to as "Galileo" instead of by the abbreviation "GPS" to distinguish it from the U.S. system.
Read more: Galileo positioning system (wikipedia)
Buttiglione 'outs' his EU successor as a Freemason
2004 11 10
Rocco Buttiglione, the Catholic politician and papal adviser whose views on homosexuality and marriage cost him his job as an EU Commissioner last month, yesterday caused further controversy by claiming that his successor was a Freemason.
Signor Buttiglione congratulated Franco Frattini, the Foreign Minister, on his nomination as EU Justice Commissioner, the job for which Signor Buttiglione had been nominated by Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister.
But he went on: “I hope his hearings go well and that nobody asks him if he is a Freemason. If they do they will only be repeating the same injustice that was done to me.”
Signor Frattini, who has been Foreign Minister since November 2002, yesterday held talks in Brussels with José Manuel Durão Barroso, the new European Commission President, ahead of confirmation hearings at the European Parliament next Monday and Tuesday. Senhor Barroso hopes his entire Commission will be confirmed next Thursday by Euro MPs, enabling it to take office the following Monday.
Freemasonry, which was banned under Mussolini, flourished under the Christian Democrats in postwar Italy, and remains legal. But it is still viewed with suspicion by the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church.
It has been a highly sensitive issue in Italy since 1981, when a secret and illegal right-wing Masonic lodge known as P2 — Propaganda Due — was broken up amid public scandal.
Nearly a thousand members of P2 were named, including senior figures in business, politics, banking, journalism, the intelligence services and the military. The scandal brought down the Christian Democrat-led Government of Arnaldo Forlani, which had tried to keep the details secret.
Signor Frattini and Signor Berlusconi declined to comment on Signor Buttiglione’s outburst. Lapo Pistelli, an Italian left-wing Euro MP, said that it was a “poisoned dart. I have no idea if Frattini is a Mason or not, but I have no doubt that, unlike Buttiglione, he will appear at his hearing fully prepared and there will be no unpleasant surprises.”
However, Mario Borghezio, a Northern League Euro MP, said that he hoped Signor Frattini was “independent of the occult powers which control Europe”.
Signor Frattini, 47, a parliamentary deputy for Signor Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party since 1996 and former head of the parliamentary commission overseeing the intelligence services, is widely admired for his competence and equanimity.
Last night Signor Berlusconi held a meeting of his Centre Right coalition to discuss the nomination of Gianfranco Fini, the “post Fascist” Deputy Prime Minister, as the new Foreign Minister. Signor Buttiglione, far from returning to relative obscurity as Italy’s Minister for European Affairs since his rejection by Euro MPs, has defiantly maintained a high profile through public meetings and interviews, in which he has lambasted the “totalitarianism” of an “over secularised and politically correct Europe”.
Last weekend he began a campaign for a return to “traditional religious values” in public life, and said that thousands of people all over Europe had offered support for his campaign to inject “Christian family values” into politics.
A survey this week showed that 61 per cent of Italians were against gay marriage.
Article from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article389300.ece