TECHNOCRATS at the European Commission have proposed a series of sci-fi border defences to protect Fortress Europe from the triumvirate of modern bogeymen: terrorists, ganstas and plain old foreigners.
They want to track people using "unmanned aerial vehicles", or low-flying robot drone border guards, along with satellites and other "surveillance tools and sensors", all of which will be deployed along borders and the adjacent " pre-frontier area".
First, however, they want to start taking fingerprints from every person who crosses a European border and store them along with records of their movements and backgrounds in the immigration databases it is already setting up. Roughly 300m people cross EU borders officially every year.
The more outlandish elements of the system will draw from Europe's & euro;1.35 billion investment in Security Research, for which the funding is being awarded this year.
It is proposed that this should be thrown together into a "system of systems " called the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR). This will be combined with national systems and fed through to Frontex, which would act as a "hub" for border intelligence for member states.
This in turn, said the Commission in proposals sent to the European Council and Parliament today, "could serve as the basis for a Frontex Intelligence-led Information System". It did did not provide further details, but did propose an External Borders Fund to help member states warm to the idea. It did not say what the budget would be.
Franco Frattini, European commissioner for justice, freedom and security,
said the proposals were meant to make it easier for "bona fide third party
nationals" to cross European borders. "Third party national" is the term
Eurocrats are using in place of the emotive "foreigner"
Twenty-four carat bona fide third-party nationals will be able to join the Eurosur club class, or "Registered Travellers Programme". This would allow people with proven wealth, education or corporate sponsorship to slip through automated European border posts more quickly.
Frattini used the word "solidarity" when describing the plans.
The documents noted that there were eight million illegal immigrants in Europe in 2006, which is roughly one per cent of the population. They did not note how many of them were terrorists or gansters.
Neither did they note how many were working to support a family, how many attended church, and how many were housed in detection centres and refused the right to work. There are 728 million people in Europe, most of whom are foreign. Only three per cent of the world's people are thought to be living outside of their country of birth.
The ideas have to be approved by the Council and the Parliament before they can be put into force. But as already happened with the databases that will underpin the fingerprinting of travellers, the Commission is in the habit of building its systems before it gets democratic approval for them. µ
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