Monday

23rd Oct 2017

EU in talks with Interpol on political abuse

  • Maasikas: German and Swedish foreign ministers asked Estonia for EU action (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU states are in talks with Interpol to help stop political abuse of the police agency, Estonia has said.

The issue has become of "great concern" to EU states, Estonia's deputy minister for EU affairs, Matti Maasikas, told MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday (4 October).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Russia has used Interpol to attack political opponents in Estonia (Photo: interpol.org)

He said an EU-Interpol committee would "discuss possible improvements of Interpol systems" with the police body at a meeting on 20 November.

Maasikas said Germany and Sweden had asked Estonia, which currently holds the EU presidency, to tackle the subject.

He said "it is important that a proper review takes place of the Red Notice before issuance" and that an "effective redress mechanism exists" for people who end up as Interpol targets.

A Red Notice is an Interpol request for member states to detain and hand over suspects.

The EU concern comes after after Turkey filed Red Notices against a dissident writer and two journalists in Europe - Dogan Akhnali, Hamza Yalcin, and Can Dundar.

Interpol states are not obliged to honour red alerts, but Spain arrested Akhnali and Yalcin while they were visiting the country, where they are now fighting extradition to Turkey.

MEPs said Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Russia also used Interpol to hunt political adversaries.

"We need to speak out when there are instances of repression and to make sure there are safeguards," Claude Moraes, a centre-left British MEP, said.

He said there should be "necessity and proportionality checks carried out on Red Notices from some countries" to stop "obvious abuses of human rights".

Interpol is an intergovernmental body based in Lyon, France.

It has no outside oversight, but its 1957 charter says Red Notices should not be issued for political, military, religious, or racist motives.

Vera Joureva, the EU commissioner for justice affairs, told MEPs that she was "aware that Interpol's Red Notice system has been used for political purposes".

She said the European Commission had no mandate to influence its work, but she said Interpol was putting in place new rules to stop people who had obtained asylum overseas from being targeted.

Estonia's Maasikas said it would not be practical to hold a full judicial review of each Red Notice case before an alert was issued.

He added that EU states had not made up their mind how the police body should safeguard its work.

"We are in a situation where [EU] member states are members of an international organisation where there is no agreed common EU line or policy", he said.

'I thought I was safe in Europe'

Arrest of Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.

Opinion

Interpol and the EU: don't play politics

Debate on the EU police agency threatens to undermine its neutrality and the treatment of individuals who cannot enlist political support.

Opinion

Interpol needs EU help to stop abuse

The international police agency needs powerful actors to support its work and its reforms, and the EU can and should provide a positive influence.

EU gives thumbs up to US data pact

Commission gives 'thumbs-up' to controversial Privacy Shield deal with US on data sharing after a year's operation - but notes room for improvement.

News in Brief

  1. May: EU member states will not lose out with Brexit
  2. Slovakia pledges to be 'pro-European' oasis in region
  3. Report: Catalan leader to address Spanish senate
  4. Fiat-Chrysler 'obstructed justice' reports Le Monde
  5. EU presidency 'confident' on posted workers agreement
  6. Young conservatives boot out Erdogan's party
  7. Tsipras urged to let refugees go before winter sets in
  8. Thousands demand justice in Malta

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Martens CentreI Say Europe, You Say...? Interview With EU Commission VP Jyrki Katainen
  2. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  4. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  5. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  6. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  7. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  10. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  11. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  12. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe