Wednesday

21st Apr 2021

EU capitals ignore Brussels' questions about rendition flights

The European Commission is set to criticise EU governments for failing to reply to a questionnaire, which, among other issues, aimed at shedding more light on CIA activities in Europe.

So far, only Finland, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain responded to Brussels' call for clarity.

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  • Only Finland, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain responded to Brussels' requests for information on rendition flights (Photo: EUobserver)

"We will take stock after Easter and then send a reminder to those who have not replied yet," commission spokesperson Friso Roscam Abbing told journalists, adding that no member state has informed Brussels why they have failed to respond.

The EU's executive body sent the questionnaire to all EU capitals on 15 December, with a 15 March deadline. The move followed a report from the European Parliament alleging that the US routinely flies terror suspects via Europe to overseas prison camps where some of them face torture.

EU governments were asked to involve "all relevant national bodies and departments, including those in charge of protection of human rights", so that Brussels could put together the fullest possible picture of member states' anti-terrorism activities.

"Its purpose is to acquire factual and concrete information on the application of member states' anti-terrorism measures, their effectiveness and compliance with fundamental rights," the commission spokesperson said about the questionnaire.

He added: "This information will help us to identify possible difficulties and needs where necessary, of EU action."

But EU states are traditionally reluctant to share security information, with the commission currently having "no legal power" to force them to do so.

"The best we can do is to apply political pressure," the spokesperson said, adding that the situation will change once the EU's new treaty comes to force next year and a significant proportion of the justice and home affairs dossier will no longer be under the exclusive power of national governments.

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