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Massive eavesdropping in Europe

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 13288 | 06 August 2013

Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Ms Anne BRASSEUR, Luxembourg, ALDE ; Mr Agustín CONDE, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Gitta CONNEMANN, Germany, EPP/CD ; Ms Viola von CRAMON-TAUBADEL, Germany, SOC ; Mr Armand De DECKER, Belgium, ALDE ; Mr Bernard FOURNIER, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Hans FRANKEN, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr Erich Georg FRITZ, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Valeriu GHILETCHI, Republic of Moldova, EPP/CD ; Mr Andres HERKEL, Estonia, EPP/CD ; Ms Arpine HOVHANNISYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Ferenc KALMÁR, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Ms Naira KARAPETYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Ms Kerstin LUNDGREN, Sweden, ALDE ; Mr Thomas NORD, Germany, UEL ; Ms Zaruhi POSTANJYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Ms Carmen QUINTANILLA, Spain, EPP/CD ; Mr Latchezar TOSHEV, Bulgaria, EPP/CD ; Ms Sabine VERMEULEN, Belgium, NR ; Mr Johann WADEPHUL, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Jordi XUCLÀ, Spain, ALDE

The Parliamentary Assembly recalls that judicial and parliamentary scrutiny of a government and its agents, including special services, is of vital importance for the rule of law and democracy.

It recognises the need for States to ensure effective protection of secrets affecting national security.

The Assembly has welcomed the growing co-operation between different countries’ secret services, which constitutes an indispensable tool to confront the worst forms of organised crime and terrorism. This international co-operation should, however, be accompanied by equivalent co-operation between oversight bodies.

It recalls that while member States must have the capabilities to effectively combat terrorism, they “may not, in the name of the struggle against espionage and terrorism, adopt whatever measures they deem appropriate” due to the danger of such laws undermining or even destroying democracy (European Court of Human Rights, Klass and others v. Germany, judgment of 6 September 1978).

The Assembly further recalls the importance of whistle-blowing as an opportunity to strengthen accountability and bolster the fight against corruption and mismanagement, both in the public and private sectors.

It is seriously concerned about the recent allegations on extensive surveillance and collection of private data by intelligence services of the United-States, the United-Kingdom, France and other countries. 

The Assembly therefore:

a Calls upon the Secretary General to launch an inquiry under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
b Invites all member States to:
  • Review or, if necessary, set up effective parliamentary or other independent mechanisms for the oversight of the secret services and special procedures in the criminal and civil courts for the handling of information of a sensitive nature covered by secrecy, to enable the proper administration of justice whilst taking into account the state’s legitimate security interests;
  • Improve the protection against all forms of retaliation against bona fide whistle-blowers disclosing wrongdoings in the public interest.