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European Roundup: Arrest Warrants and Healthcards

First of all, the new European arrest warrant was exercised today for the first time. Michael Kurt was wanted in Sweden on drink-driving charges and was arrested in Alicante. He will be taken back to Sweden.

The arrest warrant is valid in eight Member States:

So far only eight states have adopted it: Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Moreover, another system is being introduced to provide every EU citizen with a smartcard. These health insurance smartcards will replace the E111 and other forms that allow every EU citizen access to the health systems of other Member States.

These smartcards will eventually include the bearer’s medical records and any other information deemed appropriate. The information here is taken from Ireland, and there does not appear to be any corroborating information at the Department of Health in the UK.

The European Public Health Alliance has one or two articles on the new smartcards. The draft regulation that I have not fully read is located here.

This new system standardises the information on citizens’ health held on databases throughout the European Union. In Member States where no cards exist at present within the healthcare system, these will be introduced. In most Member States, a European card will be introduced alongside the existing systems. It is in those countries where no system exists at present, that this proposal can act as a stimulus for standardising government databases and producing another precursor to a formal identity card.

Whilst electronic systems are here to stay, there are few safeguards against the dissemination of personal information. This is not noted in the draft EU regulation and presents another route by which the privacy of individuals may be undermined as ease of administration gains a higher priority than the right of the individual to safeguard and police his personal data.

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