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    22 July 2017
 

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UK-EU: BREXIT: The joint technical note attached summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them following the 2nd round of Art. 50 negotiations (pdf) Contains 4-column document: Comparison of EU/UK positions on Citizens' Rights:

"This table summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them. Green indicates convergence, red indicates divergence and yellow indicates where further discussion is required to deepen understanding."

EU: Qualifications Directive: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection... Mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament (LIMITE EU doc no: 10475-17, pdf): Council's negotiating position with European Parliament in trilogue despite the fact that:

"Four main aspects of the proposal could not be agreed upon during the discussions at the preparatory bodies level. Therefore, the Presidency has prepared draft compromise solutions, which take into account the different positions expressed by delegations during the above discussions and which can be found in the Annex to this Note. The changes in the text of the draft Regulation as compared to the Commission proposal are indicated in bold and deleted text is marked in […]."

See: European Parliament draft orientation position (pdf)

Statewatch Analysis: The EU goes to war with African “elite” (pdf): by Tony Bunyan

EU to target African governments, officials and others with the threat to refuse or delay visas to enforce its returns and readmission policies

EU starts setting out the “consequences” of non-cooperation by agreeing “Measures targeting the "elite" of third countries”

See: Council of the European Union: "Link between return/readmission and visa policies" (RESTRICTED, EU doc no: 9097-REV-1-17)

POLAND: Street protests and EU warnings over attempt to bring judiciary under political control

The latest set of measures going through the Polish legislature that would undermine the independence of the judiciary and seperation of powers have led to protests across Poland and warnings from the EU that it will invoke the 'Article 7' procedure, which could ultimately see Polish voting rights in the Council suspended.

UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee report: Brexit: the EU data protection package (pdf):

"The Government has said that it wants to maintain unhindered and uninterrupted data flows with the EU post-Brexit. The Government’s White Paper on The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union, says, for example, that the UK “will seek to maintain the stability of data transfers between the EU, Member States and the UK.

We support this objective, but were struck by the lack of detail on how the Government plans to deliver this outcome. Our analysis suggests that the stakes are high, not least because any post-Brexit arrangement that results in greater friction around data transfers between the UK and the EU could present a non-tariff trade barrier, putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage. Any impediments to data flows post-Brexit could also hinder police and security cooperation."
[emphasis added]

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Commission cannot refuse access to written submissions of the Member States held by it, on the sole ground that they are documents relating to court proceedings (Press release, pdf):

"The Court of Justice confirms the judgment of the General Court holding that the decision on such an application for access must be made on the basis of the regulation concerning public access to documents held by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission."

Patrick Breyer writes: "The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg today ruled in favour of the German civil liberties activist and pirate party member Patrick Breyer (Commission vs. Breyer, C-213/15 P): It ordered the Commission to give the press and the public access to the pleadings exchanged in completed court proceedings. In the present case Breyer successfully demanded the Commission disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive. However the Court fined Breyer for publishing the written submissions in his own case on his homepage....

Todays ruling confirms that the EU's judicial system is lacking transparency and in urgent need of reform, comments Breyer. Since EU judges appear to consider transparency in pending proceedings a threat, the EU needs to revise the Court rules in accordance with those applicable to the European Court of Human Rights. Indifferently prohibiting parties from publishing pleadings ­ including their oown ­ is inacceptable and endangers the freedom of the press."

See: Judgment: full text (pdf)

MED: Guidance on rescue operations in the Mediterranean: Know Your Rights (CILD, pdf):

"Is there a duty to rescue at sea?

Yes, there is. Maritime law and the Italian Constitution (Article 2) are based on cooperation which is a fundamental obligation. International law (the Montego Bay Treaty and others, see glossary) requires States to require any masters of ships flying their national flag to fulfil their duty to give assistance to anyone found to be in danger at sea, to inform the competent authorities, to provide initial medical assistance to the persons rescued, and to transfer the persons rescued to a place of safety (for a definition of ‘place of safety’, see question 8)."

Italy’s Smuggling Prosecutions Ruin Lives While Real Criminals Go Free (Refugees Deeply, link):

"Between August 2015 and the end of July 2016, a total of 793 scafisti were arrested, according to Italy’s interior ministry. This is on top of the 1,511 arrested since 2013. Arresting migrant pilots has been central to the approach of the Italian government, with then prime minister Matteo Renzi boasting on Twitter in April 2015: “We have arrested 976 scafisti and rescued thousands of people.”

While Italy’s popular press paints them as ruthless criminals, the reality of the scafisti is more nuanced. Stories like that of Yusuf are common."

GREECE: Serious gaps in the care of refugees in Greek hotspots; Vulnerability assessment system is breaking down (Refugee Support Aegean, link):

"Following the departure of Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), medical and social services have seriously been minimised in the Registration and Identification Centres (RIC), the so-called hotspots of the Aegean. Ever since the needs of refugees are not being covered effectively. Huge gaps have been observed concerning psychological aid, and this in a period where the mental health of refugees is deteriorating severely due to being stuck and under constant threat to be readmitted to Turkey."

UK-EU: Brexit: European Commission publishes Position Papers: Justice and Home Affairs

The Commission has published three Position papers on the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the EU - whether or not these will be replaced later is not known at this stage of the negotiations:

 Position paper on Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters (12 July 2017, pdf)
 Position paper on Ongoing Union Judicial and Administrative Procedures (12 July 2017, pdf)
 Position paper transmitted to EU27 on Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters (28 June 2017, pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.7.17)

UK-BREXIT: Repeal Bill :Summary "factsheet" are here (link)

- Full-text of the Repeal Bill (pdf)
-
Explanatory Notes: EU withdrawal Bill (68 pages, pdf)
-
Note on delegated powers (pdf)

See: Small print of repeal bill creates unprecedented new powers for Brexit ministers (Politics.co.uk, link): "On the face of it, the repeal bill addresses many of the concerns of its critics. But once you dig in a little further, the full scale of the executive power grab becomes clear. There has never been a piece of legislation like this in modern British history. We have never handed the government so much power. "

BREXIT: Ongoing Union judicial and administrative proceedings Position paper (pdf): "Leaving the EU will end the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the UK."

European Commission: Infringement proceeding: Hungary & Spain: - Hungary: Commission launches infringement procedure for law on foreign-funded NGOs (pdf): "Infringements - Today, the European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary for its new law on foreign-funded NGOs adopted on 13 June.

The Hungarian law introduces new obligations for certain categories of NGOs receiving annual foreign funding above HUF7.2 million (approx. € 24,000) to register and label themselves in all their publications, websites and press material as "organisations supported from abroad", and to report specific information about the funding they receive from abroad to the Hungarian authorities. These organisations face sanctions if they fail to comply with the new reporting and transparency obligations."

- Commission refers SPAIN to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to implement EU rules on whistle-blowers (pdf):

"This Directive is part of the Market Abuse rulebook and requires Member States to establish effective mechanisms to enable
the reporting of infringements of the Market Abuse Regulation. It contains provisions to protect those who report such infringements and further specifies procedures to protect whistle-blowers and reported persons, including follow-up arrangements on reports by whistle-blowers and protection of personal data."
See also: Proposed law on whistleblowing and corruption is "perverse, megalomaniacal and authoritarian" (Statewatch News)

SPECIAL: EU: Italy's proposed code of conduct for Mediterranean NGOs "threatens life-saving operations"

The European Commission asked Italy to draw up a "Code of Conduct" for NGOs carrying out search and rescue in the Mediterranean: See full-text of: Code of Conduct for NGOs involved in migrant's rescue operation at sea (pdf). The organisation Human Rights at Sea has said the proposed code "threatens life-saving search and rescue operations".

All NGOs operating in the Med are required to sign and obey the Code: "Failure to sign this Code of Conduct or failure to comply with its obligations may result in the refusal by the Italian State to authorize the access to national ports, subject to compliance with the existing international conventions."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-12.7.17) including:Operation Sophia is "a failed mission"; crowdfunded far-right boat heads to sea; Prague says not to blame for not relocating refugees

GREECE: Migrants 'stuck and forgotten' in notorious camp on Lesbos (Sky News, link) "They are tired of waiting for Greek authorities and the EU to decide whether or not to take them in, with some there for a year."

See also: Lesvos migrants clash with police (ekathimerini.com, link): "Frustrated by poor living conditions at the overcrowded Moria reception center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, migrants clashed with police Monday afternoon. The unrest was sparked during a protest outside the so-called pre-departure center that operates within the Moria camp aimed at drawing attention to the substandard conditions that people are forced to endure while awaiting deportation to Turkey. According to reports, police guarding the center came under a hail of stones when they tried to secure the area and responded with tear gas....."

GERMANY: Politicians want EU-wide "extremist" database after arrests, injuries, protests and riots at "dystopian" Hamburg G20 summit

The G20 summit in Hamburg, which was accompanied by "dystopian" security measures including the deployment of Predator drones, robots in the sewers, heavily militarised police and 'no-protest zones', finished on Saturday following days of mass protests that continued over the weekend. Dozens of protesters were injured and hundreds arrested - although there are no official figures on how many exactly - while numbers offered for the number of police officers injured range from 200 to 500. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, is now leading calls for a "Europe-wide extremist database" - which sounds similar to previous calls for EU-wide databases on "troublemakers".

UK: 25% increase in police use of tasers against children

The number of times police officers used taser electroshock weapons against children increased by 25% across the UK in 2016 compared to 2015, with 597 deployments as compared to 476 in the previous year. Police are being equipped with an increasing number of more powerful tasers following recent approvals by the Home Office and ongoing police policy towards deployment of the weapons.

EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs meeting: Migration, counter-terrorism and transnational crime - Awaiting CJEU opinion on PNR Canada scheduled for 26 July

EU-G20: Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany (pdf):

Tusk is seeking support to tackle "the unprecedented wave of illegal migration" through "targeted UN sanctions against smugglers" in north Africa. However, he notes that:

"Unfortunately I have to say that today we do not have the full support even for this minimum. If we do not get it, it will be a sad proof of the hypocrisy of some of the G20 members..."

Perhaps this is because he refers to everyone arriving in the EU as "irregular migrants" (who anyway have the right to claim asylum) and not as refugees and migrants. He also refer only to "smuggling" not trafficking - two legally distinct concepts.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-7.7.17)

Central Mediterranean: Death toll soars as EU turns its back on refugees and migrants (Amnesty, link):

"The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.

EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse."

See: Presidency of the Council: Ministers of Interior agree on more robust approach to migration pressure (press releaes, pdf)

EU: Action Plan for Central Mediterranean: mandatory code of conduct for NGOs, massive expansion of detention and hotspots in Italy

The European Commission has published an Action Plan containing a swathe of measures "to support Italy, reduce pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route and increase solidarity," in order to try to address the "structural challenge" represented by the "loss of life and continuing migratory flows of primarily economic migrants on the Central Mediterranean route."

This includes a proposal for Italy and the Commission to draw up a code of conduct for NGOs conducting search and rescue missions, and demands for Italy to massively increase the capacity of its hotspots and its detention centres as well as extending the maximum period of detention up to 18 months, the maximum allowed under EU law.

And see: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.7.17)

EU: Frontex in the Balkans: Serbian government rejects EU's criminal immunity proposals

The Serbian government is not happy with EU proposals that Frontex teams would be able to operate on its territory with total immunity from Serbian law. After two rounds of talks between the EU and Serbia, the text of a proposed agreement that would govern Frontex teams' joint operations, "rapid border interventions" or return operations in the Western Balkan country shows that the Serbian side rejects the EU's proposal that "members of the team shall enjoy immunity" from the administrative, civil and criminal jurisdiction of the Republic of Serbia.


Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan


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