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    ISSN 1756-851X
    23 July 2016
 

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Observatory : Refugee crisis in the Med and in the EU


EU-ITALY: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief

The European Union's relocation scheme for refugees in Greece and Italy "has clearly failed", the Italian interior ministry's head of immigration, Mario Morcone, told a recent press conference hosted by the Italian Council of Refugees. The most recent European Commission report on the relocation scheme, published on 13 July, records a total of 843 people being relocated from Italy to other Member States since the scheme was put in place in September 2015. The Commission's aim is to relocate 6,000 people from Greece and Italy per month.

See also: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

UK: Delayed "counter-extremism" plans denounced again

The UK government's plans for countering "non-violent extremism" have again been denounced, this time in a "pre-legislative scrutiny" report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Despite announcing on a number of occassions that it will introduce a Counter-Extremism Bill, the government is yet to do so - but given the numerous problems with defining "extremism", and the harsh criticism that has been directed at the Prevent programme, it may be better for any such bill not to be published at all.

EU: Implementation of the European Agenda on Security: Questions & Answers (European Commission, pdf)

A useful summary: "The European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Security on 28 April 2015, setting out the main actions envisaged to ensure an effective EU response to security threats over the period 2015-2020. Since its adoption, significant progress has been made in its implementation...

This Memo highlights the actions already completed as well as the steps that still need to be taken as a matter of urgency in view of the current challenges, to pave the way towards a genuine and effective Security Union as proposed by the European Commission on 20 April 2016."

Background: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones, May 2015

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.7.16)

Council of the European Union: From: Greek Delegation: Temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory (LIMITE doc no: 10008-26, pdf):

"We kindly ask you to take note of the Joint Ministerial Decision dated 12.05.2016 and published on issue 1373/17.05.2016 of the Official Journal... on the temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory via the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos and the airports of Karpathos and Chios accordingly by the date of its entry into force (17.05.2016) until the 31st of October 2016.

We therefore wish to inform you that according to the aforementioned Decision, the relevant checks at the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos will be conducted under the full responsibility of the Police Departments of Kalymnos, Kalloni, Leros and Karlovasi/Samos. With reference now to the airports of Karpathos and Chios, the relevant Police Department of Karpathos and the Security Subdivision of Chios aretasked to carry out those checks."
[emphasis added]

UK: Post-Brexit racism update (IRR News Service, link): "Below we present an update of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

Council of Europe: Secretary General receives notification from Turkey of its intention to temporarily suspend the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf):

"The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, hasbeen informed by the Turkish authorities that Turkey will notify its derogation from the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights under the Convention’s Article 15....

There can be no derogation from the following articles: Article 2 (Right to life), Article 3(Prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment), Article 4 para. 1(prohibition of slavery), Article 7 (No punishment without law).It is important to note that the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to apply inTurkey.

Where the Government seeks to invoke Article 15 in order to derogate from theConvention in individual cases, the European Court of Human Rights will decide whether theapplication meets the criteria set out in the Convention, notably the criteria of proportionality ofthe measure taken.

The Turkish Government will inform the Secretary General about measures taken."

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments: "Emergency derogation *can* be used to extend pre-trial detention and limit fair trials. Turkey has invoked it before."

And: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the declaration of the State of Emergency in Turkey (link): "The declaration of State of Emergency gives the executive far reaching powers to govern by decree. Under the terms of the Turkish Constitution, core fundamental rights shall be inviolable even in the State of Emergency. "

Also: ECHR Factsheet: Derogation in time of emergency (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.7.16) including No visa waiver for Turkey this year and Greece Prepares For Long Term Accommodation Of Migrants.

Bulk data collection only lawful in serious crime cases, ECJ indicates - Initial finding from top EU court backs David Davis and Tom Watson and could have serious impact on snooper’s charter (Guardian, link):

"Retaining data from telephone calls and emails is legal only if law enforcement agencies use it to tackle serious crime, the EU’s highest court has indicated.

The preliminary finding by the advocate general of the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg came in response to a legal challenge that was brought initially by David Davis, when he was a backbench Conservative, and Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, over the legality of GCHQ’s bulk interception of call records and online messages.

Davis, one of the most vociferous critics of the state’s powers to collect data on its citizens, quietly withdrew from the case after his appointment to the cabinet. Many had commented on his involvement in the case at the EU’s highest court after he was appointed secretary of state for leaving the EU."

See: According to Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe, a general obligation to retain data imposed by a Member State on providers of electronic communication services may be compatible with EU law- However, it is imperative that that obligation be circumscribed by strict safeguards (Press release,pdf)

Advocate General: Opinion (pdf) and: Human Rights and National Data Retention Law: the Opinion in Tele 2 and Watson (EU Law Analysis, link): "he Advocate General goes beyond endorsing the principles in Digital Rights Ireland: even regimes which satisfy the safeguards set out in Digital Rights Ireland may still be found to be disproportionate."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.7.16)

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Data protection and Whistleblowing in the EU Institutions (Press release):

"Confidentiality is the most effective incentive to encourage staff to report wrongdoing at work said the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) today as he published his Guidelines on Whistleblowing Procedures. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Assistant EDPS, said:

"Whistleblowing procedures are meant to provide safe channels for staff or other informants to report fraud, corruption or other serious wrongdoing in organisations. Given that the information processed in whistleblowing procedures is sensitive and that leaks or unauthorised disclosure may have adverse consequences both for the whistleblowers and the accused, special care must be taken over that information. The EDPS Guidelines can help the EU institutions and bodiesto mitigate the risks."

See: EDPS Guidelines (pdf)

Turkey: Erdogan says coup was ‘gift from God’ to reshape country, punish enemies (euractiv, link):

"President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Friday’s failed coup (15 July) was a “gift from God”, giving him the chance to re-shape the country, and purge the country’s elite from enemies, who accuse him of creeping Islamisation in the traditionally secular state....

Erdogan promised “a new Turkey” after Friday’s failed coup. He has made clear that the country he plans would be different in two fundamental ways: power would be concentrated in the hands of the president, and the old secular elites would have a lesser political role."

and: Turkey- Turkey's Erdogan vows talks on death penalty for coup plotters (DW, link): "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he'll discuss the possibility of capital punishment for those involved in an attempted coup against his government."

See also: Council conclusions on Turkey (18.7.16, pdf): there is a striking omission of asylum or visa issues.

Race and class: the colour of struggle (IRR, link):

"The latest issue of Race & Class is devoted to black political struggle in the UK 1950s-1980s.

Race and class: the colour of struggle, 1950s-1980s, edited by Jenny Bourne, brings together the voices of unsung political heroes of the time, groundbreaking new research, and campaigning material from the archives, providing readers with key resources on Britain’s history of black anti-racist activism – especially relating to policing, racial violence, workers exploitation and immigration controls. Those who speak from its pages – mothers, workers, students, exiles – testify to the common experience of colonialism and racism which made Black the colour of their fight."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.7.16): including: Italy now the frontline and unaccompanied children.

Case Watch: Discrimination Dressed up as Neutrality in European Headscarf Bans (OSF, link):

"The Court of Justice of the European Union has been asked to interpret this law in two cases, each about a Muslim woman dismissed by a private sector employer because she wore a religious headscarf at work. In the first cases to reach the Court of Justice on the question of religious discrimination, national courts in Belgium and France have asked whether the dismissals were direct discrimination or whether exceptions to Directive 2000/78 allow such dismissals. In our legal briefing on the issue , we argue that the Court should rule that targeting clothing because it is religious is direct discrimination not allowed by EU law."

See also: Religious discrimination in the workplace: which approach should the CJEU follow? (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting under the Slovakia Council Presidency, 7 July 2016

Minimalist background documents provided:

- Schengen Borders fit for the future (pdf):

"Ministers will discuss the implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation as well as interaction of the new Agency with neighbouring countries....

The Presidency attaches great importance to the Smart Borders project and is committed to bringing it closer to reality. A proposal on the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is expected to complete the picture in a not too distant future. Ministers will discuss how the system should look like."

- European Asylum Policy, addressing common challenges (pdf)

"The Commission’s legislative proposals, both those already adopted and those expected in the nearest future, aim at improving many aspects of the CEAS. One of the leading concepts of the proposals is solidarity."

Comment: There has not been much solidarity between Member States on the refugee crisis.

"Reforming the Common European Asylum System - the way ahead: The package of asylum proposals submitted by the Commission is one of the most important elements of the legislative work ahead."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.7.16) including new Commission plans to further limit refugee rights to asylum

EU: Trilogues: Again citizens and civil society get half the cake: Institutional "space to think" (in secret) defended by EU Ombudsman

"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has called on the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission to further increase the transparency of law-making in the EU by publishing key documents related to their informal negotiations known as “trilogues”.

European Commission: European Commission: Asylum, relocation, resettlement, legal channels - package

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.7.16)


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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