News online - current lead stories
us on and
Top 20 stories - for full
contents see: Statewatch News
online or What's New:
All items - Donate
crisis in the Med and in the EU
EU: Visa waiver rules amended to allow suspension if third
countries fail to cooperate on readmission
February 2017, the Council adopted a regulation to revise the
suspension mechanism which can be applied to all existing visa
grounds for suspension have been extended, and include a decrease
in cooperation on readmission, a substantial increase in the
refusal rate of readmission applications, including for third-country
nationals in transit, and a substantial increase in the risk
to public policy or the internal security of the member states."
of the EU press release: Visas:
Council adopts a revision of the visa waiver suspension mechanism (27 February 2017, pdf)
report on the imprisonment of young people and children calls
for urgent change
A report by the
Youth Custody Improvement Board (YCIB), which was set up by Conservative
government in May 2016 "to explore and report on the current
state of the youth custodial estate and recommend how the system
could be improved," has issued a damning report on Young
Offender Institutions (YOIs) and Secure Training Centres (STCs)
in England and Wales.
Directive on equal treatment: discussions and disagreement continue
The Member States
of the EU are still debating a Directive on the equal treatment
of persons regardless of their religion, beliefs, disability,
age or sexual orientation, which was first proposed in 2008.
The record of the latest discussions in the Council's Working
Party on Social Questions revolve around the issue of sexual
orientation and gender identity.
EU: Council of the European Union developing its negotiation
positions prior to trilogue meetings with the European Parliament:
Directive, "Blue Card" Directive, EES and ETIAS
Exclusive Documents Indicate Germany Spied on Foreign Journalists
foreign intelligence agency, the BND, apparently spied on large
numbers of foreign journalists overseas over the course of several
years, including employees of the BBC, Reuters and the New York
Times. Critics see a massive violation of press freedoms....
of journalists documented in the papers SPIEGEL has seen was
almost certainly not inadvertent. The search terms used clearly
targeted the journalists or the newsrooms whose contact information
is on the BND list. The German intelligence agency declined to
comment on the allegations. "Regarding operative aspects
of its activities, the BND comments exclusively to the German
government or the committee responsible in the German parliament,"
the BND press office stated."
EU Council of the European Union: HLWG: Migration and GAMM
report & European Council Draft Conclusions
Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG): Summary of
doc no: 5657-17, pdf): Includes: Detailed Global Approach to
Migration and Mobility: GAMM UPDATE: 19 January 2017 (pages:
document provides an updated overview of the main external migration
dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU
Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document
is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working
Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission
services, in association with the EEAS."
Council (9 and 10 March 2017) - Draft guidelines for the conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 5575-17, pdf): Includes:
On the basis of the report of the Maltese Prime Minister (see
above), the European Council will take stock of the follow up
to the guidance provided at the informal meeting in Malta on
3 February 2017, with a focus on operational measures. It will
also encourage further efforts by the Council to rapidly deliver
on all aspects of the EU's comprehensive migration policy
during the current Council Presidency."
Public Prosecutor's Office (draft conclusions): Following
the referral by 17 Member States pursuant to Article 86(1), second
subparagraph, TFEU of the draft Regulation on the establishment
of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, the European Council
discussed the draft and noted that the condition set out at the
beginning of Article 86(1), third subparagraph was met, thus
opening the way to the possible establishment of enhanced cooperation
on the basis of that draft."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (23-24.2.17)
European Parliament Study: The European Unions
Policies on Counter-Terrorism Relevance, Coherence and Effectiveness (pdf):
study, commissioned by the European Parliaments Policy
Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at
the request of the LIBE Committee, identifies (counter-) terrorism
trends, threats and policies in the EU, focussing particularly
on seven themes, including database access and interoperability,
measures on border security, criminal justice and prevention
proposes EU rules making migrant deportations easier (EurActiv, link):
said the proposal would only kick in at times of a mass
influx of people to the bloc. This is another element
in efforts to energise readmission of people to wherever they
came from, said one Brussels-based diplomat."
Refugee crisis: France-Germany
Note - mass expulsion to subsistence conditions (Statewatch News Online): The "return of asylum
seekers (without an assessment on the merits) in order to discourage
illegal, smuggler-driven migration" and Germany-France
(20 February, French, pdf)
"we cannot rely on government to protect our freedoms"
Amnesty International has published its annual
report on human rights around the world, noting a "pervasive
weakening of the rule of law and an erosion in the protection
of fundamental rights" across Europe that has often been
led by "anxious establishment parties" borrowing many
of the policies favoured by new and resurgent "populist"
spouse income rules do not breach of human rights Supreme
(Migrants' Rights Network, link):
Supreme Court has ruled today, 22 February, that the Family Migration
Rules do not breach the UKs obligations under the European
Convention on Human Rights, including Article 8 concerning the
right to family and private life.
Court: judgment (pdf) and press
crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.2.17) including: Afghan returns
policy built on false narrative; new Irish asylum procedure must
allow for quality legal advice; and more.
of the European Union targets Greece and Italy's failure to implement
the Schengen acquis and control-return refugee arrivals
E.U.'s Migration Policy Enables Migrant Smuggling (Real News, link): Interview:
Chris Jones says the European Union Border and Coast Guard Agency
is less concerned with human rights and far more preoccupied
with border control, surveillance and the interception of migrants.
crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.2.17)
NGOs Joint Statement:
Asylum down the drain - Intolerable pressure on Tunisia (pdf):
21 February 2017 - Lately, Tunisian authorities have been the
target of intolerable pressure by Germany and Italy. Within a
week, they have been forced to clarify their opposition to the
German as well as to the Italian authorities which were allegedly
planning to send migrants and refugees back to Tunisia. Domestic
security issues appear as a cornerstone in the cooperation framework
imposed to Tunisia albeit being attached to a domain which is
clearly distinct from it: the right of asylum.
Pushing for the disembarkation in Tunisia of people intercepted
by the Italian coast-guards in exchange for support in counter-terrorism
policies, as suggested in an Italian press article, would be
in blatant breach of the EUs as well as Italy's legal obligations.
The latter was actually already condemned by the European Court
of Human Rights in 2012 for pushing back refugees to Libya and
thus for resorting to the exact same practices. In so doing,
Italy would act in pure and unbearable cynicism for the fight
against terrorism is a matter of concern not only to Tunisia,
but also to the European Union."
UK voluntary returns refugee coercion and
NGO complicity (IRIN, link):
investigation finds evidence the Home Office is using outside
NGOs to pressure asylum seekers.
The UK Home
Office is accelerating its drive for illegal migrants
and those refused asylum to return home voluntarily a
tactic publicised as more cost-effective and humane
than forced returns. But how voluntary are these
returns really? And how have NGOs become complicit in this strategy?"
Refugee crisis: France-Germany
Note - mass expulsion to subsistence conditions
of asylum seekers (without an assessment on the merits) in order
to discourage illegal, smuggler-driven migration"
reassert call for asylum for Edward Snowden following appointment
of new CIA chief
demonstration in Barcelona in support of migrants and refugees
crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.2.17): huge pro-refugee protest in Barcelona;
Belgian politicians want to check asylum-seekers' phones; asylum
seekers "in distress" in Ireland; and more.
crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-19.2.17)
Greece: ATIMA: Press
Release: Death of an administratively detained migrant (pdf, link):
tragic occasion of the incident of an Algerian detainee who died
at the Petrou Ralli detention center (Tavros Pre-removal Detention
Center) on 5 February 2017, we would like to note that last October
our organization released the report FORGOTTEN in which we presented
the serious deficiencies of the system for administrative detention
of irregular migrants and asylum seekers in Greece and made specific
recommendations to the competent authorities."
Press release: EU
border agency targeted "isolated or mistreated" individuals
Guidelines produced for border
guards participating in an EU joint operation instruct the targeting
of "migrants from minority ethnic groups, and individuals
who may have been isolated or mistreated during their journey,
as such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences."
Parliament Research Service: Addressing
migration in the European Union (92 pages, 7 MB, pdf): Includes:
and EU policies - The issue of migration, Reform of the Dublin
system, European Union Agency for Asylum, Recast Eurodac Regulation,
Reception of asylum-seekers - recast directive, Common procedure
for asylum, safe countries of origin: Proposed common EU list,
European Border and Coast Guard system and Gender aspects of
migration and asylum in the EU: An overview:
the past two years, the migratory pressure on the European Union's
external borders has led to dealing with migration becoming its
highest priority. After a peak in 2015, the number of irregular
entries into the European Union dropped by more than half in
the second quarter of 2016, compared with the same period in
2015, mainly as a result of the implementation of the EU-Turkey
Statement. However, the number of asylum applications remains
high, with more than 1.2 million asylum applications made in
the EU Member States in 2016. Nonetheless, the EU and its Member
States are adapting to the new reality."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-17-.2.17): Italy woos Libyan mayors;
Tunisia to take intercepted migrants; secret EU report on Libyan
state structures; French-Italian "migrant hunt" on
trains, and more.
anti-terrorism powers passed by European Parliament
Parliament voted on Thursday 15 February to approve the controversial
new Directive on combating terrorism, as well as amendments to
the Schengen Borders Code that will mean all EU citizens now
have to be checked against the Schengen Information System, Interpol's
Lost and Stolen Travel Documents database, and "other relevant
databases" whenever they enter or exit the Schengen area.
hunt" on trains between Italy and France violates the law
and human rights
What is legal
in the push-backs carried out directly on trains by French police?
"Basically nothing," says ASGI lawyer Anna Brambilla,
who has long been following the situation at the French-Italian
border: "The problem is a very complex one, and there are
impossible? Secret EU report makes clear problems in rebuilding
With the EU committed
to halting cross-Mediterranean irregular migration, a recent
classified report produced by the EU's Border Assistance Mission
(EUBAM) Libya makes clear the difficulties that lie ahead in
attempting to establish functioning state institutions in the
country, including those willing to comply with European demands
for "integrated border management".
for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
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 Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
The Statewatch website
In 2016 the Statewatch
website had: 1,007,460 users sessions and 112,089,510 hits
- 96,295 users sessions a month and 1,007,460 "hits"
regular e-mail list for new stories: Join
Statewatch news e-mail list
now holds more than 32,000 records (news, features, analyses
If you use this
site regularly, you are encouraged to make a donation
to support future research.
a non-profitmaking voluntary group founded in 1991, see: About
to News online and bulletin are welcomed, please
get in touch.
website is hosted by the Phone Co-op:
Friends of Statewatch
not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the
views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible
for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link
does not constitute an endorsement.
registered under the Data Protection Act. Information supplied
will be not be passed to third parties. Registered UK charity
number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered
company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust.
Registered office: 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE.
ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair
dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on
our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed
only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the
relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing
Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms
and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.