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    ISSN 1756-851X
    25 November 2015

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See Statewatch Observatory: EU refugee crisis - a humanitarian emergency: For daily news and document updates

Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU  21 October - 24 November 2015 (pdf) New key documents and decision-making by the Council of the European Union, European Commission and Agencies plus Commentaries - 86 entries

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22 news stories and documents: 24.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Council calls for Summit with Turkey on migration: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the EU heads of state or government for a meeting with Turkey (pdf): "I have now decided to call a meeting of the Heads of State or government of the EU with Turkey this coming Sunday (29 November). The meeting will mark an important step in developing our relations and contribute to managing the migration crisis."

EU-Turkey meeting on refugees likely as pressure builds on Greek border (, link): "Amid reports of a possible meeting soon between the European Union and Turkey on the refugee crisis, the pressure continued to mount on Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where hundreds of migrants are stuck demanding passage."

UK: Mayor on track to roll-out police body cameras across the Met (College of Policing, link): "The Mayor of London and Commissioner of the Metropolitan police today confirmed that plans to introduce police body worn video to all frontline police officers are moving ahead, as a new report finds strong public support for the cameras. "A three year contract to provide 22,000 body worn video devices across the Met has now been awarded, with the first deliveries due early next year. The move follows the world’s largest trial of the cameras, across ten London boroughs over 12 months. In a new report by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime and the College of Policing, the use of the cameras has been welcomed by Londoners and found to reduce some types of complaints and allegations against police officers."

Full report: Police, Camera, Evidence: London’s cluster randomised controlled trial of Body Worn Video (pdf) And see: Bouncers and council officials with body cams 'posing privacy risk' (Wired, link) and Cameras worn by Met's armed police are 'blocked whenever they aim their guns' (Evening Standard, link)

EU: Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): Crisis management missions outside EU looking for new migration roles: Germany/Netherlands: DE/NL Food for Thought-Paper Tapping the full potential of CSDP in the field of migration (13 November 2015, pdf): "it must be clear that CSDP missions are a crises management instrument... CSDP Missions have encompassed a variety of approaches and tools for crisis management and stabilization. They range from the training of security forces and the support for the rule of law, to the provision of a military or civilian presence to safeguard elections or to monitor border arrangements and ceasefire agreements, to the fight against piracy or other forms of organised crime.... we should explore whether a horizontal CSDP mission specifically for migration issues, with its HQ in the EU itself, could serve to rapidly deploy expertise to third countries to assist in analyzing and addressing specific issues that affect migration flows into the EU."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14 news stories and documents: 23.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Greek Crewman Accused of Sinking Syrian Refugee Boat (Sputnik: Video, link): "Refugees with kids fleeing from Syria have been caught on the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe by Greek coastguard crewmen who reportedly tried to pierce their rubber boat... An "armed masked man" whose identity remains unidentified is seen multiple times disabling vessels with refugees and towing them back to Turkey... The Greek coastguard left the scene just after the boat started to sink, so it was left to the Turkish boat to take drowning refugees on board and take them back to the Turkish city of Didim".

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 news stories and documents: 21-22.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] [First reading] - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 13974-15, 71 pages, pdf) And See: European Parliament: Deal on new rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU (pdf):

Refugee Crisis: Balkans border blocks leave thousands segregated and stranded in Greece (AI, link):

"During the night of 18 November, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia all changed their border management practices suddenly, without prior notice, and more or less simultaneously.

Macedonia was the first to act, by refusing to admit anyone unless they have papers to prove they originate from Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. This meant that hundreds of people were stranded, either because they are from other countries, including Iran, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan, or because they do not have identity papers. Greek border police in the village of Idomeni continue to prevent nationals of countries other than Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria from leaving on the basis that Macedonia would not let them in.

"These governments appear to have acted without thinking through the consequences for thousands of people who are now stranded in grossly inadequate conditions with nowhere to go and precious little humanitarian assistance. With thousands more people on the way, action is urgently needed to reverse this worsening disaster" John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents: 20.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Conclusions of the Council and Member States on counter-terrorism (pdf) and Conclusions of the Council of the European Union and of the Member States meeting within the Council on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism (pdf):

- Draft Conclusions of the Council of the European Union and of the Member States meeting within the Council on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism (14350-15, pdf)

- Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (14375-15, pdf)

Agenda main: B-points (pdf) and A points (adopted without discussion, pdf. Both in French

EU: Migrant journeys: respecting the dead (IRR, link): An interview with Catriona Jarvis, former judge of the United Kingdom Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), and now a writer/ activist on human rights initiatives.

"Where states fail to take all reasonable steps to safeguard and identify the dead so as to enable surviving family to recover, lay to rest and mourn their loved ones, potential breaches of the right to dignity and to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment arise, as well as failure to respect the right to family life and to physical and moral integrity of those left behind...

across Europe, and indeed globally, there is an urgent need for a new visa regime to allow not only humanitarian visas for those fleeing serious harm, but also visas to permit lawful movement of bereaved family members and procedures for repatriation of bodies in such situations."

See also: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis: A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and documents: 19.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Statewatch: Briefing: Counter-terrorism: what the EU is discussing after the Paris attacks

A recent note distributed to a whole host of national officials provides more details on the security measures interior ministers will discuss at the emergency EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on Friday: border control, surveillance, firearms control and countering terrorist financing.

Full briefing: Counter-terrorism: what the EU is discussing after the Paris attacks (pdf)

The note (dated 16 November) was written by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and Gilles de Kerchove, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, and raises a number of issues for discussion on what further counter-terrorism measures to pursue following the attacks in Paris on Friday.

The document: Follow-up to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris (LIMITE, 14122/15, 16 November 2015, pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14298-15, pdf): includes:

"implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement,...

in the context of the current migratory crisis, carry out a systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of all migrants entering into the Schengen area and perform systematic security checks by using relevant databases in particular SIS II, Interpol SLTD database, VIS and national police databases, with the support of Frontex and Europol, and ensure that hotspots are equipped with the relevant technology. Europol will deploy guest officers to the hotspots in support of the screening process, in particular by reinforcing secondary security controls,...

provide, in its proposal to update the Frontex Regulation, a solid legal basis for the contribution of Frontex to the fight against terrorism and organised crime and access to the relevant databases.... Frontex will: contribute to the fight against terrorism and support the coordinated implementation of the Common Risk Indicators (CRIs) before the end of 2015, – assist the Member States to tighten controls of external borders to detect suspicious travels of foreign terrorist fighters and smuggling of firearms, in cooperation with Europol, – work closely with Europol and Eurojust, in particular in the context of the hotspots..."

and see: EU travellers to face stricter checks under French border plan (Guardian, link)

French government Proposals on Counter Terrorism for the extraordinary JHA Council on 20 November (pdf) See above

Refugee crisis: Serbia, FYROM limit migrant passage to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghan (, link):

"Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have begun limiting the passage of migrants across their borders to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, turning back Africans and Asians, the United Nations said on Thursday. A senior police source in FYROM, who declined to be named, said Skopje had acted after European Union member Slovenia, further along the migrant path, had told countries in the region that it would start doing the same. “They will turn back all others on the basis they are economic migrants,” the official said." I and:

Balkan countries implement tighter border restrictions (DW, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says three Balkan countries have shut their borders for migrants from states that are not directly engulfed in wars. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through the Balkan route to reach Germany. ... The UNHCR says Macedonia has begun allowing only people from these three countries to cross its southern border from Greece, while Greek authorities say migrants of other nationalities are gathering on the Greek side of the border and blocking the crossing completely. Aleksandra Kraus, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Macedonia, said Thursday that Macedonian authorities had begun allowing only people from warzones to enter the country because Serbian authorities had imposed the same criteria on those attempting to cross the Macedonian-Serbian border.""

EU: Lack of EU data retention law "a matter of concern" for Member States

The issue of a "common legal framework" for telecoms data retention is resurfacing at EU level in discussions on the "effective collection, sharing and admissibility of e-evidence" and "the needs of effective criminal justice in the digital age."

On 4 November the Presidency of the Council of the EU (currently held by Luxembourg) sent a note on "collecting e-evidence in the digital age - the way forward" to national officials involved in the Council's CATS Committee, in order to prepare for an early December debate amongst national justice ministers that will "provide political guidance on the way forward."

EU: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis:

A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.

This article takes up the crucial issue of what happens to those who have died in the Mediterranean? Are their deaths recorded and the next of kin informed? What systems are in place to ensure relatives, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons know what happen to their relatives and where they are? This harrowing account traces what does, and does not happen. And asks the question, why is there no EU-wide procedure in place to ensure that the dead do not just disappear into unknown graves?

EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the Council and the European Parliament on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (pdf):

"Inclusion of intra-EU flights: 10. Article 1a of the Council general approach allows Member States to request PNR data from intra-EU flights. The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters has reinforced the operational need of such (possible) inclusion since the general approach on the PNR Directive was reached in April 2012. Rapporteur KIRKHOPE has, however, not been able to persuade a majority of the LIBE MEPs of the necessity of such extension.

11. Following discussions with Member States at expert level, the Presidency has indicated to the rapporteur that it is not in a position to propose a compromise on this crucial item....

Data Retention: The negotiations have shown that an initial storage period of 30 days is generally considered much too short from an operational point of view. Article 9 has been redrafted .... Taking into consideration the operational needs the initial retention period is set at two years... initial storage period during which the PNR data are not masked out could be reduced to 12 months..."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and documents: 18.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

European Commission; The European Commission today adopted a package of measures to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the European Union (Press release, pdf) and Commission Proposals to strengthen control of firearms: Questions & Answers (pdf). and see: Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possesion of weapons (link)

Also: Remarks of Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Press Conference on the Preparation of the 20 November Justice and Home Affairs Council and the Firearms Package (pdf):

"We are planning a revision of SIS to facilitate the implementation of travel bans.... We will also have a proposal for a Directive modifying the existing EU framework on Terrorism by the end of November already. This will harmonise criminalisation of offences linked to terrorist travel, passive training, financing and facilitation of such travel to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters...".

EU plans tough new anti-terrorism laws (DW, link): "Brussels is to widen the number of actions punishable under anti-terrorism legislation in response to the Paris attacks. New laws will make it harder for individuals to access firearms. "

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Surveillance by intelligence services: fundamental rights safeguards and remedies in the EU Mapping Member States’ legal frameworks (pdf):

"This report – which constitutes the first part of FRA’s response to this request – aims to support the adoption and meaningful implementation of oversight mechanisms in the EU and its Member States. It does so by analysing the legal frameworks on surveillance in place in EU Member States, focusing on so-called ‘mass surveillance’, which carries a particularly high potential for abuse."

European Parliament study: Practices and approaches in EU Member States to prevent and end statelessness (pdf):

"The aim of the present study is to describe the practices and approaches in all EU Member States concerning the prevention and eradication of statelessness. For that purpose the study analyses the relevant international and European standards (Chapter 2) and assesses the national practices in light of these standards (Chapter 3). Since the prevention and eradication of statelessness depends on proper mechanisms to identify stateless populations, the subject of procedures for determining statelessness is addressed. We also investigate whether installing such a procedure creates a ‘pull factor’ (Chapter 4). The study ends with a detailed analysis of the possible role of the European Union in preventing and reducing statelessness (Chapter 5)." The findings include:

  • "several Member States violate international and European standards regarding protection against statelessness";
  • "the standards of protection against statelessness differ considerably between the Member States"; and
  • "Dedicated procedures for determining statelessness are lacking in most EU Member States, apart from France, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Hungary, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Belgium".

And see: European Network on Statelessness (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30 news stories and documents: 17.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (17.11.15, link)

- Relocation offers by Member States (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000).168 people have been "relocated". There have been no more offers of relocation in the past week.
- Returns: since September (pdf) Joint Frontex Return flights: 569 people have been returned, plus 153 from Italy, none from Greece.
- "Hotspots: staffing in Greece and Italy (pdf)
- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf)
- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents: 16.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU-USA: Speech by Commissioner Jourová: The future of U.S.-EU data transfer arrangements at the Brookings Institution (pdf)

"One of the essential elements of our agreement is therefore the Judicial Redress Bill that has recently been voted by the House. The Judicial Redress Bill would extend the rights US citizens and residents enjoy under the 1974 Privacy Act also to Europeans."

And see: Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing (USA):""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."

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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