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    ISSN 1756-851X
    21 April 2015
 

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EU: "FORTRESS EUROPE" RE-BORN: SEARCH & RESCUE CRISIS IN MED: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which do not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" but which includes:

- "A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers" which would require a "civil-military" operation to be authorised by the Council
- "Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants"
- "Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States"
and "Consider options for an emergency relocation"

See: Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU sets out measures (BBC News, link)

Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean: What can the EU do? (EU Law Analysis, link): "There is a moral imperative for the EU to act swiftly and effectively to address the issue." and also Watch the Med (link): "Watch the Mediterranean Sea is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants' rights at the maritime borders of the EU"

EU: Response to deaths in the Mediterranean (19.4.15): Press release (pdf): "the Foreign Affairs Council that will meet tomorrow in Luxembourg, will [discuss] the next steps the EU is going to take to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in an effective and truly European way."

France debates proposed surveillance laws amidst civil society opposition

A new bill on intelligence gathering, debated this week in the French Parliament has been criticised over its ambiguity, allowing for increased surveillance by the State. Motivated by the protection of national security, as well as territorial integrity, the bill is drafted for the additional purpose of counter-terrorism, counter organised crime and in the interests of foreign policy including within the European Union. If passed, the bill would strengthen the monitoring techniques of intelligence services as well as the methods and technology currently used in surveillance.

EU: Search and rescue: The Observer view on the human tragedy in the Mediterranean (link) Editorial: "Europe can’t afford to sit back and do nothing when thousands of migrants are dying every week in search of a new life in Italy and Greece... The fundamental causes of this crisis will take years to address. An urgent first step is to reinstitute EU-underwritten search and rescue operations" and see: Trivialising migrant deaths: why words matter (EU Law Analysis, link): "The escalating tragedy of thousands of migrants’ lives being lost every year during attempted Mediterranean crossings is one of the most difficult issues facing the EU’s immigration policy."

EU response: European Commission: European Commission Statement on developments in the Mediterranean (19-4-15,pdf): "as long as countries of origin and transit do not take action to prevent these desperate trips, people will continue to put their lives at risk" [emphasis added]

And see: Statement of High Representative on capsizing of a migrants' boat in the Mediterranean Sea (19-4-15, pdf): "Every single day, we have the duty to save human lives, sharing among all the 28 this duty and a responsibility that for too long has been left only to the southern countries.... I've decided to put the issue of migration as a formal point on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council I convened tomorrow in Luxembourg, where I'll present a set of proposals for Libya, one of the main routes of illegal trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"Migrants are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty which require long-term solutions. The underlying causes are wars and conflicts, persecution by oppressive and authoritarian regimes or "broken" states, poverty stemming from global inequality and exploitation and the long-term implications of climate change. And the political will to meaningfully address these issues is manifestly absent.

The response to the immediate and continuing tragedies should be obvious. The EU needs to launch an unequivocal and permanent search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean matched by a commitment by all EU governments to share responsibility for migrants' welfare."

And: UNHCR - New Mediterranean boat tragedy may be biggest ever, urgent action is needed now (link)

EU: European Commission says the plans for accession by the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights needs to be changed: Presidency: To: Working Party on fundamental rights, citizens' rights and free movement of persons: On: 21 April 2015: Subject: Technical written contribution from the Commission services - Co-respondent mechanism - Prior involvement of the CJEU (LIMITE doc no DS 1216-15, pdf):

"Article 3 (6) of the draft Accession Agreement should be amended in such a way as to provide for an unlimited right of the EU as a co-respondent to initiate the prior involvement procedure (on the basis of its own interpretation of the case of the Court of Justice)

- paragraph 66 of the Explanatory Report should be amended in order to clarify that the prior involvement procedure also covers the interpretation (and not only the validity) of secondary law."

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposals from Eurojust: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7445-15, pdf) including the involvement of Eurojust at the investigative stage.prior to arrest and charges.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Biometric data and data protection law: the CJEU loses the plot (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Universityof Essex: "I won’t mince words: this judgment is appalling. It’s sensible enough as regards the scope of the passports Regulation itself, which clearly wasn’t intended to apply to any national identity cards or to the creation of government databases using biometric data. But the Court’s fundamental flaw is its failure to confirm and elaborate upon the application of the Charter and the data protection Directive to such databases."

EU: Rights groups: EU leaders don’t care about drowning immigrants (euractiv, link): "Rights groups lashed out at the EU on Wednesday for scrapping rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying it had endangered the lives of thousands of desperate migrants making perilous journeys across the sea."

And see: CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mediterranean migrant tragedy: PACE rapporteur calls for a co-ordinated European response (link): "“The humanitarian plight of these people has become unbearable,” said the rapporteur. “The human rights of refugees, on the one hand, as well as the fight against unscrupulous traffickers, on the other, should be addressed at a European level as a matter of priority.”

See: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the situation in the Mediterranean at the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament Brussels, 14 April 2015 (pdf): Makes no mention or commitment to search and rescue.

IRELAND: Supreme Court alters rule for criminal trial evidence - Bar on use of evidence obtained in breach of a constitutional right has now been removed (Irish Times, link):

"A hugely significant majority Supreme Court decision today has introduced a new rule concerning the admissibility of evidence in criminal trials.... By a four to three majority, the court granted an appeal by the DPP to alter a rule which had applied since the 1990 Supreme Court ‘DPP v Kenny’ decision.

That rule effectively excluded all evidence obtained in circumstances where there was a breach of a constitutional right, whether or not that breach was deliberate or due to a mistake. The majority court decision introduces a new test which provides that evidence taken in “deliberate and conscious” violation of constitutional rights should be excluded except in certain exceptional circumstances."

See: Supreme Court Judgment (pdf), Dissenting view (pdf), Judgment of Mr. Justice Clarke delivered the 15th April, 2015 (pdf) and Information Note (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Data Protection Regulation, DP Directive (LEAs) & Connected Continent (Updated)

RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: CHAP III: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter VII (LIMITE doc no 7722-15, pdf) Council developing its negotiating position with 90 Member State positions/footnotes)

LEAs PERSONAL DATA EXCHANGE: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data - Chapters I and II (LIMITE doc no 7740-15, pdf) Council developing its negotiating position with 184 Member State positions/footnotes) significant points: Chapter I: General provisions and Chapter II Principles. See Statewatch: EU: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies

CONNECTED CONTINENT: UPDATED for TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Preparation for the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7741-rev-1-15, 308 pages, pdf) ""The second informal trilogue will take place on 21 April 2015." Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"

EU: ACCOUNTABILITY of SIGNAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES: CoE: Venice Commission: Update of the 2007 Report on the democratic oversight of the Security Services and Report on the democratic oversight of Signals Intelligence Agencies (pdf): Adopted by the Venice Commission at its 102nd Plenary Session (Venice, 20-21 March 2015).

See Executive Summary (EASFJ, link) and see Venice Commission: 2007 Report (pdf)

Lampedusa: why are so many migrants dying at sea? (Channel 4 News, link): "The UNHCR says that at least 500 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2015 - 30 times higher than in the same period last year. Channel 4 News asks if European policy is to blame."

See: EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes: "effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."

And: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, link)

"British policy was quietly spelled out in a recent House of Lords written answer by the new Foreign Office minister, Lady Anelay: “We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean,” she said, adding that the government believed there was “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths”. [emphasis added]

EU: European Parliament: International Trade Committee: TTIP: MEPs differ on safeguards for data, services, environment and investment Press release, (pdf): "Eight hundred and ninety-eight amendments to a draft resolution on progress in talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were debated by the International Trade Committee on Monday."

And see: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (pdf) Rapporteur: Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP.

Statewatch: News Online, 13 April 2015 (07/15) (pdf): 24 pages: News, Analyses and extensive Documentation EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA surveillance News in Brief Using the Statewatch website and Search our database (over 31,000 entries added since 1991) for more articles or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.

EU: Council of the European Union: NIS trilogue: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security: Preparation for the informal trilogue (LIMITE 6905-15, pdf) Council presentation of multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and "Compromise" text.

EU: Council of the European Union: Intelligence exchange: Proposals from Europol: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no 7272-25, pdf): lots of figures including:

"Use of Europol's secure information and intelligence platform (SIENA):

- Only 14 Member States have connected a counter terrorism unit/authority to SIENA.

- In 2014, terrorism crime related information and intelligence exchange accounted for 4% of the overall volume of messages exchanged (605.000) between EU Member States, Europol and third parties through SIENA. This ratio has been at comparable levels since 2010.

- This figure showed a significant increase to 8% in January 2015 but by the end of February 2015 had already returned to the average level of 4%." [emphasis in original]

UK JOINS SIS II: "Today the UK authorities took the necessary steps to integrate into the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS), the largest tool supporting law enforcement cooperation in Europe" (LISA) See: Press Release (pdf) and Council Implementing Decision (pdf) The UK is joining the police and judicial cooperation aspects of SIS II not aspects related to immigration and asylum:

"Article 3: As from 1 March 2015, SIS alerts defined in Chapters V (alerts in respect of persons wanted for arrest for surrender or extradition purposes), VI (alerts on missing persons), VII (alerts on persons sought to assist with a judicial procedure), VIII (alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks or specific checks) and IX (alerts on objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings)"

SPAIN : Watch world's first hologram march as thousands protest against 'gag law' - without being there (Mirror, link):

"Thousands of people have staged a protest over new laws which they claim will impede their human rights - but nobody was there. The world's first hologram march has been in staged in Spain in anger over new laws which will see heavy fines handed to public protestors.

The Spanish government has passed the controversial Citizen Safety Law that can see those protesting outside government buildings receive hefty fines. To get round the new laws - set to come into effect in July - demonstrators organised the virtual protest which saw ghost-like figures armed with placards marching past the Spanish Parliament in Madrid."

EU: Meijers Committee: Gaps and inconsistencies in legal protection in EU criminal law: "The current body of EU criminal law offers inconsistent and incomplete legal protection to European citizens. Shortcomings are found in the procedural safeguards in instruments of mutual recognition, the proposal on a European Public Prosecutor’s Office and the criteria used to decide on criminalization of conduct at the EU level. In light of an expert meeting held at the European Parliament in January 2015, the Meijers Committee publishes three short notes on gaps and inconsistencies in the legal protection offered by EU criminal law. This third note concerns the use of criteria to determine whether material prohibitions are appropriate at the EU level and the role of the European Parliament therein."

Inconsistencies in applied grounds for adopting Union-wide criminal prohibitions (pdf)
Inconsistent legal protection in mutual recognition instruments (pdf)
Legal Protection and the future European Public Prosecutor’s Office (pdf) See story below

EU: Fundamental Rights and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office: an uncomfortable silence (EU Law Analysis, link): "So far, political negotiations over the draft regulation have focused on the question why the EU is in in need of this new supranational body in the first place, and on the extent of the EU’s influence on national affairs, particularly in such a sensitive area as criminal justice.

Supposing that in the near future the European Public Prosecutor’s Office will indeed be established, more attention to the substance of the current proposal needs to be paid without delay, particularly to the protection of fundamental rights. The current proposal raises serious concerns on this matter, as it is unclear who will supervise the actions of the EPPO and how this may be done effectively."

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation - latest documents: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation):

GENERAL PROVISIONS & GENERAL PROVISIONS: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 7700-15, pdf) With 38 Member State positions or Footnotes.

RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 7651-15, pdf) With 150 Member State positions on Footnotes. Includes: "However, if requests are manifestly unfounded such as when the data subject repetitiously requests information or where the data subject abuses its right to receive information for example by providing false or misleading information when making the request, the controller could refuse to act on the request." [emphasis added]

Chapters III and VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7526-15, pdf) includes "Profiling" (pp 6-7)and 15 Member State positions or Footnotes.

PRINCIPLES, INDEPENDENT SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES and CO-OPERATION AND CONSISTENCY: Chapters II, VI and VII (Doc no 7466-15, pdf) With 147 Member State positions or Footnotes

Note: Spanish delegation on Chapters III & VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7586-ADD-1-15, pdf)


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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