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    ISSN 1756-851X
    13 October 2015

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

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 stories and documents, 13.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council Presidency Letter to the President of the European Council for the Summit meeting on 15-16 October 2015 (pdf): A summary of the actions taken and future plans: Includes two sets of Conclusions and 1994 Recommendations (EU return Laissez-passer) in which national and European parliaments have no say at all:

"To increase the effectiveness of the EU's return system, Ministers reiterated their willingness to implement all measures, including the use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort. They underlined the need to reinforce pre-removal detention capacities to ensure the physical availability of irregular migrants for return.... an integrated system of return management by building on synergies between all relevant stakeholders [see footnote]....

The Council also highlighted the importance of all EU actors exploiting the full potential of EU diplomacy on the ground and prioritizing readmission in all relevant contacts at political level with countries of origin of irregular migrants, thus helping to identifying potential leverage. On this issue, Commissioner Avramopoulos stressed his strong support for the organization of planned joint return flights to Pakistan by the end of the month...

addressing the future management of the external borders of the European Union. In the current circumstances, further efforts need to be undertaken on hotspots, with a focus on green [land] borders.... Influx of migrants to the European Union will not abate in the short run."

Footnote: New initiatives to try and persuaded, or "bribe", the so-called "more for more principle" if African states agree to the return of refugees:

"Notably the European Integrated Approach on Return towards Third Countries (EURINT), the European Reintegration Instrument Network (ERIN) and the European Return Liaison Officers network (EURLO), as well as Immigration Liaison Officers (ILOs), Frontex Liaison Officers and European Migration Liaison Officers (EMLOs), to be deployed by end of 2015 to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Serbia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey and Jordan." [emphasis added]

Watch The Med Alarm Phone‘s 1 Year Anniversary Statement 12.10.2015 (pdf): "While we are confronted with a lot of despair, we have also been inspired uncountable times by the willingness to overcome the sea and to move on to desired places throughout Europe.They grew stronger, louder and more visible every day in the past months: the incredible social and political struggles of refugees and migrants for the freedom of movement. To overcome the Mediterranean Sea in small overcrowded boats is one of the most dangerous aspects of these migration journeys towards the European Union as safe and legal pathways are closed down and fenced off by its government." Website:

ECRE Comments on the proposal for an EU common list of safe countries of origin (AIDA, link):

"ECRE seriously questions the compatibility of the safe country of origin concept with international refugee law, as it is at odds with the obligation on states under the 1951 Refugee Convention to treat refugees without discrimination based on their country of origin. The use of safe country lists, whether nationally designated or at EU level, further contributes to a practice of stereotyping certain applications on the basis of their nationality and increases the risk of such applications not being subject to a thorough examination of a person’s fear for persecution or risk of serious harm on an individual basis, which is at the core of the refugee definition and crucial to ensuring full respect for the principle of non-refoulement....

In that regard, ECRE is opposed to the adoption of a common EU list of safe countries of origin as proposed by the Commission, as it is part of a worrying development in EU asylum law to increasingly assume a negative outcome of an asylum procedure on the basis of the nationality or profile of the applicant as being manifestly unfounded prior to a proper examination of the application."

and see: ECRE Comments on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin and amending the recast Asylum Procedures Directive (COM(2015) 452) (pdf)

EU: AUSTRIA: Xenophobia on the increase in Austria (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europe is concerned about a rise in racism in Austria. Certain political parties and organisations, as well as media outlets, are cultivating a chauvinistic discourse." and see: European Commission against racism and intolerance (CoE): ECRI report on Austria (pdf)

Spain-Morocco: Two deaths at Spain-Morocco border after marines overturn raft

Two migrants died and 20 others were injured at the Spanish-Moroccan border on Friday 9 October after a raft on which they were travelling was overturned by the Moroccan Royal Marines, according to a report on the website of Spanish radio station Cadena SER. Cadena SER cited eyewitness testimony from people working with the NGO Caminando Fronteras, who said: "The immigrants were travelling in a raft which was intercepted and overturned by the Royal Marines with great violence; they were subsequently beaten."

EU: Fingerprints, facial scans, EU border data slurp too tasty for French to resist - France wants proposed rules applied to EU citizens as well (The Register, link):

"French authorities want fingerprint and facial scans of everyone entering or leaving the EU. The proposal from the French delegation came as the European Commission puts more pressure on interior ministers to adopt its so-called “smart borders” package. The Commission plan is to set up a digital dragnet to monitor all non-EU nationals entering and exiting the EU....

But hot on the heels of their own version of the Patriot Act, France (PDF) wants to “broaden the scope of the smart borders package for all travellers, also including European nationals”.

See: Council of the European Union: French Delegation: Smart borders for all (pdf) and France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs (Statewatch)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories and documents, 12.10.15) and Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 stories and documents, 10-11.10.15)

EU: European Commission: Letter to Hungary: and detailed Annex: Comments and preliminary concerns on recent legislative changes related to the migration crisis (pdf)

"This preliminary assessment reveals a number of concerns and questions on substance and implementation relating inter alia to:

- a possible quasi-systematic dismissal of applications for international protection submitted at the border with Serbia
- a possible lack of sufficient safeguards in the asylum procedure implemented at the border, including as regards the existence of effective remedies to challenge a decision on the admissibility of an asylum application
- the criminal sanctions introduced relating to the crossing of the border and a possible lack of adequate safeguards ensuring respect of the rights of defence and effective remedies in the criminal proceedings
- the closing of border crossing points
- the powers granted to the military forces in border management and questions as to the existence of adequate safeguards and remedies
- a possible general lack of specific procedures or safeguards for children"

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: VALLETTA CONFERENCE: 11-12 November 2015: Council of the European Union: Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)

UN: EU Med Operations: Resolution 2240 (2015), Security Council Authorizes Member States to Intercept Vessels off Libyan Coast Suspected of Migrant Smuggling (Full-text, pdf)

See: U.N. council OKs mission against human trafficking off Libya (Reuters, link):

" The United Nations Security Council on Friday authorized European Union naval operations for one year to seize and dispose of vessels operated by human traffickers in the high seas off Libya. The 15-member council adopted the British-drafted resolution with 14 votes in favor. Venezuela abstained.

The resolution approved the second of three phases of an EU naval mission intended to help stem the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe, which has escalated into a major crisis in recent months. The third phase of the EU mission, which is not covered by the resolution, would involve European operations in Libyan territorial waters and coastal areas."

EU: European Parliament studies: The protection role of the Committee on Petitions in the context of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (pdf): "It considers the petitions received on disability issues and examples of CRPD protection mechanisms implemented at level of the UN, the EU and the Member States. Recommendations are made to assist the EP in deliberating on disability issues in its protection role."

- EU funds for Migration policies: Analysis of Efficiency and best practice for the future (pdf): "This study provides an overview of EU funding and agencies in the field of migration, asylum and integration. It begins with a brief assessment of their effectiveness and efficiency before examining whether the design of management, budgeting and control systems is effective in preventing the misuse of resources. The study illustrates good practices, lessons learnt and recommendations on how to achieve greater transparency in the implementation of future EU funding programmes."

See: also: MED CRISIS: Billion-euro budgets to be distributed to Member States; plus latest news reports (Statewatch database): "The European Commission has announced the approval of 23 more national programmes for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, paving the way for the release of up to €2.4 billion to Member States to "improve migration management, foster cooperation and make Europe safer".

EU: Declaration of the High-level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean - Western Balkans Route (Full-text, pdf):

"Improve and share data collection, tracking of movements of population, joint needs assessments, mapping or analysis of socio-economic impact in order to ensure a more targeted and effective response and anticipate trends, while respecting privacy of personal data and legal safeguards...

Enhance capacity to manage borders and to ensure prompt registration of all refugees and migrants and effective, rapid and quality processing of asylum applications, in full respect of human rights and in line with international standards. Support swift return to their countries of origin of persons not entitled to international protection, in full respect of the principle of non-refoulement....

Enhance police and judicial cooperation, including intelligence-gathering, sharing and analysing, as well as capacity building of law enforcement and judicial authorities, with a specific focus on the conduct of financial investigations...."

EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf): "achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration... See: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: Final Press release: 8-9 October 2015 (pdf) including:

The future management of the EU external borders
The future of the return policy
Visa policy

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25 stories and documents, 9.10.15)

France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs

France has proposed extending the EU's proposed "smart borders" systems from non-EU nationals to all EU nationals and residents as well, a move which would require fingerprinting, face scans, systematic database searches and entry and exit logging for everyone entering the EU. The smart borders proposals are one of many items on the agenda of the JHA Council meeting yesterday (8 October).

EU-USA "UMBRELLA" DATA PROTECTION AGREEMENT: European Parliament Study: A comparison between US and EU data protection legislation for law enforcement purposes (pdf)

"The proposed Judicial Redress Act will not solve the structural imbalance between the protection of US and non-US persons. The Draft Act has a limited scope, referring only to “covered records”.... Therefore, the Judicial Redress Act does not necessarily guarantee equal rights to EU and US persons....

A further indispensable point concerns the still ongoing collection of foreign intelligence in the framework of Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Act and Executive Order 12333. The FREEDOM Act did not bring about any major changes regarding these instruments with regards to the protection of EU citizens. A future instrument regulating data exchange should address these two issues, as serious questions on their compatibility with EU fundamental rights arise (see recent opinion of Advocate General Bot in the Schrems case)."

This is the first study carried out by the EP: The US legal system on data protection in the field of law enforcement. Safeguards, rights and remedies for EU citizens (pdf)

And see: European Ruling is Merely a Symbolic Victory for Privacy (NYT Editorial, link): "The Court of Justice is right to question whether the personal information of Europeans is being protected adequately in the United States. But mass surveillance by European governments is just as intrusive of privacy, and requiring data storage in Europe offers little comfort." Also Commission advice on Transfers Abroad: Currently there are other ways of tranferring data to a third states - by-passing the adequacy rule (link), though these may not hold when the judgments of the CJEU are taken into account.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 8.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: "B" Points agenda (for discussion, including some non-legislative items), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points -non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and see: Background Note (9 pages, pdf)

Agreed: Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf)

See: Director of IOM: Swing Asks EU to Respect Rights of Vulnerable Migrants Arriving on its Shores (to be delivered later today at a high level EU conference in Luxembourg on refugees and migration flows through the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans, link)

and Migrant crisis: EU considers faster deportations (BBC News, link) also: EU to step up deportation of economic migrants (euractiv, link): "European Union governments are set to agree today (8 October) to accelerate the repatriation of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum, as they try to cope with a surge in refugees from war-torn Syria. Diplomats say interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg should agree, among other things, to back the detention of those who may abscond before expulsion and exert more pressure on African and other poor states, including via aid budgets, to make them accept the return of citizens refused entry to Europe."

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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