Statewatch Observatory
Archive 2005: EU asylum and immigration policy


EU: Austrian Presidency draft Agendas for the three Justice and Home Affairs Ministers' Councils (see pages 22-28. pdf). Austrian and Finnish Presidencies of the Council of the European Union:Programme for 2006 (see pages 40-45, pdf) - this includes the heading "Strengthening freedom" which is all about asylum, refugees and border controls, whose "freedom" it might be asked.

EU Summit Conclusions, December 2005 include: Global approach to migration: Priority actions focussing on Africa and the Mediterranean (pdf)

EU-USA: Rendition and removing refugees raise the same issue: Censored document reveals increased transit facilities for the USA to use EU airports to move people around the world

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Whether these US transit flights are for "criminals", "inadmissible aliens" or for rendition the same questions arise. Do EU governments know how many times their airports have been used for "transit" by US government flights? Which airports are used? How many people have been moved in this way? How many "criminals" and how many "inadmissible aliens"? If they do then why are the facts and figures not available? And if they do not know, why not?

If EU governments do not know who is being moved and where by foreign agencies using their airports then they are grossly irresponsible. To "aid and abet" the movement of people in an inhuman or degrading way or to be tortured is a crime."

EU: Opinion of the Meijers Committee on the recently adopted asylum procedure directive (pdf) This has been sent to the members of the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) in the European Parliament, requesting them to start a 230 annulment procedure. Aslyum Procedures Directive (OJ, pdf)

UK: House of Lords - the Lords of Appeal unanimously reject the use of evidence obtained through the use of torture. Full text of Torture judgment (pdf)

European Commission: "Recommendation" and "Code of Conduct" for non-profit organisations. In another response to the "war on terrorism" the proposal calls for the compulsory registration of all non-profit groups in the EU: European Commission proposal calls for the compulsory registration of NGOs The proposal is being considered by the Council's (25 EU governments) "Joint meeting of Financial Attaches and Counter-Terrorism Focal Points", its first thoughts are in: EU doc no: 14694/05

EU: European Commission proposals on: 1) Priority actions for responding to the challenges of migration: First follow-up to Hampton Court (pdf) and 2) Green Paper: On the future of the European Migration Network (pdf)

JHA Press release for 1 December 2005 (pdf)

Adopted as "A" Points at the Justice and Home Affairs Council 1 December 2005: the controversial Directive on asylum procedures (pdf) plus additional document: 14579/05 This includes the proposal to designate countries as "safe" to send people back to, see: EU divided over list of “safe countries of origin” – Statewatch calls for the list to be scrapped

EU: Visa Information System (VIS):

a. "Roll-out" plan for priority countries (pdf)
b.
European Commission Communication on access to VIS (pdf)

It should be noted that the "collison" of chips (ie: the EU visa chip with national passport chips) has yet to be resolved, see:
EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable and EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS and Statewatch analysis on linkage between SIS II and VIS

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1-2 December:

1. The European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism"
2.
The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf)
3.
A Strategy for the External Dimension of JHA : Global Freedom, Security and Justice global strategy (pdf)

EU: Biometric EU ID Cards to be introduced "by the back door" (EU doc no: 14351/05). The UK Council Presidency set up an "ad-hoc group of experts" which has drawn up a set of "Conclusions" to be adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1-2 December. "Conclusions" are "soft-law", non-binding, and not subject to any national or European parliamentary scrutiny. Thus working on an "intergovernmental basis" it will be agreed that face and fingerprint biometric will be taken and incorporated in a radio frequency chip, and that the standards agreed for EU passports will "apply without modification". "Minimum standards" say that applicants have to "appear in person" and their identity verified against "existing databases". Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This is no way to bring in such a far-reaching policy, one which will affect millions of people. It is particularly objectionable that the Council are using a '"proper" EC committee to draw up the text of these Conclusions, without being accountable under the normal rules for these committees and exceeding the committee's powers as set out in legislation. This method of decision-making (soft-law) is becoming all to common, it was also used to develop the technical requirements (scope and function) for VIS and SIS II. By-passing national and European parliamentary scrutiny, let alone civil society, has no place in a democracy"

EU: Draft Council Conclusions on Migration and External Relations (pdf)

UK: Statement from the families of the men who have been detained pending deportation to countries where they are certain to be tortured and even killed and Letter from the families to Tony Blair, the Prime Minister

Ireland: Immigration-related detention in Ireland A research report for the Irish Refugee Council Irish Penal Reform Trust and Immigrant Council of Ireland (link)

"Essays on civil liberties and democracy in Europe": A collection of sixteen Essays were specially written for the launch of the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) on 19 October. They include:

“The Rules of the Game”? A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations
The “War on Terror”: lessons from Ireland Paddy Hillyard, Professor of Sociology, Queens University, Belfast
Why Terror and Tolerance are the Greatest Test of Modern Journalism Aidan White, Secretary-General European Federation of Journalists
Lex Vigilatoria – Towards a control system without a state? Thomas Mathiesen, Professor of the Sociology of Law, Oslo University, Norway
Checking and balancing polity-building in the European Union Deirdre Curtin, Professor of European and International Governance, Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht, Netherlands
Lampedusa - a test case for the subcontracting of EU border controls Lorenzo Trucco, President of A.S.G.I. (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione)

Amnesty International press release: Spain/Morocco: The authorities must be held accountable for the violation of migrants' rights (link)

European Commission: Fighting trafficking in human beings - an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan (pdf)

European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) to be launched on Wednesday, 19 October 2005:

"We are living at a moment in history when civil liberties and democracy are under attack as never before and the need for a collective response to counter these threats has never been greater.

We share common objectives of seeking to create a European society based on freedom and equality, of fundamental civil liberties and personal and political freedoms, of free movement and freedom of information, and equal rights for minorities. This entails defending, extending and deepening the democratic culture - a concept not limited to political parties and elections but embracing wider values of pluralism, diversity and tolerance. And we share too a common opposition to racism, fascism, sexism and homophobia.

The defence of civil liberties and democracy also requires that positive demands are placed on the agenda. For example, respect and rights for all people, cultures and their histories, for the presumption of innocence and freedom from surveillance and the freedom to protest and demonstrate.

To these ends the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) has been established."

Press launch in Brussels and Workshop for NGO's and researchers (pdf)
ECLN website and Noticeboard (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12 October 2005, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf) Background Note (pdf) Main "B" Point agenda (pdf) "A" Point agenda (adopted without any discussion)

Italy: A diary of life in Lampedusa

Update: Morocco/Spain: Six migrants die in Melilla: On 6 October 2005, the Moroccan interior ministry announced six more sub-Saharan migrants died in a mass attempt to climb the border fence in Melilla and to enter Spain, adding that some had died of bullet wounds while others had been crushed by fellow migrants. The Moroccan interior minister said that "due to the unusual strength of the immigrants, who were possessed by the strength of their despair, the [Moroccan] police legitimately defended its surveillance posts in front of the fence and six illegal immigrants have died". Ceuta, the other Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, had been the scene of a similar incident in which five migrants died, some of them shot, on 28 September 2005 (El País, 6.10.2005). Previous Statewatch coverage: Spain/Morocco: Migrants shot dead at the border fence, Spain deploys army

Morocco/Spain: MSF reveals violence suffered by "illegal sub-Saharan immigrants" at the hands of police forces and gangs

EU: The UK presidency has drawn up draft Council conclusions on regional protection, in response to the Commission communication. Commission Communication on: regional protection programmes (COM (2005) 388, 1.9.05, pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: "Killing me softly? “Improving access to durable solutions”: doublespeak and the dismantling of refugee protection in the EU" (2004)

Spain/France/Italy: Joint expulsion flight to Romania

EU: EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS (Visa Information System)

UK: Report on the unannounced inspections of four short-term non-residential holding facilities: Gatwick Airport, North Terminal, Gatwick Airport, South Terminal, London City Airport, Dover Asylum Screening Centre, November 2004 – January 2005, by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (pdf)

SIS-Denmark: Following a request from the Danish Data Protection Agency the National Commissioner of Police was asked to review the 443 Article 96 "alerts" (aliens to be denied entry to the Schengen area) placed on the Schengen Information System (SIS) by Denmark. It was found that "the reporting had been erroneous in 25 cases" (5.6%) as well as various other errors (a total of 68 are set out, 15%) including failure to update the data. Letter from Danish DPA (pdf). The number of people entered by Denmark is tiny compared to those entered on the SIS by Italy (335,306) and Germany (267,884) and similarly levels of errors and failures could affect tens of thousands of people - the results of the review being conducted by the Joint Supervisory Authority of Schengen should reveal the full picture. See also EU-SIS: Three-quarters of a million "illegal aliens" banned from Schengen area

Spain: Supreme Court upholds complaint against immigrant detention centre regulation

EU: European Commission releases proposals on migration, integration, asylum and expulsion: 1. Communication on migration and development (COM (2005) 390, 1.9.05, pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: "Migration, development and the EU security agenda" (2003); 2. Communication on a common agenda for integration (COM (2005) 389, 1.9.05, pdf). See also EUobserver.com: Commission suggests EU loyalty oath for immigrants (2.9.05, link); 3. Communication on regional protection programmes (COM (2005) 388, 1.9.05, pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: "Killing me softly? “Improving access to durable solutions”: doublespeak and the dismantling of refugee protection in the EU" (2004); 4. Draft Directive on expulsion (COM (2005) 391, 1.9.05, pdf). See also NGO paper on expulsion: "common principles on removal" (September 2005, pdf); 5. Commission Press conference: Franco Frattini on “migration and asylum package” (Brussels, 1.9.05)

Special: EU: Schengen III Treaty signed in Prum, Germany on 27 May 2005. The participating states are: Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium. The Treaty includes:

- automated access by law enforcement agencies to DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration
- public order and protests
- armed "sky marshals" on flights
- joint deportation flights

Schengen III Treaty (English, pdf)
Schengen III Treaty (Spanish, pdf)
Schengen III Treaty (French, pdf)
Schengen III Treaty (German, pdf)
plus in German:
Annex 1, Annex 2 and Statements

Commentary:
Some remarks on Schengen III

EU: Communique from the French Ministry of the Interior on the deportation of 40 people to Kabul 25 from France and 15 from Britain "escorted" by police officers from both countries (pdf) Europe should be ashamed of itself – Expulsions to Kabul and Joint charter flight (GISTI, link)

UK: Prison Ombudsman: Mistreatment of detainees: Inquiry into allegations of racism and mistreatment of detainees at Oakington immigration reception centre and while under escort (pdf)

UK: Home Office: consultation document on: Selective Admission: Making Migration Work for Britain

Statewatch European Monitor: Special issue on the implementation of the Hague Programme

EU: UK Presidency programme on asylum and immigration (pdf)

G5 meeting, Evian, 4-5 July 2005 - Operational Conclusions G5 members are: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK

Statewatch analysis: Revising EU border control rules: A missed opportunity? (pdf). Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, seeks to untangle the discussions between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) on the abolition of internal border checks and external border controls. This measure was subject to co-decision by the Council and the EP and was passed by the parliament at 1st reading on 23 June 2005. While the EP has had some success in getting a number of its more modest amendments accepted more radical changes have either been rejected by the Council or not tabled at all by the EP:

"The net result is that there will still be risks in particular of breaches of international human rights law and refugee law concerning asylum-seekers who arrive at the external borders of EU Member States, as well as the human rights of demonstrators and protesters."

UK Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Justice and Home Affairs: Provisional agendas for JHA Councils on 12-13 October and 1-2 December 2005 - see page 18 onwards (pdf)

UK: New Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill published (pdf)

EU: Confusion over the Visa Information System (VIS) continues. A Note (20.6.05) from the EU Presidency of the Council of the European Union calls for an an "additional period of reflection". First, "certain delegations" want only 2 fingerprints to be recorded (like for the planned EU passport) but a majority want 10 fingerprints. Second, a study carried out in the Netherlands shows that it is very difficult to "capture" fingerprints from small children leading to the question whether there should be a lower age limit - and for EU passports too? Third, having collected fingerprints from visa applicants in their own countries then stored on the central VIS database there is still no agreement on just how and where checks against the data held will be carried out in the EU. Note from Presidency (French, 10222/01/05). See also: Analysis from Statewatch on the linkage between VIS and SIS II: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)

Amnesty International reports on: Seeking asylum is not a crime: detention of people who have sought asylum (link) and Europe: Treatment of refugees and asylum seekers (link)

EU: Updated documents on EU Terrorism Action Plans:

1. Updated Terrorism Action Plan (version dated 10 June)
2.
Council and Commission Hague Programme (10 June - English version)
3.
Report from EU Anti-terrorism Coordinator - useful summary of implementation of measures at national level

UK: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance - 3rd report on UK (pdf) Reports on Muslims, asylum-seekers and refugees living in a 'climate of fear and suspicion'

EU: Report from the European Union Committee, House of Lords: Evidence by Commissioner Franco Frattini, Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security on Justice and Home Affairs Matters (pdf)

UK: Damning report on human rights and civil liberties: Report by Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights on the United Kingdom, Council of Europe (pdf)

Statewatch analysis: Revising EU border control rules: A missed opportunity? (pdf). Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, seeks to untangle the discussions between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) on the abolition of internal border checks and external border controls. While the EP has had some success in getting a number of its more modest amendments accepted more radical changes have either been rejected by the Council or not tabled at all by the EP. So while, there will be some important improvements there are risks, in particular, of breaches of international human rights law and refugee law concerning asylum-seekers who arrive at the external borders of EU Member States, as well as the human rights of demonstrators and protesters.

EU/Libya: Full steam ahead, without pausing to think examines the draft Conclusions discussed by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 2 June 2005

EU-AFRICA-UKRAINE: In an interview with eupolitix.com, justice and home affairs Commissioner Frattini has announced that the Commission will launch two regional protection programmes for refugees (RPPs) in July: “The Great Lakes region is probably the biggest origin area of illegal immigrants and the eastern dimension of Europe for example, Ukraine or Georgia or Belarus. We will try to start with two pilot programmes, the first one for Africa and the second one probably for Ukraine”, he said. The RRPs will focus on "relief, rehabilitation and regional development in a bid to build capacity in countries which can host large numbers of Europe bound refugees" and are described as an "alternative" to the controversial UK plans to build camps outside Europe to hold refugees bound for Europe. To many observers, however, the Commission's plans look very similar indeed. See eupolitix.com (link) and Statewatch analysis: Dismantling refugee protection in Europe (July 2004, pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA), 2-3 June, in Luxembourg:

a.
Press release (French, pdf)
b.
"B" Points agenda (pdf)
c.
"A" Points agenda (adopted without discussion)
d.
Background Note (French, pdf) and see documents being considered:

1.
Draft Framework Decision on mandatory data retention (8864/1/05)
2.
Council Legal Service Opinion on data retention proposal (French)
3. Statewatch report:
Data Retention proposal partly illegal, say Council and Commission lawyers
4.
Evaluation of European Arrest Warrant implementation (8842/1/05)
5.
Updated Terrorism Action Plan (version dated 31 May) - NEW
6.
Draft Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia (8994/1/05)
7.
Council and Commission Hague Programme (9246/2/05 - French introduction, English text, pdf)

EU: Meijers' Committee report on the Visa Information System (VIS) (pdf). Comments Standing Committee of experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law on the draft proposal for a Regulation concerning the Visa Information System (VIS), COM (2004) 835

EU: Analysis from Statewatch: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)

* after four years of secret negotiations a host of new functions are being built into SIS II
* new categories of “violent troublemakers”, “suspected terrorists” and “visa over-stayers” planned
* EU Visa Information System to share “biometrics platform” with SIS II
* fingerprints and photographs to be included – widened access for law enforcement
* European and national parliaments not yet consulted

Statewatch is also releasing an accompanying 48-page analysis which first appeared on the Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation (SEMDOC) website in February 2005: From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information (VIS): the proposals explained (pdf) Sources for this analysis (htm)

Draft European Parliament report on the amended proposal for a Council directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status (pdf)

EU: Feasibility study carried out in 2002 on: "The setting up of a European Border Police" (pdf)

Migreurop: Externalisation of controls at the Southern borders of Europe mobilisation and research workshops 20-21 June, Séville (pdf)

European Commission: Technical Mission to Libya on illegal immigration - report (pdf)

The 4th Annual report from Council of Europe's Commisioner for Human Rights (pdf). See in particular the comments on human rights, immigration and asylum in Europe.

EU-Italy: The European Parliament adopts resolution condemning the mass expulsion of migrants from Lampedusa and the "lowest common denominator approach" to asylum

EU: Twenty NGOs have written to the Justice and Home Council (meeting on 14 April) calling on the EU to defer cooperation with Libya until it has signed up to international conventions guaranteeing human rights and calls on the European Commission to make public the conclusions of its reports from diplomatic missions to Libya. EU about to negotiate with Libya on immigration matters, press release (pdf) Press release in French (link)

Spain: Highest ever number of dinghy deaths in 2004 - report by the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía

Italy: The ECHR asks for information on Lampedusa deportations

Conference - Louvain: "The future of free movement of persons in the EU" Analysis of the Directive 2004/38 of 29April 2004 on the right of citizens to move and reside freely Analyse de la directive 2004/38 du 29Avril 2004 (pdf)

Italy expels boat-people, the EU turns a blind eye (25.3.05)

Spain: New Foreigners' Law Regulation

Italy: Provisional immigration quota for 2005 fixed

Morocco/Spain: Update: Appeal highlights the human rights implications of the transfer of responsibility for immigration controls to third countries - The situation in Beniunesh is critical

Spain-Morocco: Appeal highlights the human rights implications of the transfer of responsibility for immigration controls to third countries

"Room to roam - England's Irish Travellers", a report of research by Dr Colm Power."This brief historical perspective outlines recent Irish Traveller migration to Britain and explains the social, legal and administrative contexts that impact on Travellers’ lives underlining the necessity for this research report. Irish Travellers refer to themselves as ‘Pavees’ or ‘Minceir’. They are an indigenous nomadic minority group in Ireland (south and north) and Britain."

France: Passengers to face trial for preventing a violent deportation

Spain: Update: Order on the treatment of migrant minors as adults repealed

Italian associations file a complaint with the European Commission against Italy's collective expulsion of hundreds of migrants to Lybia

EU: The European Commission has published its proposal for a:

1. Visa Information System (VIS - COM (2004) 835)
2.
Extended impact assessment (VIS)
3.
Study for the extended impact assessment (VIS)

This is seen by some, but not all, EU member states as alternative to the a biometric visa sticker scheme: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable - Council Presidency recommending current proposal be abandoned due to "collision" of chips and Commission asked to amend its proposal

European Commission: Communication to members of the Commission: Memorandum concerning the establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Commission of the European Communities in the field of protection and assistance to refugees and other people of concern to the UNHCR in third countries (pdf - this will not be published in the Official Journal)

Update: 5 January 2005: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable - Council Presidency recommending current proposal be abandoned due to "collision" of chips and Commission asked to amend its proposal

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