Statewatch Observatory
Archive 2007: EU asylum and immigration policy


EU: Fingerprinting children - VIS (Visa Information System): This document shows the latest position of the Council of the European Union (27 governments): See: EU doc no: 16598/07 (pdf) There would be limited use of the fingerprints of children aged 6-12:

"Fingerprints given by children aged between 6-12 at the time of collection may only be used for verification purposes"

"Verification" means that only "on-to-one" checks can be carried out to confirm that the child is the same as that recorded in the travel document. But Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria and Estonia want childrens' fingerprints to be checked "one-to-many", that is against the whole database.

The European Parliament wants the age from which children can be fingerprinted to be set at 12 years old and more, the EU governments want it to be 6 years old. The standard set for visas is likely also to apply to resident third country nationals and all EU citizens too.

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE:Updated compilation: No! To the Outrageous Directive (pdf, 2.4MB) Website: outrageousdirective.org (link) The petition against the adoption of this EU Directive has now been signed by over 18,000 individuals and 600 organisations.See: Background

EU: Detention Centres report for European Parliament: The conditions in centres for third country national (detention camps, open centres as well as transit centres and transit zones) with a particular focus on provisions and facilities for persons with special needs in the 25 EU member states (2.35 MB, pdf)

UK-ECJ: Court of Justice judgment on UK case: The Council was right to refuse to allow the United Kingdom to take part in the adoption of the Frontex Regulation and the Regulation establishing standards for security features and biometrics in passports (press release, pdf)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Council of Europe: On eve of International Migrants Day, PACE committee head slams EU proposals for irregular migrants (press release, Strasbourg, 17.12.2007).

"An EU proposal to fix at 18 months the maximum period of detention for irregular migrants in Europe “flies in the face of humanity”, according to the Chair of the Migration Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)."

CoE PACE: Resolution (pdf) and Recommendations (pdf)

Standing Committee of experts (Utrecht) - Opinion (pdf) and see also: ECRE-AI letter (pdf)

Hearing with NGOs on the Return Directive, Wednesday, 12 December 2007, European Parliament, Strasbourg The Group GUE/NGL host key NGOs to debate the return directive and the future of European immigration policy: 17.00 hrs with Migreurop (European NGOs Network), European Conference of Churches (tbc), GISTI (France), CIRE (Belgium), Statewatch (EU civil liberties), ARCI (Italy), KERK IN ACTIE (Netherlands, tbc), CIMADE (France), PRO ASYL (Germany) (tbc) See also:

- No to the Outrageuous Directive - Appeal to Members of the European Parliament (link)
- "State of play": For the rejection of the Directive: English (pdf) and French (pdf)
- Conference of European Churches - Press Release No.07-45/e 19 November 2007: CEC Central Committee concerned about administrative detention of migrants and re-entry ban in EU countires (pdf)
- Against the detention and forced removal of minors (link)

- Commission Proposal for a Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (original)
- European Parliament draft Resolution for debate at plenary session (pdf)

Background:

- Statewatch analysis: The original EU Directive on return expulsion (Frances Webber analysis, April 2007)
- Statewatch analysis: Revising the proposed EU Expulsion Directive (Steve Peers analysis of German text, April 2007)
- House of Lords Select Committee on the EU: Illegal Migrants: proposals for a common EU returns policy (May 2006, pdf)

Updated 10 December: EU: JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, 6-7 December 2007, Brussels: Final press release (pdf)

EU: Draft Council Conclusions on Mobility Partnerships and Circular Migration in the Framework of the Global Approach to Migration (pdf)

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Fighting terrorism can never be an excuse to violate human rights, say MEPs (press release, pdf)

Italy: Quota for migrant workers set

UK: Border and Immigration Agency Complaints Audit Committee: Report: full-text (pdf) Damning report says in 95% of cases, those investigating the complaints had been from the companies under investigation. The report says:

"In the past year only 29% of cases alleging misconduct by named officials and contract staff were handled in time. Investigations into these misconduct complaints have in our assessment remained poor. Only 8% of complainants were interviewed, thus kicking off an inequitable consideration of the complaint. We found that 89% of investigations were neither balanced nor thorough, and that as a consequence, 83% of replies were indefensible."

Migrant complaint policy shake-up (BBC News, link)

Italy: Murder causes anti-Romanian backlash and opens way for the expulsion of EU nationals

EU: Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law (Utrecht) submission to the Commission on: Proposal to give law enforcement authorities access to Eurodac (pdf)

"There are five core arguments why the intended proposal in our view would be unlawful: firstly, access to Eurodac data for law
enforcement authorities would be irreconcilable with the present purpose limitation of the Eurodac regulation, secondly,
there is no legal basis in EC law for extending the use of Eurodac with security purposes. Thirdly, such an extension is
incompatible with basic principles of European law, international standards, and constitutional law of the Member States,
the observance of which the Court of Justice ensures. Fourthly, data protection authorities lack sufficient means to
protect the rights of asylum seekers and fifthly, the proposal will affect the integrity of Eurodac."

EU-JHA COUNCIL: Press release for 8-9 November 2007 (Final, pdf) Final agendas for the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels on 8-9 November 2007: "B" Point agenda (pdf) and "A" Points agenda - adopted without discussion (pdf) Background Note (pdf)

Fortress Europe report on Libya: Escape from Tripoli: Report on the conditions of migrants in transit in Libya (pdf)

GREECE: “The truth may be bitter, but it must be told”: Greece: PRO ASYL and Greek Group of Lawyers reveal systematic human rights abuses in the Aegean and Brussels. asylum procedures within the European Union. Call on EU to react (press release) Full-text of report (full report, pdf

EU-LIBYA: FRONTEX led EU illegal immigration technical mission to Libya 28 May-5 June 2007 (pdf) FRONTEX is the EU's Border Management Agency

EU: Reactions to: "Blue card" scheme to, in the Commission words:"the brightest and the best" from third world countries to meet EU demands for skilled workers to maintain its living standards. See story on "legal migration" below.

- Big nations should compensate small countries for poaching skills (Caribseek, Caribbean News, link)
-
African states fear brain drain through EU blue card (euobserver, link)

EU: "Legal migration" proposals from the Commission:Council Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment ( COM 637, pdf) and Proposal for a Council Directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State (COM 638, pdf). European Commission press release, 23 October 2007

The Commission, as agreed by the Council (the EU governments), has put forward two proposals to meet the needs of the labour market resulting from "demographic problems resulting from our ageing population" and the "limited mobility of EU citizens". A "Blue Card is to be introduced to attract "highly qualified workers" - described by the Commission from as "the brightest and the best" from third world countries. The second proposal introduces a "single application procedure" and a "common set of rights for third country workers legally residing in a Member State".

The Commission claims that the "negative "brain drain" effects in developing countries" will be "avoided" through "ethical recruitment standards" which will limit, or ban, "active recruitment by Member States in developing countries already suffering from "serious brain drain" - a statement that defies comprehension.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The proposal to have a common set of rights for third country workers is to be welcomed but the underlying "legal migration", Blue Card scheme, is not.

On the one hand the EU removes evermore the rights of refugees fleeing from poverty and persecution seeking sanctuary. On the other, due to the EU's ageing population, it wants to actively recruit highly skilled workers from the third world in order to maintain its own standards of living - and thus maintain, if not exacerbate, an already unequal relationship.

It is a policy devoid of humanity or principle."

EU-UPDATE: Draft measure: Council Decision concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences 2) European Parliament: Amending the Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provision on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa application

EU-ASYLUM: Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law (the "Meijers" Committee) submission to the Commission on: Green Paper on the future Common European Asylum System (pdf)

EP-COUNCIL-ECJ: Opinion in Case C-133/06 EP v Council of the Advocate General (French, pdf) who argues that the Court of Justice should annul the provisions in the procedures directive providing for a common list of "safe countries of origin" and for a common list of "super-safe countries".

Biscay/Spain-Morocco: Protecting foreign minors or getting rid of them? by Peio M. Aierbe, SOS Arrazakeria/SOS Racismo, 6 September 2007. About the Awareness Raising, Protection and Reception of foreign under-14-year-olds who have arrived in Biscay proposal, presented by the Grupo Popular Vizcaíno (Popular Party Group of Biscay) of the Juntas Generales de Bizkaia (Biscay General Assembly). A proposal from the Partido Popular is set to be debated soon in the Juntas Generales de Bizkaia, on the setting up of a reception centre in Morocco for under-14s to which to send those who arrive in the institutions of Biscay [the province of Bilbao]. See also

Spain-Senegal: Agreement to repatriate unaccompanied minors approved
Spain: Growing numbers of repatriations of minors envisaged, and the building of reception centres abroad

EU: Eurodac (sylum-seekers fingerprint database): Annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2006

EU-BIOMETRIC VISAS: Latest "state of play": EU doc no: 12665/07. The European Palriament's reservations are noted as:

"The Chair [Council Presidency] informed delegations of concerns raised during proceedings in the European Parliament:

- the absence of impact assessment of the proposed measures;
- the lack of coordination with the proposal on the Visa code;
- the inappropriateness of storing the fingerprints of children under 14 years (age of 14 is the one used in EURODAC) and of persons older than 79 years;
- outsourcing as a general possibility given to Member States when it should be a last resort solution only;
- the absence of the drawing up of detailed measures about personal data."

Background: EU: European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on: Common Consular Instructions (pdf) The EDPS underlines that it is a political decision rather than a purely technical one to determine from which age fingerprints shall be collected. See: Statewatch coverage: EU:Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on: Spain taking fingerprints and facial images from children at birth; Czech Republic taking fingerprints from 5 and facial images from birth; Latvia and France in favour of fingerprints from 6 and facial images from birth. EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible: Council Presidency proposed in June 2006 that there should be the compulsory fingerprinting of children from the age of 12 year old.

Amnesty International report: Millions in flight: the Iraqi refugee crisis (link)

EU-EURODAC: Note on the proposal of the JHA Council to give law enforcement authorities access to Eurodac (pdf) from the Standing Committee of Experts on International Immigration, Refugee and Criminal law (the "Meijers Committee") to the European Commission.

"The Standing Committee of Experts is deeply concerned about this development. EU measures or policies in the field of Freedom, Security, and Justice should not be based on the general presumption that migrants within the EU are to be treated as suspected terrorists. Such a policy would run against the general accepted principles in EU law of non-discrimination and equality."

Criminalising solidarity, part II: Italy/Tunisia: Fishermen on trial for rescuing migrants

UPDATE: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 18 September 2007, Brussels: Final press release, 18 September 2007 (pdf)

Background Note (pdf) B Points Agenda (pdf) A Points Agenda (pdf)

Residence permits: The Council agreed a "general approach", see:EU doc no: 12725/1/07 Rev 1 (pdf). This the fingerprinting of all residence third country nationals (just over 18 million people) and the use of the "chip" to include "e-government" (right to health, social security, etc) and "e-business" "services" as well as "additional provisions". Despite early differences between the EU governments the "hawks" have won:

"The capture of fingerprints is compulsory as of the age of six years of age"

Other items to be discussed/adopted:

- Draft Council Conclusions on further reinforcing the EU's Southern Maritime Borders
- Council Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime
(Prum)

EU: Report from the German Institute for Human Rights: The Demands of Human and EU Fundamental Rights for the Protection of the European Union’s External Borders (pdf) by Ruth Weinzier.

"It presents the requirements from fundamental and human rights and EU secondary law for the protection of the EU’s external borders. The main focus of the examination is on the special human rights problems arising from the protection of the southern maritime borders. Primarily this involves the question of access to refugee protection... A special area of focus of this study consists of an analysis of EU secondary law and the requirements stemming from EU fundamental rights."

Spain: Protocol for the deportation of migrants to allow straightjackets and helmets

UK: BID Bail for immigration detainees: Women’s experiences of the Detained Fast Track asylum process at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre “Refusal Factory” (pdf)

EU-RABITS: Regulation establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 as regards that mechanism and regulating the tasks and powers of guest officers (OJ, pdf)

European Parliament delegation to Greece to look at treatment of asylum-seekers: Report (pdf)

UK: Home Office FOI request reveals deportations to Afghanistan, Iraq and DR Congo

OXFAM: Foreign Territory: The Internationalisation of EU Asylum Policy (pdf, link)

"This study measures the fast-moving ‘internationalisation’ of EU asylum policy against the very principles of refugee protection to which the EU has publicly re-affirmed its commitment. We trace asylum policy from EU territory to its borders and periphery, then from nearby transit countries to host countries in regions of origin, and finally to refugees’ own countries."

EU: Sanctions on "illegally staying third-country nationals: UK government position - Explanatory Memorandum (pdf) Background: European Commission Staff working paper: SEC 596/07 ; Summary of Impact Assessment (SEC 604/07) and Impact Assessment (SEC 603/07) ; Proposal for a Directive providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (COM 249/07)

Call to sign Letter of protest to Spanish authorities on the gagging and killing of a Nigerian citizen Osamuyiwa Aikpitanhi during his forced deportation: The ‘Nigeria Village Square’, a virtual meeting spot for Nigerians all over the world, published a "Protest Note to Spanish Authorities", which has so far been signed by more then 3.000 people. The protest note will be delivered to Spanish embassies around the globe at 12pm on FRIDAY June 29^th . The organisers are calling on people to coordinate the delivery of the note to Spanish embassies in their cities. Sign the protest note here: http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/component/option,com_philaform/Itemid,195/form_id,1/

UK: Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (245 pages!! pdf) The 55th Bill on "law and order" and immigration since 1997. It is said to introduce 19 new criminal offences.

EU:European Commission: Progress report on the Visa Information System (SEC 833, 2007)

EU-JHA COUNCIL: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12-13 June 2007: Final press release (pdf)

Spain: Another death in deportation class On Saturday, 9 June 2007, 23-year-old Osamuyia Aikpitanhi died during a deportation flight with an Iberia jet from Spain to Nigeria. Aikpitanhi's family blames police of punching and kicking him before he died - with a restraining gag over his mouth. The Spanish police declined to name a cause for the man's death and a spokesman said that an investigation was under way. Press overview in English: http://no-racism.net/article/2143; Spanish report (espanol): Muere un inmigrante nigeriano asfixiado durante una deportación http://estrecho.indymedia.org/newswire/display/68704/index.php

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg: JHA press release on 12 June (1st day decisions)

- B Points agenda (for discussion)
-
A Points agenda (for adoption without any discussion)
-
Background Note (pdf)

EU-UPDATE:

- Commission: Green Paper on the future Common European Asylum System (COM 301)
-
Report from the Commission on the evaluation of the Dublin system (COM 299)
-
Commission Staff working paper on the evaluation of the Dublin system (SEC 724)

EU/Africa:
Chilling details of refoulements from Morocco revealed In-depth analysis of events and the legal implications of large-scale operations involving the "Detention, deportation and degrading treatment of 42 black persons of sub-Saharan origin, asylum-seekers and refugees, in Morocco in the early morning hours of 23rd to 24th December 2006".

EU-RABITS: Regulation for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams This is now ready for adoption by the European Parliament and the Council. Yet another example of a "fast-track", 1st reading, deal.

GERMANY-DETENTION-CENTRES: Excellent report from anti detention network buendnis gegen lager (Alliance Against Camps): Systematic exclusion and deprivation of rights: centre deportation motard straße - Aspects of contempt for Humanity in Europe (pdf)

EU: Three European Commission Communications on migration and "illegal employment":

- On circular migration and mobility partnerships between the European Union and third countries (COM 248/07)
-
Applying the Global Approach to Migration to the Eastern and South-Eastern Regions Neighbouring the European Union (COM 247/07)
-
Proposal for a Directive providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (COM 249/07)

EU-G6: Conclusions of the G6 meetings in Venice, 11-12 May 2007 The G6 group of EU states is comprised of: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK - and this meeting was also attended by the US Homeland Security Secretary. Among the decisions and planned cooperation are:

- Migration: "an informal dialogue to prepare legislation at EU-level"
- Exchange of information on "immigrants' entry and stay"
- To extend "the operational area" of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N) to the "Western Mediterranean"
- To establish an "African platform" and anti-drugs meetings of senior officials of G6 and "Mediterranean African states"
- G6 and USA committed to the "research of shared solutions" in combating terrorism
- To "enhance the Transatlantic Dialogue" by sharing information, research and "law enforcement methods" on terrorism
- "expulsion related to terrorism has proven to be an effective tool.. [and] promoting, in repatriation States, patterns of conduct compliant with international obligations as to the safeguarding of human rights"

For background see:
UK Select Committee on the European Union slams G6's role

EU: Commission press release on a: A Comprehensive European Migration Policy (pdf)

EU-VIS: Access by agencies to the planned Visa Information System: VIS access by agencies (EU doc no: 8711/07). Outstanding issues on the main VIS Regulation as at 12 April: VIS questions (EU doc 8151/07) and at 18 April: More VIS questions (EU doc no: 8540/07). Latest full: Draft of the EC Regulation setting up the Visa Information System (dated 2 April 2007)

EU: Policy Plan on Legal Migration (COM 669, 2007, pdf)

EU: Fundamental rights, fundamental flaws (press release 19 April 2007): Statewatch has published a damning critique of crucial EU proposals on suspects' rights in cross-border criminal proceedings, data protection in the area of police and judicial cooperation, and the expulsion of migrants from the EU. Four detailed Statewatch analyses of the draft EU measures show the extent to which powerful member states are driving down standards of human rights protection in the creation of the so-called EU "Area of Freedom, Security and Justice". Two of these measures - suspects' rights and data protection - will be discussed by the Member States at this week's Justice and Home Affairs Council (19-20 April 2007).

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19-20 April 2007 in Luxembourg: Press release (final, pdf) Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia (pdf) Statement on Frontex (pdf) SIS and VIS (pdf)

EU: Yet another fast-track, "first reading", deal between the Council and the European Parliament: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams (pdf)

Italy: Criminalising solidarity - Cap Anamur trial underway

The trial of Elias Bierdel, Vladimir Dachkevitce and Stefan Schmidt, respectively president of the German NGO Cap Anamur, and captain and first officer on the ship bearing the same name that saved 37 African shipwreck victims between Libya and Lampedusa in June 2004, began on 27 November 2006 in Agrigento (Sicily)

Spain/Africa: Three-fold increase in dinghy deaths as the EU border moves south - "the number sarriving and dying are rising"

EU: Latest Draft of the EC Regulation setting up the Visa Information System (dated 2 April 2007), together with the outstanding issues between the Council and the European Parliament

UK: Border and Immigration Agency launched

EU: Latest draft Council Regulation on a uniform format for residence permits (EU doc no: 7468/07)

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers (pdf) It calls for an end to the detention of children and condemns the present system of dealing with those seeking asylum

EU: The Council has agreed on a letter to the Court of Justice re enlarging the Court's jurisdiction over immigration and asylum, asking the Court to develop one of its two proposals for changing the Court's rules to establish an emergency procedure for JHA cases: Letter, EU doc no: 7646/07 (pdf)

EU: VIS (Visa Information System) update:

- Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas Covers Article 10 to 14 plus a number of annexes including draft visa application form (19 March 2007, 28 pages, pdf)

- Draft Council Decision on access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences (20 February 2007, pdf)."Designated authorities" is a euphemism for internal security agencies.

- Draft Regulation concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) (13 March 2007) Outcomes on discussion with the European Parliament

EU: FRONTEX work programme 2007 - EU Border controls agency

EU: Resident third-country nationals: biometric permits: Update: The Council Presidency is proposing that resdience permits will be "issued as individual documents, irrespective of the age of the person" and that a new Article in the Regulation saying that all children aged six and over should be fingerprinted: EU doc no: 6201/07 This is despite the Commission's view that: "the reliability of fingerprints is only acceptable for children above 12 years old"

See previous story: Resident third country nationals - biometric residence permits Planned residence permits will have two "chips" - one with biometrics (fingerprints) the other with "national" data and so-called services. Over 17 million people with the right to reside in the EU will be issued with: a two-chip residence permit which will be treated as an ID card too and which will control access and use of "e-government" services (ie: benefits, employment, education, health, driving licence etc) and be used by "e-business" (ie: debit/credit cards and their histories)

EU: Still 46 EU citizens wrongly on the Schengen Information System (SIS): EU doc no: 6071/07 The biggest offender last year was Switzerland which had 283 EU citizens put on the SIS, now this is down to 5. However, the numbers in some countries have actually gone up since May 2006: Lithuania up from 2 to 4 people, Poland up from 4 to 9 people, Spain up from 1 to 3 people, UK up from 2 to 3 people and Greece (3) and Rumania (5) are offenders.

Article 96 which allows aliens to be refused entry. Article 96 concerns data placed on the SIS "relating to aliens who are reported for the purpose of being refused entry" by a member state (from its own state or other EU states). The grounds include "a threat to public order or national security" (Art 96.2). In April 2005 the Heads of national units (SIRENE Bureaux) "were kindly requested to check their national data and to delete the respective data from the system". In June 2005 a report from the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority recommended that member states: "prevent Article 96 alerts on nationals from EU Member States." Previous relevant reports: EU doc no: 8281(pdf) (previous: EU doc 7005/05 (pdf).

Article 96 is primarily used to exclude from entry "illegal aliens" including refugees deported from the EU, See: Three-quarters of a million "illegal aliens" banned from Schengen area and Report of the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority on an inspection of the use of Article 96 alerts in the Schengen Information System (pdf). See also: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 15-16 February 2007: Provisional press release for 15 February 2007 (pdf)

- "B" Points agenda
-
"A" Points (adoptedwithout discussion) agenda
-
Background Note

EU: Standing committee Secretariat of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (The Meijers Committee): Regarding: Note on the draft proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas. COM (2006) 403 final; 2006/0142 (COD) (pdf)

Libya/EU: The fruits of EU-Libyan cooperation on immigration - Thousands arrested and deported Libyan press agency Jana has released statistics concerning the detention and expulsion of "illegal" immigrants, described as "infiltrators" seeking to illegally emigrate to Europe, by Libyan security forces. Just in the month of January 2007, 2,866 people have been apprehended, and a slightly higher number, 2,931, have been expelled. Jama, Libyan press agency (http://www.jamahiriyanews.com), 23.1.2007 and 12.2.2007.

EU-Visa Information System (fingerprint database): Latest draft proposal compares the Commission proposal and the Council of the European union (the 27 governments) current position: EU doc no: 5213/07 and the state of play in the Council's position and negotiations with the European Parliament: EU doc no: 5456/07 Background:

Statewatch coverage: EU: Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on and EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Note on the recent proposal by the Commission to amend the EC Visa Regulation (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor, January 2006, EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS and Study for the extended impact assessment of VIS (2004)

EU-PRUM TREATY-SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS: The Prum Convention was adopted by seven member states in May 2005 (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria): Prum Treaty (full-text, pdf). This has now been supplemented by (in true Schengen fashion) with: Administrative and technical implementing Agreement to the Prüm Convention (16 pages, pdf) ANNEX to Administrative and technical implementing Agreement to the Prüm Convention (145 pages, pdf)

UK: Borders Bill - full-text (pdf) Includes giving powers of detention (up to three hours), search and seizure, and use of "reasonable force" to immigration officials; the taking of biometrics (fingerprints) to issue a "biometric immigration document", and the further taking of fingerprints to confirm the data on the document. The biometric and information gathered may be used "for specified purposes which do not relate to immigration". Also introduces "automatic deportation" for a non-British people sentenced to prison for 12 months or more.

UK: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2005 onwards (Institute of Race Relations, Factfile, link)

EU: NEW - Two draft Council Decisions to transpose parts of the Prum Treaty into EU law: Draft Council Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime and Draft Council Decision on improving cooperation on request

Statewatch Summary of the comparison of the provisions in the Prum Treaty and draft Decision on cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross border crime

These two draft Decisions have been prepared by the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union (full-time officials) for the meeting of the Article 36 Committee (high-level officials representing the 27 member sates) in Brussels on 25-26 January 2006. They are both based on the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) which means the governments have to agree unanimously but the European Parliament is only "consulted" (ie: its opinion can be ignored).

It is expected that at least two more Council Decisions on "first pillar" (TEC) aspects of the Prum Convention will be proposed by the European Commission - these will be subject to qualified majority voting in the Council and codecision with the European Parliament. That is, one on the introduction of armed "air marshals" on flights in the EU and another on the immigration aspects eg: the joint deportation of asylum-seekers.

Background: The Prum Convention (full-text, pdf) The Prum Convention was adopted by seven member states in May 2005 (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria). House of Lords report: Behind Closed Doors, Statewatch: Some remarks on Schengen III (the Prum Convention) and - Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Minister meeting, Dresden, Germany, 14-16 January 2007 - Notes:

- Stepping up cross-border police cooperation by transposing the Prüm Treaty into the legal framework of the EU
- Shaping European home affairs policies after the expiry of the Hague programme in 2010
-
Initiative concerning the European migration policy

Open letter by Moroccan, African and European associations: In Morocco, the rights and dignity of men and women are scorned in the name of the protection of Europe's borders

EU: Third country nationals - biometric residence permits Planned residence permits will have two "chips" - one with biometrics (fingerprints) the other with "national" data and so-called services. Over 17 million people with the right to reside in the EU will be issued with: a two-chip residence permit which will be treated as an ID card too and which will control access and use of "e-government" services (ie: benefits, employment, education, health, driving licence etc) and be used by "e-business" (ie: debit/credit cards and their histories)

EU: German Council Presidency: Justice and Home Affairs External Relations Multi-Presidency Work Programme and “Living Europe Safely” Work programme of the Federal Ministry of the Interior for the German EU Presidency

EU-Morocco: In the name of commitments made to the EU, migrants and refugees are rounded up in Morocco (Statement by the Migreurop network)

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