Statewatch Observatory
Archive 2010: EU asylum and immigration policy


EU: European Parliament: Residence rights for refugees and people under international protection (Press release. pdf): "Refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection may acquire long-term resident status in the EU, under new rules agreed by MEPs and the EU Council of Ministers and endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday." (Plenary session).

See also: Statewatch Analysis: Extending EU long-term resident status to refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex and Positions of national parliaments (IPEX, link)

EU: European Parliament: Parliament approves tougher rules to combat trafficking in human beings (Press release, pdf). See also: Statewatch Analysis: The new Directive on trafficking in persons (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex and Positions of national parliaments (IPEX, link)

EU Fundamental Rights Agency reports: Separated, asylum-seeking children in European Union Member States Comparative Report (pdf) and Developing indicators for the protection, respect and promotion of the rights of the child in the European Union (pdf)

EU: Issuing visas: Lists of the authorities and organisations to which the persons designated by the Member States to represent them belong (pdf).

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Extending EU long-term resident status to refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.

"The European Parliament (EP) and the Council have recently agreed on a Directive to extend long-term resident status to refugees and persons with
subsidiary protection. This Directive is a modest but significant step towards fair treatment of persons needing international protection...

This legislation has been agreed at ‘first reading’ in the ordinary legislative procedure, ie following wholly informal contacts between the EP and the Council which in practice were not at all transparent.... the EP gave up pressing for some of the amendments which it sought in its original vote in 2008 – the softening (for refugees and persons with subsidiary protection) of the conditions concerning integration and the income requirements which Member States can apply before obtaining longterm resident status....

Since the exclusion of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status from long-term residence status could never be plausibly justified, this new
Directive can only be welcomed. It is unfortunate that it took so long to achieve, and that a greater relaxation of the rules applicable to qualification for long-term resident status was not agreed for refugees and persons with subsidiary protection."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The new Directive on trafficking in persons (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.

"The European Parliament (EP) and the Council have agreed on the first substantive criminal law measure to be adopted by the EU after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty – a Directive on trafficking in persons. The following analysis examines the content of the new measure, the negotiations of the new measure, and the particular position of the UK, which has opted out of the negotiations but could opt in to the Directive at any time after its formal adoption."

EU: Commission Staff Working Paper: On the fulfilment of the 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration adopted at the JHA Council meeting, on 25 and 26 February 2010 (pdf)

EUROPE: Report by Border Monitoring Project Ukraine: Access to Protection Denied: Refoulement of Refugees and Minors on the Eastern Borders of the EU - the case of Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine (pdf)

EU: European Commission report: Study on the feasilibty of establishing a mechanism for the beneficiaries of international protection (144 pages, 2.5 MB, pdf)

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Proposal for the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004 (Remedial) Order 2010 (pdf)

EU: Migreurop annual report: European borders: controls, detention and deportations (6 MB, pdf) and Introduction (link)

"For its second annual report on the European borders, Migreurop has chosen to emphasize three main steps of the fights led by the authorities against the candidates to migration : the controls of their movements, detention and deportation.

Based on evidences from fact finding missions, the report gives dramatic examples of this war against migrants which implies a general decline of the law protecting the freedom and integrity of human beings."

EU: European Commission: Proposal for a Decision on the list of travel documents entitling the holder to cross the external borders and
which may be endorsed with a visa and on setting up a mechanism for establishing this list
(pdf)

EURODAC: Ten EU governments want law enforcement agencies to have access to the EURODAC database (which holds the fingerprints of asylum-seekers). The Austria demand is backed by Germany, Spain, France, Lithuania, Slovenia, Portugal, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Hungary. See: CATS Outcomes/Minutes (pdf). The Commission put forward a proposed Regulation amending the one in 2000 on EURODAC on 3 December 2008. This was amended in September 2009 and then again in October 2010 (see text below). The latest proposal removes provision on access for law enforcement agencies: See: EURODAC (SEMDOC, link)

The Commission said that: "a proposal for access to Eurodac for the security services had been omitted in this proposal in order to facilitate negotiations with the European Parliament and to speed up the codecision process. A separate proposal for access by the law enforcement services would be presented in 2012."

European Commission proposal on EURODAC (fingerprint database of asylum-seekers) drops the idea of giving access to law enforcement agencies: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EC) No […/…] (Recast version) (pdf)

Earlier coverage: European Data Protection Supervisor: Law enforcement access to EURODAC: EDPS expresses serious doubts about the legitimacy and necessity of proposed measures (Press release, pdf) Full text of Opinion (pdf): "The analysis leads to the conclusion that the necessity and proportionality of the proposals, which are both crucial elements to legitimate privacy intrusion, are not demonstrated. As a result, the EDPS has serious doubts whether the proposals are legitimate and whether legislative instruments should be adopted on this basis." (emphasis in original)

See also: 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) and Developing the European surveillance society: German proposal on police access to Eurodac data. Statewatch analysis of EU plans to give police access to central EU fingerprint database of asylum applicants and "illegal" entrants.

EU: European Commission:
Sixth report on certain third countries' maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity (pdf)

"When addressing the other remaining cases of non-reciprocity, i.e. as regards the U.S. (visa requirement for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Poland) and Canada (visa requirement for Bulgaria and Romania), the EU is confronted with the limits of its reciprocity mechanism as set out in the current acquis. In these cases indeed Member States are considered by third countries not to meet objective criteria for visa waiver set out unilaterally by these third countries in their domestic legislation (e.g. not issuing biometric passports, not meeting thresholds set for visa refusal and/or overstay rates)." (emphasis added).

Declaration of the Europe Working Group - People’s Global Action on Migration (Transnational Institute, link)

EU: European Court of Justice: A person can be excluded from refugee status if he is individually responsible for acts committed by an organisation using terrorist methods (Press release,pdf): "The sole fact that a person has been a member of such an organisation cannot mean that he is automatically excluded from refugee status" and Full-text of judgment (pdf)

Seasonal Workers – EU institutions state of play (European Area of Security Freedom and Justice, link)

ITALY-EGYPT: Amnesty International calls for an end to mass expulsions Following the expulsion to Cairo of 68 migrants of the 131 who were intercepted in a boat by the Italian authorities off the coast of in Sicily on 26 October 2010 in a charter flight on the following evening, Amnesty International issued a press release on 29 October 2010. This claims that:"this mass expulsion appears to have been carried out without consideration of people's right to claim asylum and in violation of Italy's obligations deriving from international law and standards on the matter of refugees and human rights".

EU: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum System - State of Play (pdf)

UK-FRANCE: Coalition government signs Declaration on "illegal" immigration: UK-France Summit 2010 Declaration on Immigration (pdf).

Interestingly the Declaration (p2) refers to decisions made at the G6 meeting in Italy in May 2010 including "strengthened operational cooperation between European and American police forces to optimise intelligence and the coordination of operations designed to dismantle illegal immigration networks." [emphasis added]

Background: G6 Interior Ministers + USA to meet in secret in future: The G6 meetings of Interior Ministers is comprised of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK - the meetings in September 2008 and March 2009 were also attended by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. At the G6 meetings in March 2009 it was agreed that: "No formal conclusions would be issued after meetings."

EU: European Parliament study: Readmission policy in the EU (pdf): Argues that readmission policy has become part of a matrix of external policy demands and that in these cicrumstances it is "reasonable to warn the European Parliament about future guarantees, aimed at ensuring the safety of persons readmitted to a country that has no effective asylum system. Such guarantee can hardly be taken seriously." And that: "the call of the Council of Europe to:

"conclude readmission agreements only with countries that comply with relevant human rights standards and with the 1951 Geneva Convention, that have functioning asylum systems in place and that protect their citizens’ right to free movement, neither criminalising unauthorised entry into, nor departure from, the country in question."

cannot be dismissed offhand, above all following the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union into the Treaties."

EU: Legal paper by Marie Diop: Unaccompanied Minors’ Rights within the European Union: Is the EU Asylum and Immigration Legislation in linewith the Convention on the Rights of the Child? (120 pages, pdf)

EU: Drones may Track Migrants (Inter Press Service, link). "The notice appeared quietly on the website of Frontex, Europe's agency to fight undocumented migration. It called for expressions of interest in demonstrating "Small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and Fixed systems for Land border surveillance" at its workshop."

EU sending 175 armed guards to Greek-Turkish border (euobserver, link): "One hundred and seventy five armed border guards from 25 European countries are to be deployed next Tuesday (2 November) on the Greek-Turkish border for a mission of two months, in a bid to help Athens stem the inflow of undocumented migrants, a move causing concern in the UN's refugee body.... The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed concern about the border crackdown on migrants who may be entitled to asylum. In a statement, the UNHCR said it recognises the need for control of the EU's external border but warned that "asylum needs should not be compromised.""

People entering the EU have the right to claim asylum, it will be interesting to see how many are allowed to do so during this operation.

See: Frontex: Frontex Executive Director signs decision to deploy RABITs (pdf), Frontex to deploy 175 specialist border control personnel to Greece (pdf), Frontex deploys Rapid Border Intervention Teams to Greece (pdf) and Frontex Press Kit: Rapid Border Intervention Teams (pdf)

EU: Entry visas for Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina : Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (pdf), Background Note (pdf). This proposal moves the two countries from the list of those needing a visa for entry to the EU. Visa-free travel is available to those holding "biometric passports". The UK has opted out.

and see: Commission statement (pdf) which says: "Emergency consultation arrangements will be introduced so that the European Union and its Member States can, in cooperation with the authorities of the countries concerned, react in the best possible conditions to any specific difficulties which might arise with flows of persons from the countries of the Western Balkans."

Update: ITALY-EGYPT: Over half the migrants who arrived in Catania deported in under a day

As ASGI feared in its statement on 27 October 2010, the explanation for the treatment reserved to the 131 migrants who arrived from Egypt on 26 October 2010 in Catania, held in the PalaNitta sports hall in the outskirts of town without UNHCR or other organisations authorised to provide legal assistance or to monitor their treatment being allowed to visit them, arrived in the evening of the following day when the interior ministry issued a press release that triumphantly announced the expulsion of 68 of them to Egypt.

EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Subsidiarity assessment: admission of third country nationals as seasonal workers (pdf):

"We recommend that the House of Lords should issue the reasoned opinion set out below to the effect that the draft Directive does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity; and should send it to the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, in accordance with the
provisions of the EU Treaties."

FRANCE-ROMANIA: Agreement to repatriate unaccompanied Romanian minors ratified

As the French government announced in the wake of president Sarkozy's controversial statements about Roma people and illegal camps in July 2010, presenting it as one of the key points in its plan to tackle the problem, the French Assemblée Nationale (the lower house of parliament) ratified the bilateral agreement for the return of unaccompanied Romanian minors to their home country on 7 October 2010

EU: European Commission: Report on the development of the VISA information system (VIS) in 2009 (submitted in response to the obligation under Article 6 of Council Decision 2004/512/EC) (pdf). Confirms that the VIS database (holding the details and fingerprints of visitors to the EU) was not launched in December 2009 as planned but is now expected to start in December 2010.

ITALY: Press Release: ASGI asks for the rights of the migrants and refugees who landed in Catania to be respected

"
ASGI expresses deep concern over the development of events concerning the management by the law enforcement agencies of the arrival of 128 foreigners, several of whom are minors, on 26 October at around 12 o'clock on the coast near Catania. The way in which the intervention took place when the fishing boat laden with migrants was blocked at sea and the use of force in this context remain unclear.

It appears that all the foreigners have been placed in police custody and are held in a makeshift structure in a sports hall that is located in the outskirts of Catania."

EU-GREECE: EU sends border guards to Greece (European Voice, link): "Rapid-response teams to help tackle flow of migrants. The European Commission has sent rapid-response teams of national border guards to help Greece deal with an influx of illegal migrants via Turkey. This is the first time that the Rapid Border Intervention Teams operated by Frontex, the EU's border management agency, have been used since they were set up in 2007. The Greek government requested their deployment yesterday (24 October)." See also: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, issued the following statement on his Mission to Greece: UN statement (pdf) and See also: Greek gateway to EU is 'inhuman and degrading' (euobserver, link)

European Commission: Report on the application of Directive 2004/81 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Council seeking to draw up non-legislative guidelines to extend its "returns" policy to removals by land (generally under the Returns Directive these are by air): Transit by land of returnees (EU doc no: 14541/10, pdf). The Council is seeking: "to find effective solutions to implement voluntary departures in full compliance with legal instruments, such as the Return Directive and without causing excessive administrative burdens."

The Council's Contact Committee on the Return Directive proposed drawing up Recommendations for the transit by land of returnees and "A technical working group of interested Member States (CZ, HU, LV, PL, SI), together with the Commission have elaborated such recommendations. These are based on voluntary involvement of Member States and do not imply any legal obligations."

EU: "State of play": Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (recast) (Latest Council position: EU doc no: 13718/10. pdf). And see European Parliament: Draft report (pdf): Rapporteur: Jean Lambert MEP.

EU-FRONTEX: Amnesty International (AI) and European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) : Briefing on the Commission proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Recommendation amending the Recommendation establishing a common ''Practical Handbook for Border Guards (Schengen Handbook)'' to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out the border control of persons (C (2006) 5186 final) (COM 5559/10, pdf)

EU: France and Italy press ahead with anti-Roma policies: France: Immigration law amendment to turn expulsion of EU nationals into routine

"Following the controversy that resulted from the large-scale eviction of illegal camps and expulsion of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals from France that have largely targeted Roma people since mid-July, the French government is trying to press ahead with proposals to restrict freedom of movement and facilitate expulsions."

and Italy: Interior Minister to press for punishment for EU nationals residing illegally

EU: European Parliament draft report to LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee on: Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (Recast) (pdf) and Commission proposal (pdf). See also Council of the European Union's position: - Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (June 2010, pdf) and: Council's position July 2010 (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Report on the application of the Directive on minimum standards on procedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status (COM 465, pdf)

UK-EU: Home Office: Explanatory memoranda:

- Proposed Directive on preventing and combatting trafficking human beings and protecting victims (pdf)
-
UK-opt-out of trafficking Directive: Letter (pdf)
-
Minimum standards Directive (pdf)

France/EU - Roma: Circulars about operations to evict illegal camps with full-texts of the three circulars:

"The President of the Republic has set some precise goals on the past 28 July, for the eviction of illegal camps; 300 illegal camps or settlements will have to be evicted within three months, among which Roma ones are a priority".

"In view of the set objectives… in their area of competence, area prefects will ensure the carrying out of at least one important operation (eviction/dismantling/removal) per week, which will primarly concern Roma people".

EU: The Common European Asylum System: still a long way to go (link)

EU COUNCIL MEETING in Brussels (27 governments): Sarkozy denounces EU commissioner's Roma remarks (BBC News, link). Background: Commissioner Reding speech: Statement on the latest developments on the Roma situation (pdf) and internal Commission document: The situation of Roma in France and Europe: Joint Information Note from European Commission (pdf)

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: Follow-up of Asylum Cases and e-Borders Programme: Government Response to the Committee’s Twelfth Report of Session 2009–10 (pdf) and the initial report: UK Border Agency: Follow–up on Asylum Cases and E–Borders Programme (pdf)

UK: Medical Justice: seeking basic rights for detainees: ‘State Sponsored Cruelty’ Children in immigration detention (pdf):

"Medical Justice has performed an essential role in exposing the way in which human rights in the United Kingdom have been trampled underfoot over
the last decade. Their findings are shocking, and their recommendations compelling."

EU: Council of the European Union: Report to Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI): The Joint Report by Europol, Eurojust and Frontex on the State of Internal Security in the EU (EU doc no: 9359/10, pdf). It contains the statement that an: "estimated 900,000 illegal migrants enter the EU each year."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"A few years ago a Europol official was put on the spot by the media when asked about "illegal" migration and said that 500,000 "illegal" migrants entered the EU every year. This figure was quoted time and time again. Later this same official admitted that he had simply invented the figure as logically the number of migrants entering the EU undetected was unknown.

Now we have the three leading EU agencies do the same thing, inventing a figure to get headlines. This is not only irresponsible it also fuels racism in the EU."

EU: France invites handful of ministers to 'immigration' summit (euobserver, link). In the midst of a major row over France deporting Roma the following have been invited to attend, the Interior Ministers of Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and the UK Coalition government. Also see: Stop this state persecution of Roma - France's deportation of Roma is nothing short of state-sponsored racism. When will the international community stand up for us? (Guardian, link)

Italy to raise EU citizen expulsion policy at September meeting (euobserver, link): "Italy has said it intends to expel citizens from other EU states if they are not able to support themselves, in a move apparently inspired by France's current crackdown on Roma." And see: Italy to ask EU for permission to expel Roma (euractiv, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: FRONTEX POWERS: Update: Outcomes (EU doc no: 11843/1/10, pdf). See also: Current Council position (pdf), Outcomes: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee (Details Member States positions,pdf) and Proposal for a Regulation: amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf)

EU: Council Presidency: Operation Hermes (link): "During the Belgian presidency, the Belgian integrated police will take the initiative to organise a joint operation in a large number of Member States, aimed at mapping the flows of illegal immigration within the European Union." But:

"Operation Hermes is not limited to mapping flows of illegal immigration. Another important goal of this project is to actively promote and valorise the European police networks Tispol, Aquapol and Railpol. Tispol is a network of European traffic police forces. Aquapol unites the European police and inspection services of the waterways and Railpol brings together the European railway police services."

EU: Council of the European Union: "State of play" at the Brussels summer break:

- Dublin II:
Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast) (73 pages, pdf)

- High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG):
Summary of discussions (pdf), includes state of negotiations on readmissoin and visa waiver agreements.

- FRONTEX POWERS: Current Council position (pdf), Outcomes: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee (Details Member States positions,pdf) and Proposal for a Regulation: amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf)

EU: Council Presidency: Belgian EU Presidency: Immigration and asylum Programme (pdf)

EU: READMISSION AGREEMENTS with third countries

Italy: Justice of the peace annuls expulsion for Rosarno migrant

On 11 June 2010 in Bari, justice of the peace Rita Calvi annulled the expulsion order issued by the prefect (government representative in charge of security) of Bari on 10 January 2010 regarding a Ghanaian migrant who worked as a seasonal citrus fruit picker and was among those evacuated by authorities from Rosarno in Calabria after the disturbances between locals and African workers that occurred in early January 2010 and led to the wholesale removal of the latter, whose lives were at risk.

EU: Council of the European Union: Latest "State of play": Proposals on trafficking, granting and withdrawing international protection and "qualifications" for protection:

-
Proposal for a Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA - general approach (pdf)

-
Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection (pdf)

-
Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Qualifications Directive implementation: Press Memo: International protection for third country nationals:
unsatisfying divergences in Member States' implementation of rules.
(pdf) and Report on the application of Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection (pdf)

EU-TRAFFICKING: Council of the European Union: Latest draft: General approach: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings (EU doc no: 10845/10, pdf)

LIBYA-UNHCR: Migreurop statement: UNHCR-Libya : the bid is rising, migrants pay the price (link) and French, Italian and Spanish (links). See: Libya 'expels' UN refugee agency UNHCR (BBC News, link)

EU: Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) report: Becoming vulnerable in Europe: Civil Society Report on the Detention of Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants in the European Union (The DEVAS Project) (link)

European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee refers Frontex surveillance at sea measures to the European Court of Justice

EU-PAKISTAN RE-ADMISSION AGREEMENT: Letter from Migreurop to the European Parliament: Readmission agreement EU-Pakistan. The European Parliament has to deny its approval (pdf), French version (link). See: Full-text of proposed agreement (pdf) and Statewatch Briefing on the Proposed agreement and MEPs reactions (pdf)

European Commission adopted 6 May 2010: Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (2010 – 2014) (COM 213, pdf). See also: Commission Staff Working Document (SEC 534, pdf)

EU: European Commission: A vague and brief: First Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2009) (12 pages, COM 214, pdf). It has been pointed out to Statewatch that this is not the "first" report on immigration and asylum produced by the Commission. The "first" report was published in 2001 and is over 500 pages long: see: Annual Report on Asylum and Migration (2001) (link)

Spain: Report on conditions and abuses in Basque centre for unaccompanied foreign minors

"SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa's (Mugak) working group on unaccompanied foreign minors has produced a report on the conditions in which minors held in the centre in Oilur de Deba were kept and the unlawful practices that they suffered."

FRONTEX: Indymedia: Presentation of the current role and future of the agency (French, pdf)

New Frontex guidelines ‘go beyond international conventions’ (Malta Independent, link): "The position taken in the controversial set of new Frontex guidelines goes beyond the position at international law, according to Patricia Mallia, the author of a new book entitled Migrant Smuggling By Sea: Combating a Current Threat to Maritime Security though the Creation of a Cooperative Framework."

European Commission: Proposal for a Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA (pdf)

EU-READMISSION AGREEMENT: PAKISTAN: For the first time, the Members of the European Parliament will have the opportunity to veto the conclusion of such agreements: Green/ALE and GUE/NGL groups in the European Parliament: Briefing (pdf) and Commission proposal (pdf):

"After years of opacity on the conclusion of readmission agreements with third countries, the European Commission agreed - for the first time - to answer some of the questions put forward by Members of the European Parliament ... Thus, in the name of transparency and information sharing, the Greens/ALE and the GUE/NGL groups would like to present the issues which dominated the debates"

See also: Briefing Note: Readmission agreements (pdf) and Open letter about readmission agreements - sent to the Union Council and European Commission (migreurop, link),

EU: Council of the European Union:

- Analysis of the replies to the questionnaire on unaccompanied minors arriving to the EU (EU doc no: 16869/1/09, pdf)

- The "resettlement" propsal: Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 573/2007/EC establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013 as part of the General programme "Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows" and repealing Council Decision 2004/904/EC (EU doc 7958/10, pdf)

- FRONTEX: Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (EU doc no: 7497/10, pdf)

- FRONTEX: Council Presidency draft regarding above document: Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (EU doc no: 8121/10, pdf)

European Parliament: Migrants at sea: guidelines for EU border patrols (Press release, pdf): At the plenary session a majority of MEPs voted to reject non-binding guidelines for search and rescue at sea conducted by the FRONTEX and national agencies, however, under its rules an absolute majority of MEPs, 369 out of a total of 738, was required to stop the Commission proposal going ahead.

"EU guidelines saying that border patrols have a moral duty to rescue migrants in distress at sea passed through the European Parliament on Thursday. Although a majority of MEPs voted to reject the non-binding guidelines in favour of binding legislation, they failed to muster the absolute majority of MEPs required. Parliament voted to reject the guidelines by 336 votes to 253 with 30 abstentions, but this was not enough as, under the rules, an absolute majority of all Members (369) was needed for rejection."

See Commission proposal: Proposal for a Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (pdf)

UK: Yarl's Wood detained baby for 100 days, damning report reveals - Prisons inspector Dame Anne Owers says force used against children twice in last year at immigration removal centre (Guardian, link) and Full text: Report on an unannounced full follow-up inspection of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre 9 – 13 November 2009 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (pdf)

European Parliament: Statewatch report: Surveillance of the sea external borders with the involvement of Frontex: the LIBE Committee opposes the adoption of the European Commission Draft Council decision

EU: European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): European Commission Proposal to recast the Qualification Directive (pdf)

Belgium: Developments and issues regarding Belgian regularisation policy (CIRÉ)

Italy: Harassment against migrants and Roma people

Spain/France: In-depth reports on the situation in detention centres for foreigners

France/Algeria: Joint maritime surveillance and security operation

EU: European Commission proposal to amend the Frontex Regulation: Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf) plus Impact Assessment (SEC 149, pdf) and Summary of IA (SEC 150, pdf)

France/Italy: "One day without us", day of struggle in support of migrants' rights on 1 March 2010

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 25-26 February 2010: Press release, 25 February (pdf) and Council conclusions on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration (pdf) See also: France: Policy Ignores Deeper Questions of Migration (Inter Press Service, link)

UK-EU: Home Office to opt out of asylum claims EU directive (Guardian, link): "Home Office ministers are to opt out of a European directive which lays down minimum standards for the treatment of asylum claims because it would mean abandoning a fast-track process that leads to hundreds of asylum seekers being detained every year."

EU: The first 1st reading "deal" of the new parliamentary session between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to an agreement at first reading (pdf) and the report from the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a longstay visa (pdf)

UK: Fast-Tracked Unfairness: Detention and Denial of Women Asylum Seekers in the UK (Human Rights Watch report, link)

Council of Europe: Issue Paper, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Criminalisation of migration in Europe: Human Rights implications (pdf)

EU-GREECE: Frontex first Regional Office to open in Piraeus (link):

Piraeus will host the 1st Regional Office of FRONTEX, following a decision passed by the representatives of Member States of the EU meeting in
Madrid. The Frontex operations center will be located near the offices of Body Port, which has been operating since 2004 the National Center for
Border Marine, who is the contact point of Greece with FRONTEX concerning maritime borders.

EU: Note of the Meijers Committee (Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law) on: Proposals for recasting the Qualification Directive (COM(2009) 551) and the Procedures Directive (COM(2009) 554) (pdf)

EU: Note of the Meijers Committee (Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law) on: Amended proposal for the Eurodac Regulation (COM (2009) 342) and the Decision on requesting comparisons with Eurodac data by Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (COM (2009) 344) (pdf):

"The Meijers Committee, sharing the serious concerns of the European Data Protection Supervisor and the national data protection authorities, strongly advices the members of the European Parliament to vote against this legislative proposal of the European Commission on the following grounds:

- The proposal runs counter to fundamental data protection principles such as proportionality of data processing and respect for purpose limitation.
- The proposal violates fundamental rights of the asylum seekers, including the right to privacy and data protection, the right to asylum and protection against torture and inhuman treatment.
- The proposal will lead to stigmatisation of this particular group of asylum seekers, in violation of the principle of non discrimination.
- When adopted, there is a serious risk that these instruments (the proposed Decision and Regulation) will invoke preliminary questions by national courts and subsequently will be held unlawful by the European Court of Justice, considering recent jurisprudence of both the European Court of Justice and the European Court for Human Rights."

ITALY: Medecins sans Frontieres: Abstract: Over the Wall: A tour of Italy’s migrant centres. January 2010 (pdf)

EU: Malta and Frontex missions: ‘No chance if the rules are changed’ (Malta Indpendent Online, link): "Malta will certainly not take part in any Frontex operation this year if the rules are changed to the effect that people rescued off the sea are taken to the host nation rather than the nearest port of call, this newspaper has learned."

EU: Draft Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (pdf) and and EP Briefing Note: Draft Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards sea border surveillance in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by FRONTEX (COM(2009)658) as amended by the Council on 25 January 2010 (pdf)

EU: Briefing Note for the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): EU Readmission Agreements: Overview (pdf)

France: Statements in support of the Kurdish refugees who landed in Corsica: Fourteen Corsican organisations issued a joint statement in support of the Kurds from Syria who landed in Bonifacio on 22 January

Spain: Vic town council norms to stop sans papiers becoming residents withdrawn

Following opposition from trade unions, migrant and anti-racist groups and social organisations, and the intervention of the central government, the town council of Vic (Catalunya) has withdrawn a norm that amended the criteria for registration in the residents' register (padrón) which excluded irregular migrants, as it would not have allowed foreigners to register unless they had a valid residence permit or could offer proof that procedures for it to be issued or renewed were underway.

EU: Migreurop: 2010, the year of the right to migrate? and Italian, French (links)

ITALY: Migreurop publishes a report following the fact-finding mission on 15 January 2010: Press release: Violence, racism and lies, from Rosarno to Bari (pdf), French (link), Italian (link) Spanish (link) and Report (French, pdf, link)

Greece: UNHCR call to stop Dublin II returns to Greece

Belgium: Suspicious death of a Tunisian in Vottem detention centre

EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders being considered under the "Regulatory procedure", (EU doc no: 17511/09, pdf)

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