Statewatch Observatory
Archive 2011: EU asylum and immigration policy


UK-EU: European Court of Justice: An asylum seeker may not be transferred to a Member State where he risks being subjected to inhuman treatment - EU law does not permit a conclusive presumption that Member States observe the fundamental rights conferred on asylum seekers (Press release, pdf) and Judgment - full-text (pdf). See also: Home Office loses legal battle over asylum seekers - European court rules that asylum seekers cannot be removed to other EU countries if they risk being treated 'inhumanely' (Guardian, link)

HUNGARY: Access to protection jeopardised: Information note on the treatment of Dublin returnees in Hungary, December 2011 (pdf)

EU: The Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (the Meijers Committee): Proposal to introduce a safeguard clause to suspend visa liberalisation (COM (2011) 290 final) (pdf)

"the Meijers Committee expresses its doubts about the necessity of the proposal and observes that the proposal may place human rights at risk. Unfortunately the Draft report and the explanatory memorandum of the Rapporteur are silent on the human rights effects of the proposal. The Meijers Committee recommends that these effects are explicitly taken into account in the debate and vote on the proposal which probably will take place in January.

EU: Council of the European Union: Common procedures for international protection, Reception of asylum-seekers, Visa safeguards

- Asylum Working Party: Outcomes:
Amended proposal for a Directive on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) (165 pages, pdf). There are still 230 reservations by Member State governments.

-
Amended proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (Recast) (85 pages, pdf): There are still over 100 reservations by Member State governments.

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Draft 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)

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UK government letter to MEPs on JHA Council (pdf)

EU: EUROSUR: European Commission: Proposal for a Regulation Establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf)

EU: European Asylum Support Office: Work Programme 2012 of the European Asylum Support Office (pdf)

European Commission: Communication on enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum An EU agenda for better responsibility-sharing and more mutual trust (COM 835, pdf)

"In its latest Communication on asylum in Europe, the Commission calls for “less talk and more solidarity”. Some measures may appear as favourable to migrants (e.g. the call for a reform of Dublin II directive, more sensitivity to international protection aspects during Frontex operations). However a whole set of measures reflects a position whereby migrants seeking protection are seen as a threat and where solidarity schemes apply to Member States rather than people seeking protection. A culture of disbelief towards people seeking protection and “mixed flows” transpires: deployment of civil protection mechanisms to address exceptional migration flows, a mechanism usually used in the case of major emergencies or disasters; the end of the European Refugee Fund to be replaced by the Asylum and Migration Fund after 2013, as well as the argument that the Temporary Protection directive was never activated so far “because the Union has not found itself in a situation of mass influx of displaced persons since the Kosovo refugee crisis of 1999”.

EU: Migreurop: A critical Chronology of European migration policies (pdf) produced by Alain Morice (CNRS-Université Paris-Diderot), Migreurop member. This chronology seeks to make it easier to understand European migration and asylum policies through a time-framed comparison of the evolution of the legal framework (columns A1 to A3), the public discourse (B1) and the facts (B2). The table is updated twice a year.

The aim is to picture the way in which the EU policy of closing the borders, apart from the sequence of tragedies that it causes, leads to human rights violations and to absurd situations that are sometimes impossible to manage by the very people who implement them, in an escalation whose effects sometimes appear to escape the grasp of its protagonists, and bargaining among states in which migrants, refugees and displaced people represent a form of exchange currency.

The prospects of this process are the unfair detention, repression and wandering of a growing number of would-be migrants. The chronology suggests that, should this trend continue to prevail in the future, we are heading towards a system enforcing the assignment of compulsory places of residence for third-country nationals, that is, a new version of apartheid on a worldwide scale in which camps will be in charge of keeping at a distance populations that have been rejected on both sides. Text in French (Link), Spanish (link) and Italian (link)

EU: Another EU database for migrants: the European Criminal Records Information System on Third-Country Nationals

With the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) due to come into operation as of April 2012, the European Commission are now developing the latest in a long list of EU-wide information systems and databases - a European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN). This will be a common European index containing the criminal record information of third-country nationals resident in the EU. As the name suggests, the ECRIS-TCN is essentially an addition to the ECRIS (although information is only exchanged via the ECRIS on EU nationals). It also differs in that it will rely upon a centralised index, rather than the connection of decentralised national registers.

The Moroccan and Spanish law enforcement agencies are complicit in the violence against migrants

- Allegations that they are endangering security and life in the vicinity of Ceuta
-
Statement by GADEM [Groupe antiraciste d'accompagnement et de défence des étrangers et migrants] 25/11/2011

UK: Asylum Aid-UNHCR: Mapping statelessness in the UK (Executive Summary, pdf) and Full-report (pdf)

France: Criticism of the law on immigration, integration and nationality of 16 July 2011

Cimade, a French migrant support organisation, has produced a critical analysis of the new immigration law entitled "law on immigration, integration and nationality" approved on 16 July 2011, which highlights that its key objectives are "surveillance, detention, expulsion and banning". Its three driving purposes are identified as:

- developing the mechanisms for the detention and surveillance of foreigners
- considerably reducing procedural guarantees to enable the removal of "unwanted" foreigners in contempt for their human rights and freedoms
- banning people from French territory following expulsion, applicable to everyone who is expelled and very difficult to act against.

EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II early warning system, visa lists, European Investigation Order:

- Proposal for a 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) - A process for early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crises (pdf)

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Proposal for a Directive on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (pdf)

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Outcomes: Draft 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)

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Presidency proposals on above (pdf) Note there are still over 40 Member State reservations.

ITALY: Pro Asyl report:
The Living Conditions of Refugees in Italy (link):

""This report documents the extremely difficult living conditions of asylum seekers and persons with protection status in Italy. This documentation focuses on the situation in Rome, however, similar problems are known to exist in other Italian cities. [...] Until Italy complies with its obligations, we hope this report will help to persuade other EU countries to refrain, for the time being, from deporting refugees to Italy. This has already been directed by some German courts, for example the administrative courts in Darmstadt, Cologne, Weimar, Kassel, Frankfurt and Minden, and by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). We are not alone in finding that the conditions for refugees in Italy are degrading. Other refugee and human rights organizations have come to the same conclusions."

EU: Migreurop Press Release: Our ideas are much better than your destructive policies (link), French, Italian and Spanish

"The two latest reports by Frontex show that joint surveillance operations with countries neighbouring the European Union (EU) are still a priority for its member states. The externalisation of migration controls at the borders of the EU continues, and it has resulted in many migrants being deported."

EU: European Commission: Green Paper on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the European Union (Directive 2003/86/EC) (COM 735, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Asylum Procedures Directive and Early Warning System:

- Amended proposal for a Directive on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) (158 pages, EU doc no: 12579, pdf) Over 250 Member State Reservations
-
As above (162 pages, EU doc no: 15381, pdf). Still over 200 Member State reservations
-
A process for early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crises/ Suggestions from the Presidency and the incoming DK Presidency (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Intra-Corporate Transfer for third country nationals:

- Proposal for a Directive on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (50 pages, EU doc no: 15045, pdf) With 142 Member States Reservation footnotes with multiple objections.
-
As above (pdf) (36 pages, EU doc no: 15075, pdf). Council Presidency compromise proposals

EU: Council of the European Union: Asylum reception conditions:

- Amended proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (Recast) (61 pages, EU doc no: 13102, pdf). Council Presidency proposals
-
As above (EU doc no: 14178, 81 pages, pdf). Response of the Council Working Party on Asylum to Presidency proposal above
-
As above (EU doc no: 15254, 71 pages, pdf). Further set of Council Presidency amendments
-
Austrian delegation: Asylum Working Party: Amended proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (EU doc no: 15628, pdf). Would allow for lot more detention of asylum-seekers, in particular unaccompanied minors

See also: -
Key cases of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and of the Court of Justice of the European Union relevant to the proposal for a revised Reception Conditions Directive (EU doc no: 15540, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Schengen Information System/SIRENE: ARTICLE 96 Alerts: Refusal of entry to third country nationals: Draft Council Conclusions on better use of SIS and SIRENE for the exchange of information on third-country nationals refused entry (pdf). These Draft Conclusions are based on this: Analysis of practical problems connected with alerts issued pursuant to Art. 96 of the CISA, i.e. reservations regarding aliens (pdf)

The Analysis shows that just five Member States are responsible for 83% of the people listed to be refused entry: Italy 319,632 (45,147%), Germany 89,196 (12,599%), Greece 74,780 (10,563%), Spain 50,160 (7,085%) and France 49,583 (7,004%)

SPAIN: Detained Immigrants "Are Treated Like Criminals" (IPS, link)

EU: European Commission: European Migration network Status Report 2010 (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Communication: Smart borders - options and the way ahead (pdf) and Press Release (pdf). This deals with border controls for third country national entering and exiting the EU (with or without visas). The Commission opts for a combination of an Entry-Exit System (ESS) and the Registered Travellers programme. Biometric checks (fingerprints or digital face images) will be introduced for the Exit Entry System after a transitional period and a combination of a "token" and central database for the Registered Travellers Programme.

The Communication contains the interesting admission that the object is to track down visa "overstayers" and that:

"This is a real problem as overstayers are the main source of irregular migration in the EU."

Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Undocumented migrant children in an irregular situation: a real cause for concern (pdf)

EU: FRONTEX REGULATION DECLARATIONS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council 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) (first reading) - Adoption of the legislative act (LA + S) =Statements (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (Recast) (pdf) The Council's position lowers standards regardingdetention and legal aid as compared with the existing Directive.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Court of Justice:The NS and ME Opinions -The Death of “Mutual Trust”? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex

"The key arguments in the opinions are that (a) there is no complete ‘opt-out’ from the Charter for the UK and Poland, although the effect of the Charter might be limited for those States as regards social rights; and (b) despite the Dublin system, asylum-seekers cannot be sent to a Member State where there is a serious risk that their Charter rights will be violated.

The Opinions would mean the end of the concept of absolute mutual recognition of other Member States’ decisions in EU Justice and Home Affairs law, as they would confirm that Member States cannot automatically rely on ‘mutual trust’ that other Member States will observe human rights."
[emphasis in original]

ECJ Press release: According to Advocate General Trstenjak, asylum seekers may not be transferred to other Member States if they could there face a risk of serious breach of the fundamental rights which they are guaranteed under the Charter of Fundamental Rights (pdf)

EU: Meijers Committee Note to the European Parliament: Proposal for a Regulation amending the Schengen Borders Code (COM(2011)118 final) (pdf)

.Human Rights Watch report: The EU’s Dirty Hands: Frontex Involvement in Ill-Treatment of Migrant Detainees in Greece (link):

"This report assesses Frontex’s role in and responsibility for exposing migrants to inhuman and degrading detention conditions during four months beginning late in 2010 when its first rapid border intervention team (RABIT) was apprehending migrants and taking them to police stations and migrant detention centers in Greece’s Evros region. The RABIT deployment has been replaced by a permanent Frontex presence. The report is based on interviews with 65 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Greece in November and December 2010 and February 2011, as well as with Frontex and Greek police officials."

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: EU countries failing Libyan refugees stuck in limbo (link): "European countries have shamefully failed to help thousands of mainly African refugees stranded near Libya’s borders, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing paper."

EU-FRONTEX: European Parliament: GUE/NGL group: New Frontex mandate a "wolf in sheep's clothing" (pdf): ""We don't need Frontex but a humanised refugee policy to deal with situations in Africa where people are living in dire conditions, an asylum system based on solidarity and a new neighbourhood policy more in tune with our values." Speaking after the vote, Marie-Christine Vergiat said "we do not want this Europe, this fortress Europe that gives lessons in human rights and democracy and is unable to reach out and help thousands of refugees. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is currently investigating the deaths in the Mediterranean and the EU will have to account for its own failures."

and: Green/EFA Group: FRONTEX/EU border control: Half-hearted improvements on human rights protection fall short (Press release, pdf): "The European Parliament today adopted a final compromise revising EU legislation on FRONTEX, the EU's agency for external border operations. While recognising that the final compromise will bring some improvements, the Greens regret that the revision will fall short of providing necessary guarantees on human rights protection."

EU: Commission pushes for 'europeanisation' of border controls (euobserver, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum System = State of play/guidance on further negotiations on CEAS (pdf)

EU countries say 'No' to commission powers on border control (euobserver, link)

EU: European Commission: Annual report on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2010 (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) - Summary of discussions (pdf), includes 10 page Annex on: RELEX general overview on Migration from the Presidency.

EU: European Commission: Proposal for amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) (pdf)

Italy/north Africa: Concern over the violation of rights of migrants who were refused entry, expelled, held in detention centres, asylum seekers and foreign workers

A document produced by ASGI (Associazione di Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione) raises several concerns over the treatment of migrants who arrived in Italy as a result of political turmoil in the north African countries of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia since December 2010.

France: "The law of France must be respected" : In the past few weeks, the prefecture of Gironde has proved very keen on chasing irregular migrants, sometimes with no respect for the legal procedures and judicial decisions made. This has been criticised by the magistrates' trade union.

UK: Ending the detention of children for immigration purposes? New "pre-departure accommodation centre" for families almost ready to open

UK: Deaths in detention centres (Free Movement, link): "“[T]he High Court ruled on Friday 5 August in S v SSHD [2011] EWHC 2120 (Admin) that the UKBA had unlawfully detained a man with serious mental illness between April and September 2010 and that the circumstances of his detention at Harmondsworth breached Article 3 ECHR, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment… It is believed to be the first time that a UK court has found detention at an immigration removal centre to have breached Article 3 and the case has been adjourned for the issue of relief and damages to be considered”

Press release (pdf) and Court judgment (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Single permit Directive, Discrimination Directive, Asylum reception conditions, TFTP:

- Early 2nd reading deal: Proposal for a 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 - Political agreement (pdf)

-
Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers
(Recast)
(including Member State objections, pdf)

UK: Report by the Children’s Commissioner: Landing in Kent: The experiences of unaccompanied children arriving in the UK (pdf)

UK Border Agency: Chief Inspector report: The use of country of origin information in deciding asylum applications: A thematic inspection (pdf)

"“The Agency did not produce country information reports for all the countries whose nationals may undergo either the non-suspensive appeals process or the detained fast–track. As a result, people who had no right to appeal before being removed or whose cases were processed very quickly were at particular risk where there were inconsistent approaches to obtaining country information”

“17% of reasons for refusal letters (12 cases) from our file sample showed either the selective use of country information or unjustified assertions based on the evidence available. Over 13% of reasons for refusal letters (7 cases) included country information which was, at best, tangential to the issues relevant to the asylum claim” “The Agency was only able to provide 84 of the 100 files requested and only 42 of these were provided for the original period requested.”

Italian Senate approves illegal migrant repatriation Bill (AGI News, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II, IT agency and VIS (VIsa Information System):

- DUBLIN II:
Proposal for a 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) (pdf)

-
VIS - state of play (pdf). See also: Small steps to big brother: the development of the Visa Information System and the Schengen Information System II is back on track

ITALY: African migrants found dead on overcrowded boat bound for Italy (Guardian, link)

ITALY: Italy: Asylum-seekers clash with police (News 24, link)

EU: TURKEY and JHA: UK Home Affairs Select Committee report: Implications for the Justice and Home Affairs area of the accession of Turkey to the European Union (116 pages, pdf)

NETHERLANDS: Dutch town enacts own migrant rules (euractiv, link): "Vaals, a town of 10,000 inhabitants in southeast Netherlands, is introducing special rules banning the right of residence of foreigners including EU nationals without the financial means to sustain themselves. The Commission said it would examine the decision closely." See: EU Directive on the right of free movement (2004, pdf)

EU: ACP-EU COTONOU AGREEMENT:African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States: Report on the dialogue on migration and development (pdf)

UK: Restraining technique used by officials 'increases risk of death - 'Researchers say volunteers who were restrained while leaning forward in a seated position reported being unable to breathe (Guardian, link) and See: Medicine, Science and the Law (link)

EU: Council of the Euopean Union: Questionnaire on the coordinated deployment of document advisers - Analysis and recommendations (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union:
Council Conclusions on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration, adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 25-26 February 2010 (pdf). These documents concern the implementation of the Council Conclusions:

-
Final report and recommendations of Project Group "Measure 6" (EU doc no: 7942-REV 2-11, pdf): "The objective of this Project Group "Measure 6" is: "To improve the collection, processing and systematic exchange of relevant information between FRONTEX, other EU Agencies and Member States"."

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Implementation of Council Conclusions on 29 Measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration: analysis of the replies to the questionnaire on "MS needs and capacities regarding Common Pre-Frontier Intelligence Picture (CPIP)" (12542-11, pdf)

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Analysis of the replies to the questionnaire on "MS needs and capacities regarding Common Pre-Frontier Intelligence Picture (CPIP)" - Compilation of replies (EU doc no: 12542-ADD1-11, 119 pages, pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis:
The revised directive on Refugee and Subsidiary Protection status (pdf), by Steve Peers, University of Essex:

"The Council and European Parliament have apparently agreed a "first-reading" deal on revising the EU's Directive on the definition and content of refugee and subsidiary protection status (the "qualification Directive"). Taken in isolation, the new rules are a modest improvement on the existing legislation. But seen in a broader context, they leave untouched the more troubling aspects of the EU's regime on asylum and border control....

Addressing [one of the main] problems will require either an effective system for suspending transfers to Member States which fail to apply the EU's rules, or a profound rethink of the processes used to ensure that Member States apply EU law in practice."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Frontex Regulation – Consolidated text after 2011 amendments (33 pages, pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex

EU: Council of the European Union: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Sopot, Poland, 18-19 July 2011:

- The Future of the Schengen Area (pdf)
-
Moving ahead in the negotiations on the Common European Asylum System (pdf)
-
Smart borders in the Schengen space (pdf)

EU: Statewatch Briefing: ECRE recommendations to the forthcoming Polish Presidency: Call for a harmonised and upgraded Common European Asylum System (pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: “A radically changing political landscape in the Southern Mediterranean”? The Dialogue for Migration, Mobility and Security with the Southern Mediterranean countries (pdf) by Marie Martin:

"The strategy of using the voice of the people on the other side of the Mediterranean to legitimate its policy does not convince anyone: the externalisation of border controls and the management of migration flows remains the top priority on EU’s agenda, far ahead of human rights considerations."

EU: Council of the European Union: 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) - Analysis of the final compromise text with the view to agreement (pdf). This final version refers to changes in the original: Commission Proposal(pdf).

This final "compromise" is the result of six secret 1st reading trilogues between the Council and the European Parliament.

This Council report sets out the next stages with the Commission to carry out a feasibility study on the creation of a "European system of border guards" and to analyse whether to rename "RABITS", "European Boarder Guard Teams".

EU: Council of the European Union: 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) - Examination of draft compromise text (pdf). Likely to be agreed by COREPER 7 July.

EU: Council of the European Union: Implementing the infamous Returns Directive: Questionnaire on defining the conditions under which an entry ban can be imposed and the means by which Member States can have rapid access to information on an entry ban (pdf). See: Statewatch Analysis (pdf) and Against the Outrageous Directive (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Polish, Danish and Cyprus Presidencies: JHA External Relations - Trio Programme (pdf): includes JAIEX mandate and says: "indicates tasks for several Council working parties that will be involved in achieving the goals concerning external relations within the JHA area. JAIEX will contribute to this process mainly by facilitating the exchange of information and providing a forum for strategic and horizontal reflections."

UK: Readmission Agreements (Migreurop, French, text in English, link)

ECHR: UK JUDGMENT: European Court of Human Rights judgment: The United Kingdom would violate human rights of two Somali nationals if it returned them to Mogadishu (Press release, pdf) and Judgment: Full-text (pdf):

"The case concerned a complaint by two Somali nationals that they risked being illtreated or killed if returned to Mogadishu. There are currently 214 applications about returns to Somalia pending against the United Kingdom before the European Court of Human Rights."

EU: Joint contribution of the German, French and United Kingdom delegations regarding the proposals for a directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers and for asylum procedures (pdf) These three EU Member States "lay down the law" for Commission proposals and say:

"So far as the Reception Conditions Directive is concerned, the new proposals should contribute to the good management of the problem of asylum, in the context of the rise in intake, and should not make claiming asylum more attractive or increase costs on Member States."

EU: Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reach 1st reading deal on amending the FRONTEX Regulation, simultaneous press releases issued: Council: Strengthening the European external borders agency Frontex - Political agreement between Council and Parliament (pdf) and European Parliament: Frontex border guard teams and fundamental rights (pdf)

See: Multi-column document showing the positions of the Commission, Council, the European Parliament and the "compromise" position in 1st reading trilogue discussions: 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: 11475-11, 133 pages, 10.6.11, pdf)

UK deportations to Iraq contravene UN advice  

The week from 20-26 June is Refugee Week, celebrated by many people across the UK, including a wide number of voluntary and refugee organisations seeking to "discover and celebrate the contributions refugees bring to the UK". 2011 also marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on Refugees. Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, recently attended a Refugee Council event in Sheffield where he spoke of Britain's "proud tradition of helping those who need our protection and of giving genuine refugees the support they need to start a new life in the UK". However, the proposed deportation of over 70 Iraqi nationals indicates that the asylum system in the UK continues to violate the rights and dignity of many of those individuals subject to it.

See also: Blockade of Heathrow detention centre to stop Iraq deportation flight (Indymedia, link)

Italy/Libya: ASGI questions the lawfulness of Italy's agreement with the NTC - Serious doubts about the lawfulness of the agreement between the government and the Libyan NTC

"First of all, we regret that the text of such an agreement was not released to the public. From press dispatches, it appears that it provides a clause according to which "the parties will proceed to enact reciprocal assistance and cooperation in the fight against illegal immigration, including the repatriation of immigrants whose situation is irregular".

Secondly, it is evident that, as it is an agreement of a political nature, it can certainly not be concluded in a simplified form, but must first be submitted to the Chambers [of parliament] for approval of the law authorising its ratification in application of art. 80 of the Constitution.
"

EU: FRONTEX: Council of the European Union: Multi-column document showing the positions of the Commission, Council, the European Parliament and the "compromise" position in 1st reading trilogue discussions: 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) (106.11, pdf)

See also on Frontex: 11475-11 (pdf) and 11761-11 (pdf)

EU: SCHENGEN BORDER CONTROLS: European Parliament: Amendments 24 - 93: Draft report Carlos Coelho: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an evaluation mechanism to verify application of the Schengen acquis (pdf): The various proposals for art. 13b and 13c (amendments 84-87) provide for different suggested mechanisms for re-imposing internal border controls.

See also: European Parliament: Plenary session debate, 10 May 2011: Migration flows and asylum and their impact on Schengen (debate) (pdf) and EU: Members states reluctant to let Brussels get a look in on border controls (euobserver, link)

EU-FRONTEX: The Council of the European Union rejects most of the calls by the European Parliament to protect fundamental rights in the proposed changes to the Regulation governing Frontex: Proposal for the amendment of Frontex Regulation - Presidency's compromise proposals on LIBE amendments regarding Fundamental Rights issues and democratic scrutiny (pdf)

Among the LIBE Committee amendments rejected by the Council is: "EP Amendment 32 [which] reads as follows:

"The Agency shall suspend joint operations, rapid border intervention missions and pilot projects where fundamental rights or international protection obligations have been violated."

Considering that the majority of delegations is not in favour of this amendment, the Presidency proposes not to accept it in the context of the negotiations with the European Parliament on the package on Fundamental Rights issues." (emphasis added)

And see multi-column document showing the state of the discussions between the Council and the European Parliament in the "secret" 1st reading "trilogue" meetings - showing: Commission proposal, Current Council position, Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) and "compromise" amendments: 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) (125 pages, EU doc no: 10696-11, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Intra-corporate transferees and Seasonal workers:

- Intra-corporate transferees: Latest text with over 100 reservations by Member states: Proposal for a Directive on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (pdf)

- Intra-corporate transferees: Council Presidency's: Revised response (pdf)

- Seasonal workers: Latest text with over 100 reservations by Member States: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf) and Proposed changes from the Council Presidency (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Readmission, migration and travel documents

- Readmission: Draft Council Conclusions defining the European Union strategy on readmission (pdf) and earlier draft: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements - Draft Council Conclusions on the EU strategy on readmission (pdf)

- Migration:
Draft Council Conclusions on Borders, Migration and Asylum (pdf)

- Travel documents: multi-column "trilogue" between the Council and the European Parliament nearing 1st reading deal: Draft Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council 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)

EU: TRAFFICKING: Council of the European Union:

- Action-Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension on action against trafficking in human beings – first implementation report/update of information on Member States' external action (164 pages, pdf). Contains detailed of action taken Member State by Member State.

-
Adoption of draft Council Conclusions - "Targeting developing forms of trafficking in human beings in the EU Member States" (pdf)

EU: SINGLE PERMIT FOR THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS: Multi-column documents covering the Council and European Parliament "trilogue" discussion on the: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 (pdf) Gives the original Commission proposal, the Council and parliament positions and the "Compromise" positions.

EU: European Commission:

- Proposal for a 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 (COM 290, pdf)

-
Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2010) (COM 291, pdf)

-
Staff Working Paper: Accompanying the document: Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2010) (SEC 620, pdf)

EU: Joint Communication from the Commission and the High Representative: A new response to a changing Neighbourhood (pdf) including "Intensifying our political and security co-operation" and "Migration and mobility", hence see also: European Commission: Southern Mediterranean: towards a new era of dialogue and partnership (pdf). When the Commission talks about "dialogue and partnership" you know it is really about "security" and "migration".

EU: European Commission: Southern Mediterranean: towards a new era of dialogue and partnership (pdf). When the Commission talks about "dialogue and partnership" you know it is really about "security" and "migration".

EU: Visas to be re-introduced for Western Balkan countries (euractiv, link): "The European Commission said it will propose tomorrow (24 May) to reintroduce visas for Western Balkan countries whose citizens abuse the system. The measure will punish countries such as Serbia and Macedonia for failing to stop their citizens from taking advantage of visa-free travel rights to request asylum once they reach one of the EU's 27 member states."

EU-LIBYA: Medecins sans Frontieres: Europe must accept the boat people fleeing Libya: MSF criticizes inconsistent European policies claiming to protect civilians by engaging in a war while closing its borders to them (Press release, pdf) and Open Letter (pdf)

EU/Africa: Criticism as migrant death toll reaches 1,000

Following a series of shipwrecks and deaths, as well as reports in the Guardian newspaper about the failure to rescue migrants in boats or dinghies that are adrift by ships and patrols deployed in the Mediterranean by NATO and the EU to stop migrants reaching Europe, Migreurop has issued a press release to mark the fact that over 1,000 people have died in this context since January 2011.

EU-DENMARK: Statement by Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, on the announced permanent customs controls in Denmark (pdf)

EU: While the European left dithers, the right marches menacingly on - Immigration: The longer the left's response is confused, the more the populist right begins to make xenophobia acceptable (The Observer, link)

EU: DENMARK - BORDER CONTROLS: Letter from President of the Commission to the Danish Prime Minister (13 May 2011, pdf). A legal analysis "raises important doubts about whether the proposed measures, if implemented in the "intensive and permanent" way that has been announced, would be in line with Denmark's obligations under European and international law.."

UK: The Independent Chief Inspector of the United Kingdom Border Agency has released two reports:

-
Preventing and detecting immigration and customs offences: A thematic inspection of how the UK Border Agency receives and uses intelligence (pdf)
-
A short-notice inspection of a UK Border Agency Arrest Team (Croydon) (pdf)

The first report criticises the agency on a number of grounds, namely that the agency failed to monitor the outcome of intelligence received; that "intelligence assessments did not take into account the quality of decision making when seeking ministerial authorisations to discriminate"; and that different staff follow different methods for identifying people or vehicles to be searched at ports of entry, with no analysis of which of these methods worked best. The second report focuses chiefly on "the police-like powers of arrest and the associated powers of entry, search and seizure," noting that "there was significant non-compliance with the UK Border Agency's policy and guidance".

Press coverage of the reports: UK Border Agency criticised over intelligence use (BBC news, link) and Immigration team sent to detain woman was not told she was pregnant (The Guardian, link)

EU-PNR: Passenger Name Records: UK opt-in (pdf) and Statement in House of Commons (pdf) See also: Ireland opt-in (pdf)

European Parliament: Plenary session debate, 10 May 2011: Migration flows and asylum and their impact on Schengen (debate) (pdf)

EU: Members states reluctant to let Brussels get a look in on border controls (euobserver, link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: 15 of the EU's 27 Member States backed: EU consensus to revamp Schengen travel area (ebusiness, link): On the one hand: ""There was a clear position from every minister: the free movement of people is one of the Union's key achievements and we have to maintain and safeguard this," and on the other hand: "to spell out a mechanism allowing a state to reopen border posts in case of a sudden surge in migration, or should another EU state be shown to be unable to control its frontier with non-EU nations."

DENMARK: BORDER CONTROLS: Press stories: Denmark chided for Schengen move (European Voice, link), includes: "In the afternoon, Malmström [Commissioner] chaired a conference to discuss national governments' pledges to provide temporary protection to people fleeing the civil war in Libya who are currently stranded in Malta. The UK announced before the conference that it will not admit any refugees from north Africa..." (emphasis added) Background: Denmark steps up border controls (AP, link). See: European Parliament: ALDE Press Release: ALDE criticises the re-introduction of internal border checks in Denmark (pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Commission Communication on migration: Adapting the Schengen Border Code (pdf) by Chris Jones.

On 4th May 2011, the European Commission published a new Communication on Migration. In light of the on-going political turmoil in North Africa and the subsequent impact on southern EU member states – notably Italy and Malta – the Communication outlines current and future proposals with regard to migration issues. However, it is not limited to policy areas affected by the situation in North Africa, and is in fact a vehicle for demanding a range of political and institutional changes at both EU and Member State level.

EU: Historical documents: Council of the European Union: Member State national answers to: Questionnaire on the possible creation of a system of electronic recording of entries and exits of third country nationals in the Schengen area (EU doc no: 8552/09, April 2009, pdf) plus: Responses from France, Cyprus and Finland (8552/09 ADD 1, pdf), Responses from Bulgaria, France, Italy, Portugal, Iceland and Norway (8552/09 ADD 2, pdf) and Response from Greece (8552/09 ADD 3, pdf)

EU: European Parliament: MEPs suspicious about Schengen rules review (Press release, pdf): "The European Commission's announcement that it is considering a temporary reintroduction of checks at the EU's internal borders, at the request of Italy and France, prompted concern among Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Monday. MEPs say that Schengen must not be weakened and that all internal border checks should be strictly justified."

See also: Commission to propose changes to Schengen rules (European Voice, link)

GREECE: NGO “AITIMA”: Asylum seekers are put in jail! (pdf):

"The police authorities, punishing with imprisonment everyone who is trying to practice his/her right to apply for asylum, are basically demolishing such entitlement. This practice is a cruel violation of human rights of the refugees. The rights of the refugees are ratified in the international conventions and therefore compel our country."

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: - Final report and recommendations of Project Group "Measure 6" (EU doc no: 7942 rev 1, pdf): "29 measures for reinforcing the protection of external borders and combating illegal immigration (6975/10), the Project Group on Measure 6 has produced its final report."

EU: SCHENGEN: France and Italy propose reform of EU border rules (euobserver, link) and see: Full-text of letter to the Council and Commission (French, pdf)

EU: There is not one single minute to lose, there is not one single further life to lose (link): !In the night from the 4th to the 5th of April has happened the latest (and possibly the worst in recent history) of ship-wracks in this Mediterranean Sea that is more and more becoming an open sky cemetery. 250 young lives have been swallowed by waves: what rescues teams have seen is so horrible that it cannot be described by words. Should it be possible adding horror to horror, we shall go and see who these young people were and which life stories they brought with them."

EU: Council of the European Union:

- Proposal for a Directive on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (Doc no: 8485/11, pdf)

- (LIBYA inc. Frontex) Draft Council Conclusions on the management of migration from the Southern Neighbourhood (pdf)

EU: READMISSION: Migreurop: European Commission evaluation of EU readmission agreements. Some comments and questions (pdf) and Evaluation de la Commission européenne sur les accords communautaires de réadmission. Quelques réactions et interrogations (pdf)

Immigrant boat capsizes off Italy; 250 missing (AP, link) and Italian rescuer recounts migrant boat "horror story" (Reuters, link)

EU: European Commission: Consular protection for EU citizens in third countries: State of play and way forward (149/2-11, pdf) and Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements (COM 76-11, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: 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) (89 pages, EU doc no: 7169/11, pdf).

Very useful summary of the positions of the Council, Commission and European Parliament on the amendments to the Frontex Regulation.

CoE: GREECE: European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) : Public statement concerning Greece (pdf):

"The CPT has emphasised time and again the need to address the structural deficiencies in Greece’s detention policy, and has attempted to exercise its preventive function by recommending practical measures to ensure that all irregular migrants deprived of their liberty are held in decent conditions. However, the Committee has been met by inaction from the Greek authorities in addressing the very serious concerns raised."

IN THE NEWS: ITALY: Migrants Settle Into Permanent Struggle (Inter Press Service, link); DENMARK: Worst in the West for family reunification (Copenhagen Post, link); ITALY: A day at the temporary immigration center in Lampedusa (Afronline, link); Netherlands: EU warns the Netherlands on Polish deportation plan (Dutch News, link)

GREECE: These hunger strikers are the martyrs of Greece - Asylum seekers willing to die in the face of expulsion after shame and exploitation bear witness to a higher truth than life (Guardian, link) and see: Act Now (link)

GREECE: The Hunger Strikers are in danger (clandestinenglish, link): "The 300 migrant workers have been abstaining from food for 31 days now, since the 25th of January. In Athens and Thessaloniki, we witness fainting episodes all the time, everyday, all day long. More and more often, the situation of some becomes extremely critical, and the strikers are taken to public hospitals."

EU: European Commission Communication: Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements (EURAs, pdf): EURAs:

"impose reciprocal obligations on the contracting parties to readmit their nationals and also, under certain conditions, third country nationals and stateless persons. They also set out in detail the operational and technical criteria for this process. In policy terms, EURAs are considered a necessary tool for efficient management of migration flows into the EU..."

The inconsistent application of EURAs [by EU Member States] undermines greatly the credibility of the EU Readmission Policy towards the third countries, which are expected to apply the EURA correctly...."

Future agreements should: "indicate possible retaliation measures by the EU in cases of persistent and unjustified denial of cooperation by the partner country."

See also:

- Evaluation of EU Readmission Agreements (SEC 209, pdf)
- The aggregated data for the chosen categories gathered by the Commission from the MS on the basis of a questionnaire (SEC 210, pdf)
- Eurostat data (SEC 211, pdf)
- Implementing protocols signed/concluded by the MS under the EU readmission agreements in force (SEC 212, pdf)

FRANCE-IVORY COAST: Anafé - Association nationale d’assistance aux frontières pour les étrangers: An inhumane reflex: France returns Ivorians to their torturers (pdf): "Anafé demands that the French authorities comply with the recommendations issued by UNHCR
and suspend any returns of Ivory Coast nationals to their country."

Italy/Tunisia: Migreurop press statement on Italy's reaction to the influx of Tunisians (14 February 2011): LAMPEDUSA: Italia:

L'Europa non deve avere paura della democrazia in nord Africa
Europe does not have to be afraid of democracy in North Africa
L'Europe ne doit pas avoir peur de la démocratie en Afrique du Nord
Europa no debe temer a la democracia en el norte de África

EU: Council of the European Union: Standing Committee on operational cooperation on Internal Security (COSI):Implementing 29 measures to combat illegal immigration:

- Draft Council Conclusions on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration (EU doc no: 6435-rev3-10, pdf)
-
Follow-up to the Council Conclusions on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of external borders and combating illegal immigration (EU doc no: 8852-10, pdf)
-
COSI's role as regards the follow-up to the Council conclusions on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration (EU doc no: 9171-10 , pdf)
-
Implementation of measure 17 of the Council Conclusions of 25 February 2010 on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration - Questionnaire (CM 4701-10, pdf)
-
Draft position on Spain's assumption of the role of lead country in the implementation of one of the Council Conclusions on 29 measures aimed at strengthening the protection of external borders and combating illegal migration - conclusion 4 (EU doc no: 11864-rev2-10, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: State of Play:
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 of the European Union: Frontex Programme of Work 2011 (140 pages, pdf). Includes:

"Development of systematic collection of human intelligence from Frontex Joint Operations for risk analysis" (emphasis added) and

"To develop the systematic collection of human intelligence for risk analysis." (emphasis added). "Human intelligence" is a euphemism for the recruitment of informers and covert sources.

"Exploration and utilisation of social media for intelligence gathering, early warning, opinion mining and trend analysis" (emphasis added) and

"Establishment of an intelligence community in Africa"

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20-21 January 2011, Godollo, Hungary: Discussion papers:

- Dismantling obstacles to EU citizens' rights
-
Role of the Council in implementing Charter of Fundamental Rights in legislative procedure
-
Comprehensive security through border management

Bosnia-&-Herzegovina: Ill-treatments and hunger strike in Lukavica foreigners’ camp (MIgreurop, link)

ECHR: European Court of Human Rights: Press release: Belgian authorities should not have expelled asylum seeker to Greece (pdf) and Full text of Judgment (pdf)

See also: Human rights court deals blow to EU asylum system (euobserver, link): "EU's asylum system known as the "Dublin regulation" was dealt a blow on Friday (21 January), as the European Court of Human Rights ruled that an Afghan translator should not have been sent back from Belgium to Greece, where he faced degrading and inhuman treatment."

Sweden Slammed Over Iraqi Deportations (Inter Press Service, link): "Both the United Nations and Amnesty International have criticized Sweden for its latest expulsion of Iraqi migrants who fled their home country to seek shelter in the European nation, citing concerns that violence in Iraq continues to threaten the lives of deported migrants.

EU: New Statewatch Observatory: Council of the European Union: Policymaking through Council "Conclusions"

Germany puts freeze on sending asylum seekers back to Greece (DW-World-DE, link)

Council of the European Union: SCIFA's role and working methods (pdf)

Italy: Quota for migrant workers to be allowed into Italy issued

On 20 November 2010, the Italian government issued the quotas for the entry of non-seasonal migrant workers in 2010. It lists the number of available places, the nationalities that will have preferential treatment in the form of entries reserved exclusively for them as a result of agreements stipulated with Italy regarding combating illegal immigration into Italy, or which are due to be stipulated.

EU: PICUM’s Main Concerns about the Fundamental Rights of Undocumented Migrants in Europe (pdf): "This report pieces together a year of European, national and local news issues on irregular migration to foster a better understanding of the main concerns of human rights of undocumented migrants as well as the multifaceted ways in which civil society throughout Europe is responding to this situation of social exclusion. It is based on a review of events reported in PICUM’s newsletter during the year 2009.

EU: European Parliament: Draft report: on the proposal for a directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: - Final report on Joint Police Operation HERMES (pdf):

"Operation HERMES was aimed at refining and completing the map of routes used for illegal immigration and smuggling of human beings within the Schengen area together with the non-Schengen Member States... During the second phase, a total of 1900 illegal migrants were controlled in the 22 participating
Member States. 43 % of them were found on a train, 37.3% on the road, 10% on the waterways, 5% of these migrants had the intention of travelling to another EU country by plane and for 4.8% the transport mode was unspecified."

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