Statewatch Observatory
Archive 2012: EU asylum and immigration policy


EU: Statewatch Analysis: EU Immigration and Asylum Law in 2012: The Year of Living Ineffectually (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:

"Several years ago, the EU set itself the deadline of 2010 - later postponed to 2012 - for completing the second phase of the Common European Asylum System. In the event, it has largely failed to meet this deadline. Moreover, almost no other EU immigration legislation was formally adopted in 2012."

Council of Europe: Human Rights Commissioner: Restrictions on defenders of migrants’ rights should stop (pdf)

EU: RISE OF THE FAR-RIGHT: Spanish far right grows amid memories of Franco era (BBC News, link): "European parties of the far right are growing in the financial crisis. In Greece it is the Golden Dawn, in Finland it is the True Finns and in Hungary it is Jobbik. Espana 2000 is Spain's answer to the Front Nationale and is seeing its membership grow by about 40 new members a week. Newsnight's Economics Editor Paul Mason travels to Valencia in Spain and finds wounds of the Franco era are in danger of re-opening."

FRANCE: Parliament abolishes the "solidarity offence" but maintains custody for undocumented migrants

On 19 December , the French Parliament abolished a legal provision that sanctions people who provide support to irregular migrants, through the adoption of a proposal on "holding migrants for the verification of the regularity of stay, and amending the offence for support to irregular stay by excluding humanitarian and non-profit based acts" (projet de loi relatif à la retenue pour vérification du droit au séjour et modifiant le délit d'aide au séjour irrégulier pour en exclure les actions humanitaires et désintéressées).

EU: Detention centres: The fifth edition of Migreurop’s "Encampment Map" has been updated and is now available online: English French Spanish Italian

UK: Institute of Race Relations: Miliband's progress "A. Sivanandan, known for his trenchant critiques of government ‘race’ policies, has broadly welcomed what Ed Miliband had to say last week. IRR News asks him why. What’s new about the Miliband speech? It seems to carry many of the same old themes – need to curtail immigration, need to integrate and so on"

EU Council of the European Union: SCHENGEN BORDERS REINTRODUCTION: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances - Revised draft compromise text (pdf) Revised draft "compromise" text compiled by the Council, taking into account the outcome of the "informal" trilogues (with the European Parliament) which took place in October and November.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Common European Asylum System: State-of-play update (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:

"It is too soon to say whether the amendment to the asylum procedures directive will be only a marginal improvement on the existing legislation, or a more substantial shift towards higher standards. However, the two recent developments mentioned above are both very unfortunate – the Member States failed (until now, at least) to agree to establish special procedural protection for those asylum-seekers who are in most need, and the EP foolishly passed up the Council’s offer to set a final time limit for all asylum decisions. Instead it suggested a possible indefinite wait for a decision – even as the Council was willing to accept the principle (rightly defended by the EP) of an absolute time limit! One can only hope that the EP’s negotiating skills improve sufficiently to ensure that the
second-phase Directive entails a solid improvement in this field, in order to guarantee that asylum applications are examined fairly across the European Union."

Lampedusa’s cemetery (link) Statement by mayor of Lampedusa, here is an abstract:

“I’m outraged by the normalcy that seemed to have spread to everyone like contagion. I am scandalised by the silence of Europe that has just received the Nobel Peace Prize and yet is staying silent in the face of a massacre that has the numbers of a true war. I’m becoming more convinced that European policy on immigration considers this offering of human lives to be a way to restrict the flows of people, or maybe a deterrent”

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Common European Asylum System: State-of-play (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex

EU: STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME MID-TERM REVIEW: Council of the European Union: Stockholm Programme mid-term review (15921-12, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: DUBLIN III: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 [First reading] (15957-12, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Visa lists & Asylum Procedures

- VISA LISTS possible deal: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 requirementxx (15910-12, pdf)

- ASYLUM PROCEDURES: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) [First reading] (15869-12, 305 pages, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, EP position, Council position, possible "compromises"

EU: Council of the European Union: 29 Measures: COSI, "illegal" immigration & Pre-frontier intelligence "picture" & Joint patrolling

- "ILLEGAL" IMMIGRATION: COSI: 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration. Progress report on the achievements of the project groups (15905-12, pdf) Includes: Measure 4 ("joint patrols", led by ES), Measure 6 ("information exchange" led by BE), Measure 12 ("common pre-frontier intelligence picture (CPIP)" led by PL), Measure 16 ("sharing info modus operandi networks, FADO", led by ES),

Background on Measure 6: Final report and recommendations of Project Group "Measure 6" (7942-rev2-11, pdf): Detailed information

- INTELLIGENCE PICTURE: Follow up to the final report on Measure 12 (15908-12, pdf): "“to create a Common prefrontier intelligence picture in order to provide the Coordination Centres with pre-frontier information provided by Member States, Frontex and third countries."

- JOINT PATROLLING: State of play of COSI project group implementing one of the "29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration": "Measure 4". FINAL REPORT (pdf): "The objective of this Project Group "Measure 4" is: "To improve operational cooperation with third countries of origin and transit, in order to improve joint patrolling on land and at sea, upon consent of the Member State concerned, return, and collection and exchange of relevant information within the applicable legal framework, and other effective preventive measures in the field of border management and illegal immigration."

EU: UNICEF: Judicial Implementation of Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Europe: The case of migrant children including unaccompanied children (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: EUROSUR: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (14636-12, pdf) Council discussing its position prior to entering 1st reading trilogues with the European Parliament

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee examines treatment of foreign nationals during deportation flight from United Kingdom (link) and see: CPT Guidelines on deportation of foreign nationals by air

The monitoring took place in the context of an ad hoc visit to the United Kingdom from 22 to 24 October and involved the presence of the CPT’s delegation on a charter flight between London and Colombo (Sri Lanka).

EU: GREECE-ASYLUM: Council of the European Union: Greece's National Action Plan on Asylum Reform and Migration Management = Information by Greece, the Commission, Frontex and EASO (15358-12, pdf) Detailed report on Greece's asylum and migration policies - including detention and returns - and their shortcoming according to the Commission.

Dublin II: European Court of Human Rights condemned Hungary twice for detaining asylum-seekers in breach of Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights (Al-Tayyar Abdelhakim v. Hungary (no. 13058/11) and Hendrin Ali Said and Aras Ali Said (no. 13457/11)) See also Hungary still not safe for Dublin II migrants: Note on Dublin transfers to Hungary of people who have transited through Serbia (UNHCR, link) The UNHCR reiterated its recommendation for Dublin II asylum-seekers not to be removed to Hungary six months after a first report warning against arbitrary detention and unfair treatment of asylum-seekers in Hungary. And see: Statewatch Analysis: Was Hungary the first EU country of arrival? Legal responsibility before human rights: a short story on Dublin (pdf)”

Dublin II: European Court of Human Rights condemned Hungary twice for detaining asylum-seekers in breach of Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights (Al-Tayyar Abdelhakim v. Hungary (no. 13058/11) and Hendrin Ali Said and Aras Ali Said (no. 13457/11))

See also Hungary still not safe for Dublin II migrants: Note on Dublin transfers to Hungary of people who have transited through Serbia (UNHCR, link) The UNHCR reiterated its recommendation for Dublin II asylum-seekers not to be removed to Hungary six months after a first report warning against arbitrary detention and unfair treatment of asylum-seekers in Hungary.

And Statewatch analysis August 2012: Was Hungary the first EU country of arrival? Legal responsibility before human rights: a short story on Dublin (pdf)”

EU: Council of the European Union: EURODAC & Seasonal Workers

- LEA ACCESS TO EURODAC: Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No […/…] (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) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (EU doc no: 14847-12, 115 pages, pdf) Including Member State positions: "On 10 October 2012 the Permanent Representatives Committee endorsed the text which appears in the Annex , as a mandate for the Presidency to engage in a first informal trilogue on the recast of the aformentioned Regulation.The remaining comments of delegations on certain provisions of this draft Regulation are reflected in the footnotes."

- SEASONAL WORKERS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (EU doc no: 14621-12, pdf)

- As above: Council position (pdf): 134 Member State reservations

GERMANY: Mass protests across Germany for the rights of asylum-seekers and migrants (pdf):

Two protests were organised in Berlin on 13 and 15 October 2012 against the German authorities policies on asylum-seekers and migrants. Thousands of people were present, showing the size of the refugee and migrant community and its capacity to protest and advocate for their rights together with German civil society organisations and individual activists. However, most of the demands are not specific to Germany and seem to reflect broader discontent with EU policies, whether it has to do with the reception conditions or deportations.

EU: EveryOne Group, Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC) and NGO Gandhi: An Appeal to Activate Efficient Programmes for Rescuing Refugees at Sea (link) and Commission reply (link)

UN: ITALY: Italy: UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes his third country visit in his regional study on the human rights of migrants at the borders of the European Union: Italy (pdf):

"In relation to the Greek border, Italian authorities confirmed that they are preventing irregular migrants from disembarking from vessels arriving from Greece, thus forcing them to return to Greece... the application of a maximum period of detention of 18 months, although provided for under the EU Return Directive, is excessive in order to identify someone...I am also concerned that there is no general authority with investigative powers to monitor the activities of all places where migrants are held."

EU: Council of the European Union: ECJ FRONTEX ANNULLMENT and EURODAC: LEAs access to database

- ECJ-FRONTEX-Legal Service: Judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 September 2012 in Case C-355/10 (European Parliament v. Council of the European Union) - notion of essential and non-essential elements (pdf):

"By judgment of 5 September 2012, the Court (Grand Chamber) annulled Council Decision 2010/252/EU of 26 April 2010 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union ("the contested Decision") on the grounds that it contains essential elements and that only the European Union legislature would have been entitled to adopt such a decision."

- EURODAC-LEA-ACCESS: Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No […/…] (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) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (Doc no: 14519-12,109 pages, pdf). Council position ready to go to COREPER prior to starting trilogue with the European Parliament.

- EURODAC-LEA ACCESS: As above: joint letter from the German, Finnish and Austrian delegations to the Chair of the Asylum Working Party. (pdf). Concerns prior access to PRUM data before using EURODAC (access to finger-prints). The documents explains the background to the revision of recital 26 re the requirement of the use of the Prum system prior to police access to Eurodac. The consequence of this wording is that the UK police could not have access to Eurodac unless the UK opted back in to the Prum Decision after the planned block opt-out, also Swiss police could not have such access either (on the other hand, the EU has a treaty with Norway and Iceland on Prum)

EU: Council of the European Union: VIS, International protection, Dublin III comitology & Migratory Pressures

- VIS - state of play (Doc no: 14505-12, pdf). Visa Information System, VIS) Friends of VIS fail to agree on extension to cover all "remaining regions and third countries, including China, India and Russia."

- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) [First reading] (Doc no: 14259-12, 299 pages, pdf). Four column document: Commission proposal, EP position, Council position, Proposed "compromises".

- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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) (Doc no: 14520-12,pdf) Council position for COREPER to agree prior to first informal trilogue with European Parliament on the “comitology” aspects of Dublin III.

- EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response Draft Biannual Update (36 pages, pdf)

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

EU: European Commission Report: Mid-term report on the implementation of the Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (COM 554-12, pdf), Commission Staff Working Paper (SWD 281-12, pdf) and Press release (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) o 862/2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection (pdf)

EU: FRONTEX Fundamental Rights Strategy: Statewatch and Migreurop’s joint submission to the Ombudsman of the European Union (pdf) and French (pdf).

“Frontex has adopted a restrictive approach to the human rights impact of its activities, and put forward a strategy where preventive mechanisms remain weak and where redress mechanisms are absent. In so doing, Frontex seems to fall short of two of its commitments presented in its reply to the Ombudsman: a “zero tolerance policy” and the mainstreaming of fundamental rights into all Frontex activities.

We thus argue that the understanding of the human rights risks in the context of Frontex operations may be underestimated and that the proposed safeguards are unsatisfactory as a result”.

European Court of Justice: The minimum conditions for the reception of asylum seekers must be granted by the Member State in receipt of an application for asylum even when it calls upon another Member State which it considers to be responsible for the examination of the application (Press release, pdf): "That obligation applies, in general, from when the asylum application is lodged until the actual transfer of the asylum seeker to the Member State responsible." and Advocate General: Opinion (pdf) The judgment is not yet available.

Common European Asylum System: LIBE Committee adopts Reception Directive and the Dublin III Regulation

As the deadline set for the adoption of a Common European Asylum Office is approaching (end of 2012), negotiations have reached the final stage of the "trilogue" between the Council and the European Parliament. Two of the measures were endorsed by the LIBE Committee on 19 September 2012: the Dublin III Regulation and the Reception Directive. Although some important changes were adopted which will likely improve the EU asylum system, significant elements remain at stake especially regarding access to social and economic rights, to free legal assistance, and the protection against disproportionate detention.

Germany: Border control and deportation operations to Belarus The German magazine Junge Welt published on 30 August 2012 an article which looks at cooperation between the German police (Bundespolizei) and Belarus in border control and return of irregular migrants. German cooperation is part of wider cooperation at an EU level with the former Soviet republic.

EU-SERBIA: Serbia is "no longer a safe third country" but Commission says that readmission "functions smoothly: Deportations of asylum-seekers from the EU to Serbia look set to continue, despite the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stating last month that the Balkan nation should no longer be considered a safe third country to which to return asylum seekers.

EU: Meijers Committee: Note on the latest Presidency text on the proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (COM(210)379) (pdf):

EU: EURODAC-EUROPOL:Council of the European Union: Note explaining the need for EUROPOL to be able to request the comparison with EURODAC data for the purposes of preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offences and other serious criminal offences (pdf) Europol tries to make the case for access to the EURODAC database of the fingerprints of asylum-seekers in order to track down organised criminal gangs, traffickers and victims. It provides two insrtances to back up its case, which were solved without access to EURODAC. No case is made to suggest that its request is proportionate and there is an underlying assumption that all asylum-seekers should be checked to see if they are offenders. It is further impled that Europol, as the "EU criminal information hub", should have access to all personal data wherever it may reside in the EU.

EU: VIS (Visa Information System): VIS - state of play (pdf) A good illustration of the role the Council plays in implementation and see also the reference to the shadowy "FoVIS" (Friends of VIS) and Commission Implementing Decision of 21 September 2012 determining the date from which the Visa Information System (VIS) is to start operations in a third region (pdf)

EU-EUROSUR: The Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: Note on the proposal for a Regulation establishing the European Border Surveillance System (COM (2011)0873) (pdf): "The Meijers Committee suggests that:

1. The goal of Eurosur to protect the lives of migrants should be guaranteed in the recital and in Article 1 of the Regulation;
2. The scope of Article 12a (2) (b) on the processing of personal data with regard to the powers based upon the Frontex Regulation should be clarified;
3. Amendment 40 of the draft report by Jan Mulder should be accepted as it includes the protection of lives of migrants in the exchange of information with neighbouring States;
4. Amendment 46 of the draft report by Jan Mulder should be accepted as it extends the content of the evaluation explicitly to the processing of personal data;
5. The reference to ‘migrant profiles’ in Article 9(6) (c) and Article 10 (5bis) (c) should be deleted or an explicit reference must be made in accordance with Article 20 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (COM (2012) 9,10 and 11);
6. Article 10 (5bis) on the classification of information on own assets in the operational layer of the European situational picture as EU restricted should be deleted;
7. Article 18bis should be deleted from the current draft by the Council, as long as there is no decision of the Council by which United Kingdom and Ireland are allowed to participate in measures building upon the Schengen acquis."

EU: Migreurop: A critical Chronology of European Migration Policies by Alain Morice (CNRS-Université Paris-Diderot and Migreurop network)

"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.

French version (link), Italian version (link) and Spanish version (link)

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Detention of third-country nationals in return procedures (72 pages, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: False documents, HLWG Asylum & Migration

- FALSE DOCUMENTS: Working Party on Frontiers/False Documents - Mixed Committee (EU - Iceland/Liechtenstein/Norway/Switzerland)
dated: 30 May 2012 Subject: Summary of discussions
(pdf) Includes "State of FADO play" in Appendix

- HLWG:
High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) (Doc no: 11927-12, pdf) Includes in Annex: "GAMM UPDATE, 21 May 2012: This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogue processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach. The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Migration and Asylum by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

- HLWG
High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) (Doc no: 11928-12,pdf) Includes in Annex: "GAMMUPDATE 15 June 2012: This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogue processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Migration and Asylum by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

EU: Council of the Euorpean Union: Eurodac & LEAs and Eurosur

- EURODAC: Council Presidency re-draft: Access to Eurodac database of aslyum applicants' fingerprints:
Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No […/…] (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) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (pdf)

- EUROSUR: Outcome of disucssions on Council's position:
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf) and:

- EUROSUR: Council Presidency re-draft: Subject as above (pdf)

EU: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): 2011 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union and on the Activities of the European Asylum Support Office (5 MB file, pdf)

EU: Human Cargo: Arbitrary readmissions from the Italian sea ports to Greece (pdf) by PRO ASYL Foundation and Friends of PRO ASYL in co-operation with the Greek Council for Refugees:

"While official statistics indicate that a certain number of people are being readmitted annually from Italy to Greece, NGOs in Greece in their daily operations have registered a much greater number of people who have been readmitted from Italy."

EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II and EURODAC: LEA access

- DUBLIN II: State of play: Council position: 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) [First reading] (12746-rev-2-12, 113 pages, pdf): "At its meeting of 18 July 2012, the Committee of Permanent Representatives endorsed by a sufficient majority of delegations the text of the recast of the draft Dublin Regulation"

see also previous documents: As above (115 pages, 12746-rev-1-12, pdf) and As above (115 pages, 12746-12, pdf)

- EURODAC (asylum applicants' fingerprint database): Law enforcement agencies access:
Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No […/…] (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) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (12207-12, 116 pages, pdf). Includes 109 Member State reservations/comments.

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the Border Force (pdf)

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the UK Border Agency (December 2011–March 2012) (127 pages, pdf) and Volume II (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II and Reception

- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 [First reading] (230 pages, pdf) See Analysis below

- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (recast) [First reading] (73 pages, pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Revising the ‘Dublin’ rules on responsibility for asylum-seekers: Further developments (pdf) by Steve Peers
Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:

"The EP and Council reached a tentative deal on the revision of the ‘Dublin Regulation’, which allocates responsibility for asylum-seekers to a single Member State, in June 2012. This was the subject of a detailed Statewatch analysis at the time, which concluded that it was a ‘missed opportunity’ to reform these flawed rules more fundamentally.

However, for the Member States’ permanent representatives to the EU (known as ‘Coreper’), this deal was too generous: they objected to the change in rules relating to unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers and to the rules intended to limit the time period of detention of asylum-seekers subject to the Dublin process. Following further talks, the EP and the Council have reached a revised tentative deal, although this is subject to some ‘technical’ amendments by the Council and further discussions on the procedure for adopting measures implementing the Regulation (known as ‘comitology’)."

CoE: Council of Europe: ‘Deaths in the Mediterranean Sea: will they ever end?’ asks PACE rapporteur Tineke Strik (link): With Letters to NATO, UK and Spain. Full-text of report: Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible? (pdf):

"“Yet again, a dinghy with 55 people on board drifted for 15 days on the Mediterranean. This time, only one person survived. When will this ever end?,” today asked Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on “Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?”. She expressed her great sadness and anger over the deaths of another 54 boat people fleeing Libya towards Italy."

EU: Council of the European Union: IRAQ, Dublin II, Turkey: Readmission and Eurodac

- IRAQ: Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part (pdf) Includes readmission clauses (Doc no: 5784-rev-2-11, pdf)

- DUBLIN II:
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 [First reading] - State-of-play on the ongoing negotiations (Doc no: 12168-12, pdf). Last points being discussed between the Council and the European Parliament in trilogue meetings.

- TURKEY:READMISSION:
Synthesis on Member States’ practical experiences with readmission to Turkey (Doc no: 12122-12, pdf). Detailed Member State responses.

- EURODAC (Recast): Amended proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No […/…] (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) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (Doc no: 11861-12, pdf). 115 pages. 82 detailed Member State reactions.

EU-EUROSUR: Council of the European Union: Eurosur: New Council draft position: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (Doc no: 11853-12, pdf) and: Member State's views on above (Doc no: 12369-12, pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The EU Directive on Reception Conditions: A weak compromise (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:

"While the final agreed text is undeniably an improvement upon both the 2003 Directive and the Council’s version of the new Directive, it is still a missed opportunity to ensure that asylum-seekers in the EU are fully treated with dignity and fairness in all respects while waiting for a decision on their application, given the many possibilities which remain for Member States to detain them, provide them with low levels of benefits, delay their access to employment and make it difficult to challenge any of these decisions."

UK: No duty to snitch on another EU country’s asylum conditions (UK Human Rights blog, link) and Judgment (pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: “We are not animals”: Concern intensifies over detention of migrants in Europe (pdf) by Marie Martin:

"Recent reports on very poor detention conditions of migrants in some EU countries present a concerning picture of current detention standards and practices. They emphasise systemic issues at stake with the implementation of the Returns Directive now transposed in all EU national legislations and further question the compatibility of administrative detention with the respect of fundamental rights."

UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes second country visit in his regional study on the human rights of migrants at the borders of the European Union: Visit to Turkey (pdf)

UN Human Rights Council: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Note from Spanish delegation: To: JHA Counsellors/COSI Support Group on combatting irregular migration and trafficking: Final report of COSI project group on "Measure 16" (Doc no: 9338-rev1-12, 16 pages, pdf) Detailed report on operations.

MALTA: Bishops say migrant's killing raises serious questions - suggest review of detention policy (Times of Malta, links), Magistrate quizzed over delayed migrant death inquiry and One man, many names. See also: Asylum seeker beaten to death in Malta (euobserver, link)

Boats 4 People: solidarity flotilla in the Mediterranean

After a year of preparation, a sailboat left from Rosignago port, Italy, to Palermo, Lampedusa, and then off to Tunisia. The Boats 4 People project, bringing together 17 organisations, was initiated in summer 2011 as a campaign to denounce deaths in the Mediterranean and the impossibility to reach Europe safely for migrants, and enhance solidarity amongst seamen and activists on both sides of the Mediterranean.

EU: UNITED: List of 16,264 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe (link)

EU: Council of the European Union:

- "MIGRATORY PRESSURES": CARROT & STICK: Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion/Mixed Committee (EU-Iceland/Norway/Switzerland/Liechtenstein): Preliminary synthesis on Member States’ responses to a questionnaire following up on “EU Action on Migratory Pressures – A Strategic Response” regarding readmission and return (Doc no: 11317-12, 31 pages, pdf): Contains synthesis of a total of 5 delegations' detailed responses who have so far replied to the questionnaire (Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands and Poland) in answer to the following questions:

"to identify and prioritize the three third countries, with which concluding an EU readmission agreement would be of interest, focusing on countries of origin of illegal migration" and "to indicate the main tailor-made incentives that may be offered in order to ensure the proper level of cooperation" and "to identify the main challenges regarding voluntary and/or forced returns to those three third countries previously identified"

The suggested target countries are: Afghanistan, India, Iraq and Tunisia.

-"MIGRATORY PRESSURE": Policy cycle: 
Links between the EU Action on Migratory Pressures and several EU Crime Priorities in the framework of the EU Policy Cycle (Doc no: 11568-12, pdf)

- "MIGRATORY PRESSURE": EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response (Doc no: 9650-12,pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: RABAT: High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration: The Rabat process: the road ahead 2012-2014 (pdf): "The Euro-African Process on Migration and Development (Rabat Process) brings together more than fifty countries of origin, transit and destination, which have a shared vision of a rational, balanced and efficient management of migration flows from and via West and Central Africa."

Italy/Hungary: Court annuls Afghan's Dublin II return to Hungary

On 27 April 2012, the Lazio Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale (TAR, Regional Administrative Court) upheld an appeal (no. 05292/2012) by an Afghan citizen against his return to Hungary in application of the Dublin II Regulation (decision deposited on 15 June 2012).

EU's RESPONSE TO ARAB SPRING: EU's rejection of migrants during the Arab Spring: a "historical mistake" according to Commissioner Malström

EU: Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen:

"Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

EU-TURKEY: Readmission: European Commission: Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation (COM 239, pdf) and Proposal for a Council Decision on the signature of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on readmission of persons residing without authorisation (COM 240, pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The revised ‘Dublin’ rules on responsibility for asylum-seekers: a missed opportunity (pdf) by Steve Peers
Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:

"Taking into account the case law, the overall impact of the 2012 Regulation upon the practical application of the current Dublin rules is likely to be modest. Indeed so much of the agreed changes simply reflect (or try to anticipate) the established case law and likely further case law developments that one can only conclude that the evolution of the Dublin system will continue to depend more on the role of the courts than upon the Council and the EP.

Any hope for a more substantial change of this highly criticised system will therefore continue to rest with the judiciary, given that none of the EU institutions were willing to consider a radical reform of the system and the EP could only wrest limited changes from the Council as regards any significant improvement of the rules relating to family members and vulnerable persons."

Italy/Libya: Refugee day and the agreement with Libya: let's not repeat the mistakes of the past

ASGI [Associazione di Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione] expresses its deep concern and great bewilderment about the agreement/recorded document sealed between the Italian and Libyan governments in Tripoli on 3 April 2012, for the purpose of enacting cooperation between the two states to counter irregular migrations.

See also: Italy must sink agreements with Libya on migration control (AI, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II, Reception, Visa lists and Eurosur

- DUBLIN II: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 [First reading] - Outcome of the trilogue (4-column, 232 pages, pdf)

- RECEPTION:
Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (recast) [First reading] - Outcome of the trilogue (4-column, 190 pages, pdf)

- VISA LISTS:
Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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)

- EUROSUR: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf)

EU: ROBOTS GUARDING THE BORDERS: The TALOS project (Transportable Autonomous patrol for Land bOrder Surveillance): See pictures bottom right.

Italy/Tunisia: Extension of humanitarian residence permits to put an end to "emergency"- problems including "disappeared" Tunisians and rightless refugees from Libya persist

On 16 May 2012, the "technical" government's interior minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri, announced that thousands of six-month temporary residence permits for humanitarian reasons issued mostly to Tunisians in response to the influx into Italy during the so-called "Arab Spring" would be renewed for a second time, for a further six months. A prime ministerial decree was adopted for this purpose the day before.

EU: EURODAC: Fingerprint database of asylum applicants: Commission proposal to extend access to all law enforcement agencies: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No […/…] (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) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (COM 254-12, pdf)

EU: Meijers Committee (Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law): Submission to the European Parliament: Detention provisions in the recast proposals for the Reception Conditions Directive and the Dublin Regulation and the right to a remedy with suspensive effect (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Communication: 3rd Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2011) (COM 250-12, pdf) and Commission Staff Working document: on the Third Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2011) (SEC 139-12, pdf)

EU: REVISION OF RETURNS DIRECTIVE & DUBLIN REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum System: State of play/orientation debate (pdf). Includes:

"the Presidency has initiated negotiations with the European Parliament on the recast for Reception Conditions Directive and on the recast for the Dublin Regulation. On both files a series of four trilogues have been agreed between the Presidency, the European Parliament and the Commission. Furthermore, it has been agreed to work towards a political agreement on both files by the end of the Danish Presidency." [ie: by the end of June).

EU: GREECE, TURKEY AND RETURNS: ASYLUM & MIGRATION and INTERNAL SECURITY FUNDS: Millions of euros targeting border controls and returns: Council of the European Union: Implementation of the Common Framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures due to mixed migration flows - Political discussion with a particular focus on the support to Greece in areas of borders, asylum and migration management (pdf). Includes:

" Intensifying efforts to build capacity in Greece, including financial and human resources to build a robust asylum system, with adequate reception facilities and effective return processes.... Efforts to cooperate with third countries and in particular the border control authorities of Turkey to combat illegal immigration and cross border organised crime...More focused efforts on return, in practice and conclusion and implementation of EU readmission agreements with key countries of origin and transit, operations with the assistance of FRONTEX and IOM and targeted use of funds under the European Return Fund."

EU: Council of the European Union/Mixed Committee: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response (Council doc: 8714-rev1-12, 22 pages, pdf) Pages 4-22 contain detailed Action Plan

EU: Council of the European Union:

- Council position discussions: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) (pdf) Still over 200 Member States reservations

- Council position discussions in the Mixed Committee:
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf) With Member State positions.

EU: Council of the European Union: Amended proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers - Examination of text of European Parliament in view of first informal trilogue (130 pages, pdf) Useful 4-column documents showing the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Council positions and the outcome of the so-called "informal", secret, trilogue on 23 April 2012.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Amending the EU’s Borders Code (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:

"The Borders Code has already been amended on four occasions... However, the 2011 proposals would have a much bigger impact on the text of the Code. Between them, these proposals would amend nearly every provision of the Code, and add a number of new provisions."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Amending the EU’s visa list legislation (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"Quite apart from the usual lack of transparency of EU documents (the texts submitted to Coreper have not officially been made public, although they are available on the Statewatch website - see the links below), the negotiation process is highly obscure, as it is not currently clear whether Coreper even reached an agreement on the proposed measures, and if so what text was agreed....

the version of the proposed legislation discussed in Coreper clearly shows the Member States’ intention to assert the EU’s authority more forcefully as regards visa policy by the creation of two new fast-track powers to impose visa obligations, but also to retain a lot of political discretion when using such powers. Although these new powers would be conferred upon the Commission, Member States have tried as much as possible to assert their control over its actions, and they have rejected any attempt to remove their remaining discretion as regards visa policy for various categories of persons."

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

"The following presents the Regulation setting up the EU Borders Agency - ‘Frontex’ - as it was amended by a number of amendments adopted in 2011: Regulation 1168/2011, OJ 2011 L 304/1 (the ‘2011 amendments’). It replaces the consolidated text of the Regulation based on the agreed text of the 2011 amendments, which were subject to a number of technical changes when they were finally adopted."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The revised ‘Dublin’ rules on responsibility for asylum-seekers: The Council’s failure to fix a broken system (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:

"The Council appears to have little regard for the case law of the European Court of Human Rights or the EU’s Court of Justice, as regards the issue of suspending transfers in light of justified human rights concerns. Moreover, the Council clearly wishes to ‘jump the gun’ on a number of other issues pending before the Court of Justice as regards the Dublin rules (the humanitarian clause, the rules on unaccompanied minors, and the application of the reception conditions Directive to Dublin cases)....

the Council has not accepted either of the two remedies which the Commission had proposed to fix the Dublin system – the suspension of that system or the significant improvement of the rules relating to family members and vulnerable persons. It remains to be seen whether the EP is willing to recognise that the Dublin system is broken, and to demand that more serious steps be taken to fix it."

EU: Council of the European Union: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (ASILE, 8591/12, pdf)

"This is hell": Romania's horrendous detention conditions

Calls of desperation have been received by the Migreurop network from Romania's Arad detention centre in the past weeks.[1] Serious cases of brutality and abuse by officers were reported, raising deep concerns about detention conditions and the monitoring of immigration detention centres in Romania. As a European-wide campaign on immigration detention calling for more transparency and accountability has just been launched, these voices act as a powerful reminder of the violence inflicted on irregular migrants in Europe today.

EU: DUBLIN REGULATION: The recast of the Dublin regulation (2008/0243 COD) and the proposal for a process for early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crisis (pdf)

Letter of the Meijers Committee to the European Parliament on the recast of the Dublin regulation and the proposal by the Presidency to introduce an early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crisis system. The Meijers Committee supports the proposal to oblige Member States to report on their asylum management, but is of the opinion that the requested statistical data do not necessarily indicate whether the fundamental rights of the asylum seeker are protected in these States. Moreover, the Meijers Committee urges the European Parliament to call for an explicit provision in the Dublin regulation that the statistical data provided by the Member States will be made public.

STATEWATCH LAUNCHES OBSERVATORY ON FRONTEX: Launch of Frontex Observatory – March 2012 (Press release, pdf):

"Statewatch's Frontex Observatory will analyse and document the role and activities of Frontex. It provides a unique source of understanding of the Agency's operations and activities, bringing together legal, political, analytical documents from a variety of sources. Regularly updated, the Observatory allows for a contextualised understanding of Frontex's development over the years and throws light on the main issues at stake with regards to civil liberties and fundamental rights. Divided into six sections, the Observatory will be particularly useful to researchers, civil society organisations, academics, students, journalists, lawyers, and parliamentarians.

Established in 2006 by Regulation 2004/2007, Frontex is the European Agency for the Management of the External Borders of the European Union. It coordinates and co-organises with Member States high-tech border control operations at sea, land and air external borders of the EU, and carries out joint return flights of irregular migrants. Its mandate was revised in 2011. Since its inception, Frontex has been criticised for its lack of transparency and accountability."

Link to:
FRONTEX Observatory

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Revised Directive on Asylum-seekers’ Reception Conditions: The Member States hit rock-bottom (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:

"On the key issues of employment and social welfare, there is now no measurable change from the 2003 Directive.... Member States have genuinely hit rock bottom. It now remains to be seen whether the European Parliament might have any success in convincing them to raise standards a few millimetres more."

EU: Council of the European Union:
SCIFA and SCIFA - Mixed Committee, "Secondary migration flows", Roadmap - "migratory pressures", Readmission


-
Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum on: 13 February 2012 Subject: Summary of conclusions (pdf) includes giving Europol access to VIS (Visa Information System)

-
Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum/Mixed Committee (Iceland/Liechtenstein/Norway/Switzerland) on: 13 February 2012: Subject: Summary of conclusions (pdf)

- Note: from: the Belgian, the French, the German, The Netherlands, the Austrian, the Swedish and the UK delegations Subject: Common responses to current challenges by Member States most affected by secondary mixed migration flows (pdf) including: "Ensure that travel documents used within the EU, including their issuance and validation, meet minimum security standards, preventing their use for illegal immigration or criminal purposes.
ID and residence cards should be a particular focus."

-
Council Presidency: to Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion on 12 March 2012 Subject: Road map to ensure coherent EU response to continued migratory pressures (pdf)

-
Presidency: to Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion on 12 March 2012 Subject: Operationalising the Council Conclusions of June 2011 defining the European Union Strategy on Readmission (pdf)

EU-READMISSION: Turkey: Council of the European Union: Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion/Mixed Committee (EU-Iceland/Norway/Switzerland/Liechtenstein): Synthesis on Member States’ practical experiences based on delegations’ responses to questionnaire discussed at the Working Party meeting on 1 February 2012 (19 pages, pdf): "This compilation is based on the replies submitted by delegations to the questionnaire drawn up by the Presidency regarding Member States’ practical experience with readmission to Turkey."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8 March 2012: Press release (pdf) See also: Council conclusions regarding guidelines for the strengthening of political governance in the Schengen cooperation (pdf) and: Ministers agree warning mechanism for migration surges (link)

EU: Council of the European Union: Asylum "solidarity": - Draft Council Conclusions on a common framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures on their asylum systems including through mixed migration flows (2.3.12, pdf)

CEAR press statement, Friday 16 February 2012: In response to the UN finding the Spanish State guilty for the death of the Senegalese Sonko

"CEAR recalls the security forces' duty to guarantee the security of refugees and to enable their access to international protection. The victim came from a region of Senegal that is riven by a serious conflict and could have requested international protection if the Spanish officers had respected legal procedures.

29-year-old Laucling Sonko was made to jump into the sea on the night between 25 and 26 September 2007 by Guardia Civil [police force with military status] officers, alongside three other people who were potential asylum and international protection applicants like he was. After they were intercepted by a Guardia Civil patrol boat while they tried to swim into Ceuta [a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco], they were made to board and taken into Moroccan waters, where the officers pierced their lifejackets and made them jump into the sea. Sonko, who did not know how to swim, drowned."

EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin, Seasonal employment and Visa list

- Dublin:
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). Still 140 reservations by Member States in developing the Council's position.

-
As above: Presidency proposals (pdf)

-
Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf) Still over 100 reservations by Member States in developing the Council's position

-
As above: Presidency proposals (pdf)

- Visa list:
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)

- Visa Working Party:
Outcome (pdf), including "Non-Paper" from the Commission on Definition of short stay – Changes required in the legal acts in the area of visa policy

FRONTEX: The reinforcement of Frontex and the intensification of cooperation with third countries

Amendments to Regulation 2004/2007 reinforcing the powers and widening the mandate of the European Agency for the Management of External Borders entered into force in January 2012.[1] Some of the amendments broaden the Agency's mandate when dealing with third countries. These developments of the Agency's external relations reflect the ambitions of Frontex, and reinforce concerns regarding its impact on human rights and civil liberties.

MIGREUROP ANNUAL REPORT: At the margins of Europe: the externalisation of migration controls (116 pages, pdf):

"Beyond the contradictions of an international coalition that was meant to guarantee the "responsibility to protect", it is the overall European immigration and border control policy that has to be put to question. Since the early 2000s, north African countries have accepted the role as Europe’s border guards, chasing and detaining people who wanted to exercise their right to emigrate9 . Current historical events in the Arab world must be the opportunity to reconsider relations between the northern and southern Mediterranean and to break away from the liberty-stifling heritage of the EU’s dictator-partners to put an end to the bloodshed at its borders."

EU: Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: Reply to the Green Paper on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the European Union (pdf): "the Meijers Committee proposes not to revise Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification on short notice. Instead, it urges the Commission to closely supervise the implementation and application of the Directive in the Member States and to start infringement procedures in case of incomplete or incorrect implementation or application."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Revised Directive on Asylum-seekers’ Reception Conditions: How much lower can the Member States go? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"If the Council does accept this compromise, it will remain to be seen whether the European Parliament will consider it acceptable to have a ‘deal at any cost’, or whether it will take the opportunity to press for much needed improvements concerning issues such as access to benefits without documentation, detention conditions, grounds for and time limits for detention, legal aid, subsistence and health care, and vulnerable asylumseekers."

ITALY: Returning migrants to Libya without examining their case exposed them to a risk of ill-treatment and amounted to a
collective expulsion
(pdf) and Judgment: full-text (link) The European Court of Human Rights has found italy guilty of a series of violations in its collective refoulements of migrants to libya in 2009 - The case concerned Somalian and Eritrean migrants travelling from Libya who had been intercepted at sea by the Italian authorities and sent back to Libya. Press statement by Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament: Court ruling on odious Italy-Libya deal has clear implications for EU migration and border policies (link)

CANADA: Taking Liberties: Canada’s Booming Business of Detention and Deportation (link)

Mediterranean takes record as most deadly stretch of water for refugees and migrants in 2011 (UNHCR, link)

EU border agency Frontex will sign a Cooperation Agreement with the Armenian Government (Public Radio, link)

UK: "Convergence" in London: No Borders conference, arrests of activists and collective deportation

The weekly No Borders "Convergence" at Goldsmiths College in London could not be more time-sensitive: a report on unsafe return from the UK to Congo has just been released, and a collective expulsion to Ghana was carried out on 15 February 2012. Some of the No Borders activists who were trying to stop the deportation have been arrested and await trial planned on 8th March 2012.

ECHR: First-time asylum seeker was not given effective remedy under fast-track procedure for examination of his case (Press release, pdf):

"A violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights The case concerned the risks the applicant would face in the event of his deportation to Sudan and the effectiveness of the remedies available to him in France in view of the fact that his asylum application was dealt with under the fast-track procedure."

EU: The Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Note on the coordination of the relationship between the Entry Ban and the SIS- alert: an urgent need for legislative measures (pdf): "The Meijers Committee would like to draw your attention to a serious legislative deficiency in present secondary EU law as it fails coordinating the relationship between the “entry ban” in the Returns Directive (2008/115/EC) and the “SIS alert” in the SIS II Regulation (EC) 1987/2006."

EU-GREECE: Greeks build fence to ward off asylum seekers (euobserver, link): "European Commission on Tuesday (7 February) said the fence is a national issue. But it also poured scorn on the project. "Fences and walls are short-term solutions to measures that do not solve the problem. The EU is not and will not co-finance this fence ... It is pointless," a spokesman for home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told press in Brussels"

France: Convictions stand, shorter sentences on appeal for Vincennes detention centre fire

On 13 January 2012 in the Paris appeal court, the presiding judge in the appeal involving six of the ten detainees in the Vincennes detention centre (CRA, centre de rétention administrative) who were convicted on 17 March 2010 in connection with a fire that burned down the CRA on 22 June 2008 read the ruling that upheld their convictions and shortened the sentences they were set to serve by six months. After the verdict all those attending a demonstration were "kettled".

EU: Council of the European Union: State of Play: Reception conditions, Seasonal workers and Schengen Border Code amendments:

- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers
(Recast)
(pdf): Still over 120 Member State reservations/objections

- As above: earlier Presidency proposals (pdf)

- Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf): Still over 110 Member State reservations/objections

- As above: earlier Presidency proposals (pdf)

- Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement (pdf)

EU: READMISSION AGREEMENTS: Council of the European Union: Operationalising the Council Conclusions of 9 – 10 June 2011 defining the European Union Strategy on Readmission (pdf). The Council is aiming for: "a coherent return policy which should be embedded in the overall external relations policy of the European Union" which will lead to: "new, more efficient and flexible standard negotiation directives for the conclusion of readmission agreements between the Union and third countries."

The EU faces two problems: the "lack of real political will" on the part of third countries and "so-called"third country clauses"" (concerning the state in question being only a country of transit). Based on the Council Conclusions the Council Presidency is proposing that readmission agreements should be "linked" to agreements in "other policy areas" and the conclusion of these agreement should be: "made conditional on the willingness of the third country to also conclude a readmission agreement with the European Union and might in this way serve as a powerful incentive.." In the past the Council Council has used the "carrot and stick" approach, now it seems to be heading for using the "stick".

All readmission agreements have to ensure fundamental rights and human rights standards regarding returned people, however, this documents admits what many have long known namely that: "Currently there is no assessment of whether provisions on the monitoring of the human rights situation of readmitted persons can be implemented in practice"

Italy: Rome city council warns evicted gipsies/Roma: "Accept relocation or we may have to take your children"

Journalist Paolo Brogi posted a document on his blog on 29 November 2011 that is indicative of how activities are being enacted in Rome in the framework of the Roma "emergency", which has included large-scale evictions and relocation in isolated settlements that are distant from the city centre.

UNHCR: Deaths in the Mediterranean: Mediterranean takes record as most deadly stretch of water for refugees and migrants in 2011 (pdf)

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council 26-27 January, Copenhagen: Discussion papers: No 1: A common framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures due to mixed migration flows (pdf) - No 2: Family reunification in light of the Commission Green Paper: The right to family reunification is a matter of considerable importance in, especially (pdf)

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Rules governing enforced removals from the UK (pdf) See also: Dangerous deportation techniques may still be in use, MPs warn - Home affairs select committee finds evidence of dangerous restraint techniques, although UK Border Agency denies claim (Guardian, link)

UK: BORDER CONTROLS: Home Affairs Select Committee report: UK Border Controls (78 pages, pdf)

FRANCE: Court decision overturns government attempt to deny foreigners' access to lawyers in transit zones

On 30 November 2011, the NGO ANAFÉ (Association nationale d'assistance aux frontières pour les étrangers) was brought to court by the Ministry of Interior in an attempt to halt the provision of free legal counselling to foreigners held in transit zones at Roissy airport (Paris, France). A press release has been issued denouncing the Ministry's attempt "to conceal the obstacles preventing foreigners accessing their rights in transit zones". The judge decided, on 4 January 2012, that the Ministry's action was an impediment to ANAFÉ's work.

EU: Council of the European Union: Council developing its negotiating position: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) (166 Pages, pdf)

Spain and France: The ongoing disgrace of detention centres

"Two reports on detention centres have been published in Spain and France that highlight a situation in which foreigners are experiencing conditions that are often worse than those in prisons as a result of administrative offences (irregular residence) and an aim to maximise the rates of detention and returns. This has led to large-scale violations of human rights and to policies that reduce judicial oversight and the possibility of detained foreigners to effectively exercise their rights through judicial proceedings and access to effective remedies."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: A proposal for an EU Immigration Code (64 pages, pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex: Under the Stockholm Programme the EU is committed to the "“consolidation of all legislation in the area of immigration...to “ensure fair treatment of third country nationals who reside legally on the territory of [the EU’s] Member States”. This substantive text of a Draft Code seeks to contribute to the debate:

"Since the existing EU immigration law has often (rightly) been criticised for setting low standards on these issues, the adoption of an immigration Code will be an important opportunity to improve the substance and coherence of that existing law, in order to ensure that it is fair, understandable and transparent....

this Statewatch analysis proposes a complete text of a draft Code [and] is intended as a contribution to the debate about the future proposal for a Code, which aims to raise the substantive standards and improve the procedural rights of legal immigrants, while also making the law simpler and more consistent."

Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s self-interested response to unrest in north Africa: the meaning of treaties and readmission agreements between Italy and north African states (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico:

"The Italian government and the EU are attempting to urgently re-establish readmission agreements with new regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya with scant regard for the wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers. A ‘state of emergency’ has been declared in Italy which has allowed the government to derogate from certain laws and fast-track the application process."

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