EU
Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum": Council's explanation is "economical with the truth"
20.10.14


Council Presidency says the operation is about the "collection of data on migration flow" when its stated purpose is to: "apprehend irregular migrants and gather relevant information for intelligence and investigative purposes."
See: Council reacts to media coverage and widespread concern in civil society: What is "Mos Maiorum" joint operation? The collection of data on migration flows in EU countries has been launched (Official statement by Council Presidency, pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"This statement by the Council Presidency is economical with the truth. The Council presents Joint Operation Mos Maiorum as a statistical exercise to gather data on migration flows when its first aim is quite different as stated in Full-text (See p2, pdf) which is to: "apprehend irregular migrants and gather relevant information for intelligence and investigative purposes."

In previous operation "Perkunas" 10,459 undocumented migrants were "intercepted", in Aphrodite 5,298 were "apprehended" and in Project FIMATHU (Europol-Austria and Hungary) 7,429 "illegal migrants" were "apprehended". In none of the reports on these three operations [see below] was any information given as to what happened to the migrants who were "intercepted" or "apprehended".

Did they ask for asylum, which they had the right to do? How many ended up in detention centres? How many were deported? Were these people afforded their rights or are EU fundamental rights, Treaties and the Charter simply not a consideration when it comes to Council-organised operations?"

Final report on operation PERKUNAS (LIMITE do no: 16045-13, pdf): "The largest proportion (48,89%) of interceptions was reported by Italy, with 4,800 intercepted irregular migrants. The second (15,36%) and third (7,89%) largest proportions of interceptions were reported by Germany (1,606 intercepted irregular migrants) and the United Kingdom (825 intercepted irregular migrants) respectively."

Final report on Joint Police Operation Aphrodite (LIMITE do no:6224-13, pdf) Interception of "irregular migrants": "Germany 1,510, United. Kingdom 728, Spain 468, Austria 387, Poland 365 and Switzerland 249." Both of these reports beg the question of whether the UK is taking part in Mos Maiorum?

Europol press release: Europol supports successful cooperation between Austria and Hungary against illegal immigration (link)

Background; After the story of Joint Operation Mos Maiorum broke over the weekend of 12-13 October: On Monday 13 October, the EU's latest migrant hunt begins with extensive press coverage Frontex issued a NOTHING TO DO WITH US STATEMENT: FRONTEX on Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum" (link) on Monday 14 October. This was followed on Wednesday 15 October by a report from the ANSA press agency saying that this was an operation organised by the Council of the European Union: "the EU Commission has clearly stated that it is a “joint police operation, launched by the Italian six-month presidency of the EU Council.. [and] the European Commission is not involved in the operation, and nor has community funding been made available. It stressed that Europol is not involved either." By Wednesday 15 October the Commission was telling journalists that the Commission had not issued an "official statement", this is true but disingenuous. The news agency was clearly citing an official European Commission spokesperson which normal practice.

On the same day the outgoing Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, weighed in in answer to Sylvie Guillaume, MEP: Letter to Guillaume MEP (pdf) saying "It is an operation of the Council and you should rather ask the question to the Council or President. The initiative is not supported by the Commission and there is no funding from the Commission." The same day the Council of the European Union in the person of the Council Presidency (currently Italy) responded.

And see: Statewatch Analysis: EU: Joint police operations target irregular migrants (pdf)

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