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July 2018

Analysis document: The dangerous link between migration, development and security for the externalisation of borders in Africa. Case studies on Sudan, Niger and Tunisia (ARCI, pdf):

"Within the framework of the Externalisation Policies Watch project, aimed at monitoring the externalisation of Italian and European migration policies, ARCI – in addition to its constant work of analysis of the evolution of the agreements signed with origin and transit countries, and to its field missions (in Niger in , in Tunisia in May 2018 and in Sudan in December 2016) has produced this document.

The report is a collection of the results of the work described above, to alert civil society and governments on the negative consequences of these strategies and their implications in terms of systematic violation of the fundamental rights of migrants and of people living in the African countries involved."

CoE: Poland: Persons taken into police custody still run “appreciable risk” of being ill-treated, says anti-torture committee (link):

"A report published today by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) found that most people who were or recently had been in police custody reported correct treatment by the police.

However, although the report includes much praise, the delegation that visited Poland in late 2017 recorded enough allegations of physical ill-treatment – including punches and kicks – to conclude that “persons taken into police custody continue to run an appreciable risk of being ill-treated.”

See: Report to the Polish Government on the visit to Poland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf)

UK: Arrmy 'on standby' for 'no deal' Brexit disruption (PoliticsHome, link):

"The armed forces are on standby to help dole out medicines, food and fuel to vulnerable communities if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal, it has emerged.

According to the Sunday Times, that includes a plan to draft in the armed forces to assist civilian authorities, with helicopters and army trucks used to transport medicines to people in hard-to-reach locations outside the Southeast of England.

The military would also be called on in the event of disruption at Britain's ports, it is claimed."

And see: Troops could patrol borders 'as a last resort' if there is no Brexit deal: Top civil servant says using Armed Forces to check travellers cannot be ruled out (Mail Online, link)

EU: Farage: Bannon plan could help populists to EU election victory - Ex-Ukip leader predicts sweeping advances for anti-EU parties in May 2019 (The Observer, link):

"The intervention of former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in European politics could help rightwing parties become the biggest bloc in the European parliament next year, according to Nigel Farage.(...)

Bannon, one of the architects of Donald Trump’s US election triumph in 2016 and the former head of the rightwing Breitbart News, aims to establish a pan-European populist foundation."

The systemic risk that Europe has to face (euobserver, link):

"Europe has been distracted by its many populists and the Football World Cup to notice that Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski have further pushed their countries towards authoritarianism."

EU Commission skirts Italy sanctions on Roma evictions (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission has not seen enough evidence of discrimination against the Roma in Italy to launch legal action, despite years of documented abuse.

The admission follows the forced eviction on Thursday (26 July) of some 300 Roma in a government-run camp in the outskirts of the Italian capital - in direct violation of an injunction order by the European Court of Human Rights. "

USA-ITALY: Trump and Conte cement populist front (euractiv, link):

"US President Donald Trump traded smiles, handshakes and compliments with Italy’s populist leader Giuseppe Conte Monday (30 July), as the two rightists presented a united front on everything from Russia to immigration."

Hungary's Viktor Orban calls for right-wing union in Europe (DW, link):

"During a speech to ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Orban called for the advent of "Christian democracy." He defined this ideology as "anti-immigrant" and "anti-multicultural."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban decried the "undemocratic" governments of Western Europe on Saturday, as he laid out his vision for the continent ahead of European elections next year. He also called on right-wing parties across the European Union to band together."

UK government urged to halt plans to expand compulsory voter ID - Vulnerable and disadvantaged people would be put off, letter written by 20 charities warns (Guardian, link)

Drawing Red Lines and Giving (Some) Bite – the CJEU’s Deficiencies Judgment on the European Rule of Law (verfassungsblog.de, link):

"The illiberal turn in Europe has many facets. Of particular concern are Member States in which ruling majorities uproot the independence of the judiciary. For reasons well described in the Verfassungsblog, the current focus is on Poland. Since the Polish development is emblematic for a broader trend, more is at stake than the rule of law in that Member State alone (as if that were not enough). If the Polish emblematic development is not resisted, illiberal democracies might start co-defining the European constitutional order, in particular, its rule of law-value in Article 2 TEU. Accordingly, the conventional liberal self-understanding of Europe could easily erode, with tremendous implications."

Istanbul Convention ‘unconstitutional’ in Bulgaria (euractiv, link):

"The Bulgarian Constitutional Court voted on Friday (27 July) to declare the Istanbul Convention unconstitutional. The Convention is the first instrument in Europe to create a comprehensive framework for the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence.

As Bulgarian media have pointed out, the Constitutional Court has done the government of Boyko Borissov a favour, as the prime minister did not find the courage to ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Prevention and Combatting Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention."

European Parliament Study: The EU-UK relationship beyond Brexit: options for Police Cooperation and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (pdf):

"provides expertise on the legal, institutional and technical implications of the UK’s future relationship with the EU after Brexit in the areas of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V TFEU). (...)

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK as a former Member State will be a third country with an unprecedented legacy in terms of the scale and level of cooperation it has had with the EU in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. In this regard, the UK will not be a conventional third country. Additionally, the UK will continue to experience the same transnational security threats, such as terrorism, cybercrime and other serious organised crime, as the rest of the EU. The UK’s expertise will continue to be relevant for EU27 security interests."

UK-BREXIT: House of Commons: Home Affairs Committee: UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit: Follow-up report (pdf):

"We outlined precedents for participation by non-EU countries in those measures, scrutinised the Government’s negotiating goals in this area, explored issues relating to the transition period, and considered potential obstacles to UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit, including data protection law, UK surveillance powers and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union—hereafter referred to as the ECJ (European Court of Justice)."

UK: Police custody deaths hit 10-year high, with experts citing austerity - Police often first point of contact for people with mental health issues or addictions (Guardian, link):

"Police custody deaths have hit their highest level in a decade with police, campaigners and experts warning that austerity and a crisis in mental health services have driven the figure up.

A total of 23 people died in or after detention in 2017-18, according to official figures released by the police watchdog, up from 14 people the previous year.(...)

Deborah Coles of Inquest, which supports bereaved families, said austerity was a contributing factor, with mental health services being overwhelmed leading to those who are ill or have substance-addiction issues dying in police custody. “Until you have investment in frontline mental health services, the police will be the first point of contact for people in crisis."

See: :IOPC publishes figures on deaths during or following police contact for 2017/18 (link)

UK: House of Commons, Justice Committee report: Criminal Legal Aid (pdf)

"We therefore recommend that the Government conduct an urgent cross-departmental review of funding for all elements of the criminal justice system, with the aim of restoring resources to a level that enables the system to operate effectively. The details of the review should be published in advance; its timetable must ensure completion in time to influence the conclusions of the 2019 Spending Review."

EU: Court of Justice sets out grounds on which Irish courts must consider refusing European Arrest Warrant issued by Poland

The Irish High Court referred the case to the CJEU because of its concerns that changes to the judicial system introduced by the current Polish government are "so immense" that they have "systematically damaged" the "common value of the rule of law."

The ECJ has now handed down its ruling, which sets out what the Irish courts must take into consideration if they are to refuse to surrender the wanted individual - on the same day that Amnesty International has warned that attempts to "further undermine judicial independence" in Poland "must be resolutely rejected."

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.7.18) including:

Poland: Attempts to oust the current Supreme Court president must be rejected (Amnesty, link):

"Ahead of the Senate vote on a bill that would further undermine judicial independence by making it easier for the government to replace the president of the Supreme Court, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International European Institutions Office, said:

'This cynical attempt to speed through a law just so the president of the Supreme Court, Malgorzata Gersdorf, can be ousted before European Commission action can be taken, must be resolutely rejected.

'The passing of this bill – part of a deliberate attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary by subjecting it to political influence and control - will strip away what are some of the last remaining vestiges of judicial independence.'"

UK: 'Subversive' civil servants secretly blacklisted under Thatcher (The Guardian, link):

"Margaret Thatcher’s government drew up a secret blacklist of its own civil servants thought to be “subversives” in order to keep them under observation and block their promotion, papers released at the National Archives disclose.

Whitehall departments worked with MI5 to identify 1,420 civil servants to be closely watched and, where possible, kept away from computers and revenue collection roles.

The majority, 733 people, were identified as Trotskyists, and a further 607 as communists. Forty-five were said to be fascists, and 35 Welsh or Scottish nationalists, “black or Asian racial extremists” or anarchists.

MI5 also compiled lists of suspect local councillors and active trade unionists deemed to be of similar concern."

UK: Home Office annual report on use of "disruptive and investigatory powers" by security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies

The government has published the third iteration of its transparency report on the use of disruptive and investigatory powers.

The report sets out the way in which disruptive and investigatory powers are used by the security and intelligence agencies as well as law enforcement to tackle the threats posed by terrorism, organised crime and hostile state activity.

EU: Managing migration: Commission expands on disembarkation and controlled centre concepts

- Both concepts follow the model of the "hotspots" in Italy and on the Greek islands

The European Commission has published two "Non-Papers" on disembarkation points outside the EU in north Africa and "Control Centres" inside the EU:

"Following the call by EU leaders at the June European Council, the Commission is today expanding on the concept of controlled centres as well as short-term measures that could be taken to improve the processing of migrants being disembarked in the EU, and giving a first outline of the possible way forward for the establishment of regional disembarkation arrangements with third countries. Regional disembarkation arrangements should be seen as working in concert with the development of controlled centres in the EU: together, both concepts should help ensure a truly shared regional responsibility in responding to complex migration challenges." See - Press release (pdf)

UK-EU-BREXIT: Repoert from House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee: The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal: the rights of UK and EU citizens (pdf)::

"We welcome the efforts made by the Home Secretary and the Immigration Minister to seek more information about registration of UK citizens from their counterparts among the EU. We note that the European Parliament Brexit Steering Group has joined the call for Member States to set out preparations for how they will approach the registration of UK citizens on their territory. We repeat our previous recommendation to the UK Government to seek urgent clarification from the EU-27 as to their preparations to regularise the status of UK citizens on their territory. Any requirements need to be made public by EU Member States and disseminated widely as soon as possible. UK citizens living in other EU countries cannot be left in the dark as to how they can secure their rights."

EU: Frontex: proposals to reinforce EU border agency may be published in early September

Legal proposals to further increase the size and powers of the EU border agency Frontex could be published as soon as early September, according to an internal Council working document.

The document, produced by the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, provides an update on ongoing work to implement the conclusions of the 28 June meeting of the European Council.

See: Working paper: Updated follow-up to the European Council meeting of 28 June 2018 (WK 8327/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 10 , pdf)

CoE: Romania: Proposed reforms could undermine independence of judges and prosecutors according to Venice Commission (link):

"In a preliminary opinion published today and requested in May this year by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission commented on three legislative drafts amending existing judiciary legislation: Draft law amending Law 303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors, Draft Law amending Law no. 304/2004 on judicial organization, Draft Law amending Law no. 317/2004 on the Superior Council of Magistracy." And see: Press release (link)

Germany's left and right vie to turn politics upside down (The Guardian, link):

"Leftwing politicians are singing the praises of border control while rightwingers call for expanding the welfare state. Old political certainties could be turned upside down in Germany this summer as the far ends of the country’s political spectrum both moot a “national social” turn.

A new leftwing movement soft-launching in Germany in August aims to part ways with what one of its founders calls the “moralising” tendency of the left, in an attempt to win back working-class voters from the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)."

French political system under pressure as Benalla fallout spreads (RFI, link):

"France's interior minister Gerard Collomb on Monday defended his handling of a video showing a top security aide to President Emmanuel Macron hitting a protester. The incident took place during the May 1 labor day demonstrations but only went viral weeks later.

Opposition lawmakers have seized on the affair, with some accusing the government of covering up the alleged violence committed by Alexandre Benalla, a security agent employed by Macron's Republic on the Move (REM) party, along with one of his colleagues.

Both men were charged Sunday with assault, while Benalla is also charged with impersonating a police officer.

Many parliamentarians who took part in the hearing were clearly not satisfied with the answers given to them by the interior minister. He remained vague on occasion, and shied away from taking full responsibility."

UK: Governments 'passing the buck' on undercover policing (STV, link):

"The UK and Scottish Governments have been accused of "passing the buck" in their failure to hold a public inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland.

Scotland's highest civil court heard the decision not to hold an inquiry into undercover activities north of the border was incompatible with human rights law and "the right to the truth".

Environmental justice campaigner Tilly Gifford is challenging the UK Government's refusal to extend an inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales, led by Sir John Mitting, north of the border.

Her petition for judicial review also covers the Scottish Government's decision not to set up a separate inquiry in Scotland."

MALTA: ID cards could be changed again to include biometric data (Malta Today, link):

"Maltese identity cards could be set to include biometric data under European Commission proposals for all member states, although Malta appears not to be supporting the measure yet.

In April the Commission put forward the proposal that would see ID cards across the union include fingerprints and facial recognition, as has already been rolled out with passports. It is envisaged that non-compliant forms of ID cards across the union would be changed within five years, while “less secure forms” would be phased out within two years.

Malta would be one of 16 countries where citizens would be obliged to provide their fingerprints for ID cards. The process will cost millions of euros to upgrade to new ID cards."

See: EU plans to include fingerprints in identity cards are unjustified and unnecessary (press releaes, 11 June 2018)

SPAIN: Government must continue implementing EU refugee relocation scheme, rules Supreme Court

The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that the country must continue to implement the EU's refugee relocation scheme, having relocated less than 13% of the 19,449 refugees in Italy and Greece that it was committed to under the rules that came into force in September 2015.

UK: New Report On Legal Aid Cuts Reveals “Grave Concerns” For Enforcement Of Human Rights (Rights Info, link):

"A report published today by the Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that cuts to legal aid have made the enforcement of human rights “simply unaffordable” for many people.

The Committee, chaired by Harriet Harman MP, has recommended an “urgent review” of the system of legal advice and support for people facing breaches of their human rights."

See: Joint Committee on Human Rights: Enforcing human rights (pdf)

UK-USA: In leaked letter, Home Secretary says UK won't block death penalty for IS 'Beatles' (Middle East Eye, link):

"UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signalled in a leaked letter that the UK may not oppose the death penalty against two former Britons held in Syria and due to be deported to the US for trial, the Telegraph revealed on Monday.

The letter referred to the two IS members and former British citizens, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were captured by US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria in January after allegedly belonging to an IS cell known for brutally executing high-profile Western hostages in Syria in 2014-15.

Javid, in a letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions dated 22 June 2018, said that he believed a death penalty assurance was not needed in the case of the IS pair, and that Britain will not “formally oppose” their incarceration at the notorious Guantanamo prison (...)

Javid’s comments have been criticised for signalling a departure from a long-held UK position against the death penalty."

EU: Travel surveillance: Commission demands PNR Directive implementation by 14 Member States as 'Informal Working Group' settles in

The European Commission has sent "letters of formal notice" to 14 EU Member States for failing to to implement the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive by the deadline of 25 May 2018.

Meanwhile, an 'Informal Working Group' set up by the Council to assist with national implementation of the Directive appears to be steadily expanding - Australia, Canada and the USA have all participated in meetings and invitations have been sent to Japan and the United Nations, according to a recent document.

UK: Legal judgment finds successive foreign secretaries unlawfully gave GCHQ free rein to collect our data

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) today (23rd ), held that, for a sustained period, successive Foreign Secretaries wrongly gave GCHQ unfettered discretion to collect vast quantities of personal customer information from telecommunications companies.

Italy: President called on to uphold the constitution as government ministers violate the separation of judicial and political powers

Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, of the far-right Lega Party, is determined not to let migrants rescued in the Mediterranean land in Italy and in doing so has been using the rescued people as pawns, keeping them without a port of safety for days on end.

The appeal remains open for signatures by individuals, groups and associations in Italy and abroad on change.org: FACINOROSO E' CHI, RESPINGENDO I PROFUGHI, CALPESTA LO STATO DI DIRITTO (change.org, link)

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal - London (link):

The London hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), the international public opinion tribunal established in the 1970s to draw attention to human rights violations worldwide, is scheduled for early November. One of a series of hearings on violations of the rights of migrants and refugees (others have been held in Barcelona, Palermo and Paris), the London Tribunal will focus on the rights of migrants in the chain of labour, violations and resistance. In seven charges, the Indictment lays out the responsibility of the British government (in its own right and as a member of the EU) for neglecting the rights of the domestic workforce and for the creation of an underclass of super-exploited, disposable, deportable workers.

See the indictment for the London hearing here; the call for support here; and the call for evidence here.

Cyprus: Journalism in the Crosshairs of Silly Season Headlines (ethicaljournalismnetwork.org. link) By Aidan White:

"The summer months are what journalists call “the silly season.” It’s a quiet time when nothing much happens. But in Cyprus, with the silly season in full swing, it’s journalism itself which is making headlines.

A faux-controversy has been generated over an effort by journalists to promote a discussion within newsrooms on both sides of the island about the words and phrases they use in their reporting.

The booklet Words that Matter: A Glossary for Journalism in Cyprus aims to encourage careful and sensitive reporting. It highlights some words and phrases that are regarded by some people as negative or biased and is part of a wider dialogue project involving unions, press regulation bodies and young journalists."

German Criminal Police maintains arrest warrants despite Interpol warning about political persecution (link):

"After the detention of critical authors and journalists, Interpol came under criticism. All arrest warrants should be reviewed retroactively for possible political persecution. German authorities promised to check incoming warrants more strictly. Little has happened since then."

Despite territorial clause: Europol starts police cooperation with Israel (link):

"After years of negotiations, Europol and Israel agreed on closer police cooperation. A treaty on the exchange of personal data is to follow. According to an EU decision, such agreements do not apply in occupied territories."

UK to warn public every week over ‘no-deal Brexit’ (euractiv, link): "Britons will from next week start receiving weekly information bulletins from the government about how to make sure they’re ready for a disorderly Brexit, The Times reported today (20 July).

The information will be distributed as “bundles” to consumers and companies as Britain counts down to its departure from the European Union on 29 March 2019, said the newspaper."

See also: EU urges no-deal Brexit preparation (euobserver, link) and: European Commission: Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019 (pdf), COM 556/2018 (pdf), Annex (pdf), Factsheet (pdf)

EU-HUNGARY: At last the EU acts: Migration and Asylum: Commission takes further steps in infringement procedures against Hungary (Press release, pdf):

"The European Commission has today decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law.

The Commission has also today sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning new Hungarian legislation which criminalises activities that support asylum and residence applications and further restricts the right to request asylum.(...)

The new legislation – so-called "Stop Soros" by the Hungarian authorities – criminalises any assistance offered by any person on behalf of national, international and non-governmental organisations to people wishing to apply for asylum or for a residence permit in Hungary. The laws also include measures which restrict individual freedoms, by preventing anyone who is subject to a criminal procedure under these laws from approaching the transit zones at Hungary's borders, where asylum seekers are held. Sanctions range from temporary confinement to imprisonment of up to 1 year and expulsion from the country." [emphasis added]

UK intelligence and police using child spies in covert operations - Home Office wants more freedom to find information on terrorists and gangs via children (Guardian, link)

"British police and intelligence agencies are using children as spies in covert operations against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers.

A committee of the House of Lords revealed the practice while raising the alarm over government plans to give law enforcement bodies more freedom over their use of children.

Some of the child spies are aged under 16, the committee says, adding that it was worried about proposals to extend from one month to four the period of time between each occasion that child spies go through a re-registration process."

See: House of Lords report: Draft Investigatory Powers (Codes of Practice and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2018 Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Juveniles) (Amendment) Order 2018 (pdf)

UK: British Transport Police "ignorance" of covert surveillance law leaves court "astonished"

The British Transport Police (BTP) has been condemned by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) for a covert surveillance operation directed at a former police superintendent whose subsequent arrest was then the subject of a "gratutitous" press release. He was charged with five counts of sexual assault and found innocent. The judgment highlights the "disturbing lack of familiarity with the relevant requirements of [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act] by almost every officer who was involved."

See: Davies v British Transport Police (IPT/17/93/H, 30 April 2018, pdf)

BREXIT: UK-Germany: Letter from German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to European Commissioners with the “intention to comment on the strategy of negotiations between the Commission and the UK” (pdf):

"The Ministry of the Interior had originally refused to publish the letter. Following a request on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act, the German letter was published by the website Frag den Staat [“ask the state”].

The text of the letter, that stirred lots of controversy even in the German government...

Astonishing footage reveals moment French President Emmanuel Macron's deputy chief of staff 'donned a riot helmet and police uniform so he could attack anti-Government protesters during street demonstrations' (Daily Mail, link)

EU: Meijers Committee: Comments on the proposal for a regulation on European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters (pdf):

"The Meijers Committee notes that the approach of the proposals is fundamentally different from all existing mutual recognition instruments, because it de facto enhances the operational reach of the competent authorities far beyond their national borders, that is to say directly vis-à-vis third parties (service providers). Moreover, the scope of the proposals does not only target EU-based providers, but also companies based in third states. Only in cases of non-cooperation is the help of judicial authorities from the executing state foreseen.

This note aims to raise a number of questions and concerns that follow from the proposals, and provides several recommendations on how to improve them."

UK: Brexit will trigger rise in hate crimes, warns police watchdog (Guardian, link): "Government pledge to support hate crime victims has been mostly ignored, report finds."

Austrian State May Require Jews to Register to Buy Kosher Meat (haaretz.com, link):

"Gottfried Waldhäusl, a cabinet minister in the state government of Lower Austria, defended the plan as necessary 'from an animal welfare point of view' "

UK: MI6: UK spy agencies criticised for lack of black leaders (Gurdian, link):

"MI6 and MI5 had no one from minority ethnic background in a top post, MPs find.

The UK’s intelligence agencies suffer from a lack of black and Asian staff in top posts, according to a report from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee published on Wednesday.

Neither MI6, which deals with overseas intelligence-gathering, nor MI5 had any people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background in the top posts in 2016-17. The surveillance agency GCHQ was the only agency listed as having any staff at a senior level from a BAME background."

See: Press release (pdf) and Report (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16-18.7.18) including: Europol proposals on migrant smuggling; Libyan Coast Guard left two adults and a baby to die; Austrian Presidency proposals on asylum

European External Action Service Space Task Force: Satellite imagery for intelligence agencies: Conclusions/recommendations on "SatCen tomorrow" (EEAS (2018) 770, Limited, 2 , pdf)

"With this set of conclusions/recommendations, DEFINES a vision for the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) in the framework of the EU Global Strategy, the Space Strategy for Europe and the relevant Council conclusions, in particular those of 14th November 2016 and of 13th November 2017. This will lay the basis on which SatCen and the EEAS will explore with Member States and the Commission how to implement it (...)

...CONSIDERS that SatCen should be further integrated in the intelligence community at the EU's and Member States' level (...)

RECOMMENDS expanding secure communication links to enable quick delivery of classified products and services to SatCen users, in particular the EU intelligence community, MS intelligence entities, as well as to the EU CSDP missions and operations when appropriate"

EU: Europol proposals on combating migrant smuggling: interoperability, "law enforcement-led response", "data fusion", deployments in African states

"At the COSI meeting of 26 June 2018, Europol presented the activity report of the European migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC). During the subsequent thematic discussion on migrant smuggling, Europol was requested to prepare a short presentation with proposals how to further strengthen the fight against migrant smuggling. This presentation was made at the informal COSI meeting in Vienna on 2 ."

Independent Media Under Threat as Czech Republic Tilts Towards Populism (Liberties, link):

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

On 6 June, Andrej Babiš became prime minister of the Czech Republic for the second time in seven months. This is an extremely concerning development for civil liberties advocates and independent media outlets. The freedom of independent news groups is being threatened both by takeover by Babiš and other oligarchs and by threats to their work and personal well-being (...)

In the Czech Republic, the shrinking space issue is particularly serious with regard to a free and independent media. Babiš’s political rise has been accompanied – if not directly enabled – by his takeover of some of the country’s largest media outlets. He founded ANO in 2011 and began acquiring media companies shortly thereafter. In 2013, he bought the media group MAFRA, which publishes one of the most popular newspapers in the country. He then bought the newspapers Lidové noviny and Metro, together read by more than a million Czechs everyday. He followed this with the acquisition of Radio Impuls, which enjoys the largest audience in the country."

HUNGARY: The Right of Access to a Lawyer and Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings in Hungary (2018) (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, link):

"The Hungarian Helsinki Committee was a partner in the international project “Strengthening procedural rights in criminal proceedings: effective implementation of the right to a lawyer/legal aid under the Stockholm Programme”, coordinated by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.

The project, launched in June 2016 and funded by the European Union, aimed to increase understanding of the shortcomings and dysfunctions in each national criminal law framework on the issues addressed by Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer and Recommendation 2013/C 378/03 on the right to legal aid among key stakeholders in five EU jurisdictions, and to identify and promote examples of transferable good practice. The project also aimed to facilitate communication and coordination between legal practitioners and to build and strengthen the capacity of stakeholders on the international and EU standards on the rights to access to a lawyer and legal aid of suspects and accused in criminal proceedings.

Activities in Hungary included the reviewing of 150 criminal case files, conducting interviews with stakeholders, and holding capacity-building workshops for attorneys."

UK: Call for postmortem after asylum seeker's death at car wash (The Guardian, link):

"The family of a 23-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker who died during a Home Office immigration raid are calling for a postmortem into his death to discover the truth about what happened.

Mustafa Dawood escaped persecution in Darfur, Sudan, which has one of the worst records in the world for human rights violations, and went to the UK in 2015.

The circumstances of his death remain unclear. He had been working illegally at Shaftesbury Hand Car Wash in Newport, south Wales, and, during a Home Office raid on 30 June 2018, it was reported he fled to the roof of a neighbouring factory from where he fell and died (...)

A spokesman for Newport coroner’s office said a final decision had not yet been made about whether to conduct a postmortem and that sometimes enough medical evidence could be obtained from hospital records, such as x-rays and CT scans, without the need for a postmortem."

UK almost doubles arms sales to countries on governments list of human rights abusers, figures reveal (The Independent, link):

"The UK nearly doubled the value of arms sales to countries on the government’s list of human rights abusers in the past year, figures reveal.

Licences for arms deals worth some £1.5bn were approved in Whitehall in 2017, up from £820m a year earlier, according to figures compiled by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) pressure group.

Sales were granted to 18 countries on the list, including China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel, Egypt and Pakistan, compared to 20 different states in 2016."

EU: Immigration, Lot of Myths and Little Reality (IPS, link) by Roberto Savio:

"According to the latest statistics, the total flow of immigrants so far in 2018 is 50.000 people, compared with 186,768 last year, 1,259,955 in 2016 and 1,327,825 in 2015. The difference between reality and perceptions is so astonishing, we are clearly witnessing one of the most brilliant manipulations in history.

The latest survey carried out of 23,000 citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States shows an enormous level of disinformation. In five of those countries, people believe that immigrants are three times higher than they actually are.

Italians believe they account for 30% of the population when the figure is actually 10%, an average which is lower than the media of the European Union. Swedes are those closest to reality: they believe immigrants account for 30%, when in fact the figure is 20%.

Italians also believe that 50% of the immigrants are Muslim, when in fact it is 30%; conversely, 60% of the immigrants are Christian, and Italians think they are 30% (...)

Meanwhile, the 7th report on the economic impact of immigration in Italy from the Leone Moressa Foundation, which based its research on Italian Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) data, has presented some totally ignored facts."

EU: INTEROPERABILITY: Shared Biometric Matching Service (sBMS): Feasibility study - final report (pdf)

"The sBMS has been conceived based on the key assumption that rather than having four or more individual biometric systems, each serving one IT system, eu-LISA and its stakeholders could benefit from implementing a unique shared biometric system that could be shared by all systems. Reduced IT complexity and costs, along with technical, financial, operational and managerial synergies have all been noted amongst the positive outcomes foreseen.

In this respect, eu-LISA had to identify and analyse the feasibility of different architectural options for the implementation of the sBMS, capable of supporting the various biometric operations of all current and future systems managed by the Agency.

To achieve this objective eu-LISA entrusted to an external independent contractor the execution of a study that had to take into account all biometrics functional and non-functional requirements of the IT systems, the state of maturity of biometric technology available on the market and eu-LISA’s operational and strategic objectives in this regard. The study also included an assessment of the ‘flagging’ functionality highlighted in the HLEG’s final report, with the possibility of the sBMS raising hit/no-hit “flags” from the various connected applications being specifically examined. This report provides an overview of the main outcomes of this study."

EU: Libyan Coast Guard left two adults and a baby to die at sea, says rescue group

The Libyan Coast Guard left two adults and a baby to die at sea after destroying the boat in which they were travelling some 80 miles off the coast of Libya, according to the sea rescue organisation Proactiva Open Arms.

EU Austrian Presidency document: "a new, better protection system under which no applications for asylum are filed on EU territory"

A crude paper authored by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU and circulated to other Member States's security officials refers disparagingly to "regions that are characterised by patriarchal, anti-freedom and/or backward-looking religious attitudes" and calls for "a halt to illegal migration to Europe" and the "development of a new, better protection system under which no applications for asylum are filed on EU territory," with some minor exceptions.

See: Austrian Presidency: Informal Meeting of COSI, Vienna, Austria, 2-3 : Strengthening EU External Border Protection and a Crisis-Resistant EU Asylum System (pdf)

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday relatives urge extension of undercover policy inquiry to North

Recent revelations of the activities of undercover British police in the North make it "imperative" that the Undercover Police Inquiry (UCPI) be extended to Northern Ireland, Kate Nash said last week.

Ms. Nash's brother was killed and her father wounded when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry in January 1972.

Migration to UK from EU falls to lowest level for four years (Guardian, link):

"Trend concerns businesses that claim drop in immigration is costing economy billions.

The number of people moving to the UK from EU countries has fallen to the lowest level for four years, according to official figures.

Data from the Office for National Statistics released on Monday showed net long-term migration to the UK from the EU was 101,000 in 2017 – the lowest level since the year ending March 2013.

The figures showed the government remains a long way from meeting its “objective” to cut overall net migration to the tens of thousands, but the continuing downward trend will concern business leaders and employers, who have claimed the drop in immigration is costing the economy billions of pounds a year."

Editorial: Towards a place of no return (ECRE, link):

"Horst Seehofer has managed to illustrate the inhumanity and futility of Europe’s return policy with a “joke” about the deportation of 69 people on his 69th birthday. The numbers no longer match: one of the group committed suicide after being returned to Afghanistan. He was a young man who had arrived in Germany as a child and had lived there for eight years, “returned” to a town he’d never been to.

For ECRE, return is a valid part of migration policy but only if certain pre-conditions are in place. First, fair asylum decision-making. Here, the huge variation in the rate of recognition of protection claims, particularly from key nationalities such as Afghanistan, demonstrates this is not the case – and probably indicates political interference in judicial decision-making. That the likelihood of a protection claim from an Afghan varies from 3% to 98% from one Member State to another with no objective explanation for the difference is evidence of injustice.

The second pre-condition is a return process that is effected in accordance with human rights; sometimes this is the case, often not. Finally, there should post-return monitoring. In many cases, including in Afghanistan, people just disappear after return, their fate unknown but unlikely to be positive. Without these preconditions, return should not be happening. But under no circumstances should people be “returned” to places they’ve never been."

ITALY: Police to trial Taser guns in 11 Italian cities (The Local, link):

"Police in 11 cities across Italy are to be given Tasers for the first time to test whether the electrical stun guns can help protect officers.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday approved the trial of a limited number of Tasers in Milan, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Padua, Reggio Emilia, Naples, Caserta, Catania, Brindisi and Palermo. They will be issued to members of all three police forces that patrol Italy's streets – the State Police, military Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza financial crime force – with officers given special training in the stun guns' use.

Salvini called the devices "a non-lethal weapon of dissuasion" and said they would act as a deterrent, reducing risks to officers' personal safety.

Italy has considered testing Tasers before, though not without controversy. A previous government first proposed a police trial in 2014, but was forced to promise precautions in response to concerns for public safety. The scheme was slow to get off the ground and, four years on, has yet to be rolled out."

EU: Eurojust: Information on contacts and agreements between Eurojust and third states and international organisations (Council document 10945/18, LIMITE, pdf):

Covering: INTERPOL, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM), Iber-Red, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Swiss Confederation, Ukraine, UNODC, USA, Liechtenstein, Moldovca, Montenegro, Albania, Georgia. And information on ongoing negotiations and negotiations on hold with: Albania, Israel, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Brazil, Georgia, Tunisia, Russian Federation.

EU: Informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Vienna: press releases

Three press releases were published by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU following an informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Vienna on 12 and 13 .

UN: At least 2.5 million migrants smuggled worldwide in 2016, says UNODC study

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, according to the first Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today. Migrant smuggling occurred in all regions of the world and generated an income for smugglers of up to US$7 billion, equivalent to what the United States or the European Union countries spent on global humanitarian aid in 2016.

FRANCE: Police clash with young people in Nantes after man shot dead (The Guardian, link):

"Groups of young people have clashed with French police in Nantes after a 22-year-old man was shot dead by an officer during a police check.

Cars were burned, petrol bombs were thrown, a shopping centre was set alight and a library and several buildings were damaged in the Breil neighbourhood in the early hours of Wednesday.

The police watchdog has opened an investigation into the circumstances of the man’s shooting. Johanna Rolland, the Socialist mayor of Nantes, called for clarity on the death and said any investigation must take place independently and with full transparency."

Hungary is determined to silence any critics left standing (euronews, link):

"With independent media largely silenced or taken over, the courts increasingly curbed, and a parliament firmly under the control of the newly re-elected Fidesz ruling party, Hungary’s nongovernmental groups are the most effective remaining voices to hold the government to account. It should come as no surprise then that they are increasingly under fire.

Laws passed against these groups in 2017 and since Hungary’s legislative elections are bad enough. But the authorities recently introduced draft bills that would impose a special 25 percent tax on funds for “supporters of immigration” and change the law governing public assembly to give the police more discretion to ban or disband demonstrations they don’t like."

UK: West Midlands Police paid £300,000 compensation to the family of man who died in custody (Birmingham Live, link):

"West Midlands Police paid £300,000 compensation to the family of a young man who died in custody, it was publicly revealed today.

Mikey Powell, 38, tragically died of asphyxiation while in custody after an arrest over a disturbance at his home in Lozells.

During an arrest, the dad-of-three was hit by a police vehicle, sprayed with CS gas, restrained on the ground - while suffering psychosis - and bundled into the back of a police van.

Around six minutes later, his body was placed on a mattress in a cell at Thornhill Road station in Handsworth where officers noticed he was not breathing.

Efforts to resuscitate him were made, but he was pronounced dead at City Hospital shortly after.

Ten officers were charged with criminal offences after Mikey's death, but all were cleared of wrongdoing in 2006.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission decided not to pursue any disciplinary charges against them."

NETHERLANDS: Police criticised for using Taser on 73-year-old man with dementia (Dutch News, link):

"Dutch police have been criticised after using a Taser on a 73-year-old man with dementia, in breach of protocol, reports the NOS on Friday.

It is believed to be the first time that such a device has been used inside a nursing institute in the Netherlands, and has led to criticism from Amnesty International, parliamentary concern and an external investigation.

A GroenLinks proposal at the end of last year should have meant that Tasers could not be used in psychiatric institutions. Police have admitted the action was not in line with policy but said the officer was doing his best in the situation.

The incident occurred last weekend when staff at a Rotterdam nursing incident called the emergency services as a patient was becoming aggressive. "

EU: Council discussions underway on implementing "interoperable" centralised database including EU citizens

The various Council Working groups are considering how the new centralised Justice and Home Affairs is going to work within the overall framework which is set out in: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area: - State of play of its implementation (third implementation report) (LIMITE doc no: 7931-REV-1-18, pdf).

The Commission tries to maintain the pretence that the new centralised database will only cover non-EU nationals but the Justice and Home Affairs working groups and the Security Commissioner are on record that the second stage will cover all existing and new databases including EU citizens.

EU: Council plans to export refugees with negative asylum decisions to "Return Centres" outside EU

The Austrian Council Presidency has circulated the following to Member States' delegations: Presidency discussion paper on Return Centers (LIMITE doc no: 10829-18, pdf, 4 ) calling for "the establishment of Return Centers in third countries."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"The idea of external "Return Centres" in Africa or elsewhere is objectionable in itself. Out of sight out of mind" would be the result.

And the notion that the EU would enforce European standards and be compliant with applicable international and European human rights law and the principle of Non-Refoulement" is highly questionable."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9-15.7.18)

Press release 12 : For immediate release
Statewatch launch new Observatory as interoperable Justice and Home Affairs databases morph into a centralised Big Brother database

"The time to ring the alarms bells is not when Big Brother is in place but when there are the first signs of its construction." (Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director)

This Observatory covers the so-called "interoperability" of EU JHA databases which in reality will create a centralised EU state database covering all existing and future JHA databases - through combining biometrics and personal data in a single search.

The Statewatch:
Observatory on "point of no return"

UK-EU-BREXIT: White Paper : The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union (pdf): See pages 51-63 on justice and home affairs cooperation.

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (First reading) (LIMITE doc no: 10973-18, pdf): The Council developing its negotiating position with 286 Footnotes with Member State positions.

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 - Revised four column table (LIMITE doc no: 10827-18, pdf): Multicolumn document with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise" position.

And see on above document: Presidency note with questions LIMITE doc no 10828-18, pdf);

"At the bilateral meetings, the Presidency also questioned Member States about option E, regarding 'ECRIS4ALL'. According to this solution, the data-base of the central system would contain identity information of all persons that have been convicted in the EU, whether EU-citizens, third country nationals or dual nationals (as well as people holding two or more EU-citizenships). Such a central data-base, which would address all concerns regarding alleged discrimination between different persons, could also replace the decentralised system of Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA.

During the bilateral meetings, this option received mixed reaction. While several delegations indicated that this would, in the long term, be the perfect solution, some other delegations indicated that this solution would encounter serious obstacles in their Member States."

Where Are We Going? Italy (And Europe) at the Crossroads between Xenophobia and Hospitality (Border Criminologies. link):

"Salvini suggests that we (Italians and Europeans) are at a crossroads. Either we undertake an authoritarian, state-centred approach that is straightforwardly aimed at the exclusion of unwanted foreigners, shorn of humanitarian proclamations; or, we pursue full hospitality, integrating new arrivals in the social and economic EU fabric."

Neo-Nazi NSU member Beate Zschäpe found guilty of murder, sentenced to life in prison (DW, link):

"The surviving member of the neo-Nazi terrorist group the National Socialist Underground (NSU), Beate Zschäpe, has been found guilty of 10 counts of murder. The trial was one of the biggest in postwar German history.

Beate Zschäpe, member of the neo-Nazi terrorist group the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for the murder of ten people between 2000 and 2007, as well as her part in two bombings, and several robberies and attempted murders. She was also found guilty of membership in and the foundation of a terrorist organization.

The judge Manfred Götzl also attributed Zschäpe with serious culpability, which means the 43-year-old is likely to serve more than the minimum of 15 years."

And see: Germany's neo-Nazi NSU trial verdict sparks protests, calls for investigation (DW, link):

"Germans took to the streets after the verdict delivery in the National Socialist Underground trial to demand that investigations continue into the series of right-wing extremist murders — and into state failures.

"Not the last word" was motto for numerous protests held across Germany on Wednesday in reaction to the verdict in a neo-Nazi terror case, one of the most important trials in the country's history.

The slogan echoed the sentiments of victims' relatives, who have said the verdict brings them little closure since state and media failures over the investigations into the murders and trial have yet to be clarified."

Guantanamo Bay detainees held for up to 15 years to argue for release in US court (Independent, link):

"Lawyers claim inmate are in 'perpetual detention for detention’s sake.

Eleven inmates detained in the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay for up to 15 years will have the case for their release – the largest of its kind – heard in a US district court this week."

Greek minister: Neoliberalism and xenophobic far-right are ‘two sides of the same coin’ (euractiv, link):

"Europe should establish a broad progressive front to face the rising extreme-right ahead of the EU election in 2019, Greece’s Alternate Economy Minister Alexis Charitsis told EURACTIV.com, adding that neoliberalism and far-right were the “two sides of the same coin” in times of crisis.

In a wide-ranging interview, Charitsis stressed that the 2019 EU election is the most crucial vote Europe has ever held.

He said the inertia of the European system as a whole in tackling key problems, such as austerity policies and the refugee crisis, paved the way for extremist and xenophobic forces to emerge and strengthen.

“They now claim a strong position in the European political landscape in the years to come,” he warned, adding that only a broad progressive front will be able to halt their ambitions."

EU: Revising EU visa policy (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:

"Back in 2014, the Commission proposed a revamp of EU visa policy (concerning short-term visit visas), in the form of a proposal to revise the EU’s visa code. This proposal ultimately failed, because the EU Parliament and Council could not agree on whether it should include “safe passage” visas for those needing protection or not. Now the Commission is trying again, focussing this time on security concerns, rather than economic growth."

European Parliament: Draft Report on findings and recommendations of the Special Committee on Terrorism (pdf): Includes:

"whereas retention of data is an essential part of the investigative process; whereas police and judicial authorities usually rely heavily on communications data to successfully proceed with their casework; whereas in order for interoperability of information systems to reach its full potential, harmonised data retention regimes across the EU are vital; whereas the necessity of an appropriate data retention regime when it comes to the fight against terrorism was consistently raised during the work of the TERR Committee (...)

whereas decentralised systems and mechanisms for information exchange are managed by the Member States’ authorities and include: the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), for exchanging national criminal record information; the EU passenger name records (PNR) system requiring airlines to share passengers’ data with national authorities for all flights between third countries and the EU; the Advance Passenger Information (API) system that collects information on passengers ahead of inbound flights to the EU; and the Prüm framework for exchanging DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration data."

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: Committee Announcement: 10 : ‘Serious concerns’ that new powers in Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill do not comply with Human Rights, says Joint Committee on Human Rights (Press release, pdf):

"The Committee, chaired by Harriet Harman MP and made up of MPs and Peers, is concerned that some of the new powers are too vaguely defined and do not have sufficient safeguards to protect human rights."

and Report: Legislative Scrutiny: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill (pdf)

See also: UK counter-terror bill risks criminalising curiosity – watchdog - Committee says bill breaches human rights and could catch out ‘inquisitive minds’ (Guardian, link)

Safety in Prisons and Police Custody Conference, Thursday 18th October 2018, Central London (link to book) an Agenda (link)

Europe's Next Test Case A Journey Down Austria's Path to the Right (Spiegel Online, link):

"With a right-wing extremist party in government again, a major experiment is currently taking place in Austria -- one that may test the endurance of democracy in Western Europe. A visit to a country that appears unable to come to terms with its own history as it lurches to the right."

GERMANY-GREECE: Berlin eyes deal for migrant returns with Greece by end July

"Even as Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer threatens the launch of mass returns of migrants if bilateral agreements are not achieved, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen has suggested that such an accord with Greece may be signed by the end of the month."

EU: Frontex: Annual Activity Report 2017 (pdf)

"The first part (1. Developments and 2. Strategic Action Areas) of the Annual Activity Report contains comprehensive and easily understandable information regarding Frontex's work; it outlines:

the situation at the external borders in the course of 2017; developments achieved at policy and Agency level; the new and enhanced mandate of the Agency; and the main activities per Strategic Action Areas during 2017.

It also reports on cooperation with Third Countries, the way how fundamental rights underpin Frontex's coordinated activities, and the issue of public access to documents.

II. The second part (3. Key Results and Progress towards the achievement of general and specific objectives, 4. Budgetary and Financial Management, 5. Management and Internal Control) of the document represents a main instrument of management accountability...

III.The third part contains further detailed information to provide additional information on previous elements of the report."

BALKANS: Minister says "there will be no refugee camps in Bosnia"; Frontex to receive powers to intervene in Albania

The Bosnian Security Minister has reportedly said that "there will be no refugee camps in Bosnia" following a sharp increase in people arriving in the country and hoping to travel onwards to the EU. Meanwhile, the EU is close to finalising an agreement with Albania that would allow the border agency Frontex to intervene on Albanian territory for the purposes of border control and return operations.

Romanian Prosecutor Who Took On Entrenched Corruption Is Fired (New York Times, link):

"Romania’s president dismissed the head of the country’s anticorruption agency on Monday, indicating that a court ruling had left him no choice. The move, while long predicted, raises concerns about prosecutorial independence in a country that ranks among the more corrupt in Europe.

The governing Social Democratic Party and its allies had long wanted to remove the anticorruption chief, Laura Codruta Kovesi, while President Klaus Iohannis had been a vocal supporter of the country’s efforts to fight corruption. But he has been under increasing pressure to fire Ms. Kovesi since the justice minister recommended her removal in February, accusing her, among other things, of exceeding her authority and damaging Romania’s image abroad.

In late May, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that Mr. Iohannis, whose office has little power, did not have the right to overrule the justice minister, and that he was required to dismiss Ms. Kovesi. Even so, he put off making a decision for almost a month and a half."

And see: EC will make sure that Romania’s Criminal Code changes respect EU laws (Romania-Insider.com, link): "The Chamber of Deputies gave its final vote on Wednesday on some controversial changes to the Criminal Code, which partly decriminalize some corruption offences."

How eight MEPs overruled 540 colleagues on office expenses (EUobserver, link):

"The European Parliament has 751 members, each of whom receive a monthly allowance of €4,416 to cover office expenses.

For 2018, the total bill for this lump sum, known as the general expenditure allowance (GEA), comes to €40m. No receipts are kept and scrutiny is minimal.

On 25 October 2017, the parliament adopted a resolution (with a majority of 414 MEPs) saying there should be more transparency regarding how the money is spent.

The plenary asked for three things: that the GEA should be deposited in a separate bank account; that MEPs should keep receipts; and that the unspent share of the GEA should be returned to the parliament's coffers at the end of an MEP's mandate.

On 18 April, an even larger majority of 540 MEPs voted in favour of a text which recalled the same request for more transparency and repeated these three demands.

But on Monday (2 July), eight MEPs holding the title vice-president scrapped two out of three items of the plenary's wish list, and opted for only a minimal reform."

Poland’s New Surveillance Law Targets Personal Data of Environmental Advocates, Threatening U.N. Climate Talks (The Intercept, link):

"A new Polish law with sweeping surveillance measures threatens free speech and the success of an important climate conference scheduled to take place in Katowice, Poland, later this year.

The conference, COP24, is billed as “Paris 2.0” — a crucial follow-up the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, where the Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated. Around 40,000 people from all over the world are expected flock to the industrial city in December, where participating countries will decide on the rulebook for implementing the historic climate accord.

In advance of the conference, a growing number of international NGOs and United Nations agencies have raised concerns about a law passed by Poland’s parliament — a bill “on specific solutions related to the organization of sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Republic of Poland.” While the vast majority of the law does little more than establish rules on governing how to host and finance the conference, one statute allows Polish authorities to “collect, obtain, gather, verify, process and use information, including personal data about persons posing a threat to public safety and order, including outside the borders of the Republic of Poland” if there is a “justified assumption” they will be staying in Poland.

Elsewhere, the law empowers Polish authorities to solicit other countries for information on COP24 attendees coming from abroad, including any police records and intelligence gathered by state surveillance." (emphasis added)

EU: Temporary reintroduction of internal border controls: Council mandate for negotiations with European Parliament

"At its meeting on 19 June 2018 the Permanent Representatives Committee agreed on the mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament with regard to the above draft Regulation, as it is set out in the Annex.

The changes vis-à-vis the Commission proposal are highlighted in bold/italics and strikethrough."

Commission to table EU external border proposal by September (EurActiv, link):

"The Commission will translate the Council’s demands into a set of concrete actions in order to improve control of the EU external borders, Jean-Claude Juncker announced on Friday (6 July) during the visit of the College of Commissioners to Vienna.

The EU executive will present its proposal in September to increase European coastguards up to 10,000 by 2020 – ahead of the previous date of 2027. The Commission will also prose extending Frontex’s mandate in order to create a real EU border police.

“We cannot be at the mercy of a few Frontex ships and understaffed coastguards from member states at the front line,” EU sources warned.

This European border police will work in EU territorial waters in the Mediterranean. But it still needs to be clarified what will happen to those who would still manage to cross the maritime border."

Israeli intelligence firm targeted NGOs during Hungary’s election campaign (Politico, link):

"The Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube was involved in a campaign to discredit NGOs ahead of Hungary’s April election, according to a former Black Cube employee and a person with knowledge of the company’s inner workings.

Between December 2017 and March 2018, Hungarian NGOs and individuals connected to American-Hungarian businessman George Soros were contacted by agents using false identities who secretly recorded them. The recordings, which began appearing in the Jerusalem Post and Hungarian government-controlled daily paper Magyar Idok three weeks before Hungary’s election, were used by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to attack independent civil society organizations during the last days of the campaign. Orbán’s right-wing Fidesz party went on to win in a landslide.

Black Cube is a Tel Aviv-based firm that has been implicated in scandals in the United States and Europe. The Hungarian campaign would represent the first time Black Cube’s work has been allegedly used in the run-up to an election."

German police raid homes of Tor-linked group's board members (ZDNet, link):

"In the early morning on June 20, German security services raided the homes of several board members of Zwiebelfreunde, a non-profit group that helps to support privacy and anonymity projects.

Moritz Bartl in Augsburg, Jens Kubieziel in Jena, and Juris Vetra in Berlin were raided, as was the home of a former board member who still had access to the board's bank accounts.

The former board member arrived home from a business trip to find his locks had been changed, and was told to collect his new keys from the police department.

The coordinated raids took place after Krawalltouristen, a left-wing blog which translates to "riot tourists," had called for protest action around the annual convention of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the largest opposition party in the German parliament."

See the statement: Coordinated raids of Zwiebelfreunde at various locations in Germany (torservers.net blog, link)

GERMANY: Full text of the interior ministry's 'Masterplan Migration': "even further restrictions"

German freedom of information website Frag den Staat (Ask the State) has published the full text of a "masterplan" on migration drawn up by the country's interior ministry, including a translation into English. In the words of the website (link): "The German Ministry of Interior is planning to put even further restrictions on Germany’s and Europe’s asylum and migration policies."

EU: Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, according to the EP

The EU should ensure that helping migrants for humanitarian reasons is not punishable as a crime, the European Parliament stated on Thursday.

In a non-legislative resolution (pdf), MEPs highlight concerns that EU laws on help to irregular migrants are having “unintended consequences” for citizens that provide humanitarian assistance to migrants. The text was passed with by show of hands.

UK: "Biometric Strategy" foresees a single centralised biometric platform - UK Big Brother?

The Home Office has produced a: Biometric Strategy: Better public services Maintaining public trust (pdf) together with the Biometrics Commissioner’s response to the Home Office Biometrics Strategy (pdf): The object is to bring together biometrics and personal data through:

""the implementation of a single biometrics platform"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"These proposals seem remarkably similar - and equally worrying - to the current debate in the EU over the dangers of creating a centralised biometric and personal information database.

The difference is that in the EU similar measures are decided through the normal legislative procedure by the co-legislators the Council and the parliament. While as the Commissioner notes in the UK the new strategy will be implemented by the government without legislation."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-8.7.18)

Institute of Race Relations: Who we are is what we do (link):

"Jenny Bourne, IRR veteran, writes on what the memorial event for A. Sivanandan held on 23 June at Conway Hall, meant for her (...)

"This was a looking back only as a way of celebrating and honing a particular perspective and political practice. In the light of current moves – towards elevating identity politics, emphasising ‘unconscious bias’ and changing just attitudes and representation – the meeting was constantly recalling the aptness of Siva’s practice reflected in down-to-earth aphorisms: ‘who we are is what we do’, ‘the racism that kills not the racism that discriminates’, ‘thinking in order to do not thinking in order to think’; his method of ‘lived theory’ and the urgency to build ‘communities of resistance'."

EU-MED: Witnesses not welcome: Civil search aircraft blocked from operation (Seawatch, link):

"The political offensive against civil sea rescue continues: Now the civil reconnaissance aircraft Moonbird was blocked from operations as well. The aircraft is operated by Sea-Watch and the Swiss Humanitarian Pilots Initiative (HPI) and is supported by the Protestant Church of Germany (EKD). The Maltese authorities do not allow any kind of search and rescue operations. From now on no search flights in the search area north of the Libyan coast are possible anymore. Since operations started, Moonbird was involved in the rescue of 20 000 people and more than 1000 would have drowned, if the Moonbird Crew would not have found their sinking boats in the last minute."

European Parliament: Data exchanges: Strengthening Europol cooperation with non-EU countries (link):

"MEPs stress need for personal data safeguards ahead of talks with eight non-EU countries to strengthen cooperation with Europol.

The aim of strengthening cooperation is to prevent and combat terrorism and organized crime, and to better address migration-related challenges such as the facilitation of irregular migration and trafficking in human beings. (...)

MEPs gave their input to the upcoming negotiations with Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, and Algeria on data exchanges with Europol in a vote on Wednesday.(...)

If the agreements do not afford a level of protection equivalent to that provided by EU law, then they cannot be concluded, say the resolutions.

Civil Liberties Committee Chair and rapporteur Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) said: "Today, we are sending an important political signal to both Council and Commission, but also the countries concerned, of what the limits and guiding principles should be for the upcoming negotiations. We have set out a number of red lines, including on further processing, data retention periods, the principle of specificity, and the prohibition of data exchange if there is a risk of cruel or inhuman treatment. There can be no weakening of the level of protection provided in EU law, either directly or indirectly, and we call for European standards of data protection, human rights and accountability to be upheld.""

And see: Council bypasses Parliament on Europol personal data exchange deals with Middle Eastern and North African states (Statewatch) and Warnings over proposed new Europol partners in Middle East and North Africa (Statewatch)

European Parliament: Good news: Copyright Directive: "EP has REJECTED the mandate for JURI on the copyright Directive (278 in favour of giving the mandate, 318 against" (from EDRI)

See: Dramatic Parliament vote triggers upheaval of divisive copyright bill (euractiv, link): "The authors of the bill said it would “end the exploitation of European artists on the internet”, but opponents said it would lead to censorship and would mean “the end of the internet as we know it”. A total of 318 MEPs voted to discard the JURI Committee’s decision and 278 elected to keep the legislation and move on to negotiations with the European Commission and national governments. There were 31 MEPs who abstained from the vote."

UK: Hillsborough police chief to face manslaughter trial (The Guardian, link):

"The prosecution for manslaughter of David Duckenfield, the former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent who was in command when 96 people were killed during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, is to continue to trial, a judge has ruled.

Criminal charges against four other men in relation to the disaster and its aftermath will also go to trial after the judge, Sir Peter Openshaw, rejected the defendants’ applications for them to be dismissed.

Openshaw decided that a legal bar – a “stay” on prosecuting Duckenfield, which was imposed by the judge Mr Justice Hooper when he heard the bereaved families’ private prosecution of Duckenfield in 2000 – should be lifted."

Children are separated from parents in the UK just like in Trump’s America (Metro, link)

"The desperate cries of children torn from their parents by US officials on the US-Mexico border have rightly provoked outrage and revulsion worldwide. Less well-known is that the UK government also separates parents from their children for the purpose of immigration control by sending the parent into immigration detention.

Every day, my charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) works with detained parents separated from their children to try and secure their release from detention.

For a child who has left for school in the morning thinking that their dad or mum will be there in the evening to come home and find that they have been taken away and detained is absolutely devastating. The long-term psychological impact of such trauma on children is well documented. The “lucky” ones are those who have another parent to take care of them. In some extreme cases, children left behind can be taken into care."

Shocked by UK complicity in torture? The so-called ‘war on terror’ deeply damaged global attitudes to torture (Fair Trials, link):

"It would be naïve to think that the UK personnel haven’t participated in torture over the last 500 years, but between 2001 and 2010, the UK was part of a sustained, planned and coordinated campaign of torture in the name of the so-called ‘war on terror’. With then-Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, authorising payments for some of these renditions, even the highest levels of Government have been tainted by the findings of these reports.

The barbaric attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001 shocked the world, but what has happened since- the practices of states who claimed to be acting in the interest of democracy- has been equally shocking.

Over recent decades, the political rhetoric around torture in the context of national security has represented a significant challenge to human rights law, especially the prohibition on torture. Programmes like 24 and Homeland, where ‘good guy’ Western intelligence agents torture ‘bad guy’ terrorists in order to obtain crucial information, effectively made torture in the context of terrorism part of Western pop culture. Far from being confined to the screen, torture really was being carried out by Western state officials, which scandals such as Abu Ghraib proved long before yesterday’s reports. But the horrors that occurred both in fiction and in real-life, combined to warp public perceptions around the morality and utility of torture."

EP allows EU militarisation and the development of controversial weapons (ENAAT, press release, link):

"Today the European Parliament adopted the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) proposed by the European Commission in June 2017, as a precursor of the future European Defence Fund. The European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) is highly concerned by the adoption of such programme to subsidize the arms industry.

By accepting the EDIDP, the European Parliament enshrines the EU paradigm shift towards hard security and military answers to complex problems, as well as the over-influence of the military-industrial complex on EU policy developments: the same companies that are advising the EU will then be the main beneficiaries of this funding."

UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights report: Windrush generation detention (pdf)

"Liberty is a core right. An individual should not be deprived of their liberty without good reason and adequate safeguards. In our work on cases of wrongful detention of members of the Windrush generation, we took the example of two individuals, Mr Anthony Bryan and Ms Paulette Wilson, to seek to understand why they had been wrongfully detained. The experience of detention is traumatising and debilitating, as shown by the evidence we heard from these two members of the Windrush generation, who were detained wrongfully, despite the fact that they had leave to remain in the UK, under the Immigration Act 1971.

...in these cases the Home Office has an inadequate regard for the human rights of those who might wrongly be subject to their immigration procedures and that there is neither sufficient internal or external challenge to prevent the system depriving individuals of the fundamental right not to be detained."

DENMARK: Government introduces separate laws for those living in "ghettos"

As reported in the New York Times: "Denmark’s government is introducing a new set of laws to regulate life in 25 low-income and heavily Muslim enclaves, saying that if families there do not willingly merge into the country’s mainstream, they should be compelled." The government is also planning to make it harder to obtain Danish citizenship.

UN sets conditions for EU 'disembarkation platforms' - full-text of the letter from the IOM and UNHCR

"UN agencies are imposing conditions before agreeing to any new EU plans to prevent boats leaving from north Africa to Italy and Spain (...)

Donald Tusk, the European Council president, wants the platforms outside Europe with the cooperation of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

But a joint confidential letter [pdf] sent by heads of the UNHCR and IOM says any such country, as in north Africa, must first set up reception centres that provide "adequate, safe and dignified reception conditions."

EU: Austrian Presidency: A deafening silence as the far-right takes the lead (European Alternatives, link):

"1st July Austria took the rotating presidency of the European Union. The sinister leaders of Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, vice-chancellor Heinz Strache and interior minister Herbert Kickl – each of them masters of far-right doublespeak – have chosen the slogan ‘A Europe that Protects’.

The minister for Europe, Karin Kneissl, like Strache and Kickl, is a member of the neofascist Freedom Party, founded by nazis after the Second World War.

Back in 2000, when its leader Jorg Haider entered into coalition government, European leaders expressed their outrage, and for some time there were sanctions on Austria. The entry of the neofascists to the government went almost unremarked this time around. And this weekend, at the opening ceremony of the Austrian Presidency, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk said ‘I feel we could not be in better hands’."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.6-2.7.18) including: documentation and reactions to the European Council meeting; reaction to closure of Pikpa camp on Lesvos; Bulgaria under fire for ill treatment of asylum seekers

UN: USA, UK and Netherlands host meeting on global implementation of PNR and API data-gathering to "disrupt terrorist travel"

"The United States, in partnership with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, will host a side event on the implementation of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) requirements under UNSCR 2396. This event will gather government representatives, technical experts, multilateral partners, and other stakeholders to discuss the legal framework, effective policies, best practices, and observed challenges in developing and implementing the API and PNR requirement."

EU-BULGARIA: PNR to include data on pilots, crew and passengers: SANS to Collect Data for Pilots (EU Scoop, link):

"State Agency "National Security" will collect data for pilots on planes, not just for passengers.

This was decided by the deputies, who adopted the second reading amendments to the law on SANS. The agency unit handling passenger name record data - names, booking dates, routes, addresses, and telephones - will now also collect information for pilots and flight attendants.

Carriers will be required to transmit to SANS passenger data 48 hours before the scheduled departure time for scheduled flights and 24 hours for non-scheduled flights.

Crew data will be provided immediately before the flight. If there is evidence of a real threat, air carriers must transmit the passenger and crew data at the request and within the time limits specified by the Agency."

UK: TASERS: North Wales Police Officers want better access to Taser, survey shows (Deeside.com, link):

"A survey of North Wales Police has found 79% of officers want access to Taser at all times on duty, a Police Federation of England and Wales’ survey has found.

The study explored officers’ views on firearms, examining the level of satisfaction with their current access to armed support, and their views on routine arming and other protective measures and equipment."

UK: A new report exposes the sinister truth behind Armed Forces Day (The Canary, link):

"Saturday 30 June 2018 is Armed Forces Day. This showcases hundreds of events across the UK. The purpose, we are told, is to offer everyday people the “chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community”. But a new report exposes the dark reality behind Armed Forces Day and the ‘British values’ that they are linked to.

British militarism

Warrior Nation: War, militarisation and British democracy, published by ForcesWatch, details a “militarisation offensive” launched against the British public by the military, political and media establishments. Warrior Nation argues that events like Armed Forces Day are part and parcel of a creeping militarism and militarisation of British society, designed to suppress dissent and ensure long-term support for war."

EU: European Council on migration: documentation and reactions to the "summit of shame"

Documentation and reactions to the European Council meeting on 29-30 June, which the German NGO Pro Asyl referred to as the "summit of shame" after EU leaders agreed to further strengthening the Libyan Coast Guard and to "swiftly explore the concept of regional disembarkation platforms". An editorial published by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, on the other hand, argues that although "nothing much has been decided," if one reads "between the lines of the European Council Conclusions there are some interesting developments – and not all negative."

EU: "Interoperability" proposals criticised again by EU data protection specialists

The EU's plans to make its policing and migration databases and information systems "interoperable" need "a cautious approach" because they "could have a serious impact on key principles such as purpose limitation and proportionality," according to a letter from the chairs of the bodies responsible for monitoring the three main existing large-scale EU databases - the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Eurodac.

EU: What Member States think about the "e-Evidence" proposals: Proposal for a Regulation on European production and preservation orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters - compilation of Member States comments (10470/1/18 REV 1, 28 June 2018, pdf):

Includes comments from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Finland, Sweden.

EU: Data Alone Won’t Stop Ethnic Profiling (Open Society Foundations, link):

"Last month, a young person stepped in front of a crowded conference room in Brussels to share his story of ethnic profiling by police in Belgium. In the audience sat police officers and policymakers who listened as he recalled his experience of being stopped by the police.

His crime? Police officers thought he was a burglar in his own home because he is black. The police officer did not believe him until a neighbor attested that he was living in the apartment. Unjust targeting based on race or ethnic background harms minority communities and erodes trust in the police (and the state). It also undermines police effectiveness and makes us all less safe.

The Open Society Justice Initiative had the honor to participate in the conference on racial profiling—the first of its kind in Belgium—which was organized by local civil society groups. The event brought together police, policymakers, civil society organizations, and affected communities to begin to repair the damaged relations between police and communities, which is a problem decades in the making."

EU to open case against Poland over Supreme Court law (Reuters, link):

"The European Commission will open a legal case against Poland to challenge a new law forcing the early retirement of some 40 percent of the country’s Supreme Court judges, officials said on Thursday, a move likely to develop into a formal lawsuit.

The decision marks an escalation of a row about democratic standards that pits the European Union’s executive against Poland’s euroskeptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which began sweeping changes to the judiciary after winning power in 2015.

Many other EU member states, the Polish opposition and human rights groups have also sharply criticized the PiS government, but Warsaw says its judiciary reforms are needed to rid Poland of post-communist heritage."

And see: Poland’s legal reform battle reaches supreme court (Financial Times, link): "Judges in Poland are in a bleak mood. “There is a big concern among judges about harassment. Disciplinary procedures have already started towards various judges. For example, I am checked by the CBA [anti-corruption bureau], the prosecutor, the tax office. Nonstop. Constantly someone is asking me for something, interrogating [me],” said Waldemar Zurek, a district court judge from Krakow and former spokesman of the National Judicial Council, who has been an outspoken critic of the government’s reforms."

EU: European Commission publishes two reports on "information channels used by migrants" in Italy and en-route to Europe

"The study findings will support the development of communication campaigns and activities aimed at informing migratory choices in countries of origin and transit. The overall objective of the EU and Member State funded migration information and awareness raising campaigns is to sensitise the target audience and provide prospective migrants, their communities and diaspora members with objective information on the risks of irregular migration as well as EU asylum, migration and return policies."

NETHERLANDS: Dutch police can now access 200,000 private security cameras: AD (Dutch News, link):

"The police in the Netherlands can now access footage from almost 200,000 privately-owned security cameras, the AD said on Monday.

In October 2016, 100,000 camera owners had voluntarily registered their systems with the police and this has since doubled, the paper said.

‘These images are increasingly important in crime solving,’ a police spokeswoman told the paper. ‘We can see in the blink of an eye if there is a camera in the neighbourhood.’

There are an estimated 500,000 security cameras in the Netherlands operated by companies and private individuals. According to the AD, police want registration to be compulsory, as is now the case in Belgium."

Over 200 Migrants Drown in Three Days in Mediterranean -- Death Toll for 2018 Passes 1,000 (IOM, link):

"On Sunday (1/07), a small rubber boat packed with migrants capsized off AlKhums, east of Tripoli, with an estimated 41 people surviving after rescue. Some 100 people were reported missing by the Libyan Coast Guard. On Friday (28/06), three babies were among the 103, who died in a shipwreck similar to Sunday’s incident, also caused by smugglers taking migrants to sea in completely unsafe vessels.

So far this year, the Libyan Coast Guard has returned some 10,000 people to shore from small vessels (...)

From Friday to Sunday, close to 1,000 migrants were returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, who intercepted small crafts as they made their way towards the open sea. Upon disembarkation to shore, migrants have received emergency direct assistance, including food and water, health assistance and IOM protection staff has provided vulnerability interviews. Those rescued and returned by the Libyan Coast Guard are transferred by the Libyan authorities to the detention centres where IOM continues humanitarian assistance."

Lesvos, Greece: Message from Pikpa camp: Reaction to announcement to close Pikpa camp

See: https://twitter.com/lesvosolidarity?lang=en (Twitter)

"The North Aegean regional governor announced the closure of Pikpa camp on the basis of a report by the health inspection which found shortcomings in the common kitchen handled by the residents, a broken net in the food distribution area and a leakage to a water tank for washing machines. For these reasons, it considers Pikpa dangerous to public health and the environment.

It is important to remind that the forest and public health services visited at a time when Pikpa camp responded to the urgent need to host 350 Kurdish refugees who had left Moria camp after fights broke out. It was the police who insisted to host around 70 people who had fled to a park in Mytilini in Pikpa camp on Friday night 25 May. They guaranteed that the next day the families would be transferred to Kara Tepe. Instead the next day, up to 1000 Kurdish people left Moria camp and Pikpa camp did not hear back on the promise to transfer the people to Kara Tepe. As soon as the temporary emergency with the Kurdish refugees in Pikpa camp started, this extraordinary situation has been used against Pikpa camp. Apart from sending several inspection services to the camp in this period, a court case was launched by several hotel owners from the neighbourhood and a few individuals, which will be heard on 6 July."

Anti-Brexit tycoon George Soros says EU faces 'existential crisis' (BBC news, link)

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