14th year reporting on civil liberties in the European Union (updated 19.10.12) Editor: Tony Bunyan
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Round-up of news stories from around the EU: In the News & Statewatch News Digest
UK: Organised dissent at Yarl's Wood detention centre met with harsh treatment
Mass protests by detainees at the Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire demanding "rights and dignity, and to end the racist, sexist and abusive detention system" have been met with harsh treatment by the authorities.
UK: Galloway to demand Home Secretary acts on police 'dirty tricks' (Respect, link) "A senior Metropolitan police counter-terrorism officer has been involved in a campaign of disinformation and 'dirty tricks' against George Galloway, which involved an agent in the MP's constituency office and also setting up a series of fake email addresses in an attempt to smear him." See also: George Galloway's PA, her police officer husband and claims of 'dirty tricks' (Guardian, link)
EU: Break-in at anti-tobbaco NGOs in EU capital (euobserver, link) Three anti-tobacco NGOs in Brussels were burgled on Thursday (18 October) in what staff fear could have been a tobacco industry attack.
Netherlands: Dutch proposal to search and destroy foreign computers (link) On 15 October, the Dutch ministry of Justice and Security proposed powers for the police to break into computers, install spyware, search computers and destroy data. These powers would extend to computers located outside the Netherlands. Dutch digital rights movement Bits of Freedom warns for the unacceptable risks to cybersecurity and calls on other countries to strongly oppose the proposal.
See also: Statewatch analysis: EU agrees rules for remote computer access by police forces but fails, as usual, to mention the security and intelligence agencies (pdf) EU: Welcome to the new world of the interception of telecommunications (link) Statewatch analysis: State Trojans: Germany exports spyware with a badge (pdf)
EDRi: Everything you need to know about data protection (link) Platform set up by EDRi.org for easy navigation through the different articles and topics of the Data Protection Regulation proposed by the European Commission on 25 January 2012.
Statewatch analysis: The UKs planned block opt-out from EU justice and policing measures in 2014 (pdf)
The UK government announced on 15 October 2012 that it intended in principle to take up the option to opt-out from all EU policing and criminal law measures adopted before the Treaty of Lisbon, with effect from 1 December 2014, but then to opt back in to some of these measures. This analysis looks in detail at the legal framework and practical implications of the governments intentions.
UK: Ministry of Defence accused of trying to "manage the public and political debate" on depleted uranium
A Campaign Against Depleted Uranium report argues that the the Ministry of Defence has been employing "an aggressive public relations strategy" for over 30 years in an attempt to "manage the public and ministerial perception" of depleted uranium weapons.
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Commission v. Austria: Court of Justice says Austrian data protection authority is not independent (press release, pdf) Full judgment (pdf) The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the Austrian Data Protection Authority, the Datenschutzkommisson (DSK), does not fulfil the requirements of independence as outlined in the European Data Protection Directive. Peter Hustinx, EDPS, said:
"Once again, the Court has underlined the legal obligation of complete independence in a data protection authority, this time in Austria. This ruling supports the importance of data protection as a fundamental right and the need for impartiality in order to safeguard it effectively in national law. The court decision is also important for the review of the data protection framework which must strengthen the role of the data protection authorities."
Greece: The Campaign for access to asylum in Attica: Press release (pdf) Full report (pdf) The report highlights the unacceptable situation of denial of access to the asylum system in Greece, focusing on the Attica area where the vast majority of asylum seekers try to apply for international protection.
EU: European Convention on Human Rights: Latest drafts of reform protocols: Draft Protocol No.15 (pdf) Draft Protocol No.16 (pdf)
EU: Hungary still not safe for Dublin II migrants: Note on Dublin transfers to Hungary of people who have transited through Serbia (UNHCR, link) The UNHCR reiterated its recommendation for Dublin II asylum-seekers not to be removed to Hungary six months after a first report warning against arbitrary detention and unfair treatment of asylum-seekers in Hungary.
See also: Statewatch analysis August 2012: Was Hungary the first EU country of arrival? Legal responsibility before human rights: a short story on Dublin (pdf)
Swiss army prepares for euro unrest (euobserver, link): " The Swiss army is preparing for possible internal civil unrest as well as waves of refugees from euro-countries as the economic crisis drags on. Switzerland, a non-EU, non-euro country landlocked between eurozone states, last month launched a military exercise to test its preparedness to deal with refugees and civil unrest."
UK-USA: Gary McKinnon extradition to US blocked by Theresa May
UK: UK accused of helping to supply arms for Northern Ireland loyalist killings (Guardian, link) Allegations that the government helped to arm loyalist gangs with a large arsenal of weapons at the height of Northern Ireland's Troubles are to surface in court proceedings arising from one of the most notorious massacres of the 30-year conflict.
EU-UK: UK to turn back the clock on EU police co-operation (euobserver, link) British defence minister Philip Hammond has confirmed reports the UK will seek to end participation in dozens of EU-level crime-fighting structures. Update: Home Secretary Theresa May has confirmed that the government will opt out of 130 measures (BBC, link)
ACTA: Canada-EU Trade Agreement Replicates ACTAs Notorious Copyright Provisions (Electronic Frontier Foundation, link) The shadow of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is back in Europe. It is disguised as CETA, the Canada-European Union and Trade Agreement.
EU: EU states want visas reintroduced for Balkan countries (hurriyet website, link) Germany and five other EU states want the European Commission to allow the reintroduction of visas for people coming from the Balkans so as to curb soaring asylum requests, the European Commission said Monday. Serbia offers to pay costs of 'fake' asylum-seekers (euractiv, link) In an attempt to avoid the re-introduction of visas for Serbian nationals travelling to the Schengen area, Belgrade said it was ready to pay Western countries for the extra cost incurred by "fake asylum seekers" on their territory.
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf) Presidency compromise suggestions for the meeting of Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion
GREECE: Golden Dawn Targets Immigrant Children (Greek Reporter, link)
Western Mediterranean Forum: From Tunis in 2003 to Malta in 2012: the first 5+5 Dialogue summit since the Arab uprising focuses on immigration and security
The Western Mediterranean Forum (made up of the governments of Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia,) met in Malta on 5 and 6 October 2012 to take part in the 5+5 Dialogue. Although working groups on a variety of issues (transport, defence, migration, home affairs, or the environment) have met regularly since the Forum's establishment in 1990, the Malta summit was the first meeting of the heads of states and governments in nine years
EU: Slovakian data retention law faces challenge before Constitutional Court
MPs in Slovakia have launched a legal challenge against the national law implementing the EU's Data Retention Directive, arguing that it is disproportionate and incompatible with the rights to privacy, data protection, and freedom of speech.
NO COMMENT: Nobel Peace Prize awarded to European Union (BBC News, link): The EU given the Prize for its contribution to peace, human rights and democracy.
EU: EURODAC-LEA ACCESS: The JSB calls upon the Commission to provide hard evidence to prove that it is necessary for Europol to access EURODAC data: Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) of Europol opinion with respect to the European Commission's amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of EURODAC: Press release (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf):
"The European Commission has provided no evidence to prove law enforcement access to EURODAC is necessary.
The citizens whose data are processed in EURODAC are a vulnerable group of people whose personal information requires careful handling and - like all citizens - fair and lawful treatment.
Impact assessments carried out in relation to the proposal provide no information demonstrating the need for Europol to access EURODAC data.
Europol should not have greater access to EURODAC data than the Member States. Member States without access to EURODAC data should not be allowed to effectively circumvent the law by accessing EURODAC data via Europol."
EU: EURODAC-LEA ACCESS: Meijers Committee:Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: Note Meijers Committee on the EURODAC proposal (COM(2012) 254) (pdf)
"The Meijers Committee strongly opposes the proposal to permit access for law enforcement authorities and Europol to Eurodac, because it breaches fundamental rights. For this reason, the Meijers Committee advises the members of the European Parliament to vote against the proposal."
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 08/2012 providing further input on the data protection reform discussions (pdf)
EU: Collection of personal data for the EU's Visa Information System spreads further across the globe
In October 2011, the consulates of Schengen states in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia began inserting the personal data collected from visa applicants into a new computer system. Residents of the North African countries wishing to visit the Schengen area were the first to be targeted for one of the EU's high-tech border control systems, the Visa Information System (VIS). One year on, the VIS has been launched in two further regions (covering the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran and the Arabian Gulf), with current plans for global coverage by the end of 2013.
EU: CLEAN IT: the secret EU surveillance plan that wasnt (Open Democracy, link) by Ben Hayes
MALTA DECLARATION: concluding the Second Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Western Mediterranean Forum (pdf)
EU: EveryOne Group, Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC) and NGO Gandhi: An Appeal to Activate Efficient Programmes for Rescuing Refugees at Sea (link) and Commission reply (link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Fundamental Rights Agency: Opinion of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on the proposed data protection reform package (pdf)
EU: MARKET ABUSE: European Parliament: Market abusers should face jail, say economic affairs MEPs (pdf). The Commission proposal does not specify minimum penalties for criminal bankers at all, nor does the Council draft.
Greek police collude with fascist Golden Dawn group: (wsws.org, link)
UN: ITALY: Italy: UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes his third country visit in his regional study on the human rights of migrants at the borders of the European Union: Italy (pdf):
"In relation to the Greek border, Italian authorities confirmed that they are preventing irregular migrants from disembarking from vessels arriving from Greece, thus forcing them to return to Greece... the application of a maximum period of detention of 18 months, although provided for under the EU Return Directive, is excessive in order to identify someone...I am also concerned that there is no general authority with investigative powers to monitor the activities of all places where migrants are held."
UK-EU: Opting out of EU Criminal law: What is actually involved? (pdf) by Alicia Hinarejos, J.R. Spencer and Steve Peers
"Protocol 36 to the Lisbon Treaty gives the UK the right to opt out en bloc of all the police and criminal justice measures adopted under the Treaty of Maastricht ahead of the date when the Court of Justice of the EU at Luxembourg will acquire jurisdiction in relation to them. The government is under pressure to use this opt-out in order to repatriate criminal justice.
EU: Council of the European Union: Judicial cooperation with Southern Neighbours & EU-Russia cooperation: criminal matters
- Current legal and practical issues, obstacles and best practices in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters between the EU Member States and the Southern neighbours of the EU (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia) and possible further steps (Doc no: 14328-12, 72 pages, pdf): A summary of the current legal and practical issues, obstacles and best practices in four areas of judicial cooperation in criminal matters (mutual legal assistance, extradition, transfer of criminal proceedings and transfer of sentenced persons) between the EU Member States and the Southern neighbours of the EU (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia). Detailed Member State responses. For many questions the current answer is:
"A considerable number of Member States have little or no experience with Southern neighbours of the EU."
- EU-Russia cooperation in criminal matters (Doc no: 14316-rev1-12, 38 pages, pdf). Detailed Member States responses
EU: Council of the European Union: ECJ FRONTEX ANNULLMENT and EURODAC: LEAs access to database
- ECJ-FRONTEX-Legal Service: Judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 September 2012 in Case C-355/10 (European Parliament v. Council of the European Union) - notion of essential and non-essential elements (pdf):
"By judgment of 5 September 2012, the Court (Grand Chamber) annulled Council Decision 2010/252/EU of 26 April 2010 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union ("the contested Decision") on the grounds that it contains essential elements and that only the European Union legislature would have been entitled to adopt such a decision."
- EURODAC-LEA-ACCESS: Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No [ / ] (establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (Doc no: 14519-12,109 pages, pdf). Council position ready to go to COREPER prior to starting trilogue with the European Parliament.
- EURODAC-LEA ACCESS: As above: joint letter from the German, Finnish and Austrian delegations to the Chair of the Asylum Working Party. (pdf). Concerns prior access to PRUM data before using EURODAC (access to finger-prints). The documents explains the background to the revision of recital 26 re the requirement of the use of the Prum system prior to police access to Eurodac. The consequence of this wording is that the UK police could not have access to Eurodac unless the UK opted back in to the Prum Decision after the planned block opt-out, also Swiss police could not have such access either (on the other hand, the EU has a treaty with Norway and Iceland on Prum)
EU: Council of the European Union: VIS, International protection, Dublin III comitology & Migratory Pressures
- VIS - state of play (Doc no: 14505-12, pdf). Visa Information System, VIS) Friends of VIS fail to agree on extension to cover all "remaining regions and third countries, including China, India and Russia."
- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) [First reading] (Doc no: 14259-12, 299 pages, pdf). Four column document: Commission proposal, EP position, Council position, Proposed "compromises".
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (Recast) (Doc no: 14520-12,pdf) Council position for COREPER to agree prior to first informal trilogue with European Parliament on the comitology aspects of Dublin III.
- EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response Draft Biannual Update (36 pages, pdf)
EU: Western Balkan states held back by lawlessness (euobserver, link) and see: European Commission: Enlargement Strategies and Main Challenges 2012-2013 (Commission Internal, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum System - State of play (pdf)
EU: EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT: FINLAND, DENMARK & SWEDEN: Council of the European Union: Notification by Finland according to Article 31.2 of the Council Framework decision of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (pdf):
"On 15 December 2005, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed the Convention on the surrender procedures between the Nordic countries (the Nordic Arrest Warrant). The Convention will enter into force 16 October 2012.
The Convention stipulates a closer cooperation between the Nordic countries than the Council Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant. Therefore, the Convention will be used in surrender procedures between Denmark, Finland and Sweden instead of the Council Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant."
EU: Council of the European Union: Military Command and Control, JCOs and Auditors letter on Home Affairs funding
- EU Concept for Military Command and Control (Declassified from Restricted, 10688-rev-5-12, pdf) "EU Concept for Military Command and Control, which was agreed by the EUMC on 12 June 2008." (EUMC= EU Military Committee)
- Guide for Joint Customs Operations (JCOs) (10837-rev-2-12, pdf) "Delegations will find below an updated version of the Guide for Joint Customs Operations (JCOs) prepared by the Danish delegation reflecting the latest changes of the Joint Customs Operations (JCO) Recommendation monitoring file1 and the revised tactical objectives and risk areas approved at the CCWP/Experts meeting held on 12 June 2012."
- The Commission proposals in the field of Home Affairs (period 2014-2020) - Letter from the Court of Auditors (14100-12, pdf)
EU: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) o 862/2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Report of the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority on the follow-up of the recommendations concerning the use of Article 99 alerts in the Schengen Information System (pdf):
"The overall conclusion is that most participating Schengen States must still invest in cooperation procedures in the area of law enforcement at national level to ensure that all conditions are in place allowing an Art. 99 alert to be made. While the procedures when reviewing these alerts either after six months or close to the retention period may be sufficient, this is not the situation preceding the alert."
European Parliament: Study: Reforming the Data Protection Package (92 pages, pdf)
COUNCIL OF EUROPE: EU ACCESSION TO ECHR: Second Negotiation meeting between the CDDH AD HOC Negotiation Group and the European Commission on the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf)
ITALY: Two bugs found at the anarchist space 76/A (Act For Freedom Now!)
UK: Two years on and no justice for Jimmy Mubenga (IRR News Service, link): "Next week, anti-G4S campaigners will mark the two years since the death of Jimmy Mubenga during a forced deportation on 12 October 2010."
EU: A study coordinated by France terre dasile: Right to asylum for unaccompanied minors in the European Union (225 pages, 8MB, link), Synthesis in English and in French (link) and see Childrens Society: Into the Unknown: Childrens journeys through the asylum process (link)
EU: European Commission Report: Mid-term report on the implementation of the Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (COM 554-12, pdf), Commission Staff Working Paper (SWD 281-12, pdf) and Press release (pdf)
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: The definition of political prisoner (pdf) and Debate (pdf)
EP-FRA: Letter from the Fundamental Rights Agency to the LIBE Committee: Media pluralism (pdf)
You look foreign: bring your passport, it's what the UKBA would want (Times Higher Education, link) Overreaction to the London Met case has exacerbated institutional racial harassment, Scott Poynting and Ann Singleton argue
EU: War games: The EU tests its "crisis management" procedures:
From 1 to 26 October, the EU and Member State institutions will undertake Multi Layer 2012, a crisis management exercise based on "the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in a fictitious region, where the states of 'Nusia' and 'Recuria' face the challenge of post-conflict transition, as well as issues such as border delimitation, landmines and maritime piracy."
EU: Over 29,000 subject to checks at Polish borders during Euro 2012
Nearly 29,000 people were checked at the Polish borders in June and July this year, following the reintroduction of border controls for the Euro 2012 football tournament. Documents obtained from the Council of the European Union show that 7,217 vehicles, 221 planes, 19 trains and 5 ferries were subjected to border checks between 4 June and 1 July.
EU: ACCESS BY LEAs to EURODAC: Draft EP report (pdf) The rappporteur, Monica Luisa Macovei MEP (PPE) proposes no significant changes to the Commission proposal. The measure concerns giving law enforcement agencies access to Eurodac which holds the finger-prints of asylum applicants and uindocumenrted migrants. However, see: European Data Protection Supervisor: EURODAC: erosion of fundamental rights creeps along (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf)
EU: European Arrest Warrant statistics: Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant Year 2011 (9200/6/12, pdf)
SPAIN: Madrid Protests: Police Admit 'Secret' Agents But Deny Provocation (link) Spain's National Police Headquarters admitted on Wednesday that a number of secret agents infiltrated Tuesday's protests against the conservative government, according to El Huffington Post, though police denied social media rumors that secret agents had provoked the violence.
EU: Council of the European Union: Council Framework Decision 2008/675/JHA of 24 July 2008 on taking account of convictions in the Member States of the European Union in the course of new criminal proceedings (14292/1/12, pdf)
EU: FRONTEX Fundamental Rights Strategy: Statewatch and Migreurops joint submission to the Ombudsman of the European Union (pdf) and French (pdf).
Frontex has adopted a restrictive approach to the human rights impact of its activities, and put forward a strategy where preventive mechanisms remain weak and where redress mechanisms are absent. In so doing, Frontex seems to fall short of two of its commitments presented in its reply to the Ombudsman: a zero tolerance policy and the mainstreaming of fundamental rights into all Frontex activities.
We thus argue that the understanding of the human rights risks in the context of Frontex operations may be underestimated and that the proposed safeguards are unsatisfactory as a result.
UK: Britain's military drones spending tops £2bn - UK spent £2bn on developing military drones in the past five years and is poised to commit an extra £2bn, claims report (Guardian, link), see report: Shelling Out: UK Government Spending on Unmanned Drones (Drones War UK, link)
UPDATE: European Court of Justice: The minimum conditions for the reception of asylum seekers must be granted by the Member State in receipt of an application for asylum even when it calls upon another Member State which it considers to be responsible for the examination of the application (Press release, pdf): "That obligation applies, in general, from when the asylum application is lodged until the actual transfer of the asylum seeker to the Member State responsible." and Advocate General: Opinion (pdf) and Full-text of the judgment (pdf).
UPDATED: Why we in the UK shouldnt celebrate these extraditions (openDemocracy, link) by Ben Hayes
UK-USA: Abu Hamza loses fight against extradition to the US - Major terror suspects may be moved in days as European court ends eight-year legal battle (Guardian, link): "The European court of human rights has cleared the way for the extradition to the United States of five terrorism suspects, including Abu Hamza al-Masri and Babar Ahmad, after legal battles dating back to 2004." See also: Statewatch Analysis: The new UK-US Extradition Treaty - removes or restricts key protections for defendants - signed and adopted with no parliamentary scrutiny by Ben Hayes
Common European Asylum System: LIBE Committee adopts Reception Directive and the Dublin III Regulation
As the deadline set for the adoption of a Common European Asylum Office is approaching (end of 2012), negotiations have reached the final stage of the "trilogue" between the Council and the European Parliament. Two of the measures were endorsed by the LIBE Committee on 19 September 2012: the Dublin III Regulation and the Reception Directive. Although some important changes were adopted which will likely improve the EU asylum system, significant elements remain at stake especially regarding access to social and economic rights, to free legal assistance, and the protection against disproportionate detention.
Germany: Border control and deportation operations to Belarus The German magazine Junge Welt published on 30 August 2012 an article which looks at cooperation between the German police (Bundespolizei) and Belarus in border control and return of irregular migrants. German cooperation is part of wider cooperation at an EU level with the former Soviet republic.
EU-SERBIA: Serbia is "no longer a safe third country" but Commission says that readmission "functions smoothly": Deportations of asylum-seekers from the EU to Serbia look set to continue, despite the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stating last month that the Balkan nation should no longer be considered a safe third country to which to return asylum seekers.
Spain: Police Brutality Turns Streets of Madrid Into War Zone (Occupy, link) and Popular discontent boils in Spain (euractiv, link)
EU: Meijers Committee: Note on the latest Presidency text on the proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (COM(210)379) (pdf):
UK-USA: Abu Hamza loses fight against extradition to the US - Major terror suspects may be moved in days as European court ends eight-year legal battle (Guardian, link): "The European court of human rights has cleared the way for the extradition to the United States of five terrorism suspects, including Abu Hamza al-Masri and Babar Ahmad, after legal battles dating back to 2004." See also: Statewatch Analysis: The new UK-US Extradition Treaty - removes or restricts key protections for defendants - signed and adopted with no parliamentary scrutiny by Ben Hayes
Drones: the west's new terror campaign-The CIA's Predator drones are bringing to Pakistan the same horror that Hitler's doodlebugs inflicted on London (Guardian link) by Clive Stafford Smith
INSTITUTE OF RACE RELATIONS (IRR): The market state vs the good society: A. Sivanandan shows how neoliberalism has transformed the state and the challenges this poses for the Left
FRANCE: Manuel Vallss scepticism on reforming identity checks is deplorable: An in-depth reform is necessary, urgent and realistic (Press release, pdf) signed by Gisti, Graines de France, Human Rights Watch, Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, Maison pour un Developpement Solidaire, Open Society Justice Initiative, Syndicat des Avocats de France and Syndicat de la Magistrature.
EU: What is "SECRET UE" anyway? (euobserver, link): "EU countries have a protocol for sharing official "secrets." But people's motives for classifying EU files are not always pure and the number of really hush hush papers in Brussels is tiny." and see: Intelligence chief: EU capital is 'spy capital' (euobserver, link)
EU: EURODAC-EUROPOL:Council of the European Union: Note explaining the need for EUROPOL to be able to request the comparison with EURODAC data for the purposes of preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offences and other serious criminal offences (pdf) Europol tries to make the case for access to the EURODAC database of the fingerprints of asylum-seekers in order to track down organised criminal gangs, traffickers and victims. It provides two insrtances to back up its case, which were solved without access to EURODAC. No case is made to suggest that its request is proportionate and there is an underlying assumption that all asylum-seekers should be checked to see if they are offenders. It is further impled that Europol, as the "EU criminal information hub", should have access to all personal data wherever it may reside in the EU. See also:
European Data Protection Supervisor: EURODAC: erosion of fundamental rights creeps along (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf): Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: Just because the data has already been collected, it should not be used for another purpose which may have a far-reaching negative impact on the lives of individuals. To intrude upon the privacy of individuals and risk stigmatising them requires strong justification and the Commission has simply not provided sufficient reason why asylum seekers should be singled out for such treatment."
EU: VIS (Visa Information System): VIS - state of play (pdf) A good illustration of the role the Council plays in implementation and see also the reference to the shadowy "FoVIS" (Friends of VIS) and Commission Implementing Decision of 21 September 2012 determining the date from which the Visa Information System (VIS) is to start operations in a third region (pdf)
UK: Institute of Race Relations: IRR News Service: Collectively opposing stop and search (link) by Danny Reilly: A collective of sixteen organisations has launched a campaign against current stop and search policy.
Update: EU: Police to 'patrol' Facebook and Twitter for terrorists under EU plan - Police across Europe will "patrol" Facebook, Google and Twitter for postings supporting terrorism under an EU project detailed in a leaked report (Daily Telegraph, link)
EU: EDRI: Clean IT Leak shows plans for large-scale, undemocratic surveillance of all communications (link): "A leaked document from the CleanIT project shows just how far internal discussions in that initiative have drifted away from its publicly stated aims, as well as the most fundamental legal rules that underpin European democracy and the rule of law." See: Clean IT Project: Full-text (23 pages, pdf)
DUBLIN: Public meeting organised by the Centre for Irish & European Security (CIES) and Statewatch: 'Are governments out of their depth with new communications and surveillance technology' - Democratic institutions can no longer govern modern communications and surveillance technology. (Press release, pdf): Speakers include: Tony Bunyan is the founder and director of Statewatch, one of the EUs foremost civil liberties watchdog groups, Gus Hosein is the executive director of Privacy International, and has held visiting fellowship positions at Columbia University and the LSE, Ben Wizner is the Director of the Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at the ACLU, Americas leading civil liberties group.The panel debate will begin at 19:00 in the European Parliament Office in Ireland, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, with a drinks reception at 18:30.
EU-CIA: Italy upholds rendition convictions for 23 Americans - Ruling is world's first judicial review of CIA practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries (Guardian, link)
EU: European Group for the Study of Deviancy and Social Control: 40th Annual Conference in Nicosia, Cyprus, 5-9 September 2012: Opening plenary session video (link) with Emma Bell, the new Group Coordinator, Keynote speech by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, and discussion
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Privacy International: Summary analysis of European Commission proposal for a general Data Protection Regulation (pdf) and Summary analysis of European Commission proposal for a Data Protection Directive in the law enforcement sector (pdf)
EU: Call for full political and economic union: Final Report of the Future of Europe Group: of the Foreign Ministers of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain (pdf)
The document sets out the "federal" project and includes proposals for "the protection of the Schengen areas external borders be strengthened (by creating a European Border Police) - FRONTEX to control all EU external borders? And to aim for a "European Defence Policy" with "the creation of a single market for armament projects." For some members of the Group the creation of a "European army" is needed. Some members of the Group want a directly elected Commission President "who would personally appoint the members of his [sic] "European Government" The rise of "nationalism and populism" requires, not the implementation of Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty (under which a Member State can be suspended), but "a new light mechanism".
See: Ministers issue blueprint for stronger union (European Voice, link): "The European Union needs more powers to oversee national budgets, a directly elected president of the European Commission and a police force to guard its external borders, according to a report by the foreign ministers of 11 member states." and see: 11 European Foreign Ministers Call for Greater Integration (IHT, New York Times, link) plus EU heavyweights call for radical foreign and defence policy overhaul - Five of six biggest EU countries back plans which include pan-European foreign ministry and majority voting to bypass UK veto (Guardian, link)
UK: Campaigners announce week of action against manufacturers and users of drone technology
"In October, campaigners across the UK will undertake a week of demonstrations, talks, petitioning and other events "to protest against the growing acquisition and use of armed drones" by militaries across the world. The use of drones has increased rapidly in the last few years, with a recent report from the US Congress stating that between 2005 and 2011, the number of countries in possession of drones rose from 41 to at least 76,  although only the UK, US and Israel have so far used armed drones."
EU: Data protection watchdog calls for single definition of 'illegal content' across EU (Out-law, link): "The European Commission should define what is meant by "illegal content" in order enable content 'hosts' to better understand what responsibilities they have to remove or disable access to such material, an EU privacy watchdog has said"
EU: Mid-term review: DG Justice and the Stockholm programme (pdf)
GREECE: Migrant centers slated for islands (ekathimerini, link): "Authorities have decided to set up four new reception centers for immigrants on islands of the Aegean to tackle a rising influx of would-be migrants into Greece by sea that has been prompted by more effective policing along the Turkish land border. The decision to set up the centers -- which, Kathimerini understands, will be located on Chios, Lesvos, Samos and Rhodes..."
EU: SECURITY INDUSTRY: Commission Staff Working Paper: Security Industrial Policy (SWD 233-12, 136 pages, pdf). See also: Communication on Security Industrial Policy: Action Plan for an innovative and competitive Security Industry (pdf) and The Commission presents an Industrial Policy for the Security Industry (Press release, link)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: EDPS formal comments on DG MARKT's public consultation on procedures for notifying and acting on illegal content hosted by online intermediaries (pdf):
"The EDPS supports the Commission's initiative aimed at better defining and harmonising the conditions under which notice-and-action should take place. He however underlines that notice-and-action procedures must respect fundamental rights, including the rights to data protection and to privacy which are notably protected under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, in Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, and in Directive 95/46/EC and Directive 2002/58/EC."
GREECE: Illegal Migrant Killed During Car Chase Near Border with Turkey (Greek Reporter, link)
UK-EU: Manchester airport to abandon 'naked' security scanners - Airport to stop using controversial backscatter scanners which produce naked body image after Brussels fails to approve trial (Guardian, link) Contrary to this story Manchester airport is not the only one in the EU to use body scanner - they have been in place in Schipol, Netherlands for ages.
EU: Intelligence chief: EU capital is 'spy capital' (euobserver, link) and Belgian intelligence chief talks to EUobserver: transcript (link)
UK: The Intelligence Role of Police Liaison Officers (Netpol, link) and see: Police liaison officers accused of harassing activist video: Sussex police liaison officers are accused of going to a woman's home and grilling her on her membership of UK Uncut and about future protests. The video has been released as part of wider criticism that PLOs are abusing their role to gather intelligence about activists and intimidate them (Guardian, link)
UK: Ian Tomlinson case: PC Simon Harwood sacked for gross misconduct - Officer's actions at G20 protest discredited police service and undermined public confidence, rules disciplinary panel (Guardian, link)
UK: 'The Second Torture: the immigration detention of torture survivors' (Medical Justice, link)
CoE: Council of Ministers: Resolution CM/ResCSS(2012)8 on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol by Greece (pdf)
"Taking into account the gravity of the situation, the Committee of Ministers, in assessing the application by Greece of the European Code of Social Security, draws the attention of all the parties implementing the support mechanism for Greece to the need to maintain social security benefits at the minimum levels prescribed by the Code, prevent the impoverishment of the population and preserve social peace;
Finds that the social austerity measures taken in law and practice culminating from the adverse fiscal and economic situation of Greece are affecting the sustainability of the national social security system, while the reduction of many social security benefits risks to undermine the application of all accepted
parts of the Code."
See also: Greek protests enter menacing phase (The Observer, link) As Greece's government wrestles with the prospect of more austerity, anger and fear are darkening the streets
EU: Council Presidency: Press Release - A positive step forward
"The Cyprus Presidency welcomes the decision of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament yesterday to resume work on five legislative proposals by the European Commission in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. The decision allows the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council to continue on the five dossiers."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Measuring Progress and Addressing Potential Privacy Concerns Would Facilitate Integration into the National Airspace System (pdf)
"obstacles still exist and include the inability for UAS to sense and avoid other aircraft and airborne objects in a manner similar to manned aircraft; vulnerabilities in the command and control of UAS operations; the lack of technological and operational standards needed to guide safe and consistent performance of UAS; and final regulations to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace system....
Stakeholder privacy concerns include the potential for increased amounts of government surveillance using technologies placed on UAS, the collection and use of such data, and potential violations of constitutional Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures. Currently, no federal agency has specific statutory responsibility to regulate privacy matters relating to UAS for the entire federal government."
ECJ-MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: EU Commission v Germany: Action brought on 11 July 2012 - European Commission v Federal Republic of Germany (pdf)
EU: Commission scraps 'right-to-strike' law plan: Decision follows months of opposition in European and national parliaments (European Voice, link)
EU: Proceeds of crime:European Commission: Proposal for a Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union (pdf) and Draft EP report (pdf)
EU: Commission wants drones flying in European skies by 2016
It is "imperative for the EU to take action now" to ensure that drones can fly in civil airspace alongside manned aircraft by 2016, according to a working paper recently released by the European Commission. A raft of measures are suggested that will allow state authorities and private enterprises to fly drones with ease, in order to ensure that European industry gets a slice of the profits from the emerging global market for unmanned aircraft, and to secure "important benefits to European citizens and the European economy as a whole." But despite brief mention of the ethical and political concerns raised by widespread domestic drone usage, the document largely treats the issue as a technical exercise.
EU: "Ambitious, yet realistic": Europol seeks to further increase in its role in European policing
Europol's Work Programme for 2013 outlines the agency's plans for the year ahead, and shows a significant focus on enhancing and expanding its role in European police intelligence, operations and training in order to support both Member States, and EU institutions in their increasing role in both internal and external security matters.
EU-EUROSUR: The Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: Note on the proposal for a Regulation establishing the European Border Surveillance System (COM (2011)0873) (pdf): "The Meijers Committee suggests that:
1. The goal of Eurosur to protect the lives of migrants should be guaranteed in the recital and in Article 1 of the Regulation;
2. The scope of Article 12a (2) (b) on the processing of personal data with regard to the powers based upon the Frontex Regulation should be clarified;
3. Amendment 40 of the draft report by Jan Mulder should be accepted as it includes the protection of lives of migrants in the exchange of information with neighbouring States;
4. Amendment 46 of the draft report by Jan Mulder should be accepted as it extends the content of the evaluation explicitly to the processing of personal data;
5. The reference to migrant profiles in Article 9(6) (c) and Article 10 (5bis) (c) should be deleted or an explicit reference must be made in accordance with Article 20 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (COM (2012) 9,10 and 11);
6. Article 10 (5bis) on the classification of information on own assets in the operational layer of the European situational picture as EU restricted should be deleted;
7. Article 18bis should be deleted from the current draft by the Council, as long as there is no decision of the Council by which United Kingdom and Ireland are allowed to participate in measures building upon the Schengen acquis."
See also EP report
EU: Migreurop: A critical Chronology of European Migration Policies by Alain Morice (CNRS-Université Paris-Diderot and Migreurop network)
"This chronology seeks to make it easier to understand European migration and asylum policies through a time-framed comparison of the evolution of the legal framework (columns A1 to A3), the public discourse (B1) and the facts (B2). The table is updated twice a year.
French version (link), Italian version (link) and Spanish version (link)
EU: CIA: Press release from Sarah Ludford MEP: EU states complicit in CIA led rendition and torture must be held accountable (pdf)
"Speaking at a debate of the European Parliament yesterday on her follow-up report into alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford criticised Member States for failing to meet their obligations to carry out full, independent inquiries to investigate human rights violations."
And see: EU states must re-open CIA rendition cases, MEPs say (euobserver, link)
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Detention of third-country nationals in return procedures (72 pages, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Cancelled? It has been noticed that references to the planned JHA Council on 20 September (see draft Agenda below) have been dropped from the Council's "Main topics for the coming fortnight: 10 - 23 September 2012" which now lists a "Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers" in Nicosia, Cyprus on 19-20 September. This most unusual step is referred to in a press report: Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 September cancelled (link):
"The Justice and Home Affairs Council scheduled for 20 September, at which Bulgaria and Romanias Schengen accession was supposed to be discussed, was cancelled, the BNR learned from diplomatic sources in Brussels. The reason, according to the sources, is that there are no other important decisions on the Schengen topic in the Councils agenda and there is also no chance for a positive outcome for the two countries at this stage."
EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 September: Draft "A" Points" agenda: legislative and non-legislative (pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: EURODAC: erosion of fundamental rights creeps along (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf):
"The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted his opinion on the amended Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of the fingerprints of asylum seekers.
A significant addition to this amended proposal is the access to EURODAC data by law enforcement authorities. While the EDPS understands that the availability of a database with fingerprints could be a useful additional tool in combating crime, this amendment is a serious intrusion into the rights of a vulnerable group of people in need of protection and he asks if such access is really necessary.
Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: Just because the data has already been collected, it should not be used for another purpose which may have a far-reaching negative impact on the lives of individuals. To intrude upon the privacy of individuals and risk stigmatising them requires strong justification and the Commission has simply not provided sufficient reason why asylum seekers should be singled out for such treatment."
UK: Book Launch: ILPA, Pluto Press and the Institute of Race Relations: Borderline justice: the fight for refugee and migrant rights by Frances Webber (pdf)
EU: Council Decision 2010/252 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code on sea surveillance at the external borders during Frontex operations should be annulled, as decided by the European Court of Justice on 5 September 2012 after examining the request for annulment lodged by the European Parliament in July 2010.
The Court followed the opinion of the ECJs General Advocate Paulo Mengozzi from 17 April 2012 (see: Statewatch analysis)
The court found that the Decision modified essential elements of the Schengen Borders Code and as such should not have been decided by regulatory procedure, rather the legislative procedure should have been followed (i.e. with the European Parliament acting as a co-legislator). Council Decision 2010/252 gives border guards operating during a Frontex sea operation considerable powers in the interception, search, rescue of migrants at sea and in their diversion to non-EU waters. It will remain in force until a new text is adopted following the appropriate legislative procedure. This new decision, especially in light of the ECHR ruling in Hirsi v Italy in February 2012, may have an important impact on the clarification of Frontexs search and rescue obligations and its liability regarding the respect of fundamental rights, whether in EU waters or during operations in high seas and in the territorial waters of third states.
Statewatch analysis: Securitising maritime transport: shipping merchandise and dealing with stowaways (pdf)
Pressure arising from international, EU and national measures implemented to counter illegal migration has led to changes in maritime transport practices. Shipping companies and ports are motivated to get rid of stowaways quickly and by any means possible, and have adopted informal operational practices to this end. Increasingly, stowaways are becoming pawns in a game managed on the basis of practical considerations rather than the law.
EU: Council of the European Union: Historical documents: ACTA (2007) & Integrated Police Units (IPUs, 2004)
- ACTA (2007) Recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the Commission to open negotiations of a plurilateral anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (Declassfied from Restricted, pdf)
- Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (2004): Guidelines for rapid deployment of Integrated Police Units - IPUs - in the initial stage of an EU-led substitution mission and interoperability of IPUs and Police Headquarters (65 pages, Partially Declassified, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Domestic Violence
- Police and domestic violence: Outcome of the CEPOL Presidency Conference on overcoming attrition in domestic violence through policing held on 10-12 July 2012 in Limassol (Cyprus) (pdf)
- Draft European Union handbook of best police practices on overcoming attrition in domestic violence cases (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Drugs Strategy, CT and Pakistan, Road traffic offences data exchanges
- Draft EU Drugs Strategy (2013-2020) (pdf)
- EU Counter-Terrorism/Security Strategy on Pakistan (pdf)
- Proposal for the implementation of Directive 2011/82/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 facilitating the cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences (pdf)
Statewatch analysis: Complex, technologically fraught and expensive - the problematic implementation of the Prüm Decision (pdf)
The implementation of the Prüm Treaty has been beset with technical and administrative problems with most Member States still unable to share data. Centralised EU bodies and working groups on information exchange have been created to speed up the implementation process and provide coordination and oversight.
Statewatch analysis: Growing racism in the EU not just a Member State issue (pdf)
Ethnic profiling on the basis of security concerns is not new. However, as the European Commission struggles to get the Anti- Discrimination directive adopted and the European Union attempts to upgrade equality standards in all Member States, less attention has been paid to the growing role ethnic profiling plays in European policy-making. Whether at national or EU level, the logic of targeting certain communities to better protect ourselves seems to be gaining ground.
Italy/Libya: Documents unveil post-Gaddafi cooperation agreement on immigration
On 18 June 2012, Turin-based newspaper La Stampa published the official record of the meeting between a delegation led by the Italian interior minister and the Libyan authorities in Tripoli on 3 April 2012 concerning cooperation in stemming flows of so-called illegal immigrants into Italy. It shows that agreements that were reached in the following fields: training; reception centres; border monitoring; voluntary returns and repatriation; setting up a residents register; and mechanisms to monitor and coordinate progress.
EU: European Commission: EU-ICAO & European migration Network
- Proposal for a Council Decision: on the position to be taken by the European Union within the EU-ICAO Joint Committee, concerning the Decision on the adoption of an Annex on aviation security to the Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation providing a framework for enhanced cooperation (pdf)
- EMN: Report on the Development of the European Migration Network (COM 427-12, pdf)
EU: European Commission: Access to documents: Report on on the application in 2011 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (COM 429-12, pdf)
EU: Access to documents: Europol: confirmatory application with regard to Dutch MEP Sophie In 't Veld's request for access to the final inspection report on the implementation of the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP) Agreement by Europol (pdf) Press release concerning the confirmatory application (pdf)
UK: London Met banned from enrolling overseas students (Times Higher Education, link) The UK Border Agency has revoked London Metropolitan University's licence to sponsor overseas students, a move that means the institution cannot continue to teach its existing 2,600 students from outside the EU. London Met decision: ill-judged, badly timed and poorly executed (Guardian, link). See also: Statewatch analysis: New immigration system forces UK academics to act as "an extra arm of the police" (June 2009, link)
EU: Statewatch analysis: Was Hungary the first EU country of arrival? Legal responsibility before human rights: a short story on Dublin II (pdf)
The Austrian Asylum court has been requested to ask the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) whether the removal of an asylum-seeker to Hungary in application of the Dublin Regulation should be suspended. Despite serious concerns expressed by the Helsinki Committee in Hungary and the UNHCR based on well-documented evidence that the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants are violated in Hungary, no mention was made of the risk of the claimant being mistreated upon return to Hungary. The decision of the constitutional court remained purely technical: was Hungary the first EU country to be entered or not?
Germany: Anti-fascist camp banned in Dortmund A summer camp for anti-fascist activists has been banned by local authorities a day before the camp was scheduled to start in Dortmund.
EU: Another secretive European police working group revealed as governments remain tight-lipped on other police networks and the activities of Mark Kennedy
Statewatch can reveal the existence of a previously unknown international police working group geared towards discussing and developing covert investigative techniques. At the same time parliamentary questions in Germany have seen further details of other police networks emerge - although many questions remain unanswered - in particular on the work and activities of former policy infiltrator Mark Kennedy.
UK: Statewatch analysis: Nationwide vigils commemorate deaths in custody (pdf)
Despite evidence of institutional and systematic failure and 11 verdicts of unlawful killing since 1990, no state official has been successfully prosecuted for a death in custody. On Fathers Day, 17 June 2012, peaceful vigils were held across the UK in remembrance of those who have died in police detention.
UK: Police use anti-terror powers to detain anarchists on return from conference in Switzerland
British counter-terrorist police at Heathrow airport last week (13 August) detained two anarchists returning from a conference in Switzerland, asked them a number of "inflammatory, irrelevant and offensive questions," and copied information from passports, literature, cameras and mobile phones, according to a statement released by the UK Anarchist Federation.
EU: Statewatch analysis: European governments step up repression of anti-austerity activists (pdf)
A total ban on protest was imposed in Frankfurt, demonstrations in Greece were met with police violence, and planned legal reforms in Spain will significantly diminish the right to protest.
Amnesty International: Urgent Action: Migrants face forced eviction in France (pdf) About 40 African migrants face imminent forced eviction from a squat in Calais, France. If evicted, they would be left homeless and vulnerable to other human rights violations.
European Court of Human Rights to examine complaint against ban on anonymous prepaid mobile phone cards
A member of the Schleswig-Holstein parliament and a civil liberties activist have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights against a German law which makes identification compulsory when buying prepaid mobile phone SIM cards. Laws to that effect exist in 9 of the 27 EU Member States (Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Spain). The applicants hope that the Court will recognize their right to anonymous communications and anonymous Internet access.
GREECE: Racist Violence Recording Network: Fatal attack in Iraqi in Athens (pdf): "Prompted by the fatal attack on a young Iraqi, on Sunday 12 August 2012, in the centre of Athens, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) along with the 19 NGOs and other bodies that constitute the Racist Violence Recording Network* strongly condemn, once again, acts of racist violence and call on the Greek Government and competent authorities to take immediate measures to address the escalation of racist attacks."
EU: Council of the European Union: False documents, HLWG Asylum & Migration, ICAO, Civilian Capability, SOCTA, Public Order
- FALSE DOCUMENTS: Working Party on Frontiers/False Documents - Mixed Committee (EU - Iceland/Liechtenstein/Norway/Switzerland)
dated: 30 May 2012 Subject: Summary of discussions (pdf) Includes "State of FADO play" in Appendix
- HLWG: High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) (Doc no: 11927-12, pdf) Includes in Annex: "GAMM UPDATE, 21 May 2012: This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogue processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach. The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Migration and Asylum by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."
- HLWG High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) (Doc no: 11928-12,pdf) Includes in Annex: "GAMMUPDATE 15 June 2012: This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogue processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Migration and Asylum by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."
- EU-ICAO: Preparation of the ICAO High Level Conference on Aviation Security (Montreal, 12-14 September 2012) - European Union coordination of a common position (pdf) With detailed Annex for meeting in Montréal, 12 to 14 September 2012.
- European External Action Service (EEAS): To: : Political and Security Committee (PSC) Subject : Multi-annual Civilian Capability Development Plan (Doc no: 12110-12, pdf)
- European External Action Service (EEAS) To: : Political and Security Committee (PSC): Subject : Multi-annual Civilian Capability Development Plan: Action Lines for 2012-2013 (12111-12, pdf)
- SOCTA: Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) - Methodology (28 pages,pdf)
- PUBLIC ORDER: List of permanent contact points concerning public order (pdf)
France: Ministry of Interior unveils "hotspot" policy to tackle "rooted delinquency"
In a note released on 30 July 2012, the French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced the launch of a new security policy targeting newly identified "priority security areas" (Zone prioritaires de sécurité, ZPS).  The project will be launched in 15 pilot cities in September 2012.
EU: Revision of Data Retention Directive put on hold with "no precise timetable" for a new proposal
Revision of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive - which requires the storage of internet and phone records for between six months and two years - has been put on hold by the European Commission. It is now seeking to establish a new data protection regime before revising the Data Retention Directive at the same time as a conflicting piece of legislation, the e-Privacy Directive.
See also Statewatch's Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU (from 2004 and ongoing)
UK: Commissioner's annual reports: Interception of Communications and Surveillance: More information or a lot less?
- Interception Commissioner cuts three of four annual aggregate statistics and claims giving more information would aid criminals
- Surveillance Commissioner complains again about the lack of resources to do the job properly
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"To suggest that providing aggregate figures - as has been the case for the last fourteen years - on the number of warrants in force on 31 December and the number of warrant "modifications" would aid criminals or endanger national security is simple nonsense.
The voluminous report of the Interception Commissioner is primarily concerned with showing how good a job he does on inspecting the agencies. But as an exercise in democratic accountability it is greatly wanting with the Commissioner releasing less information that ever before."
See also Statewatch's Observatory on: UK: Surveillance Statistics: 1937-2011
UK: Interception, Surveillance, Intelligence and Security Service Annual Reports:
- 2011 Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner (pdf)
- Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner: 2011-2012 (pdf)
- Intelligence Services Commissioner: 2011 (pdf)
- Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report: 2011-2013 (pdf)
- Investigatory Powers Tribunal 2011: Statistical report (pdf): 180 complaints none of which were upheld
- PM Written Statement (pdf)
GREECE: Pro Asyl: The systematic ill-treatment of migrants and refugees by state agewnts in Patras (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Report on: European Police Chiefs Convention (29 pages, pdf). Attended by All 27 EU Member States plus Albania, Australia, Colombia, Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Russian Federation, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA. Includes sections on cyber-crime and "Itinerant organised crime groups"
"But there are two main reasons why the criminal offences deriving from itinerant groups cannot be tolerated. The first one is of course the fact that the criminal offences cannot be viewed as isolated incidents, as they are pearls on either a string of poverty-led actions, or on a string of well-organised persons...
It seems that itinerant is the right word to use the opposite of a sedentary life - no base, constantly on the move. It calls to mind the idea of perpetual movement, of a wandering way of life, a lack of permanent base or registered address. It is the opposite of a sedentary lifestyle."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Federal Law Should Be Updated to Address Changing Technology Landscape (pdf):
"Technological developments since the Privacy Act became law in 1974 have changed the way information is organised and shared among organisations and individuals. Such advances have rendered some of the provisions of the Privacy Act and the E-Government Act of 2002 inadequate to fully protect all personally identifiable information collected, used, and maintained by the federal government. For example, GAO has reported on challenges in protecting the privacy of personal information relative to agencies use of Web 2.0 and data-mining technologies."
EU: NEW REGULATION ON DATA PROTECTION: National concerns over the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation (Infosecurity, link): "Statewatch, an independent organisation that keeps an eye on civil liberties in the EU, has released a leaked copy of European nations initial response to the proposed new Data Protection Regulation...It shows a wide difference in attitude. For example, a very common concern is the Regulations reliance on delegations; that is, the ability of the EU to arbitrarily add to or amend the agreed Regulation in the future."
See also: UK submits concerns over proposed data protection reforms (Outlaw, link)
and see: Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation)' (pdf)
"clarifications can be made to the proposed text. It gives some detailed examples in this opinion in relation to a number of articles, helping to provide a better definition of rights, of stronger protection for the public in general and of workers in particular, of the nature of consent, of the lawfulness of processing and, in particular, of the duties of data protection officers and data processing in the context of employment.The EESC also considers that some aspects that have not been addressed should be included, not least the need to broaden the scope of the regulation, the processing of sensitive data and collective actions."
UK: Thousands of workers 'blacklisted' over political views - Commissioner urged to investigate 'secret database' used by the construction industry (Independent, link)
GREECE: "Xenios Zeus" campaign continues (Athens News, link): "Greek police continued the "Xenios Zeus" campaign on Monday, sweeping through areas of Athens and beyond, in an attempt to battle unregistered migration. Over the weekend, according to an official announcement by police headquarters, 1130 arrests were documented in the Athenian capital, all those arrested failing to meet the legal requirements for their continued stay in the country."
EU: Council of the European Union: Internal Security Fund, Asylum and Migration Fund and Croatia: International agreements
- INTERNAL SECURITY FUND: Developing Council position: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament of the Council establishing, as part of the Internal Security Fund, the instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management - Revised compromise proposal by the Presidency (pdf)
- ASYLUM FUND: Developing Council position: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down general provisions on the Asylum and Migration Fund and on the instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management - Revised Compromise proposal by the Presidency on certain Articles (pdf)
- Commission: Recommendation for a COUNCIL DECISION authorising the opening of negotiations for the adaptation of agreements (referred to in the attached Annex) signed or concluded between the European Union, or the European Union and its Member States, with one or more third countries or international organisations, in view of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (pdf) See Annex: 17 page list of third state Agreements that applicant countries have to sign up to.
EU: Statewatch Analysis: "Tackling new threats upon which the security and prosperity of our free societies increasingly depend": the EU-US Working Group on Cyber Security and Cyber crime (pdf) by Chris Jones:
"A trans Atlantic working group has been created to share best practices, exchange information, and look at specific issues such as cyber incident management and child pornography. The group's activities promote increased internet regulation and the development of military capabilities for cyberspace, which invariably come at the expense of individual rights and freedoms."
EU: Council of the European Union: JSB & Eurojust, EU Ombudsman and the Council and PRUM
- Activity Report of the Joint Supervisory Body of Eurojust for the year 2011 (pdf)
- Replies to European Ombudsman enquiries addressed to the European Council or to the Council in relation to public access to documents: procedure (pdf)
- PRUM: Belgian delegation: Evaluation procedure for implementing the data exchange provisions pursuant to Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA (Prüm Decisions) - reply to questionnaire on exchange of DNA data (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Eurodac & LEAs and Eurosur
- EURODAC: Council Presidency re-draft: Access to Eurodac database of aslyum applicants' fingerprints: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No [&/&] (establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (pdf)
- EUROSUR: Outcome of disucssions on Council's position: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf) and:
- EUROSUR: Council Presidency re-draft: Subject as above (pdf)
EU: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): 2011 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union and on the Activities of the European Asylum Support Office (5 MB file, pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: State Trojans: Germany exports spyware with a badge (pdf) by Kees Hudig:
"German police have been using software to surveil people's internet activity beyond what is allowed by the law. There has also been increased cross]border cooperation with the police forces of neighbouring countries, with an informal working group meeting twice a year without the knowledge of parliamentarians."
EU: Human Cargo: Arbitrary readmissions from the Italian sea ports to Greece (pdf) by PRO ASYL Foundation and Friends of PRO ASYL in co-operation with the Greek Council for Refugees:
"While official statistics indicate that a certain number of people are being readmitted annually from Italy to Greece, NGOs in Greece in their daily operations have registered a much greater number of people who have been readmitted from Italy."
EU institutions fail to improve governance of EU regulatory agencies
After a few years of negotiations, the EU recently adopted a Common Approach for improved governance of EU 31 regulatory agencies. However, the agreed text seems to fall short of the Commission's objectives of greater transparency and accountability.
EU: Council of the European Union: State of play: Implementation of the Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union - Information provided to the General Secretariat (pdf)
UK: Statewatch Analysis: A clean city: the Olympic Games and civil liberties (pdf) by Chris Jones:
"Sponsors of the Games including McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Cadburys, BP and, perhaps most controversially, Dow Chemical - were promised what is chillingly called a "clean city", handing them ownership of everything within camera distance of the games. In combination with measures put in place to deal with what have been described as the four key risks of terrorism, protest, organised crime and natural disasters, these measures have led to a number of detrimental impacts upon civil liberties, dealt with here under the headings of freedom of expression; freedom of movement; freedom of assembly; and the right to protest"
EU: European Commission: SECURITY INDUSTRY: Communication on Security Industrial Policy: Action Plan for an innovative and competitive Security Industry (pdf) and The Commission presents an Industrial Policy for the Security Industry (Press release, link)
EU: European Commission: Submission of the 2011 Activity Report of the Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The comparative study of forced return monitoring in Europe by Matrix/ICMPD (pdf) by Marie Martin:
"Forced return monitoring mechanisms vary widely throughout the EU and the rights of irregular migrants are not safeguarded consistently. This study was an opportunity to make a strong case for improved practices in all Member States, but its scope and recommendations are very limited from a human rights perspective."
EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II, EURODAC: LEA access and SIS: Stolen vehicles
- DUBLIN II: State of play: Council position: Proposal for a Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (Recast) [First reading] (12746-rev-2-12, 113 pages, pdf): "At its meeting of 18 July 2012, the Committee of Permanent Representatives endorsed by a sufficient majority of delegations the text of the recast of the draft Dublin Regulation"
see also previous documents: As above (115 pages, 12746-rev-1-12, pdf) and As above (115 pages, 12746-12, pdf)
- EURODAC (asylum applicants' fingerprint database): Law enforcement agencies access: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No [&/&] (establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (12207-12, 116 pages, pdf). Includes 109 Member State reservations/comments.
- SIS: Schengen Information System: Stolen vehicles statistics: Implementation of Article 102A of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement during the year 2011 - Draft report to be submitted to the European Parliament in accordance with Art. 102A(4) of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement (CISA) (pdf): Data on motor vehicles, trailers and caravans which have been stolen, misappropriated or lost, and registration certificates for vehicles and number plates: "The only article in the CISA [Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement] providing for an obligation to record every transmission is Article 103. The reference to Article 103 the recording of every transmission for purposes of checking whether the search is admissible or not is interesting since these records may provide for the statistical information on the use of the data." In total, 8,235,658 searches were carried out giving 7,331 "hits" in 14 EU states.
UK: Blacklisted builders launch mass legal action against Sir Robert McAlpine - Workers branded 'troublemakers' on shadowy industry database make multimillion pound claim against construction giant (The Observer, link):
"Workers blacklisted by the construction industry over more than three decades have launched a high court claim against industry giant Sir Robert McAlpine, the Tory donor and builder of the Olympic Stadium, for conspiring with other firms to keep them out of work.... The claim involves 86 of 3,400 workers in the files of the Consulting Association, a covert organisation paid by big names in the industry to collect damaging information on workers regarded as leftwing or troublesome. The files included information about trade union membership, relationships, friendships and political views, along with surveillance intelligence.
..Dave Smith, 46, an engineer who had a 36-page file against his name and was repeatedly victimised for highlighting safety hazards on sites, including the presence of asbestos. The Information Commissioner's Office said at Smith's tribunal that it believed some of the information held by the covert organisation and accessible to companies that subscribed to the service "could only have been supplied by the police or the security services".
UK: Spotlight on racial violence: January June 2012 (Institute of Race Relations, link):
"And the first six months of 2012 reveals a reality of routine abuse and harassment from graffiti to vicious assault, from alcohol fuelled vandalism to hate campaigns. At least one attack has proved fatal. Given that these incidents were recorded in the local or (much less frequently) national press, they show only a tiny fraction of the true scale of violence. (51,187 racist incidents were recorded by the police in 2010/11, the last year for which statistics are available.) Nonetheless, they do provide a snapshot of the reach and impact of popular racism."
CIA-POLAND: European Court Seeks Answers from Poland on CIA Black Site Case
"The European Court of Human Rights has told Poland to provide it with information about a secret detention site that operated on its territory in 2002 and 2003, in response to an application filed by the Open Society Justice Initiative on behalf of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national now facing capital charges before a U.S. military commission at Guantanamo Bay. The courts detailed enquiries include seeking any agreement on setting up and running a secret CIA prison on Polish territory and other documentation"
Full-text of ECHR judgment (pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the Border Force (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: NEW DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (Doc no: 9897-rev2-12, p170 pages, pdf) Discussion the the Council including detailed indiviudual comments from Member States.
UK: Netpol report into the policing of protest 2010/2011 (link, 10 MB): A detailed new report launched today by the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) highlights how promises made by the police to adapt to protest after 2009's G20 demonstrations in London have been forgotten in a remarkably short space of time and a far more intolerant total policing style response to protesters has developed in the UK and see: Police protest tactics 'give officers excessive and disproportionate control' - Study by network of police monitoring groups says use of pre-emptive arrests and kettling are unjustified curbs on liberty (Guardian, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: SIRENE/FAST, SIS Migration, Discrimination and Intra-corporate transfer
- SIRENE and FAST [Fugitive Active Search Teams] joint conference in Prague May 2012: conclusions and other activities in the area of searches for wanted persons (pdf)
- SIS MIGRATION TO SIS II: Proposal for a Council Regulation on migration from the Schengen Information System (SIS 1+) to the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (recast) (Doc no: 11142-12, pdf) and Second version (Doc no: 11143-12, pdf): "In order to reflect the particular positions of Ireland and the United Kingdom, the original proposal was divided into two identical texts of proposals for a Council Regulation, specifically doc. 11142/12 and doc. 11143/12."
- DISCRIMINATION: Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (Doc no: 12457-12, pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (Doc no: 10618-12, pdf) Council position prior to entering trilogue with the European Parliament with 108 Member State reservations.
TURKEY: Eyewitness in Turkey (Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, link):
"A political purge is under way in Turkey. Since 2009, thousands of activists from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have been arrested in police raids and interned in extended pre-trial detention. Following elections in June 2011, the BDP currently has 36 members of the Turkish Parliament, elected mainly with the support of Turkey's substantial Kurdish minority.
Now, a series of trials has begun. In the latest of these, more than 200 people are before the Tribunal with Special Powers, charged with support for, and involvement in, the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK), which is a banned organisation. This grouping, it is alleged by the Turkish Government of Prime Minister Erdogan, acts as the 'urban branch' of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), also banned in Turkey because of its long-term armed campaign against the Turkish state. On this pretext, the Turkish authorities continue to arrest large numbers of activists throughout the country in regular raids. In recent weeks, prominent Kurdish trade unionists were detained."
ITALY: Commission probes Italy asylum abuse allegations (euobserver, link): "according to a joint-report by the Greek Refugee Council and the German-based Pro Asyl earlier this month, Italy is returning undocumented migrants and asylum seekers to Greece without any proper checks."
EU: Statewatch analysis: The EUs accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: a cause for celebration or concern? (pdf) by Chris Jones:
"Internal negotiations over whether to accede to the ECHR have been mired by problems and highlight fundamental shortcomings with the EU's decision making process. An insistence on secrecy and an emphasis on "strategic priorities" have come to take precedence over individual rights."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the UK Border Agency (December 2011March 2012) (127 pages, pdf) and Volume II (pdf)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Cyprus, 23-24 July: First day press release (link): Documents: Security Industrial Policy/Security Related Research (pdf), Data Protection Reform (pdf), Tackling Cybercrime at EU Level: Priorities for the Future (pdf), Proposal for a Directive on the Freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the EU (pdf) and 3rd Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (pdf).
EU: A weak report from the Council on the: Evaluation of European Union agencies: Endorsement of the Joint Statement and Common Approach (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol, SIS/SIRENE, Dublin II and Reception
- Europol Work Programme 2013 (pdf)
- SIS and SIRENE statistics (pdf)
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person [First reading] (230 pages, pdf) See Analysis below
- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (recast) [First reading] (73 pages, pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Revising the Dublin rules on responsibility for asylum-seekers: Further developments (pdf) by Steve Peers
Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:
"The EP and Council reached a tentative deal on the revision of the Dublin Regulation, which allocates responsibility for asylum-seekers to a single Member State, in June 2012. This was the subject of a detailed Statewatch analysis at the time, which concluded that it was a missed opportunity to reform these flawed rules more fundamentally.
However, for the Member States permanent representatives to the EU (known as Coreper), this deal was too generous: they objected to the change in rules relating to unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers and to the rules intended to limit the time period of detention of asylum-seekers subject to the Dublin process. Following further talks, the EP and the Council have reached a revised tentative deal, although this is subject to some technical amendments by the Council and further discussions on the procedure for adopting measures implementing the Regulation (known as comitology)."
GREECE: Statewatch analysis: Neo-nazis enter the Greek Parliament (pdf) by Vassilis Karydis, Professor, Deputy Greek Ombudsman:
"In Greeces recent twin elections of 6 May and 12 June 2012, amidst an unprecedented financial and social crisis, the Chryssi Avgi organisation, which means Golden Dawn, won about 7% of the vote in both instances.... The "Golden Dawn" organisation believes in the superiority of the Greek nation and the white "race", is hostile to immigrants and the homosexuals, Marxism and multiculturalism, and has an anti-Semitic ideology that defends the activities of the paramilitaries who collaborated with the German Army during the Occupation. Although its leadership does not describe the organisation as fascist or neo-nazi, they salute in a way that is reminscent of Hitler, cite Rudolf Hess as a hero in their journal, participate in gatherings of far right groups from all over Europe and frequently visit Berlin where they assemble to commemorate the anniversary of Hitlers defeat."
CoE: Council of Europe: Deaths in the Mediterranean Sea: will they ever end? asks PACE rapporteur Tineke Strik (link): With Letters to NATO, UK and Spain. Full-text of report: Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible? (pdf):
"Yet again, a dinghy with 55 people on board drifted for 15 days on the Mediterranean. This time, only one person survived. When will this ever end?, today asked Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?. She expressed her great sadness and anger over the deaths of another 54 boat people fleeing Libya towards Italy."
EU-EUROSUR: Council of the European Union: Eurosur: New Council draft position: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (Doc no: 11853-12, pdf) and: Member State's views on above (Doc no: 12369-12, pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Eurodac Activity Report and SIS II migration
- Coordinated Supervision of Eurodac Activity Report 2010 - 2011 (pdf)
- Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the proposal for a Council Regulation on migration from the Schengen Information System (SIS) to the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (recast) (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: IRAQ, Dublin II, Turkey: Readmission and Eurodac
- IRAQ: Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part (pdf) Includes readmission clauses (Doc no: 5784-rev-2-11, pdf)
- DUBLIN II: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person [First reading] - State-of-play on the ongoing negotiations (Doc no: 12168-12, pdf). Last points being discussed between the Council and the European Parliament in trilogue meetings.
- TURKEY:READMISSION: Synthesis on Member States practical experiences with readmission to Turkey (Doc no: 12122-12, pdf). Detailed Member State responses.
- EURODAC (Recast): Amended proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No [&/&] (establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (Recast version) (Doc no: 11861-12, pdf). 115 pages. 82 detailed Member State reactions.
EU-ROMANIA: European Commission report including judicial reform, the rule of law and corruption: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: On Progress in Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (pdf) See also: Brussels accepts Ponta's promises but warns on implementation (euobserver, link) and Romanian PM systematically abusing constitution, says EU report Victor Ponta government has 'threatened judges, illegally removed officials and tampered with democratic system' (Guardian, link)
EU-UK: Government Review of the Balance of Competences (link to Press release) The Government is carrying out a review of the EUs competences (the power to act in particular areas conferred on it by the EU Treaties). See: Full text: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union (pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The EU Directive on Reception Conditions: A weak compromise (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:
"While the final agreed text is undeniably an improvement upon both the 2003 Directive and the Councils version of the new Directive, it is still a missed opportunity to ensure that asylum-seekers in the EU are fully treated with dignity and fairness in all respects while waiting for a decision on their application, given the many possibilities which remain for Member States to detain them, provide them with low levels of benefits, delay their access to employment and make it difficult to challenge any of these decisions."
France: UN Committee Against Torture suspends deportation of Somali woman
On 3 July 2011, French authorities decided to remove a Somali woman whose asylum claim had been rejected less than 24 hours after her arrival. The French support organisation to foreigners at the borders (Anafé - Association nationale d'aide aux étrangers aux frontières) claims this woman was at risk of persecution and that her removal would amount to "refoulement". On 11 July 2012, the UN Committee Against Torture upheld the Anafé's opinion and urged France not to deport the claimant.
UK: INQUEST, family and solicitor response to CPS decision not to prosecute G4S security guards involved in death of Jimmy Mubenga
GREECE: Council of Europe to probe racist attacks (link)
UK: No duty to snitch on another EU countrys asylum conditions (UK Human Rights blog, link) and Judgment (pdf)
UK: Statewatch Analysis: Brothers in arms (pdf) by Chris Jones:
"The event is the annual "Symposium of the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO)". UKTI DSO has one aim: "to help UK companies to export" and it "works with industry to build and maintain relationships with overseas customers, providing the essential government-to-government interaction."
An alternative description from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) refers to the organisation as a "taxpayer-funded arms sales unit". The annual Symposium sees arms industry executives mingling with military top brass, high-level bureaucrats, and government ministers."
EU: European Commission: Report from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament in the development of the Visa Information System (VIS) in 2011 (COM 376, pdf) The Visa Information System (VIS) was formally launched on 11 October 2011. VIS collects personal information and biometrics (finger-prints) from people applying for a visa to visit the EU from Member State consulates in third countries. From launch to year end 299,648 applications were processed with 468 cases of "potential visa shopping". The countries first targeted were in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia). Responsibility for running VIS will shift from the Commission to the EU Agency for large-scale IT systems in JHA at the end of the year. High-level "informal meetings" of the "Friends of VIS", who met eight times in 2011 is said to be the favoured method for "reporting".
EU: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): Afghanistan: Taliban Strategies - Recruitment (pdf): "the European Asylum Support Office has published its first country of origin information report. The report focuses on Taliban recruitment strategies in Afghanistan. It has also published a methodology guideline for future similar reports. Country of origin reports represent a crucial tool for the decision-making on asylum applications and their availability enhances harmonisation of asylum procedures in the EU."
EU: The Commission presents an Industrial Policy for the Security Industry (Press release, link):
"On 30 July, the European Commission will publish a dedicated industrial policy initiative to boost the European security industry, which is one of the sectors with the highest potential for growth and employment in the EU. The main priority will be to overcome the fragmentation of the EU security markets and to create a true Single Market for security technologies."
EU: European Commission: Proposal to protect financial interests of the EU (Press release, pdf) and Proposal for a Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (pdf)
EU: Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Opinion 05/2012 on Cloud Computing (pdf): "Despite the acknowledged benefits of cloud computing in both economic and societal terms, this Opinion outlines how the wide scale deployment of cloud computing services can trigger a number of data protection risks, mainly a lack of control over personal data as well as insufficient information with regard to how, where and by whom the data is being processed/sub-processed."
EU: European Commission: Report from the European Commission: Annual Report 2011 on the relations between the European Commission and National Parliaments (COM 357, pdf) and Report from the Commission on subsidiarity and proportionality (19th report on Better Lawmaking covering the year 2011) (COM 373, pdf)
EU-CIA: European Parliament: CIA flights: EU states must investigate secret detention sites in Europe (Press release, pdf), Working Document (pdf) and Draft Report (pdf)
GREECE: Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece Human Rights Watch (link)
The 99-page report documents the failure of the police and the judiciary to prevent and punish rising attacks on migrants. Despite clear patterns to the violence and evidence that it is increasing, the police have failed to respond effectively to protect victims and hold perpetrators to account, Human Rights Watch found. Authorities have yet to develop a preventive policing strategy, while victims are discouraged from filing official complaints. No one has been convicted under Greeces 2008 hate crime statute.
GREECE: Seeds of hatred sprout in soil of Greek crisis (Russia Today, link) which includes a report on clashes between supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, which campaigned on a pledge to clear Greece of all immigrants, and groups of anarchists shook the western city of Agrinio on Monday night: "Yanis Varoufakis, an economist and lecturer at Athens University, says that the serpents egg of hatred begins to hatch whenever people lose hope and those spreading the hatred end up as the only winners. It should act as a warning for all of us that whenever a social economy implodes, as opposed to just going to a recession, scapegoating becomes the order of the day, he said.
EU silent on the conclusion of a readmission clause with Iraq
The EU has been keen on providing information about the recent developments towards the conclusion of a readmission with Turkey.  Less has been said, however, about the readmission clause included in the cooperation agreement which the EU signed with Iraq and which already seems to raise issues as forced returns to Baghdad have been prohibited by the Iraqi parliament a month after the conclusion of the cooperation agreement in May 2012.
See: European Union: Adopted 2012: Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part, 6 September 2011, Doc no: 5784/2/11
COE: Council of Europe: Report by Nils Mui~nieks Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Following his visit to Portugal
from 7 to 9 May 2012 (pdf) Includes: Impact of fiscal austerity measures on children, the elderly and domestic organisations working for the protection and promotion of human rights and Protection of the human rights of Roma
SWEDEN: Sweden's national counter-terrorism strategy (pdf)
EU-UK: UK opts-out of Proceeds of Crime Directive: see: Hansard (link): "That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 7641/12 and Addenda 1 and 2, a draft Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union; and supports the Governments intention to not opt-in under Protocol (No. 21) to the European Union Treaties at this stage."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: We are not animals: Concern intensifies over detention of migrants in Europe (pdf) by Marie Martin:
"Recent reports on very poor detention conditions of migrants in some EU countries present a concerning picture of current detention standards and practices. They emphasise systemic issues at stake with the implementation of the Returns Directive now transposed in all EU national legislations and further question the compatibility of administrative detention with the respect of fundamental rights."
UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes second country visit in his regional study on the human rights of migrants at the borders of the European Union: Visit to Turkey (pdf)
UN Human Rights Council: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau (pdf)
Germany: Plan to export hundreds of tanks to Saudi Arabia sparks fierce opposition
"Campaigners, activists and politicians in Germany have denounced the proposed sale to Saudi Arabia of hundreds of tanks designed for "urban warfare", with the deal described as "scandalous" and "against democracy and human rights".
In July 2011 a decision was made during a secret meeting of German government's Federal Security Council to approve the export of 270 Leopard 2A7+ tanks to Saudi Arabia. The decision of the Council, which is chaired by Angela Merkel, only became publicly known after the German media published leaked correspondence relating to the deal."
UK/Northern Ireland: Police use of plastic bullets would be "a recipe for disaster"
Campaigners are calling for a ban on plastic bullets in the UK, arguing that their use in Northern Ireland - where a ban has been demanded for over thirty years - has "triggered civil disturbances and exacerbated situations" and their potential use in the UK risks doing the same.
EU: Council of the European Union: Turkey, Migration, UN peacekeeping, Sanctions
- TURKEY: Council Conclusions on developing cooperation with Turkey in the areas of Justice and Home Affairs (pdf)
- TURKEY READMISSION: Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation: COMMON GUIDELINES (pdf)
- Note from Spanish delegation: To: JHA Counsellors/COSI Support Group on combatting irregular migration and trafficking: Final report of COSI project group on "Measure 16" (Doc no: 9338-rev1-12, 16 pages, pdf) Detailed report on operations.
- European External Action Service: To: Political and Security Committee: Plan of Action to enhance EU CSDP support to UN peacekeeping (pdf)
- General Secretariat of the Council: Guidelines on implementation and evaluation of restrictive measures (sanctions) in the framework of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Private Investigators (130 pages, pdf). See: MPs demand tighter controls to deter rogue investigators A typical fine for offences relating to unlawful obtaining and selling of data is just £100 (Independent, link)
Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday: Police to investigate Derry deaths (BBC News, link)
UK: The Terrorism Acts in 2011: Report of the Independent Reviewer on the operation of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 by David Anderson QC (143 pages, pdf)
MALTA: Bishops say migrant's killing raises serious questions - suggest review of detention policy (Times of Malta, links), Magistrate quizzed over delayed migrant death inquiry and One man, many names. See also: Asylum seeker beaten to death in Malta (euobserver, link)
EU: European Court of Justice:Advocate General Opinion finds for the Commission: European Commission v Republic of Austria (pdf):
"Failure of a Member State to fulfil obligations Protection of natural persons with regard of the processing of personal data Duties of national supervisory authorities responsible for supervising the processing of personal data to be carried out with complete independence Close personal and organisational connections between the supervisory authority and the Federal Chancellery"
EU-USA: TFTP: Questions to the Commission from ALDE group MEPs: The implementation of the EU-US TFTP Agreement (pdf)
EU: Commission failing to follow the rules on the operation of EURODAC
An inspection by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) of the EU's EURODAC Central Unit, which contains fingerprint data on asylum seekers and irregular migrants, has found that although the "overall level of data protection and security& is high," there are "still some elements which need further improvement for the data protection and security of the overall system."
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons: Roma migrants in Europe (pdf):
"The perception of Roma is guided by myths and misconceptions. Being a Roma and being a migrant commonly means for the wider public being a nomad and an irregular migrant. This is how Roma migrants are perceived.
The report deconstructs these prejudices by describing the reality: in Europe, less than 20% of Roma are nomadic; Roma have been part of European society for over 700 years and most Roma have the citizenship of their country of residence; the large majority of Roma who migrate have the right to do so."
and see: Selective Freedom: The Visa Liberalisation and Restrictions on the Right to Travel in the Balkans (link)
EU: ACTA REJECTED BY EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: European Parliament rejects ACTA (Press release, pdf)
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), was rejected by the European Parliament on Wednesday, and hence cannot become law in the EU. This was the first time that Parliament exercised its Lisbon Treaty power to reject an international trade agreement. 478 MEPs voted against ACTA, 39 in favour, and 165 abstained.
Boats 4 People: solidarity flotilla in the Mediterranean
After a year of preparation, a sailboat left from Rosignago port, Italy, to Palermo, Lampedusa, and then off to Tunisia. The Boats 4 People project, bringing together 17 organisations, was initiated in summer 2011 as a campaign to denounce deaths in the Mediterranean and the impossibility to reach Europe safely for migrants, and enhance solidarity amongst seamen and activists on both sides of the Mediterranean.
EU: UNITED: List of 16,264 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe (link)
EU: Council of the European Union:
- "MIGRATORY PRESSURES": CARROT & STICK: Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion/Mixed Committee (EU-Iceland/Norway/Switzerland/Liechtenstein): Preliminary synthesis on Member States responses to a questionnaire following up on EU Action on Migratory Pressures A Strategic Response regarding readmission and return (Doc no: 11317-12, 31 pages, pdf): Contains synthesis of a total of 5 delegations' detailed responses who have so far replied to the questionnaire (Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands and Poland) in answer to the following questions:
"to identify and prioritize the three third countries, with which concluding an EU readmission agreement would be of interest, focusing on countries of origin of illegal migration" and "to indicate the main tailor-made incentives that may be offered in order to ensure the proper level of cooperation" and "to identify the main challenges regarding voluntary and/or forced returns to those three third countries previously identified"
The targeted countries are: Afghanistan, India, Iraq and Tunisia.
-"MIGRATORY PRESSURE": Policy cycle: Links between the EU Action on Migratory Pressures and several EU Crime Priorities in the framework of the EU Policy Cycle (Doc no: 11568-12, pdf)
- "MIGRATORY PRESSURE": EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response (Doc no: 9650-12,pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: PRUM, Internal security and the RABAT process
- PRUM: 2011 report: Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border-crime, Council Decision 2008/616/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the implementation of Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border-crime ("Prüm Decisions") - statistics and reports on automated data exchange for 2011 (Doc no: 1367-12,pdf)
- Internal security: Standing Committee on operational co-operation on internal security (COSI): Initial discussion on: Internal Security Strategy - Second implementation report (Commission, pdf)
- RABAT: High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration: The Rabat process: the road ahead 2012-2014 (pdf):
"The Euro-African Process on Migration and Development (Rabat Process) brings together more than fifty countries of origin, transit and destination, which have a shared vision of a rational, balanced and efficient management of migration flows from and via West and Central Africa."
EU: Council of the European Union: "Illegals" roadmap, Trafficking and Western Balkans: "Drivers", "Co-drivers" and "Guardian angels": EU Action Plan on migratory Pressures: Strategic response: State of play on follow up (Doc no: 12024-12, pdf)
UN: Human Rights Council: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, (pdf)
UN: Human Rights Council: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue (pdf)
Italy/Hungary: Court annuls Afghan's Dublin II return to Hungary
On 27 April 2012, the Lazio Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale (TAR, Regional Administrative Court) upheld an appeal (no. 05292/2012) by an Afghan citizen against his return to Hungary in application of the Dublin II Regulation (decision deposited on 15 June 2012).
ECJ: JUDGMENT ON MERGERS AND ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: The Court defines the scope of the right of access to documents of the EU institutions in the context of merger control proceedings (Press release, pdf): "The Commission may, subject to certain conditions, refuse access to documents relating to merger control proceedings without first carrying out a concrete, individual examination of those documents"
Full-text of judgment (pdf)
EU's RESPONSE TO ARAB SPRING: EU's rejection of migrants during the Arab Spring: a "historical mistake" according to Commissioner Malström
TURKEY: International delegation to attend trial of Ayse Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu) in Turkey (pdf):
"During the past three years, the Turkish state has imprisoned some 8000 citizens under the guise of fighting terrorism. In a wave of detentions known as the KCK operations, it has targeted activists, academics, journalists, lawyers, students, elected officials, translators and publishers on account of their democratic activities in support of the rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey...
We now wish to focus public attention on Aye Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu), a respected translator, researcher and global peace and justice activist. Since her arrest in October 2011 during the KCK operations, she has been held in pre-trial detention in Bakirkoy Womens Prison in Istanbul. Nine months after her initial incarceration, Aye Berktays trial, along with others, is scheduled to run from July 2nd to July 13th, 2012 in Silivri, near Istanbul.
As participants in the (former) World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) network, we have now formed an international delegation to observe the trial of Ayºe Berktay. She helped found the World Tribunal on Iraq in 2003, and was a principal organizer of its culminating session in Istanbul, which took place in June 2005. We know Aye Berktay to be a person of great integrity and honesty. She is not a terrorist, but an idealist who is committed to peace and democracy."
EU: Fiscal-monetary crisis: political union? Bonino: The euro is not the problem, governance is (euractiv, link) and see: Towrds a genuine economic and monetary union: Report by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy (pdf): "closer EMU integration will require a stronger democratic basis and broad support from citizens. For this reason, it is essential that already the process towards realising this vision is based on wide consultation and participation. Integration and legitimacy have to advance in parallel."
EU: Cyprus Council Presidency: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Nicosia, 23-24 July 2012: Agenda (pdf)
FRONTEX-EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN: Letter from Director of Frontex: Subject: Ombudsman Own Initiative Enquiry (pdf) and Answers: Annexes (pdf)
EU: REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Final "State of play" from Danish Council Presidency: Recast of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (pdf). Explains the Presidency perspective on the failed attempt to amend Regulation 1049. It presented an "adjusted" draft Council position but the "WPI [Working Party on Information] did however not share this assessment" "Some delegations" wanted to abandon the process, and "others" wanted a "limited package" covering the Arhus Convention, data protection, information officers and "improving" access to legislative documents "based on the Commission 2008 proposal.
The EU institutions are left with the dilemma of implementing the Commission's 2011 proposal to "Lisbonise" the Regulation by formally extending the scope of the Regulation to cover EU agencies and bodies but even this is contentious, see: See Statewatch Analyses: Proposed Commission changes to Regulation on access to documents fail to meet Lisbon Treaty commitments (pdf) and Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf)
See: Statewatch's Observatory: Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-ongoing
EU: Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen:
"Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Unions external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."
EU-DENMARK: Danish prime minister skips referendum commitments (euobserver, link)
EU-TURKEY: Readmission: Council of the European Union rushes through agreement with Turkey just days before the start of the Cyprus Council Presidency starts on 1 July. The Commission proposal for a Council Decision on the readmission agreement was produced on 22 June and the Council will adopted the Decision at the first meeting of a Council of Ministers held after 26 June. The European Parliament then has to give its "consent".
- Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation COMMON GUIDELINES: Consultation deadline: 26.06.2012 (pdf)
UK statement (pdf) and Ireland statement (pdf): "Ireland notes that this proposal was presented to Council on 22 June 2012 and that the Council is
making a decision on that proposal on 26 June 2012"
European Commission: Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation (COM 239, pdf) and Proposal for a Council Decision on the signature of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on readmission of persons residing without authorisation (COM 240, pdf)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (112 pages, pdf): The Council is developing its position.on the new Data Protection Regulation which will replace the 1995 Directive. "Almost all delegations are of the opinion that the proposed regulation contains too many cases of delegated acts. Several delegations have a reservation on the chosen legal form of the proposed instrument and would prefer a Directive" (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark and Slovenia). Contains 147 Member State reservations on Articles 1-10 and 80(a) and 83.
SLOVAKIA::ECHR rules against deportation of convicted terrorist because of risk of torture (pdf)
"On 15 May, the European Court of Human Rights found that Slovakia had violated the the European Convention of Human Rights, including the principle of non-refoulement by deporting Mustapha Labsi to Algeria where he was at risk of being subject to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Mustapha Labsi was deported because he was deemed to constitute a danger to national security and because he was wanted in Algeria where he had been convicted on 1 June 2005, in absentia, of membership of a terrorist organisation acting both in Algeria and abroad, and of forgery. He had also been convicted by a French court on 7 April 2006 of involvement, as a member of an organised group, in the preparation, between 1996 and 1998, of a terrorist act in France and several other countries and of forging identity documents. The European Court held that the diplomatic assurances given by the Algerian government were insufficient, in particular in light of the reports of torture committed by its secret services, which detained Mr Labsi for twelve days upon arrival. The Court also found that his right to a remedy had been violated as he was not given time to use a constitutional remedy which could have avoided deportation. Finally, the Court held that Slovakia violated Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights for having expelled the applicant while interim measures of the same Court were still in force." (ICJ bulletin)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The revised Dublin rules on responsibility for asylum-seekers: a missed opportunity (pdf) by Steve Peers
Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:
"Taking into account the case law, the overall impact of the 2012 Regulation upon the practical application of the current Dublin rules is likely to be modest. Indeed so much of the agreed changes simply reflect (or try to anticipate) the established case law and likely further case law developments that one can only conclude that the evolution of the Dublin system will continue to depend more on the role of the courts than upon the Council and the EP.
Any hope for a more substantial change of this highly criticised system will therefore continue to rest with the judiciary, given that none of the EU institutions were willing to consider a radical reform of the system and the EP could only wrest limited changes from the Council as regards any significant improvement of the rules relating to family members and vulnerable persons."
Italy: Appeal by police officers who killed Aldrovandi rejected
On 21 June 2012 in Rome, the fourth section of the Corte di Cassazione [Italy's highest appeal court] rejected the appeal lodged by four police officers who were convicted and handed a three year and six month sentence for manslaughter in connection with the killing of an 18-year-old, Federico Aldrovandi, in Ferrara at a around 5 a.m. in the morning of 25 September 2005.
Italy/Libya: Refugee day and the agreement with Libya: let's not repeat the mistakes of the past
ASGI [Associazione di Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione] expresses its deep concern and great bewilderment about the agreement/recorded document sealed between the Italian and Libyan governments in Tripoli on 3 April 2012, for the purpose of enacting cooperation between the two states to counter irregular migrations.
See also: Italy must sink agreements with Libya on migration control (AI, link)
UK: Communications Data Bill published: Full-text (pdf) And see: Brussels could 'clash' with London over UK snooper's charter - 'Maybe not everyone understands the Treaty of Lisbon' (The Register, link): "A fine "balancing act" is needed to prevent a "clash" between British Home Secretary Theresa May's controversial plans to bring in a data communications-snooping law and the "rights" of the UK citizen, European Commission vice-president Viviane Reding warned when questioned by The Register"
European Parliament: Green/EFA hearing: An Emerging e-Fortress Europe? Border Surveillance, Frontex and Migration Control (pdf) 26 June 2012, 9:30 - 13:00, European Parliament, room ASP 1G3
EU-USA: TFTP (SWIFT): Transfer of personal financial data: Europol Activities in Relation to the TFTP Agreement: Information Note to the European Parliament 1 August 2010 1 April 2011 (20 pages, pdf), Letter from Europol to Chair of the LIBE Committee: (pdf), Joint Supervisory Body (JSB): Europol JSB inspects for the 2nd year the implementation of the TFTP Agreement: Public Statement (pdf) which says:
"In line with the provisions of the Agreement, Europol does not see or manage the SWIFT data or know the amount of data actually transferred. No information has been released by the US regarding the amount of data transferred."
and AGREEMENT: between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (pdf)
and see: EU hands personal data to US authorities on daily basis (euobserver, link): "EU and US co-operation in combatting terrorism remains shrouded in secrecy as Europol, the EU police agency, refuses to render public an inspection report that details how financial data is handed over to US authorities. The document, written by the joint-supervisory body (JSB) which supervises the data protection rules are properly applied at Europol, noted on Thursday (21 June) that the EU agency transfers bulk data on a daily basis to the US department of treasury."
Search Statewatch's Database: enter: TFTP
EU: Council of the European Union: Council Decision concerning the signing and conclusion of the Agreement between the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation and the European Union on the protection of classified information (link) The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). It is a European intergovernmental organisation which collaborates on armament programmes between Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain,the United Kingdom. It was established on 12 November 1996 and in January 2001 when the parliaments of the four founding nations ratified the OCCAR Convention (link).
ACTA: European Parliament: Parliament should say NO to ACTA, says International Trade Committee (pdf) "Four European Parliament committees (Civil Liberties, Industry, Legal Affairs and Development) had already recommended that Parliament should reject the Anti-Counterfeiting
Trade Agreement (ACTA), The Petitions Committee discussed five complaints calling on MEPs to reject ACTA, supported by over 2.8 million people from all over the world."
European Parliament: EP suspends cooperation with Council following decision on Schengen area rules (pdf): The Conference of Presidents (leaders of political groups and the President of the European Parliament)decided today in Strasbourg that the European Parliament would suspend its cooperation with the Council on five dossiers until a satisfactory outcome is achieved on Schengen governance. The five dossiers covered by the Conference of Presidents' decision are the following: 1) Amendment of Schengen border code and Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement; 2) Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: combating attacks against information systems; 3) European Investigation Order; 4) Budget 2013 aspects relating to Internal Security and 5) EU Passenger Name Records.
ACTA: European Parliament: Recommendation from the Committee on Legal Affairs concerning Case T-301/10, Sophie in 't Veld v. Commission (pdf) The case concerns the Commission's refusal to give full access to document concerning the ACTA negotiations.
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Police should not be exempt from privacy rules, says EU data chief (euobserver, link) and see: Annual Report: Executive Summary (pdf):
"the EDPS report describes including police and justice authorities in the legislation as "a conditio sine qua non (without which there is nothing) for effective data protection". Although MEPs are anxious to ensure that the new data protection rules cover government agencies as well as businesses, it is understood that a number of member states are keen to remove law enforcement authorities from the scope of the directive, regarding this as an exclusively national competence."
and See: Commission data protection reforms under fire (euobserver, link):
"The Working Party has serious reservations with regard to the extent the commission is empowered to adopt delegated and implementing acts, which is especially relevant because a fundamental right is at stake, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party...
Such acts, introduced in the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, allow the commission to make minor changes to the law without affecting its core. Both the European parliament and council - representing member states - maintain some oversight over any such changes. Specifically, a delegated act supplements or amends so-called non-essential elements of EU legislation while an implementing act, proposes uniform conditions for its implementation.
The working party pointed out that in Redings regulation a number of issues including data breach notification and mutual assistance could only be applied using such acts. And the use of them are at the commissions discretion. The adoption of delegated or implementing acts for a large numbers of articles may take several years and could represent legal uncertainty," it said."
EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin II, Reception, Visa lists and Eurosur
- DUBLIN II: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person [First reading] - Outcome of the trilogue (4-column, 232 pages, pdf)
- RECEPTION: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (recast) [First reading] - Outcome of the trilogue (4-column, 190 pages, pdf)
- VISA LISTS: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (pdf)
- EUROSUR: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf)
UK: CAGEPRISONERS: THE ENEMY WITHIN: STATE SURVEILLANCE AND INFILTRATION IN OUR COMMUNITIES (link):
"COINTELPRO 101 is a new hard-hitting new documentary which blows the lid off every undercover tactic and method ever used by the FBI ... and their bag of subversive practices has been exported to the UK. COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the FBI from the late 1950s through the 1970s. It was aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and disrupting community groups fighting for justice. Today, Muslims, people of colour, and activists face similar tactics from the state. Come find out how our very freedoms, liberties and rights are being eroded by the police and secret services on both sides of the Atlantic. After the film, we'll be joined by American and British activists working to protect their communities."
Italy: Political parties found guilty of discrimination in Milan mayoral election campaign
On 28 May 2012, the first civil section of the Milan court upheld a complaint lodged by the association NAGA against the Popolo della Libertà (PdL) and Lega Nord (LN) parties for an LN election poster, an "Appeal for Milan" produced by the PdL and for statements by their leaders Silvio Berlusconi and Umberto Bossi during the 2011 Milan mayoral election campaign that warned of the threat of Milan becoming a "zingaropoli" (lit. gipsyville) if the left-wing candidate Giuliano Pisapia was to win. Judge Orietta Micciché ruled that: "The seriously offensive and humiliating character of this expression emerges clearly and does not just have the effect of violating the dignity of the Sinti and Roma ethnic groups, but also to favour an intimidatory and hostile atmosphere towards them".
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Amending the EUs Borders Code (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex (Second version: revised June 2012)
"The basic rules concerning the control of the EUs external borders are set out in the Schengen borders Code (the Code), which replaced a number of prior measures, including the Common Manual for border guards drawn up to implement the Schengen Convention... This analysis examines the current state-of-play of the negotiation of the 2011 proposals, and indicates their possible impact."
Cyprus: Human rights defender acquitted as police accusations are found "not credible"
Doros Polycarpou, the Executive Director of the anti-racist and migrant rights organisation KISA, was acquitted after more than a year of criminal proceedings when the judge found accusations against him to be "not credible." Polycarpou had been accused of 'rioting' following racist attacks on participants of the 2010 Rainbow Festival, which KISA has been organising since 1998.
See also: EU: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Report from the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: The situation of human rights defenders in Council of Europe member states (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Speech by Vice-President Viviane Reding at the inaugural meeting of the Expert Group on EU Criminal Policy in Brussels: Crime and Punishment: Using criminal law to support growth and economic recovery (europa website, link)
EU: European Commission: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: The EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 20122016 (Com 2012 286, pdf). See also: Commission memos: An EU Strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in Human beings (europa website, link) Combatting the slavery of our times: 40 new measures for an EU strategy against trafficking in human beings (europa website, link)
France: Human Rights Watch denounces France's involvement in Syrian regime's military equipment
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused France of trying to "have it both ways" by calling for UN action in Syria while at the same time concluding profitable trade agreements with a Russian arms company allegedly exporting military equipment to the Syrian regime. These allegations come a few days after the European Parliament adopted a resolution on negotiations on the UN Arms Trade Treaty, calling for legally binding obligations of transparency and accountability with respect to "state-to-state transfers, state-to-private end-user transfers, commercial sales and leases, as well as loans, gifts, aid or any other form of transfer."
EU: Eurostat press release: Asylum decisions in the EU27: EU Member States granted protection to 84,100 asylum seekers in 2011 (europa website, link)
EU: European Commission press release: Developing a coherent EU Criminal Policy in line with Fundamental Rights: Commission gathers high-level experts (europa website, link)
EU: Schengen borders code: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement - Approval of the final compromise text with a view to an agreement at first reading (11463/12, pdf). Presumably the EP will not vote on this until they have settled their dispute with the Council over the Schengen evaluation proposals.
EU: Turkey hopes for EU visa breakthrough this week (euobserver, link) Turkey is aiming to tell its 80 million citizens on Thursday (21 June) they can visit the EU without visas in a couple of years' time. The breakthrough concerns a technical step that is set to end a toxic stalemate.
EU: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Report from the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: The situation of human rights defenders in Council of Europe member states (pdf) The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights considers the situation of human rights defenders in Europe and concludes that it is far from satisfactory. In particular, in some Council of Europe member States, human rights defenders are the victims of serious crimes, ranging from abduction and torture to murder.
EU: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party: Letter to Commissioner Malmström on smart borders (12/06/12, pdf) "The need for such a massive volume of data collection in this area is not supported by reliable data...the systems could cast an 'unpleasant shadow' on the EU in its treatment of third countries nationals, in particular those in need of international protection, in the light of EU and ECHR legal requirements." Moreover, "even if it is established that an EES would be necessary for the purpose of preventing and detecting overstay, this would not be a justification to grant law-enforcement access as well."
EU: Schengen proposals: Statement of Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs (link)
Spain: Annual report on torture reveals large increase in cases of abuse against demonstrators
On 1 June 2011 in Seville, the Coordinadora para la Prevención y Denuncia de la Tortura (a network that includes 44 associations) released its eighth annual "Report on torture in the Spanish state", a comprehensive analysis of cases of torture enacted by police officers and public officials in different contexts that range from demonstrations and prisons to police stations and policing in the streets. The report includes information on 280 cases of attacks and ill-treatment suffered by 853 people, the highest number of victims recorded since the CPDT's first report in 2005.
UK: Poll reveals widespread international disapproval of drone strikes
A new poll shows that there is widespread international opposition to the US military's use of drones in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, with over 50% of respondents in 17 out of 20 countries indicating that they disapprove of the controversial tactic.
Italy: Court upholds appeal against Dublin II transfer to Greece
On 12 April 2012, a regional administrative court in Rome upheld an appeal against a transfer to Greece issued under Dublin II regulation rules. This decision annulled the order for K.K., a Congolese national who lodged an asylum application in Italy on 8 April 2009, to be transferred in order for the Greek authorities to take charge of his application.
EU: Breakthrough as EU institutions agree common approach on agencies (eu2012.dk, link) In Strasbourg yesterday, representatives from the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission agreed on a joint statement and common approach to the EU's decentralised agencies. The agreement will greatly improve the agencies' governance and efficiency, and make them a more effective tool in implementing the policies of the EU. It will now be formally endorsed by each institution.
Europe: Institute of Race Relations: Shocking new report documents patterns of far-right violence across Europe: Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right (link)
UK: United Families and Friends Campaign: National Fathers Day Vigils to Remember All That Have Died in Custody: 17th June 2012 between 12noon to 3pm at locations throughout the UK (link)
EU: REVISION OF THE REGULATION ON ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS: Talks collapse on access to EU documents (euobserver, link):
"The Danish presidency has abandoned attempts to agree new rules on access to EU documents. It took the decision on Tuesday (12 June) after EU countries and the European Commission last week rejected its latest draft of the law. It still aims to get MEPs to back a commission proposal to extend existing rules on freedom of information to all EU institutions - including its 31 agencies - however....The incoming Cypriot presidency might pick up where Denmark left off. But the failed talks have left behind a prickly atmosphere."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"This is a victory for common sense, all the alternatives on the table would have fundamentally undermined openness. However, the intention of the Council Presidency to push through the Commission's 2011 proposal to "Lisbonise" the Regulation is not as simple as they seem to think.
The 2011 proposal would simply extend the scope of the Regulation to EU agencies and bodies but this does not meet the requirements of the Lisbon Treaty. Under Articles 15.1 to 15.3, the Council and the European Parliament have to meet in public when considering draft legislative acts and to ensure the publication of the documents relating to legislative procedures. This gives the European Parliament a real opportunity to insist that the Treaty obligations are fully met.
All the documents concerning legislative procedures have to be made public, including those discussed between the two legislatures (the Council and the European Parliament) in 1st and 2nd reading trilogue meetings which are currently kept secret."
See Statewatch Analyses: Proposed Commission changes to Regulation on access to documents fail to meet Lisbon Treaty commitments (pdf) and Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf)
EU: ROBOTS GUARDING THE BORDERS: The TALOS project (Transportable Autonomous patrol for Land bOrder Surveillance): See pictures bottom right.
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 3/2012 on developments in biometric technologies (pdf) and European Data Protection Authorities adopt opinion on cookie consent exemption (pdf)
EU: CLASSIFIED INFORMATION: Council of the European Union: Answer to parliamentary question: Breakdown of documents by security classification levels (pdf) Over the three years 2009-2011 out of a total of 25,324 classified documents 23,779 were in the lowest category of "Restricted". "Restricted is defined as a document whose disclosure would be "disadvantageous" to the interest of the EU or a Member State.
EU: SCHENGEN: MEPs launch counterattack against Schengen deal (euractiv, link) "European lawmakers yesterday (12 June) denounced the Danish presidency and the Council for agreeing to re-introduce internal border controls in the Schengen area, in effect bypassing the Parliament while negotiations are still ongoing."
EU: UK influence over EU internal security policy-making is "remarkable", says Europol chief
Speaking to the European Institute of University College London at the end of May, Europol's director Rob Wainwright said that the "UK's contribution to policy-making in EU internal security is invaluable" and that it is "without doubt& one of the most influential Member States in shaping European internal security legislation."
EU: Euro zone discussed capital controls if Greek exits euro - sources (Reuters, link): "European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro" and: EU mulls blocking cash machines, borders in case of Grexit (euractiv, link)
EU: SMART METERING WILL BE ABLE TO COLLECT A MASS OF PERSONAL DATA AND BEHAVIOUR: European Data Protection Supervisor: Smart meters: consumer profiling will track much more than energy consumption if not properly safeguarded, says the EDPS (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Opinion (pdf):
"While the Europe-wide rollout of smart metering systems may bring significant benefits, it will also enable massive collection of personal data which can track what members of a household do within the privacy of their own homes, whether they are away on holiday or at work, if someone uses a specific medical device or a baby-monitor, how they like to spend their free time and so on. These patterns can be useful for analysing our energy use for energy conservation but together with data from other sources, the potential for extensive data mining is very significant. Patterns and profiles can be used for many other purposes, including marketing, advertising and price discrimination by third parties." [emphasis added]
Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant EDPS, says: "the EDPS calls on the Commission to assess whether further legislative action is necessary at EU level to ensure adequate protection of personal data for the roll-out of smart metering systems an - in his Opinion - provides pragmatic recommendations for such legislative action. Some of these recommendations can already be implemented via an amendment to the Energy Efficiency Directive, which is currently before the Council and Parliament. These should at least include a mandatory requirement for controllers to conduct a data protection impact assessment and an obligation to notify personal data breaches."
EU: REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Council Presidency proposals rejected by Working Party on Information: Council of the European Union: Latest draft Council position to be discussed in the Working Party on Information on Friday 8 June (dated 4 June 2012, pdf) Statewatch analysis of this latest draft of the Access to Documents Regulation by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex were rejected in the Councils Working Party on Information (WPI) on Friday 8 June (see wobbing report, link).
The re-drafted Council position (DS 1397-12, above) was said to move too far to meet the European Parliament's views by some Member States and not far enough for others in the WPI. The Council Presidency could revert to its previous draft Council position: Consolidation text of the Council of the European Union's position as at 5 June (prepared by Statewatch, pdf) and Statewatch Analysis: Revision of the Regulation on access to documents: Comments on the Councils Informal Drafting Note (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, but this is almost certain to be rejected by the European Parliament.
Alternatively the Council Presidency could drop the current controversial proposals and opt instead to go ahead with an apparently simple change in the Commission's 2011 Proposal to "Lisbonise" the current Regulation but even this could prove to be controversial as the Commission simply intends to extend the Regulation to EU agencies and bodies. However, this was discussed at a hearing in the European Parliament last year and many think that proper "Lisbonisation" goes further than this, see: The case for the repeal of Article 4.3
The Danish Council Presidency finishes at the end of June, when Cyprus takes up the mantle until December.
See: Statewatch's Observatory: Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-ongoing and Sign up to the Call for an Open Europe
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 June 2012, Luxembourg: Final Press release (pdf) B Points Agenda (pdf) and "A" points agendas: Legislative deliberations and Non-legislative activities (pdfs)
EU: SCHENGEN: Hawkish step on EU borders outrages MEPs (euobserver, link) EU countries have given themselves more freedom to block passport-free travel, causing outrage among MEPs. Member states can close their borders for up to 30 days if there is a serious threat to internal security (such as major sporting events), up to 10 days in urgent cases (terrorist attacks) and up to six months if persistent problems exist at external borders. EP hits out over tactic to exclude MEPs from Schengen decision (europarl, link) The EP has summoned the Danish Presidency to an emergency debate in plenary next week to explain why member states resorted to judicial sleight of hand to sideline MEPs from an initiative affecting the Schengen area of visa-free travel within the EU. The Council decision means there will be no independent scrutiny of border controls by EU institutions. The EP is currently considering all legal options.
Danish Presidency response: Fact Sheet on the Legal Basis of the Schengen Evaluation Mechanism (link) Letter to MEPs explaining the decision (pdf)
EU: Access to documents - 'nutty' NGOs and 'infantile' arguments: the right of reply by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex.
The Commissions decision to engage in petty personal abuse of the critics of its access to documents proposals, rather than debate the substance, is a sure sign that it does not have any good arguments of substance to use. It is a huge shame that at a time of a crisis of legitimacy of the EU, the Commission does not seize the opportunity to support a move towards significant greater openness of the EU, but instead decides to snipe at and insult the people and groups that do.
UK: Protestors set their sights on multinational security giant G4S Over 70 protestors gathered outside the annual general meeting (AGM) of the multinational corporation G4S in London yesterday, accusing the company of violating human rights in Israel, Palestine and the UK and providing information to shareholders on some of the company's alleged abuses.
EU: Presidency under pressure to "ensure law enforcement access" to proposed entry/exit migrant database The day after the European Commission proposed giving police forces access to Eurodac, a database of asylum seekers' and irregular migrants' fingerprints, a meeting of the EU's Law Enforcement Working Party heard of the "need" for law enforcement authorities to have access to the proposed entry/exit system for third-country nationals.
EU: REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Council of the European Union: Latest draft Council position to be discussed in the Working Party on Information on Friday 8 June (dated 4 June 2012, pdf) Statewatch analysis of this latest draft of the Access to Documents Regulation by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex. He concludes that the latest draft would result in a VERY SIGNIFICANT drop in standards as compared to the status quo and that under no circumstances should the EP agree with this text as it stands. See also: Statewatch call for an open Europe
EU: Brussels hits out at 'nutty NGOs' and corporate sharks (euobserver, link) The European Commission has said EU freedom of information rules should be tightened up because corporate lawyers and NGOs abuse the system. Its spokesman, Antony Gravili, told EUobserver on Wednesday (6 June) that most requests to see internal EU documents come from "lawyers for big corporations" and "nutty NGOs" instead of concerned EU citizens.
EU: EU agrees on border checks in visa-free area (EUbusiness, link) European Union nations agreed Thursday they can temporarily restore border checks within the visa-free Schengen area in case of a surge of illegal migrants, despite opposition from Brussels. Regulations submitted to the Council: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances (6161/4/12, pdf) Amended proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis (5754/6/12, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 June in Luxembourg: Background note (pdf) A points: Legislative deliberations and Non-legislative activites (pdfs)
EU: Brussels wants e-identities for EU citizens (euractiv, link) The European Commission is set to launch a substantial review of rules governing personal documents with the aim of making electronic identities take off across the EU. But the proposal faces likely opposition from civil rights groups and member states where identity cards do not exist.
EU: G6 meeting: Home Office: G6 meeting, Munich (Ministerial statement, pdf). These secretive meetings are comprised of Home/Interior Ministers from: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Poland. Note the hostility to the planned revision of data protection laws in the EU. And on counter-terrorism:
"Member States, and the US representatives, emphasised the importance of exchanging information on suspicious movements effectively, adding that data protection rules, while important, need to recognise the day to day reality of law enforcement work."
EUROPOL-GERMANY: Abolish international databases on anarchy! (Press release, pdf):
"At the end of April, members of the Dolphin databasemet for a two-day conference at Europol in The Hague. The database, known as an Analysis Work File, receives information from 20 EU Member States, as well as Switzerland, Australia and Norway. During themeeting in The Hague, speakers from Italy, Switzerland and Spain also gave talks on the opposition to high-speed trains and the activities of the No Border Network.
Andrej Hunko, Member of the Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag, commented:
Previously Europol only stored data on terrorism in Dolphin. According to the answer of the German Federal Government, however, Dolphins members are also interested in left-wing opposition, which is categorised as extremism in the database. The purpose of the file was therefore amended in 2010."
Italy/Tunisia: Extension of humanitarian residence permits to put an end to "emergency" - problems including "disappeared" Tunisians and rightless refugees from Libya persist
On 16 May 2012, the "technical" government's interior minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri, announced that thousands of six-month temporary residence permits for humanitarian reasons issued mostly to Tunisians in response to the influx into Italy during the so-called "Arab Spring" would be renewed for a second time, for a further six months. A prime ministerial decree was adopted for this purpose the day before.
Council of Europe: Commissioner on Human Rights: Continued attacks in Europe: journalists need protection from violence (link)
European Court of Justice: Advocate-General: In Advocate General Trstenjaks view, the Council may freeze funds in the fight against terrorism only while national prosecutions of the persons concerned are ongoing (Press release, pdf):
"In view of the repeal of the Netherlands measures against Al-Aqsa, the General Court was therefore right to annul the legal acts by which the Council allowed Al-Aqsa's funds to remain frozen."
and Full-text of Opinion (pdf)
European Parliament: ACTA now rejected by four EP committees (Press release, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 June in Luxembourg: B Points Agenda (pdf)
EU: REVISION OF THE REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Statewatch Analysis: Revision of the Regulation on access to documents: Comments on the Councils Informal Drafting Note (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex. See below.
EU: REVISION OF THE REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Talks start between the Council and the European Parliament: Last week there was a "technical meeting" between between the EP Rapporteur, Michael Cashman MEP and Mrs Jaatteenmaki MEP from the parliament, the Council Presidency and European Commission. This was not a full 2nd reading "trilogue" involving the Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteurs from each of the political groups. The Council presented an: Informal Drafting Note (pdf).
One of the changes concerns "Direct access to documents" (Article 12 (or new Article 3a). This appears to meet the Lisbon Treaty and the European Parliament's concerns for full access to all documents concerning the legislative process. However, this would be subject to the following exceptions: a) Article 4 (ie: public security and international relations), b) Article 9 Classified documents (including "Restricted" documents who disclosure could be "disadvantageous", c) the Council (and Commission's) new Article 3a which redefine a "document" and would enormously limit access only to those that are "finalised" (ie: no previous drafts would be public) and d) Article 4.3 where access to documents can be refused (as they regularly are) were disclosure could "undermine" the decision-making process.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"This proposal, together with a new inter-institutional website, would appear to be a big step forward. But once all the exceptions and grounds for not including swathes of documents is taken into account it would lead to a nearly meaningless change and leave the people and civil society in the dark about the real issues and debates that have taken place behind closed doors."
The political groups in the European Parliament are now commenting on this Council Note. On the Council side its position will next be discussed in the Working Party on Information on 8 June and then in COREPER on 13 June. The Danish Council Presidency says it wants to complete the whole process by the end of June (a usual ploy by all of the six-monthly Council Presidencies)
Sign up to the Call for an Open Europe
EU: REVISION OF THE REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Consolidation text of the Council of the European Union's position as at 5 June (prepared by Statewatch, pdf): This consolidated version (Statewatch: 4.6.12) of the Councils proposed amendments to Regulation 1049/2001 is based on its document no: 9441/12 and has been updated to include the revised Article 4a (agreed by COREPER). The Commission and Parliament proposals for Articles 10 and 16 have been added as the latter contains a Red Line issue (which the Council chose not to amend). No amendments are proposed for Articles 9, 11 and 13 by the Commission or Council.
MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Commission takes action against Germany: Data retention: Commission takes Germany to Court
requesting that fines be imposed (pdf). See also: Germany faces legal action for not implementing EU rules German coalition govt divided over data retention rules (Reuters, link)
EU: Meijers Committee (Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law): Submission to the European Parliament: Detention provisions in the recast proposals for the Reception Conditions Directive and the Dublin Regulation and the right to a remedy with suspensive effect (pdf)
EU: Transparency advert launches across Europe (Link): "Stop companies denying millions the chance to escape extreme poverty: Dear European Leaders, Please stand up to corporate lobbying against proposed EU laws requiring oil, gas and mining companies to publish payments to foreign governments. Pass strong laws that will help citizens spot corruption and ensure the money is used to lift millions of people out of poverty". :
EU: EURODAC: Fingerprint database of asylum applicants: Commission proposal to extend access to all law enforcement agencies: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No [&/&] (establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person) and to request comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (COM 254-12, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council 7-8 June, Luxembourg: Initial Press Release (pdf)
EU: Adopted text from OJ: Directive 2012/13/EU of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings (pdf)
European Parliament: ACTA rejected by three EP committees (Press release, pdf) and see: Important victories on ACTA! Moving on to Final Steps (link)
EU: European Commission: Communication: 3rd Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2011) (COM 250-12, pdf) and Commission Staff Working document: on the Third Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2011) (SEC 139-12, pdf)
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: Council of the European Union seeks to overturn "Turco judgment" which would allow access to legal advice to the Council concerning legislative issues: The Minutes of COREPER II on 8, 10 and 14 May 2012 (the high-level meeting on Member Sates' permanent representatives in Brussels) state:
"Recast of Regulation (EC) o 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (First reading)
- Preparation of informal trilogues: The Committee agreed to mandate the Presidency to initiate informal trilogues with the European Parliament and the Commission with a view to achieving a political agreement on a pre-negotiated Council position at first reading.
The Committee agreed by qualified majority the draft mandate set out in the fourth column of document 9441/12 with the following modifications:
- Article 4a, paragraph 1: "Access to legal advice relating to issues which are the subject of a decision-making process until the relevant act becomes definitive or regarding a question of law which has not been decided, in last instance, by the Court of Justice, shall be presumed to undermine the protection of legal advice. The applicant may demonstrate that there is an overriding public interest justifying the disclosure of the documents.";
- Article 4a, paragraph 3: "For the purpose of this article, the principles underlying this regulation do not in themselves constitute such an overriding public interest.".
SE delegation did not agree with the contents of the mandate, as set out in 9441/12, and made the following statement : "The compromise text would lead to less transparency in the EU. Hence, Sweden cannot endorse the text." EE, FI and NL delegations aligned themselves to this statement." [emphasis added]
See: Recast of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (first reading) - Preparation of informal trilogues (Council doc: 9941-12, pdf)
See also Statewatch's Observatory: Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-ongoing
EU: Europol boosts its reach, scope and information-gathering
The 2011 annual report of Europol makes clear that the agency, whose work is not subject to European or national parliamentary scrutiny, is significantly increasing the scope of its activities, its geographical reach, and its information-gathering, exchange and analysis.
EU: REVISION OF RETURNS DIRECTIVE & DUBLIN REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum System: State of play/orientation debate (pdf). Includes:
"the Presidency has initiated negotiations with the European Parliament on the recast for Reception Conditions Directive and on the recast for the Dublin Regulation. On both files a series of four trilogues have been agreed between the Presidency, the European Parliament and the Commission. Furthermore, it has been agreed to work towards a political agreement on both files by the end of the Danish Presidency." [ie: by the end of June).
EU: Police can probe asylum fingerprint database, commission says (euobserver, link): "Melita Sunjic, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Brussels, told EUobserver that law enforcement access to the database would equate asylum seekers with criminality. Sunjic also expressed concerns that law enforcement authorities may alert the asylum seekers country of origin. Such alerts could possibly jeopardise the lives of the asylum seeker and his or her family members still in the home country. People leave their home country because they are in danger there, said Sunjic."
UK: Julian Assange loses extradition case live coverage (Guardian, link) and see Full-text of Supreme Court judgment (pdf)
EU: GREECE, TURKEY AND RETURNS: ASYLUM & MIGRATION and INTERNAL SECURITY FUNDS: Millions of euros targeting border controls and returns: Council of the European Union: Implementation of the Common Framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures due to mixed migration flows - Political discussion with a particular focus on the support to Greece in areas of borders, asylum and migration management (pdf). Includes:
" Intensifying efforts to build capacity in Greece, including financial and human resources to build a robust asylum system, with adequate reception facilities and effective return processes.... Efforts to cooperate with third countries and in particular the border control authorities of Turkey to combat illegal immigration and cross border organised crime...More focused efforts on return, in practice and conclusion and implementation of EU readmission agreements with key countries of origin and transit, operations with the assistance of FRONTEX and IOM and targeted use of funds under the European Return Fund."
EU-ACTA: NETHERLANDS: Translations of Dutch parliamentary resolutions against ACTA (Bits of Freedom, link): A majority of the Dutch parliament has voted for several resolutions which prohibited the government from signing ACTA or initiating the ratification procedure. See also: Dead on arrival? Dutch Parliament kills ACTA before EU vote (RT, link)
EU: The Council of the European Union is planning to appeal against the European Court of Justice judgment: Full-text: Sophie in t Veld v Council of the European Union (pdf) and see: Press release: General Court ruling on In t Veld vs Council strengthens transparency in EU (pdf): The case concerns the Council's refusal to release the Opinion of its Legal Service on the EU-USA Agreement on the exchange of personal financial data (TFTP/SWIFT)
EU: European Parliament study: Main trends in the recent case law of the EU Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights in the field of fundamental rights (pdf):
"The goal of this study is to offer an overview of the case law from the Luxembourg and Strasbourg Courts regarding fundamental rights over 2010 and 2011. This study identifies the main trends and fields of conflict and focuses on the role played by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Furthermore, the study examines the nature and intensity of crossreferences between both Courts. "
Council of Europe: The Consultatice Committee of the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data [ETS No. 108]: Modernisation of Convention 108: new proposals (pdf)
EU-EUROPOL: General Report on Europol's activities in 2011 (pdf) includes:
""A new version of the EIS was developed in 2011. The most important feature is the hit/no-hit search possibility for Designated Competent Authorities. This is the first time that access to the EIS can be granted beyond the Member States Europol National Units to frontline law enforcement officers." (p.21)
"A significant improvement was also achieved in terms of interoperability of core information management systems. In October 2011 a new function, the Europol Links Manager (ELM), went live. Within the boundaries of the Europol legal framework it enables automated cross-checking of analysis work files, 10.4 repository, the EIS, and the Enhanced Risk Entities Solution (ERES). The latter is a repository containing open source data purchased by Europol from a commercial intelligence provider. Compared to the previous cross-checking arrangement the ELM widens the range of data sources, enhances usability and flexibility, and addresses several important data protection issues." (ibid.)
UK: Campaigners call for amendment to one-sided UK-US extradition treaty
The UK was accused last night of being a "minor 51st state of America" as over 150 people packed into a hall in London to hear the stories of individuals facing extradition to the United States, two of whom have been detained for a total of 14 years despite never facing trial in the UK.
In front of a screen bearing the slogan "British justice for British citizens", speakers urged the crowd to step up the campaign to amend the Extradition Act 2003, under which no prima facie evidence is required for extradition from the UK to the US to be approved.
UK: First ever Big Society Audit warns of the need to bridge the "Big Society gap" and calls for government to work with voluntary sector
The Audit highlights that the Big Society has failed to strengthen the voluntary sector over the last two years and that it will face an estimated £3.3 billion of cuts in public funding up to 2016.
Small, local voluntary and community organisations struggle to gain Government contracts, and tendering practices appear to have an implicit bias toward private sector organisations.
EU: MEPs water down ethics rules (european voice website, link) Parliament's leadership exempts hotel rooms costing less than ¬300 a night from transparency requirements. See also: Greens-EFAs press releases: European Parliament transparency - Centre right MEPs vote to keep details of industry-funded jollies opaque (link) The European Parliament's bureau last night voted to overturn the essence of provisions in the MEP code of conduct aimed at ensuring full transparency when MEPs accept gifts in the form of travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses from third parties. The outcome, which was determined by a centre right majority on the EP's bureau, ignored the advice of the EP's ethics committee, which had recommended full transparency for such trips.
EU: Strengthen internal security while protecting fundamental rights, say MEPs (europarl website, link) Fundamental rights should be respected in all instances when applying the EU's Internal Security Strategy, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Tuesday. MEPs also want proper funding for this strategy in the 2014-2020 financial framework.
EU: Amended proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis - Revised draft compromise text (pdf)
Bulgaria: Problems and tendencies in active disclosure of information (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: European Investigation Order: Orientation vote result on the adoption of a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters (pdf)
EU: No compromise in sight on EU document secrecy (euobserver, link) Jakob Alvi, the Danish EU presidency spokesman, told EUobserver on Tuesday (22 May) that member states and the European Parliament rapporteur on the dossier, British center-left MEP Michael Cashman, remain poles apart after initial talks, set to continue on Wednesday.
UK: Asbos to be replaced in new government proposals (BBC, link) New plans to tackle anti-social behaviour announced in Home Office White Paper: Putting victims first: more effective responses to anti-social behaviour (pdf) See also: Theresa May's asbo overhaul misses the point (Guardian, link) Statewatch's Asbowatch observatory (link)
EU: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing, as part of the Internal Security Fund, the instrument for financial support for external borders and visa - Compromise proposal by the Presidency (pdf)
EU: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the implementation and exploitation of European satellite navigation systems (pdf)
EU: Ex-ECB chief: If parliaments do not give us what we want, we will annul them (red pepper, link) If there is anyone left doubting that the struggle against austerity is fundamentally a struggle for democracy, the chilling proposal of former European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet on how to solve the eurocrisis unveiled on Thursday, should quickly put paid to such overly microscopic focus.
EU: Joint Europol-Eurojust Annual Report to the Council and Commission for 2012 and 2011 (pdf)
UK: Police are linked to blacklist of construction workers (Guardian, link) The police or security services supplied information to a blacklist funded by the country's major construction firms that has kept thousands of people out of work over the past three decades. Blacklisting At last the truth is coming out (Union-News, link) Scores of construction workers whose lives have been blighted by the scourge of blacklisting have welcomed a report suggesting collusion between the police and a company at the heart of the decades-long practice.
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Revised Asylum Procedures Directive: Keeping Standards Low (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex.
Offers a thorough legal analysis of the Council's current position on the revised asylum procedures directive and concludes:
- The proposed Council draft would provide for a fairly modest increase in standards relating to asylum procedures with the most important improvements from the June 2011 revised proposal removed or watered down.
- There are some disturbing reductions of current standards as regards (surreally) the possibility to consider an application as withdrawn even though it was never made (if it is not made as soon as possible), and the power to reintroduce a 'super-safe' third country rule allowing for no consideration of an asylum application at all - a manifest breach of the Geneva Convention, international human rights law, and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
- Member States would still be able to accelerate the consideration of a significant number of applications and in so doing could deny the applicant legal aid, access to the information used against him or her and a copy of the report of the interview during first-instance proceedings; and they could then prevent the applicant from staying on the territory during the appeal. The net result would be a grossly unfair procedure.
EU: Brussels wants e-identities for EU citizens (euractiv, link) The European Commission is set to launch a substantial review of rules governing personal documents with the aim of making electronic identities take off across the EU. But the proposal faces likely opposition from civil rights groups and member states where identity cards do not exist.
EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Military Committee: Subject: The EUMC Strategic Priorities (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Authorisation to release EU classified information to third States and international organisations in the context of the EU Crisis Management Exercise Multi Layer 2012 - ML 12 (pdf)
Greece: Academic freedom: Petition against the decision made by the University of the Aegean to block the promotion of Assistant Professor Stratos Georgoulas on political grounds (link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Access to EU documents: Article-by-Article commentary, Red Lines for the negotiations, and the undemocratic recast procedure (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex.
On 10 May 2012, the Danish Presidency of the Council put on the agenda of Coreper (the EU body consisting of Member States' representatives to the EU) a draft deal on the proposed Regulation on access to documents. This deal, if agreed, would constitute the Council's position for negotiations with the European Parliament (EP), which has joint decision-making powers on this proposal. This analysis examines the draft deal on an article-by-article basis and concludes:
- The draft position of the Council constitutes a significant overall reduction in the level of access to documents.
- In particular, the council's definition of a 'document' is of doubtful legality and would exclude massive numbers of documents from the scope of the rules.
- The EP should not accept the Council proposal in its present form, or any variation thereof which would significantly reduce current standards.
- In particular, the EP should make clear to the Council that it cannot in any circumstances accept the proposed definition of a 'document'. If the Council is adamant on including this definition, the EP should instantly veto the proposal.
- The Commission's decision to present negotiations in the form of a 'recast' - a profoundly undemocratic and indeed surely illegal procedure - has prevented the EP from pressing for most of the changes it has unanimously voted for.
- The EP and the Council should immediately denounce the pernicious and illegal Inter-institutional Agreement on the recasting of EU Acts.
EU: Tribunal 12 renders its verdict: Europe guilty of breaching human rights of foreigners (link) Inspired by the International War Crimes Tribunal that was formed by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre in 1967, Tribunal 12 sets out to locate the moral, legal and political responsibilities as well as call for a change within the system.
EU: European Court of Human Rights: Grand Chamber hearing in the case El-Masri v. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (press release, 16.5.12). Webcast of the hearing (ECHR website) The applicant in this case, a German national of Lebanese origin, alleges that he was arrested and tortured in Skopje because he was suspected of belonging to a terrorist organisation, and complains about his rendition by the CIA to a secret detention centre in Afghanistan.
EU: Latest documents on migration and border control: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Biannual report on the functioning of the Schengen area 1 November 2011 - 30 April 2012 (COM 2012 230 final, pdf) Polish delegation to the Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee: Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the Polish internal borders in accordance with Articles 23(1) and 24 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) - UEFA Euro 2012 (9686/12, pdf)
UK: Deportation contractor Reliance faces litany of abuse claims against staff (Guardian, link) Escort guards accused of 'hitting and punching' deportees, but company says cases have been investigated by UKBA.
UK: Report of the Independent monitoring board on the non-residential short term holding facilities at London Heathrow airport for the year February 2011 to January 2012 (pdf) See also: UK Border Agency 'detaining children in degrading conditions' at Heathrow (Guardian, link) Children held in small, stuffy rooms at airport for hours, often sharing space with adults they are not related to, watchdog finds.
EU: A drop of fundamental rights in an ocean of unaccountability: Frontex in the process of implementing Article 26(a) (link). On 27 April, Frontex presented a tentative timeline in view of the establishment of the controversial Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights which comes as a result of negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament in November 2011 While European borders remain some of the most dangerous in the world, details of the establishment process of this new body confirm the pre-eminence of the Management Board and Member States in the functioning of Frontex, and the leaving aside of any democratic oversight and independent monitoring mechanism.
SPAIN: Less-lethal weapons and public order: Athletic Bilbao fan killed by a plastic bullet (link). An Athletico Bilbao football fan celebrating his team's win on 5 April 2012 became the latest victim of the Basque police force's use of plastic bullets. The death sparked fresh debate over the legitimacy of the practice.
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response (9650/12, pdf)
EU: EMCDDA trend report for the evaluation of the 200512 EU drugs strategy (pdf)
EU: Fiscal Policy: Growth dimension and control of new Commission powers needed (European parliament website, link). The European Commission should have more control over fiscal policy in EU Member States, but not the free rein it asked for, says the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in texts, voted on Monday, stating a position on the economic governance "two pack". This increased power must be democratically controlled and serve to spur economic growth, MEPs say.
EU: EMCDDAEuropol 2011 Annual Report on the implementation of Council Decision 2005/387/JHA In accordance with Article 10 of Council Decision 2005/387/JHA on the information exchange, risk assessment and control of new psychoactive substances (pdf)
ITALY: Joint public statement: Dichiarazione Congiunta: Leave Nomad Emergency in the Past (Rome, May 11, 2012, pdf). The Italian government should abandon any initiative aimed at perpetuating the effects of the past Nomad Emergency, Associazione 21 luglio, the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Open Society Justice Initiative said today. The Nomad Emergency, a state of emergency declared in five Italian regions giving local authorities special powers with respect to Roma and Roma settlements, was declared unlawful by the Council of State, the highest administrative court, in November 2011.
EU: REGULATION ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Council seeks to re-write the definition of a "document" after 19 years: Recast of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (first reading) - Preparation of informal trilogues (pdf). Since 1993 the definition of a "document" has been that a: "document shall mean any content whatever its medium" and this is in the current Regulation. However, the Council intends to keep this general definition (Article 3) but to add Article 3a: "Documents subject to this Regulation": which says a document becomes subject to this Regulation (ie: the whole Regulation) when: "it has been drawn up by an institution and either formally transmitted to one or more recipients, submitted for filing or registration, approved by the competent official, or otherwise completed for the purposes for which it was intended" (emphasis added) In simple terms a "document" is only really a "document" when it is finalised (all the drafts and discussion prior to this are not "documents") - this is the same definition, which was widely criticised, first put forward by the Commission in 2008. .
The double-faced language of the Council position means also that while it appears in Article 12 that documents concerning legislative and non-legislative acts: "shall, subject to Articles 4 and 9, be made directly accessible to the public" they are still subject to the general rule in Article 3a above. It would thus negate Articles 15.1 and 15.3 para 5 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
" In 1997 the Amsterdam Treaty promised to "enshrine" the public's right of access to EU documents but in 2001 we only got half the cake. If the Council and the Commission get their way we will be left with just a few crumbs [small fragments]. Access to documents is the life-blood of a healthy, vibrant, democracy which encourages informed consent and dissent. Instead the Council wants an unaccountable democracy bereft of content and meaning."
Sign up to the Call for an Open Europe
EU: REGULATION ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENT: Statewatch challenges Council secrecy on access to EU documents on the revision of the Regulation: Letter from the Council refusing access to three documents concerning the Council's discussions on revising the Regulation on access to EU documents (pdf) in response a: Confirmatory application by Tony Bunyan, on behalf of Statewatch (pdf)
The Council had hidden three crucial documents and claimed that access could not be given because 1) It would "prejudice Council's capacity to conduct frank and candid discussions". In other words to meet in secret as a legislature under the so-called "space to think" (under Article 4.3 of the Regulation on acces to documents) see: The case for the repeal of Article 4.3 2) The Council then claims that there was an "absence of any element suggesting an overriding public interest" in dislcosure - it is hard to think of an issue on which the public's right to know what is being discussed manifestly outweighs the need for secrecy. 3) The Council concludes by saying that access may to given "after the the final adoption of the act" - subject still to Article 4.3 para 2.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"The notion that the wish of a legislature to meet in secret (by failing to release the documents being discussed) outweighs the public interest of the citizens on such a fundamental issue, namely the right to know what is being discussed and proposed in a legislative process in order to know and allow for public debate, has no place in a democracy worthy of the name."
EU: ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS: Presidency criticised: Even worse than the Commission: The Danish EU-presidency has failed to unite member states on new access rules for the EU-institutions. Sweden, Finland and possibly others will refuse to back a mandate to negotiate a new regulation (Wobbing.eu,link): "Its no secrecy that member states have different opinions on access rules. But now the split comes out in the open. Swedish minister of justice Beatrice Ask (conservative) has instructed the Swedish EU-ambassador not to endorse a negotiating mandate proposed by the Danish presidency.
Minister Ask explains why in a comment to this website: If the mandate would give space for improved openness I would be the first to vote yes, but I believe that would be wishful thinking as things stand right now. The mandate will pull in the opposite direction, and there is even a risk that it is worse than the Commission's proposal from 2008.
It is understood that the main issues for the Council of the European Union are:
- Definition of a document. A new article defining when a document is finalized and thus accessible has been added. The article says a document is included when finalized for the purpose it was intended. - this is the same as the Commission's proposal to replace the definition of a "document" in place since 1993.
- Whole categories of documents are to be kept outside the scope - documents on infringement procedures (member states accused of breaking EU-law), on competition (cartels, mergers and state-aid cases) and documents related to court proceedings.
- Advice from legal services on disputed matters are also to be kept outside the scope an exemption judged by the Court of Justice to be unfounded according to the present regulation.
- Data protection likely to overrule the right to access.
- Veto for Member States on release of documents sent to the institutions
See Statewatch's Observatory: Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-ongoing
EU: Visits campaign : Obstacles to the right to know: Migrant Camps in Europe : Open the doors ! We the right to know ! (link):
"The reality of administrative detention of foreigners, a familiar instrument of European migration policies, is hidden from civil society and to the media. Such secrecy makes abuses and attacks on human rights both more likely and harder to combat . European citizens have the right to know the consequences of the policies which are put in place in their names."
EU-EAW: Council of the European Union: Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant Year 2011 (pdf). A strange report for the use of EAWs in 2011 which shows that only 5 out of 27 Member States have responded to the annual report. It shows that these five Member Sates have issued over 3,000 EAWs with Germany responsible for 70%.
EU: Amnesty International and European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) Letter on behalf on 166 NGOs:Appeal to EU institutions: Ensure respect for asylum-seekers' right to liberty in recast reception conditions Directive and Dublin Regulation (pdf) and Not crossing red line: A negotiators' checklist on minimum detention safeguards (pdf)
EU-ECJ: SCHENGEN BORDERS CODE: ECJ General Advocates opinion on sea surveillance and the Schengen Borders Code: reasserting the Parliaments legislative role, re-opening the Frontex debate? (pdf):
"The European Court of Justices General Advocate Paulo Mengozzi on 17 April 2012 recommended that the Councils decision amending the Schengen Borders Code (SBC) for it to cover and regulate EUs surveillance at sea external borders should be annulled.
In July 2010, the European Parliament had lodged an action for annulment before the European Court of Justice against Council Decision 2010/252 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code. It was argued that the Decision was illegal because the followed procedure to adopt it (comitology procedure) was not appropriate given the impact the contested decision had on the SBC and on Frontex Regulation."
EU: Updated: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC) Justice and Home Affairs "e-library" archive (1976 - 2000): Weekly Highlighted documents: Update including:
- 9299/1/98 REV 1 - External frontier strategy - Guide for the application of risk analysis in combating smuggling in the field of general aviation under the 3rd pillar
- 13269/98 ADD 1 - Comprehensive Action Plan for EU/Latin America Counter-Drugs Assistance, including interregional Cooperation with the Caribbean: Annexes: An extensive annex to document 13269/98 outlining the actions taken by the EU in Latin American and the Caribbean in an attempt to disrupt the production of drugs.Includes details on Member States involved, duration, and funding. See also 13269/2/98 REV 2 and 13269/3/98 REV 3.
- 13310/98 - CIREFI Statistics for the second quarter of 1998: A 132-page document providing statistics from a wide number of Member States on "refused aliens"; "aliens illegally present"; "aliens who entered illegally"; "facilitators apprehended"; "facilitated aliens"; "removed aliens"
- 14436/98 - System of reference codes precisely defining the signs of falsification revealed during the examination of false documents: A document demonstrating the way in which false documents were/are analysed and categorised.
- 5045/99 - Electronic surveillance and video surveillance - Summary of replies to questionnaire 11073/97 ENFOPOL 194: "New technologies provide the public with additional security tools, whether used privately or by the police. As a follow-up to the Noordwijk seminar on crime prevention (Netherlands, 11 to 14 May 1998), the French delegation proposed that the Police Cooperation Working Party launch a debate on video and electronic surveillance, on the basis of a survey of legislation and practice in the Member States of the EU. Fourteen Member States replied to the questionnaire"
- 14330/98 - Transparency: list of topics on which there could be open debates at meetings of the Council: The Presidency offers a rather limited list of topics on which the Council "could" have open debates in the name of transparency.
Search JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1976-2000: (currently holds 5,846 documents)
European Parliament: Updated: Draft Report on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow-up of the European Parliament TDIP Committee report (pdf). Being presented in the LIBE Committee 8 May, deadline for amendments: 24 May.
EUROPOL: LEGAL BASIS: Commission note on meeting with the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament: Summary report of discussions between the Directorate General for Home Affairs, with representatives of national parliaments and of the LIBE Committee on the revision of Europol legal basis (pdf) and see also: Commission document: Revision of Europol's legal basis (pdf)
ECCHR-UN: European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights: ECCHR succeed in removing client from the UN Security Council 1267 Al-Qaida blacklist (pdf):
"Berlin, 8 May 2012 - The United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee yesterday formally announced the removal of one of ECCHRs clients (Mr Kamel Darraji) from the Al-Qaida terrorism blacklist. He had been kept on the list (at the request of the Italian and US governments) for almost eight years, on the basis that he was allegedly associated with an Italian Al-Qaida terrorist cell an allegation that Mr Darraji has consistently denied."
EU-ACTA: European Parliament: LIBE Committee: Draft Opinion: on the compatibility of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Mexican States, the Kingdom of Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Singapore, the Swiss Confederation and the United States of America with the rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (pdf)
EU-ACTA: European Commission written response on ACTA (pdf) to the Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor: European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA, pdf) Press release: ACTA measures to enforce IP rights in the digital environment could threaten privacy and data protection if not properly implemented (link)
European Parliament: Orientation Vote Result on the proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances (pdf). "Orientation" is the adoption of the parliament's negotiating position with the Council in trilogues.
EU-ACTA: Kroes Throws in Towel on ACTA (link)
ECJ: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Press release: General Court ruling on In t Veld vs Council strengthens transparency in EU (pdf):
"Sophie in t Veld, MEP (ALDE, NL), welcomes todays ruling of the General Court of the EU on her request for access to the opinion of the Council Legal Service on the so called EU-US 'Swift agreement' on the transfer of bank data. "I am pleased the Court largely supported our claim, and puts the interest of the citizen before institutional interests. The Council will have to publish the document, with the exception only of those parts that could reveal the directives that might reveal the strategic objectives pursued by the EU in the negotiations, or the specific content of the agreement envisaged. It is a step forward for transparency in Europe, that the General Court makes it clear that negotiations on international agreements are not automatically exempt from EU transparency rules".
and European Court of Justice: Full-text: Sophie in t Veld v Council of the European Union (pdf)
EU austerity is feeding racism, report says (euobserver, link): "EU austerity measures are helping to feed racism and intolerance, according to a report by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe." See: ECRI Annual Report (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Security Research: Protecting Europes homeland and its future (pdf) and see: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf)
EU-SIS II: European Commission: Proposal for a Council Regulation on migration from the Schengen Information System (SIS 1+) to the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (recast) (pdf)
EU-CIA: European Parliament: Draft Report on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow-up of the European Parliament TDIP Committee report (pdf) to be considered by the LIBE Committee on 8 May:
"Considers that Member States have so far not properly fulfilled their positive obligation under international law to investigate serious human rights violations connected with the CIA programme and afford full redress to victims;
Believes that the failure of Member States to assume their responsibility to conduct inquiries that are fully compatible with their international obligations undermines mutual trust in fundamental rights protection, and thus becomes the responsibility of the EU as a whole."
and Working Document: on Alleged Transportation & illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow up of the EP TDIP Committee report (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Orientation Vote Result: on the proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (pdf): Vote on the EP's negotiating position before entering trilogue with the Council.
And EIO: Draft Report: on the adoption of a Directive regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters (pdf) see: Statewatch: Analysis: Update The Proposed European Investigation Order
GREECE: Amygdaleza detention centre unwanted by local community (Arthens News, link): "Trouble is already brewing in Amygdaleza, where the first detention centre has been set up. The municipality of Acharnes, north of greater Athens, filed a petition for an injunction on Monday against Citizen Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, charging that the Amygdaleza detention centre for illegal migrants was illegally set up. See also: UNHCR has reservations on migrant center (link)
MEPs press Lithuania to re-launch CIA rendition probe (euobserver, link)
EU: Council of the European Union/Mixed Committee: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response (Council doc: 8714-rev1-12, 22 pages, pdf) Pages 4-22 contain detailed Action Plan
EU: Council of the European Union: Amended proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers - Examination of text of European Parliament in view of first informal trilogue (130 pages, pdf) Useful 4-column documents showing the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Council positions and the outcome of the so-called "informal", secret, trilogue on 23 April 2012.
EU: Council of the European Union:
- Council position discussions: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) (pdf) Still over 200 Member States reservations
- Council position discussions in the Mixed Committee: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf) With Member State positions.
UK right not to adopt EU justice measure, Lords committee says (Law Society Gazette, link) and see Select Committee report: The European Unions Policy on Criminal Procedure (pdf)
INSTITUTE OF RACE RELATIONS: A. Sivanandans From resistance to rebellion (link): "Detailing the resistance of black communities to the discrimination of the British state, Sivanandan reminds us throughout that acts of resistance are made necessary by the realities of everyday oppression. The pattern of black and Asian struggles in Britain, writes Sivanandan, was set on the loom of British racism. And resistance may not always take conventional forms.
With the ongoing and excessively punitive sentencing of those involved in last Augusts unrest, we are hearing from the rioters in Tottenham that continual aggressive stop-and-search measures makes them feel policed against, not policed for. Sivanandans words thirty years ago are still as pertinent today:
a government which is not accountable to the people - a government which governs with the politics of the stick and the policies of a thousand cuts, which is anti-working class and anti-women and anti-youth - must have a police force that is accountable to it and not to the people."
Greece opens first migrant detention centre (euobserver, link)
EU: TERRORISM: Europol: TE-SAT 2012: EU terrorism situation and trend report (pdf). See also: EU police warn of new-model jihad threat (euobserver, link)
UPDATED: EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 26-27 April, Luxembourg: Press release, 26-27 April (pdf), "B" Points agenda (for discussion), "A" Points: non-legislative (adopted without discussion):
- Council adopts new EU-US agreement on Passenger Name Records (PNR) (pdf)
- Council conclusions on de-radicalisation and disengagement from terrorist activities (pdf)
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Council of the European Union: Preventing lone actor terrorism - Food for thought (9090-12, pdf) and Concept paper - capacity building in third countries: funding and implementation (9084-12, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Outcomes: Visa Working Party/Mixed Committee (8976-12, pdf) includes: Electronic calculation of stay in the Schengen area and Meetings Document: Information on the visa aspects of the preparations for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (EURO 2012)
EU: European Court of Justice: Advocate-General Opinion: in favour of the European Parliament and against the Council: Schengen Border Code Border surveillance - full text (pdf)
Amnesty International: Choice and Prejudice: Discrimination against Muslims in Europe (link)
UNCHR: Hungary as a country of asylum (pdf) and See: Handcuffs and leashes await asylum seekers in Hungary (euobserver, link)
Greeks seek austerity trial at The Hague (BBC News, link): "It is rare for citizens to try to take their government to court, and even more so for a Western European government to be taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. But that is what one group based near the Greek capital is now attempting. And the charges are more drastic still. It is alleged that the austerity measures introduced by Greece's government constitute peacetime genocide and crimes against humanity."
EU: Study finds that "there is no need to introduce new instruments for cross-border information exchange" (link)
- There is a "tendency that for 'each and everything' a new database has been set up"
- 46% of police authorities class data protection as a major or just less than major obstacle to exchange
- Member States want greater access to "non-police data" such as that from EURODAC or Passenger Name Record systems
European Parliament: MEPs question Commission over problems with biometric passports (Press release, pdf)
EU plans for big brother data analysis must be nipped in the bud (euobserver, link): "So, while EU home affairs ministers may push ahead with their legislative deliberations on the proposed EU PNR system, opposition is brewing. With plans already afoot in some EU countries to apply similar data analysis systems to other forms of transport, it can only be hoped that the European Parliament will live up to its role of defending the rights of European citizens and nip these proposals in the bud."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Directive on data protection and law enforcement: A Missed Opportunity? (pdf) Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:
In January 2012, the Commission proposed a comprehensive overview of these two key measures. The 1995 data protection Directive would be replaced by a Regulation, which would remove much of the discretion left to Member States by the current Directive. On the other hand, the Framework Decision would be replaced by a Directive, which would be binding but which would leave to Member States the choice of form and methods to implement it.
ECJ: European Court of Justice: Advocate General Opinion on mandatory data retention case (pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA, pdf) Press release: ACTA measures to enforce IP rights in the digital environment could threaten privacy and data protection if not properly implemented (link)
The Opinion shows that the lack of precision of the Agreement about the measures to be deployed to tackle infringements of intellectual property rights ('IP rights') on the Internet may have unacceptable side effects on fundamental rights of individuals, if they are not implemented properly. It underlines that many of the measures to strengthen IP enforcement online could involve the large scale monitoring of users' behaviour and of their electronic communications. These measures are highly intrusive to the private sphere of individuals, and should only be implemented if they are necessary and proportionate to the aim of enforcing IP rights.
EU-PNR: Council of the European Union: Council negotiating position: Proposal for a Directive of the Council and the European Parliament on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (8916/12, pdf)
EU-PNR: Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the use and transfer of Passenger Name Records to the United States Department of Homeland Security - Adoption of the Decision on conclusion (8805/12, pdf)
EU: Sarkozy wants EU partners to toughen border controls (EUbusiness, link) French President Nicolas Sarkozy, chasing far-right voters in a troubled re-election bid, will press EU partners to make it easier to recall border guards in Europe's visa-free travel area.
Europe: Amnesty International report: Choice and prejudice: Discrimination against Muslims in Europe (pdf) Muslims across Europe belong to many different ethnic groups and follow diverse cultural, religious or traditional practices. They are discriminated against for different reasons, including their religion or belief, ethnicity and gender. This report highlights discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and illustrates some of its consequences.
UK: MI5 'gave Libyan spies details of dissidents in Britain' (Guardian, link) Tripoli agents were reportedly greeted at Heathrow and given mobiles and a safe house in Knightsbridge on 2006 mission.
EU-PNR: Council of the European Union: Hot on the heels of the European Parliament agreeing to the EU-USA PNR Agreement the Council is to adopt its common position, prior to "negotiating with the EP, at the JHA Council on the EU-PNR Scheme: 1) Proposal for a Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (Doc: 8448-rev 1-12,pdf):
The Commission had proposed an initial storage period of 30 days, followed by a further retention period of five years of masked out data... an initial storage period of 30 days is generally considered much too short from an operational point of view...Taking into consideration the operational needs the initial retention period is set at two years."
And so-called "compromise" on the scope: "Article 1a.. allows Member States to apply this Directive to all or selected intra-EU flights. Hence, the Article allows any Member State to collect PNR data from those intra-EU flights it considers necessary in order to prevent, detect, investigate or prosecute serious crime or terrorism. It thus constitutes a compromise between those Member States that are in favour of mandatory inclusion of all intra-EU flights and those that are opposed to any inclusion of intra-EU flights." (emphasis added)
2) Previous version: Doc 8448-12 (pdf) and 3) earlier initiative of the UK to include flights between EU Member States - the Commission proposal only covered flights in and out of the EU: Doc 9103-11 (pdf)
Europe: migreurop press release: New Group Deportation Flight Coordinated by FRONTEX as means of Collective Expulsion towards Serbia : Rights violation and the impunity of member-states New Group Deportation Flight Coordinated by FRONTEX as means of Collective Expulsion towards Serbia : Rights violation and the impunity of member-states (link)
EU: Council of the European Union:
- ICT re-draft: Proposal for a Directive on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (pdf)
- Roadmap to ensure a coherent EU response to continued migratory pressures (pdf)
- Opt-out issues: Council Decisions related to Partnership and Cooperation Agreements - new arrangements (pdf)
EU: European Commission and EEAS: Joint Staff Working Paper: Strengthening ties between CSDP and FSJ actors: Proposals for a way ahead (pdf)
EU: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): The Dutch surveillance system @migoboras (a Dutch/English acronym standing for "Mobile Information-Driven Action Better Operational Results and Advanced Security," pdf):
"The Meijers Committee is of the opinion that controls behind the borders will have an effect equivalent to border checks if the following elements are present:
a. the surveillance aims expressly at controlling persons who just crossed the internal borders;
b. the surveillance aims at controlling whether these persons are complying with the conditions for entry and stay in the country (which is equivalent to combating illegal stay after the crossing of borders);
c. the surveillance is exercised on a systematic basis."
Europe: migreurop press release: The right to information of civil society and the press in detention centres for migrants violated (link)
EU: European Court of Justice: Advocate General Opinion in case involving: Minimum standards for the qualification and status of the third-country nationals as stateless persons or refugees (pdf)
COE-ECHR: High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights: Brighton Declaration (pdf)
EU: YET ANOTHER BAD DAY FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES: MEPs back plans to give air passenger data to US (BBC News, link). "The European Parliament has adopted a controversial bill that will give the United States access to personal information about airline passengers. MEPs agreed by 409 votes to 226 to let the US Department of Homeland Security see data on the Passenger Name Record (PNR)" The two major parties blocs - PPE (conservative group) and S&D (socialist group) were committed to voting in favour.
See Statewatch's Observatory: Exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA
EU-SWITZERLAND: Swiss re-impose immigration limits on some EU states - The Swiss government has decided to re-impose immigration quotas on workers from central and eastern European Union (EU) countries. (BBC News, link). See also: Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on the decision of the Swiss Government to re-establish quantitative limitations for certain categories of residence permits as regards EU citizens who are nationals of eight of the EU Member States (pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Amending the EUs Borders Code (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:
"The Borders Code has already been amended on four occasions... However, the 2011 proposals would have a much bigger impact on the text of the Code. Between them, these proposals would amend nearly every provision of the Code, and add a number of new provisions."
EU-G6: FOR THE RECORD: G6 meeting, Paris, 1 December 2011 (pdf): The secretive G6, working on justice and home affairs, is comprised of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK - it is usually also attended by the USA Department of Homeland Security. The meeting discussed Schengen governance, asylum and itinerant (mobile) criminality and, including the US representatives, focused on the recovery of criminal assets and Transatlantic data sharing.
EU-EDPS: EDPS calls for data protection safeguards before public sector information containing personal data can be re-used (Press release, pdf), Opinion (pdf) and Public access to documents containing personal data after the Bavarian Lager ruling (pdf)
Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "The re-use of PSI containing personal data may bring significant benefits, but also entails great risks to the protection of personal data, due to the wide variety of data held by public sector bodies. The Commission proposal should therefore more clearly define in what situations and subject to what safeguards information containing personal data may be required to be made available for re-use."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Amending the EUs visa list legislation (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"Quite apart from the usual lack of transparency of EU documents (the texts submitted to Coreper have not officially been made public, although they are available on the Statewatch website - see the links below), the negotiation process is highly obscure, as it is not currently clear whether Coreper even reached an agreement on the proposed measures, and if so what text was agreed....
the version of the proposed legislation discussed in Coreper clearly shows the Member States intention to assert the EUs authority more forcefully as regards visa policy by the creation of two new fast-track powers to impose visa obligations, but also to retain a lot of political discretion when using such powers. Although these new powers would be conferred upon the Commission, Member States have tried as much as possible to assert their control over its actions, and they have rejected any attempt to remove their remaining discretion as regards visa policy for various categories of persons."
EU: European Court of Justice: Advocate General's Opinion: European Parliament v Council of the European Union (Action for annulment Decision 2010/252 Implementing powers Limits Regulation No 562/2006 Schengen Borders Code Border surveillance) (pdf). Advocate-General's opinion backs EP challenge to Council's decision implementing borders code re Frontex.
EU authorities accused of blindness on 'counter-jihad' (euobserver, link): "Security services in Europe have neglected the kind of right-wing extremism which inspired Norway's Anders Behring Breivik to commit mass murder, a UK-based rights group has warned. "Post-911, all major authorities have themselves in the EU focused on the direct threat of Islamic terrorism while they took their eye off the ball on the radicalisation of Europeans," Daniel Hodges, a campaigner for Hope Not Hate, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver on Monday (16 April).
EU: FRONTEX: Statewatch Analysis: The Frontex Regulation - Consolidated text after final 2011 amendments (pdf) by Steve Peers
Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"The following presents the Regulation setting up the EU Borders Agency - Frontex - as it was amended by a number of amendments adopted in 2011: Regulation 1168/2011, OJ 2011 L 304/1 (the 2011 amendments). It replaces the consolidated text of the Regulation based on the agreed text of the 2011 amendments, which were subject to a number of technical changes when they were finally adopted."
EU: Dissolve secret agencies and police Anarchy in the EU! (link)
EU: Updated: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC) Justice and Home Affairs "e-library" archive (1976 - 2000): Weekly Highlighted documents: Update including:
- 8680/00: Summary update of the existing analyses of information on border control, asylum, immigration and police in Romania
- 9334/00 - Proposal on responsibility for stowaways
- 9559/1/00 - Football hooliganism - Annual report on football hooliganism in the Member States of the European Union: Synthesises information from fourteen countries to provide an overview of football hooliganism and police cooperation measures intended to cope with the problem
- Draft conclusions of the Executive Committee's meeting held in S-Gravenhage on 21 February 1996: (Document in French) Following a request from Spain for Schengen Member States to cooperate more closely on terrorism issues, the EU Presidency brings forward a proposal for improved extradition mechanisms between Member States
- The SCHENGEN ACQUIS 1990 - 1995 and 13-page list of all conventions, decisions and measures adopted between 1990 and 1995
- 11358/00 - Advanced technologies: production of a directory of the prefixes and roaming agreements of mobile phone operators in the fifteen countries of the European Union - Questionnaire
-12086/00 - Conclusions of the seminar on the laundering of the proceeds from organised crime in Europe (Paris, 13 to 15 September 2000)
Search JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1976 onwards: (currently holds 5,600 documents)
EU: European Parliament, Subcommittee on Human Rights Public Hearing on Secret rendition and detention practices - How to protect Human Rights while countering terrorism? 12 April 2012: Mr. Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (pdf)
EU: Joint NGO statement: The Brighton Declaration must strengthen human rights protection in Europe and preserve the integrity and authority of the European Court of Human Rights (pdf)
EU: ACTA: European Parliament: Draft Recommendation (pdf): Committee on International Trade, Rapporteur David Martin MEP. See aso: EU Parliaments draftsman urges ACTA rejection (euractiv, link)
EU: European Parliament study: EU Framework of Law for Childrens Rights (49 pages, pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The revised Dublin rules on responsibility for asylum-seekers: The Councils failure to fix a broken system (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Essex:
"The Council appears to have little regard for the case law of the European Court of Human Rights or the EUs Court of Justice, as regards the issue of suspending transfers in light of justified human rights concerns. Moreover, the Council clearly wishes to jump the gun on a number of other issues pending before the Court of Justice as regards the Dublin rules (the humanitarian clause, the rules on unaccompanied minors, and the application of the reception conditions Directive to Dublin cases)....
the Council has not accepted either of the two remedies which the Commission had proposed to fix the Dublin system the suspension of that system or the significant improvement of the rules relating to family members and vulnerable persons. It remains to be seen whether the EP is willing to recognise that the Dublin system is broken, and to demand that more serious steps be taken to fix it."
EU: Council of the European Union:
- Draft Council Conclusions on further enhancing efficient cross-border exchange of law enforcement information (DAPIX, 5929/2/12, pdf)
- Draft Council conclusions on the establishment of a European Cybercrime Centre (ENFOPOL, 8295/12,pdf)
- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (ASILE, 8591/12, pdf)
ECHR-PUBLIC ORDER-TEAR GAS: European Court of Human Rights: Police should not have used tear gas against a peaceful demonstrator (Press release, pdf) and Judgment (pdf). See also: Man gets ¬10,000 as tear gas victim (Athens News, link)
EU: Death of 63 migrants in the Mediterranean: Complaint in France holds the French military to account (FIDH, link)
EU: NGOs give EU commission a beating over anti-counterfeit pact (euobserver, link): " Amnesty Intentional, Oxfam, Reporters without Borders as well as internet rights groups and the Council of Europe all spoke out against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) at a European Parliament hearing on Wednesday (11 April). "
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest - Preparation of Coreper (pdf) Revised Council position.
GREECE: Greece taking a leaf out of the UKs manual on indefinite detention (link) "The Greek government appears to have taken a leaf out of the UK governments book and decided to hold migrants in detention centres indefinitely. The new plans which have already raised significant criticism by campaigners centre on opening 30 former military sites and detaining 1000 people in each."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Work of the UK Border Agency (August - December 2011) (pdf) See: UK Border Agency unable to fulfil its basic functions, MPs warn (Guardian, link)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The US-UK Extradition Treaty (link)
RE-POSTED: EU: AGENCIES: Council of the European Union: Evaluation of European Union agencies (pdf)
Background: Study for the Commission: Evaluation of the EU de-centralised agencies in 2009: Final Report Volume I (pdf) and Volume II (pdf), Volume III (pdf) and Volume IV (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union:
- SCHENGEN: Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances - Revised draft compromise text (6161-rev1-12, pdf)
- SCHENGEN: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement (8262-12, pdf)
- VISA LIST: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (8218-12, pdf)
UK 'exporting surveillance technology to repressive nations - 'Fears that software similar to that which government wants to use in Britain is being sold to monitor dissidents abroad (Observer, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Classified information, Football, Schengen, Migration and European External Action Service (EEAS)
- CLASSIFIED INFORMATION and the European Parliament: Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament and the Council
concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the Common Foreign and Security Policy - Council implementing arrangements (pdf) This includes international agreements on which the European Parliament is to be consulted or is required to give its consent pursuant to Article 218(6) TFEU; or negotiating directives for agreements - vetted MEPs and assistants will be allowed to see Classified documents but will not be able to make notes or directly refer to what they have seen.
- FOOTBALL:Draft annual Action Plan implementing the 2011-2013 EU Work Programme on further measures designed to maximise safety and security in connection with sports events, in particular football matches, with an international dimension (pdf)
- SCHENGEN GOVERNANCE: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances - Revised draft compromise text (pdf)
- EUROPOL: Revision of Europol's legal basis (pdf): includes "Facilitating access by Europol to private-sector held information"
- Draft Council Conclusions on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (8361-12, pdf)
- EEAS: Guidelines on the use of "Visting Experts" in the context of civilian CSDP missions (pdf)
- EEAS: Report by the High Representative to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 22 December 2011 (pdf)
- EEAS: EU Military Lessons Learned (LL) Concept (pdf): "This document provides an overarching concept, the core of which is a revised process which
describes how EU military lessons (and, where appropriate, civilian lessons) can be learned, in order to develop and improve the military contribution to CSDP."
EU: EU-USA PNR: European Parliament: Question to the Commission (pdf) from Sophie in 't Veld MEP
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 01/2012 on the data protection reform proposals (pdf) and Proceedings from: Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) on: 14-15 March 2012 Subject: Summary of discussions with the Council where the EDPS and the Chair of the Article 29 WP expressed strong reservations on the proposed Directive on law enforcement and data protection: See: Statewatch: Observatory on data protection in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and 2011 ongoing
EU: EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 02/2012 on facial recognition in online and mobile services (pdf)
"This is hell": Romania's horrendous detention conditions
Calls of desperation have been received by the Migreurop network from Romania's Arad detention centre in the past weeks. Serious cases of brutality and abuse by officers were reported, raising deep concerns about detention conditions and the monitoring of immigration detention centres in Romania. As a European-wide campaign on immigration detention calling for more transparency and accountability has just been launched, these voices act as a powerful reminder of the violence inflicted on irregular migrants in Europe today.
EU-SIS: Council of the European Union: Schengen information system database statistics 01/01/2012 (pdf) and Statewatch chart: 2009-2012 (pdf)
The latest Schengen Information System (SIS) statistics show the number of total "alerts" have decreased compared to 2011, the number of alerts on "unwanted aliens" however for the second year. But arrest "alerts" (probably mainly to the increased use of EAW) is on the rise as are those for Article 99 alerts on specific checks and discreet surveillance.
EU: Updated: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC) Justice and Home Affairs "e-library" archive (1976 - 2000): Weekly Highlighted documents: Update including: Council Recommendation on guidelines for preventing and restraining disorder connected with football matches (1996); Joint Action adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union extending the mandate given to the Europol Drugs Unit (1996); Draft convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters between the Member States of the European Union (2000), this documents details the mechanisms foreseen at an EU level to enhance police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The proposal is followed by an insight into the motivations behind this Convention, as well as the opinion of the Council's Legal Service; Programme of measures to implement the principle of mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters (2000), this documents details the practical aspects of cooperation envisaged to enhance cooperation in criminal matters and Declaration by the Ministers and Secretaries of State regarding the extension of the readmission agreement (in German and French, 1992)
Search JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1976 onwards: (currently holds 5,484 documents)
Italy sets 2012 quota for seasonal migrant workers
EU: FLIGHTS - LIQUIDS BAN TO END: New scanners could end airline liquids ban - The ban on passengers taking liquids on planes could be lifted within a year after ministers approved a new generation of airport scanners (Daily Telegraph, link)
GREECE: Pensioner suicide shocks Greece (euobserver, link): "A pensioner committed suicide in the centre of Athens Wednesday (4 April) giving a public face to the hardship endured by many Greeks as the country slashes spending to satisfy international creditors... It later emerged that he had left a suicide note. I cant find another way to react apart from putting a dignified end to things before I start looking through garbage in order to survive and before I become a burden for my child, said the note according to Greek paper Ekathimerini."
EU: MEPs want to stop EU funds reaching far-right parties (European Voice, link): "The Parliament's senior management allocated ¬289,266 to the European Alliance of National Movements (EANM) on 13 February. Among the seven members of this grouping are the nationalist and highly populist British National Party, France's Front National and Hungary's Jobbik, all of which have repeatedly been branded as xenophobic."
UK: Independent Police Complaints Commission: Report on Mark Kennedy, undercover police officer (pdf) See also: Watchdog criticises police over Mark Kennedy's undercover tapes - IPCC finds a collective responsibility for failure to disclose undercover officer's recordings to activists (Guardian, link)
EU-UK: UK net super-snooping clashes with Euro privacy law expert (The Register, link): New legislation that would enable a UK intelligence agency to monitor data from internet communications in real time without a warrant could be challenged at EU level unless other privacy safeguards limit the scope of that monitoring, an expert has said.
EU: Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Opinion 01/2012 on the data protection reform proposals (link) and See: Individuals should generally not be identifiable when their personal data is being processed, privacy watchdog says: "Organisations should be required to "anonymise or pseudonymise" personal data when processing the information if it is "feasible and proportionate" to do so, an EU privacy watchdog has said.
UK: Network for Police Monitoring: Kettle Police Powers Netpol Conference 2012 (link): Following the success of the Standing Up To Surveillance conference last year, we are pleased to announce that Netpols second conference will take place on the 20th May 2012, starting at 10.30am This time the focus of the conference is Total Policing the new London-based policing initiative with an elusive definition. Are we seeing Total Policing? Or a Total Lockdown?
EU: ECJ: Access to information - MEPs' assistants: Judgment (pdf):
"Annuls the decision of the European Parliament of 12 February 2010 in so far as it refuses to grant Kathleen Egan and Margaret Hackett the access requested to the public registers of assistants to former members of the European Parliament"
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: The Justice and Security Green Paper (70 pages, pdf): Secret courts:
"The Green Paper redefines the meaning of a court for certain purposes, and in our view it would be beneficial to parliamentary scrutiny of such a measure if it could be informed by judicial views on a matter which goes to the very nature of the judicial function."
EU: Anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism are on the rise in Eastern Europe, under the guise of ultra-nationalism. A look at the forces behind it, and what the European Union is doing to reign it in (globalpost, link)
EU: Council of Europe report: Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible? (pdf):
"The starting point for this report is that at least 1 500 people are known to have lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2011. This report however focuses on one particularly harrowing case in which a small boat left Tripoli with 72 people on board and after two weeks at sea drifted back to Libya with only nine survivors. No one went to the aid of this boat, despite a distress call logged by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, which pinpointed the boats position. There were also a number of alleged direct contacts... including a helicopter that dropped biscuits and water, but never returned, two fishing vessels, both of which refused to provide assistance, and a large military vessel which came into close contact with the boat, but ignored obvious distress signals."
See also: Nato among those accused of letting migrants die at sea (euobserver, link) Confusion, denial and ignored distress signals by Nato, warships and two fishing boats led to the death of 63 migrants (including children) on a boat which tried to cross the Mediterranean last year, according to a scathing report by the Council of Europe (CoE).
Poland indicts former spymaster over CIA renditions (euobserver, link)
UK: Leaked Liberal Democrat internal briefing on new government surveillance plans reveals MPs being misled on key issues (PI link)
POLAND: How many times did the state authorities reach out for our private telecommunications data in 2011? We publish the latest research (Panoptykon, link) This ia carried out under the EU Directive on mandatory data retention and: "Just last year the courts, public prosecutor's office, the police and other authorities used data concerning our electronic communication exactly 1 856 888 times. It is almost half a million times more than in 2010 and 800 000 times more than in 2009."
UK: Email and web use 'to be monitored' under new laws (BBC, link) The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon. Media coverage: Email snooping laws: as idiotic as they are illiberal (Telegraph, link) Web surveillance - whos got your data? (BBC, link) Internet companies warn over government email surveillance plans (Guardian, link)
This is a clear reversal by the coalition government on their pledge to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason" and marks the revival of the Labour government's much criticised Interception Modernisation Programme.
EU-ACTA: Statewatch Analysis: Support for ACTA wanes following mass protests (pdf) by Max Rowlands:
"The Agreement will require all signature countries to criminalise copyright infringement and grants private companies an inordinate amount of power to police the internet. A fierce public backlash in Europe has forced the European Commission to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice."
GREECE: Greece to complete anti-migrant wall 'very shortly' (euobserver, link) Greece has said it will quickly finish construction of a controversial wall designed to keep out migrants, claiming that the thousands of people coming into the country each year threaten "social peace." Greece to open new detention centres for illegal migrants (Guardian, link) Athens plans up to 30 camps on disused military sites across country to house migrants blamed for 'crime epidemic.'
EU: Council of the European Union: Access to documents annual report: Tenth annual report of the Council on the implementation of Regulation No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Summary record of the meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), held in Brussels on 26 and 27 March 2012 (pdf)
EU: European Commision: Commission Staff Working Paper: Accompanying document to the Proposal for a Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union Impact Assessment (pdf)
EU-USA PNR: Commission reply to question from Sophie in 't Veld MEP: Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents - Meetings on 9 and 27 March 2012 of the Working Party on Information (pdf)
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Reding tells MEPs to fast-track data protection reforms (euobserver, link) EU commission Vice-President Viviane Reding on Wednesday (28 March) urged MEPs to back her proposals to overhaul the EU Data Protection law, saying that citizens and businesses "can't wait two years for adoption."
UK: Final Report of the Independent Reviewer on the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 by David Anderson QC: Control Orders in 2011 (pdf) and Press release (pdf)
EU: Council seeks information exchange amongst law enforcement authorities that is "swift, effective, simple and without unnecessary formal requirements"
Recent evaluations of EU mechanisms for information exchange amongst Member States' law enforcement authorities have not been particularly positive. The Council is now seeking ways to "further enhance efficient cross-border exchange of law enforcement information", and has published a draft set of Conclusions on the matter demanding the full implementation and application of "all existing legal instruments for the exchange of law enforcement information, in particular the Swedish Framework Decision, the Prüm Decisions and the CBE Directive".
EU: Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Tackling Crime in our Digital Age: Establishing a European Cybercrime Centre (pdf) press release (link). The centre will be established within the European Police Office, Europol in The Hague (The Netherlands). The centre will be the European focal point in fighting cybercrime and will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups, particularly those generating large criminal profits, such as online fraud involving credit cards and bank credentials.
EU: Council of the European Union: FIDE Handbook (Customs files identification database, pdf)
EU: Basic rights for crime victims across the EU (European Parliament website, link). All crime victims should have the same basic rights across the EU, and should have their specific needs assessed, under a draft EU directive setting minimum protection standards unanimously endorsed by the Civil Liberties and Womens Rights committees.
EU: Poland indicts former spymaster over CIA renditions (euobserver.com, link) Seven years after the Washington Post broke the story and amid ongoing European Parliament efforts to get to the truth, Poland has become the first EU country to indict one of its officials over CIA renditions.
USA: DHS EMPLOYEES UNHAPPY: Government Accountability Office (GAO) report: Department of Homeland Security: Preliminary Observations on DHSs Efforts to Improve Employee Morale (pdf)
EU-USA PNR Study for the Green Group in the European Parliament: Comparative Study on the 2011 draft Agreement between the Unites States of America and the European Union on the use and transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) to the United States Department of Homeland Security (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union:
- DUBLIN III: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (Recast) - Preparation for the first informal trilogue [First reading] (pdf)
- ACCESS TO LAWYERS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest - Questions on Article 11 on the right of access to a lawyer in European Arrest Warrant proceedings (pdf)
- SCHENGEN BORDER CODE: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement (pdf). Now amends half-a-dozen measures and the Council seems to have forgotten that two of these apply to Denmark
EU-ACTA: MEPs vow to 'bury' ACTA by summer (euractiv, link): "The Socialist and Green groups in the European Parliament vowed to "bury" the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement by the summer, before the European Court of Justice would have the chance to issue a verdict...."The decision not to ask for legal advice from the Court of Justice is the first sign that this Parliament is ready to reject ACTA," Bernd Lange, the Socialists and Democrats trade spokesman, was quoted as saying."
EU: European Parliament: Press release: US secret prisons in Europe: a "law of silence" among governments (pdf):
"Further evidence is emerging of the possible complicity of some European governments in the CIA's secret detention programme. At a public hearing of experts on Wednesday, Civil Liberties Committee MEPs deplored the lack of cooperation from EU Member States and are preparing a new report."
EU: Another bad day for civil liberties: European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee green light for air passenger data deal with the US (pdf):
The EU-US PNR deal was approved with 31 votes in favour, 23 against and one abstention. The EPP and ECR groups voted in favour. In a debate last February, a number of MEPs said that it was better to have an agreement, albeit not entirely satisfactory, than to have no agreement at all. The ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups voted against, because they consider that data protection safeguards foreseen in the agreement do not meet EU standards. S&D MEPs were split.
Targeting Roma: How the EU security apparatus is mobilised for the "fight against itinerant crime"
At a meeting of the EU Council's Law Enforcement Working Party held on 15 February 2012 in Brussels the Danish Presidency, supported by Europol, presented a discussion paper that is alarming in several aspects. The paper on "intelligence-led policing through closer cooperation with Europol in the fight against itinerant criminal groups" shows that only a minority of EU Member States are making use of the Europol Information System (EIS). Hence, the paper promotes the use of the EIS for the "fight against itinerant criminal groups".
Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible? PACE draft report to be presented in Brussels (link) see also: NATO: Clarify Response to Deaths at Sea On Anniversary of Migrant Deaths, Public Disclosure Needed (pdf)
Migreurop/European Alternative campaign launched today across Europe on access to detention centres for civil society organisations, and the media (asking for more transparency and accountability to inform and denounce what is happening in this respect). The campaign will last from 26 March 2012 to 26 April 2012 across Europe and possibly beyond depending on what non-EU partners will achieve: see: Campaign homepage (link), Campaign leaflet (overview of detention conditions in different countries) and Call for joining up/signing up
EU: DUBLIN REGULATION: The recast of the Dublin regulation (2008/0243 COD) and the proposal for a process for early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crisis (pdf)
Letter of the Meijers Committee to the European Parliament on the recast of the Dublin regulation and the proposal by the Presidency to introduce an early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crisis system. The Meijers Committee supports the proposal to oblige Member States to report on their asylum management, but is of the opinion that the requested statistical data do not necessarily indicate whether the fundamental rights of the asylum seeker are protected in these States. Moreover, the Meijers Committee urges the European Parliament to call for an explicit provision in the Dublin regulation that the statistical data provided by the Member States will be made public.
STATEWATCH LAUNCHES OBSERVATORY ON FRONTEX: Launch of Frontex Observatory March 2012 (Press release, pdf):
"Statewatch's Frontex Observatory will analyse and document the role and activities of Frontex. It provides a unique source of understanding of the Agency's operations and activities, bringing together legal, political, analytical documents from a variety of sources. Regularly updated, the Observatory allows for a contextualised understanding of Frontex's development over the years and throws light on the main issues at stake with regards to civil liberties and fundamental rights. Divided into six sections, the Observatory will be particularly useful to researchers, civil society organisations, academics, students, journalists, lawyers, and parliamentarians.
Established in 2006 by Regulation 2004/2007, Frontex is the European Agency for the Management of the External Borders of the European Union. It coordinates and co-organises with Member States high-tech border control operations at sea, land and air external borders of the EU, and carries out joint return flights of irregular migrants. Its mandate was revised in 2011. Since its inception, Frontex has been criticised for its lack of transparency and accountability."
Link to: FRONTEX Observatory
EU-USA-AUSTRALIA PNR: Statewatch Analysis: Making Fundamental Rights Flexible: The European Commissions Approach to Negotiating Agreements on the Transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) Data to the USA and Australia (pdf) by Chris Jones:
"It is important to note that while the Agreement and Draft Agreement both contain derogations from fundamental rights obligations, they are not isolated infringements on privacy and data protection. Rather, they are both a small part of a swiftly-expanding administrative machinery that seeks to collect and collate as much information about individuals as possible, supposedly in the name of safety and security. As noted above, the problem is not necessarily with the two PNR schemes analysed here rather, the problem is with PNR schemes as a whole. The answer to suggestions that they are ineffective is not to suggest greater, more widespread collection of data, or even to permit such schemes to go ahead as long as they have sufficient safeguards. Rather, it is necessary to challenge the fundamental premises on which such schemes are based. The mass surveillance and monitoring of individuals movements and activities does not lead to security for free societies. Rather, it undermines their very basis."
EU-USA PNR: F.A.Q. EU-US PNR Agreement (pdf) The Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament is to discuss report by rapporteur Sophie in 't Veld MEP on 27 March. Draft report: Calls for the parliament to withhold its consent: DRAFT RECOMMENDATION: on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the use and transfer of Passenger Name Records to the United States Department of Homeland Security Rapporteur: Sophia in 't Veld (pdf)
U.S. Relaxes Limits on Use of Data in Terror Analysis (New York Times, link) and see: NSA Chief Denies Domestic Spying But Whistleblowers Say Otherwise (WIRED, link)
Biometrics market set to grow to "$14.685 billion" by 2019 (Info4security, link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Revised Directive on Asylum-seekers Reception Conditions: The Member States hit rock-bottom (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:
"On the key issues of employment and social welfare, there is now no measurable change from the 2003 Directive.... Member States have genuinely hit rock bottom. It now remains to be seen whether the European Parliament might have any success in convincing them to raise standards a few millimetres more."
UK: Home Office report: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation: Arrests, outcomes and
stops and searches (pdf)
EU Supervisor alarmed by threats to access rights (wobbing.eu, link): "Proposed new EU-rules on data protection threaten public access to documents and the freedom of expression. Data protection supervisor Peter Hustinx calls for a substantive provision to safeguard these rights."
Background: European Data Protection Supervisor's: Opinion on proposed new Regulation on data protection (pdf)
Human rights complaint on US access to European fingerprint and DNA databases filed Press release of 22 March 2012:
A German citizen has filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights concerning an intergovernmental agreement which allows an undefined number of US authorities (e.g. law enforcement, border authorities, intelligence agencies) to match fingerprints and DNA with German police databases in real-time. The Court has confirmed reception of the complaint (application no. 5095/12).
MEP In 't Veld (D66 / ALDE): Implementation of EU-US TFTP Agreement deficient
MEP Sophie in 't Veld (D66 / ALDE) is dismayed that the implementation of the EU-US TFTP Agreement is still deficient. According to the second Europol JSB inspection report, "SWIFT has provided the US with all the data requested since the Agreement entered into force". In 't Veld urgently calls for a debate in the European Parliament with the presence of Europol and the European Commission. "Apparently Europol and the Commission do not find it necessary to adhere to the Agreement, and just consider the Agreement a license to continue sending unfiltered financial messaging data to the US", states In 't Veld.
Background: See: Report from the Europol Joint Supervisory Body on the EU-USA Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme: Europol JSB inspects for the second year: the Implementation of the TFTP Agreement (pdf)
SWEDEN: Mandatory retention of telecommunications data: Swedish parliament passes controversial data storage bill (EU Business, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Implementation of the Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union - Information provided to the General Secretariat (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Hearing: What is new on the alleged CIA illegal detention and transfers of prisoners in Europe? Tuesday 27 March 2012, 9.00 12.00. European Parliament, Brussels (pdf)
EU-USA PNR: Study for the Green Group in the European Parliament: Comparative Study on the 2011 draft Agreement between the Unites States of America and the European Union on the use and transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) to the United States Department of Homeland Security (pdf)
HUNGARY: Council of Europe adds to Hungary's predicament (euractiv, link). See the reports from the Council of Europe's Venice Commission: Judiciary (pdf), Judges and courts (pdf) and Freedom of beliefs (pdf)
EU: Counter-terrorism and human rights (European Voice, link):
"We can only be successful in the fight against terrorism in the long run if we stay true to our core values: international law, including human rights, and the rule of law. Violations of human rights and the rule of law, discrimination and repression by government agencies in the fight against terrorism give rise to grievances and may cause individuals to take the wrong choices and resort to terrorism, while such circumstances can never justify or excuse any act of terrorism under any circumstances. "
UK: Hilda Murrell murder: call to examine 'MI5 link' to murder of nuclear activist - Michael Mansfield QC wants to know what intelligence services knew about killing of anti-nuclear activist Hilda Murrell in 1984 (Observer, link)
UK: Tough new community sentences unveiled by David Cameron (Daily Telegraph, link) "David Cameron is to introduce punitive community sentences for criminals who will be tracked by satellite 24 hours a day, banned from drinking alcohol and given draconian fines."
EU: Council of the European Union: Access to a lawyer, SCIFA and SCIFA - Mixed Committee
- Proposal for a Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest - Revised text (pdf)
- Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum on: 13 February 2012 Subject: Summary of conclusions (pdf) includes giving Europol access to VIS (Visa Information System)
- Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum/Mixed Committee (Iceland/Liechtenstein/Norway/Switzerland) on: 13 February 2012: Subject: Summary of conclusions (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: "Secondary migration flows", Roadmap - "migratory pressures", Readmission
- Note: from: the Belgian, the French, the German, The Netherlands, the Austrian, the Swedish and the UK delegations Subject: Common responses to current challenges by Member States most affected by secondary mixed migration flows (pdf) including: "Ensure that travel documents used within the EU, including their issuance and validation, meet minimum security standards, preventing their use for illegal immigration or criminal purposes.
ID and residence cards should be a particular focus."
- Council Presidency: to Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion on 12 March 2012 Subject: Road map to ensure coherent EU response to continued migratory pressures (pdf)
- Presidency: to Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion on 12 March 2012 Subject: Operationalising the Council Conclusions of June 2011 defining the European Union Strategy on Readmission (pdf)
ECHR-UK: A bad day for civil liberties: Judgment on kettling case (pdf). See also: Human rights court backs police 'kettling' - Majority of Strasbourg judges rule in favour of Met in case brought by demonstrator and bystanders over 2001 incident (Guardian, lnk) and A brief history of kettling (Freedom, link)
UK: Metropolitan Police report on August 2011 riots: 4 days in August (link, pdf). See also: Metropolitan police boost baton rounds capacity after English riots (Guardian, link)
EU: HUNGARY: Note on: Situation in Hungary (pdf)
UK: Home Office report: An evidence assessment of the routes of human trafficking into the UK (pdf)
EU: European Ombudsman: Ombudsman investigates Frontex's fundamental rights implementation: Letter to Frontex (Letter to Frontex, pdf)
UK: Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London - London 2012 will see the UK's biggest mobilisation of military and security forces since the second world war and the effects will linger long after the athletes have left (Guardian, link)
UK: Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy: First review of the National Security Strategy 2010 (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Proposal for a Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union (pdf), Commission Staff Working Paper (pdf) and Press release (pdf)
EU: Updated: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC) Justice and Home Affairs "e-library" archive (1976 - 2000): Weekly Highlighted documents: Update including: Racism and xenophobia (1994) report by the K.4 Committee, Draft Council Recommendation on concerted action and cooperation in carrying out expulsion measures (1995), Draft explanatory report on the Convention on simplified extradition procedure between the Member States of the European Union (1995) and Adoption of the La Gomera declaration on terrorism (1995).
Search JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1976 onwards: (currently holds 5,120 documents)
EU-READMISSION: Turkey: Council of the European Union: Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion/Mixed Committee (EU-Iceland/Norway/Switzerland/Liechtenstein): Synthesis on Member States practical experiences based on delegations responses to questionnaire discussed at the Working Party meeting on 1 February 2012 (19 pages, pdf): "This compilation is based on the replies submitted by delegations to the questionnaire drawn up by the Presidency regarding Member States practical experience with readmission to Turkey."
EU: Council of the European Union: Summary of conclusions of the meeting of the JHA-RELEX Working Party (JAIEX) on 17 February 2012 (pdf) Includes:
1) SELEC-Europol cooperation - see: Draft Council conclusions on cooperation between Europol and the SECI Center/SELEC (pdf): Signatory Member States: Republic of Albania, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Republic of Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Turkey. Permanent Observers to the SECI Center: States: Austria, Azerbaidjan, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States of America. See: SELEC website. And see: Historical document from 2004: Assessment of the SECI Regional Centre for combating trans-border crime: Bucharest (233 pages, pdf): " USA provided financial support to SECI Center through various projects, and specified the beneficiary countries from SECI Center to enjoy US support in financial means."
2) USA comments on the EU's proposed revision of the 1995 Data Protection Directive: "the US expressed serious concerns about the new proposals for a data protection Regulation and a Directive (which had at the time of the meeting not been tabled). The US stated that these proposals might be an obstacle to fruitful law enforcement cooperation"
EU: Council of the European Union: Useful: Comparative table: Commission proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation - 1995 Data Protection Directive (pdf)
Council of Europe: The Consultative Committee of the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data: Modernisation of Convention 108: new proposals (pdf)
UK: DRONES: GCHQ civilian staff face war crimes charge over drone strikes in Pakistan - Human rights lawyers claim in High Court that civilians are 'parties to murders' (Observer, link)
EU Migreurop: Stories of expulsion: A collection to make the truth known about what is prudishly called "readmission"
"Since the 1990s, the European Union has embarked upon the development of the «external» dimension of its immigration and asylum policy, also known as «externalisation process». Several means, operations and instruments have been implemented for the purpose of making its neighbours (more or less close) take charge of controlling migration flows. Among these instruments, there is a figure that has become one of the linchpins of externalisation: the readmission agreement."
EU: Council of the European Union: Member States and "friends" gear up for "Smart Borders" including full set of documents from 2009 survey, member state by member state on "on the possible creation of a system of electronic recording of entries and exits of third country nationals in the Schengen area" The Danish Council Presidency held a EU conference on "Innovation Border Management" in February 2012. It was attended by EU Member States, associate Schengen States (ie: Norway and Switzerland), Frontex, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and IATA.
UK-EU: UK government: Agreement between the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council, regarding the Protection of Classified Information Exchanged in the Interests of the European Union (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI):
- EU Policy Cycle process review: From OCTA to OAP (pdf)
- Strategic goals related to the EU's priorities for the fight against organised crime between 2011 and 2013 (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union:First consideration of the new Regulation on data protection: Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Summary of discussions (pdf)
EU-HUNGARY: European Commission: Hungary infringements: Commission takes further legal steps on measures affecting the judiciary and the independence of the data protection authority, notes some progress on central bank independence, but further evidence and clarification needed (Press release, pdf)
UK: First they came for the asylum seeker ... (IRR News Service, link): "Asylum seekers were the guinea pigs for all kinds of brutal and unacceptable policies that are now beginning to be applied more widely."
Updated: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8 March 2012: Press release (pdf), "B" Points agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points - Legislative (adopted without discussion) and "A" Points - Non-legislative (adopted without discussion).
See also: Council conclusions regarding guidelines for the strengthening of political governance in the Schengen cooperation (pdf) and: Ministers agree warning mechanism for migration surges (link)
Spain: Immigration statistics from the interior ministry
EU: Council of the European Union: Asylum "solidarity", Joint Customs Operations and Prum data exchange
- Draft Council Conclusions on a common framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures on their asylum systems including through mixed migration flows (2.3.12, pdf)
- Joint Customs Operations (JCO) Recommendation monitoring file (pdf)
- Prum: Decisions" - overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS applauds strengthening of the right to data protection in Europe, but still regrets the lack of comprehensiveness (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Opinion (pdf). See also: EDPS webpage on review (link)
On the review of the general 1995 Data Protection Directive: "the EDPS has concerns as regards, among other things: the possibilities for restricting basic principles and rights; the possible derogation for transferring data to third countries; the excessive powers granted to the Commission in the mechanism designed to ensure consistency among supervisory authorities; the new ground for exceptions to the purpose limitation principle."
On the proposed Directive on data protection for the exchange of data by law enforcement agencies the EDPS concludes: "in many aspects the Proposal does not meet the requirement of a consistent and high level of data protection". Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "The proposed rules for data protection in the law enforcement area are unacceptably weak. In many instances there is no justification whatsoever for departing from the rules provided in the proposed Regulation. The law enforcement area requires some specific rules, but not a general lowering of the level of data protection."
CEAR press statement, Friday 16 February 2012: In response to the UN finding the Spanish State guilty for the death of the Senegalese Sonko
"CEAR recalls the security forces' duty to guarantee the security of refugees and to enable their access to international protection. The victim came from a region of Senegal that is riven by a serious conflict and could have requested international protection if the Spanish officers had respected legal procedures.
29-year-old Laucling Sonko was made to jump into the sea on the night between 25 and 26 September 2007 by Guardia Civil [police force with military status] officers, alongside three other people who were potential asylum and international protection applicants like he was. After they were intercepted by a Guardia Civil patrol boat while they tried to swim into Ceuta [a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco], they were made to board and taken into Moroccan waters, where the officers pierced their lifejackets and made them jump into the sea. Sonko, who did not know how to swim, drowned."
EU: Council of the European Union: Dublin, Seasonal employment and Visa list
- Dublin: Proposal for a Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (Recast) (pdf). Still 140 reservations by Member States in developing the Council's position.
- As above: Presidency proposals (pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf) Still over 100 reservations by Member States in developing the Council's position
- As above: Presidency proposals (pdf)
- Visa list: Draft Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (pdf)
- Visa Working Party: Outcome (pdf), including "Non-Paper" from the Commission on Definition of short stay Changes required in the legal acts in the area of visa policy
EU: Council of the European Union: Council discussions: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis - Draft compromise text (See below, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum Area and Political governance of Schengen
- Common European Asylum System = State of play (2.3.12, 7010-12. pdf)
- Draft Council Conclusions regarding guidelines for the strengthening of political governance in the Schengen cooperation (5.3.12, pdf). The draft emphasises the point that:
"The Mixed Committee, made up of the EU Member States and the Schengen associated States, should at Ministerial level provide the necessary political guidance for the Schengen area. The agenda and the organisation of its meetings should allow for political discussions focused on key topics related to the correct functioning of the Schengen area, including guidance with regard to the support to be provided by EU agencies, with a view to the Council taking decisions within the scope of its competence to ensure the efficient functioning of the Schengen area." (emphasis in original)
"The "Mixed Committee" is comprised of the 27 EU states plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, its decisions are not made in public.
See also: Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances - Draft compromise text (pdf)
HUNGARY: Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC): Democracy at stake in Hungary (pdf)
SWITZERLAND: Swiss Parliament demands information on the use of Staatstrojaner (Unwatched, link, German): After the discovery in 2011 of the use of Staatstrojaner (computer spy-mallware) by the Swiss security services, the Swiss parliament demands to be informed on the details.
UK: London Film Festival: Black Block (link): "Through gripping testimony of those who experienced the raid on the Diaz school at the 2001 Genoa G8 Summit, Black Block provides a case study of police violence and arbitrary detention that could happen anywhere."
EU: Updated: Statewatch European Monitoringand Documentation Centre (SEMDOC) Justice and Home Affairs "e-library" archive (1976 - 2000): Weekly Highlighted documents: Update including: Interim report to the Council concerning current discussions on extradition (1993), Draft Council Recommendation concerning a specimen bilateral readmission agreement between a Member State of the EU and a third country (1994) and Cooperation in the area of public order - Use of liaison officers (Restricted, 1994): Search JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1976 onwards: (currently holds 5,030 documents)
UK: Report: Lifting the lid on Menwith Hill: The Strategic Roles & Economic Impact of the US Spy Base in Yorkshire (pdf): "Menwith Hill is just one of the many US bases in the UK this report demonstrates that not only is there a real need to discover more about the activities and impact of these bases on local communities, but they also present important challenges to the national sovereignty and inter-national standing of the UK. It seems sensible therefore that Menwith Hill is held to account."
UK: Police are linked to blacklist of construction workers - Security services 'gave data to clandestine organisation funded by major names in building industry' (Observer, link):
"The police or security services supplied information to a blacklist funded by the country's major construction firms that has kept thousands of people out of work over the past three decades. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has revealed that records that could only have come from the police or MI5 have been discovered in a vast database of files held on 3,200 victims who were deemed leftwing or troublesome. The files were collected by the Consulting Association [formerly the Economic League), a clandestine organisation funded by major names in the construction industry."
FRONTEX: The reinforcement of Frontex and the intensification of cooperation with third countries
Amendments to Regulation 2004/2007 reinforcing the powers and widening the mandate of the European Agency for the Management of External Borders entered into force in January 2012. Some of the amendments broaden the Agency's mandate when dealing with third countries. These developments of the Agency's external relations reflect the ambitions of Frontex, and reinforce concerns regarding its impact on human rights and civil liberties.
EU-USA: European Parliament questions on: US access to PNR data in Computer Reservation System Amadeus (pdf): Eight questions: "Computer Reservation System Amadeus has its headquarters in Madrid (Spain) and its central database in Erding (Germany). Additionally, it has several offices outside the EU, including an office in Miami, in US jurisdiction. All Amadeus offices around the world have access to the PNR data base in Erding."
and five questions: US access to PNR data in Computer Reservation System Amadeus II (pdf): "Computer Reservation System Amadeus has its headquarters in Madrid (Spain) and its central database in Erding (Germany). Additionally, it has several offices outside the EU, including an office in Miami, in US jurisdiction. All Amadeus offices around the world have access to the PNR data base in Erding."
EU: FISCAL TREATY: Corporate Observatory Europe (COE): Automatic Austerity: 10 things you need to know about the Fiscal Compact (pdf)
EU-ACTA: EU parliament joins commission on Acta court probe (euobserver, link): "The debate on the controversial anti-counterfeit treaty, Acta has moved to the European Parliament, with MEPs set to pose their own questions to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice."
EU-SCHENGEN: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Speech at: Conference "Upholding Freedom of Movement: an Improved Schengen Governance" European Parliament, Brussels, 8 February 2012: "Data Protection and Schengen Governance" Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf)
EU: EUROPEAN INVESTIGATION ORDER(EIO): Council of the European Union: State of play in agreeing its negotiating position: Initiative of Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Spain, Austria, Slovenia and Sweden for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters - Preamble, forms and annex related to Article 29.1 (pdf) Note even here there are still 95 Member State reservations.
MIGREUROP ANNUAL REPORT: At the margins of Europe: the externalisation of migration controls (116 pages, pdf):
"Beyond the contradictions of an international coalition that was meant to guarantee the "responsibility to protect", it is the overall European immigration and border control policy that has to be put to question. Since the early 2000s, north African countries have accepted the role as Europes border guards, chasing and detaining people who wanted to exercise their right to emigrate9 . Current historical events in the Arab world must be the opportunity to reconsider relations between the northern and southern Mediterranean and to break away from the liberty-stifling heritage of the EUs dictator-partners to put an end to the bloodshed at its borders."
Transnational Institute (TNI) - Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (Press release, pdf): A new report published on 2 March by the Transnational Institute and Statewatch: "Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society" by Ben Hayes examines the global framework for countering-terrorist financing developed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international law enforcement bodies. The 68-page report includes a thorough examination of the impact of FATF's 'Special Recommendation VIII' on countering the threat of terrorist financing said to be posed by non-profit organisations (NPOs):
"How international rules on countering terrorist-financing are undermining freedom of association: an analysis of the impact of FATF 'Special Recommendation VIII' on non-profit organisations":
- Executive Summary (pdf)
- Full text of report (pdf)
ECJ: ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS REGULATION: Opinion of Advocate General Cruz VILLALÓN delivered on 1 March 2012 Case C-135/11 P IFAW Internationaler Tierschutz-Fonds gGmbH (pdf): "Right of access to documents of the institutions - Documents originating from a Member State - Objection of the Member State to disclosure of the documents - Scope of the institutions review of the reasons for the Member States objection" and "I propose that the Court should: Allow the appeal in part by upholding the second part of the second ground of appeal, alleging misinterpretation of Article 4(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001."
COE-UK: The United Kingdom should ensure adequate housing for Gypsies and Travellers* (Press release, pdf):
The rights of Gypsies and Travellers to adequate housing are undermined throughout the United Kingdom. The authorities must uphold this right, which is a pre-condition for the enjoyment of other human rights, including the rights to education and health stated Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the United Kingdom, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles.".
CoE: Hammarberg publishes 47 country report on Roma and Travellers (link)
EU: FRONTEX: Israel Aerospace Industries' Heron Unmanned Aerial System was demonstrated to Frontex EU Agency (link)
EU: Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Working Document 01/2012 on epSOS (pdf): "EpSOS is a pilot that offers cross-border e-Health Services to European citizens. It focuses on developing a practical e-Health framework and ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure that enables access to patient health information from different European healthcare systems."
EU: Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: Reply to the Green Paper on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the European Union (pdf): "the Meijers Committee proposes not to revise Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification on short notice. Instead, it urges the Commission to closely supervise the implementation and application of the Directive in the Member States and to start infringement procedures in case of incomplete or incorrect implementation or application."
Call for the Defense of Society and Democracy in Greece, which urges for a powerful intervention in Greek and European public opinion (link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Revised Directive on Asylum-seekers Reception Conditions: How much lower can the Member States go? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"If the Council does accept this compromise, it will remain to be seen whether the European Parliament will consider it acceptable to have a deal at any cost, or whether it will take the opportunity to press for much needed improvements concerning issues such as access to benefits without documentation, detention conditions, grounds for and time limits for detention, legal aid, subsistence and health care, and vulnerable asylumseekers."
ITALY: Returning migrants to Libya without examining their case exposed them to a risk of ill-treatment and amounted to a collective expulsion (pdf) and Judgment: full-text (link) The European Court of Human Rights has found italy guilty of a series of violations in its collective refoulements of migrants to libya in 2009 - The case concerned Somalian and Eritrean migrants travelling from Libya who had been intercepted at sea by the Italian authorities and sent back to Libya. Press statement by Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament: Court ruling on odious Italy-Libya deal has clear implications for EU migration and border policies (link)
EU-USA PNR AGREEMENT: European Parliament: Draft report: Calls for the parliament to withhold its consent:
- DRAFT RECOMMENDATION: on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the use and transfer of Passenger Name Records to the United States Department of Homeland Security Rapporteur: Sophia in 't Veld (pdf), Rapporteur: Sohie in `t Veld
See also Statewatch Observatory: Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA (2003 - ongoing)
EU-ACTA: ECJ to rule on anti-piracy agreement (european voice, link) and Commission seeks legal clarification on controversial anti-piracy treaty (euobserver, link). See: Commission statement on its referral of ACTA to the ECJ (pdf)
EU: Revising the Access to documents Regulation saga - The beginning of the endgame
- "Now is not the time to compromise on transparency" (Michael Cashman MEP)
- Danish Council Presidency invokes "the space to think"
- Council and Commission question the definition of a "document"
- Council seeks to restrict access to legislative documents
- "The outcome of the process which is now being embarked on will determine the future of democratic accountability on the EU" (Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director)
CANADA: Taking Liberties: Canadas Booming Business of Detention and Deportation (link)
Mediterranean takes record as most deadly stretch of water for refugees and migrants in 2011 (UNHCR, link)
NETHERLANDS-COE: Secretary General calls on Dutch government to respond to concerns about problematic website (pdf)
UK: Theresa May to split up UK Border Agency (BBC News, link): "Home Secretary Theresa May has said the UK Border Agency will be split in two following revelations that hundreds of thousands of people were let into the country without appropriate checks. She told MPs the UK Border Force would become a separate law-enforcement body.."
See: Home Office statement (pdf) and Vine report: An investigation into border security checks (pdf)
EU border agency Frontex will sign a Cooperation Agreement with the Armenian Government (Public Radio, link)
EU: MULTIPLE BIOMETRICS REQUIRED: HEAD OF EU LARGE-SCALE IT AGENCY: "We believe that in an ideal world, you have to take 13": (all ten fingers, both eyes and the face): EU official says identity management must be based on multiple biometrics (Fierce Government, link):
"Identity management in the European Union must be based on the collection of biometric information from individuals, said Frank Paul, head of unit for large scale IT systems and biometrics within the European Commission's directorate general of home affairs. We also believe that in an ideal world, you have to take 13," he added, referring to data collections of 10 fingerprints, two iris scans and one facial image. Paul spoke Feb. 1 during a panel of an identity management conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
ECRI reports: Europes hardening attitudes towards Muslims, migrants and Roma (link)
EU-USA: US lobbying waters down EU data protection reform (euractiv, link): "The reform of EU data protection rules is of particular interest to countries like the United States, whose companies may have to abide by stricter provisions to do business in Europe. But intense lobbying from the United States has in part watered down the draft legislation.
EU-USA:DATA PROTECTION AGREEMENT: PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF EU CITIZENS? Council of the European Union: EU-US data protection negotiations during 2011 (pdf):
"the US side has a mandate for an Executive agreement that does not change existing US law, nor create any new rights"
"The US has rejected the idea to apply the agreement also to data transferred from private parties in the EU to private parties in the US and subsequently processed for law enforcement purposes by US competent authorities."
"a non-discrimination clause, i.e. the application of data protection principles to all data subjects regardless of nationality and place of residence, was discussed. The US is cautious on this as it is linked to the personal scope of protection under the Privacy Act, which is limited to US citizens and permanent residents."
"The US side however acknowledged that no judicial redress is available to non-US individuals who seek correction of their data without having suffered harm. Further discussion is needed."
"data retention, the US side appears to oppose a general obligation enshrined in this agreement to define appropriate retention periods whenever data sharing is agreed (specific agreements, unilateral condition by sending authority), arguing that such limits should be determined by the recipient party's domestic law."
"On purpose limitation (and further use of data), the US envisages to specify the purpose of data processing and further use in the "umbrella" agreement itself and to conceive it widely. This would result that in principle all data could be used for prevention, detection, suppression, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences, protection of public security, for directly related non-criminal and administrative proceedings, or for any other purpose if prior consent is given by the sending authority."
See Statewatch's Observatory on: EU-USA general agreement on data protection and the exchange of personal data
EU: EUROPOL: No to computer-aided profiling and search from Europol! (pdf):
"The Europol police agency analyses records using data mining processes. The European Commission must prove that this does not constitute computer-aided profiling and search, Cornelia Ernst, Member of the European Parliament, and Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Bundestag, said in a statement in reaction to the European Commissions reply to their question on this subject."
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Conclusions regarding the establishment of a procedure for the strengthening of political governance in the Schengen cooperation (pdf): "The Mixed Committee, made up of the EU Member States and the Schengen associated
States, should provide the necessary political guidance for the Schengen area."The "Mixed Committee" is comprised of the 27 EU states plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, its decisions are not made in public.
EU: European Parliament: Hungary should respect the EU's basic values, say MEPs (Press release, pdf):
"Parliament will draw up a report on whether EU laws and values are respected in Hungary, it decided on Thursday. Further to this report, it will then decide whether to activate EU Treaty Article 7, which is used to investigate a clear risk of a serious breach of EU common values. Its resolution also calls on the European Commission to monitor closely the changes to some of Hungary's laws and how it puts them into practice."
EU: Commission downplays Parliament EU-US data privacy concerns (euobserver, link)
UK: "Convergence" in London: No Borders conference, arrests of activists and collective deportation
The weekly No Borders "Convergence" at Goldsmiths College in London could not be more time-sensitive: a report on unsafe return from the UK to Congo has just been released, and a collective expulsion to Ghana was carried out on 15 February 2012. Some of the No Borders activists who were trying to stop the deportation have been arrested and await trial planned on 8th March 2012.
EU: THE FUTURE FOR DRIVING LICENCES? European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Merging professional drivers' driving licence with their driver card is not fully in line with data protection principles (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of EDPS Opinion (pdf):
"Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant EDPS, states: "We seriously doubt about the necessity and the proportionality of such a measure, which has yet to be demonstrated. A consistent approach is needed from the legislator to ensure that the development of any measures concerning drivers data is done in full respect of data protection principles". "He further recommends to:
- evaluate the impact of the use of a microchip in the driving licences - ensure that the overall design of the processing is privacy friendly and proportionate to the purposes pursued - specify the data or categories of data to be stored in the microchip, in compliance with the principles of proportionality and data minimisation - provide sufficient guarantees for the effective exercise of data subjects' rights - ensure a strict limitation of access rights in view of the legitimate purposes for which relevant authorities and any other recipients would need to access the data."
UK: Crown Prosecution Service: Hate crime and crimes against older people report (pdf) and see: Racist Britain' fears fuelled as hate crime prosecutions rise - Hate crime prosecutions have risen ten per cent sparking fears that discrimination is increasing in Britain (Metro, link)
EU: European Parliament and the Council of the European Union deal on access to classified information: Draft Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (pdf). This is the final deal awaiting the parliament's formal agreement. The deal covers not just TOP SECRET, SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS but also RESTRICTED documents the definition of which is defined as:
"This marking is applied to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could be disadvantageous to the interests of the European Union or of one or more of the Member States." (emphasis added). There is always the temptation open to officials to push a "LIMITE" document, which is not a classified document, up to the "RESTRICTED" level to deny access as this could be "disadvantageous" and lead to a public debate.
The deal also gives EU agencies, like FRONTEX, the same powers as Member States to veto access being given to their documents. Access will require "the prior written consent of the originator" - such a power should not be available to agencies.
Overall the deal would allow "security-cleared" MEPs to have access to classified documents but they would not be able to make copies or take notes: infotmastion from the documents cannot "be disclosed to persons other than those to whom access has been granted". MEPs would have to make a "solemn declaration of non-disclosure".
ECJ: European Court of Justice: The owner of an online social network cannot be obliged to install a general filtering system, covering all its users, in order to prevent the unlawful use of musical and audio-visual work (Press release, pdf) and Judgment - full-text (pdf):
"Such an obligation would not be respecting the prohibition to impose on that provider a general obligation to monitor nor the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the protection of copyright, on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information, on the other."
And see: EU court rules social networks cannot police downloads (euobserver, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Security of information agreement between the EU and NATO - Exchange of notes verbales between the General Secretariat of the Council and NATO (pdf) This exchange of letters confirms the continuing cooperation on the exchange of classified information between the EU and NATO. It sets out that the agreement also extends to the European External Action Service (EEAS), created under the Lisbon Treaty, and to the following bodies - Crisis management and planning directorate (CMPD), the Civilian planning and conduct capability (CPCC), EU Situation Centre (SITCEN) and the EU Military Staff (EUMS) - now part of the EEAS and which were formerly part of the General Secretariat of the Council.
ECJ-ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Judgment (pdf). The case concerned the Federal Republic of Germany telling the the Commission that it objected to access being granted to documents concerning infringement procedures.The Commission granted access to the documents and Germany took this case to the European Court of Justice. Sweden, Denmark and Finland supported the Commission position. "The principal submission made by the Federal Republic of Germany is in essence that, by failing to respect the objection of that Member State to disclosure of the documents at issue, the Commission exceeded its powers of review." The Court found in favour of the Commission.
EU-BULGARIA: European Commission: INTERIM REPORT: On Progress in Bulgaria under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (pdf) Covering: judiciary, organised crime and corruption.
European Parliament: Draft Report: on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest (7.2.12, pdf)
EU-EUROSUR: European Commission: Proposal for a Regulation Establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf), Impact Assessment accompanying the Proposal for a Regulation establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (SEC 1536, pdf) and Annex to previous document (SEC 1538, pdf)
UK: How secret renditions shed light on MI6's licence to kill and torture - Little-known clause lets secretary of state authorise UK's spies to commit crimes abroad (Guardian, link) See Section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (link)
EU: Council of the European Union:
- Outcome of the JHA Heads of Agencies Meeting on 24 November 2011 (pdf): The proposals for Justice and Home Affairs activities for 2012-2013 include six areas where cooperation between agencies could be "further enhanced" including: "the exchange of personal data amongst the agencies" The "Agencies" at this meeting were: Europol, CEPOL, Frontex, FRA, European Commission DG Justice and DG Home Affairs, OLAF, EMCDDA, Sitcen, GCS (General Secretariat of the Council). The Commission has just proposed a new Directive on the exchange of personal data by law enforcement agencies but not all of the above agencies are "law enforcement agencies" - there is clearly a need for an additional new Directive to cover their activities in exchanging personal data.
- Lessons and best practices for CSDP from the European Union Police Force Training (EUPFT) 2008-2010 (28 pages, pdf): This is a report from the European External Action Service (EEAS) to the Political and Security Committee (PSC) seeking on influence police training in the EU according to the needs of the "external dimension".
- Scorecard Implementation of the JHA Agencies report (pdf)
European Parliament Studies: EMN Synthesis Report: Satisfying labour demand through migration (pdf) and Does it help or hinder? Promotion of Innovation on the Internet and Citizens Right to Privacy (pdf) by RAND (Europe)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Review of EU financial markets legislation has a significant impact on data protection (Press release, pdf). See also: Associated Opinions (link)
EU-USA: CUSTOMS: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opinion: Proposal for a Council decision on a Union position within the EU-US Joint Customs Cooperation Committee regarding mutual recognition of the Authorised Economic Operator Programme of the European Union and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Program of the United States (pdf)
ECJ: The European Parliament is taking the Council of the European Union to the European Court of Justice: Action brought on 21 December 2011 European Parliament v Council of the European Union (pdf). To: "annul Council Decision 2011/640/CFSP of 12 July 2011 on the signing and conclusion
of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius on the conditions of transfer of suspected pirates and associated seized property from the European Union-led naval force to the Republic of Mauritius and on the conditions of suspected pirates after transfer."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS outlines lack of compliance of several EU institutions and bodies with Video-Surveillance Guidelines (Press release, pdf) and Follow-up Report to the 2010 EDPS Video-Surveillance Guidelines (pdf): "the EDPS is disappointed to see that the implementation of the Guidelines has been put on hold or significantly delayed in several institutions."
UK: EU-USA PNR AGREEMENT: UK opt-in Letter (pdf)
ECHR: First-time asylum seeker was not given effective remedy under fast-track procedure for examination of his case (Press release, pdf):
"A violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights The case concerned the risks the applicant would face in the event of his deportation to Sudan and the effectiveness of the remedies available to him in France in view of the fact that his asylum application was dealt with under the fast-track procedure."
EU: The Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Note on the coordination of the relationship between the Entry Ban and the SIS- alert: an urgent need for legislative measures (pdf): "The Meijers Committee would like to draw your attention to a serious legislative deficiency in present secondary EU law as it fails coordinating the relationship between the entry ban in the Returns Directive (2008/115/EC) and the SIS alert in the SIS II Regulation (EC) 1987/2006."
NEW: Statewatch launches online historical archive of EU Justice and Home Affairs documents (Press release, pdf): Statewatch launches a unique online archive of over 4,500 official documents (rising to over 6,500 by the end of 2012) that chart the development of EU justice and home affairs
policy over three decades. The documents cover the period 1976 to 2000, providing a historical record of the development of EU police and security cooperation leading up to and including the Maastricht period of European integration. The collection is unique because the EUs own public registers of documents were launched after 2000 and include very little historical matter. Link to: JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1971 onwards The site also includes: List of keywords and Highlighted documents recently added to the archive database
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
The only way that external observers can really understand whats happening in the EU is to read the documents it produces and then put those documents in an historical context. It is only once you have this full picture that you can grasp the significance of whats being proposed or implemented.
This collection provides a valuable resource for academics, journalists, students and citizens trying to understand the historical development of EU policy and governance. It also shines a light on a crucial period when the EU was even less open and transparent; the period that paved the way for the Europe-wide incursion into civil liberties that we have witnessed over the past decade.
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: Secretive talks on access rules (Wobbing.eu, link): "Nicolai Wammen, minister of European affairs (Social Democrat) explains in a diplomatic language: Negotiations will be very difficult. There are very different positions in this case, both within the Council and the Parliament. As I see it the only way forward is to show a pragmatic and realistic approach. We are no having talks with all actors and we encourage forcefully to show flexibility and a will to compromise. This might look lika an undramatic mumbo-jumbo talk. But the statement confirms that the presidency have had bilateral talks with all member states even before the formal discussions in the Council has begun.
Spying on Europes farms with satellites and drones (BBC News, link): "Ben Hayes of the campaign group Statewatch worries that Europe is rushing into the use of drones without sufficient public discussion. "We would accept the argument that there are lots of things they can be useful for, but ... the questions about what is acceptable and how people feel about drones hovering over their farmland or their demonstration - these debates are not taking place,"
EU-GREECE: Greeks build fence to ward off asylum seekers (euobserver, link): "European Commission on Tuesday (7 February) said the fence is a national issue. But it also poured scorn on the project. "Fences and walls are short-term solutions to measures that do not solve the problem. The EU is not and will not co-finance this fence ... It is pointless," a spokesman for home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told press in Brussels"
France: Convictions stand, shorter sentences on appeal for Vincennes detention centre fire
On 13 January 2012 in the Paris appeal court, the presiding judge in the appeal involving six of the ten detainees in the Vincennes detention centre (CRA, centre de rétention administrative) who were convicted on 17 March 2010 in connection with a fire that burned down the CRA on 22 June 2008 read the ruling that upheld their convictions and shortened the sentences they were set to serve by six months. After the verdict all those attending a demonstration were "kettled".
UPDATED: EU-ACTA: Czech Republic stops ratification of anti-counterfeit treaty (euobserver, link): " The Czech Republic has stopped ratification of the controversial anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (Acta), becoming the second EU country to do so after Poland." and see Czech DAta Protection Office: ACTA challenges individual rights - Czech personal data office (link)
EU-USA DATA PROTECTION: A simple guide: Data Protection in a Transatlantic Perspective (pdf) Douwe Korff, Professor of International Law,
London Metropolitan University
EU-ACTA: Maladministration complaint against the European Parliament (FFII, link): "I just filed a maladministration complaint with the Ombudsman against the European Parliament for systematically lying about the existence of documents"
EU: COMMISSION: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Proposal for a revision of the Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (Directive 2004/48/EC) (pdf): "policy options, the Commission is looking into detailing the rules on disclosure of information, defining "commercial scale" and the possibility to "act" against webpages, however without mentioning concrete proposals."
UPDATED: UK: PUBLIC ORDER: Association of Chief Police Officers, Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and National Policing Improvement Agency: Manual of Guidance on keeping the peace (pdf), see also: 2004-ACPO MAnual of Guidance-Public Order: Standards, Tactics, Training (Restricted version, link, pdf) and Ministry of Justice: Prisons: Use of force training manual (pdf)
UK: Joblessness and 'toxic relations' with police are blamed for Tottenham riot - Citizens inquiry reports that London borough suffers from lack of employment and 'low self-esteem' after interviewing 700 locals (Guardian, link)
UK: House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs: Report: Roots of violent radicalisation (report, formal minutes, oral and written evidence) (link, pdf) and Roots of violent radicalisation (additional written evidence) (link, pdf)
US 'no-fly' list of suspected terrorists doubles in 12 months - Classified log of individuals banned from flying into or within America as they are considered a threat stands at 21,000 (Guardian, link)
UK: COVERT SURVEILLANCE: Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary: Report: A review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest (pdf) See also: Police spies: watchdog calls for safeguards over 'intrusive tactic' - Inspector criticises 'intrusion' into activists' lives by undercover officer Mark Kennedy (Guardian, link): "A clandestine operation that secretly deployed police spies in political groups for 40 years is severely criticised today by the official policing inspectorate" but says it should carry on.
Police frequently uses Silent SMS to locate suspects (EDRI, link). See also: Surveillance Getting the Message? Police Track Phones with Silent SMS (OWNI.EU, link)
GERMANY: Parliamentary scrutiny unveils undercover "secret police networks"
After the revelation in 2010 of the existence of a European Cooperation Group on Undercover Activities (ECG), a parliamentary request to the German government on 25 January 2012 has exposed the existence of an International Working Group on Police Undercover Activities (IWG). The group has been active since at least 2007.
CANADA: Saying No to CSIS: Dozens of groups launch campaign to not co-operate with Canadian spy agency (The Dominion, link)
UPDATE: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf): Council Presidency proposals, 1 February 2012. See also below
EU: Council of the European Union: State of Play: Reception conditions, Seasonal workers and Schengen Border Code amendments:
- Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (Recast) (pdf): Still over 120 Member State reservations/objections
- As above: earlier Presidency proposals (pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment (pdf): Still over 110 Member State reservations/objections
- As above: earlier Presidency proposals (pdf)
- Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement (pdf)
Italy: Rome city council warns evicted gypsies/Roma: "Accept relocation or we may have to take your children"
Journalist Paolo Brogi posted a document on his blog on 29 November 2011 that is indicative of how activities are being enacted in Rome in the framework of the Roma "emergency", which has included large-scale evictions and relocation in isolated settlements that are distant from the city centre.
EU-USA-PNR: Draft report to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Draft report (pdf) and Comparative chart of the key provisions in the 2004, 2007 and 2011 agreements (pdf): The EU US PNR Agreement Draft report will be presented in the LIBE Committee meeting of 27 February 2012 by rapporteur Sophie In 't Veld MEP who will recommend the European Parliament to withhold its consent. And see: Official Assails Sharing of Passenger Data (New York Times, link)
See also Statewatch's: Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA
EU: READMISSION AGREEMENTS: Council of the European Union: Operationalising the Council Conclusions of 9 10 June 2011 defining the European Union Strategy on Readmission (pdf). The Council is aiming for: "a coherent return policy which should be embedded in the overall external relations policy of the European Union" which will lead to: "new, more efficient and flexible standard negotiation directives for the conclusion of readmission agreements between the Union and third countries."
The EU faces two problems: the "lack of real political will" on the part of third countries and "so-called"third country clauses"" (concerning the state in question being only a country of transit). Based on the Council Conclusions the Council Presidency is proposing that readmission agreements should be "linked" to agreements in "other policy areas" and the conclusion of these agreement should be: "made conditional on the willingness of the third country to also conclude a readmission agreement with the European Union and might in this way serve as a powerful incentive.." In the past the Council Council has used the "carrot and stick" approach, now it seems to be heading for using the "stick".
All readmission agreements have to ensure fundamental rights and human rights standards regarding returned people, however, this documents admits what many have long known namely that: "Currently there is no assessment of whether provisions on the monitoring of the human rights situation of readmitted persons can be implemented in practice"
UNHCR: Deaths in the Mediterranean: Mediterranean takes record as most deadly stretch of water for refugees and migrants in 2011 (pdf)
EU FISCAL TREATY: Version 6 - Final (31.1.12, pdf) Version 5 (27.1.12, pdf)
EU Commission propaganda on ACTA (FFII ACTA blog, link)
EU-HUNGARY: The decline of democracy, the rise of dictatorship (Hungarian Spectrum, link): "The undersigned, participants of the erstwhile human rights and democracy movement that opposed the one-party communist regime in the 1970s and 1980s, believe that the Hungarian society is not only the victim of the current economic crisis, but also the victim of its own government. The present government has snatched the democratic political tools from the hands of those who could use these tools to ameliorate their predicament. While chanting empty patriotic slogans, the government behaves in a most unpatriotic way by reducing its citizens to inactivity and impotence."
EU: DATA PROTECTION: EDPS general survey shows that EU institutions and bodies have different levels of data protection compliance (Press release, pdf) and Survey results (pdf):
"Peter Hustinx, EDPS, states: "I am concerned that not all EU institutions and bodies are performing as well as they should. Implementation of data protection principles is not only a matter of time and resources, but also of organisational will. Ensuring compliance is a process that requires the commitment and support of the hierarchy in all institutions and bodies."
EU: Council of the European Union: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Copenhagen: Press release (pdf). See discussion papers below.
UK riots: paratroopers are trained in riot control (Daily Telegraph, link) British troops are being trained in riot control tactics amid fears that violence and looting will return to Britain's streets this summer.
ACTA-EP: European Parliament rapporteur quits in Acta protest (BBC News, link): "Negotiations over a controversial anti-piracy agreement have been described as a "masquerade" by a key Euro MP. Kader Arif, the European Parliament's rapporteur for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), resigned over the issue on Friday. He said he had witnessed "never-before-seen manoeuvres" by officials preparing the treaty. On Thursday, 22 EU member states including the UK signed the agreement. The treaty still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament before it can be enacted. A debate is scheduled to take place in June.
ACTA: EU countries sign unpopular anti-counterfeit treaty (euobserver, link)
ACTA PROTEST: Thousands march in Poland over Acta internet treaty (BBC News, link) "Thousands of protesters have taken to Poland's streets over the signing of an international treaty activists say amounts to internet censorship." and Poland: Netizens Protest Government's Plan to Sign ACTA Next Week (Global Voices, link). See also: If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA (Forbes link with videos)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council 26-27 January, Copenhagen: Discussion papers:
No 1: A common framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures due to mixed migration flows (pdf)
No 2: Family reunification in light of the Commission Green Paper: The right to family reunification is a matter of considerable importance in, especially (pdf)
No 3: Financing of PNR-systems (pdf)
No 4: Brussels I-Regulation: Access to Union courts in civil cases with third country defendants (pdf)
No 5: Criminal sanctions and the proposal for a directive on insider dealing and market manipulation (pdf)
No 6: Transfer of sentenced persons and social rehabilitation (pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Rules governing enforced removals from the UK (pdf) See also: Dangerous deportation techniques may still be in use, MPs warn - Home affairs select committee finds evidence of dangerous restraint techniques, although UK Border Agency denies claim (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION BODIES CRITICISE COMMISSION LAW ENFORCEMENT PROPOSALS: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Press release (pdf) welcomes the General Data protection proposals but says of proposed Directive on the exchange of personal data by law enforcement agencies:
"the EDPS strongly regrets the inadequate content of the specific Directive on data protection in the area of police and justice. Peter Hustinx states: The Commission has not lived up to its promises to ensure a robust system for police and justice. These are areas where the use of personal information inevitably has an enormous impact on the lives of private individuals. It is difficult to understand why the Commission has excluded this area from what it intended to do, namely proposing a comprehensive legislative framework. and:
"The EDPS regrets in particular that: the Commission does not propose stricter rules for the transfer of personal data outside the EU, data protection authorities are not given mandatory powers to effectively control the processing of personal data in this area and the possibilities for the police to access data processed in the private sector are not regulated."
The Article 29 Working Party on data protection (national data protection bodies) takes a similar view: Press release (pdf): "Chairman Kohnstamm however regrets the Commissions level of ambition in the area of police and justice and underlines the need for stronger provisions in this field."
EU: NEW DATA PROTECTION PROPOSALS: European Commission:
- Communication: Safeguarding Privacy in a Connected World A European Data Protection Framework for the 21st Century (pdf)
- General Regulation replacing 1995 Directive: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (pdf)
- New Directive on the exchange of personal data by law enforcement agencies: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (pdf)
- Report on infamous 2008 law enforcement Directive: Report from the Commission: based on Article 29 (2) of the Council Framework Decision of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (pdf). See: Statewatch: Observatory on data protection in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and 2011 ongoing
- Impact Assessment for both proposals: Commission Staff Working Paper: Impact Assessment: Accompanying the document Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) and Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (pdf)
- Annex to IA for both proposals: Annex (128 pages, pdf)
EU-GREECE: LOST AT BORDER A journey to the lost and the dead of the Greek borders and see: Full report (pdf)
EU pushes ahead with plans for greater law enforcement data access
At the meeting of the Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection on 11th January, a document from Europol outlining a "high level solution definition" for the Information Exchange Platform for Law Enforcement Agencies (IXP) was approved. This permits further work to be undertaken on the IXP, prior to its implementation in three phases, which will see progressively greater access to (and convergence and harmonisation of) law enforcement databases and computer systems across the EU.
EU: European Digital Rights (EDRI): EU SURVEILLANCE: A summary of current EU surveillance and security measures (pdf). Excellent briefing.
EU: FRONTEX: Programme of Work 2012 (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Minutes: Delegation of 24 November 2011, 25 November 2011 and 26 November 2011 Sicily, Italy (pdf), being discussed at the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 25 January 2012.
EU: Eurospooks flourish as Euro flounders - UK may shun monetary cooperation but eager to promote security and intelligence links
(Guardian's Defence and Security blog, link) Article by Richard Norton-Taylor:
"Deep in the European undergrowth, Britain is engaged in discussions on a wide range of security issues with a potentially huge impact on civil rights and individual liberties. Measures designed to combat terrorism, crime, and protect the EU from "natural and man-made disasters", even "traffic accidents", are featured on the agendas of a myriad of committees of unaccountable officials.
Their work is revealed in a series of classified EU documents, littered with acronyms, reflecting the large number of proposals designed to strengthen links between the national security and intelligence agencies of EU member states."
The article cites the following documents: Draft working method for closer cooperation and coordination in the field of EU security (pdf) and Strengthening ties between CSDP and FSJ - Elements of a draft Road Map (from the European External Action Service, pdf)
UK-EU: Statewatch Analysis: The Mother of all Opt-outs? The UKs possible opt-out from prior third pillar measures in June 2014 (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"The Treaty of Lisbon offers the possibility that the UK can decide, as of 1 June 2014, to opt-out of all EU policing and criminal law measures adopted before the Treaty of Lisbon. Since this possibility is attracting discussion as the deadline date comes closer, this analysis looks in detail at the legal framework and practical implications of any UK decision to adopt such an opt-out....
the main practical impact of the block opt-out would be to end the UK's access to policing databases and other forms of exchange of police information, and to terminate the UK's involvement in some aspects of criminal law judicial cooperation, in particular the European Arrest Warrant and the transfer of prisoners."
UP DATE: EU: CRIME STATISTICS: Measuring Crime in the EU: Statistics Action Plan 2011- 2015 (COM 713, pdf)
See: EU Crime Survey including long list of questions: Proposal for a Regulation on European statistics on safety from crime (pdf) and EU Crime Survey: Proposal for a Regulation on European statistics on safety from crime - Summary table (pdf). Detailed discussion of the Council's position.
Council of Europe: The Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection if individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data [ETS No. 108] (T-PD): Modernisation of Convention 108: new proposals (pdf)
EU-USA PNR SCHEME: "the Working Party notes (modest) improvements in the draft agreement, but does not see its serious concerns removed" Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Letter to the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (pdf). See also: USA offers an adequate level of protection: this means disproportionate processing, excessive retention, a lack of respect for privacy and minimal accountability (Amberhawk, link)
EU: FISCAL CRISIS TREATY: Version 4: 19.1.12 - 16:00: Draft Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (pdf)
UK-FRANCE: Children's Commissioner report: Landing in Dover: The immigration process undertaken by unaccompanied children arriving in Kent (pdf). See also: Child trafficking victims bounced back to France within hours of arrival in UK - Children's commissioner discovers trafficked minors were sent straight back under 'gentleman's agreement' with France (Guardian, link)
EU: Statewatch's In the News Press reports from around the EU - 33 posts in January
EU: Commission still seeking proof of the necessity of mandatory data retention
"An ongoing campaign by data protection authorities and civil society organisations has attempted to have the Data Retention Directive either severely amended or repealed altogether. However, it seems that the statement of Commissioner Malmström in a December 2010 speech to a consultation workshop on the Directive remains true: "data retention is here to stay". Moreover, judging from the tone of the Commission's note, it is likely to continue to prioritise the requirements of law enforcement authorities over the rights of individuals."
See: Statewatch's Observatory (from 2004 and ongoing): The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
FRANCE: Court decision overturns government attempt to deny foreigners' access to lawyers in transit zones
On 30 November 2011, the NGO ANAFÉ (Association nationale d'assistance aux frontières pour les étrangers) was brought to court by the Ministry of Interior in an attempt to halt the provision of free legal counselling to foreigners held in transit zones at Roissy airport (Paris, France). A press release has been issued denouncing the Ministry's attempt "to conceal the obstacles preventing foreigners accessing their rights in transit zones". The judge decided, on 4 January 2012, that the Ministry's action was an impediment to ANAFÉ's work.
UK: Kettling protesters is lawful, appeal court rules - Metropolitan police win appeal against high court ruling criticising violent tactics at the G20 protest in 2009 (Guardian, link) and see: Full text of the judgment (pdf)
UK: BORDER CONTROLS: Home Affairs Select Committee report: UK Border Controls (78 pages, pdf)
EU: VICTIMS RIGHTS: Council of the European Union: Developing Council position prior to entering 1st reading discussions: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime - General approach (18691/11, pdf) and earlier version with Member State's positions: 17714/11 (pdf)
EU-HUNGARY: European Commission: European Commission launches accelerated infringement proceedings against Hungary over the
independence of its central bank and data protection authorities as well as over measures affecting the judiciary (Press release, pdf). See also: EU commission starts legal action against Hungary (euobserver, link)
UK: PARLIAMENTARY REPORT ON JOINT ENTERPRISE: Joint Human Rights Committee: Joint Enterprise: Volume I: Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence (pdf) and Additional evidence: volume 2 (pdf). See also: MPs call for new gang murder law (BBC News, link)
EU: European Commission: Civil Protection:
- Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (COM 934-11, pdf)
- Commission Staff Working Paper: Executive Summary if the Impact Assessment: Accompanying the document: Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (SEC 1630-11, pdf)
- Commission Staff Working Paper: Impact Assessment - 2011 review of the Civil Protection regulatory framework: Accompanying the document: Decision of the European Parliament and the Council: on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism and on establishing a Civil Protection Financial Instrument for the period 2014-2020 (SEC 1632-11, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Council developing its negotiating position: Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) (166 Pages, pdf)
EU: Report of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee(LIBE) on: Summary record of the meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), held in Brussels on 12 January 2012 (pdf) Includes interesting comments by MEPs on the European Investigation Order in criminal matters.
EU: Amnesty International: Letter to Commissioners Reding and Kroes: Hungary: Serious concerns over human rights impact of constitution and media laws (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Communication: First Annual Report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy (COM 790-11, pdf)
EU: REGULATION ON ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS: Report on debate in the European Parliament: Proposal for a Regulation regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) - Outcome of the European Parliament's first reading (Strasbourg, 12 to 15 December 2011) (pdf)
EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION DIRECTIVE: European Commission Consultation concludes: "all Member States - not just a minority need to provide convincing evidence of the value of data retention for security and criminal justice":
"there are serious shortcomings with the EU framework including retention periods, clarity of purpose limitation and scope, lack of reimbursement of cost to industry, safeguards for access and use - which must be addressed. In particular, all Member States - not just a minority need to provide convincing evidence of the value of data retention for security and criminal justice."
See: Consultation on reform of Data Retention Directive: emerging themes and next steps (pdf)
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM COMES TO SPORT: Council of the European Union: Annex to the Handbook for police and security authorities concerning cooperation at major events with an international dimension (pdf) adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 13-14 December 2011.This Annex is added to: Council Recommendation of 6 December 2007 concerning a Handbook for police and security authorities concerning cooperation at major events with an international dimension (pdf). The Annex embraces:"all participants of such events sportsmen, spectators, organisers and bystanders" and include some classic statements:
"a terrorist attack is a specific kind of disturbances of public order and thus requires to a large extent different counter-measures than those regarding non-terrorist unlawful acts." and the main traits of sports events is that:
"sports fans who can be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, prone to disturb public order by clashes with fans of opposite teams or to commit other unlawful acts. In such an environment it is relatively easy for a range of extremists or terrorists to blend into the crowd and conduct an attack" and intelligence should be gathered on "groups of radically-oriented individuals pretending to be sports fans" [emphasis added]
One of the counter-measures should be "not to have a large amount of uniformed security staff" but rather: "staff wearing civilian clothes".
and Council of the European Union discusses the legal possibilities for exit, entry and stadium bans for sports fans
European Union and Hungary: towards a new Haider case? (EU ASFJ, link)
Spain and France: The ongoing disgrace of detention centres
"Two reports on detention centres have been published in Spain and France that highlight a situation in which foreigners are experiencing conditions that are often worse than those in prisons as a result of administrative offences (irregular residence) and an aim to maximise the rates of detention and returns. This has led to large-scale violations of human rights and to policies that reduce judicial oversight and the possibility of detained foreigners to effectively exercise their rights through judicial proceedings and access to effective remedies."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: A proposal for an EU Immigration Code (64 pages, pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex: Under the Stockholm Programme the EU is committed to the "consolidation of all legislation in the area of immigration...to ensure fair treatment of third country nationals who reside legally on the territory of [the EUs] Member States. This substantive text of a Draft Code seeks to contribute to the debate:
"Since the existing EU immigration law has often (rightly) been criticised for setting low standards on these issues, the adoption of an immigration Code will be an important opportunity to improve the substance and coherence of that existing law, in order to ensure that it is fair, understandable and transparent....
this Statewatch analysis proposes a complete text of a draft Code [and] is intended as a contribution to the debate about the future proposal for a Code, which aims to raise the substantive standards and improve the procedural rights of legal immigrants, while also making the law simpler and more consistent."
EU: USA INTERVENES IN THE REVISION OF THE DATA PROTECTION DIRECTIVE: The following Note by the USA was sent to the European Commission listing its opposition to key clauses in the draft revision of the Data Protection Directive: Informal Note on Draft EU General Data Proection Regulation (December 2011) (pdf) This was accompanied by a lobbying campaign at the stage of Inter-service consultation within the Commission. It is therefore no surprise to learn that: EU Commission Postpones Publication of Proposal for Revised Data Protection Directive (Privacy and Information Security Law blog, link). See also: EDRI comments: US lobbying against draft Data Protection Regulation (link)
The complete the Draft package of three proposals out for Inter-service consultation within the Commission:
Proposal for Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (pdf)
DATA PROTECTION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES: European Commission draft out for Inter-service consultation: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of crime (pdf). See also: Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (pdf) the highly criticised measure which covers the exchange of personal data between EU Member States law enforcement agencies. See Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and 2011 ongoing
Communication Communication: Safeguarding Privacy in a Connected World A European Data Protection Framework for the 21st Century (pdf)
FRANCE: Fingerprints and transmission of data: biometrics to protect identity?
UK:TORTURE: Police to investigate MI6 over rendition and torture of Libyans - Criminal inquiry announced as DPP says there is not enough evidence to prosecute agents over Pakistan and Afghanistan allegations (Guardian, link)
EU: Ombudsman: EU database on fraud suspects breaches rights (euobserver, link): "The European Commission's management of a database containing the names of companies or people deemed to pose a threat to the financial interests of the European Union is trampling basic rights, according to the EU ombudsman. Anyone found on the Early Warning System (EWS) - as it is called - risks having their EU contracts blocked or suspended."
EU: ARMS EXPORTS: Official EU report on arms exports too late and incomplete (Centre dEstudis per la Pau J.M. Delàs (Study Centre for Peace J.M. Delàs), link) and see: Thirteenth annual report according to Article 8(2) of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment (link)
EU: European Parliament: Leading MEP voices concern over draft EU criminal law (Parliament.com, link)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: EDPS Inventory 2012 of legislative consultations: a challenging year ahead for data protection in the EU (Press release, pdf) and Inventory (pdf)
CANADA: The total surveillance society approaches (Ottawa Citizen, link): "We will soon reach the point where governments will have the capacity, should they wish it, to monitor, record, and permanently archive the communications and activities of their citizens from birth to death. Thats the sobering message of a new Brookings Institution report by John Villasenor, an engineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Within the next few years, he writes, it will be technically possible and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders - every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner." See: Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments by John Villasenor (pdf, link)
UPDATED: EU-HUNGARY: European Commission: Statement of the European Commission on the situation in Hungary on 11 January 2012 (pdf):
Background: Letter from Commissioner Reding to Hungarian Prime Minister (pdf) and Detailed Annex to the letter (pdf): "I need t