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Carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online, In the News and Observatories

December 2015

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 news stories and commentaries 28-30.12.15)

GCHQ-NSA: NSA Helped British Spies Find Security Holes In Juniper Firewalls (The Intercep, link):

"A TOP-SECRET document dated February 2011 reveals that British spy agency GCHQ, with the knowledge and apparent cooperation of the NSA, acquired the capability to covertly exploit security vulnerabilities in 13 different models of firewalls made by Juniper Networks, a leading provider of networking and Internet security gear."

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9 news stories,and big development 25-27.12.15)

Lesvos, Greece: International Rescue Committee: A warm, safe welcome for refugees landing on Lesbos (link) says: "The International Rescue Committee is preparing to open a reception center in northern Lesbos, often the first stop for thousands of exhausted refugees seeking safety in Europe. Built along the island’s coast, the site – “Windy Ridge” – is just steps from the beach where thousands of refugees from warring countries arrived this year. " [emphasis added]

This is not the view of local civil society volunteers who have been helping refugees the whole year long in Lesvos and who question the building of a camp in "a valley in the middle of nowhere": See: Eric Kempson (link)

and Eric Kempson - Again (link): It is alleged that employees of the International Rescue Committee are telling civil society volunteers - who have been working for months welcoming refugees as they arrive in the EU - to "get off the beach" because they are now in charge.

Peter Sutherland: Special representative to the United Nations secretary general for migration:
Selfishness on refugees has brought EU ‘to its knees’ - ‘Paralysis and ambivalence’ threatening Europe’s future (Irish Times, link):

"Mr Sutherland accused some heads of government of “stoking up prejudice” by speaking of barring Muslim migrants and said the absence of EU agreement on a refugee-sharing scheme meant a Europe of internal borders was increasingly likely to become a reality across the continent.

“This is a tragedy. Tension between member states is inevitably going to grow because of the great differences among them in their attitudes towards refugees,” he said.

“It is hardly surprising that Germans, who will take about a million refugees this year, and who have promised to take 500,000 annually for the next few years, should be outraged by, for example, the United Kingdom’s paltry offer of 20,000 places over five years - and this by a country that has only resettled 252 Syrian refugees since the conflict began.”"

EU: Frontex Return flights up to 22.12.15 (Statewatch document, pdf)

- Since September 2015, 683 people have been deported in joint Frontex flights from 18 Member States. This consisted of 16 flights to six destinations: Albania, Armenia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kosovo and Georgia.

- According to the total number of people returned by Member State, Germany and Italy ranked highest for returning the most between September and December 2015. This is followed by Greece, Austria and Spain.

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories,key developments and documents 24.12.15)

GREECE: State to try and take over civil society's humanitarian work which has been in place for months and months helping hundreds of thousands of refugees - when International and EU agencies have been conspicuous by their absence: Refugee NGOs on islands to be coordinated (ekathimerini.com, link): "A special committee will be formed under the General Secretariat for the Aegean to coordinate dozens of nongovernmental organizations on the Greek islands receiving the biggest inflows of refugees and migrants, Kathimerini has learned."

The months of inaction by the EU is summed up in this Cartoon (thanks to No Borders, pdf)

and see: In eastern Europe, volunteers step up for refugees (DW, link): "Volunteers connected through social media have come to the aid of people seeking asylum in eastern Europe, where governments have failed. Peter Georgiev reports from Sofia.... Quickly volunteers came together in an informal Facebook group, called "Friends of the refugees," to provide the support asylum-seekers needed. Journalist Maria Cheresheva was one of the initiators. Along with colleagues, she had taken to the streets of Sofia to collect donations for migrants. Hundreds of volunteers formed a chain to contribute food, water, clothing and other supplies, which were later transported to the refugee camp in Pastrogor."

and Susan Sarandon welcomes refugees in Lesbos (apokoronasnews.gr, link): "Sarandon told ANA-MPA, a Greek news agency, that she will assist volunteers and non-governmental organizations in welcoming the refugees to the island. “The international community must see what is happening in this corner of the world,” she told ANA-MPA. “It must realize the size of the problem and understand it. These people should stop being ‘somebody else’ and must become the refugees that we must stand by.”

Greece: Refugee Crisis: Lesvos is Filling Up With Migrants; Frontex Staff on Holiday (Greek Reporter, link):

Today hundreds of North African immigrants in Lesvos are being registered. In the middle of last week it was decided that immigrants such as these should not be granted the monthly permit which allows them to stay in Greece until their departure.

Thousands of migrants and refugees are arriving on the islands of the northern Aegean from the Asia Minor coasts, specifically Turkey. Up until this morning the hotspot in Moria recorded around 3,000 people while other migrants were found in many places around the center waiting to be registered. About 1,000 Syrians have been temporarily sent to the camp of Kara Tepe having been given a note that specifies that they will be registered on Christmas.

The situation at the recording and certification sites in Moria is very difficult because a great majority of Frontex’s staff has left for Christmas holidays." [emphasis added]

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories, documents and commentaries, 22-23.12.15)

UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Undercovers arrested in 2005; Mark Kennedy in Northern Ireland; call for extension of Pitchford inquiry to Scotland; Bob lambert resigns

Undercovers arrested in 2005: Names of undercover police revealed, this scandal is worse than we thought (EXCLUSIVE: The Canary, link):

"Two undercover police officers were arrested in Scotland whilst posing as protesters during the G8 summit protests in 2005. The officers, who were part of the notorious Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) which infiltrated protest and social justice movements between 1968 and 2008, were among at least 5 undercover officers who went to Scotland to infiltrate the demonstrations."

Call for extension of inquiry to Scotland: Push to extend inquiry into police infiltration of campaigners to Scotland (The Guardian, link): "The Scottish government is pressing for a public inquiry into the undercover infiltration of political campaign groups to be broadened to examine covert operations in Scotland.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, commissioned the judge-led inquiry but limited its remit to scrutinising operations in England and Wales." And see: Scotland Asks to Join Inquiry (Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, link)

Mark Kennedy in Northern Ireland: Undercover officer Mark Kennedy 'monitored NI groups' (BBC News, link): "One of the undercover officers for whom Scotland Yard apologised for tricking women into sexual relationships carried out surveillance in Northern Ireland, say environmental campaigners."

Bob Lambert resigns from St Andrews and London Metropolitan University: Former undercover police officer Bob Lambert quits St Andrews University teaching post over outcry (Herald Scotland, link): " An academic at a leading Scottish university, exposed as a former undercover police officer who had sex with his female targets, has quit his post.

Bob Lambert, who also fathered a child with a woman he was spying on, has left St Andrews University and another higher education body amid an outcry about his past. "

TURKEY: There is an Imminent Threat of Massacre in Cizre, Silopi, Sur, Nusaybin and Dargeçit. Dou You Hear Us? (ihd.org.tr, link):

"Since the early morning hours of 21 December 2015, the commanders of Turkish Army have announced that, the inhabitants must leave from their home otherwise the authorities could not admit the responsibility. Similarly, in Sur, Nusaybin and Dargeçit, the Kurdish people are forced to evacuate. At this time, people are experiencing very dramatic developments which are unlawful."

UK: Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him - Elected MPs were deliberately misled by Brit spy agencies (The Register, link):

"Exclusive The "Big Brother" comprehensive national database system feared by many MPs has been built behind their backs over the last decade, and even has a name for its most intrusive component: a central London national phone and internet tapping centre called PRESTON.

PRESTON, which collects about four million intercepted phone calls a year, has also recently been used to plant malware on iPhones, according to disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The phones were then targetted for MI5 "implants" (malware), authorised by a ministerial warrant."

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (19 items, 23.12.15)

Council of Europe: Helping refugees in the Mediterranean: Greek association “Agkalia” awarded Raoul Wallenberg Prize (pdf):

"The jury of the Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize has awarded the 2016 Prize to Agkalia, a Greek association on the island of Lesvos, for outstanding achievements in providing frontline assistance to thousands of refugees irrespective of their origin and religion.

As Lesvos has become a European gateway for refugees, Agkalia has been providing temporary shelter, food, water and medical aid to people in need, assisting some 17,000 refugees and migrants since May 2015. Through its work to assist refugees, Agkalia also promotes tolerance and human rights"

US guards with guns to patrol British airports for the first time under controversial new plans being discussed by London and Washington (Mail Online, link)

- US Department of Homeland Security wants to introduce the scheme
- It's a worldwide proposal, including including Heathrow and Manchester
- Policy makers hope it will reduce the risk of IS terrorists flying to America

See also: UK may allow US security checks on passengers before transatlantic travel (Guardian , link) and Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee
(EU-Iceland/Liechtenstein/Norway/Switzerland) Subject: Summary of discussions
(LIMITE doc no:12034-14.pdf): which includes at Point 5:

"Information provided by the NL delegation regarding the request of the US to introduce a border preclearance facility at the Schiphol airport."

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (35 news stories, documents and commentaries, 21.12.15)

London: What do police know about Jermaine Baker’s killing that we don’t? (by Stafford Scott, Guardian, link): "An officer has been arrested in an unprecedented move. Transparency has improved, but too many in this part of London have been killed by police – answers must come swiftly"

Migration: Global Report on Journalism's Biggest Test in 2015: Press release (link):

"An international report on media and the global migration and refugee crisis, issued today to coincide with International Migrants Day (December 18), says journalists often fail to tell the full story and routinely fall into propaganda traps laid by politicians.

The report, Moving Stories, is published by the Ethical Journalism Network and reviews media coverage of migration in the European Union and in 14 countries across the globe.

“Around the world media coverage is often politically led with journalists following an agenda dominated by loose language and talk of invasion and swarms,” said Aidan White, EJN Director. “But at other moments the story is laced with humanity, empathy and a focus on the suffering of those involved.”

From the Ethical Journalism Network: Full report (link) includes: The View from Brussels: Missed opportunities to call the European Union to account by Tony Bunyan. Bulgaria - A study in media Sensationalism by Rossen Bossev and Maria Cheresehva, Italy - A charter for tolerant journalism: Media take centre stage in the Mediterranean drama by Yasha Maccanico and United Kingdom - How journalism plays follow-my-leader in the rhetoric of negativity by Zak Suffee.

MIgreurop: 18 December 2015: Calais Declaration: We must refuse the encampment of foreign citizens and the closure of borders (pdf) and French (pdf):

"The situation which Calais has experienced for nearly 20 years (the Sangatte camp “closed” in 2002 had opened in 1999) is symptomatic of the policies which the European Union has been advocating with blind persistence: hence, the planned “hotspots” and “processing centres” will unfailingly translate, if they are effectively implemented, into the creation of immense detention centres in Italy and in Greece, but also in Niger and Turkey. «Encampment», as far away as possible from the glances of civil societies, is the final objective of the European Union’s migration policies: by relentlessly sorting migrants, it thus goes so far as to violate the most basic human rights and to cause the death of numerous third-country nationals.

The Migreurop network deems it important to solemnly reaffirm that respect for rights and human dignity requires the cessation of all forms of detention and ghettoisation of the people exercising their right to leave their countries. Necessary steps towards dignified reception conditions, in the Calais region and beyond, include repealing the Dublin Regulation and any form of border controls (like those promoted by the Le Touquet treaty) introduced for the purpose of transforming them into enclosures, rather than legal and protected points of passage."

Red Cross EU: Migration to the EU: a perilous and difficult journey (Press release, link) and Recommendations from the National Red Cross Societies in the European Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (pdf)

"This position paper proposes concrete steps that can be taken by the EU and its Member States to reduce risks along migratory routes and address some of the increasing vulnerabilities stemming from these perils. Some of the key dangers faced by migrants along migratory routes to Europe are analysed in the Red Cross EU Office (RCEU) publication Perilous journeys(2). These include: limited access to rights and services; arbitrary arrests and detention; violence and human trafficking; family separation and the loss of family links; as well as increasingly dangerous journeys to reach and cross the EU’s external borders."

Yesterday I met a guy that broke my heart to pieces.[Facebook, link] He had to sell his kidney to make this trip to safety and upon arriving on the shore of Greece he has no money to continue onwards. Imagine having to sell your kidney to find safety. It's 2015, Why is this happening? Why are WE allowing this to happen in OUR lifetime?

This is the man who came to cook for refugees and now even has his own visa run out and has to leave, he is heartbroken like so many of us..

Dead and missing migrants en route to Greek islands 2015 (iomgmdac.org, link): "The map shows the estimated number of migrants who have died or gone missing en route to the Greek islands between Jan - Nov 2015. Click on an island to show historic data specific to that route. Click again to deselect it and show the year to date total for the Aegean Sea."

IOM: EU Migrant, Refugee Arrivals by Land and Sea Approach One Million in 2015 (link): 956,456 arrivals in the EU this year: 801,919 to greece, 150,317 to Italy. 3,695 dead/missing (18 December 2015)

UPDATE: EUROSUR Handbook: EU: European Commission: EUROSUR: ANNEX to the COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR Handbook) (pdf):60 pages attached to Recommendation below

COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 15.12.2015 adopting the Practical handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR Handbook) (C-9206-15, pdf): This says: "Member States should transmit the EUROSUR Handbook, annexed to this Recommendation, to their authorities responsible for the surveillance of the external land and sea borders which shall use it as the main tool when implementing Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013."

Eurosur is a surveillance system with drones etc to stop "illegal" migration, See: EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control (Statewatch News Online, November 2015)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories, documents and commentaries, 17-19.12.15)

Suspend EU-Turkey Action Plan: Turkey: EU risks complicity in violations as refugees and asylum-seekers locked up and deported (AI, link):

"Amnesty International is calling on Turkey to end unlawful detentions and deportations. The EU and Turkey should establish effective independent monitoring mechanisms to review human rights compliance of the EU-Turkey Action Plan and the use of EU funds for migration-related detention purposes. Until these measures are in place, implementation of the Action Plan should be suspended."

Eighteen migrants drown after boat sinks off Turkey's southwestern coast (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Eighteen people died and 14 were rescued late on Friday after a boat carrying migrants trying to sail to Greece sank off the southern Turkish town of Bodrum, Dogan News Agency reported. Fishermen hearing the migrants’ screams of migrants alerted the Turkish coast guard, who picked up the bodies from the sea after the wooden boat carrying migrants from Iraq, Pakistan and Syria capsized about 3.5 km off the coast."

Citizens Push Back Against Polish Ruling Party’s Abuse of Power (OSF, link)

"When a ruling party consolidates control, it’s legitimate cause for anxiety. This is what’s happening right now in Poland, where the one-month-old government is taking steps to override democratic practices.

The elections on November 16 swept the national conservative Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc, or PiS) into power with an absolute majority. It’s the first time since 1989 that one party has held a majority in the parliament. The president—who also holds legislative powers—is a PiS affiliate as well."

The Secret Surveillance Catalogue (The Intercept, link):

"Concerned about the militarization of law enforcement, a source within the intelligence community has provided The Intercept with a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. Some of the devices are already in use by federal law enforcement and local police forces domestically, and civil liberties advocates believe others will eventually find their way into use inside the U.S. This product catalogue provides rare insight into the current spy capabilities of local law enforcement and offers a preview of the future of mass surveillance of mobile communications."

EU: DATA PROTECTION DIRECTIVE LEAs: Council of the European Union: FINAL MULTI-COLUMN: 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) and Consolidated text: DP: LEAs (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: NEW DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Full-text: 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) [first reading] - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15039-15,pdf):

"Taking into account the overall balance of this compromise text, the Presidency invites the Permanent Representatives Committee to analyse the compromise text resulting from the final trilogue with a view to agreement."

and DIRECTIVE on LEAs exchanging personal data - so-called "free movement": Proposal for a 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 - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15174-15, pdf)

"With a view to enabling the adoption of the political agreement on draft the Directive, the Presidency invites the Permanent Representatives Committee to analyse the compromise text resulting from the final trilogue, as it appears in the Annex, with a view to agreement."

See: European Parliament: Data protection package: Parliament and Council now close to a deal (pdf)

EU: European Data Proctection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS issues an alert on intrusive surveillance (Press release, pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf)

"Today, as the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published his Opinion on Intrusive surveillance technology, he said he was issuing an alert about the risks posed by the unregulated growing market for the selling, distribution and (dual) use of spyware.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “As the unregulated market for the trading and use of covert monitoring technology continues to grow, the EU must not underestimate the appetite for such technology. By addressing weaknesses in existing legislation and policies as well as developing new legislation, the EU legislator can help protect against the very real threat posed to our privacy and data protection rights. The sale of these privacy-invasive dual-use tools and the offer of related services also needs to be more tightly regulated in the EU to prevent human rights abuses in Europe and further afield.""

And see: The Growth Industry Helping Governments Hack Terrorists, Criminals—and Political Opponents (link): "Government agencies and oppressive regimes are snapping up software that makes it easy to hack your phone or computer. These new powers could make us all less safe."

COMPLETE GUIDE: European Commission: 15 December 2015: "Package": register, control and return refugees

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (39 news stories and lots of documents, 15.12.15)

EU: European Council: European Council (17 and 18 Decembre 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13596-15, dated 14 December 2015, pdf): compare section on "Migration" with earlier: European Council (17 and 18 December 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13593-15, dated 7 December 2015, pdf). Latest version says:

"For the Schengen acquis to be preserved it is indispensable to regain control over the external borders. Deficiencies, notably as regards hotspots, relocation and
returns, must be rapidly addressed.The EU institutions and the Member States must urgently:"

Comment: the following eight points are all about preserving Schengen by excluding, controlling and returning refugees.

They include opening:

- more "hotspots"

- "ensure systematic identification, registration and fingerprinting, and take measures to tackle refusal of registration and stem irregular secondary flows",

- "ensure the actual return of people not authorised to stay and provide support to Member States as regards return operations"

- "ensure implementation" of "returns and readmission" following the Valletta Summit (some hope of this...)

- to "rapidly examine" the Commission's 15 December proposals (there are two different lists in the two documents)

NOTTINGHAM: Refugee Forum Conference: Changing Narratives of Asylum: Media, Legislation, and Refugee Support (link):

A conference at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum bringing together academics, practitioners and activists to examine the different narratives around seeking asylum in the UK from different perspectives. The conference will take place on FRIDAY, 8 January 2016 from 9.45 am to 5pm at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF), The Sycamore Centre, 33a Hungerhill Road, Nottingham NG3 4NB.

There will be two Keynote speakers: Aidan White, Director of the Ethical Journalism Network, and Dr Helen O’Nions, Nottingham Law Centre (NTU), together with four workshops on asylum issues: Legal, Mental Health, Destitution, and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children, plus a concluding panel.

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (9 items, 15.12.15)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 news stories and documents, 14.12.15)

SPECIAL: EU: Council of the European Union: European Parliament's Right of inquiry: "profoundly problematic" say Council

- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry replacing the Decision of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 (95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC) - Approval of a letter (15173-15, pdf):

"the Council set out many of the issues it considers to be profoundly problematic with regard to the EP proposal. The Council is unanimous in its view that these issues are indeed of such gravity that they fall outside the scope of any negotiation." [emphasis added]

The Council is referring to a Letter, dated 30 November 2015 from Ms Danuta Hubner, Chair of the AFCO (Committee on Constitutional Affairs in the European Parliament): Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry replacing the Decision of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 (95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC) (LIMITE doc no: 14802-15, pdf): Extraordinarily the Council has classified the Letter as "LIMITE", meaning that it is not publicly accessible:

"Delegations will find attached a letter dated 30 November 2015 from Ms Danuta HÜBNER, Chair of the AFCO Committee in the European Parliament, addressed to Mr Nicolas SCHMIT, Minister of Labour Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, President in Office of the Council...."

This document contains the "Second Working Document" dated 17.11.15 which in turns refers to an earlier Working Document dated 9.1.15 (pdf).

The Committee's Working Documents are based on ensuring that the Martin report (dated 14.10.11, pdf) from the AFCO and its Adoption: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry and repealing Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission (dated: 23 May 2012) The mandate to get the agreement of the Council and the Commission for a Regulation is in: European Parliament legislative resolution of 16 April 2014.

This initiative to increase the scrutiny powers of the parliament run contrary to the direction on the "deal" done by the Presidents of the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament to introduce so-called "better lawmaking": Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation - Political agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15007-15, pdf):

EU: Council of the European Union: :Smart Borders, C-T database access, and SOCTA methodology

- Smart Borders Package: Wrap-up of discussions (LIMITE doc no: 15024-15, pdf):

"The Presidency suggests that the Working Party on Frontiers invites the Commission to take duly into account the outcome of the pilot-project and the progress achieved on the access for law enforcement purposes to the EES, the consequences of the abolition of stamping, fall-back procedures and the organizational aspects of the RTP application process, in view of the ongoing preparations of the new legislative proposals concerning Smart Borders."

See: The consequences of the abolition of stamping (LIMITE doc no: 12527-15, pdf): 85 pages with detailed responses by 18 Member States and: See: EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch News Online, July 2015)

Also Study: How Smart Is “Smart Security”? Exploring Data Subjectivity and Resistance (pdf):

"Smart security does not necessarily contribute to a higher security level at airports. More fundamentally, the need for more security cannot just be stated but has to be discussed within the civil society. Risk-based passenger screenings are working through differentiation which inherently contains either positive or negative discrimination. Data-driven predictions must not be seen as objective knowledge but as results of a probabilistic process."

- Use of Schengen Information System (SIS) and INTERPOL Databases by EU MS to Counter Terrorism - Request for information (LIMITE doc no: 13059-15,pdf): Questionnaire:

"Member States are asked that full use is "made of the existing Schengen framework to reinforce and modernise external borders' control". The European Council agreed to proceed "without delay to systematic and coordinated checks on individuals enjoying the right of free movement against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism based on common risk indicators".

- Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2017 - Revised methodology (LIMITE doc no: 14913-15,pdf) See Annex from Europol.

EU: Council of the European Union: Better law-making "deal" and Programme of Trio of Council Presidencies

- Law making "deal" between leaders of the Council, Commission and the European Parliament: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation - Political agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15007-15, pdf):

"In the interinstitutional negotiations, the European Parliament has been represented by Mr Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE), the Council by Minister Nicolas SCHMIT and the Commission by First Vice-President Frans TIMMERMANS... The agreement will be submitted to the Council for formal adoption following legal linguistic revision by the three institutions' experts. It will be signed after the completion of the internal procedures of each of the three institutions concerned."

- Trio of Council Presidencies: The future Netherlands, Slovak and Maltese Presidencies: Taking forward the Strategic Agenda - 18 month programme of the Council (1 January 2016 - 30 June 2017) (Doc no: 15258-15.pdf) For Justice and Home Affairs see pages: 17-20: Including:

* Evaluation of and possible amendments to the Dublin Regulation
* work on an EU relocation mechanism
* Further efforts to enhance resettlement opportunities
* Proposals for strengthening the role of the European Asylum Support Office
* Effectiveness of the Schengen area
* Proposal to amend the Asylum Procedure Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU) to strengthen Safe Country of Origin provisions
* Work related to irregular immigration, including return and readmission
* Migration Action Plan with Turkey
* Reinforcement of Frontex, including discussions over the development of a European Border and Coast Guard System

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (9 items, 14.12.15)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents, 12-13.12.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Smart Borders or carry on "stamping documents"?: The consequences of the abolition of stamping (LIMITE doc no: 12527-15, pdf): 85 pages with detailed responses by 18 Member States.

"At the meeting of this Working Party on 10 September 2015, the Presidency presented a new set of questions focusing on three issues that needed to be further examined. These three issues are the possible inclusion of holders of residence permits in the EES, the possible recording of the refusals of entry in the EES and the carrying out of the checks within the territory of a Member State after the abolition of stamping....

In the light of positions expressed by a large majority of delegations, the Presidency invites the Commission to further explore legal ways for allowing the inclusion of the residence permit holders in the EES or to propose alternative solutions which would be capable of addressing the concerns expressed by the Member States in their replies .Concerning the possible inclusion of the refusals of entry, a large majority of delegations are in favour. Therefore, the Presidency invites the Commission to give further consideration to this possibility in the preparation of the future legislative proposals..."

and: Response from Bulgaria (pdf)

See: EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch News Online, July 2015): "The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea."

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings - Preparation of discussions in Coreper (LIMITE doc.no: 14888-15, pdf): 53 pages:

"the Presidency intends sending this text to the meeting of Coreper on 10 December. Coreper will be invited to agree to submitting this text as an overall compromise text to the European Parliament in view of the 9th trilogue on 15 December 2015 (Strasbourg)".

IOM: (link): 924,147 arrivals in EU: 771,508 to Greece and 148,419 to Italy. 3,671 dead/missing.

Banksy uses Steve Jobs artwork to highlight refugee crisis (Guardian, link): "Graffiti on wall of ‘the Jungle’ camp in Calais depicts late Apple founder’s background as son of Syrian migrant"

EU: G6 Justice and Home Affairs Minister: Joint Statement after the G6 meeting with Interior Ministers in London (Statement 10 December 2015, pdf)

"continue and enhance cooperation within Europe and with the US on important initiatives, includingpassenger name records - welcoming political agreement on an EU Passenger Name RecordsDirective and the EU/US “Umbrella” agreement on data protection and privacy - as well as terroristfinance and further agreements to ensure effective data sharing in the interests of public security andprotection; and enhance the security of the external border of the EU."

The G6 states: Formally, the group is made up of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and the UK. They arealso joined by representatives of the US.

See: 2014 meeting: G6 meeting leads to renewed calls for travel surveillance (Statewatch)

EU High Representative: Letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs (pdf):

"Dear Colleagues, Ahead of our discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council on 14 December, I want to report on the work already done to set in place a coherent and effective EU external action to counter-terrorism (CT), and to suggest some priorities for further common engagement."

As usual there is the involvement of EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies acting externally in an operational capacity:

"the internal/external nexus: strengthening operational cooperation between the EU Member States and partner countries, mobilising more the JHA agencies (CEPOL, EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EUROJUST), including by posting of liaison officers/magistrates, and JHA tools, supporting the work of INTERPOL in the region to increase connectivity and the feeding and use of INTERPOL databases."

US visa crackdown 'a step too far' (aljazeera.com, link):

"US politicians vote to change visa waiver for people with links to certain countries.... On Tuesday, politicians voted to stop anyone who has visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan during the past five years - or nationals of those countries - from travelling to the US under a visa-free scheme that is available to many Europeans, even for dual citizens who also live in a non-effected country...

the US plans to introduce visa requirements for ANYONE who is from or has visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the last five years. "Under the new rules, visa-waiver scheme members would have to share counterterror information with the US. All visitors would be checked against Interpol databases, and members would have to issue "e-passports" with biometric data. David O'Sullivan, the European Union ambassador to Washington, said new rules on biometric passports would be "cumbersome" and warned that many Europeans would lose the right to visa-free travel.""

UK: The shadowy programme which allows migrants to be deported on suspicion alone (politics.co.uk, link): "Broadly speaking Nexus cases can be split into two categories. The first part of the operation is focused on the removal of people who are not entitled to be in the UK. There will, of course be straightforward scenarios where somebody has entered the country illegally and once identified by the operation is removed. But it has also been reported that some people are being removed simply for 'not exercising their treaty right to work or be self sufficient.'"

Behind Metadata (link): "Series of case studies, interviews and tools that explore the far reaches of metadata in its capacity to protect, investigate and expose abuses of power".

EU-USA: JUDICIAL REDRESS BILL: Senate Judiciary delays data privacy bill (thehill.com):

"The Senate Judiciary Committee has pushed consideration of a privacy rights bill that is pivotal to a pair of information-sharing agreements between the United States and the European Union. The legislation would give European citizens the right to take legal action in the U.S. if their personal information is misused. Its passage is a prerequisite to an “umbrella agreement” inked this fall that allows the two governments to exchange more information during terrorist and criminal investigations."

And see: Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing: ""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10 news stories and important documents, 11.12.15)

EU: European Commission: Communication A European Border and Coast Guard and effective management of Europe's external borders (COM 673-15, pdf), Proposals to come.

Massive expansion in Frontex's role, its all here: "the right to intervene", "European Return Intervervention Teams", hotspots, "rapid reserve pool" and more including:

"As the body assigned to implement the European integrated border management, the Agency will be able to call on this pool within a very limited timeframe in circumstances requiring immediate response. Member States will have to make available at least 1,500 border guards to be deployed by the Agency in rapid border interventions within days" - for example to meet a sudden migration crisis. [emphasis added] and directly inteevene in a state:

"cooperation with third countries where it can coordinate operational cooperation between Member States and neighbouring third countries in the field of border management, including by deploying liaison officers to third countries or launching joint operations on Union territory or on the territory of third countries. This will notably remedy the situation which is currently faced in the cooperation with the Western Balkan countries where, despite the agreement of the third countries in question, Frontex is unable to provide operational assistance as it does not have the mandate to send border guard teams to countries such as Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."

EU: Historical "trove" of documents concerning early discussion of data retention, the EAW and setting up cooperation with the USA post-11 September 2001:

- Request for a negotiation mandate for the Presidency on judicial cooperation in criminal matters on the basis of Articles 38 and 24 TEU (Restricted doc no:6438-rev-2-02, pdf, 5 April 2002):

"The Council agrees on the principle of proposing to the United States that an agreement be negotiated between the European Union and the United States, on the basis of Article 38 of the TEU, in the field of penal cooperation on terrorism."

On 21 September 200 I the US reacted to these conclusions in the following way (letter from the US Mission in Brussels to the Presidency): "Judicial cooperation: The US is prepared to explore the possibilities for a formal agreement with the EU on judicial cooperation in criminal matters, with a view to overcoming impediments in existing agreements with EU Member States."

- Proposal for an EU arrest warrant (LIMITE doc no: 13425-01,pdf) Dated 31 October 2001

- Data retention: Expert meeting on cyber crime: Data retention: At Europol HQ (April 2002, pdf): including: "List of minimum and optional data to be retained by Service providers and Telcos"

- Draft Data retention Framework Decision: From the Belgium Council Presidency (July-December 2001): CONFIDENTIAL: English translation of Belgian proposal for Third Pillar legislation (pdf)

See also Statewatch's unique Justice and Home Affairs Archive (1976-2000): Containing 8,550 documents - ongoing

EU: Frontex: Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community: AFIC Joint Report 2015 (pdf)

SWITZERLAND: Parliament rejects systematic border control proposal (swissinfo.ch, link): "Both houses of parliament have rejected a proposal by the conservative right Swiss People’s Party to perform systematic checks on people crossing the Swiss border."

UPDATED: The European Parliament has "egg on its face": EU Passenger Name Record (PNR): Civil Liberties Committee backs EP/Council deal (Press release, 10.12.15, pdf):

"The agreed directive will provide for the transfer by air carriers to EU member states' "Passenger Information Units" (PIUs) of PNR data of passengers of "extra-EU flights" (i.e.from a third country to an EU member state or vice-versa). It will allow, but not oblige, member states to apply its provisions also to "intra-EU flights" (i.e. from an EU member state to one or more of the other). If a member state wishes to apply this directive to intra- EU flights, "it shall give notice in writing to the Commission to that end", says the text." (emphasis added]

All 28 Member States in a Declaration (see below) have said they intended to invoke this sweeping new power.

In the agreed "compromise" text: 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 - approval of final compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14670-15, 46, pages, dated 2 December 2015, pdf): it states that:

"The text agreed contains the voluntary inclusion of intra-EU flights"

Thus the European Parliament agreed the compromise deal in the trilogue meetings. However, Member States have just circulated a Note following the Justiice and Home affairs Council of 3-4 December 2015:

"Draft declaration by the Member States to the minutes of the Council

"Article 1a of the PNR Directive allows Member States that so wish to apply it to intra-EU flights on a voluntary basis, upon notice to the Commission to that end.

Considering the current security situation in Europe, *Member States declare that by the date of transposition provided for in Article 15 they will make full use of the possibility provided for by Article 1a under the conditions set by the Directive.* [thanks to EDRI]

In short, yes it is "voluntary" but all Member States have agreed to extend the scope of the Directive from recording PNR data from flights in and out of the EU to also include all flights between Member States within the EU - at a stroke the scope of the measure massively extended. It will be interesting to see how the European Parliament will react.

EU: Ombudsman launches public consultation on transparency of "trilogues" (link):

"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has invited feedback from individuals, NGOs, business associations and other organisations on the transparency of "trilogues".

Trilogues are informal negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission aimed at reaching agreements on new EU legislation. The public consultation will feed into the European Ombudsman's overall assessment of what steps can be taken to make trilogues more transparent.

Ms O'Reilly stated: "Trilogues are where the deals are done. The vast majority of draft EU laws now pass through the trilogue process before being finalised. Europeans have a right to an EU law-making process that is as open as possible, while elected representatives also need the space to negotiate."

See also: European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf)

European Parliament: Permanent relocation scheme and list of safe countries of origin: state of play (1.12.15, pdf):

"The Civil Liberties Committee discussed the permanent relocation mechanism with the Commission, which presented its proposal to MEPs, and the Council, which briefed the committee on the state of play in discussions among member states. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) also presented the "State of play of relocation operations in the hot spots".

The EU common list of safe countries of origin was also discussed with the Commission and Council. The EASO presented the situation in the Western Balkans while FRA spoke on fundamental rights considerations."

Comment: the creation of a "permanent relocation mechanism" looks highly unlikely and the "state of play of relocation operations in the hotspots" shows that this is just not happening (see: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22 news stories and important documents, 10.12.15)

International Human Rights Day: Read in: French: (euromed-rights, link)

10th anniversary of Frontex,
10 measures which put fundamental rights at risk

10/12/15 – On this International Human Rights Day, EuroMed Rights and the other members of the Frontexit Campaign alert the authorities and the public opinion on the dangers of reinforcing the European agency Frontex. They draw attention to 10 upcoming measures, like a set of poisoned chalices, which contribute to the violation of the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees at the expense of their reception and protection.

European Commission orders infringements procedures against Greece, Italy, Hungary and Croatia

- Implementing the Common European Asylum System: Commission escalates 8 infringement proceedings (pdf):

"The Commission is today urging Greece, Croatia and Italy to correctly implement the Eurodac Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 603/2013), which provides for effective fingerprinting of asylum seekers and transmission of data to the Eurodac central system within 72 hours....

The Commission is also urging Greece and Malta to communicate the national measures taken to fully transpose the Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU), which sets out common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and the Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33/EU), which deals with access to reception conditions for asylum seekers while they wait for examination of their applications."

- Commission opens infringement procedure against Hungary concerning its asylum law (pdf):

"Firstly, regarding the asylum procedures, the Commission is concerned that there is no possibility to refer to new facts and circumstances in the context of appeals and that Hungary is not automatically suspending decisions in case of appeals - effectively forcing applicants to leave their territory before the time limit for lodging an appeal expires, or before an appeal has been heard....

Secondly, regarding rights to translation and interpretation, the Commission is concerned the Hungarian law on fast-tracked criminal proceedings for irregular border crossings does not respect provisions of the Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, which ensures that every suspect or accused person who does not understand the language of the proceedings is provided with a written translation of all essential documents, including any judgment....

Thirdly, on the fundamental right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, there are concerns as to the fact that under the new Hungarian law dealing with the judicial review of decisions rejecting an asylum application a personal hearing of the applicants is optional. Judicial decisions taken by court secretaries (a sub-judicial level) lacking judicial independence also seem to be in breach of the Asylum Procedures Directive and Article 47 of the Charter."

EU-PNR: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS supports EU legislator on security but recommends re-thinking on EU PNR (Statement, pdf):

"An EU PNR scheme programme would be the first large-scale and indiscriminate collection of personal data in the history of the Union. Since it is likely to cover at least all flights to and from the EU and may also involve intra EU and/or domestic flights, millions of non-suspect passengers would potentially be affected by the EU PNR proposal.

The EDPS urges caution before such a scheme is agreed and recalls that the Court of Justice of the European Union defined a high threshold for the untargeted and indiscriminate collection of data in its decision on the Digital Rights Ireland case, which invalidated the data retention Directive."
[emphasis in original]

The Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) has voted: 38 in favour, 19 against and 2 abstentions on accepting the deal/compromise with the Council - it now goes to the next plenary session: see: Approval of final compromise text (pdf).

State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Updated on 8 December (pdf): Comment on the current situation: Little has changed..

- "Relocations": Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism
(Communicated as of 09 December 2015]
(pdf): Now 14 Member States 3,827 places offered - up 481 - out of 160,000 needed.

- Returns since September 2015 (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 658 - up 49, plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece - same as last week.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf) In Lesvos: Now: Frontex: 114 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer) 11 "hospots" are planned but only two - Lampedusa and Lesvos - are operational.

- Finanical pledges: Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million
(Communicated as of 09 December 2015)
(pdf) No change in shortfalls.

- Accepted Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece (Communicated as of 09 December 2015) (pdf) Many unmet needs.

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12 news stories and documents, 9.12.15)

Dispatches: Masked Men Continue to Attack Migrant Boats on the Aegean (HRW, link):

"He told me that on December 3, he and his family joined 30 other people on a rubber boat in their attempt to reach the Greek islands. About halfway there, they were blinded by a strong light shining on them from a big boat. The migrant piloting their boat tried to evade the larger boat and a small boat when three masked men came at them at such fast speed that he said he thought the boat they were in would capsize.

Mahmoud and other passengers held their babies up so the masked men would take pity on them. But one of the assailants hit the pilot of the boat twice on the head with a truncheon and they disabled the motor by cutting the wires, leaving it to drift. Mahmoud said that some of the passengers tried to communicate in Turkish with the attackers, but that the only language they could understand was the English command to “Stop, stop.” After drifting for three hours, a Turkish coast guard boat. rescued them... We are not alone in raising the alarm about vigilante attacks on migrants and asylum seekers; news media have also reported – and
CBS news filmed – unidentified speedboats allegedly interdicting and disabling migrant boats..

Greece starts removing stranded migrants at FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek police started removing hundreds of migrants stranded on the Greek border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and blocking rail traffic on Wednesday, a police official and a Reuters eyewitness said.

Some 1,200 people mostly from Pakistan, Morocco and Iran, were stuck near the northern Greek town of Idomeni, demanding to cross into FYROM to reach northern Europe after non-EU Balkan states began filtering migrants by nationality.

The police official said the migrants would be taken to Athens on buses and will be accommodated in migration centers before being sent back to their home countries."

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12 news stories and document, 8.12.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation & NIS (network and information security)

- 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) [first reading] - Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 14902-15, pdf): a consolidated version of the General Data Protection Regulation (191 pages)

- NIS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - Presidency report on the state of play of trilogues (Doc no: 14673-15, pdf)

IRELAND: Twenty one NGOs: Protection, Resettlement and Integration: Ireland’s Response to the Refugee and Migration ‘Crisis’ December 2015 (pdf):

"As some European countries tighten border controls or close borders completely, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to identify safe routes and secure options for migration and settlement. Political leadership is vital now in the fight against discrimination, exclusion, racism and Islamophobia. Upholding human rights and humanitarian values, along with our collective international obligations for people seeking protection, is critical at this time."

EU-UK: Prüm LEAs data exchange: House of Lords Select Committee on the EU - report: The United Kingdom’s participation in Prüm (pdf):

Under the PRUM Decision EU law enforcement agencies (LEAs) can automatically access DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data from other EU Member States' databases. The purpose of this Report was to agree, or not, to the UK re-join PRUM:

"We accordingly recommend to the House that it endorse the Government’s proposal that the United Kingdom should rejoin the Prüm Decisions and the related Framework Decision on the accreditation of forensic service laboratories."

Comment: Rejoining Prüm also gives UK police access to the Eurodac database (holding the details and fingerprints of asylum applicants)

EU: Council of the European Union: Letter from Council President Tusk: Letter by President Donald Tusk to the European Council on the issue of a UK in/out referendum (pdf) and see: The nine labours of Cameron: Analysis of the plans to change EU free movement law (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU: The new Europol: no more European FBI, not yet European NSA.. (EASFJ Freegroup, link):

"On November 30th the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee has “informally” endorsed (with 43 to 5 with 4 abstentions) the text that the Council will soon adopt as “its” position on the post-Lisbon European Union Agency for Law enforcement Cooperation and Training (Europol).

Following the “informal” interinstitutional practice of the so called “legislative trilogues” (and notably of the so-called “early second reading” agreements) the Chair of the LIBE Committee has already addressed a letter to the President of the Permanent Representatives Committee announcing that when the Council will formally send the text to the plenary LIBE will recommend the Council’s text be approved without amendments in Parliament’s second reading so that the legislative procedure will be finalized and the text “informally” agreed (after some linguistic corrections) could be published in the coming months in the Official Journal.

I have already expressed my personal strong reservations on the legitimacy of such “informal” practices notably because they are done in secret when treaty require the transparency of legislative debates (and negotiations) also for the Council. In the Europol case the latest public texts were: the first “reading” of the EP adopted on 25 of February 2014 (at the end of the previous legislature) and the “general approach” of the Council on 5 of June 2014. Ten secret “trilogues” have been held in the following 16 months until suddenly at the end of November 2015 a draft compromise has finally emerged and has been submitted to the vote of of the Coreper and of the Parliamentary committee paving the way to the “formal” legislative procedure."

See also: European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf)

Turn back refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh at the Turkish external border so that they do not become the EU's problem:
EU’s Timmermans Talks About Expectations of Turkey-EU Pact to Wall Street Journal (link)

"WSJ: Does it concern you that a significant minority comes from other places, like Afghanistan?

FT: This is all linked. Because of the Syrian refugees, a path is built and then others, who want to come to Europe for other reasons, see the possibility of using that ‘highway to Europe’. A policy will also have to have all these elements – stopping violence in Syria, having agreements with third countries about people who come here who don’t have the right to international protection and therefore should be returned, that’s why talking to Pakistan is so important, making sure that Turkey aligns its visa policy to ours, so that people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh can be stopped at the external Turkish border rather than coming to Turkey first and having to be stopped at the European border...." [emphasis added]

See: In Danger in Afghanistan, Unable to Flee (NYT, link): "Why do we have to risk our lives?” Mohammad Ali asked. “Why can’t we just get a visa here and go directly?” The answer stretches back to the origins of the world’s refugee and asylum system in post-World War II Europe. In 1951, with millions of Europeans dislocated from their home countries, the international community enacted the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Article 1 declared that people were entitled to international legal protection as refugees, and therefore asylum, if they had a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.” On four out of those five grounds, the Bamian couple would clearly qualify, as officials at Western embassies and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have told them, and proving it would be relatively easy." [emphasis added]

But see: Merkel urges Afghans to stay at home (euractiv, link): "For the first time, the German Chancellor has urged Afghan migrants not to seek refuge in the Bundesrepublik... The reason is that by the end of October, 68,000 Afghan asylum seekers had registered in Germany, with 31,000 arriving in that month alone. In terms of arrival numbers, Afghans rank second behind Syrians..

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (16 items, 7.12.15)

IRELAND: Guildford Four lawyer Gareth Peirce gets Irish honour (Irish Times, link):

"British solicitor and human rights activist Gareth Peirce is among 10 people who have received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

Ms Peirce and the others were honoured at a reception hosted by President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin and attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan.

Ms Peirce came to prominence with her successful defence of the Guildford Four, who were acquitted and released from jail in 1989. They had served 14 years in prison for the 1974 Guildford pub bombings."

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and important documents, 5-6.12.15)

Refugee crisis: State of play: Commission statistics: September 2015 ongoing (3.12.15)

Comment on the current situation: Nothing is moving, offers of relocation and returns static.

- State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis Updated on 3 December (pdf)

- "Relocations": Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (Communicated as of 3 December 2015) (pdf) Now 3,346 offers of relocation out of 160,000 needed - up by 130 since last report. Only 159 people have been relocated: 129 from Italy and 30 form Greece - no change from last week and week before.

- Returns since September 2015 (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 609 people plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece - same as last week.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (3.12.15, pdf): No change from last week

- Pledges: Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf): The total Shortfall was: 2,227,660,000 euro now 2,224,890,000 euro - shortfall for Africa Trust (following the Valletta Summit) is: 1,718,630,000 euro.

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece (pdf) Lots of "needs" unmet and Greece joined last week.

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

Undercover spying unit worked with Scottish police forces (Herald Scotland, link):

"Jason Kirkpatrick, an activist and filmmaker who worked closely with Kennedy without knowing he was a police officer, has written to the First Minister about the exclusion of Scotland from the Pitchford Inquiry. He has suggested two remedies: widen the existing inquiry; or, conduct a separate Scottish inquiry.

Kirkpatrick, who has Core Participant status at Pitchford, wrote that he believed Kennedy interfered with his media liaison work at the G8, adding: “I may [also] have been targeted to have an intimate relationship by a possible undercover officer, "Khris" from London, in order to interfere with my press work.

“These actions that took place in Edinburgh, of which the Scottish Government may not have previously been aware, certainly raise questions demanding answers about possible illegal police tampering with legitimate journalistic functions, and free speech as guaranteed by the ECHR.”

He called on Scotland to be part of the Pitchford Inquiry, but added: “If this request is denied, it is then necessary for the Scottish Government to initiate its own inquiry, to guarantee that such abusive practices as those described above will be properly examined if they have taken place in Scotland.” "

ECHR: RUSSIA: MASS SURVEILLANCE: Arbitrary and abusive secret surveillance of mobile telephone communications in Russia (Press release, pdf):

"The case concerned the system of secret interception of mobile telephone communications in Russia. The applicant, an editor-in-chief of a publishing company, complained in particular that mobile network operators in Russia were required by law to install equipment enabling lawenforcement agencies to carry out operational-search activities and that, without sufficient safeguards under Russian law, this permitted blanket interception of communications."

and Judgment: Full-text (pdf) also: Russia passes law to overrule European human rights court (BBC News, link)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and documents, 4.12.15)

EU: Final text of the new Europol Regulation: Proposal for a REGULATION on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation and Training (Europol) and repealingreplacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA and 2005/681/JHA (152 pges, pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 3 and 4 December 2015: "B" Points agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points agenda: legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points agenda: non-legislative, adopted without discussion, pdf) see: Background briefing (pdf)

Final Press release: 3-4 December (pdf)

All Member States think mass surveillance 'is still allowed'. Majority want new EU proposal. Will the Council never learn? Justice and Home Affairs Council; 3 December: "Data retention: The Council had a general discussion on the consequences of the invalidation of the Data Retention Directive by the European Court of Justice in April 2014. All member states considered that retaining bulk electronic communication data in a generalized manner is still allowed. A majority of delegations also considered that an EU-wide approach has to be considered in order to put an end to the fragmentation of the legal framework on data retention across the EU, and invited the Commission to present a new legislative initiative whenever possible."

The Council also "took note" of a progress report: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - progress report (pdf).

And discussing putting Schengen on hold for two years:: Integrity of the Schengen area, LIMITE doc: 14300-15, (pdf)

plus: 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 - State of play (pdf):

"During these discussions, a number of delegations raised general scrutiny reservations and reiterated their positions according to which they consider that it would be preferable to evaluate the functioning of the temporary emergency relocation schemes, adopted by the Council on 14 and 22 September3, before the discussion on the proposal on the crisis relocation mechanism continues.

They are of the view that shortcomings in the implementation of the relocation decisions, including the functioning of the hotspots and the prevention of secondary movements, should be addressed as a matter of urgency." [emphasis added]

EU: Law enforcement agencies exchanging personal data: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 03/2015 on the draft 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):

Transfers to third-party states: "the WP29 favors the introduction of a strict prohibition on the massive, repeated and structured transfers of personal data to third countries authorities and reiterates that exceptions to the prohibition of transfers to inadequate countries should be interpreted restrictively. It supports article 36(2)(b) as introduced by the European Parliament, which states that: “All transfers of personal data decided on the basis of derogations shall be duly justified and shall be limited to what is strictly necessary, and frequent massive transfers of data shall not be allowed”. [emphasis added]

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (9 items, 4.12.15)

RABITS team to go to Greece:EU border agency confirms Greece’s request for help (ekathimerini.com):

"“Greece asked Frontex yesterday to launch a Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) mechanism on the Greek islands in the Aegean, where it continues to face massive migratory pressure,” the agency said in an announcement on Friday, adding that Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has five working days to evaluate the situation and decide whether to activate the mechanism.

If the mechanism is activated, Frontex explained, EU member states and Schengen associate countries would be obligated to provide border guards and equipment for the operation" and:

Greece accepts EU border help under Schengen threat (euobserver, link): "Greece succumbed to EU pressure on Thursday (3 December) to accept help on defending its borders, after veiled threats it will be locked out of the bloc’s passport-free Schengen zone."

What are RABITS? EU: Rapid Border Intervention Teams (Statewatch database) and FRONTEX and RABITS: the European Union is stepping up its operational efforts combating illegal immigration (Commission press release, pdf)

Denmark rejects more EU laws in blow to integration (Reuters, link):

Decide not to opt-in as a default to EU Justice and Home Affairs policies: " With all the votes counted, the "No" camp won 53.1 percent against 46.9 percent to the "Yes" camp with a turnout of 72 percent, which was higher than expected.

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and documents, 3.12.15)

EU-PNR: Council of the European Union: 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 - approval of final compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14670-15, 46, pages, dated 2 December 2015, pdf):

"At the informal trilogue of 2 December 2015, a compromise package has been reached with the rapporteur, the text of which is set out in the Annex to this note. Text underlined reflects changes to the Commission proposal stemming from the Council general approach, and text in bold without underlining reflects Parliament amendments already discussed by either the Working Party (GENVAL) or JHA Counsellors. Changes to the text after trilogue of 2 December 2015 are indicated in underlined bold italics....

The text agreed contains the voluntary inclusion of intra-EU flights"

and see: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime Presentation of compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14740-15, dated 30 November 2015, 85 pages, pdf) Multi-column document with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise"

European Parliament: Questions to the Council and Commission on "hotspots" and relocation

- To the Commission: Compatibility of the establishment and management of hotspots with EU law (pdf)

"Since September, within the activated "Hotspot" in Lampedusa, public authorities have adopted new illegal practices in violation of the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. Migrants are hastily "interviewed" and provided with an inadequate form as regards asylum procedures.

Therefore, many migrants are subjected to return decisions without having a real opportunity to apply for asylum under Directives 2011/95/EU and 2013/32/EU. After return decisions have been adopted, migrants are driven out of the centres and only supplied with an expulsion order establishing to leave the country within seven days, via "Fiumicino" airport...."

- To the Council: Implementation of Council Decisions on the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece (pdf):

" 21 Member States have identified national contact points and (...) so far, only six Member States have notified (the) reception capacity they have made available to host relocated people". Likewise, a mere 86 asylum seekers had been relocated until that day from Italy under the new scheme. The 3rd of November, a press release from the Commission underlined that the first relocation flight from Greece with 30 asylum seekers was about to leave to Luxembourg.

We ask the Council which steps it intends to take so that its representatives quickly commit to relocating asylum seekers as soon as possible bearing in mind the urgency of the current humanitarian challenges."

EU-GREECE: Threats to seal Greek border or suspend Greece from Schengen?

EU Commissioner Avramopoulos on scenarios regarding Greece exiting the Schengen area (ANA-MPA, link):

" According to Avramopoulos, "the immediate and full implementation of the agreed measures, both in Greece and in all the member states, will strengthen the security of maritime boundaries and will restore control in the northern border, where non-unidentified migrants try to continue their trip to the north.""

Greece faces Schengen threat amid refugee impasse (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As Greece comes under intense pressure to tighten its borders, authorities are still grappling with a relentless influx of migrants. Pressure on Greece appeared to grow on Tuesday as senior EU officials warned that the country faces suspension from the Schengen passport-free travel zone unless it overhauls its response to the crisis by mid-December.

“The Germans are furious and that’s why people are talking about pushing Greece out,” an anonymous EU ambassador was quoted by the FT as saying noting growing frustration about Athens’s failure to meet its obligations."

Greece warned EU will reimpose border controls:

"The EU is warning Greece it faces suspension from the Schengen passport-free travel zone unless it overhauls its response to the migration crisis by mid-December, as frustration mounts over Athens’ reluctance to accept outside support." (FT, link)

EU weighs internal border checks to shut Greek refugee route (ekathimerini.com, link):

"European Union governments will consider suspending some passport-free internal travel for as long as two years to prevent refugees who make it to Greece from moving on to western Europe, a draft document showed.

The proposal, designed to pressure Greece into allowing EU policing of its Aegean Sea border with Turkey, will be weighed by home affairs ministers of the 28 EU countries at a meeting in Brussels on Friday. Legal provisions will be discussed “that one or more member states decide to reintroduce border control at all or at specific parts of their internal borders,” according to the document, which was published by the Statewatch.org civil liberties website."

SNOWDEN: USA: FBI extradition letter to Denmark, Norway,Sweden and Finland (June 2013, pdf)

EU: Council: Heads of JHA Agencies meeting, 3 - 4 November 2015 (pdf)

Agencies agreed to focus in particular on:

– ensuring fundamental rights, data protection and privacy of the people in Europe in the area of freedom, security and justice;
– developing further support to Member States for the management of irregular migration;
– streamlining inter-agency cooperation in the Hotspots and tackl ing irregular migration at the Western Balkan route;
– enhancing joint operational activities aimed at addressing the threats to Europe and the Schengen free movement area.....

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 3 and 4 December 2015: "B" Points agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points agenda: legislaitve (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points agenda: non-legislative, adopted without discussion, pdf) Background briefing (pdf)

The Council is discussing: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a crisis relocation mechanism... amending the Council of 26 June 2013 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 - State of play (pdf):

"During these discussions, a number of delegations raised general scrutiny reservations and reiterated their positions according to which they consider that it would be preferable to evaluate the functioning of the temporary emergency relocation schemes, adopted by the Council on 14 and 22 September3, before the discussion on the proposal on the crisis relocation mechanism continues.

They are of the view that shortcomings in the implementation of the relocation decisions, including the functioning of the hotspots and the prevention of secondary movements, should be addressed as a matter of urgency." [emphasis added]

Agenda includes European Public Prosecutor's Office, migration, e-evidence and data retention, the EU's latest internal security strategy, Europol, the migration of students and researchers, the relocation of refugees and a common EU list of safe countries of origin.

EU: BORDERS: Sealing off Europe: Council Presidency proposals for protecting the "integrity of the Schengen area"
- Council Presidency issues proposals to "prepare debate" at JHA Council meeting on 3 and 4 December
- Smart borders discussions rumble on in background

A Frontex operation should be set up in northern Greece, identity controls within the Schengen area should be increased and the Council should call for the reintroduction of border controls in "one or more" unnamned Schengen states, according to proposals from the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU.

See: Note from: the Presidency to: Permanent Representatives Committee (Part 2)/Council, Integrity of the Schengen area, 14300/15, 1 December 2015 (pdf)

And see: Exclusive: leaked document reveals EU plans to suspend Schengen for two years (EU Law Analysis, link)

Smart borders: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee, Summary of discussions, 13193/15, 17 November 2015 (pdf)

FRANCE-EU: Valls to Pittella: if Parliament doesn't agree on PNR, Member States will do it themselves

French prime minister Manuel Valls has written to Gianni Pittella, chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, demanding the adoption of the EU Passenger Name Record Directive on air travel surveillance by the end of the year: "And in truth, if we cannot [agree the PNR Directive], there can be no justification in the view of our public opinions. I therefore fear that certain Member States will have no alternative but to use intergovernmental channels. This is not what I want because I have faith in the Community method, but you will agree that protecting citizens must take precedence over these concerns."

Earlier in the letter, he sets out what he (and the Council as a whole) are demanding the Parliament agree to:

"...it is of the utmost importance that the EU PNR system is fully operational and effective. To this end, we must ensure, in particular, the following main points: the obligatory inclusion of inter-European flights, which will help further foil the terrorists' strategies to avoid detection; a period of one year before data is masked, and four years before it is destroyed; and the inclusion in the record of serious national offences (not just transnational offences). These measures are supported by all Member States, who all face the same issues, as it was clearly outlined in the conclusions adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 20 November 20 15. If we do not include these points in the text, this tool will be devoid of its effective scope, which will weaken our collective ability to prevent further terrorist attacks."

See the: Letter from Manuel Valls to Gianni Pittella (pdf) and recent news on the PNR Directive negotiations: Mass surveillance legislation creeps closer: leaked compromise text

EU to gold plate international anti-terrorism obligations with "urgent" new law

The EU will update its terrorism law to meet international obligations at the same time as introducing new powers "to tackle the evolving terrorist threat in a more effective way, thereby enhancing the security of the EU and the safety of its citizens." The Commission has not carried out an impact assessment of the proposals due to the "urgent need" for new anti-terrorism measures.

The proposal: European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism, COM(2015) 625 final, 2 December 2015 (pdf)

News Digest: Round-up of stories from across Europe (8 items, 2.12.15)

EU-ITALY: Statewatch Briefing: The Italian Roadmap 2015 Hotspots, readmissions, asylum procedures and the re-opening of detention centres (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico

The following is an annotated translation of the Italian Roadmap produced on 28 September 2015, which also refers to eight attachments which are not available. By way of introduction, it is worth noting that it illustrates the Italian Interior Ministry’s position and plan for reception of migrants and refugees in the context of the current crisis in late September. Some preliminary comments are in order, including:

EU: Will aid stop migration?

The EU has announced a €350 million aid package described as "the single biggest EU measure in response to the Syrian refugee crisis to date," which will fund programmes aimed at helping "up to 1.5 million Syrian refugees and overstretched host communities in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq."

According to a Commission document, the fund has "two main strategic objectives" - to "stabilise the overstretched host countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq)" and "reduce the pull factors and root causes of the migration crisis (in the entire region)".

EU: HOTSPOTS: « Hotspots » and « processing centres »: The new forms of the European policy of sorting, encampment and outsourcing of exiles (pdf)

Public meeting in Calais, France on 12 December: "the « hotspots » terminology (especially for Italy and Greece) and « processing centre » (in Niger in particular) have become the new keywords in the European institutions’ communication. Activists and researchers gathered in Calais will exchange views both on these projects and the effects which can already be observed in a number of regions declared as “front lines” of the fight against the so-called illegal emigration. Participants from Greece, Turkey, Italy and Niger will share their experiences and analysis in order to strengthen the defence of human rights and the collective struggles in favour of freedom of movement in Calais, Europe and beyond."

French: « Hotspots » et « processing centres » : Les nouveaux habits de la politique européenne d’encampement, d’externalisation et de tri des exilé•e•s (Migreurop, link)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.12.15)

EU: Internal security: "common risk indicators", internet monitoring, a European police register, entry bans and more

On 23 November the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council sent produced a detailed note outlining who is doing what within the Council to implement the EU's Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy, which was adopted in June 2015.

The strategy covers everything from terrorism to environmental crime and the note provides information on dozens of projects trying to put it into practice. This includes work on "common risk indicators" for border guards, cooperating with technology corporations to launch a counter-terrorism "IT platform", proposals to interconnect national police databases through a "register", and cooperation to better implement "certain categories of entry ban".

EU: Mass surveillance and internal security in the EU (GUE/NGL, link). Public meeting in Brussels on 2 December looking at mass surveillance, state of affairs and impact on civil liberties; and blurring the lines of law enforcement and intelligence. Speakers: Annie Machon, whistle blower - Tony Bunyan, statewatch.org - Estelle Massé, Access now - Mathias Monroy, activist and blogger - Raf Jespers, Progress Lawyer Network.

EU-PNR: Mass surveillance legislation creeps closer: leaked compromise text

According to Politico, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are close to an agreement on the Passenger Name Record Directive, which would require the mass surveillance of air travel as a first step towards the surveillance of all mass transport.

Statewatch has obtained Kirkhope's proposals for the text, which have been discussed recently with his shadow rapporteurs. See: EU-PNR Directive, Kirkhope proposals (pdf).

And: the most recent compromise text "negotiated between the Presidency and the rapporteur Kirkhope". Five key issues remain: the definition of serious crime; the inclusion of intra-EU flights; data retention provisions; data protection; and the inclusion of non-carrier economic operators (e.g. tour companies). See: Presidency, Presentation of compromise text, 14740/15, 30 November 2015

GREECE-TURKEY: PRESS RELEASE: No More Lives Lost in the Aegan Sea! (pdf)

"The undersigned organizations call on the EU and the Greek Government:
• to develop sufficient and effective resettlement programmes for refugees from third countries to the territory of European countries
• to develop refugee relocation programmes from Greece to other EU countries under which there will be significant increase in both the number of refugees relocated and the eligible countries of origin
• to offer to Greece the financial and technical support needed
• to remove the fence from the Greek-Turkish border and in any case to take all the necessary steps to ensure safe access to the land Greek-Turkey border for people entitled to international protection
• to take all the necessary steps so that the people entitled to international protection entering Greek territory are enjoying appropriate reception conditions that respect foremost human dignity."

Signed by AITMA, ARSIS, Network for the Social Support of Immigrants and Refugees, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Greek Forum of Refugees, PRAKSIS, Initiative for Detainees' Rights.

And see: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.12.15)

Commission registers call for EU sanctions on Hungary (EUobserver, link): "The European Commission registered Monday (30 November) a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) calling for a procedure against Hungary over alleged breaches of EU fundamental values.

The decision, mainly based on legal grounds, was taken while the Hungarian commissioner Tibor Navracsics was npt present. Navracsics, who is from the Fidesz, the party of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, protested in a letter to his fellow commissioners."

See: Wake up Europe ! Agir pour préserver le projet démocratique européen (The European Citizens' Initiative, link)

EU: The European Counter-Terrorism Centre: proposed powers and information systems

In October the Justice and Home Affairs Council sought to boost Europol's counter-terrorism work. This note contains an overview by Europol on "progress concerning counter terrorism related information exchange, and in particular Focal Point (FP) Travellers (relating to foreign fighters), as well as the development of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at Europol." The ECTC is supposed to start working on 1 January 2016.

‘Foreign Terrorist Fighters’: Criminalising stay in a terrorist territory? An evaluation in light of criminal law, human rights and public international law parameters (pdf): Executive summary of a study published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security: "The central question in this research is to what extent can appropriate criminalization of voluntary stay in a territory controlled by a terrorist organization be determined taking into account: fundamental principles of criminal law, i.e. the principle of legality and the requirements that only human conduct is criminally punishable and only if it is wrongful (the criminal law parameters); relevant international human rights, in particular those guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (human rights parameters); and public international law principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the authority to assert criminal jurisdiction (public international law parameters)."

The summary concludes that: "the proposed criminalisation of voluntary stay in a territory controlled by a terrorist organization' cannot be meaningfully realised within the existing legal parameters."

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (5 items, 1.12.15)

EU: Data Protection Regulation: more trilogue documents

Statewatch is publishing more documents from the Council of the EU on the negotiations over the new Data Protection Regulation, currently the subject of trilogue discussions between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. The documents include a note from the Presidency to Member States' delegations on "outstanding issues where further input is needed": data breaches, data protection officers and administrative fines, amongst other things.

EU-TURKEY: Talking Turkey: €3 billion to control migration

In the days leading up to the EU-Turkey summit that EU Council President Tusk said would "change the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow," the Commission issued its Decision on the project's funding: the €3 billion "Refugee Facility for Turkey" (pdf).

The Facility is supposed to be funded with €500 million from the EU and €2.5 billion from the Member States, and has the aim:

"to assist Turkey in addressing the immediate humanitarian and development needs of the refugees and their host communities, national and local authorities in managing and addressing the consequences of the inflow of refugees."

See also: Mülteci-Der (Association for Solidarity with Refugees): Put an end to the dirty deal and respect the human rights at the EU-Turkey summit on 29 November, 2015! (pdf): "We denounce this dirty deal over the lives of refugees. We say that no political, economical or social argument could be more precious than human lives. We call the EU and Turkish leaders to terminate this dirty deal at today's summit, to respect human rights and human honour in all their policies and practices and to be transparent in their negotiations and in their asylum/migration policies/practices."

November 2015

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.11.15)

FRANCE: Climate summit and protests during a state of emergency

"As Le Monde observed and as the Human Right League denounced, the state of emergency is being used to harass ecological activists and to block demonstrations denouncing the irresponsibility of governments facing climate change and expressing the demands of civil societies during the COP21 meeting. Even an organic farm was raided by the gendarmes, perhaps looking for bombs in the cabbages, and placards denouncing environment policies were seized as “terrorist” materials."

EU: STATELESSNESS: New Toolkit: "Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention"

"Evidence shows that detention of stateless people is a worrying trend across Europe. This is happening despite the fact that protection against arbitrary detention is well entrenched under international and regional law, as is the protection of stateless persons.

"There is a huge gulf between state obligations to respect international human rights standards and the actual realisation of those rights in practice. The lack of protection and the growth of the immigration detention industry has left many vulnerable to grave human rights abuse.

"Against this backdrop, the European Network on Statelessness has embarked on a three year project to map the extent of the issue, to create advocacy tools and to train lawyers and NGOs to protect stateless persons from arbitrary detention.

"ENS has published a series of country reports highlighting the gaps and raising awareness about the extent of the issue and impact on stateless people and a toolkit for practitioners from across Europe"

See: Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention (European Network on Statelessness, link) including the toolkit, personal stories, and country reports from Malta, the Netherlands and Poland.

News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (14 stories, 30.11.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and crucial new documents: 28-29.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU-TURKEY: Meeting of heads of state or government with Turkey - EU-Turkey statement, 29/11/2015 (pdf):

[Point 7] "The EU and Turkey agreed to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. As a consequence, both sides will, as agreed and with immediate effect, step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection, preventing travel to Turkey and the EU, ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and swiftly returning migrants who are not in
need of international protection to their countries of origin."
[emphasis added]

And: Press remarks by President Donald Tusk after the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey (pdf):

"we expect a major step towards changing the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey. Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier." [emphasis added]

Press coverage: Germany's plan to strike EU-wide refugee-sharing deal stalls (Guardian, link): "Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries after meeting EC resistance to pro-quota pact with Turkey.... Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the EU on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.... Merkel’s mini-summit brought together the leaders of Germany, Austria and Sweden – the countries taking the most refugees – Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Greece (and probably France)...."

Refugee crisis: European Commission statistics up to 27-11-15 (pdf)

Comment on the current situation: The "relocation" process is at a complete standstill and worse the number of "relocation" offers seems to have actually fallen from 3,546 places on 6 November to 3,216.

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: (General Data Protection Regulation) [First reading]: Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue - Preparation for trilogue - Chapters I, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI (LIMITE doc no:14319-15, pdf) 372 pages: Multi-column document:

"Annex a comparative table which compares in 4 columns the Commission proposal, the position of the European Parliament in 1st reading, the Council’s General Approach and compromises tentatively agreed at previous trilogues as well as compromise suggestions by the Presidency. Text marked in brackets will be discussed by the Permanent Representatives Committee at a later stage in relation to other provisions of the text." and

Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue - Preparation for trilogue - Chapters I, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI (LIMITE doc no:14318-15, 12 pages,pdf): Examines key differences between the Council and the European Parliament:

"the Presidency submits for examination with a view to confirmation to the Permanent Representatives Committee compromise suggestions on the main outstanding issues relating to Chapters I, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI of the draft General Data Protection Regulation. On the basis of the outcome of this examination, the Presidency will engage in trilogue with the European Parliament with the aim to find an early second reading agreement...."

and includes this extraordinary proposal by the Council:

"In Article 21(2), the European Parliament insists that a legislative measure restricting certain obligations and rights should contain the right for data subjects to be informed about such a restriction. Since the wording proposed by the European Parliament is not acceptable for Council, the Presidency suggests to reformulate as follows:

“the right for data subjects to have a general indication about the restriction, unless this may be prejudicial to the purpose of the restriction.”"
[emphasis added]

Paris climate activists put under house arrest using emergency laws (Guardian, link): "French police arrest activists for flouting ban on organising protests during climate talks next week... At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.... The author and climate change campaigner, Naomi Klein, accused French authorities of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.

“Climate summits are not photo opportunities to boost the popularity of politicians,” she told the Guardian. “Given the stakes of the climate crisis, they are by their nature highly contested. That is democracy, messy as it may be. The French government, under cover of anti-terrorism laws, seems to be trying to avoid this, shamefully banning peaceful demonstrations and using emergency powers to pre-emptively detain key activists.” "

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30 news stories and documents: 27.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Updated on 27 November (pdf)

- "Relocations" Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000 needed), no change for three weeks... Only 159 people have been relocated: 129 from Italy and 30 form Greece - with major press coverage...

- Returns since September (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 609 people (up 1) plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece. Italy was the "Organising Member State" for two return flights to Nigeria. Returns flights have been to: Kosovo, Nigeria, Albania, Pakistan and Georgia.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf) The Total Reception Capacity in Lesvos is: 700 (Moria) and next door: 780 (Kara Tepe) where there are: Frontex: 54 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer)

- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million: (Communicated as of 27 November 2015) Member States Africa Trust Fund Syria Trust Fund Humanitarian aid (pdf) The total Shortfall is: 2,227,660 euro. The total pledged by EU Member States is only 572,34 m euro.

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

UK: Warning of backlash over car number plate camera network (Guardian, link):

"Police chiefs face public backlash over the way system is operating, says government’s CCTV commissioner... Britain’s network of number plate recognition cameras amounts to “one of the largest data gatherers in the world” and threatens to spark a public outcry against police mass surveillance, the CCTV commissioner has warned.... Porter expressed frustration at the refusal of police to publish details about the number and location of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, and evidence of their effectiveness. “Given the large-scale data acquisition of such a system, I find this surprising,” he told the Guardian."

See: Surveillance Camera Commissioner Annual Report 2014/15 (pdf)

News Digest  (20 stories, 27.11.15)

EU: Refugee crisis: Statewatch Briefing: Italy: MSF report on reception conditions in Pozzallo (pdf):

On 17 November 2015, MSF published a report on reception conditions in the CPSA (Centro di Primo Soccorso e Accoglienza, First Aid and Reception Centre) in Pozzallo which was submitted to the Commission of Inquiry into the system for reception, identification and holding of migrants, highlighting a number of serious shortcomings. MSF has been operating in the centre since February 2015, in order to attend to the medical and humanitarian needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who disembark in Sicily, in cooperation with the Ragusa province’s health authority (ASP, Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale).

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10 news stories: 26.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

  EU: European Commission: Firearms: Report from the Commission: Evaluation on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (pdf)

"the evaluators flagged the lack of key data relating to both market and security aspects. Regarding the market aspect, available statistics at national and EU level usually did not distinguish civilian from military firearms (therefore making it difficult to isolate data on civilian firearms). Even when this was possible, data were not always available at Member States level for all countries (due to confidentiality), thus not allowing tracing trends of production over time. , Finally the main company operating in the sector did not provide large access to information....

Due to the lack of comprehensive data, it has been difficult for the evaluator to assess the effectiveness of the Directive in connection to the security objectives. In particular, the analysis was hampered by the lack of an information base including specific and detailed data on criminal offences committed with legally owned firearms, converted alarm weapons and reactivated firearms in EU MS.."

 EU:  Visa Information System: private companies gathering data, insufficient funding for data protection

The first data protection report on the EU's Visa Information System, which holds the personal information (including biometrics) of all EU visa applicants and holders, was adopted last month by the system's 'Supervision Coordination Group', made up of national data protection authorities and coordinated by the European Data Protection Supervisor's office. Issues noted in the report, which covers the period from 2012 to 2014, include the use of private contractors to process personal information collected for visa applications, a lack of financial resources for data protection authorities, and various infringements of data protection law and principles by the authorities.

The report: Visa Information System Coordinated Supervision Group, Activity Report 2012-2014 (pdf)

NORWAY SHUTS BORDERS from 26 November - 6 December:due to "migratory pressure": Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the Norwegian internal borders in accordance with Articles 23 and 25 of Regulation (EC) 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf)

and see: Norway runs anti-refugee ads in Afghanistan (The Local.no, link): "Ads from the Norwegian government are in Afghan newspapers this week warning that potential asylum seekers “will be returned by force”."

'Reckless' Police Scotland spied on journalist's sources and breached communication rules, watchdog probe finds (Daily Record, link):

"SCOTLAND’S police force has admitted spying on the sources of journalists. They’ve been found to have breached communications rules in a major investigation by a watchdog that’s branded them “reckless”. Police Scotland didn’t follow guidelines on five occasions while investigating how information relating to a case made it into the public domain.

A report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) said they failed to seek judicial approval during efforts to find the source a journalist had used for a news story. The Rt Hon. Sir Stanley Burnton, Interception of Communications Commissioner, said today: “It is evident from these applications that Police Scotland sought communications data in order to determine either a journalist’s source or the communications of those suspected to have been acting as intermediaries between a journalist and a suspected source.”

He added: “I am satisfied that four individuals were adversely affected by these contraventions and that the failures identified can properly be viewed as reckless"

And see Press release: Statement by the Interception of Communications Commissioner (pdf). and Full report (55 pages, pdf)

France's new emergency powers interfere with rights to privacy, freedom of association (IFEX, link): "France should apply broad new powers granted under an expanded state of emergency law in as narrow and limited manner as possible to avoid trampling on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The law expands the government's emergency powers under a 1955 law. It also extends the state of emergency by three months as of November 26, 2015, when the 12 days te government can carry out a state of emergency without a parliamentary extension ends."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories: 24.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies: Challenging state and corporate impunity: is accountability possible? (pdf):

David Whyte introduced the event and reflected on the lessons of the previous two conferences. Secondly, Suresh Grover considered how the police can be made accountable in the context of institutional racism. Tony Bunyan considered how researchers can lend their efforts in supporting movements towards more comprehensive state accountability. Sarah Lamble discussed how accountability is restricted by being presented in an individualist context, and suggests how it can be used more effectively when broadened to the community. Deborah Hargreaves reflected on how the current neoliberal agenda prevents effective corporate
accountability; and how this can be challenged in order to improve social responsibility. Finally, Ewa Jasiewicz reflected on the difficulties associated with the use of journalism to aid movements for international accountability.

EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Council of the European Union: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Report: State of play on implementation of the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14438-15, pdf). Update on a swathe of measures.

European Area of Freedom, security and Justice (freegroup, link) comments:

"Statewatch leaked document on the state of play of EU Antiterrorism policy (and its perspectives..) On the Statewatch site is now accessible a very interesting document of the EU Counter terrorism Coordinator in preparation of the Justice and Home affairs Council meeting of December 4, 2015. Without prejudice of the political and legal judgment that anyone can have on the initiatives listed below the text gives a very comprehensive (and relatively objective ) view of the current state of play of the EU initiatives. It remains a mystery why this kind of purely descriptive documents are not directly accessible to the public, to the European and national parliaments."

EU: Can Member States still use: DATA RETENTION?: Council of the European Union: Retention of electronic communication data - General debate (pdf)

"The current state of play is as follows: the transposition law of the Data Retention Directive has been invalidated in at least 11 Member States (AT, BE, BG, DE, LT, NL, PL, RO, SI, SK, UK). Amongst these, 9 countries have had the law invalidated by the Constitutional Court (AT, BE, BG, DE, SI, NL, PL, RO, SK). In 15 Member States (CY, CZ, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, HR, HU, IE, LU, LV, MT, PT, SE) the domestic law on data retention remains in force, while they are still processing communication data."

EU: Drones at the borders: technical study outlines possibilities for EU institutions and Member States

Statewatch has obtained a detailed technical study produced by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) that provides "an analysis of the possible use of RPAS [remotely piloted aerial systems] for border surveillance/monitoring, communications and signal detection (especially mobile phone communication signals)." The report sets out "a series of [technical] criteria... that could be used for assisting the design/procurement of RPAS for border surveillance operations."

The study: European Commission Joint Research Centre: Identification of current limitations for the use of unmanned aerial systems for border surveillance: Part A: Analysis of possible use for surveillance/monitoring, communications, signal detection (pdf)

EU Shared values? Ongoing disagreement amongst Member States on proposed anti-discrimination law

EU Member States still can't agree on a Directive proposed in 2008 that would "extend the protection against discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation to areas outside employment," covering "social protection, including social security and healthcare; education; and access to goods and services, including housing.

According to a progress report published by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council on 16 November 2015: "A very large majority of delegations have welcomed the proposal in principle," and: "Most delegations have affirmed the importance of promoting equal treatment as a shared social value within the EU." However....

Romania To Pay Damages Over 1989 Protests (Balkan Insight, link):

"Romania has been told to pay compensation to eight people of 2,400 euro each for the length of criminal proceedings in a case related to their ill-treatment in December 1989. "The European Court for Human Rights announced the ruling on Tuesday. "Between 21 and 23 December 1989, the applicants took part in anti-communist demonstrations in Bucharest, which led to the fall of the communist regime."

Judgment: Case of Alexandrescu and others v Romania (Applications nos. 56842/08 and 7 others) (pdf)

News Digest  (18 stories, 25.11.15)

Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU  21 October - 24 November 2015 (pdf) New key documents and decision-making by the Council of the European Union, European Commission and Agencies plus Commentaries - 86 entries

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22 news stories and documents: 24.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Latest European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (Updated on 24 November, pdf):

Summary: No more offers of "relocation" places in past two weeks, so still only 3,216 places offered to meet need for 160,000. This stasis is feeding into the new barriers (both physical and new "rules" limiting entry) being constructed and putting pressure on Serbia, Macedonia and Greece.

- Relocation offers by Member States (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000).
159 (was 168 oreviously) people have been "relocated". There have been no more offers of relocation.

- Returns: since September (pdf) Joint Frontex Return flights: 608 (previously, 569) people have been returned, plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece.

- "Hotspots: staffing in Greece and Italy (pdf)

- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf)

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

EU: Council calls for Summit with Turkey on migration: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the EU heads of state or government for a meeting with Turkey (pdf):

"I have now decided to call a meeting of the Heads of State or government of the EU with Turkey this coming Sunday (29 November). The meeting will mark an important step in developing our relations and contribute to managing the migration crisis."

EU-Turkey meeting on refugees likely as pressure builds on Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Amid reports of a possible meeting soon between the European Union and Turkey on the refugee crisis, the pressure continued to mount on Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where hundreds of migrants are stuck demanding passage."

News Digest  (20 stories, 24.11.15)

UK: Mayor on track to roll-out police body cameras across the Met (College of Policing, link): "The Mayor of London and Commissioner of the Metropolitan police today confirmed that plans to introduce police body worn video to all frontline police officers are moving ahead, as a new report finds strong public support for the cameras.

"A three year contract to provide 22,000 body worn video devices across the Met has now been awarded, with the first deliveries due early next year. The move follows the world’s largest trial of the cameras, across ten London boroughs over 12 months. In a new report by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime and the College of Policing, the use of the cameras has been welcomed by Londoners and found to reduce some types of complaints and allegations against police officers."

Full report: Police, Camera, Evidence: London’s cluster randomised controlled trial of Body Worn Video (pdf)

And see: Bouncers and council officials with body cams 'posing privacy risk' (Wired, link) and Cameras worn by Met's armed police are 'blocked whenever they aim their guns' (Evening Standard, link)

EU: Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): Crisis management missions outside EU looking for new migration roles: Germany/Netherlands: DE/NL Food for Thought-Paper Tapping the full potential of CSDP in the field of migration (13 November 2015, pdf):

"it must be clear that CSDP missions are a crises management instrument... CSDP Missions have encompassed a variety of approaches and tools for crisis management and stabilization. They range from the training of security forces and the support for the rule of law, to the provision of a military or civilian presence to safeguard elections or to monitor border arrangements and ceasefire agreements, to the fight against piracy or other forms of organised crime....

we should explore whether a horizontal CSDP mission specifically for migration issues, with its HQ in the EU itself, could serve to rapidly deploy expertise to third countries to assist in analyzing and addressing specific issues that affect migration flows into the EU."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14 news stories and documents: 23.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

UK: Metropolitan police apology on undercover police relationships: campaigners respond

From Police Spies Out of Lives, a support group for legal action by eight women deceived into-long term intimiate relationships with undercover police officers: "On 20 November 2015 the women won a very significant development: after a four-year legal battle, the Metropolitan Police apologised. The apology was part of a settlement with all but one of the women."

See: Met Apology and Met police concede violation of women’s human rights (link).

Analysis: Police Apology for Relationships: Where Next? (Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, link): "The only way we will get the truth is if those who were targeted tell their stories. The only way that can happen is if they know that their former friend and comrade was in fact a police spy. If the Inquiry is to serve its purpose, and if the Met are truly contrite, then they must publish the cover names of all undercover officers from the political policing units."

And: the apology from the Metropolitan Police (pdf): "As part of the settlement, the details of which are confidential, the MPS agreed to publish the full apology that
has been given personally to those seven women.
"

Greek Crewman Accused of Sinking Syrian Refugee Boat (Sputnik: Video, link):

"Refugees with kids fleeing from Syria have been caught on the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe by Greek coastguard crewmen who reportedly tried to pierce their rubber boat... An "armed masked man" whose identity remains unidentified is seen multiple times disabling vessels with refugees and towing them back to Turkey... The Greek coastguard left the scene just after the boat started to sink, so it was left to the Turkish boat to take drowning refugees on board and take them back to the Turkish city of Didim".

FRANCE-EU: What does a ‘state of emergency’ mean in France? (France 24, link): "French President François Hollande was quick to declare a state of emergency in the wake of Friday’s bloody terror attacks in Paris. But what does the "etat d'urgence" mean for the country and its citizens as they go about their daily lives?" And: Mass raids after Paris attacks spark civil rights fears (Al Jazeera, link) and COP21 climate marches in Paris not authorised following attacks (The Guardian, link)

see also: EU: Ministers commit to reinforcing Europol's counter-terror capabilities (press release, pdf): "Following the horrific attacks in Paris on Friday 13 November, Europol continues to provide 24/7 support to the counter-terrorist investigations in France and Belgium. This includes following up investigative leads from Europol's intelligence databases, facilitating cooperation via Europol's in-house network of liaison officers from nearly 40 countries, and contributing specific expertise on various aspects of the case." and see: Point 7, 'Information sharing', of the 20 November JHA Council conclusions on counter-terrorism (pdf)

And: Paris is being used to justify agendas that had nothing to do with the attack (Guarian, link): "The Paris attackers weren’t Syrian, and they didn’t use encryption, but the US government is still using the carnage to justify attempts to ban them both"

News Digest  (14 stories, 23.11.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 news stories and documents: 21-22.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive: 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 research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] [First reading] - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 13974-15, 71 pages, pdf)

See: European Parliament: Deal on new rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU (pdf):

EU: In the light of the refugee humanitarian crisis this year, and the recent Valletta Summit with Africa, it is interesting to look at the following, highly detailed Council of the European Union report on "migratory pressures", adopted in May 2014: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response - 4th Biannual Update (LIMITE doc no: 9277-rev-1-14, 78 pages, pdf) including:

"Strategic Priority III- Preventing illegal immigration from Turkey:

Several initiatives aimed at preventing illegal immigration from Turkey have been undertaken at various levels. Regarding cooperation between the Greek and Turkish authorities, progress has been noticed in a number of areas during the last period of time....

And under: "Strategic priority area: Preventing illegal immigration from Turkey"

"As of August 2012 and continuing, seaborne migratory flows transiting from Turkey to Greece destined to other EU Member States/Schengen Associated Countries have increased significantly...."

Refugee Crisis: Balkans border blocks leave thousands segregated and stranded in Greece (AI, link):

"During the night of 18 November, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia all changed their border management practices suddenly, without prior notice, and more or less simultaneously.

Macedonia was the first to act, by refusing to admit anyone unless they have papers to prove they originate from Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. This meant that hundreds of people were stranded, either because they are from other countries, including Iran, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan, or because they do not have identity papers. Greek border police in the village of Idomeni continue to prevent nationals of countries other than Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria from leaving on the basis that Macedonia would not let them in.

"These governments appear to have acted without thinking through the consequences for thousands of people who are now stranded in grossly inadequate conditions with nowhere to go and precious little humanitarian assistance. With thousands more people on the way, action is urgently needed to reverse this worsening disaster" John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents: 20.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Conclusions of the Council and Member States on counter-terrorism (pdf) and Conclusions of the Council of the European Union and of the Member States meeting within the Council on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism (pdf)

- Draft Conclusions of the Council of the European Union and of the Member States meeting within the Council on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism (14350-15, pdf)

- Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (14375-15, pdf)

Agenda main: B-points (pdf) and A points (adopted without discussion, pdf. Both in French

IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF Joint Statement on New Border Restrictions in the Balkans (link):

"In the last couple of days, we have witnessed Governments instituting a range of restrictions against movements of refugees and migrants from Greece through the Western Balkans and further northwards.

This includes people being profiled on the basis of nationality. This is becoming increasingly untenable from every point of view – humanitarian, legal, and also safety related, not least in light of falling temperatures and the risks for children and others with specific needs.

These measures by States are creating tension at border crossings and a domino effect, leaving in total limbo some refugees and migrants stranded at different border points..."

And: Tempers flare at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com): "Tempers have flared at Greece’s main border crossing with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where riot police pushed back thousands of migrants jostling to cross over, after FYROM blocked access to people deemed to be economic migrants and not refugees. Holding their identity papers aloft, several hundred Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, who are being allowed into FYROM, crossed the border Friday morning until police halted the flow again to ease congestion on the FYROM side. Once across, migrants head for the nearby Gevgelija train station, to continue by rail north through Serbia toward wealthier northern European Union countries. About 3,000 people remain on the Greek side of the border near the village of Idomeni, including about 1,000 Iranians and north Africans whom FYROM is not letting in."

News Digest  (22 stories, 20.11.15)

House of Commons Research Library: Briefing Paper: Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (pdf): "The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill was published by the Home Office on 4 November 2015. It seeks to update and consolidate existing legislation governing the use of investigatory powers, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000."

UK: Met Police apology for women tricked into relationships (BBC News, link):

"The Metropolitan Police has made an "unreserved apology" to seven women who were tricked into relationships with undercover officers. Scotland Yard said the women were deceived "pure and simple". The public apology and compensation covers sexual relationships conducted by officers from two now-disbanded undercover units. In a statement, the women said it would never "make up for what we and others have endured". ...

In their statement the women criticised the police for failing to extend their apology to the children affected by the relationships which were "hidden from the public for decades". "The police still refuse to publicly acknowledge the harm caused to the children born of and into these relationships or even bring themselves to refer to them in their apology today," they said."

1,200 undercover police officers operating across England and Wales (Guardian, link): "Watchdog lambasts senior officers responsible for tactic and calls for reform of national group overseeing covert deployments"

EU: Migrant journeys: respecting the dead (IRR, link): An interview with Catriona Jarvis, former judge of the United Kingdom Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), and now a writer/ activist on human rights initiatives.

"Where states fail to take all reasonable steps to safeguard and identify the dead so as to enable surviving family to recover, lay to rest and mourn their loved ones, potential breaches of the right to dignity and to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment arise, as well as failure to respect the right to family life and to physical and moral integrity of those left behind...

across Europe, and indeed globally, there is an urgent need for a new visa regime to allow not only humanitarian visas for those fleeing serious harm, but also visas to permit lawful movement of bereaved family members and procedures for repatriation of bodies in such situations."

See also: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis: A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.

Historic initiative: journalists take European Parliament to court: Journalists from all over Europe have asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the hidden records of MEPs' allowances after the EP denied the journalists' request (link) and see: Statement (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and documents: 19.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Statewatch: Briefing: Counter-terrorism: what the EU is discussing after the Paris attacks

A recent note distributed to a whole host of national officials provides more details on the security measures interior ministers will discuss at the emergency EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on Friday: border control, surveillance, firearms control and countering terrorist financing.

Full briefing: Counter-terrorism: what the EU is discussing after the Paris attacks (pdf)

The note (dated 16 November) was written by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and Gilles de Kerchove, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, and raises a number of issues for discussion on what further counter-terrorism measures to pursue following the attacks in Paris on Friday.

The document: Follow-up to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris (LIMITE, 14122/15, 16 November 2015, pdf)

Refugee crisis: Serbia, FYROM limit migrant passage to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghan (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have begun limiting the passage of migrants across their borders to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, turning back Africans and Asians, the United Nations said on Thursday. A senior police source in FYROM, who declined to be named, said Skopje had acted after European Union member Slovenia, further along the migrant path, had told countries in the region that it would start doing the same. “They will turn back all others on the basis they are economic migrants,” the official said." and:

Balkan countries implement tighter border restrictions (DW, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says three Balkan countries have shut their borders for migrants from states that are not directly engulfed in wars. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through the Balkan route to reach Germany. ... The UNHCR says Macedonia has begun allowing only people from these three countries to cross its southern border from Greece, while Greek authorities say migrants of other nationalities are gathering on the Greek side of the border and blocking the crossing completely. Aleksandra Kraus, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Macedonia, said Thursday that Macedonian authorities had begun allowing only people from warzones to enter the country because Serbian authorities had imposed the same criteria on those attempting to cross the Macedonian-Serbian border.""

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14298-15, pdf): includes:

"implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement,...

in the context of the current migratory crisis, carry out a systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of all migrants entering into the Schengen area and perform systematic security checks by using relevant databases in particular SIS II, Interpol SLTD database, VIS and national police databases, with the support of Frontex and Europol, and ensure that hotspots are equipped with the relevant technology. Europol will deploy guest officers to the hotspots in support of the screening process. in particular by reinforcing secondary security controls,...

provide, in its proposal to update the Frontex Regulation, a solid legal basis for the contribution of Frontex to the fight against terrorism and organised crime and access to the relevant databases.... Frontex will: contribute to the fight against terrorism and support the coordinated implementation of the Common Risk Indicators (CRIs) before the end of 2015, – assist the Member States to tighten controls of external borders to detect suspicious travels of foreign terrorist fighters and smuggling of firearms, in cooperation with Europol, – work closely with Europol and Eurojust, in particular in the context of the hotspots..."

and see: EU travellers to face stricter checks under French border plan (Guardian, link): "Exclusive: Britons likely to be worst hit by demands for more rigorous border controls in wake of Paris attacks... All EU citizens would face much tighter and systematic ID checks when leaving or entering Europe’s 26-country free-travel area, under new demands France is making of its EU partners following the terror attacks in Paris.

If endorsed by EU interior ministers on Friday, the French demands would severely affect Britons travelling to and from the continent because the crackdown would apply not to the internal but to the external borders of the free-travel zone known as Schengen, of which Britain is not a part. The Franco-British border is an external Schengen border."

French government: Proposals on Counter Terrorism for the extraordinary JHA Council on 20 November (pdf) See above

EU: Lack of EU data retention law "a matter of concern" for Member States

The issue of a "common legal framework" for telecoms data retention is resurfacing at EU level in discussions on the "effective collection, sharing and admissibility of e-evidence" and "the needs of effective criminal justice in the digital age."

On 4 November the Presidency of the Council of the EU (currently held by Luxembourg) sent a note on "collecting e-evidence in the digital age - the way forward" to national officials involved in the Council's CATS Committee, in order to prepare for an early December debate amongst national justice ministers that will "provide political guidance on the way forward."

EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Council of the European Union: 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 (pdf):

"Inclusion of intra-EU flights

10. Article 1a of the Council general approach allows Member States to request PNR data from intra-EU flights. The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters has reinforced the operational need of such (possible) inclusion since the general approach on the PNR Directive was reached in April 2012. Rapporteur KIRKHOPE has, however, not been able to persuade a majority of the LIBE MEPs of the necessity of such extension.

11. Following discussions with Member States at expert level, the Presidency has indicated to the rapporteur that it is not in a position to propose a compromise on this crucial item....

Data Retention

The negotiations have shown that an initial storage period of 30 days is generally considered much too short from an operational point of view. Article 9 has been redrafted .... Taking into consideration the operational needs the initial retention period is set at two years... initial storage period during which the PNR data are not masked out could be reduced to 12 months..."
EU: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis::

A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.

This article takes up the crucial issue of what happens to those who have died in the Mediterranean? Are their deaths recorded and the next of kin informed? What systems are in place to ensure relatives, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons know what happen to their relatives and where they are? This harrowing account traces what does, and does not happen. And asks the question, why is there no EU-wide procedure in place to ensure that the dead do not just disappear into unknown graves?

EU agency identifies 2,000 foreign fighters (ekathimerini.com, linl): "Wainwright says that half of all the entries for the database come from only five of the EU's 28 member states and one international partner."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and documents: 18.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Surveillance by intelligence services: fundamental rights safeguards and remedies in the EU Mapping Member States’ legal frameworks (pdf):

"This report – which constitutes the first part of FRA’s response to this request – aims to support the adoption and meaningful implementation of oversight mechanisms in the EU and its Member States. It does so by analysing the legal frameworks on surveillance in place in EU Member States, focusing on so-called ‘mass surveillance’, which carries a particularly high potential for abuse."

European Commission; The European Commission today adopted a package of measures to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the European Union (Press release, pdf) and Commission Proposals to strengthen control of firearms: Questions & Answers (pdf). and see: Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possesion of weapons (link)

Also: Remarks of Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Press Conference on the Preparation of the 20 November Justice and Home Affairs Council and the Firearms Package (pdf):

"We are planning a revision of SIS to facilitate the implementation of travel bans.... We will also have a proposal for a Directive modifying the existing EU framework on Terrorism by the end of November already. This will harmonise criminalisation of offences linked to terrorist travel, passive training, financing and facilitation of such travel to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters...".

EU plans tough new anti-terrorism laws (DW, link): "Brussels is to widen the number of actions punishable under anti-terrorism legislation in response to the Paris attacks. New laws will make it harder for individuals to access firearms.

EU: Verhofstadt calls for creation of EU intelligence agency (euractiv, link):

"Faced with the failure of European security cooperation, the leader of the Liberals in the European Parliament has called for the creation of an EU intelligence agency... At a debate in Brussels on Wednesday (18 November), the Belgian politician focussed on the situation in Syria and the fact that France had broken new ground by activating article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty... "

The activation of article 42.7 is a development that passed largely unnoticed, but that is of fundamental importance. Previously we would have invoked article five of NATO or article 222 of the Treaty of the EU, which concerns domestic security," the MEP said. Verhofstadt believes the activation of article 42.7 necessarily implies the creation of a European coalition that other states can contribute to."

EU: Two-speed Europe is the future of enlarged EU, Juncker says (Reuters, link):

"I think that, eventually, it will no longer be possible that 33, 34 or 35 states will proceed with the same speed and the same momentum in the same direction," Juncker said. His comments mark a clear departure from the line of the previous EU executive, led by Jose Manuel Barroso. Barroso opposed allowing a split within the EU and creating core and non-core EU countries - a two-speed Europe.

The EU now has 28 members. It is in negotiations to accept all the Balkan countries not already members and Turkey in the long term. Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland already apply most of the EU legislation, even though they are not members of the European Union, because it makes cooperation and trade with the large neighbour easier. Of the 28 EU countries, 19 share the euro currency and more laws and procedures than non-euro zone members. They have a banking union with a single bank supervisor, a bank resolution fund and a European deposit guarantee scheme."

EU: European Parliament Study: Supporting European security and defence with existing EU measures and procedures (105 pages, pdf):

"Focusing on the support of non-CSDP policies for CSDP measures, both in the field of crisis management and defence, this study submits that CSDP cannot effectively contribute to EU external action by itself, but only in coherence with other EU policies and instruments."

European Parliament: Deal on new rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU (pdf):

"Harmonised EU entry and residence rules that will make it easier and more attractive for students and researchers from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were informally agreed by MEPs and ministers on Tuesday. The deal also has provisions to clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs, so as to facilitate cultural exchanges. These rules still need to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers."

European Parliament study: Practices and approaches in EU Member States to prevent and end statelessness (pdf):

"The aim of the present study is to describe the practices and approaches in all EU Member States concerning the prevention and eradication of statelessness. For that purpose the study analyses the relevant international and European standards (Chapter 2) and assesses the national practices in light of these standards (Chapter 3). Since the prevention and eradication of statelessness depends on proper mechanisms to identify stateless populations, the subject of procedures for determining statelessness is addressed. We also investigate whether installing such a procedure creates a ‘pull factor’ (Chapter 4). The study ends with a detailed analysis of the possible role of the European Union in preventing and reducing statelessness (Chapter 5)."

The findings include:

And see: European Network on Statelessness (link)

News Digest (16 stories, 18.11.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30 news stories and documents: 17.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (17.11.15, link)

- Relocation offers by Member States (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000).168 people have been "relocated". There have been no more offers of relocation in the past week.

- Returns: since September (pdf) Joint Frontex Return flights: 569 people have been returned, plus 153 from Italy, none from Greece.

- "Hotspots: staffing in Greece and Italy (pdf)

- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf)

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

EU: European Commission: European Agenda on Security - State of Play (Press release: 17.11.15, pdf):

"What is next? The Commission will give priority to the following actions:

Framework decision on terrorism: following the adoption of the additional protocol to the Council of Europe convention of terrorism, the Commission will propose a directive harmonising the criminalisation of offences linked to terrorist travel, passive training, financing and facilitation of such travel.

Freezing of terrorist assets: the Commission intends to finalise its assessment of possible benefits of additional measures in the area of terrorism financing, including measures relating to the freezing of terrorist assets under Article 75 TFEU, to illicit trade in cultural goods, to the control of forms of payment such as internet transfers and pre-paid cards, to illicit cash movements and to the strengthening of the Cash Controls Regulation.

Prüm framework: this is an information exchange tool that is yet to be used to its full potential. It can offer automated comparison of DNA profiles, fingerprint data and vehicle registration data – which are key to detecting crime and building an effective case for prosecutions. The system is falling short of its potential because at this stage only a limited number of Member States have implemented their legal obligations and integrated the network with their own systems. The Commission will continue to prioritise the enforcement of the existing Prüm framework as a matter of urgency and is exploring in parallel the need for and possible benefits to propose a directive to improve cross-border law enforcement information exchange.

Border Package and Smart Borders: Common high standards of border management are essential to fighting terrorism. The Border Package to be presented before the end of the year will create a European Border Guard with much stronger obligations in terms of cooperation. The Smart Borders initiative – planned for 2016 – will provide for a much more effective EU entry/exit system permitting to trace the movements of third country nationals across the EU's external border."

EU-US: Safe Harbour 2.0 framework begins to capsize as January deadline nears (Ars Technica, link): "Safe Harbour 2.0, currently being drawn up by the EU and US authorities, "will not provide a viable framework for future transfers of personal information" across the Atlantic according to a group of human rights and privacy organisations. In a letter sent to the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, and to the US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, the 20 EU and 14 US NGOs instead urge the politicians "to commit to a comprehensive modernization of privacy and data protection laws on both sides of the Atlantic.""

See: EU-US NGO letter on Safe Harbor after Schrems (pdf) and: Europe, tech giants face off over consumer privacy (USA Today, link)

News Digest (18 stories, 17.11.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents: 16.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU-USA: Speech by Commissioner Jourová: The future of U.S.-EU data transfer arrangements at the Brookings Institution (pdf)

"One of the essential elements of our agreement is therefore the Judicial Redress Bill that has recently been voted by the House. The Judicial Redress Bill would extend the rights US citizens and residents enjoy under the 1974 Privacy Act also to Europeans."

And see: Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing: ""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."

G20 Statement on the fight against terrorism (pdf)

"We reaffirm that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.... through swift implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards in all jurisdictions.... combatting radicalization and recruitment, hampering terrorist movements, countering terrorist propaganda and to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite terrorist acts, including through the internet. The direct or indirect encouragement of terrorism, the incitement of terrorist acts and glorification of violence must be prevented.... tackle this phenomenon, including operational information-sharing, border management to detect travel, preventive measures..."

GERMANY: 'Triple agent' admits he spied for CIA for cash (The Local.de, link): "A German suspected triple agent charged with treason admitted Monday to spying for the CIA, telling a court he had done so out of dissatisfaction with his secret service job.... If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison."

Presumption of innocence directive agreed (Fair trials, link):

"In the last two weeks, the European Parliament and Council (bringing together the EU Member States) agreed a final text for the Directive on the Presumption of Innocence (POI) and the right to be present at one’s trial, which will become the fourth EU law on fair trial rights adopted since 2010. It makes some welcome improvements, some proposed by the Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP), but in other respects is arguably an opportunity missed."

See also: The new Directive on the presumption of innocence: protecting the ‘golden thread’ (EU Law Analysis (link)

The Edward Snowden guide to practical privacy - NSA whistleblower talks turkey about personal surveillance (The Register, link)

European Commission: Transcript of Press Conference - G20 Summit in Antalya (15.11.15, pdf)

"President Juncker: I try to make it crystal clear that we should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe. The one who is responsible for the attacks in Paris cannot be put on an equal footing with real refugees, with asylum seekers and with displaced people. These are criminals and not refugees or asylum seekers. I would like to invite those in Europe who are trying to change the migration agenda we have adopted –I would like to invite them to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions. I don't like it."

And see: Juncker: Don’t mix up terrorists and refugees (euobserver, link): "The attackers in Paris and Middle East refugees should not be mixed up, warned EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday (15 November).He also called on member states not to reject people who are fleeing from the same terror that shocked the French capital on Friday night. "We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe," Juncker told a news conference in Antalya, Turkey, where a G20 summit of world leaders is taking place. “Those who organised these attacks and those that perpetrated them are exactly those that the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite,” he said."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories: 14-15.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

The Secure & the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-Changed World (link):

"What if government and corporate elites have given up on stopping climate change and prefer to try to manage its consequences instead? In the weeks running up to the major UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), this event will examine issues raised by a new book, The Secure and the Dispossesed: How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-Changed World (Transnational Institute).

The book unveils a new climate security agenda in which dystopian preparations by the powerful are already fuelling militarised security responses to the unfolding climate crisis. But it also puts forward and tells the stories of the inspiring alternatives that promise a just transition to a climate-changed world."

Book place at book launch on 18:30 Wednesday 25 Nov 2015.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19 news stories and key documents (13.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

UK: The Race Relations Act 1965 –blessing or curse? (IRR, link):

"How should we be evaluating the impact of the race relations acts, the first of which became law fifty years ago? ... The fight for racial justice that the Claudia Joneses, Frances Ezzrecos and Vishnu Sharmas began some sixty years back, goes on – and now in a context where the dominant discourse makes it that much harder to argue for equality, justice and an acceptance of difference. Back to the future."

Refugee crisis: European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Brussels, 12 November 2015 (pdf)

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf): Greece and Italy. Lesvos, Greece::"Total Reception Capacity 700 (Moria) 780 (Kara Tepe)"
- Returns since September (pdf) From Italy 153 and none from Greece. Frontex 569 "returns"
- Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (pdf) Relocation places available: 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000). A totlaof 142 refugees have been relocated.
- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015 (pdf)
- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: First report: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (6.11.15, pdf)

CoE: Third party intervention: Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on migration cases concerning Spain (link):

"Today, Commissioner Muižnieks has submitted written observations to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to two complaints concerning alleged pushbacks of migrants from the Spanish city of Melilla to Morocco.

Basing his observations on his visit to Melilla in January 2015 as well as on other credible reports, the Commissioner underscores the existence of an established practice of summary returns of migrants who attempt to enter Melilla in groups by climbing the fence surrounding the city. “Such returns, which affect Sub-Saharan Africans in particular, take place outside of any formal procedure and without identification of the persons concerned or assessment of their individual situation. This prevents the persons concerned from effectively exercising their right to seek international protection” he writes in his third party intervention."

and Written submission to the court: CoE ECHR-Spain (pdf)

European Parliament Study: Migrants in the Mediterranean:Protecting Human Rights (62 pages, pdf) Concludes that current policies are more geared to keeping so-called "illegal" migrants out and to return them rather than with effective measures to protect human rights and saving lives. Well worth reading.

European Parliament Study: Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty: Improving Functioning of the EU: Foreign Affairs (pdf):

"The report provides an analysis of the changes in the constitutional and institutional framework brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and assess the implementation of those changes including obstacles to further improvement of its implementation."

EU: Another bad day for democracy: CJEU Judgment: Selon le Tribunal de l’UE, les analyses d’impact destinées à éclairer la Commission dans l’élaboration de ses propositions d’actes législatifs ne sont pas, en principe, accessibles au public avant la divulgation des propositions (pdf):

"According to the EU General Court, impact analyzes to inform the Commission in drafting its legislative proposals are not in principle accessible to the public before the disclosure proposals. Premature access to these documents might seriously undermine the decision-making process of the Commission

In 2014, ClientEarth, a non-profit organization whose purpose is the protection of the environment, asked the Commission for access to two impact analyzes related to the environmental policy of the Union. The Commission refused to grant such access by indicating that, given the fact that the impact assessments were intended to assist in preparing legislative initiatives in the environmental field, the disclosure of these documents could be dramatically affect its decision-making processes affecting its discretion and reducing its ability to find compromises. Moreover, such disclosure was likely to result from external pressures that could hinder the difficult decision processes in which a climate of trust should prevail. Dissatisfied with the Commission's response, ClientEarth introduced in each case an appeal to the EU Court for the annulment of the refusal of the Commission.

By its judgment today, the Court dismisses the arguments of ClientEarth and confirms that the Commission was entitled to refuse access to the desired documents."

EU: New EU accession reports: LGBTI rights in the Western Balkans and Turkey (link): "the European Commission’s published its annual progress reports on accession states’ progress towards EU Membership. The reports include important and extensive information on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in those 7 countries."

German spying on EU states to be made illegal (euractiv, link): "The German government has agreed that political espionage against EU countries and institutions by German intelligence services should be banned."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and key documents (12.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Frontex: 540 000 migrants arrived on Greek islands in the first 10 months of 2015 (link) Frontex still putting out dodgy numbers: "Overall, the number of detections of illegal border crossings at the EU’s external borders between January and October stood at an unprecedented 1.2 million"

Frontex gets headline news with this kind of press release and by its own admission it includies double-counting:

"Clarification: Frontex provides monthly data on the number of people detected at the external borders of the European Union. Irregular border crossings may be attempted by the same person several times in different locations at the external border. This means that a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again counted when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia."

Whereas UNHCR reported: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (infographic, link) 502, 840 arrivals (during the year to 29 October, 2015)

EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit: VALLETTA SUMMIT, 11-12 NOVEMBER 2015 ACTION PLAN - Final (pdf) and VALLETTA SUMMIT, 11-12 NOVEMBER 2015: Declaration - Final (pdf)

see: Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the press conference of the Valletta summit on migration (pdf)

and Europe fund to tackle African migration 'not enough' (BBC News, link): "Senegal's President Macky Sall has described a $1.9bn (£1.2bn) European fund set up to tackle irregular migration as a good beginning but said more money was needed.... "The Senegalese leader also pointed to tax avoidance by multinationals that he estimated cost Africa billons of dollars. "We have sufficient resources in Africa… if we could combat tax evasion - that would stop us calling for aid. "Terrorism is an issue, wherever war is waged people flee - where there's less development people flee towards development," he said. "We have to look at migration serenely, take the drama out of it. And we have to tackle the traffickers.""

EU Commission: A European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (pdf): "made up of €1.8 billion from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF), to be complemented by contributions from EU Member States and other donors. To date, Member States' contributions amount to around €78.2 million " The Member States are meant to match the Commission's contribuition... and List of Member State donors and contributions in Alphabetical order (as at 11/11/2015) (pdf)

Europe in 'race against time' to save open borders - EU's Tusk (Reuters, link): ""We must hurry, but without panic," he said after a summit with African leaders that will be followed by an emergency EU summit later on Thursday in Valletta to discuss migration and notably efforts to secure a deal with Turkey to slow departures."

Refugee Crisis May Threaten Development Aid to World’s Poor (afronline.org, link): "As the spreading refugee crisis threatens to destabilize national budgets of donor nations in Western Europe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday appealed to the international community not to forsake its longstanding commitment for development assistance to the world’s poorer nations."

Germany spies among friends: controversy grows over espionage activities (DW, link): "NSA spying triggered a severe backlash from the German public, further damaging the US' reputation. But the BND has also been found with dirt on its hands. Spying among friends is not such an unusual practice in Berlin."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and commentaries 11.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Valletta Summit: Statewatch Analysis: EU-AFRICA Fortress Europe’s neo-colonial project (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

"The overall strategy in the latest draft, is not new, it is simply presented differently. The EU fundamental concern is to stop people, refugees or migrants, moving up the continent of Africa until they reach the shores of the Mediterranean – where they become the EU’s problem.

This goes together with the demand for the creation of civil registry systems across Africa with biometrics (fingerprinting), quick “returns”, new readmission agreements and the enforcement of its neo-colonial project through the “externalisation of Europe's asylum responsibilities”.

EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: European Parliament: Draft Report: on public access to documents: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Rapporteur: Laura Ferrara (pdf) This report is short on detail. Includes:

"Notes that the Treaty of Lisbon has done away with the reference to safeguarding the efficiency of legislative decision-taking;

Deplores the failure to implement Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 as regards the obligation for the institutions to keep complete registers of documents; calls for a European policy on registers to be established and for implementing measures to standardise the classification and presentation of the institutions’ documents...

‘Trilogues’: Points out that transparent law-making is of the utmost importance to citizens; calls on the institutions actively to circulate documents forming part of, or related to, legislative procedures and to improve communication with persons who might wish to obtain them; considers in particular that the EU institutions should, by default, make as many documents as possible accessible to the public via a single publicly accessible common portal making for ease of consultation"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "Article 15.3 of the Lisbon Treaty does not say "make as many documents as possible accessible to the public" it says make all documents concerning the legislative process public."

News Digest (22 stories, 11.11.15)

UK: DIP Bill: Unfettered bulk data collection powers presage mass surveillance and a debate about haystacks (Hawktalk, link):

"The choices are:

(a) build the largest haystack about all the population because you know that the needle has to be in there “somewhere”; or

(b) have the powers to look at all the relevant smaller haystacks that are around when you have inkling as to what kind of needle you are looking for.

In Article 8 Human Rights terms, does Parliament enact legislation that allows the national security agencies to collect bulk personal data when there is no prior suspicion, so these agencies can do speculative searches in the hope they get lucky? Or do you have the traditional civil liberties view that you need a modicum of prior suspicion before you go looking?

The Home Office prefer the former; the civil liberties lobby the latter - and that is one of the key divisive issues at the heart of the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (“DIP”) published last week."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and commentaries 10.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Cameron's Chatham House speech: Full speed ahead for the renegotiation of the UK’s EU membership? (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Today’s Chatham House speech by David Cameron set out more detail of the UK’s demands for renegotiation of its EU membership. It was accompanied by a letter from Cameron to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, which set out a summary of his requests."

European Parliament Studies:

- Implementing the Lisbon Treaty: Improving the Functioning of the EU on Justice and Home Affairs (pdf)

"This Study examines the functioning of EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) cooperation in light of the reforms and innovations introduced by the Lisbon Treaty since the end of 2009. It identifies the main challenges and deficits characterising the practical and effective implementation of these transformations and suggests specific ways for the European Parliament to address them."

- WORKSHOP: Dual use export controls (92 pages, pdf)

"The study concludes that the system’s effectiveness could be improved in a number of ways, but that this requires an effort to mobilise political will at different levels and across different institutions within the EU and its Member States, and to enhance human resources, cooperation and capacity-building."

EU: Enlargement:

- Communication: EU Enlargement Strategy (COM 611-15, pdf)

- Key findings of the 2015 report on Turkey (Press release, pdf):

"the report emphasises an overall negative trend in the respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights. Significant shortcomings affected the judiciary as well as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Turkey saw a severe deterioration of its security situation. The settlement process of the Kurdish issue came to a halt despite earlier positive developments on the issue. It is imperative that the peace talks resume."

- Turkey: 2015 Report (SWD 216-15, pdf): "Civil society has remained active, growing in numbers and continuing to be involved in many spheres of public life, but restrictions to freedom of assembly remain a serious concern."

and see: EU report slams Turkey over rule of law, free speech (euractiv, link)

Malta summit: Experts raise concerns over lopsided EU-Africa migrant deals (Malta Independent, link):

"Forced into action by its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the European Union is pressing some northern African nations to sign lopsided deals that would send thousands back without sufficient protection, African diplomats and migration experts are warning.

Concern is growing that the EU will use its considerable political and economic clout - including access to more than 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in aid - to buy off vulnerable countries on the sidelines of a two-day summit with African leaders starting Wednesday in Malta.

Still wary of Europe's colonial past, some Africans believe the EU is desperately trying to outsource its refugee challenges rather than accept that people will still try to come to the continent."

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, 9 November 2015: Press release: Council Conclusions on Measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis (pdf) Background Note (pdf) and B Points Agenda (French, pdf) for discussion and A Points Agenda: non-legislative (French, pdf), adopted without debate.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and a lot of key documents, 9.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: Updated Justice and Home Affairs Council: 9 November 2015: Draft Council conclusions on measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis (LIMITE doc no: 13799-15, pdf)

Paragraph 17: "As part of an information strategy geared at reducing pull factors, it should be clearly explained that migrants must register in their first Member State of arrival; that, under EU law, asylum seekers have no right to choose the Member State responsible for examining their application; and that migrants without a need of protection will be swiftly returned. Furthermore, a clear message should be passed that migrants cannot refuse to cooperate with the relevant national authorities. Henceforth, all necessary measures will be taken by Member States to prevent, deter and draw the consequences of such movements and non-cooperation."

EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November 2015: Background Note (pdf): Among the aims is to tackle "Root causes" which are wars, persecution and poverty. Another is: "Return and readmission

Leaders are expected to make progress on return arrangements and readmission agreements. In particular, they should strengthen cooperation in order to facilitate the return and sustainable reintegration of irregular migrants, both from EU member states and associated countries and from African countries of transit and destination. The summit should also call for strengthening the capacity of authorities of countries of origin to respond to readmission applicants. A special emphasis is expected to be put on identification and issuance of travel documents."

The reference to "travel documents" is to the EU's proposal that EU-issued Laissez-passer documents be sufficient for returning refugees. The Council's legal basis is relying on 1994 Recommendations (Statewatch JHA Archive 1976-2000) for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures.

There are currently 17 readmission agreements (link) are in force with the following countries: Hong Kong, Macao, Sri Lanka, Albania, Russia, Ukraine, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey (inoperative) and Cape Verde

See also:  Valletta Summit: Documentation

UK: Draft Investigatory Powers Bill: official documents (Statewatch database, link):

In early November 2015 the UK government published proposed new surveillance legislation - the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. All the relevant official documentation is published here (pdf format) and will be updated as the Bill develops.

UK: Police use anti-terrorism powers to detain UK volunteers taking aid to Calais refugee camp 6,000 people live in squalor near the Calais ferry terminal (The Independent, link):

"British volunteers on a humanitarian aid run to refugees in Calais were detained by police under legislation meant to be used against suspected terrorists, an aid group has told the Independent. Two people working with the London2Calais group said they were stopped and held for three hours under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 while returning to the UK at Calais.

One of the pair, who were travelling in the same vehicle, said Kent Police counter-terror officers carried out the detention on the Calais side of the channel

DRONES: Italy’s new ‘license to kill’ (Il maniesto, link): "War. Italy will soon be the second European power, after the U.K., to wield lethal, American-armed drones. But despite their inaccuracy and yet another encroachment of U.S. foreign policy in Rome, few in Parliament seem to care."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories and a lot of key documents, 7-8.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

News Digest (16 stories, 9.11.15)

Northern Ireland: Castlereagh break-in allowed to happen, says former PSNI officer (Irish Times, link): "Several special officers had to move after security breach at Belfast police station in 2002"

And see: Inside Castlereagh: Files stolen from Special Branch HQ (Statewatch News Online, June 2002)

Germany: Governments and NGOs: Germany Spied on Friends and Vatican (Spiegel Online, link):

"Efforts to spy on friends and allies by Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, were more extensive than previously reported. SPIEGEL has learned the agency monitored European and American government ministries and the Vatican....

Since October's revelations, it has emerged that the BND spied on the United States Department of the Interior and the interior ministries of EU member states including Poland, Austria, Denmark and Croatia. The search terms used by the BND in its espionage also included communications lines belonging to US diplomatic outposts in Brussels and the United Nations in New York. The list even included the US State Department's hotline for travel warnings.

The German intelligence service's interest wasn't restricted to state institutions either: It also spied on non-governmental organizations like Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva"

UK: Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: The big reveal 7.11.15, link to site):

As sharp-eyed commentators have noted, the launch of the Investigatory Powers Bill was accompanied by a significant avowal: the use by intelligence agencies (but not the police) of a bulk collection power (relating to communications data but not to content or internet connection records) under s94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, the details of which had never been made public.

A number of people have asked whether I was made aware of this power during my Investigatory Powers Review.

The answer is that I was informed promptly and in some detail about the exercise of this power at the outset of my Review. Until this week, that knowledge was extremely restricted and neither I nor the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC), which also knew about it, was authorised to reveal it."

See: How and why MI5 kept phone data spy programme secret (BBC News, link)

EDWARD SNOWDEN: Interview: Five hours with Edward Snowden (pdf): "Suddenly he opens the door. DN’s Lena Sundström and Lotta Härdelin had a unique meeting with the whistleblower who has fans all over the world but risks lifetime imprisonment in the home country he once tried to save..."

EU: European Commission: Communication: on the Transfer of Personal Data from the EU to the United States of America under Directive 95/46/EC following the Judgment by the Court of Justice in Case C-362/14 (Schrems) (COM 566-15, pdf): "Until such time as the renewed transatlantic framework is in place, companies need to rely on the alternative transfer tools available. However, this option entails responsibilities for data exporters, under the supervision of the DPAs."

The Commission in its Communication stresses the following point: "the Safe Harbour arrangement can no longer serve as a legal basis for transfers of personal data to the U.S"

and see USA: Congressional Research Service (CRS): The EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement on Personal Data Privacy: In Brief (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Refugee crisis statistics

- State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (6-11.15, pdf) contains for first time data on:

- Joint Frontex return flights (pdf) Main countries are Pakistan and Nigeria

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (Greece and Italy, pdf): "Total Reception Capacity: Lesvos: 700 (Moria) 780 (Kara Tepe) with Frontex: 54 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer)"

- Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (Communicated as of 29 October 2015) (pdf): "14 Member States 3,546 places (of 160,000)"

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (Communicated as of 6 November 2015) (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 news stories and a lot of key documents, 6.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

CoE: Report to the Austrian Government on the visit to Austria carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 22 September to 1 October 2014 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

"Among other themes, the report focuses on the treatment of persons detained by the police and conditions under which foreign nationals were held in detention pending deportation"

EU-AFRICA: List of invited delegations: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November 2015 Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta - Malta (pdf)

News Digest (16 stories, 6.11.15)

UK: Only 'tiny handful' of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals (Guardian, link): "Former deputy PM says he was astonished to learn how few cabinet members were aware of scale of UK spies’ reach into lives of British citizens.... The government finally admitted on Wednesday that the mass surveillance of British citizens began in 2001 after 9/11 and was stepped up in 2005, using powers under national security directions largely hidden in the 1984 Telecommunications Act."

and: The surveillance bill is flawed but at last we have oversight (Guardian, link): "In government I was shocked by the scale of MI5’s secret database. Its powers are at least now in the open... That the existence of this previously top secret database was finally revealed in parliament by the home secretary on Wednesday, as part of a comprehensive new investigatory powers bill covering many other previously secret intelligence capabilities""

See Statement in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary on 4 November 2015 (pdf):

"The Bill will make explicit provision for all of the powers available to the security and intelligence agencies to acquire data in bulk. That will include not only bulk interception provided under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and which is vital to the work of GCHQ, but the acquisition of bulk communications data, both relating to the UK and overseas.

That is not a new power. It will replace the power under Section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, under which successive Governments have approved the security and intelligence agencies’ access to such communications data from communication service providers.
"

See: A Quick Overview of the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (SCL, link)

UK government claims DIP Bill on data retention is outside scope of EU law Why they're wrong (by analogy): Does the UK’s new data retention bill violate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights? (EU Law Analysis, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories, documents and commentaries, 5.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control

The EU has made €24 million available for research into autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control systems" in order to improve the surveillance of Europe's borders and "to support missions ranging from surveillance to detection of marine pollution incidents, and including early identification and tracking of illegal activities and illegal communication."

Italy: Interior MInistry circular on the "relocation" procedure

On 6 October 2015, the interior ministry sent a circular to the prefetti [government envoys responsible for security] outlining the provisional measures for international protection adopted for the benefit of Italy and Greece, including the start of "relocation" procedures. These instructions are in response to the decisions of the European Council meetings held on 14 and 22 September 2015.

Asylum seekers "in clear need of protection", belonging to nationalities whose recognition of international protection is above 75% according to the last quarter's Eurostat data, may enter the "relocation" procedure.

EU: Long-distance border controls to "check travellers data along his/her journey" and remotely detect "abnormal behaviour"

The EU is offering €3 million for research projects that can work out how to gather massive amounts of data from individuals crossing the EU's borders without "increasing the risk of loss of privacy".

This unlikely-sounding task is part of the latest work programme for the European Security Research Programme (pdf), which sets out research priorities for 2016 and 2017.€302 million of a total six-year budget of €1.7 billion will be available over the next two years for projects dealing with crime, terrorism, natural and man-made disasters, critical infrastructures, cybersecurity and border controls.

EU: Presumption of innocence: Council confirms the agreement found with EP (Council Press release, pdf)

and Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (pdf) Final text in Annex.

Hungary prepares law allowing spies to pose as journalists (euractiv, link):

"During the Cold War, it was commonplace that journalists also worked for the secret services. This practice had been largely discontinued since, but reportedly Hungary wants to return to it and enforce it by law. State intelligence agents could be stationed inside newsrooms under an amendment to the national security law proposed by Interior Minister Sándor Pintér..."

UK: MI5 'secretly collected phone data' for decade (BBC, link):

"the programme, which sources said was used to track terrorists and save lives, was "so secret that few even in MI5 knew about it, let alone the public".

The government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, told the BBC the legislation used to authorise the collection was "so vague that anything could be done under it". He added: "It wasn't illegal in the sense that it was outside the law, it was just that the law was so broad and the information was so slight that nobody knew it was happening".

The surveillance bill is as big a threat to state security as to individual liberty (Guardian, link) and UK unveils plan to spy on Internet use, raising privacy fears euractiv, link): ""What the British are attempting to do, and what the French have already done post Charlie Hebdo, would never have seen the light of day in the American political system," Michael Hayden, former director of the U.S. National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, told Reuters." also: UK cyber-spy law takes Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance – and sets them in stone (The Register, link) And see: Interception, Authorisation and Redress in the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (UK Human Rights Blog, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories 4.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

UK: NEW SURVEILLANCE BILL: Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (299 pages, pdf) and Home Secretary: Statement (link)

Interception of communications and equipment interference: draft codes of practice (link) including Equipment interference: draft code of practice - showing the limits to the protection of journalistic confidential information.

These documents (26) are related to the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (link) including Factsheet – Targeted Interception (pdf) "Only nine agencies can apply for an interception warrant. These include the Security and Intelligence Agencies, five Law Enforcement Agencies and the armed forces... ." and "the Bill will include a requirement for the Prime Minister to be consulted before the Secretary of State can decide to issue a warrant to intercept an MP’s communications"

and "Remote access": Factsheet – Targeted Equipment Interference (pdf): "Equipment interference (EI), sometimes referred to as computer network exploitation, is the power to obtain a variety of data from equipment. This includes traditional computers or computer-like devices such as tablets, smart phones, cables, wires and static storage devices. EI can be carried out either remotely or by physically interacting with equipment." snd "More sophisticated EI operations may involve remotely installing a piece of software on to a device. The software could be delivered in a number of ways and then be used to obtain the necessary intelligence."

HM government transparency report on the use of disruptive and investigatory powers (link)

Counter-Terrorism website with links to all documents (link)

And see: Report of the Investigatory Powers Review (pdf, June 2015, link) and Annexes (pdf link)

Also: Here Are The Spying Powers UK Authorities Will Have If Theresa May’s New Law Passes (Buzzfeeed, link): "Police, armed forces, and intelligence agencies now explicitly have powers to hack and modify computer systems, both individually and “in bulk”" and:Snowden surveillance revelations drive UK and US policy in opposite directions.(Guardian, link): "Draft bill would enhance British government’s surveillance powers as US works to limit NSA data collection following whistleblower’s call for debate"

News Digest (14 stories, 4.11.15)

EU-USA: EPIC: Joint Hearing Before the United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Subcommittees on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and Communications and Technology: Testimony and Statement for the Record of Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing on “Examining the EU Safe Harbor Decision and Impacts for Transatlantic Data Flows” (pdf): EU negotiators are pinning all their hopes for a deal on the EU-USA "Umbrella Agreement" on exchange of personal data on the protection given to EU citizens under the recently passed US Judicial Redress Act. Marc Rotenberg comments in evidence:

""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."

EU: ECHR: Grand Chamber hearing concerning non-governmental organisation’s complaint of being refused access to information (Press release, pdf): "The case concerns the authorities’ refusal to provide an NGO with information related to the work of court-appointed defenders."

UK: SURVEILLANCE BILL: May calls for internet companies to store details of website visits (Guardian, link): "Home secretary tries to sweeten snooper’s charter by stating that police will need judicial approval to access internet connection records"

LONDON: Met police clamps down on feared unrest on Million Mask March (Guardian, link): "Thousands of extra officers and tough public order restrictions to be deployed amid fears of repeat of violence on Bonfire night protest... Scotland Yard is to deploy thousands of extra police officers and impose tough public order restrictions over fears that a Bonfire night protest in London against austerity and increased state surveillance will turn violent. The Million Mask March planned for Thursday night is part of a global protest movement organised by the internet activist group Anonymous.""

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 stories and important documents: 3.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

Europe, Still Angry at U.S. Spying, Prepares to Increase Its Own (The Intercept, link): "Just as the United States is taking a first step toward placating European privacy concerns about U.S. surveillance, several European countries are passing laws dramatically expanding their own spy programs."

Yet another emergency EU Summit (Heads of State): Invitation Letter from Council President Tusk to Members of the European Council (pdf) to be held on 12 November at 14.30 straight after the Valletta EU-Africa Summit and there is also to be another extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 9 November 2015. President Tusk concerned at some EU states introducing "different measures at internal Schengen borders"

EU: European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (3 November 2015, pdf) Details figures on funding, "hotspots" (Greece and Italy) and returns

EU: Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Athens: First Relocation Flight from Greece (pdf):

"On Wednesday 4 November, Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn will travel to Greece. Together with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Greek Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction responsible for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas they will meet with the first group of asylum seekers to benefit from the EU's relocation scheme from Greece. Thirty asylum seekers will travel by plane from the Athens International Airport to have their applications processed in Luxembourg."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"Instead of turning the first relocation flight from Greece into a photo-opportunity the Commissioner would be be employed sorting out the mess at home in Brussels by tackling the lack of humanitarian aid and civil protection on the beaches and camps in Greece and right up through the centre of the EU and by getting member states to come up with the number of refugees they are going to "relocate" and when."

EU: Letter from European Commission and Council to Member States (30.10.15, pdf) Outlines where EU Member States response to the refugee crisis is "still falling short":

- The European Asylum Support Office needs the secondment of 374 experts, so far it has only 153 promises, Frontex needs 775 border guards and so far has 353 from nineteen states
- the Syria Crisis Trust Fund needs 500 million euro - it has 50 million euro
- the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: EU funding will reach 1.8 billion euro which should be matched by EU Member States - so far: "the contrast with Member State' pledges of below 30 million euro is stark. In the run-up to the Valletta Summit, it is indispensable that the national effort comes closer to the EU funding"

UK-SYRIA: House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report: The extension of offensive British military operations to Syria (pdf): The Committee has a majority of Conservative (government party) members:

"We believe that there should be no extension of British military action into Syria unless there is a coherent international strategy that has a realistic chance of defeating ISIL and of ending the civil war in Syria. In the absence of such a strategy, taking action to meet the desire to do something is still incoherent....

In the absence of a UN Security Council Resolution, how the Government would address the political, legal, and military risks arising from not having such a resolution?"

and see: Cameron drops plans to hold vote on airstrikes on Isis in Syria (Guardian, link) "Prime minister sought backing of Labour MPs who favoured extending RAF role into Syria but fears defeat in face of likely Tory rebellion"

EU refugee crisis and humanitarian emergency: House of Lords, Select Committee on the European Union report: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (61 pages, pdf):

"Evidence suggests that a majority of those currently entering the EU as irregular migrants are ‘prima facie refugees’, as defined by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It is, therefore, important that as much focus is placed on the humanitarian aspects of the crisis as on law enforcement....

We recommend that, as part of its review of EU legislation, the Commission should propose an EU framework that builds on the humanitarian aspects of the UN Protocol that concerns migrant smuggling. It should criminalise only acts committed for financial gain. Clauses should be added to avoid the criminalisation of individuals and organisations acting for humanitarian purposes. Inhuman and degrading treatment should be included as aggravating factors in the sentencing of smugglers." [emphasis added]

News Digest (14 stories, 3.11.15)

UK: Private security firm paid to fill void left by police cuts (The Telegraph, link):

"Bosses of a private security firm behind paid-for patrols in an Essex town claim they are having to fill the void left by vast police cuts. "Security company AGS runs the service in Frinton-on-Sea, every night between 7pm and 7am.

"More than 300 worried householders have signed up to pay more than £100 per year to be covered by the scheme, which provides a hotline to on-duty guards patrolling the coastal town. "

See: Police cuts: Commissioners threaten to sue Government over 'unjustified' budget reforms (The Independent, link): "Seven police and crime commissioners are threatening legal action against the Government over its “unjustified” and “deeply flawed” funding reforms that could see millions of pounds slashed from the budgets of several police forces already rocked by spending cuts." And: Public could 'crowdsource' funds for Hampstead police force as fears grow over violent crime (Camden New Journal, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories 2.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

News Digest (14 stories, 2.11.15)

Greek conscripts: 'we won't take part in fighting migrants' (libcom.org):

"A collective statement on the migrant crisis from “Diktyo Spartakos” (‘Spartacus Net’), a far leftist formation inside the Greek army, and signed by conscript soldiers from 50 different units.

The following inspirational statement deserves the widest possible circulation. It is from Greek conscripts in 50 units of the Armed Forces. The statement is notable for linking all the current horrors inflicted on workers everywhere to a single cause – the ongoing crisis of the capitalist system. In this crisis, which demands sacrifices in lost and ruined lives, all workers, whatever their condition, have a common cause and a common interest.. "

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories and lots of documents, 31.10-1-11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU-AFRICA:Refugee crisis: Valletta Conference 11-12 November 2015: Update: Latest and full documentation and See: EXCLUSIVE. EU-Africa: Valletta, the summit of dissent (afronline.org, link)

Documents

Valletta Summit Political Declaration Version Zero (LIMITE doc no: 13384-15, 23 October 2015, pdf)

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Four (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-3-15, 26 October 2015, pdf)

Valletta Summit on Migration, 11-12 November 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 13153-15, 16 October 2015, pdf)

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Three (Limite doc no: 12560-rev-2-15, 12 October 2015, pdf

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)

1st
version: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version LIMITE doc no 11534-15, 26 August 2015, pdf)

Background

GAMM-AFRICA: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response 5th Biannual Update (LIMITE doc no: 16600-14, pdf)

Draft Council Conclusions on the EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 (28 pages, LIMITE doc no: 13200-15, pdf)

""[T]hree issues affecting EU interests in the region have gained particular salience: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa, violent extremism and migration and forced displacement....

"The high number of people in the region who are willing to migrate is by far larger than the limited possibilities of legal avenues for migration, be it within the region or outside. Lack of opportunities for legal migration or complex and expensive procedures mean that many migrants feel that they have no other option than to use irregular channels."

See also: EU: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria prioritised for "pilot initiative on return" (Statewatch database)

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Retention, LEAs personal data exchange Directive, PSC/COSI

- Eurojust’s analysis of EU Member States’ legal framework and current challenges on data retention (LIMITE doc no: 13085-15, pdf) Very useful summary:

"The transposing law of the DRD has been struck down in at least eleven Member States (AT, BE, BG, DE, LT, NL, PL1, RO, SI, SK, UK2). Amongst these, nine countries have had the law invalidated by the Constitutional Court (AT, BE, BG, DE, SI, NL, PL, RO, SK)."

- Data Protection Directive: exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies - Prepartion for trilogue: Chapter V: Transfer of personal data to 3rd countries (LIMITE doc no: 12838-15, pdf): Multi-column with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise"

- Meeting of two powerful Council committees: Political and Security Committee (PSC) and Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI): Summary of discussions held on 22 October 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 13450-15, pdf): Seeking to reinforce "internal-external" coherence:

"Delegations will find enclosed the joint letter of the PSC Chair, Ambassador Walter Stevens, and of the acting COSI Chair, Jean-Louis Bordet, on the result of discussions held on 22 October 2015"

October 2015

UK: Lawyers believe Shaker Aamer has strong claim against UK government (Guardian, link): "Released Guantánamo inmate claims British intelligence officer was present while he was tortured in Afghanistan"

and: Before Shaker Aamer: others who made it back to Britain from Guantánamo Bay (Guardian, link): "Shaker Aamer is one of at least 16 UK citizens or residents to have been detained at the US base. A number have alleged that British authorities were complicit in their mistreatment"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (34 stories and documents, 30.10.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: Another step after months and months of dithering: Entropy or incompetence? IPCR (Integrated Political Crisis Response) is the joint responsibility of the European Commission and European External Action Service (EEAS): Council of the European Union Press release: 30 October: Migratory crisis: EU Council Presidency steps up information sharing between member states by activating IPCR (pdf):

"The EU Integrated Political Crisis Response arrangements (IPCR) reinforce the European Union's ability to take rapid decisions when facing major crises requiring a response at EU political level."

See: Finalisation of the CCA review process: the EU Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) arrangement (2013, pdf)

"Some major emergencies or crises, of internal and/or external origin are of such a wideranging impact or political significance, that they require timely policy coordination and response at EU political level. This could result from the number of affected or involved Member States, or the cross-sectorial nature of the crisis, the imminence thereof, or from time constraints, or a combination of these factors...."  [emphasis added]

and: Concept Note on "Arrangements for Crisis Coordination at EU political level (2012, pdf):

"whether the CCA [EU Emergency and Crisis Coorination Arrangement] in its current configuration is the politically and strategically agile tool required by the EU as a whole to respond quickly and adequately to a serious crisis situation; as appropriate, develop proposals that incorporate all relevant EU level actors and crisis coordination tools...." [emphasis added]

European Parliament: Follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens (Text adopted, pdf) and Mass surveillance: EU citizens' rights still in danger, says Parliament (Press release, pdf):

"Too little has been done to safeguard citizens' fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge the EU Commission to ensure that all data transfers to the US are subject to an "effective level of protection" and ask EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden, as a "human rights defender". Parliament also raises concerns about surveillance laws in several EU countries.

This resolution, approved by 342 votes to 274, with 29 abstention"

UK: SYRIAN REFUGEES: Home Affiars Select Committee report: The work of the Immigration Directorates (Q2 2015) (pdf): While many consider that the UK taking only 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years is woefully few the Committee says that even this number will be difficult to achieve:

"We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment made on 7 September 2015 to resettle 20,000 Syrians before the end of this Parliament. To meet this undertaking would require an average of 4,000 Syrians to be resettled each year. According to the Government’s own figures, in the last 10 years the highest number of refugees resettled in any one year is 1,039 in 2012. At no point in the recent past has the UK come near to resettling 4,000 refugees in one year....

We note that unlike other countries the UK has not provided the UNHCR with a specific pledge of the number of places for the end of 2016..."

News Digest (16 stories, 30.10.15)

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Hungary to examine detention of foreign nationals (link): "Strasbourg, 30.10.2015 – A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Hungary from 21 to 27 October 2015.... The purpose of the visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty under aliens legislation or the recently amended criminal legislation according to which, inter alia, crossing the border fence or damaging it constitute a criminal offence... A detailed report on the visit will be submitted to the Government in due course."

UK: Cameras worn by Met's armed police are 'blocked whenever they aim their guns' (Evening Standard, link): "Body-worn cameras issued to Met firearms officers have been condemned as “unfit for purpose” by the police watchdog.

"The video cameras are mounted on the shoulders of marksmen but the watchdog found their view is obscured whenever an officer raises a rifle to his shoulder to aim or fire the weapon."

Statement from Independent Police Complaints Commission: IPCC issues learning to Metropolitan Police during investigation into shooting in South London (pdf)

See also: Security fears arise over body-worn plodcam footage (The Register, link): "Fears have been raised over the security of information from the new police bodycam recordings held in the public cloud by US company Taser."

UK: UPDATE: Police force behind Newsnight laptop seizure reveals BBC did not contest Terrorism Act application (Press Gazette, link)

Newsnight journalist’s laptop seized by UK police under Terrorism Act (Guardian, link): "BBC says police accessed communications between Secunder Kermani and Isis member in Syria, in move criticised by press freedom campaigners...

The editor of Newsnight, Ian Katz, said on Wednesday: “While we would not seek to obstruct any police investigation, we are concerned that the use of the Terrorism Act to obtain communication between journalists and sources will make it very difficult for reporters to cover this issue of critical public interest.”"

SERBIA: ‘Soft' Censorship Threatens Serbian Press Freedom (Balkan Insight, link): "The Serbian government’s use of "soft" censorship remains a threat to press freedom, a report issued on Thursday by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, WAN-IFRA, and the Center for International Media Assistance, CIMA, in Washington says." Full report: Media reform stalled in the slow lane: Soft Censorship in Serbia (pdf)

UK: Parliament’s human rights committee to investigate lethal drone strikes (The Guardian, link): "The prime minister’s policy of ordering targeted drone killings overseas outside designated war zones is to be scrutinised in the first inquiry launched by the new chair of parliament’s human rights committee." See: MPs right to push for answers over Government’s kill policy (Reprieve, link) and also: UK to double drone fleet and boost SAS kit in fight against Isis militants (International Business Times, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 stories and documents, 29.10.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day

News Digest (10 stories, 29.10.15)

UK-USA-IRAQ: Chilcot report on Iraq war to be published next June or July (The Guardian, link): "Sir John Chilcot has announced that he is to publish his report into the Iraq war next June or July following intense pressure from David Cameron to speed up his timetable."

See also: Peter Oborne's unofficial Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq war (BBC News, link) and We don't need to wait for Chilcot, Blair lied to us about Iraq. Here's the evidence by Peter Oborne (OpenDemocracy, link)

EU naval anti-smuggler operation “not working”, needs intervention in Libya: French admiral (Libya Herald, link):

"The EU naval operation to clamp down on illegal migrant crossings from Libya is not working, according to its deputy commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean. The only way to stop the flow, he said in Rome yesterday, was by going to Libyan territory, both the country’s inshore waters and on land and hitting the smuggler networks.

“The operation will only be effective when we can work close to the networks, go after the big fish not the little ones who go out to sea,” he said.

In the three week since it started, the operation, codenamed Sophia and designed to arrest the smugglers and seize their boats them had not done so at all so far, the French rear admiral admitted."

MEPs vote in favour of granting Snowden asylum in EU (WIRED, link):"The European Parliament has called on EU member states to drop all criminal charges against Edward Snowden and protect him against extradition to the United States. MEPs voted 285 votes to 281 in favour of a resolution that the NSA whistleblower should be allowed to seek safe asylum in the EU.

The resolution, which isn't binding, is nonetheless a strong signal from MEP's that EU member states should grant Snowden protection. MEPs voting in favour of the measures described Snowden as a "human rights defender" and urged member states to "drop any criminal charges" against him."

NORTHERN IRELAND: Joint MI5-PSNI report on paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland

"All the main paramilitary groups operating during the period of the Troubles remain in existence... Seventeen years after the 1998 Belfast Agreement, paramilitary groups remain a feature of life in NI [and] maintain a relatively public profile in spite of being illegal organisations.

"However, the most serious current terrorist threat in NI is not posed by these groups but by dissident republicans (DRs) - paramilitary groups not on ceasefire and who reject the 1998 Belfast Agreement... Their activities pose a severe threat to NI's security and stability and, at any given time, a terrorist attack is highly likely. There is also a smaller threat posed by dissident loyalist paramilitary groups. This report does not focus on dissident groups."

See: Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland: An assessment commissioned by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the structure, role and purpose of paramilitary groups focusing on those which declared ceasfires in order to support and facilitate the political process (pdf)

And: Statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before the House of Commons, 20 October 2015 (pdf)

News coverage: IRA's 'army council' still exists and influences Sinn Féin strategy – report (The Guardian, link) and Confusion as PSNI say IRA Army Council exists... but gardai say 'not on their side of the border' (Irish Independent, link)

Sweden to keep shelters for asylum seekers secret (euractiv, link): "The Swedish Migration Agency has decided to keep the locations of refugee housing facilities secret, following 21 being torched since March.

Yesterday, the municipality of Danderyd, a town located north of Stockholm, announced that a new residence for 70 asylum seekers will be opened in November, in facilities that previously belonged to a public school. But around 2AM this morning (28 October), the building was set alight. On Tuesday (27 October), a building that was meant to be used for refugee accommodations in Färingtofta, in southern Sweden, was likewise destroyed in an arson attack.

In order to prevent more fires, the Migration Agency has decided to make it harder for the public to locate the addresses of planned homes for asylum seekers. This means that 66,000 residences will be kept a secret. "The level of security has deteriorated and it's worrying with all these fires. We will keep the residences a secret so that they won't become common knowledge," said Willis Åberg, operations manager at the Migration Agency, according to Radio Sweden" [emphasis in original].

European Parliament Studies:

- Cybersecurity in the European Union and Beyond: Exploring the Threats and Policy Responses (pdf)

"It sets out to develop a better understanding of the main cybersecurity threats and existing cybersecurity capabilities in the European Union and the United States. The study further examines transnational cooperation and explores perceptions of the effectiveness of the EU response, pinpointing remaining challenges and suggesting avenues for improvement."

- The law enforcement challenges of cybercrime: are we really playing catch-up? (pdf):

"While this study shows that cybercrime poses significant challenges for law enforcement, it also argues that the key cybercrime concern for law enforcement is legal rather than technical and technological. The study further underlines that the European Parliament is largely excluded from policy development in the field of cybercrime, impeding public scrutiny and accountability."

ECRE/AIDA: The new asylum procedure at the border and restrictions to accessing protection in Hungary (pdf):

"increasing pressure has triggered a series of changes in the Hungarian asylum system which raises multiple legal and policy concerns. At the same time, Hungary appears to be a transit country for a large number, if not most, of refugees and asylum seekers arriving there, who seek to continue their journey towards other European countries....

the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has sought to gain an in-depth understanding of the new border procedure applied at the Hungarian border and the conditions facing asylum seekers in the new transit zones. This enquiry is followed by an assessment of the treatment afforded to persons who enter the country irregularly, as well as by a discussion on the broader effects of the recent restrictions imposed by Hungary for refugees seeking protection in Europe "

EU: DIRECTIVE ON LEAs EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL DATA: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): A further step towards comprehensive EU data protection: EDPS recommendations for the police and justice sectors (Press release, pdf)

"The EDPS calls on the legislators to ensure that none of the provisions of the Directive decrease the level of protection that is currently offered by EU law and by the instruments of the Council of Europe....

Careful attention should be given to the modalities for international transfers of personal data to bring them in line with the recent CJEU ruling in the Schrems case. This ruling will have an impact on new legal instruments and agreements to be concluded by the EU with non-EU countries in the field of law enforcement (including, for instance, the EU-US Umbrella Agreement) so that they pass the strict test established by the Court"

Full-text of EDPS Opinion (pdf)

EU-UK: Meijers Committee report: Accommodating British EU-demands and democratic change of the Treaties (pdf):

"An agreement by the Heads of Government to change the Treaties, would give rise to serious concerns over legality, transparency, parliamentary scrutiny and democratic oversight. The Meijers Committee argues that the European Council should not be the exclusive forum to consider changes to the Treaties in an effort to accommodate British political demands. The Meijers Committee stresses that national parliaments, the European Parliament and, possibly, a Convention have a role to play and should not be left out of the current negotiations only to be confronted later on with a political agreement cast in stone."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 stories and documents, 28.10.15) See: Rolling Crisis News updated during the day

UN Special Rapporteur raises alarm over effect of counter-terrorism policy on civil society

A UN Special Rapporteur on human rights has warned of a global "ideological pandemic" that has seen more than 60 states across the world pass counter-terrorism measures that have been used "to stifle legitimate opposition and to choke public interest and human rights organisations".

In an address the the UN's General Assembly, Ben Emmerson, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, "urged governments across the world to ensure that the NGO sector be allowed to continue to play an indispensable role in co-ordinated efforts to counter the spread of terrorism."

His findings are detailed in a new report examining the impact of counter-terrorism measures on civil society: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (pdf)

Opening remarks by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Maison de la Paix, Geneva: Lessons from the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Towards New Global Coordination 27 October 2015 (Full-text, pdf)

and see: Derogatory speech against migrants can lead to murders, UN official warns (euractiv, link): "Politicians who use derogatory language about refugees and migrants may be responsible for causing violence and racism, UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein warned yesterday (27 October). "Once you classify people along lines such that they pose a threat - that these are 'hordes', that we are being 'invaded', that there are 'swarms' of people coming, you have started the process of dehumanizing them as we know from history," he said." and U.N.'s Zeid says politicians' anti-migrant rhetoric can be deadly (Reuters, link)

Northern Ireland: Secret service surveillance secrecy leads to court case collapse

A court case in Northern Ireland involving some of the "most sophisticated" surveillance "ever seen" collapsed last week after MI5 refused a judge's order to provide more detail on tracking devices it had used to monitor the movements of three brothers accused of conspiracy to murder police and prison officers.

EU: Parliament agrees with Council, votes against net neutrality

"The European Parliament has voted against a set of amendments on Tuesday, Oct. 27, that would help preserve net neutrality in the EU, angering and disappointing supporters of the rejected legislation, and calling into question the future of a democratized web in Europe—and even the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, couldn't persuade them otherwise." See: Against Advice From Inventor Of The World Wide Web, EU Votes Down Net Neutrality (Tech Times, link):

And: Parliament green lights roaming and net neutrality (EurActiv, link): "EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger addressed opposition to the internet rules following the Parliament vote yesterday afternoon. 'If the concerns of the organisations are ever realised, I'm prepared to propose a change,' Oettinger said."

What is net neutrality? The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains (link)

Text as adopted: Position of the Council at first reading with a view to the adoption of a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (pdf)

FINLAND: Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee reports on Immigration Detention in Finland (International Detention Coalition, link): "On 20th August 2015, The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published the report on its fifth visit to Finland, which took place from 22 September to 2 October 2014."

See: Report to the Finnish Government on the visit to Finland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment (CPT) from 22 September to 2 October 2014 (pdf)

News Digest (12 stories, 28.10.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 stories and documents, 27.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Future of the SIS/SIRENE configuration of the Working Party for Schengen Matters (LIMITE doc no: 12887-17, pdf)

"Currently, the political guidance seems to come more from outside than inside the WG... Hot topics (foreign fighters, illegal migrants, return)"

EU: Europol seeks "workable solution" on law enforcement access to encrypted data

Europol, the EU's policing agency, has called for: "a workable solution to the issue of encryption which allows legitimate users to protect their privacy and property without severely compromising government and law enforcement's ability to investigate criminal or national security threats."

The demand to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to access encrypted communications comes in Europol's latest 'Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment' (IOCTA) (4.4 MB, pdf), which was published at the end of September.

UK-ECHR: Legal safeguards regarding covert surveillance of a detainee’s consultations with his lawyer were insufficient at the time of his custody (Press release, pdf) and Judgment: Full-text (pdf):

"The applicant in the case of R.E. v. the United Kingdom (application no. 62498/11), who was arrested and detained in Northern Ireland on three occasions in connection with the murder of a police officer, complained in particular about the regime for covert surveillance of consultations between detainees and their lawyers and between vulnerable detainees and “appropriate adults”. In today’s Chamber judgment in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence) of the European Convention on Human Rights as concerned the covert surveillance of legal consultations.."

EU-FRANCE: French delegation: Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the French internal borders in accordance with Articles 23 and 24 of Regulation (EC) 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf):

"Delegations will find attached a copy of a letter received by the General Secretariat of the Council on 16 October 2015 concerning the temporary reintroduction of border controls by France at its internal borders from 13 November - 13 December 2015.... Subject: Reintroduction of controls at the internal borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Swiss Confederation, Italy and Spain on the occasion of COP 21, which is to be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015"

News Digest (17 stories, 27.10.15)

UK: Lord Justice Pitchford: Undercover Policing Inquiry: Core Participants Ruling (pdf):

"The Inquiry received applications from over 380 individuals, groups and organisations. Many established the criteria for core participant status. In those cases the applicants were notified that designation would be made."

and see: Undercover police inquiry accidentally reveals witnesses data (The Guardian, link)

EU-NSA SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens (pdf)

and see: Europe Is Spying on You (nytimes.com, link): article on the threats of surveillance law just published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, in the New York Times: "When Edward Snowden disclosed details of America’s huge surveillance program two years ago, many in Europe thought that the response would be increased transparency and stronger oversight of security services. European countries, however, are moving in the opposite direction. Instead of more public scrutiny, we are getting more snooping."

Greek Minister Rejects Criticism Over Allowing Transit of Migrants (WSJ, link):

"In interview, Yiannis Mouzalas criticizes Europe’s slow response to influx... “Greece can guard its borders perfectly and has been doing so for thousands of years, but against its enemies. The refugees are not our enemies,” Yiannis Mouzalas said in an interview....

“In practice what lies behind the accusation is the desire to repel the migrants,” said Mr. Mouzalas. “Our job when they are in our territorial sea is to rescue them, not [let them] drown or repel them.”"

EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: Commissioner Jourová's remarks on Safe Harbour EU Court of Justice judgement before the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (Libe): Strasbourg, 26 October 2015 (pdf)

and European Parliament: The CJEU's Schrems ruling on the Safe Harbour Decision (pdf) and also: German Data Protection Authorities Suspend BCR approvals, question Model Clause transfers (dataprotectionreport.com, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16 stories and documents, 26.10.15)

News Digest (18 stories, 26.10.15)

Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power (The Telegraph, link): "Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe's monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest. "

and see: Four Things You Need to Know About Portugal's Political Crisis (link)

EU-UK: House of Lords: Select Committee on the European Union: Potential impact on EU law of repealing HUman Rights Act (Unrevised transcript of evidence taken, pdf): Unrevised transcript of evidence from Professor Steve Peers, Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Dr Tobias Lock.

Greece: PM Tsipras: Greece rejects proposal for 'refugee ghetto', EU accepts gov't alternative (ANA-MPA, link):

"Three proposals that included the creation of a ghetto for 50,000 refugees in Attica were rejected, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said early on Monday, following the conclusion in Brussels of a mini-Summit of European leaders on migration.... Tsipras said that the three proposals included the creation of the equivalent of a city, with 50,000 refugees, within Greece; the option of an EU country to bar entry to refugees from another EU country, which would have created a domino effect stressing Greece; and a new operation by EU border police Frontex in northern Greece to check migratory flows towards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). In explaining the rejection of each of the proposals... "

Greece agrees to host 50,000 refugees as part of new EU plan (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greece committed on Sunday to opening enough reception centers to house 30,000 refugees by the end of the year, with the United Nations to provide another 20,000 places, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "We will increase reception capacities to 100,000 places in Greece and in the western Balkans," he said following a meeting of 11 European leaders in Brussels....

the final agreement included a Greek commitment to increase to 30,000 by the end of this year the number of places it has to host migrants - officials said it currently has some 7,000-10,000. A further 20,000 people should be sheltered in private accommodation in Greece, the statement said, while another 50,000 places should be available in countries further north." and

EU leaders criticize each other at summit on refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):

"European leaders lashed out Sunday at each other's handling of the continent's greatest immigration crisis since World War II, even as they came together to seek ways to ease the plight of the tens of thousands marching across the Balkans toward the European Union's heartland.... Many say the EU needs to get control of the refugee flow at the bloc's external border between EU-member Greece and Turkey. Migration experts, however, say the flood of refugees won't be halted until the world resolves the war in Syria, which is driving millions out of the country."

EU: Refugee crisis: 25-10-15: Final Statement: Leaders' Meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkans Route: Leaders’ Statement  (pdf):

Greece to build camps to hold 30,000 refugees plus 20,000 in rented homes and UNHCR a further 50,000 further north

- "Under the current circumstances, we will discourage the movement of refugees or migrants to the border of another country of the region. A policy of waving through refugees without informing a neighbouring country is not acceptable. This should apply to all countries along the route...

- Greece's intention to increase reception capacity to 30.000 places by the end of the year and commit to supporting Greece and UNHCR to provide rent subsidies and host family programmes for at least 20.000 more. Financial support for Greece and the UNHCR is expected. This is an important precondition to make the emergency relocation system work...

- We will work with the UNHCR who has committed to support our efforts in improving our capacities. An additional capacity of 50.000 would allow for a better and more predictable management of the flow....

- We will work with the European Commission and Frontex to step up practical cooperation on readmission with third countries; cooperation will be intensified with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, in particular in the area of returns....

- Upscaling the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in Greece, in particular Frontex's presence in the Aegean Sea, and strengthening significantly Frontex support to Greece in registering and fingerprinting activities...

- We reconfirm the principle that a country may refuse entry to third country nationals who, when presenting themselves at border crossing points, do not confirm a wish to apply for international protection (in line with international and EU refugee law, subject to a prior non-refoulement and proportionality check)...

It should be noted that there is nothing further on "relocation"

The European Commission has called a meeting - mini-summit- in Brussels of the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia: Leaders' Meeting on the Western Balkans Route: Draft Leaders’ Statement (pdf): Note this "Draft" was circulated on Saturday 24 October the day before the meeting organised by the Commission.

Frontex slows down registration procedures in “Hot Spot” Moria, leaving refugees for days in life-threatening conditions (w2eu.net, link):

"Since Frontex has entered the scene, registration processes were dramatically slowed down. Frontex procedures of ‘screening’ individuals takes a long time which has caused great delays and thus created a situation of humanitarian emergency for the hundreds of people waiting outside. The official opening of this hotspot on Lesvos coincided with increased numbers of new arrivals and deteriorating weather conditions...

The ongoing tragedy in the “Hot Spot” and around, mirrors the failure of Europe to protect refugees and the violence of the border regime on which European Migration policies are based. Screening and registration are priority, peoples’ lives are not.

We demand the immediate end of hotspot procedures and the instant withdrawal of Frontex personnel. The EU has to immediately put an end to the slowing-down of registration procedures produced by Frontex which is life-threatening. We denounce the procedure of ‘speeding up returns’ in the strongest possible terms." and:

Moria/Lesbos: Rain-sodden feet, frozen white hands, hypothermic pregnant women and trampled down children (w2eu.net, link):

"The “Hot Spot” of horror is what Moria turned to the last week and since its inauguration when numbers of new arrivals were high and the weather conditions harsh with constant rain falls. The authorities together with the UNHCR and all other involved actors of the humanitarian aid regime failed in protecting hundreds of refugees from what was a predictable catastrophe." [emphasis in original]

EU: "Returns" package

Under the so-called "hotspot" process refugees are first "nationality screened" (national officials lead by Frontex) and then divided into two groups: a) those to be returned and held in "closed" camps (they have no legal representation or right of appeal) and b) those to be "relocated" within the EU who are "asylum" processed, by EASO and national officials, to be held in "open" camps.

1. European Commission: CONTACT GROUP “Return Directive” (2008/115/EC) 14 October 2014: Preparation of Return Handbook (80 pages, pdf)

2.European Commission: Recommendation: Preparation of Returns Handbook (COM 6250, pdf)

3. European Commission: ANNEX: Return Handbook (116 pages, pdf): "The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."

4. European Commission: EU Action Plan on return (COM 453-15,pdf)

5. Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (Commission and EEAS, pdf)

6, Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf):

"Member States must systematically issue return decisions, take all necessary steps to enforce them and provide adequate resources, including funding and staff, necessary for identifying and returning illegally staying third-country nationals. All measures must be taken to ensure irregular migrants' effective return, including use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort. In particular, Member States should reinforce their pre-removal detention capacity to ensure the physical availability of irregular migrants for return and take steps to prevent the abuse of rights and procedures."

7. Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)

8. Council of Europe: Guidelines on forced returns (pdf)

Germany probes new case of US spying (The Local.de, link):

"German authorities have launched a probe into allegations of a new case of suspected spying linked to the US National Security Agency, a media report said Saturday... The latest probe by Germany's federal prosecutors targets persons unknown for "espionage activities", Der Spiegel said. It centres on the personal laptop of a department chief in the chancellery onto which a spying virus known as "Regin" was allegedly installed, the magazine said."

EU-USA COOPERATION: Council of the European Union: Europol Joint Supervisory Body: Report on the Europol's implementation of the TFTP agreement (Doc no: 12338-15, pdf)

"The present assessment of the JSB is focussed on how Europol fulfils its task under the TFTP Agreement. In this respect, the JSB likes to restate its assessment that due to the nature of the TFTP, the situation in terms of mass data transfer remains unchanged. The JSB restates that, in view of the nature of the TFTP and the scope of the agreement there is a massive, regular, data transfer from the EU to the US. There is a clear tension between the idea of limiting the amount of data to be transmitted by tailoring and narrowing the requests and the nature of the TFTP." [emphasis added]

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (34 stories and documents, 23.10.15)

PLS SHARE: Update from Lesvos: Frontline of refugee crisis: Posted on Facebook: 22.10.15 by Marienna Pope-Weidemann

"People will die tonight. This I can say for certain. I can't recount in writing the horror of the past 12 hours. Camp Moria has descended into madness. The Syrian side of this segregated hell hole is bad enough. The 'Afghan side', which is for everyone else - refugees from the wars the West wants to ignore - is like another dimension. They segregate themselves now, men with sticks policing the lines our colonial empire taught them to build....The EU has the blood of the world on its hands tonight. I have never been so angry, and I will never be the same...."

EU: Council of the European Union: Access for law enforcement purposes to the EES (LIMITE doc no: 12531-15, pdf):

"a large majority of delegations agreed that access to the Entry-Exit System (EES) for law enforcement authorities (LEA) should be provided as of the start of the operation of the future system....

i) the possibility of the use of the future EES as a criminal identification and investigation tool, ii) the data that should be inserted in the system, the data to be used for searches of the system and the data that should be obtained as a result of a hit, iii) the minimum retention period for access to LEA purposes and, iv) the possibility of transfer of EES data to third countries...

– whether intelligence agencies or other specific types of administration units should be authorised to act as designated authorities..." [emphasis added]

Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights: Second Annual Report: 2014 (pdf) and First Annual Report: 2013 (pdf)

Greece Records Highest Weekly Migration Inflows in 2015 So Far (IOM, link):

" This week IOM Greece recorded the highest migration inflows since the beginning of 2015. Despite deteriorating weather conditions, approximately 48,000 refugees and migrants crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands – or about 9,600 migrants and refugees in each of the past five days.... The influx has left many local authorities unprepared. The island of Lesvos continues to receive the highest percentage of refugees and migrants. Some 27,276 reached the island during the period, while 9,750 arrived in Chios."

This year up to 22 October 139,518 refugees have arrived in Italy and 537.460 refugees arrived in Greece:

"Data for Greece are derived by the new and updated data collected by IOM Regional Staff in Greece and Greek authorities (1/1/2015 – 20/10/2015). Numbers are not the actual daily arrivals but the number of migrants who have officially been recorded by the Greek authorities after their arrival."

EU and 17 states sign foreign terrorist fighter agreement (link) See: Council Decision authorising signing (pdf) Background: EU moving towards new terrorism laws; Europol on organised crime and terrorism (Statewatch database)

News Digest (20 stories, 23.10.15)

Czech Republic: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Zeid urges Czech Republic to stop detention of migrants and refugees (pdf)

"The High Commissioner expressed concerns that the authorities continue to practice this policy, even though those detainees who have been able to challenge the detention in court have been released. He noted that most detained migrants and refugees are not in a position to swiftly challenge their detention in court – as is their right -- because they do not receive information about free legal aid and because civil society organizations that work with refugees have reportedly been receiving very restricted access to detention facilities like Bìlá-Jezová (80 km north of Prague)." [emphasis added]

and: Czech ombudsman criticises conditions in refugee facility (pdf):

"The severe conditions which children and families with children have to endure in Belá-Jezová constitute a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Objectively speaking, children in the facility have worse living conditions than inmates in Czech prisons. Belá-Jezová is a former military facility where the living conditions are, in many ways, much worse than those in Czech prisons. Prison inmates are people who committed a crime and were convicted for it. On the other hand, the people in Belá have not been convicted of any crime and no sentence has been imposed on them. The fact that hundreds of children are detained in this facility goes against our notion of the Czech Republic as a civilised country." [emphasis added]

Full-text of Ombudsman report (pdf)

Also: UN: Czechs violate refugee rights to deter others (euobserver, link)

EU: Commission Issues Opinion on Temporary Reintroduction of Controls at Internal Borders: Germany and Austria acting in compliance with Schengen Borders Code (Press release, pdf): "The Commission has concluded that the initial reintroduction of controls at internal borders by Germany and Austria, as well as the subsequent prolongations, are in compliance with the Schengen Borders Code."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (33 stories and documents, 22.10.15)

Prevent duty ‘heavy-handed and discriminatory’ (IRR, link):

"In the week that the government announced new counter-extremism measures, the IRR publishes contributions from its seminar on ‘Securitisation, Schools and Preventing Extremism’, held at Garden Court Chambers on 7 October, where participants considered the consequences of a new statutory duty on public bodies to prevent non-violent extremism and whether it breached the Equality Act."

Boat refugees been sunk five times (link): Great interview by Eric Kempson (Lesvos) on the shameful EU role and that of Turkish coastguard.

See also: Masked Greek Coastguards again? Attacks on Boats Risk Migrant Lives (HRW, link):

"Armed masked men have been disabling boats carrying migrants and asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea and pushing them back to Turkish waters, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch spoke to nine witnesses who described eight incidents in which masked assailants – often armed – intercepted and disabled the boats carrying asylum seekers and migrants from Turkey toward the Greek islands, most recently on October 7 and 9, 2015. The witnesses said that the assailants deliberately disabled their boats by damaging or removing the engines or their fuel, or puncturing the hulls of inflatable boats. In some cases, the boats were towed to Turkish waters".

Boats from Greece confront refugees at sea with guns (Youtube, link): "Published on Sep 8, 2015 CBS News has obtained video showing a group of men on a boat confronting migrants at sea near the Greek coastline. The men cut the migrants' fuel lines, leaving them stranded at sea. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports."

EU: Council of the European Union: Europol Regulation, Counter-terrorism and CT short term actions

- Preparation of the upcoming trilogues and technical meetings on the draft Europol Regulation (DS LIMITE doc no: 1532, pdf) 31 pages. Including the Internet Referral Unit at Europol (EU IRU):

"If the EU IRU is expected to actively identify threats from, for example, terrorism propaganda, according to Europol, it is indispensable that a dialogue with the concerned private parties is possible. This would mean that e.g. Facebook is in a position to respond to a referral by Europol, by pointing out that the same IP address or the same person also has other accounts that
Europol has not yet discovered. The same applies to other service providers, which generally have a very good overview of their customers’ activities on their own platform, but possibly and probably also as regards other platforms."

- EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12318-15, pdf): The explicit interface between counter-terrorism and refugees and migrants:

"the new “Hot spot approach” developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants....

Europol: Member States have increasingly provided information on foreign terrorist fighters to Europol since January 2013. The total number of contributions is now 1069 (620 by the end of February 2015), with 9724 person entities stored in Focal Point (FP) Travellers (3600 in March 2015), out of those 1969 are confirmed fighters/travellers. Interpol has become a significant contributor to FP Travellers with more than 3000 persons reported by September 2015...

The IRU (see story above) has already carried out 500 referrals, over 90 % of which have been successful leading to the removal of the flagged content.... The IRU is also tackling the facilitation of illegal immigration, with a continuous analysis of social media-related information on a 7/7 basis." [emphasis added]

- Fight against terrorism: implementation of short-term actions (LIMITE doc no: 12551-15, pdf)

"The Council considers it necessary and important to consolidate and strengthen the IRU within Europol. Member States are invited to increase contributions for referrals to the EU IRU and to second experts to the EU IRU. The Commission is invited to provide the EU IRU with appropriate resources as soon as possible and to inform COSI thereof in November..."

News Digest (16 stories, 22.10.15)

EU: Valletta Conference 11-12 November 2015: Update and background

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Three (LIMITE doc no: 12560-rev-2-15, pdf) and: Draft Council Conclusions on the EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 (28 pages, LIMITE doc no: 13200-15,pdf)

""[T]hree issues affecting EU interests in the region have gained particular salience: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa, violent extremism and migration and forced displacement....

"The high number of people in the region who are willing to migrate is by far larger than the limited possibilities of legal avenues for migration, be it within the region or outside. Lack of opportunities for legal migration or complex and expensive procedures mean that many migrants feel that they have no other option than to use irregular channels."

See also: EU: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria prioritised for "pilot initiative on return" (Statewatch database)

European Commission: President Juncker calls Leaders’ Meeting in Brussels on refugee flows along the Western Balkans route (pdf) Leaders from the following countries have been summoned: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

and see: Balkan summit highlights Juncker-Tusk leadership gap (euobserver, link): "By calling a mini summit on Sunday (25 October), European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to push forward the Commission's role in addressing the migrant crisis. By doing so, he has also highlighted an apparently widening gap with the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, a fellow member of the centre-right EPP party."

and yet another "Extra" Justice and Home Council has been called on 9 November, in Brussels.

European Parliament Studies:

- EU cooperation with third countries in the field of migration (pdf):

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, reflects on the imbalances of EU external action as well as on the lack of evidence on the impact and efficiency of EU funding regarding the objectives of the migration policy, which are sometimes conflicting with the development goals.

The study brings forward recommendations for rationalization and coordination of action, more balance between the different components of the GAMM, more transparency for a better evaluation and scrutiny, and a reinforced partnership approach with third countries."

- The European Parliament as a driving force of constitutionalism (pdf):

"The report demonstrates that EP’s formal and informal powers in legislation, comitology, Commission investiture, the budgetary process, economic governance and international agreements have increased strikingly since the Treaty of Rome. This empowerment is partially explained by the concern for democratic legitimacy on the part of some member states’ (and the Commission).

To another important part the empowerment may be explained by the fact that treaties frequently contain ambiguous provisions and thus allow room for informal rules to emerge through bargaining specifying the details of treaty provisions."

Fundamental Rights Agency: Fundamental rights implications of the obligation to provide fingerprints for Eurodac (link) and see: Report (pdf): "The swift identification and registration of asylum seekers is an important measure to ensure their protection. Under EU law, registration procedures also include taking fingerprints. To help authorities ensure fingerprinting practices do not violate fundamental rights, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has produced a 10-point checklist for rights compliance in its latest Focus paper."

EU: Audiovisual Media Services Regulation and The ‘Newspaper Exception' (EU Law Analysis, link):

"As services have developed, however, the boundary between a ‘text-based’ newspaper and audiovisual has become blurred, as newspaper companies started to expand what was offered, specifically the inclusion of video sections on the newspaper site. Do such activities still really qualify for the ‘newspaper exception’? This contentious question arose in a reference from the Austrian courts in the New Media Online case, which the ECJ ruled on yesterday."

See: Judgment (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 stories and documents, 21.10.15)

EU: DATA PROTECTION DIRECTIVE: Law enforcement agencies: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a 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 (LIMITE doc no: 12643-rev-1-15, pdf) Outcome of Proceedings, 90 pages, with 129 Member State positions.

For a Thousand Lives: Be Human: An Appeal from European Filmmakers and Other Film Professionals to our Governments and to the E.U (link): Over 5,500 cinema directors and actors sign a petition:

"Every day, people fleeing war, terror, political persecution and misery are drowning in the sea, suffocating in the back of a truck or tumbling to their death in ports or train stations in their desperate attempts to reach Europe. According to Amnesty International, more than 23.000 people have lost their lives that way since 2000. These deaths are a direct consequence of E.U. immigration policies. The guilt doesn’t just lie with the traffickers; Europe cannot deny its share of responsibility.

To make matters worse, those who reach Europe often find themselves in degrading living conditions and are subjected to inhumane treatment. The E.U. is spending up to twenty times more money on border control, than on welcoming centres for refugees."

EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: The House of Representatives today approved the Judicial Redress Act of 2015 (H.R. 1428) by voice vote. Introduced by Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 stories and documents, 20.10.15)

Weekend Greece Arrivals Exceed Peak Summer Day Total (IOM, link): as at 20-10-15: 651,132 refuge arrivals (Greece: 507,825 Italy: 139,711) and 3,138 dead/missing people.

"IOM Greece reports, after consultations with the Hellenic Police, an unprecedented number of migrants arriving in Greece this weekend, with totals exceeding arrivals during peak summer sailing days. On Friday (16/10) over 8,900 migrants crossed into Greece; on Saturday (17/10) arrivals exceeded 9,100; and on Sunday (18/10), arrivals approached 9,200.

A total of over 27,000 migrants entered Greece last weekend, the majority of whom arrived on the island of Lesvos (16,448). The island of Chios, which previously saw arrivals of up to 300-500 migrants a day, over the weekend, witnessed the arrival of over 4,300 migrants."

See: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis: Humanitarian emergency - updated daily

NSA: Transparency about spying on the rest of the world, "Approved for Public Release"

A sterling effort at transparency from the NSA/the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: declassification of 'Procedures used by the National Security Agency for targeted non-United States persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information pursuant to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as amended' (pdf)

Far-right parties always gain support after financial crises, report finds (euractiv, link): "Extreme and populist right-wing parties have always been the biggest political beneficiaries of financial crises, according to a new study."

Report: Going to Extremes: Politics after Financial Crisis, 1870-2014 (pdf)

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Disabilities: Implementing the UN CRPD: An overview of legal reforms in EU Member States (link): "Many people with disabilities often face legal and societal barriers that prevent them from taking an active and full part in society. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has helped galvanise efforts to advance the rights of people with disabilities across the EU since it entered into force in 2008.

and Report (pdf)

Archives shed light on Nazi atrocities in Greece (The Local.de, link): "From the number of Cretans to be executed for every dead German soldier to advice on which brothel to use, new research is shedding light on Nazi wartime atrocities in Greece. Greece's defence ministry on Monday unveiled its first findings from research into formerly classified Wehrmacht papers found in archives in the United States. The senior historian working on the project spoke of an "endless list" of killing, looting and burning of villages, drawn from local dispatches to the Wehrmacht high command and personal diaries."

News Digest (21 stories, 20.10.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29 stories and documents, 19.10.15)

European Commission: The "Returns" package:

1. Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf)

2. ANNEX: Return Handbook (116 pages, pdf): "The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."

3. Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)

4. EU Action Plan on return (pdf)

5. Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (Commission and EEAS, pdf)

6. Council of Europe: Guidelines on forced returns (pdf)

UK: New "counter-extremism" strategy launched

The UK government has launched its new "one-nation Counter-Extremism Strategy" targeted at "all forms of extremism". "Extremism" has been defined by Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values". The strategy precedes forthcoming anti-extremism legislation.

Northern Ireland: The Good Samartian Bombing: challenge to the Attorney General to order a new inquest

Press release from the Pat Finucane Centre: "The family of Eugene Dalton, killed in what has become known as The Good Samaritan Bombing in Derry in 1987, have applied to challenge a decision of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland not to order a new inquest into his death. On Monday 19 October the High Court in Belfast will hear the arguments of both sides as to whether this challenge should be granted leave for a full hearing on this important Conflict related Legacy matter."

News Digest (19.10.15)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 stories and documents, 17-18.10.15)

Establishing control of refugees took precedence over providing humanitarian aid

First hotspot inaugurated on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link): "“If this had taken place 10 months ago, we could have avoided what we went through this summer,” Avramopoulos said. “More importantly, we would have been able to treat all those people who are seeking for a better life in Europe in a more humane manner,” he said. Additional hotspots on Chios, Samos, Kos, and Leros are expected to be fully operational by end-November."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos's statement does not hold water. His DG produced on 13 January 2015 a: "Fact Sheet: Facts and Figures on the arrivals of migrants in Europe" (pdf) predicting what was to unfold this year - it said 276,113 refugees had arrived in 2014. The simple truth is that the EU had no plans to swiftly put in place humanitarian aid and protection from January 2015 in Italy and Greece. This aid has only come now, ten months late, with the so-called "hotspots" which ties aid to registration and fingerprinting (with "proportionate coercion" if necessary). Estabilishing control of refugees took precedence over providing a "humane" response."

EU: Greece and Italy "state of play" from the European Commission including "return flights": First groups "nationality screened" for "return"

Refugee crisis: Map of the 'Hotspots' designated in Greece (pdf): Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos and Map of the 'Hotspots' designated in Italy (pdf): Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Augusta, Porto Empedode and Trapani

EU-USA "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT: Study: Fundamental Rights European Experts Group (FREE): (97 pages, Complete-text, pdf) prepared by Douwe Korff: "The Agreement , in our view, cannot be approved by the European Parliament in its present form”

UK: MoD police admits 170 officers are under investigation - Concern at allegations against armed personnel responsible for guarding key military bases and nuclear weapons (Observer, link) and see: FIO request response: Ministry of Defence Police: NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS AND POLICE STAFF UNDER INVESTIGATION OR DISMISSED (pdf)

The Drone Papers (The Intercept, link) "The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars."

- The Assassination Complex - Secret military documents expose the inner workings of Obama’s drone wars (link)
- A Visual Glossary Decoding the language of covert warfare (link)
- The Kill Chain: The lethal bureaucracy behind Obama’s drone war (link)
- Find, Fix, Finish: For the Pentagon, creating an architecture of assassination meant navigating a turf war with the CIA (link)
- Manhunting in the Hindu Kush: Civilian casualties and strategic failures in America’s longest war (link)
- Firing Blind: Flawed Intelligence and the Limits of Drone Technology (link)
- The Life and Death of Objective Peckham: Stripped of British citizenship and killed by an American drone (link)
- Target Africa: The U.S. military’s expanding footprint in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (link)
- The Alphabet of Assassination: A guide to the acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms used in The Drone Papers. We defer to definitions provided in the source text where available; other interpretations are based on open source material (link) and

Documents:

- Small Footprint Operations 2/13 (link)
- Small Footprint Operations 5/13 (link)
- Operation Haymaker (link)
- Geolocation Watchlist (link)

Snowden and Ellsberg hail leak of drone documents from new whistleblower (Guardian, link): "Classified documents on US assassination program released to the Intercept welcomed by men who exposed NSA surveillance and Pentagon Papers"

European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) Statement: With winter approaching ECRE urgenty calls on Europe to act (pdf)

"With the winter season approaching, European countries must ensure adequate reception conditions and treat people in need of protection with dignity and respect.
The current focus on increasing border controls may have the opposite effect and deny these children, women and men fleeing war and persecution from
accessing the international protection they need."

EU-USA DATA PROTECTION: Statement of the Article 29 Working Party on: Maximilian Schrems judgment (pdf):

"If by the end of January 2016, no appropriate solution is found with the US authorities and depending on the assessment of the transfer tools by the Working Party, EU data protection authorities are committed to take all necessary and appropriate actions, which may include coordinated enforcement actions....

Regarding the practical consequences of the CJEU judgment, the Working Party considers that it is clear that transfers from the European Union to the United States can no longer be framed on the basis of the European Commission adequacy decision 2000/520/EC (the so-called “Safe Harbour decision”). In any case, transfers that are still taking place under the Safe Harbour decision after the CJEU judgment are unlawful." [emphasis in original]

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31 stories and documents, 15-16.10.15)

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Text of "Revised": EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan (dated 16.10.15, pdf)

EU COUNCIL: RESPONSE TO REFUGE CRISIS: SUMMIT CONCLUSIONS (16.10.15, pdf):

"welcomes the joint Action Plan with Turkey as part of a comprehensive cooperation agenda based on shared responsibility, mutual commitments and delivery. Successful implementation will contribute to accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap towards all participating Member States and the full implementation of the readmission agreement. Progress will be assessed in spring 2016."

See: Turkey’s Erdogan calls the shots at EU summit (euractiv, link): "Faced with a refugee crisis they seem unable to control, EU leaders last night (15 October) tried to accommodate ambitious demands by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, just two weeks before crucial elections in Turkey.... Yesterday morning in Ankara, Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans had agreed with his Turkish counterparts a "package" in exchange for Turkey's help in stemming the flow of refugees to the EU." and: Merkel backs multibillion-euro refugee package for Turkey (FT, link) also: EU bid to stem refugee influx stalls on how much to give Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "European leaders failed to reach a final agreement on recruiting Turkey to help stem the flow of refugees from the Middle East, with some eastern member states dragging their heels over how much aid to grant their neighbor.... While the member states agreed to send hundreds more border guards to help Frontex and other joint agencies patrolling the bloc’s borders, leaders made little progress on how to redesign the system of distributing immigrants, forming an EU border guard corps or on how to ensure arrivals are properly processed. “These are all divisive issues and the goal today was to have the first serious exchange,” Tusk said"

EU migrant crisis: Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban pushes for Greek border to be sealed (IBT, link): "The country's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: "We have urged Greece and the European Council to put together a joint European force to protect the external Schengen border. Unfortunately this decision has not been made. "If this decision is not made during the European Council meeting today and tomorrow, we really have to put into serious consideration to protect the Schengen zone at the Croatian-Hungarian border," he added. Hungary has already built a fence along its border with Croatia in a bid to keep Middle Eastern migrants out.

Seven people die off Lesvos as tensions flare at crowded reception facility (UNHCR, link):

"Authorities in Greece have reported up to seven people were killed – four of them children – in a collision between a smuggling boat and a Greek Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Lesvos, the UN refugee agency said today.... The collision between the Coast Guard patrol vessel and a wooden fishing boat carrying 38 people occurred off the island's north-western coastal town of Molyvos, the Greek Coast Guard said on Thursday (October 15). Seven bodies, including those of the four children, were subsequently recovered. Thirty-one people were rescued following the incident. The Greek authorities have announced that they are investigating the matter, UNHCR said." and see:

Seven migrants killed when their boat, reportedly fleeing, collides with Greek coast guard vessel (japantimes.co.jp, link): "LESBOS, GREECE – A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coast guard vessel, leaving at least seven people dead, including four children, rescuers said. The boat sank within minutes of the crash with a 30-meter (100-foot) patrol vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being investigated.... An AFP photographer who witnessed the crash from the shores of Lesbos said the boat went down just two or three minutes after the collision, which took place some 2 km (1.2 miles) from land."

Afghan Migrant Shot Dead in Bulgaria near Border with Turkey, (novinite.com, link):

"An Afghan man died in Bulgaria after being indirectly hit by a bullet of border police on Thursday, authorities say. The incident took place around 22:00 local time (EEST), the Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary, Georgi Kostov, has announced. Pretrial proceedings have been launched.

It happened as border police detected the movement of 54 people trying to enter Bulgaria near the town of Sredets, in the country's south-east, not far from the border with Turkey. After shooting in the air as a warning sign, a bullet "rebounded" hitting one of them in the back of the neck by mistake, Kostov has explained, without elaborating." [emphasis added]

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 14.10.15)

EU-USA "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT: Study: Fundamental Rights European Experts Group (FREE): prepared by Douwe Korff

- NOTE on the EU-US Umbrella Data Protection Agreement (pdf)

"We believe the following aspects of the Umbrella Agreement violate, or are likely to lead to violations of, the Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:

The Umbrella Agreement appears to allow the “sharing” of data sent by EU law enforcement agencies to US law enforcement agencies with US national security agencies (including the FBI and the US NSA) for use in the latter’s mass surveillance and data mining operations; as well as the “onward transfer” of such data to “third parties”, including national security agencies of yet other (“third”) countries, which the Agreement says may not be subjected to “generic data protection conditions

The Agreement should therefore, in our view, cannot be approved by the European Parliament in its present form”

- ANNEX: ARTICLE-BY-ARTICLE ANALYSIS of the EU-US Umbrella Data Protection Agreement: [TEXT OF THE AGREEMENT IN BOLD; COMMENTS ARE IN ORDINARY TYPE] (pdf)

- Data flow: Chart 1 (pdf) and Data flow Chart 2 (pdf)

- Letter from Commissioner: announcing "deal" (pdf)

- EU-USA Umbrella Agreement: Full-text (pdf)

UPDATE: EU: MED-REFUGEE SUMMIT: New European Council: 15-16 October 2015: Draft Conclusions (LIMITE doc no 11140-15, pdf)

Previous versions: European Council: 15-16 October 2015: Draft Conclusions (LIMITE doc no 11139-15, pdf) and European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no:1137-15, (pdf)

Spain: Impunity for border control killings in the Canary island: No charges in case involving Guardia Civil patrol boat which sank dinghy near Lanzarote in 2012

On 13 October 2015, El Diario newspaper reported that the third instruction court in Arrecife shelved the case involving the sinking of a dinghy by a Guardia Civil patrol boat in December 2012 which resulted in a Moroccan boy's death and the disappearance of six other passengers.

Frontex: 710 000 migrants entered EU in first nine months of 2015 (link) Frontex gets headline news with this kind of press release but are they accurate?

"Clarification: Frontex provides monthly data on the number of people detected at the external borders of the European Union. Irregular border crossings may be attempted by the same person several times in different locations at the external border. This means that a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again counted when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia."

This is why the Frontex figures always exceed those of IOM and UNHCR: Mediterranean Arrivals Near Record 600,000 (IOM, link) and October 2 (UNHCR) refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015.With the new figures from Greece, the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year is nearly 530,000"

EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: Must-read data protection law. DPA says neither model clauses NOR consent are sufficient for transfer to USA: Schleswig-Holstein: Model Clauses ist Kaput! [Update 1] (link)

EU: European Parliament: Mass surveillance: EU citizens' rights still in danger, MEPs say (pdf):

"Too little has been done to ensure that citizens' rights are protected following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say civil liberties MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They urge the Commission to come up immediately with alternatives to Safe Harbour, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice. They are also concerned about the surveillance laws in several EU countries."

EU: SUMMIT ON THE MED: Council President Tusk invitation letter to Heads of State Summit: 15-16 October, 2015:
"Even if the influx of refugees slows down during winter, we must be ready for spring and the threat of bigger waves flowing to Europe".(pdf)

"Let us be clear about one thing. The exceptionally easy access to Europe is one of the main pull factors. In this context we should consider:

1. The future of the Dublin system, which is now in force - whether to keep it as it is or to look for alternatives;
2. The specific role of hotspots in light of different opinions as to their character and purpose;
3. The strengthening of our external borders, including a possible EU border guard."

EU: From fingerprints to facial scans: Why the French want biometrics on all EU travellers (ZDnet, link): "France wants to collect biometric data from all EU nationals and foreign travellers crossing the outer borders of the Schengen area."

See: Council of the European Union: French Delegation: Smart borders for all (pdf) and France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs (Statewatch)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 stories and documents, 13.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council Presidency Letter to the President of the European Council for the Summit meeting on 15-16 October 2015 (pdf): A summary of the actions taken and future plans: Includes two sets of Conclusions and 1994 Recommendations (EU return Laissez-passer) in which national and European parliaments have no say at all:

"To increase the effectiveness of the EU's return system, Ministers reiterated their willingness to implement all measures, including the use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort. They underlined the need to reinforce pre-removal detention capacities to ensure the physical availability of irregular migrants for return....

an integrated system of return management by building on synergies between all relevant stakeholders [see footnote]....

The Council also highlighted the importance of all EU actors exploiting the full potential of EU diplomacy on the ground and prioritizing readmission in all relevant contacts at political level with countries of origin of irregular migrants, thus helping to identifying potential leverage. On this issue, Commissioner Avramopoulos stressed his strong support for the organization of planned joint return flights to Pakistan by the end of the month...

addressing the future management of the external borders of the European Union. In the current circumstances, further efforts need to be undertaken on hotspots, with a focus on green [land] borders....

Influx of migrants to the European Union will not abate in the short run."

Footnote: New initiatives to try and persuaded, or "bribe", the so-called "more for more principle" if African states agree to the return of refugees:

"Notably the European Integrated Approach on Return towards Third Countries (EURINT), the European Reintegration Instrument Network (ERIN) and the European Return Liaison Officers network (EURLO), as well as Immigration Liaison Officers (ILOs), Frontex Liaison Officers and European Migration Liaison Officers (EMLOs), to be deployed by end of 2015 to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Serbia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey and Jordan." [emphasis added]

EU: Europol Supervisory Body report: Victims of trafficking in human beings: a data protection perspective (pdf):

"The Europol Joint Supervisory Body experienced that on national and on international level more attention and harmonisation is needed for data processing activities by all competent authorities - police, prosecutors and investigative judges - involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings."

Watch The Med Alarm Phone‘s 1 Year Anniversary Statement 12.10.2015 (pdf):

"While we are confronted with a lot of despair, we have also been inspired uncountable times by the willingness to overcome the sea and to move on to desired places throughout Europe.

They grew stronger, louder and more visible every day in the past months: the incredible social and political struggles of refugees and migrants for the freedom of movement. To overcome the Mediterranean Sea in small overcrowded boats is one of the most dangerous aspects of these migration journeys towards the European Union as safe and legal pathways are closed down and fenced off by its government."

Website: www.alarmphone.org

ECRE Comments on the proposal for an EU common list of safe countries of origin (AIDA, link):

"ECRE seriously questions the compatibility of the safe country of origin concept with international refugee law, as it is at odds with the obligation on states under the 1951 Refugee Convention to treat refugees without discrimination based on their country of origin. The use of safe country lists, whether nationally designated or at EU level, further contributes to a practice of stereotyping certain applications on the basis of their nationality and increases the risk of such applications not being subject to a thorough examination of a person’s fear for persecution or risk of serious harm on an individual basis, which is at the core of the refugee definition and crucial to ensuring full respect for the principle of non-refoulement....

In that regard, ECRE is opposed to the adoption of a common EU list of safe countries of origin as proposed by the Commission, as it is part of a worrying development in EU asylum law to increasingly assume a negative outcome of an asylum procedure on the basis of the nationality or profile of the applicant as being manifestly unfounded prior to a proper examination of the application."

and see: ECRE Comments on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin and amending the recast Asylum Procedures Directive (COM(2015) 452) (pdf)

EU: Fingerprints, facial scans, EU border data slurp too tasty for French to resist - France wants proposed rules applied to EU citizens as well (The Register, link):

"French authorities want fingerprint and facial scans of everyone entering or leaving the EU. The proposal from the French delegation came as the European Commission puts more pressure on interior ministers to adopt its so-called “smart borders” package. The Commission plan is to set up a digital dragnet to monitor all non-EU nationals entering and exiting the EU....

But hot on the heels of their own version of the Patriot Act, France (PDF) wants to “broaden the scope of the smart borders package for all travellers, also including European nationals”.

See: Council of the European Union: French Delegation: Smart borders for all (pdf) and France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs (Statewatch)

Germany: Data retention bill that is to be adopted without substantial changes this week: Draft Act introducing a storage obligation and a maximum retention period for traffic data (pdf)

EU: AUSTRIA: Xenophobia on the increase in Austria (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europe is concerned about a rise in racism in Austria. Certain political parties and organisations, as well as media outlets, are cultivating a chauvinistic discourse."

and see: European Commission against racism and intolerance (CoE): ECRI report on Austria (pdf)

Spain-Morocco: Two deaths at Spain-Morocco border after marines overturn raft

Two migrants died and 20 others were injured at the Spanish-Moroccan border on Friday 9 October after a raft on which they were travelling was overturned by the Moroccan Royal Marines, according to a report on the website of Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

Cadena SER cited eyewitness testimony from people working with the NGO Caminando Fronteras, who said: "The immigrants were travelling in a raft which was intercepted and overturned by the Royal Marines with great violence; they were subsequently beaten."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories and documents, 12.10.15) and Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 stories and documents, 10-11.10.15)

EU: European Commission: Letter to Hungary: and detailed Annex: Comments and preliminary concerns on recent legislative changes related to the migration crisis (pdf)

"This preliminary assessment reveals a number of concerns and questions on substance and implementation relating inter alia to:

- a possible quasi-systematic dismissal of applications for international protection submitted at the border with Serbia

- a possible lack of sufficient safeguards in the asylum procedure implemented at the border, including as regards the existence of effective remedies to challenge a decision on the admissibility of an asylum application

- the criminal sanctions introduced relating to the crossing of the border and a possible lack of adequate safeguards ensuring respect of the rights of defence and effective remedies in the criminal proceedings

- the closing of border crossing points

- the powers granted to the military forces in border management and questions as to the existence of adequate safeguards and remedies

- a possible general lack of specific procedures or safeguards for children"

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: VALLETTA CONFERENCE: 11-12 November 2015: Council of the European Union: Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)

EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf): "achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration... See earlier version: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Council conclusions on Migration Foreign Affairs Council, 12 October 2015 (pdf):

"The Council recalls the importance to engage in a comprehensive dialogue with African countries of origin and transit in order to jointly manage migration and asylum flows in the spirit of partnership, ownership and shared responsibility. In this regard, the Council welcomes the efforts by the Presidents of the European Council, the Commission and the Presidency of the Council of the EU, in close cooperation with the HRVP, in preparation of the Valletta Summit on 11 and 12 November and encourages all those involved to find comprehensive and balanced solutions and make substantial progress on all priority domains of the draft Action Plan."

UK: REFUGEE CRISIS: Call from the Legal Community for Urgent Action:This statement calls for an urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis. Its signatories include retired judges, Queen’s Counsel, barristers, solicitors and law professors (Letter in Guardian and Times, link):

"Like many others, we consider that the UK Government’s offer to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East, spread over 5 years, is too low, too slow and too narrow."

EU: Gáspar Miklós Tamás: ”This is post-fascism” (link): Gáspár Miklós Tamás (b. 1948) is one of Hungary’s most prominent intellectuals and an important political voice in Europe. Trained as a philosopher and author of numerous books and articles, he was a leading dissident in the 1980s. Today he calls himself a Marxist and is very critical of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his nationalist ideas:

"You have written about what you call “post-fascism”. Do you still think that concept is useful to understand what we are seeing in Europe now?

I have been vindicated, unfortunately. So yes, this is what we have [in Hungary, editors’ remark], this is postfascism. It has all the democratic trappings, there is no need for a formal dictatorship. We have a minority media world, where people as myself can talk with no consequence for them – because it doesn’t reach more than 5 to 10 percent of the population...."

If we look at Europe, what currents are the dominating ones right now, in your opinion?

".. The right is on the march. And I think the refugee crisis will result in a much nastier Europe than we had a year ago. That’s already the case."

If we change the perspective to the refugees. When they refuse to accept these borders and fences and keep on going, do you see that as a political act, in some way?

A little, yes. They instinctively realize that they have rights independent of citizenship. And that’s very important. Very important! And in my opinion they are right in that. Rights are either universal or they are not rights. Because rights that are not universal are called privileges. There’s a difference. To realize that, you don’t need to be Marxist. It’s enough to be a Kantian. It’s absolutely disgraceful how people think of rights in terms of privileges..."

and see: What is Post-fascism? (Open Democracy, link) by Gaspar Miklos Tamas.

EU: European Parliament studies:

- The protection role of the Committee on Petitions in the context of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (pdf):

"It considers the petitions received on disability issues and examples of CRPD protection mechanisms implemented at level of the UN, the EU and the Member States. Recommendations are made to assist the EP in deliberating on disability issues in its protection role."

- EU funds for Migration policies: Analysis of Efficiency and best practice for the future (pdf):

"This study provides an overview of EU funding and agencies in the field of migration, asylum and integration. It begins with a brief assessment of their effectiveness and efficiency before examining whether the design of management, budgeting and control systems is effective in preventing the misuse of resources. The study illustrates good practices, lessons learnt and recommendations on how to achieve greater transparency in the implementation of future EU funding programmes."

See: also: MED CRISIS: Billion-euro budgets to be distributed to Member States; plus latest news reports (Statewatch database): "The European Commission has announced the approval of 23 more national programmes for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, paving the way for the release of up to €2.4 billion to Member States to "improve migration management, foster cooperation and make Europe safer".

UN: EU Med Operations: Resolution 2240 (2015), Security Council Authorizes Member States to Intercept Vessels off Libyan Coast Suspected of Migrant Smuggling (Full-text, pdf)

See: U.N. council OKs mission against human trafficking off Libya (Reuters, link):

" The United Nations Security Council on Friday authorized European Union naval operations for one year to seize and dispose of vessels operated by human traffickers in the high seas off Libya. The 15-member council adopted the British-drafted resolution with 14 votes in favor. Venezuela abstained.

The resolution approved the second of three phases of an EU naval mission intended to help stem the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe, which has escalated into a major crisis in recent months. The third phase of the EU mission, which is not covered by the resolution, would involve European operations in Libyan territorial waters and coastal areas."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25 stories and documents, 9.10.15)

EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf):

"achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration... See: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

"devise technical solutions to reinforce the control of the EU's external borders to meet both migration and security objectives, by making full use of technological developments in order not to hamper free circulation and to facilitate travel" : See: France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs and:

"press ahead with the establishment of further hotspots...

step up implementation by the Member States of the Return Directive...

development of a European Border and Coast Guard System...

enlarge the Frontex mandate on return to include the right to organise joint return operations on its own initiative and enhance its role regarding the acquisition of travel documents for returnees...

promote the acceptance by third countries of an improved European laissez-passer as the reference document for return purposes.[*]"

[*] The Council's legal basis is relying on 1994 Recommendations for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures.

UK: With the death of Ken Leech, on 12 September from a stroke, we have lost a pillar of the anti-fascist movement (IRR, link):

"He was always there for the calling on in the struggle against racism – a thoughtful stalwart, a socialist who would stand up and be counted, unafraid of getting his hands dirty from community politics... Ken, who was a guiding light of the Christian Socialist Movement, marched with CND and championed gender equality and justice for lesbian and gay clergy, of course never got any ‘preferment’ in the established Church. It is not there then that his legacy lies, but in the ‘subversive orthodoxy’ that he practised and preached."

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: Final Press release: 8-9 October 2015 (pdf) including:

"B" Points agenda (for discussion, including some non-legislative items), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points -non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and see: Background Note (9 pages, pdf) and Agreed: Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf)

France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs

France has proposed extending the EU's proposed "smart borders" systems from non-EU nationals to all EU nationals and residents as well, a move which would require fingerprinting, face scans, systematic database searches and entry and exit logging for everyone entering the EU. The smart borders proposals are one of many items on the agenda of the JHA Council meeting yesterday (8 October).

EU-USA "UMBRELLA" DATA PROTECTION AGREEMENT: European Parliament Study: A comparison between US and EU data protection legislation for law enforcement purposes (pdf)

"The proposed Judicial Redress Act will not solve the structural imbalance between the protection of US and non-US persons. The Draft Act has a limited scope, referring only to “covered records”.... Therefore, the Judicial Redress Act does not necessarily guarantee equal rights to EU and US persons....

A further indispensable point concerns the still ongoing collection of foreign intelligence in the framework of Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Act and Executive Order 12333. The FREEDOM Act did not bring about any major changes regarding these instruments with regards to the protection of EU citizens. A future instrument regulating data exchange should address these two issues, as serious questions on their compatibility with EU fundamental rights arise (see recent opinion of Advocate General Bot in the Schrems case)."

This is the first study carried out by the EP: The US legal system on data protection in the field of law enforcement. Safeguards, rights and remedies
for EU citizens
(pdf)

See: European Ruling is Merely a Symbolic Victory for Privacy (NYT Editorial, link): "The Court of Justice is right to question whether the personal information of Europeans is being protected adequately in the United States. But mass surveillance by European governments is just as intrusive of privacy, and requiring data storage in Europe offers little comfort." Also Commission advice on Transfers Abroad: Currently there are other ways of tranferring data to a third states - by-passing the adequacy rule (link), though these may not hold when the judgments of the CJEU are taken into account.

IOM Monitors Mediterranean Migrant Flows: 7,000 Crossing Daily to Greece (link):

"Despite the increased number of arrivals on the island of Lesvos, the congestion on the island has declined significantly. This is due in part to the fact that 70 per cent of migrants and refugees who arrived in Greece last week immediately crossed into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at Greece’s Idomeni border.... Migrants and refugees have to pay for their own tickets for all their transport in Greece and, according to people interviewed by IOM, nationality has become an important factor in determining how quickly they can leave the islands and travel to the FYROM border.

Syrians are now travelling faster from the islands to the border because they can afford it. They buy tickets for boats to Athens, buses straight to the border and sometimes even pay for taxis that can cost up to EUR 700 a family from Athens to the border.

Afghans, on the other hand, often have to work to get enough money to buy tickets or have to contract friends or relatives to borrow funds for onward travel. Consequently they spend more time transiting Greece."

See: Med infograpics with latest figures (pdf)

EU: EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL BETWEEN LEAs: Council of the European Union: Adopt: Proposal for a 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 - General approach (pdf) and will now enter trilogue with the European Parliament.

See also: EU Data protection reform on track: Commission proposal on new data protection rules in law enforcement area backed by Justice Ministers (pdf) Commission press release

Commission’s proposal to put Turkey on ‘safe countries' list under attack (euractiv, link): "Commission plans to put Turkey on a list of "safe countries", to which migrants can be quickly returned as they would not risk oppression, have run into opposition from several European nations, sources said on Thursday (8 October).... Several member states refuse to add Turkey - home to two million refugees from the Syrian war - because of its poor record on judicial independence, minority rights and freedom of expression, several diplomatic sources told AFP." and see:

Turkey frowns at EU refugee aid plan (euractiv, link): "Turkey has given a lukewarm response to a European Union plan to assist Ankara in coping with over two million Syrian refugees, indicating that funding needs to be drastically increased.... Turkish officials, so far, are not rushing to embrace the plan."The EU is in a hurry but we are not," a Turkish official, who asked not to be named, told AFP."

See: Commission Press release: EU-TURKEY: Draft Action Plan: Stepping up EU-Turkey cooperation on support of refugees and migration management in view of the situation in Syria and Iraq (6.10.15, pdf)

European Parliament:

Draft Report: on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex (pdf): Rapporteurs: Roberta Metsola, Ska Keller

and REPORT: on the draft Council Implementing Decision fixing the date of effect of Decision 2008/633/JHA concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences (pdf): Rapporteur: Timothy Kirkhope

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 8.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: "B" Points agenda (for discussion, including some non-legislative items), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points -non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and see: Background Note (9 pages, pdf)

Agreed: Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf)

See: Director of IOM: Swing Asks EU to Respect Rights of Vulnerable Migrants Arriving on its Shores (to be delivered later today at a high level EU conference in Luxembourg on refugees and migration flows through the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans, link):

"Mr Swing underscored that care needed to be taken when dealing with asylum seekers who do not neatly fit into the category of refugees. “Many of those on the move defy easy categorization. Many will be covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention and many others will not. But it is too simplistic to conclude that all of them fall into a single broad category of “economic migrants,” he said.

“I am speaking of a wide range of vulnerable migrants - families with children; persons seeking to re-unite with their families already in Europe; unaccompanied and separated children; victims of trafficking; single and pregnant women, the elderly, the sick and the injured. The majority are coming from countries facing great strife, abject poverty or simply, hopelessness,” he noted."

and Migrant crisis: EU considers faster deportations (BBC News, link) also: EU to step up deportation of economic migrants (euractiv, link): "European Union governments are set to agree today (8 October) to accelerate the repatriation of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum, as they try to cope with a surge in refugees from war-torn Syria. Diplomats say interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg should agree, among other things, to back the detention of those who may abscond before expulsion and exert more pressure on African and other poor states, including via aid budgets, to make them accept the return of citizens refused entry to Europe."

Greece’s Tsipras in Lesvos: Hiding the refugee crisis under the carpet (link):

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Lesvos on Tuesday, Oct. 6, accompanied by Austrian chancellor Werner Feymann, to ostensibly appraise the refugee crisis on the islands firsthand, but what they saw there did not correspond to the everyday reality. Journalist Sofia Christoforidou was at the Mytilene harbor and tweeted updates on the preparations there while waiting for the PM’s visit....

“Tsipras and Faymann came from the back entrance, saw few refugees, everything in order at port, and they departed.”...

Boat arrivals in Lesvos’ northern beaches, which usually number in the dozens daily, practically stopped for the duration of the two leaders’ visit....

Hours after Tsipras’ visit, the boats came back, and the arrivals of refugees continued."

EU: Secret trilogue law-making: Giegold: I've no problem with livestreaming secret talks on EU law (euractiv, link):

"The lead MEP on a European Parliament transparency report has said that he was lobbied “all the time” during secret negotiations over EU law, and had better access to classified documents just because he is German. Sven Giegold exclusively told EurActiv he wouldn’t care if “trialogue” discussions were livestreamed and branded a European Commission push for better regulation an attack on parliamentary democracy.

I think that there is a problem of transparency and accountability, and that has to be changed. There’s also a problem of integrity. There’s a problem with transparency because there’s no minutes, because it is not clear when they take place, it is not clear who has participated.

There is also a lack of accountability, because it is not transparent about who has defended which position in the negotiations. Lastly, there is a problem with integrity. The documents that are meant to be secret are not secret. I’ve seen it very often that lobbyists have documents given to them through sources in the Parliament, or more often through the Council."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (39 stories and documents, 6-7.10.15)

The party’s over: EU data protection law after the Schrems Safe Harbour judgment (EU Law Analysis, link): "In this post, I’ll examine the reasons why the Court put its foot down, and invalidated the Commission’s ‘ Safe Harbour’ decision which allows transfers of personal data to the USA, in the recent judgment in Schrems. Then I will examine the consequences of the Court’s ruling"

Secret EU plan to throw out thousands of migrants (The Times, link):

" Hundreds of thousands of failed asylum seekers will be deported from Europe within weeks under secret plans leaked to The Times.

Brussels will threaten to withdraw aid, trade deals and visa arrangements if countries such as Niger and Eritrea refuse to take back their economic migrants. The proposals also envisage EU states detaining thousands of migrants to prevent them from absconding to avoid deportation.....

Tony Bunyan, the director of Statewatch, an EU civil liberties watchdog, said: “Refugees, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty, do not want to return to the country they have come from. The returns policy proposed is not going to work,” he said. “It cannot be seriously expected that Turkey would accept the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees.”

See: Council of the European Union: Draft Council conclusions on the future of the EU return policy (LIMITE doc no: 12420-15, pdf) for adoption at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 July 2015

EU ministers to fast-track migrant deportation (euobserver, link): "EU ministers are coming up with plans on how to best to use the deportation of failed asylum seekers as a deterrent for others. A leaked paper from the Council, representing EU member states, says some €800 million will be set aside on larger efforts to remove people without the proper paper work from the EU back to their home countries....

"The idea that returns can be fast-tracked through issuing EU laissez-passer to return refugees to third countries is reminiscent of the apartheid pass laws", said Statewatch director Tony Bunyan."

EU-USA: DATA PROJECTION JUDGMENT FALL-OUT:

- Data deal with US must be immediately suspended and replaced by new, solid framework for data transfers, says Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (pdf): "The European Commission must immediately suspend the 'Safe Harbour' framework with the US and initiate a new, secure data protection framework that will guarantee the rights and privacy of European citizens, says the Chair of the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee, Claude Moraes, following today's ruling of the European Court of Justice in the case regarding Facebook's transfer of EU citizens data to the US."

- Issued by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party: The Court of Justice of the European Union invalidates the EU Commission Safe Harbor Decision (pdf): "The Working Party welcomes the fact that the Court’s decision reaffirms that data protection rights are an inherent part of the EU fundamental rights regime... For several years, the Working Party has been studying the impact of mass surveillance on international transfers and has on several occasions presented its concerns.

Today’s Court judgment confirms that due to in particular the existence of mass surveillance and the absence of possibility for an individual to pursue legal remedies in order to have access and to obtain rectification or erasure, serious questions exist regarding the continuity of the level of data protection when data are transferred to the United-States."

- First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová 's press conference on Safe Harbour following the Court ruling in case C-362/14 (Schrems) (pdf) Extraordinarily on the planned EU-USA "Umbrella" Agreement on the exchange of personal data for criminal offences (all offences however minor) Commissioner Vera Jourová seeks to claim:

"The Umbrella agreement is something different than Safe Harbour. It does not itself enable data transfers." [emphais aded]

Whistleblower Edward Snowden hails 'Safe Harbor' data sharing verdict (DW, link): "US whistleblower Edward Snowden has praised the European Court of Justice's decision to invalidate a 15-year-old pact allowing data transfers between the US and EU. White House says it's "disappointed" by the verdict. "

EU-Africa: The 'Khartoum Process': beefing up borders in east Africa

The 'Khartoum Process' is intended to limit the number of people travelling to Europe via the "Horn of Africa migration route" and involves east African states, EU Member States, the European Commission and the African Union. Formally known as the 'EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative', it has been criticised by the human rights organisation AEDH as attempting "to arrange the material conditions to avoid that they [migrants and refugees] come to Europe, especially by establishing asylum processing centres" within African countries. The 'Process' foresees, amongst other things, the enhancement of law enforcement powers and border controls in east African states.

EU-TURKEY: Draft Action Plan: Stepping up EU-Turkey cooperation on support of refugees and migration management in view of the situation in Syria and Iraq (6.10.15, pdf): Note it is a "Draft":

"The Action Plan identifies a series of collaborative actions to be implemented as a matter of urgency by the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Turkey with he objective to assist Turkey in managing the situation of massive influx of refugees and preventing uncontrolled migratory flows from Turkey to the EU....

Prevent further arrivals of irregular migrants to Turkey and irregular departures of refugees and migrants from Turkey to the EU...

Ensure prompt return to the point of origin of irregular migrants who are not in need of international protection and who were apprehended by the law enforcement agencies of the EU Member States or Turkey and support the reintegration of returnees to the countries of origin....

Support Turkey to strengthen its capacity to combat migrant smuggling, notably by reinforcing the Turkish Coast Guard patrolling and surveillance capacity...

The implementation of the Action Plan is set to start immediately; it will be jointly steered and monitored by the European Commission and the High Representative / Vice President and the Turkish government through the establishment of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogue on migration."

and Press release (pdf)

European Parliament study: EU funds for Migration policies: Analysis of Efficiency and best practice for the future (pdf):

"This study provides an overview of EU funding and agencies in the field of migration,asylum and integration. It begins with a brief assessment of their effectiveness and efficiency before examining whether the design of management, budgeting and control systems is effective in preventing the misuse of resources. The study illustrates good practices, lessons learnt and recommendations on how to achieve greater transparency in the implementation of future EU funding programmes."


European Parliament study: Shaping and controlling foreign policy: Parliamentary diplomacy and oversight, and the role of the European Parliament (pdf): "The paper examines the role and functions of parliaments in shaping and controlling foreign policy, also by discussing some case studies (US, German, British and French). It reflects particularly on the gradual parliamentarisation of Member State-dominated EU foreign policy."

EU Refugee crisis: Returns policy - unworkable

Council of the European Union: Draft Council conclusions on the future of the EU return policy (LIMITE doc no: 12420-15, pdf) for adoption at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 July 2015. Including:

"The Council invites the Commission and the EEAS, and the Member States, in particular through their representations outside the EU, in close cooperation with the liaison officers mentioned in paragraph 9, to promote the EU laissez-passer (standard travel document for the expulsion of third-country nationals) which should become the travel document commonly accepted for return purposes by third-countries. Moreover, Member States commit to using more regularly the EU laissez-passer in return operations." (Point 14, emphasis added])

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"The Commission and the Council have never understood that refugees, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty, do not want to return to the country they have come from. The idea that returns can be fast-tracked through issuing EU laissez-passer to return refugees to third countries is reminiscent of the apartheid pass laws.

This is compounded by the Council is relying on 1994 Recommendations as the legal basis for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures."

EU: European Court of Justice: SAFE HARBOUR JUDGMENT: The Court of Justice declares that the Commission’s US Safe Harbour Decision is invalid (Press release, pdf): and Full-text-judgment (pdf)

"The Data Protection Directive provides that the transfer of personal data to a third country may, in principle, take place only if that third country ensures an adequate level of protection of the data..... The United States safe harbour scheme thus enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons, and the Commission decision does not refer either to the existence, in the United States, of rules intended to limit any such interference or to the existence of effective legal protection against the interference."

See: Intial response from max schrems (pdf) and see his Facebook

European Parliament failure to bring proceedings against Hungary: "According to internal European Parliament emails seen by Playbook (Politico), the Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, chaired by Claude Moraes from U.K. Labour, has rejected a request by the Liberal faction ALDE group supported by Greens, far-left parties and Italy’s Five Star Movement to trrigger an “Article 7.1 procedure” against Hungary for its behavior towards refugees. The move was blocked by the two big parties, who instead put to a vote a Socialist proposal to request that the Commission follow through on a June request that it “present a proposal to establish an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights.”

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 stories/documents: 5.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: The future management of the EU's external borders (LIMITE doc no: 12541-15, pdf):

"How can the collective responsibility of Member States and Frontex evolve, e.g. for ensuring a better and at times compulsory allocation of border guards and equipment from low risk areas to those most affected by illegal migration?" [emphasis added]

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: Background Note (9 pages, pdf)

EU: TURKEY: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update and the outcome of discussion on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 9491-15, 15 pages, pdf):

"Turkey had the capacity to act as a significant transit point for migrants from the wider Middle East-North Africa region: migrants may legally enter Turkey but then illegally enter the EU. Along with Syrians, Moroccan, Tunisian, Libyan, Georgian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iranian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Turkey."

EU: Council of the European Union: Accession to the ECHR: Accession of the European Union to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) - State of play (Limite doc no: 12528-15, pdf): "On 18 December 2014 the CJEU declared the Draft Accession Agreement incompatible with the EU Treaties on a number of grounds.... [for example] entrust a judicial review of EU actions in (some) CFSP matters - for which the CJEU has no competence - to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)."

EU and Turkey to discuss plan to stem flow of migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet with Juncker on Monday.

A spokesman for the European Commission said the meeting was "precisely about seeing how to step up cooperation to jointly tackle the refugee crisis" and said any new announcements would be made at a news conference on Monday.

Asked about the newspaper report, a spokeswoman for the German government said Merkel, Juncker and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann had held a phone call on Wednesday but she declined to comment on the content of their discussion."

See also: Erdogan brings Turkish election campaign to Strasbourg, Brussels (euractiv, link): "Supporters and foes gathered in Strasbourg on Sunday (4 October) on the occasion of a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has apparently turned his European tour into part of his election campaign..... The European Commission and Turkey have agreed on a plan to stem the flow of refugees to Europe by patrolling Turkey's frontier with Greece and setting up new camps, a newspaper cited sources in the Commission and the German government as saying yesterday.... However a senior EU official involved in the negotiations with Turkey told Reuters that the newspaper report went beyond what was currently under discussion between Brussels and Ankara. "It's a bit exaggerated," he said."

and EU and Turkey have struck plan to stem flow of migrants - newspaper (Reuters, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: Exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies & UNHCR

- Council agrees its negotiating position: Proposal for a 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 - General approach (pdf)

- Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the position to be adopted, on behalf of the European Union, in the sixty-sixth session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (pdf) and the detail in: Annex (pdf)

EU and Turkey 'agree on refugee plan' (The Local.fr, link): "The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a plan of action to help ease the flow of migrants into the bloc, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.... Under the plan, Turkey would agree to stepped-up efforts to secure its frontier with the EU by taking part in joint patrols with the Greek coastguard in the eastern Aegean coordinated by EU border protection agency Frontex, the report said.

Any migrants picked up would be taken back to Turkey, where six new camps for up to two million people would be built, co-financed by the EU."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 stories/documents: 3-4.10.15)

Refugee sea arrivals in Greece this year approach 400,000 (UNHCR, link):

"ATHENS, Greece, October 2 (UNHCR) -- The UN refugee agency said on Friday that refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015. With the new figures from Greece, the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year is nearly 530,000.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva that the continuing high rate of arrivals underlines the need for a fast implementation of Europe's relocation programme, jointly with the establishment of robust facilities to receive, assist, register and screen all people arriving by sea. "These are steps needed for stabilizing the crisis," he said.

As of this morning, a total of 396,500 people have entered Greece by sea since the beginning of the year, more than 153,000 of them in September alone. The nine-month 2015 total compares to 43,500 such arrivals in Greece in all of 2014. Ninety-seven per cent are from the world's top 10 refugee-producing countries, led by Syria (70 per cent), Afghanistan (18 per cent) and Iraq (4 per cent)."

Frontex asks for 775 border guards - refugees to be "nationality" screened (link):

"This is the largest number of border guards Frontex has ever requested in the history of the agency. The officers are to assist mainly Italy and Greece in the registration and identification of migrants coming from Libya and Turkey. Since the beginning of this year over 470 000 migrants arrived in Greece and Italy alone. No country can possibly handle such high migratory pressure at its borders by itself. It is crucial that all those arriving in the EU are properly registered and identified,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

Frontex requested 670 officers – mainly screeners, debriefers and interpreters to be deployed in Italy and Greece, in addition to 105 officers to be deployed at various external land borders of the European Union.

The screening officers play a key role in helping authorities to determine the nationality of the incoming migrants in order to identify and register them. Debriefers gather information about the activities of smuggling networks." [emphasis added]

"Screening officers" will be carrying out "nationality screening" (Frontex in European Parliament hearing on 23 September 2015), followed by registration and fingerprinting after which refugees will be divided into two groups, those destined for "return" to their country of origin to be held in closed camps and those to be relocated in the EU through asylum procedures in open camps.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories/documents: 2-10-15)

EU: Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU):

Data protection legislation of a Member State may be applied to a foreign company which exercises in that State, through stable arrangements, a real and effective activity (Press release, pdf) and Full text of Judgment (pdf)

and: Persons whose personal data are subject to transfer and processing between two public administrative bodies must be informed in advance (Press release, pdf) and Full text of Judgment (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Cybercrime evaluation & UK and SIS

- Interesting detailed report: Evaluation report on the seventh round of mutual evaluations "The practical implementation and operation of European policies on prevention and combating Cybercrime" - Report on Slovakia (Declassified document no: 9761/1/15 REV 1 DCL 1, 139 pages, pdf)

- Putting into effect of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on data protection and on the provisional putting into effect of parts of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on the Schengen Information System for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - State of play (pdf): "agreed inter alia on a set of recommendations addressed to the United Kingdom and considered that further proceedings were necessary in order to conclude the evaluation with a view to adopting an implementing decision setting the date for the final putting into effect by the United Kingdom of the provisions referred to in Article 1(a)(ii) of Decision 2000/365/EC, in so far as they relate to the functioning of the SIS."

September 2015

EU: Austria and Slovenia prolong border controls

Border controls reintroduced in central Europe in response to the refugee crisis are set to continue until at least the middle of October. Austria has announced its intention to "continue to temporarily position adequate police forces at the border crossings initially with Hungary and Slovenia," and "if necessary... with other neighbouring states." Slovenia is also prolonging controls on its border with Hungary.

FRONTEX & FORCED RETURNS: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (May 2015)

and see: Closing Summary: Proposals to improve the monitoring of Frontex Joint Return Operations (link):"Frontex needs to enhance the transparency of its JRO work, amend its Code of Conduct in areas such as medical examinations and the use of force, and engage more with the Member States. Frontex must do all in its power to promote independent and effective monitoring of JROs." and Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants’ fundamental rights during "forced returns" (link):: "She calls on the agency to ensure that families with children and pregnant women are seated separately from other returnees. Frontex should also promote common rules on the use of restraint, publish more information on JROs, including monitors' reports, and require the Member States to improve complaints procedures. The Ombudsman continues to be unhappy with the refusal of Frontex to establish its own complaints mechanism."

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 08-09/10/2015 (pdf):

"The Council will have a discussion on the future management of EU external borders and of the return policy. On the latter the Council is expected to adopt conclusions.... Ministers will also take note of a progress report on a directive on the use of passenger name record data (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime....

Mixed committee: Under the visa policy, ministers will hold a policy debate and will take stock of work regarding a regulation on the Union code on visas (recast) and a regulation establishing a touring visa. As for the future of the return policy, they will discuss a Commission communication concerning an EU action plan on return, and a Commission recommendation establishing a common 'return handbook' to be used by member states' competent authorities when carrying out return related tasks.

Justice ministers will try to reach a general approach on 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. This issue will be discussed under the Mixed committee format." [emphasis added]

EU: What is the role of "hotspots"? A European Commission official told the parliament's LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee this morning (Thursday) that the 'hotspots' concept would mean:

"People may be placed in closed centres for the return procedure
For relocation people will be the possibility of centres - which are open to a degree are necessary
Attempts will be made to convince them to stay in the reception centre in order to be resettled
Centres: Hotspots for relocation would be open centers and closed centres for returns"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"How many people are going to be forced to "return" and held in closed camps? The pre-screening process will be carried out by Frontex and member state officals who will decide who is to be "returned" - prior to them being allowed to make an asylum application. Will refugees being vetted for return have interpreters and lawyers to help and represent them? And is there a right of appeal?"

And see ‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) and see:

Italy: Sicily ‘hotspot’ to be prison-like centre (euractiv, link): "It will be one of Italy's brand new hotspots for identifying newly-arrived migrants -- but as the Pozzallo reception centre in Sicily prepares its fingerprinting kits, the EU-led plan for these facilities is still plagued with unresolved issues... When Pozzallo becomes an official hotspot at the end of November, new arrivals will instead be obliged to provide their fingerprints as part of an asylum request, or be taken to a detention centre to await expulsion from Italy. The hotspots will be closed-door centres, sharply reducing the chance that people can flee and head north off their own backs. Those very likely to win refugee status -- Syrians, Eritreans and Iraqis -- will be fast-tracked and taken to a separate centre, where they will be divided up and distributed to other countries within the European Union.... What will happen if Syrian or Eritrean nationals refuse to give their fingerprints, seeing as they cannot be expelled? Would they be kept in a detention centre until they change their minds?." Se also: Centro accoglienza Pozzallo primo hotspot in Italia (corrierediragusa.it, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25 stories and documents, 1.10.15)

EU: Council of the European Union: Council Decision regarding the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled

- Presidency Compromise Proposal (LIMITE doc no: 7576-Rev-1-15, pdf)

- Previous version of above (LIMITE doc no: 7576-15, pdf)

- Guidance for further work (LIMITE doc no: 7321-15, pdf)

- Open Issues (pdf)  (LIMITE doc no: 5110-15, pdf)

CoE: Anti-immigrant sentiment was rising in Germany before refugee influx: Council of Europe committee on national minorities (Press release, link):

"Before the recent flow of refugees from war-torn Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa entered Germany, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments and attacks against asylum seekers had been on the rise already, according to a new opinion by the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). Adopted in March – but released today with a first reaction on the findings from the German government – the Advisory Committee opinion assessed data from 2010 to 2015, noting increased anti-Muslim sentiment and negative attitudes towards immigrants and asylum-seekers. It criticizes marches attended by thousands of persons, under the banner “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West” (“Pegida”, in its German acronym), for example.

Despite these developments, the Advisory Committee praises the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency for its “considerable efforts” to raise awareness of anti-discrimination legislation in place. The Advisory Committee calls on Germany to stop the practice of ethnic profiling and take steps to build trust between persons belonging to minorities and the police. It recommends ensuring that racist elements of criminal offences are systematically taken into account by law enforcement." [emphasis added]

See: ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES: Fourth Opinion on Germany adopted on 19 March 2015 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

European rights body concerned over rising racism in Germany (DW, link): "The Council of Europe has said reports of rising racism against Muslims and refugees in Germany are concerning. However, the human rights body also noted that protection for minority rights is high." and Rising racism worries Council of Europe (The Local.de, link)

EU: SECRET, CLOSED, TRILOGUES: NGO Letter to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament (pdf):

"We, the undersigned organisations, hereby express our concern regarding the pervasive use of so-called "trilogue" negotiations within the EU decision-making process. It is our view that the trilogues have, regardless of intent, become a means for EU institutions to bypass democratic good practices, prevent public participation and are contrary to the principles of transparency and accountability recognised under the EU treaties, including citizens' right to access public documents.

In light of the outlined problems, we are calling for a major reform of the trilogue process in order to end this unacceptable democratic deficit in the EU decision-making. We call for the publication of all documents in a timely and systematic manner.

Further, we ask that disclosure not be limited to the multicolumn meeting documents, but also to public access to the meetings and access to any reports or notes discussed over the course of the process, in line with the procedures for normal Parliament committee meetings. There is an overriding public interest in the timely and systematic disclosure of these documents in order to enable proper public scrutiny of EU decision-making."

Signed by 16 EU NGOs including Statewatch

EU: European Parliament study: The European legal framework on hate speech, blasphemy and its interaction with freedom of expression (446 pages, pdf):

"this study provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime on the one hand and to blasphemy and religious insult on the other hand. It also evaluates the effectiveness of existing legislation in selected Member States and explores opportunities to strengthen the current EU legal framework, whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The study also provides the European Parliament with guidelines on dealing with hate speech within the EU institutions."

EU: Council of the European Union: Visa Package - Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on visas (Visa Code) (recast) - Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a touring visa (LIMITE doc no: 11858-15, pdf):

"there are several outstanding issues, which are perceived as sensitive and for which political guidance from Ministers would help significantly to advance the discussions... - "The mandatory issuing of a multiple entry visa (MEV) valid for three or five years to

- VIS registered regular travellers (Art. 21(3) and (4))
- The deletion of the current Article 15 of the Visa Code providing for a travel medical insurance (TMI)
- The scope of the definition of “close relatives” of Union citizens (Art. 2(7))
- The issuing of visas at the external border under a temporary scheme (Art. 33)"

‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) by Frances Webber:

"Through the mechanisms it is setting up for the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece, the EU is trying to regain control of refugee movement in the EU. The tough screening process it is setting up at points of entry into the EU seems designed as a crude instrument to separate out a minority of ‘good’ refugees from what EU ministers want to convince us are a majority of ‘bad’ economic migrants, and to dispatch the latter rapidly and efficiently. But life is not that simple, and the hotspots’ screening procedures could result in large numbers of people being returned to unsafe or unviable situations without proper consideration of their claims....

Frontex’s removal remit covers not just those whose claims are exhausted and so have no claim to remain on the territory, but also those who have not claimed protection. Does this mean that Frontex officials have a roaming mandate to go around Italy and Greece rounding up all those who have not registered a claim for asylum? The opportunity to claim international protection should be available at any time, up to the point of removal; but how will this right be guaranteed?

Without clear and robust safeguards in place, the EU's relocation package could turn out to be a figleaf for a quiet but massive removal operation against, rather than a protection operation for, those arriving on Europe's shores."

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: At the Weekly meeting of the Commission on 23 September 2015: Management of the refugee crisis: Commission shows the way forward (link) it was agreed that:

- "Restore the normal situation and reinstate Dublin transfers to Greece within six months
- Establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard and extension of the Frontex mandate (December 2015)
-  Legal migration package including revision of Blue Card (March 2016)
- Further reform of the Dublin Regulation (March 2016)
-  Proposal for a structured system on resettlement (March 2016)"

HUNGARY: The right of asylum has practically vanished in Hungary – Pardavi (budapestbeacon.com, link):

"The right of asylum in Hungary has practically vanished because the refugees do not receive adequate care, applications for asylum are not fairly evaluated and very few receive refugee status, Hungarian Helsinki Committee co-chair Márta Pardavi says in her assessment of the status of refugees in Hungary. By continuously taking alarming political steps, Hungary will soon find itself in the same role as Greece, with one European court after another ruling that it is not a safe place to which to return refugees, says Pardavi, adding that if Hungary continues to visibly withdraw from every common European Union initiative to handle the refugee crisis, it will dig itself deeper in this game of denial."

And see Helsinki Committee: NO COUNTRY FOR REFUGEES – New asylum rules deny protection to refugees and lead to unprecedented human rights violations in Hungary (pdf) and The Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s opinion on the Governments amendments to criminal law related to the sealed border (pdf)

A Death in Athens: Did a Rogue NSA Operation Cause the Death of a Greek Telecom Employee?: (Intercept, link)

"The day before his death, Costas’ boss at Vodafone had ordered that a newly discovered code — a powerful and sophisticated bug — be deactivated and removed from its systems. The wiretap, placed by persons unknown, targeted more than 100 top officials, including then Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and his wife, Natassa; the mayor of Athens; members of the Ministerial Cabinet; as well as journalists, capturing not only the country’s highest secrets, but also its most intimate conversations. The question was, who did it?

according to a highly classified NSA document provided by Snowden and previously published by The Intercept, covertly recruiting employees in foreign telecom companies has long been one of the NSA’s deepest secrets."

EU Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med: EU agrees to start the active phase of the operation against human smugglers and to rename it "Operation Sophia" (pdf):

"The EU naval operation against human smugglers in the Mediterranean will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.

The Political and Security Committee also agreed that EUNAVFOR Med should be renamed "Sophia" after the name given to the baby born on the ship of the operation which rescued her mother on 22 August 2015 off the coast of Libya."

See also: European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean: Update: September 2015 (pdf)

22 member states are involved in the Sophia operation - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

EU: REFUGEE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Spreading Anti-Migrant Sentiment is Endangering Lives, IOM’s Swing Warns World Leaders (IOM link):

"United Nations – At the opening of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing warned that growing anti-migration sentiment in Europe is unnecessarily endangering the lives of migrants, while ignoring the overall benefits that migration has historically provided to the world..... Swing called on them to ensure that migration is governed in a responsible and humane fashion. One in seven people on the planet is a migrant – one billion in total – and billions more are impacted by migration daily. “Migrants cannot remain just a number to be counted,” said IOM’s Director General. “Governments must ensure that migrants’ rights are truly protected once and for all. This General Assembly, in its historic 70th year, presents world leaders with the opportunity to acknowledge that migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable.”

EU-USA: US governnent statement challenges the EU Court of Justice: Safe Harbor Protects Privacy and Provides Trust in Data Flows that Underpin Transatlantic Trade (US EU Mission, link):

"the Advocate General's opinion rests on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States..... The United States does not and has not engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of anyone, including ordinary European citizens."

See: CJEU: According to Advocate General Bot, the Commission decision finding that the protection of personal data in the United States is adequate does not prevent national authorities from suspending the transfer of the data of European Facebook subscribers to servers located in the United States (pdf): "The Advocate General considers furthermore that the Commission decision is invalid" and see: Opinion: Full-text (pdf)

EPIC(USA): Statement: Advocate General Correctly Determines that Safe Harbor Fails to Protects Privacy and Does Not Establish Trust, Threatening Data Flows that Underpin Transatlantic Trade (link)

US embassy defends 'invalid' EU data pact (euobserver, link): "The United States has spoken out against a European Court of Justice opinion which invalidated a 15-year old data-sharing pact. The US embassy to the EU on Monday (28 September) said a preliminary judgment by Yves Bot, the court’s advocate general, was based “on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States"."

News Digest (29.9.15)

Press freedom: How the EU struggles to match action with values (euractiv, link): "Press freedom is a reliable barometer of the state of democracy. But the EU’s failure to live up to its own standards undermines its influence on the rest of the world, argues Jean-Paul Marthoz."

EU: Access to documents: Meijers Committee: Memorandum concerning the non-paper on transparency dated 17 April 2015 (pdf):

"This memorandum presents a point-by-point discussion of the recent proposals presented in the Council by the six pro-transparency countries. While the proposals generally have positive and broadly uncontroversial implications, this does not hold for proposals 3 and 5 in particular. Moreover, the scope of most of the proposals is not yet entirely clear. This memo has therefore identified certain elements that require further examination to allow further discussion of the presented plans."

And see: NON PAPER – April 2015: Denmark - Estonia - Finland – The Netherlands – Slovenia - Sweden Enhancing transparency in the EU (pdf)

UK: Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice (Houses of Parliament: Research Bulletin, link): "Prison populations are increasing while crime is declining; thought in part to reflect changes to sentencing and policy."

EU: 499,826 refugees have arrived: See UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response (detailed information, link): 2,962 dead/missing. 129,000 people have arrived in Italy and 368,394 in Greece: Map: arrivals on Greek Islands (pdf)

Lesvos Volunteers: How to help refugees in Lesvos, Greece? (link): "Several amazing teams are working on the north coast of Lesvos. They provide the refugees arriving by boat with dry clothes and shoes, rain ponchos, sleeping bags, food, medical help, information, buses, etc."

Press Release: Extreme Poverty during the refugees’ journey (Greek Forum of Refugees, link):

"The Greek Forum of Refugees strongly feels the need to present and denounce the conditions that the refugees are dealing with, as soon as they arrive, in the European continent. The continent, that started values such as Democracy and Solidarity, proves being unable to apply them practically. Europe can do and offer, much more than what has been done until today. The GFR receives every day messages from European citizens that would like to offer help. Unfortunately, the leaders' policies, worldwide, do not keep up with this movement and the least that we can do is to denounce it."

Press release: Greek (pdf) and English (pdf)

MOAS Launches New Mission in Southeast Asia (migrantreport.org, link): "The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will launch a rescue operation in Southeast Asia during the winter months, when thousands of Rohingya are expected to embark on the dangerous sea crossing out of Myanmar.... “MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone. “Our job in the Mediterranean is not over, but we now feel it is our responsibility to use the Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis, he said." and:

Mediterranean crisis: MSF ceases operations on Phoenix rescue ship (link): "Harrowing time in Libya: In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats. Fleeing places like Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya. They have been treated by MSF for a range of conditions ranging from mild dehydration and hypothermia to kidney failure and gunshot wounds. MSF on the Mediterranean: Since operations began on 2 May, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea."

Security services accused over Aamer's lengthy detention - Supporters of Briton’s last Guantánamo detainee celebrate as questions remain as to why his release took so long (Guardian, link): "The post 9/11 world was just a few days old when Shaker Aamer was first imprisoned. Captured by Afghan bounty hunters while attempting to flee from Kabul with his pregnant wife and their three children, he was sold on twice, and found himself in US hands. By the end of the year he was being held at the notorious interrogation centre that American forces and the CIA had established at the Soviet-era airfield at Bagram, north of the capital.

Whatever happened there may explain why Aamer has languished for so long at Guantánamo, remaining behind bars long after every other British national and resident had been set free. The interrogators that MI6 and MI5 had sent to Bagram were warned that they must not take part in the torture that was being inflicted on the inmates; all received written instructions that “we cannot be party to such ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it”. In practice, this meant that they would remove themselves from the room before the abuses began."

UK-GCHQ: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities (Intercept, link):

"The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.... more than two dozen documents being disclosed today by The Intercept reveal for the first time several major strands of GCHQ’s existing electronic eavesdropping capabilities.

One system builds profiles showing people’s web browsing histories. Another analyzes instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions. Separate programs were built to keep tabs on “suspicious” Google searches and usage of Google Maps."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 25.9.15)

EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU PNR: EDPS warns against unjustified and massive collection of passenger data (Press release, pdf):

"the EDPS published his Second Opinion on the use of Passenger Name Records (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime, he said that there is a lack of information to justify the necessity of an EU PNR scheme....

Since the proposed EU PNR scheme is likely to cover at least all flights to and from the EU, and may also involve intra EU and/or domestic flights, more than 300 million non-suspect passengers would potentially be interested by the EU PNR proposal. Building on his earlier Opinions on PNR addressing the same issue, the EDPS says that the available information does not justify why the massive, non-targeted and indiscriminate collection of passengers' personal information is necessary and why it is urgently needed.

The EDPS points out that the EU legislator must ensure that it fully complies with the strict requirements laid down by the Court since the Court, applying the Charter, looks with great scepticism upon any measure which, like the Data Retention Directive, would ‘appl[y] to persons for whom there is no evidence capable of suggesting that their conduct might have a link, even an indirect or remote one, with serious crime’."

and Full-text: Second Opinion (pdf)

Don't blame the smugglers: the real migration industry (heindehaas.blogspot.fr, link):

"The billions spent on the militarisation of border controls over the past years have been a waste of taxpayers' money. As we are able to witness during the current 'refugee crisis', increasing border controls have not stopped asylum seekers and other migrants from crossing borders. As experience and research has made abundantly clear, they have mainly (1) diverted migration to other crossing points, (2) made migrants more dependent on smuggling, and (3) increased the costs and risks of crossing borders. The fact is that 25 years of militarising border controls in Europe have only worsened the problems they proclaim to prevent....

Europe's immigration policies have created a huge market for the private companies implementing these policies as well as smugglers... a multi-billion industry, which has huge commercial interest in making the public believe that migration is an essential threat and that border controls will somehow solve this threat."

REFUGEE CRISIS: EUNAVFOR: Meijers Committee: Military action against human smugglers: legal questions concerning the EUNAVFOR Med operation (pdf):

I. There are no indications that combating migrant smuggling contributes to the restoration of international peace and security or to ending the ongoing humanitarian crises;
II. Without express consent from third states or authorization from the UN Security Council, the EU lacks jurisdiction over vessels or assets in third-country territorial waters;
III. Without express consent from third-country coastal states or authorization from the UN Security Council, there is no clear legal basis for coercive measures against vessels or assets on the high seas

News DIgest (25.9.15)

Council of Europe anti-torture committee calls on Romania to combat ill-treatment in prisons (CoE, link) and Report (link)

Jewish council welcomes ouster of minister after racist tweets (ekathimerini.com, link): "In a letter on Thursday to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece welcomed a decision to remove Independent Greeks (ANEL) MP Dimitris Kammenos from the Greek cabinet following an outcry over a series of racist and homophobic tweets by the right-wing politician."

Collusion and covert policing: colonial roots, contemporary issues (IRR, link): A Race & Class seminar on ‘Collusion and covert policing: colonial roots, contemporary issues’. Thursday 15 October 2015, 6-8pm Institute of Race Relations, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HS: "Professor Mark McGovern (Edge Hill University) will be discussing his work on the history of collusion in the context of contemporary developments in covert policing at a seminar to launch the October edition of Race & Class, leading with his article on ‘State violence and the colonial roots of collusion in Northern Ireland’."

Places are limited and booking is essential, email: events@irr.org.uk

EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Council of the European Union: Preparation of trilogues - Data Protection issues (LIMITE doc no 12032-15, pdf)

"The outcome of that exchange of views will be the basis for the first trilogue on the draft Directive to be held on 24 September 2015. The Presidency will suggest to discuss the data protection elements of the proposed Directive at a trilogue on the PNR file in the near future."

September 11: From Verona to Belfast (IRR, link) by Phil Scraton: "September 11, 2001. The day imprinted on a disparate international collective consciousness. As two planes hit New York’s twin towers, another engulfed the Pentagon in flames and United Airlines Flight 93 plane came down in Pennsylvania en route to its target, I slipped traversing a ramp in Verona, severing my quadriceps tendon. Undiagnosed but in great pain, I flew home. A week later the tendon was repaired but I was soon in intensive care, pulmonary emboli – blood clots – to both lungs. It was touch and go."

SPECIAL: EU Ombudsman investigating secret "trilogue" decision-making but:
The Council challenges the right of the European Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry into secret "trilogues" (in which most EU legislation is decided)

In May 2015 Emily O'Reilly, the European Ombudsman, began an Own-initiative Inquiry on the "transparency of trilogues (pdf), But the Council of the European Union challenges the right of the Ombudsman to carry out such an inquiry: Council response to the Ombudsman (pdf)

"Trilogues" are meetings of the two EU co-legislators: the Council of the European Union (the 28 EU governments) and the European Parliament (with the European Commission in attendance). The purpose of trilogues is to speed up decision-making by agreeing new legislative measures quickly at 1st reading.

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, comments: "The Council's objection to the Ombudsman's competence is totally unfounded"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "Over 80% of all new EU laws are agreed in these secret trilogues - they should have no place in a democracy worthy of the name - they should be held in the open with full public access to documents so that we can see what is being decided in our name."

As part of the Inquiry the Ombudsman has organised a Consultation meeting (link) on 28 September 2015 (10.00 - 12.00 in Room JAN 4Q1 of the European Parliament in Brussels).

Statewatch was amongst the first to criticise secret trilogues: See: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (September 2007, pdf) - European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf) - Proposed Commission changes to Regulation on access to documents fail to meet Lisbon Treaty commitments (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 24.9.15)

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Press release (pdf):

"ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015"

EU to fortify external borders to stem migrant flow (euobserver, link): "The EU is forging ahead with plans to restore control of its external borders amid a refugee crisis unlike anything seen in recent history. Among the ideas announced in the early morning of Thursday (24 September), is the establishment of EU-run quarantine centres for new asylum arrivals by the end of November and a proposal for an EU border and coast guard system by December...The quarantine centres – also known as hotspots – will separate legitimate asylum seekers from others not entitled to international protection. People will be finger printed and registered. Rejected applicants will be returned back to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Agence Europe reports: "The hotspots (or "migration management support teams", as the Commission now calls them), were the subject of an in-depth discussion at the summit. According to the European leaders, these teams will ensure the welcome, identification and digital finger-printing of migrants arriving in Europe, and will use the procedures for returning the migrants or relocating them to other member states... The European leaders also spoke about the usefulness of moving towards a European coastguard system, a source stated. Although the summit statement does not mention this, the Commission will propose such a system at the end of 2015.."

News Digest (24.9.15)

Met police compensates brothers caught up in protests (Channel 4 News, link): "The Metropolitan police is to pay out tens of thousands of pounds in compensation to two brothers caught up in the 2010 violent student protests at Westminster. The settlement came after they sued the force for malicious prosecution, assault and battery.".

Five things you should know about the EU-US Umbrella Agreement (Access Blog, link): "The text of the Umbrella Agreement has not yet been officially released, and we are only able to comment on it thanks to our friends at Statewatch, who published the text in full.. The agreed text of the Umbrella Agreement will have be ratified by the European Parliament. The vote will not take place until the US Congress passes the Judicial Redress Act, which could takes few months. ".

UK: Student accused of being a terrorist for reading book on terrorism -Staffordshire University apologises after counter-terrorism student Mohammed Umar Farooq was questioned under Prevent anti-extremism initiative (Guardian, link)

Automated "recognizing propaganda": Reporting Office Internet content at Europol to continue to grow [Automatisiertes „Erkennen von Propaganda“: Meldestelle für Internetinhalte bei Europol soll weiter wachsen] (netzpolitik.org, link): "The EU member states raise even more money and personnel for the development of the financial intelligence unit for Internet content ("EU Internet Referral Unit" EU IRU). It describes the EU anti-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove in a strategy paper that published the British civil rights organization Statewatch today."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (36 stories and documents, 23.09.15) and Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (35 stories and documents, 22.09.15)

REFUGEE CRISIS: European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf)

"Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (see Annex II). The Support Teams will have an instant impact on the most critical point in the chain – where the most affected Member States are finding the sheer number of arrivals too great to manage effectively. Staff deployed by EU agencies and other EU Member States will help identify, screen and register migrants on entry to the EU. This is the first step to a secure future for those in need, and an early opportunity to identify those who should be returned to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Comment: This appears to beg the question about refugees's right to ask for asylum - especially as the Council Decision has prioritised refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea - when they are many refugees from Afghanistan and Somali amongst others?

Commission Press release (pdf)

Annex 1: Priority Actions under the European Agenda for Migration to deliver within six months (pdf)
Annex 2: Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (pdf)
Annex III The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf)
Annex IV Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund (link)
Annex V Member State and Commission Contributions to the World Food Programme (link)
Annex VI The EU Regional Trust Fund ("MADAD Trust Fund") in response to the Syrian Crisis (link)
Annex VII Implementing the Common European Asylum System (link)
Link to: Annexes to Communication (link)

Further Background

European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (Statewatch) and Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) plus Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU at "war" in the Med: European Parliament: Refugee crisis: present and future EU military operations in the Mediterranean (Press release, pdf):

"The EU military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean is about to enter its next phase. After gathering intelligence and setting up the structure, the operation will now focus on arresting traffickers and disabling smugglers vessel. The details of the operation were discussed by MEPs during a meeting of the security and defence subcommittee on 22 September....

At the hearing, Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) asked what would happen if traffickers were found on "suspicious" ships. Would these ships then be confiscated and sunk to avoid them being used to transport refugees? Answering to Gahler, Wosolsobe said the idea was to put smuggler vessels out of use, but not necessarily destroy them. They could be brought back to European shores.""

European Commission: More Responsibility in managing the refugee crisis: European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work (pdf) See: 40 EU migrant procedures against 19 countries (ANSA, link): "The European Commission on Wednesday opened 40 infraction procedures on migrants against 19 countries. They are accused of not fully implementing the rules of the common European asylum system, especially in regard to registration and repatriation. Italy was not among the 19.".

EU-USA: Data Protection: American Mass Surveillance of EU citizens: Is the End Nigh? (EU Law Analysis,link):

"Facebook is only a conduit in this case: Schrems’ real targets are the US government (for requiring Facebook and other Internet companies to hand over personal data to intelligence agencies), as well as the EU Commission and the Irish data protection authority for going along with this. In the Advocate-General’s opinion, the Commission’s decision to allow EU citizens’ data to be subject to mass surveillance in the US is invalid, and the national data protection authorities in the EU must investigate these flows of data and prohibit them if necessary."

CJEU: According to Advocate General Bot, the Commission decision finding that the protection of personal data in the United States is adequate does not prevent national authorities from suspending the transfer of the data of European Facebook subscribers to servers located in the United States (pdf): "The Advocate General considers furthermore that the Commission decision is invalid" and see: Opinion: Full-text (pdf)

Also: Safe Harbor: European Court Advocate General says Agreement should be declared invalid (EDRI, link) and Facebook case may force European firms to change data storage practices (Guardian ,link): "Changes may be required after European court advocate general accuses US intelligence services of ‘mass, indiscriminate surveillance"

UNHCR: 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate .(ekathimerini.com, link)

Germany: Strategic Initiative Technology: We Unveil the BND Plans to Upgrade its Surveillance Technology for 300 Million Euros (netzpolitik.org, link): "Fiberglass tapping, real-time Internet traffic analysis, encryption cracking, computer hacking: Germany’s foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst is massively expanding its Internet surveillance capabilities. We publish its secret 300 million Euro investment programme „Strategische Initiative Technik“. Members of Parliament and civil society criticise the agency’s new powers and demand an end of the whopping armament programme."

First Tunisia-EU counter-terrorism dialogue in Tunis (tap.info.tn, link): "he first enhanced political dialogue “security and counter-terrorism” was held Monday in Tunis, the European Union Delegation to Tunisia said Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Deputy Secretary General at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Christian Leffler and EU Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove."

EU: Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf)

Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

JHA Council enforce migration plan by majority voting: Migrant crisis: EU ministers approve disputed quota plan (BBC News, link):

"EU interior ministers have approved a controversial plan to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent over the next two years. It will see migrants moved from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU countries. Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against accepting mandatory quotas. After the vote, Slovakia's prime minister said he would not accept the new quotas. Finland abstained from the vote. Poland, which had opposed the proposal, voted for it.

The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris said it was highly unusual for an issue like this - which involves national sovereignty - to be decided by majority vote rather than unanimous decision."

Comment: So far the EU has agreed to relocate 40,000 refugees who arrived on or after 15 August 2105 over a 1 year period and now 120,000 over 2 years. But the UNHCR says that : "477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year" . The European Commission states that "Syrians, Eritreans, Iraqis" are to be prioritised - which leaves out the tens of thousands who have fled from Afghanistan. The Commission also states that: "Initial screening of asylum applicants [to be] carried out in Greece, Hungary and Italy" - where does this leave the tens of thousands of refugees who already passed through Greece and Italy since March this year?

EU backs refugee plan in teeth of east European opposition (euractiv, link): The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday (22 September) to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations... The Czech minister tweeted that he had voted against, along with colleagues from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, with Finland abstaining" and EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania vote against the decision to impose quotas, as lack of consensus threatens to feed resentment (Guardian, link) Of the 120,000: A little more than half are to be moved to the rest of the EU from Greece and Italy. The remaining 54,000, initially planned to relieve Hungary, whose government takes the hardest anti-immigration line in the EU and refuses to accept the help, will be reserved for other needy countries on the Balkan migratory route, such as Croatia and Slovenia. If the 54,000 are not resettled within 18 months, more refugees can be moved from Greece and Italy."

EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2015 (53 pages.pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - Preparation of the Council meeting (Justice Ministers) (LIMITE doc no:11898-15, pdf)

"Hotspots

Eurojust supports the frontline Member States by participating in the “Hotspots” and coordinates its efforts with relevant EU agencies. Currently, Eurojust participates in the Hotspots in Italy (Catania) and Greece (Piraeus) and its further participation in other Hotspots should be strengthened by helping prosecutors on the ground. In this framework, Eurojust should further support host Member States by providing for coordination with other Member States and by assisting, where appropriate, in the setting up of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)."

EU: Council of the European Union: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12139-15, pdf):

"the new “Hot spot approach” developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants."

EU: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, Tuesday 22 September 2015, Brussels: Background Note (pdf) and Main Agenda (pdf): Only one item on relocation.

UN Secretary-General statement: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary- General on the situation facing refugees and migrants in Europe (pdf): "He calls on all European States to ensure that they abide by their international obligations, including the right to seek asylum, and the prohibition of refoulement. All persons must be received with dignity and their human rights must be respected. The Secretary-General has followed with increasing concern the closing of some borders in Europe, as well as the lack of proper reception facilities as well as the increased use of detention and criminalization of irregular migrants and asylum seekers."

Hungary approves new anti-migrant powers despite outcry (France 24, link): "Hungary on Monday gave the army drastic new powers to protect its borders, as the UN chief said he was “extremely concerned” about the treatment of migrants and refugees in overstretched Europe. On the eve of two key European Union meetings, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to leaders across the 28-nation bloc, urging them to “show leadership and compassion” as the continent grapples with it worst migration crisis since World War II. “The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation facing refugees and migrants arriving across Europe,” said a statement in which he expressed concern about European borders being closed, the lack of proper facilities to receive newcomers and the increased use of detention against them.

It also gave troops the right to use rubber bullets, tear gas and net guns at the border "in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided"." [emphasis added]

EU: European Parliament study: Big Data and smart devices and their impact on privacy (pdf)

"In this context, and focusing on the development of Big Data practices, smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), this Study shows that the high degree of opacity of many contemporary data processing activities directly affects the right of the individuals to know what is being done with the data collected about them.

This Study argues that the promotion of a datadriven economy should not underestimate the challenges raised for privacy and personal data protection and that strengthening the rights of digital citizens should be the main focus of the current debates around the GDPR."

News Digest (22.9.15)

An updated version (2014) of the Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration just published.. (EASFJ, link):"A first version of the handbook on the European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration is co-authored by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and by by the European Court of Human Rights was published (in four languages) in June 2013. This second edition incorporates the changes to the EU asylum acquis published in the summer of 2013. Future updates of this handbook will become available on the FRA webpage at: http://fra.europa.eu/en/theme/asylum-migration-borders and on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) webpage at: www.echr.coe.int under “Publications”."

EU Anti-Money Laundering legal framework: the race has started again… (EASFJ, link): "The revision was triggered by the necessity to adapt the legal framework to counter new threats of money laundering and terrorist financing and to reflect recent changes due to revised Financial Actiont Task Force (FATF) "

European Commission & Data Retention – a faulty basis for decision-making*? (EDRI, link)

No “Facebook Bureau of Investigations” as Terror-Reporting Provision Dies in Senate (The Intercept, link): "A provision that would have forced tech companies like Twitter and Facebook to report every inkling of “terrorist activity” on their services to law enforcement was removed from the 2016 Intelligence Authorization Bill on Monday."

The EU-US Umbrella agreement on Data Protection just presented to the European Parliament. All people apparently happy, but…. EASFJ, link)

News Digest (21.9.15)

ENS launches its new report "No Child Should be Stateless" (link) European Network on Statelessness: Report (pdf)

USA: Government Argues: If Your Mobile Phone Provider Knows Where You Are, Why Shouldn’t We? (The Intercept, link)

Refugee crisis: news from across Europe ( 20.09.2015)

UK: MI5 pays UK Muslims to spy on terror suspects - UK intelligence agency has paid up to £2,000 for reports on alleged radical activity (Guardian, link):

"MI5 is paying Muslim informants for controversial short-term spying missions to help avert terrorist attacks by homegrown Islamist extremists.... A source, not from Whitehall but with knowledge of the payments, said: “It’s been driven by the [intelligence] agencies, it’s a network of human resources across the country engaged to effectively spy on specific targets. It’s decent money.”

They did not divulge the number of informants receiving government funding or how much of the agency’s national security budget is allocated to such transactions. However, the use of payments to gather information prompted calls for caution from senior figures in the Muslim community, who warned that such transactions could produce tainted intelligence."

AFGHANISTAN: Europe's Refugee Crisis Isn't Only About Syria - Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help (HRW, link):

"Although international interest in Afghanistan has waned and most foreign troops are long gone, the war there is only getting worse. The first six months of 2015 saw the highest number of casualties among women and children since the U.N. started keeping track in 2009. Many Afghans leaving now are fleeing violence, insecurity, or threats from the Taliban or government militia forces. They are just as entitled to refugee status or other protection."

Refugee crisis: news from across Europe (19.9.2015)

EU: Council of the European Union: Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies:

- STATE OF PLAY: Proposal for a 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 (116 pages, LIMITE doc no: 11972-15, pdf) With 269 Member state positions.

"Delegations will find attached the full text of the Directive in subject. Chapters II, III, VI and VIII will be discussed at the Friends of the Presidency meeting on 21-22 September and Chapters I, IV, V, VII, IX and X in Coreper on 23 September 2015".

- As above Correction (LIMITE doc no: 11972-cor-1-15, pdf)

- Preparation of general approach: Chapters I, IV, V, VII, IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11978-15, pdf) Note to COREPER. is necessary to put in perspective - the idea is to agree big chunks of the Directive in Coreper next week, and then to go to the October JHA Council.

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (PIF Directive) - Judgement in case C-105/14 (Taricco) (pdf): European Public Prosecutor is nearer to agreement: The Council and EP may soon be able to agree on the definition of fraud in the PIF Directive. This is likely to speed up work on the proposed European Public Prosecutor and the reform of Eurojust:

"The European Parliament, supported by the Commission, have continued to insist on the inclusion of VAT Fraud in the scope of the Directive, and thus of the deletion of the above-mentioned paragraph. In substance, they have noted that VAT fraud such as carrousel fraud constitutes a major problem as regards criminal attacks against the Union's financial interests that should fall under the responsibility of the future European Public Prosecutor's Office... It appears that the judgment in the Taricco case contributes to clarify the legal situation concerning criminal penalties in relation to VAT fraud, as it is now seems that such fraud is already covered by the PIF Convention."

EU: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council (pdf) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday 23 September 2015. This will follow the extra Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015. See also: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.09.15, 23 items)

EU-USA “UMBRELLA” AGREEMENT ON DATA PROTECTION: A …LEAKY UMBRELLA ? (EASFJ, link):

"Given these shortcomings, to me the exultation of the agreement seem premature. The European legal bodies which need to approve the ratification of the agreement, in particular the European Parliament and the parliaments of the Member States are called upon to thoroughly examine the agreement, in particular, its compatibility with the provisions of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Depending on the results of such assessment it might be necessary to renegotiating and caulking the umbrella."

EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: European Commission: Report on the application in 2014 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (pdf) The report notes that:

"The Commission remains by far the institution handling the largest number of both initial and confirmatory requests pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001. The Commission handles more than twice as many requests as the Council and the European Parliament together."

This should come as no surprise as the Commission's public register is hugely incomplete and, remarkably, the register's website only gets 2,750 visits and 3,749 page views a month - the Statewatch European Monitring and Documentation (SEMDOC) covering all Justice and Home Affairs measures since 1993 gets over 50,000 "hits" a month. .

See Statewatch's Observatory FOI in the EU

EU: European Parliament study: A quest for accountability? EU and Member State inquiries into the CIA Rendition and Secret Detention
Programme
(pdf):

"The study identifies significant obstacles to further accountability in the five EU Member States [Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom] under investigation: notably the lack of independent and effective official investigations and the use of the ‘state secrets doctrine’ to prevent disclosure of the facts, evade responsibility and hinder redress to the victims."

The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (YouTube, link):"Eric Kempson and his family live on the Greek island of Lesbos. For months they have struggled to give the most basic of humanitarian assistance to thousands of desperate people arriving in boats from Turkey. This is their story."

Multinational border protection teams to be rolled out (euractiv, link): "Given the continuing refugee crisis, the European Commission wants to secure the EU's external borders with a European border surveillance system. Until it can be implemented, Frontex will commit extra personnel.... EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told Die Welt on Thursday (17 September), "The Commission will, by the end of the year, put forward a proposal for a European Border Guard System. "The aim is that multinational border guard teams monitor the external borders of the EU...."

News Digest (18.9.15)

UK: Strangeways, here we go again: prison protests in Manchester 25 years on (Guatdian, link) "In 1990, Strangeways in Manchester saw the biggest prison riots in UK history. When Stuart Horner scaled the same roof alone this week, it was an instant reminder. Eric Allison, who observed the original protests, asks how much has changed."

USA: When Is Assassination Not Assassination? When the Government Says So (The Intercept, link)

US report proves Lithuania hosted CIA 'black site': lawyer (news-republic.com, link)

Right-Wing soft power, the refugee crisis and Europe’s failure (Open Democracy, link): "The fact that Syriza was crucified more often and with more intensity than Viktor Orbán speaks volumes in itself. It is just that most people do not want to listen."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe  (27 items, 17.09.15)

EU-USA "Umbrella" agreement on the exchange of personal data: In EU-US data sharing we trust – but can we have that in writing, say MEPs Signs of split between EU apparatchiks and elected reps (The Register, link):

"European lawmakers won’t blindly accept an EU-US agreement on new data sharing laws without important legal questions being answered and fine print being read, according to several prominent MEPs....Despite the commission presenting the agreement as a done deal, it will not take effect until it is approved by the European Parliament and a Judicial Redress Bill has been signed by the US Congress....

Although the deal would give EU citizens the same rights as Americans to seek judicial redress before US courts if US authorities deny access to, or rectification of, their personal data, those rights are not absolute. Certain types of data are exempt.

However, although welcoming the move towards greater data protection, Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht said he would like the text of the agreement to be examined by the parliament’s own legal department."

Statewatch obtained the full text of draft, initialled by officials: Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (pdf)  And see: Letter from Vera Jourová to Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee (14 September, pdf): "Let me once again stress that the prerequisite for the signature and conclusion of the Umbrella agreement is the adoption of the Judical Redress Bill by the US Congress." and see: Statement by EU Commissioner Vìra Jourová on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement" (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: "President Tusk decided to convene an extraordinary, informal meeting of the heads of state or government on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 18:00 to discuss how to deal with the refugee crisis." (link) This will follow the extra meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.

Will the Council invoke QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) to push through relocation plans? Tusk calls new EU summit on refugees - Countries still deadlocked over plan to relocate asylum-seekers (politico, link).and Germany says majority decision may be needed on refugees - Steinmeier says will be necessary if things don't work otherwise (ANSA, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Friday proposed putting the issue of quotas to redistribute refugees to a majority vote among EU member States to break through the current impasse."

EU: Refugee Crisis: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):

"An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.... Parliament backed the Commission's proposal (without amending it) by 370 votes to 134, with 52 abstentions. It then approved a legislative resolution by 372 votes to 124, with 54 abstentions, informing the Council that this approval is without prejudice to the position it will subsequently take on the proposal establishing a permanent crisis relocation mechanism, on which Parliament will co-decide on an equal footing with the member states."

"Under the Commission proposal, additional 120,000 asylum seekers would be relocated from Italy (15,600), Greece (50,400) and Hungary (54,000). [but] Luxembourg's Minister for Immigration and Asylum,Jean Asselborn, speaking on behalf of the Council's presidency, informed Parliament that "there will be an important change to the initial proposal: Hungary does not consider itself to be a frontline country and it does not want to benefit from the relocation scheme. "

How this plan will be implemented (eg: which refugees/asylum-seekers will qualify) will be decided by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015.

Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Acts in 2014: REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEWER ON THE OPERATION OF THE TERRORISM ACT 2000 AND PART 1 OF THE TERRORISM ACT 2006 by DAVID ANDERSON Q.C. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, SEPTEMBER 2015 and see:

Counter-extremism bill could play into terrorists' hands, says watchdog - Independent reviewer David Anderson QC says proposed legislation could lead to backlash from Muslim communities (Guardian, link)

Migrant crisis: UN 'shocked' over clashes in Hungary (BBC News, link):

"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is "shocked" after Hungarian police fired tear gas and water cannon to force migrants back from its border. Mr Ban said such treatment of asylum seekers was "unacceptable". Hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on Wednesday, trying to breach a razor-wire fence."

News Digest (17.9.15)

UK: Government warns NUS to stop opposition to Prevent strategy Union passed motion to oppose Counter-Terrorism Act, which it says amounts to an Islamophobic witch-hunt (Guardian, link)

MI5 chief warns technology has put terrorists 'out of reach' (WIRED, link): "Rapid advances in technology are allowing terrorists to operate "out of the reach" of British spies, the head of MI5, Andrew Parker has claimed."

MEPs adopt report to help boost Europe's drones industry (euobserver, link): "New rules are needed to ensure safe use of drones, the European Parliament's transport committee has recommended in a new report. No-fly zones are considered, while no new privacy legislation needed,"

UK: Attorney General refuses to say whether UK has ‘blanket’ drone policy (Reprieve, link):

"The British Attorney General has today refused to say whether the Government has a ‘blanket’ or ‘case-by-case’ policy on carrying out targeted killings in countries with whom the UK is not at war. Jeremy Wright was answering questions from MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who questioned him over the UK’s adoption of a US-style drone programme, as recently announced by the Prime Minister.

However, Mr Wright refused to give further details on the nature of the legal advice he had provided to his Government."

CoE: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Luxembourg (link):

"The report notes that most of the detained persons met by the CPT did not report any ill-treatment by the police. However, a number of allegations were received of verbal abuse and excessively tight handcuffing. As regards safeguards against ill-treatment, the CPT recommendations to the Luxembourg authorities include that all persons detained by the police be given access to a lawyer from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty....

the CPT calls upon the authorities to put an end to the practice of handcuffing detained persons to fixed objects and recommends that each police establishment be equipped with premises suitable for detention. The security cells in police stations, "cages" measuring less than 2m², should no longer be used as facilities for questioning suspects or for prolonged detention."

USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS: Updates to Policy and Additional Guidance Would Improve Oversight by DOJ and DHS Agencies (pdf)

"five of the eight components’ policies are not fully consistent with the Guidelines provisions for overseeing informants’ illegal activities. For example, the Guidelines require agencies to document certain information when authorizing an informant to participate in an activity that would otherwise be considered illegal (e.g., purchasing illegal drugs from someone who is the target of a drug-trafficking investigation)."

EU: SMART BORDERS: euLISA (European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice): Smart Borders Pilot Interim Report on the technical conclusions of the Pilot project (190 pagers, pdf) The Council asked for a detailed report on the "Smart Borders" initiative:

"The COM-led Technical Study (the first step of the Proof of Concept) identified the suitable options and solutions for the Smart Borders package to be tested during the Pilot. The aim of the Pilot (the second step of Proof of Concept) carried out by eu-LISA is to verify the feasibility of the proposed options and validate the selected concepts for both automated and manual border controls in operational environments with real travellers across Europe by November 2015." [emphasis added]

See also: Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf)

U.N. chief 'shocked' by treatment of migrants on Hungary-Serbia border (Yahoo Newes, link):

""I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated, it's not acceptable," Ban told a news conference. "All the countries have their domestic problems, but since they are the people fleeing the wars and persecutions, then we must show our compassionate leadership," he said. "First and foremost we have to provide life-saving assistance and shelter and ... sanitation, then we can discuss how they should be treated, accommodated," Ban said."

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 22/09/2015 (link): "The Council will start at 14:30. Ministers will continue discussions on migration. They will focus on the Commission proposal for the emergency relocation of 120 000 persons in need of international protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows to other EU member states." and Parliament fast-tracks vote on 120,000 refugee relocation plan (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 items, 16.09.15)

EU: DATA RETENTION: European Commission: European Commission statement on national data retention laws (Press release, pdf):

"We have seen press reports suggesting that the European Commission is “threatening to take Germany to court” over concerns regarding its national data retention law.

As the European Commission has repeatedly said since the European Court of Justice annulled the EU Data Retention Directive: the decision of whether or not to introduce national data retention laws is a national decision. The European Commission has no intention to go back on this statement or reopen old discussions.

We are aware that data retention is often the subject of a very sensitive, ideological debate and that sometimes there can be a temptation to draw the European Commission into these debates. The European Commission is not ready to play this game."

EU: Refugee crisis: Turning point for Europe: humanity remembered by Monish Bhatia and Ann Singleton (Open Democracy, link):

"Both governments and ordinary people should respond to the humanitarian crisis with a renewed sense of humanity... Last week the public and media became aware, through one image across Europe (and the world) of the plight of people fleeing for their lives. Within the UK this image produced an awakening after months and years of warnings about the consequences of policy failures, wars and discrimination against migrants. Evidence of the catastrophic failures of UK and EU migration policies, which are based solely on immigration control, borders and ‘security’, have been disbelieved or treated with scepticism by policy makers, officials and many academics."

EU-USA: Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement: Europol Joint Supervisory Body: Europol JSB inspection of the implementation of the [EU-USA] TFTP Agreement (pdf):

"The JSB restates that, in view of the nature of the TFTP and the scope of the agreement there is a massive, regular, data transfer from the EU to the US. There is a clear tension between the idea of limiting the amount of data to be transmitted by tailoring and narrowing the requests and the nature of the TFTP."

EU: Deflecting Responsibility to Protect Refugees (HRW, link)" Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU... Faced with Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the collapse of Yugoslavia, EU governments can only agree to push responsibility to countries outside the Union,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU is supposed to have a Common European Asylum System, yet EU governments can’t even agree on how to share responsibility for those in need of refuge.”"

Report on: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe Update (16.9.15):

The Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees is effective only for those who:

"have arrived or are arriving on the territory of those Member States [Greece and Italy"] as from 15 August 2015 until 16 September 2017"

Both the European Commission and the European Parliament wanted the relocation programme to run from April 2015. The Council Decision to only start tjhe programme from 15 August 2015 excludes hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived before this date. It would appear that the Council only wants to include those who will be caught by the new "hotspots" being set up in Greece and Italy where all new arrivals will be fingerprinted and registered. (Press release, 14.9.15: Relocation of 40 000 refugees from Greece and ltaly agreed by CounciI pdf)

There are a plethora of documents and statements from the Council of the European Union on the refugee crisis - the clearest guide to the their coercive thinking on creating "hotspots" for registration and fingerprinting, accelerated asylum procedures, "returns" and more see: Migration: EU action, state of play and next steps (Doc no: 11782-1-15, 11 September 2015, pdf)

(15.9.15):MRefugee crisis: latest news from across Europe

EU-USA 'UMBRELLA AGREEMENT' ON DATA PROTECTION: FULL TEXT

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee will later today (15 September) be updated by a Commission official on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement". Statewatch has obtained the full text of draft, initialled by officials: Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (pdf)

And see: Letter from Vera Jourová to Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee (14 September, pdf): "Let me once again stress that the prerequisite for the signature and conclusion of the Umbrella agreement is the adoption of the Judical Redress Bill by the US Congress."

The meeting will be broadcast live: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (link)

EU: Chinese to Schengen countries to submit biometric data (Xinhua, link): "The European Union's delegation to China recently announced that Schengen nations will require Chinese visa applicants to provide biometric data beginning Oct 12." See: Visa Information System to start operations in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan on 12 October 2015 (Statewatch News Online, June 2015)

News Digest (15.09.15)

BELGIUM: Manifestation anti-raciste à Bruxelles: Emir Kir craint des débordements (Le Soir, link)

UK: Demand for free help almost doubles since cuts to legal aid (The Guardian, link)

UK: Inmate died after smoking legal high 'Spice' in Liverpool prison HMP Altcourse (Liverpool Echo, link)

UK: IMMIGRATION DETENTION: Not one dissenting voice … apart from James Brokenshire (Right to Remain, link)

UK: Protesting Strangeways prisoner in underwear scales fence as inmates chant 'we shall not be moved' (Mirror, link) and see: Strangeways prison: Gunman jailed for execution of uncle holds tense rooftop protest at Manchester jail (Manchester Evening News, link)

UK: Theresa May loses court battles against two failed asylum seekers (The Guardian, link)

UK: Two Belgian activists arrested during a protest at an arms fair in London (Brussels Times, link)

UK-EU: Some open questions in Britain’s EU referendum puzzle (EurActiv, link)

“WikiGate” raises questions about Wikipedia’s commitment to open access (Ars Technica, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: Germany reintroduces border controls; latest news updates from across Europe

Germany has reintroduced border controls in response to the number of migrants and refugees travelling to the country. The border with Austria is the main focus, and all train travel between Austria and Germany has been halted. The European Commission has said that Germany's decision "underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis."

EU: Extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council to discuss Mediterranean crisis: official documents

The Justice and Home Affiars Council (interior and justice ministers of EU Member States) is meeting today to discuss the EU response to the ongoing migration crisis. Here you can find official documents related to the meeting, both public and leaked.

EU privacy watchdog planning international board on tech ethics (EurActiv, link): "The EU's Data Protection Supervisor made an unexpected move today (11 September) by releasing an opinion on technology and ethics, aimed to fill in gaps in consumer protection rules left unaddressed by the ongoing EU privacy reforms." See the opinion: Towards a new digital ethics: dignity, data and technology (pdf) and EDPS press release (pdf)

UK-EU: UNDERCOVER POLICING: What to consider before making a submission to the Pitchford Inquiry (Undercover Research Group, link): "Have you had an encounter with an undercover copper as part of your political activism? The Pitchford Inquiry is an opportunity for that story to be heard as part of a wider investigation into the targeting of protest by undercover police. We explain the practicalities of what this means and of how you can get involved." See also: Netpol calls for activists to participate in public inquiry into undercover policing (Netpol, link)

And: Police teaching teachers about "domestic extremism": Police tell teachers to beware of green activists in counter-terrorism talk (tes, link)

EU: End mass snooping and protect whistleblowers, MEPs yell at EU (The Register, link): "The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to adopt the conclusions of a report – as a non-legally binding resolution – that defends encryption, anonymity and digital freedom."

Full report, as adopted: Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (pdf) and how MEPS voted (VoteWatch Europe, link)

EU: Court of Justice: UK and Ireland can participate in Eurosur

The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled against a petition from Spain that called for halting the participation of the UK and Ireland in the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur). See: Judgment of the Court (Case C-44/14, 8 September 2014) (pdf) and Tribunal UE permite a Londres participar en Eurosur pese a rechazo de España [EU court allows London to participate in Eurosur despite Spain's protests] (La Vanguardia, link)

News Digest (14.09.15)

AUSTRIA: Austria creates new agency with unprecedented surveillance powers (EDRi, link)

BORDERPOL newsletter: Border Security Matters, August 2015 edition (pdf, link)

FRANCE: The Banlieue Battleground: Designing the French Suburbs for Police/Military Interventions (The Funambulist, link)

FRANCE-SPAIN-BELGIUM: Intelligence agencies face questions over gunman security lapses (The Telegraph, link)

INTERPOL asked to clarify position on Clare Rewcastle Brown (Fair Trials, link)

LITHUANIA: When Pre-Trial Detention Becomes a Form of Retribution (Fair Trials, link)

Northern Ireland ceasefire monitoring body on agenda in crisis talks (The Guardian, link)

ROMANIA: Romania: After PNR, a proposal for retention of tourist data (EDRI, link)

SERBIA: New Videos Show Crime Boss Meeting Top Serbian Police (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, link)

SPAIN: Barcelona buzzing as region celebrates Catalonia’s national day (euronews, link): "More than one million people crammed the streets of Barcelona to celebrate Catalonia’s national day."

UK: Jeremy Corbyn wins landslide victory in Labour leadership contest (Wirral Globe, link) and see: Corbyn victory energises the alienated and alienates the establishment (The Guardian, link)

UK: Proposals on strike laws are a response to yesterday’s problems, says CIPD (CIPD, link)

UK: The Iraq Inquiry and the silent civil servant (New Internationalist, link): "John Chilcot has held back the release of his findings for nearly 5 years. Bereaved families have had enough, writes Felicity Arbuthnot."

UK: Youth, welfare and the legacy of structural racism (IRR, link): "Will those from BAME communities be disproportionately affected by the government’s intensive workfare programme for young people?"

USA: First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist (The Daily Beast, link)

USA-NSA: FAIRVIEW: Collecting foreign intelligence inside the US (Top Level Telecommunications, link): "Here we will combine these new and old documents to provide a detailed picture of this important collection program, that was previously misunderstood on various occasions."

Two horrific videos: Refugees forced to scramble for food by police in Hungary (Guardian, link): "PM says Hungary facing ‘a rebellion by illegal migrants’ as officers filmed throwing sandwiches towards desperate crowds at centre in Röszke" and see Packed In A Dinghy With Syria's Refugees (Sky News, link): Remarkable video on the crossing from Assos in Turkey to Lesvos, including attempted interception by Turkish coastguard boat and shots were fired into the air - but the dinghy crosses into Greek waters.

HUNGARY: Refugees encounter prisoners building Hungary's border fence – video Guardian, link): "Refugees entering Hungary witness the building of the country’s new border fence with Serbia. Hungary has pressed on with the fence, which is due to be finished in October, as authorities move to restrict illegal entry next week. The fence is being built by prisoners along the 109 mile border with Hungary’s former Yugoslavian neighbour"

News (12-13.9.15)

EU aid arrives and so does fingerprinting: Report from Lesvos: Meeting with the Mayor: "A new center in a football pitch with 40 computers that can take fingerprints checked via Interpol and register the migrant/refugees. This center will operate for a week on a 24/7 basis. They will take people to the centre by bus then get on the ship to Athens. The second part of the plan is to organise 3 new centres, one in Mytilene, one in Kapi Lesvos (NE of Lesbos) and one in Petra where they will register the refugees and also they will also use as departing harbour Sigri which is nearer to the mainland and the trips could be faster."

Pro-refugee barefoot protests sweep Italy (ANSA, link): "More barefoot marches took place in several Italian cities on Friday calling for refugees to be welcomed in Europe. Thousands of people attended barefoot protests in Venice, Rome, Mantua and Naples Friday after similar demonstrations on other parts of the country in recent days."

‘Refugees welcome here’: UK marchers take to streets with message of support (The Observer, link): "Senior UN official warns that, if the war in Syria continues, a million more of its people may be displaced by the end of the year."

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1 (The Local.de, link): "Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts."

'Don't throw refugees off Sweden's trains' (The Local.se, link): "Refugees who board a train and have do not have enough money for the entire journey will not be thrown off the train, according to to an internal e-mail from Sweden’s state-owned train operator, SJ."

Bulgaria's Sofia Joins #RefugeesWelcome Initiative (.novinite.com, link): "Bulgarians on Saturday took to the streets of the capital Sofia to show solidarity with the hardship of migrants fleeing the war in Syria and seeking a better life in Europe...Saturday's demonstration ended in front of the EU Commission office building in downtown Sofia. Participants held placards reading "Europe Says Welcome", "Europe Is Not a Fortress", "Stop Killing Refugees", or "Xenophobia Is Illegal, People Are Not"."

German pro-refugee politician defies neo-Nazis (DW, link): "A senior German politician whose district council is enlarging hostels for refugees says he won't be deterred by a neo-Nazi murder threat. Erich Pipa says "99 percent" of residents support his stand to provide shelter." and Five injured when refugee shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt catches fire (DW, link): "Five people have been injured in a fire in a migrant shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt. Police are investigating whether this may be the latest in a series of arson attacks on refugee homes across Germany."

Thessaloniki makes preparations to receive refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "Preparations are under way in Thessaloniki so the northern city will be in a position to house refugees who will find it more difficult to cross Greece’s northern borders while heading to Central Europe in the winter. Kathimerini understands that around 120 prefabricated structures, similar to those used to house refugees at the Elaionas camp in Athens, have been moved to the city and are to be installed on land belonging to the Hellenic Railways Organization."

Trafficking of Refugees Reportedly Takes New Route Across Bulgarian-Greek Border (novinite, link)

Beyond Hungary: how the Czech Republic and Slovakia are responding to refugees (The Conversation, link): "After Hungarian authorities finally allowed trains to leave Budapest’s main railway station on August 31, about 200 refugees arrived on the territory of the Czech Republic. They were taken off the train by Czech police in the town of Breclav on the Austrian-Czech border and placed in detention."

Pro-refugee rallies due as Europe squabbles (The Local.es, link): "Tens of thousands were due to rally in European capitals on Saturday in support of refugees as Hungary's populist prime minister called for a giant aid package for countries around war-ravaged Syria to stem mass migration to Europe. The Europe-wide "day of action" includes dozens of events across several nations with the biggest demonstration expected in London. There are also rival anti-migrant events due to take place, notably in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia."

UNHCR urges full and swift implementation of European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (link): ""Given the urgency of the situation, these proposals need to be implemented fully and swiftly," UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva."

'Difficult for Sweden to register refugees' (The Local.no, link): "Norway on Friday pulled back from criticising Sweden after the country’s migration authorities admitted that they could not force refugees to register if they wanted to move onwards to Norway."

Denmark says no to EU's 160,000 refugee plan (The Local.dk, link): "Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said on Friday that with the nation's opt-out on EU asylum policies, there is "simply no reason" that Denmark should participate in the EU's plan to resettle asylum seekers."

Ministers hammer out plan for refugee influx (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian government is holding talks on Friday on how to deal more effectively with the large numbers of refugees entering the country from Hungary, some of whom are claiming asylum in Austria. They will discuss integration, housing and employment opportunities. "

France takes in refugees but abandons 'migrants' (The Local.fr,link)

EU-USA "Umbrella agreement" on the exchange of personal data: EPIC Pursues Public Release of EU-US Agreement on Data Transfers

EPIC has filed an expedited FOIA request to obtain a secret agreement between US and EU law enforcement agencies concerning the transfer of personal data. Citing legislation pending in Congress and NGO concern about the scope of the data protection safeguards, EPIC said "there is an urgency to inform the public" about the contents of the agreement. EPIC has pursued numerous FOIA cases and routinely made the information obtained available to Congress and the public. The agency has 10 days to respond to EPIC's request about the law enforcement "umbrella agreement."

And see: Statement by EU Commissioner Vìra Jourová on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement"
Brussels, 8-9-15
(pdf) and Commission: Q & A (pdf) plus:

Germany: The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information: “A welcome step but still only a little piece of the puzzle.” (pdf): "Given that the negotiations were not public, it is not possible at this stage to come to a final assessment of the agreement from a data protection point of view.
Details relating to retention periods and to data protection supervision are not yet known. In addition, for the implementation of the right to action under this Agreement, the Congress still has to adopt a Bill guaranteeing Europeans in the US access to judicial redress which is equivalent to the redress to which US-citizens are entitled in Europe."

And see: EU-US data protection "Umbrella Agreement" - Commission Services Non-Paper on state of play of negotiations (April 2014: Doc no: 8761-15, pdf)

Includes: "The two sides agree that: "the agreement will be without prejudice to transfers or other forms of cooperation between US and Member State's competent authorities responsible for safeguarding national security" and in addition in relation to the whole agreement: "Directive n. 12 specifies that the agreement shall be without prejudice to the activities in the field of national security" - this alone should undermine any acceptable agreement."

News Digest (11.9.15)

UN rights chief blasts Paris for Roma evictions (The Local.fr, link): "France has once again been blasted for its treatment of Roma communities. This time its the UN's human right's chief who has taken Paris to task for forced evictions of Roma camps.... The UN rights chief on Friday condemned what he described as a "systematic national policy" in France to evict Roma, two weeks after more than 150 people were forced from a shantytown north of Paris."It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a systematic national policy to forcibly evict the Roma," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement, attacking the policy as "punitive and destructive."

UK: Show solidarity with refugees this Saturday 12th September (Refugee Action, link):"IThis Saturday (12th September 2015) there are events and demonstrations taking place all across the UK in support of welcoming refugees. Refugee Action is a partner in the London march, but there are loads more events happening all over the country."

GREECE: Far-right Golden Dawn exploits darker side of Greece's discontent (ekathimerini.com, link): "Standing before them, a member of the European Parliament from Golden Dawn, the eurozone’s most extreme right-wing political party, roused the crowd with defiant denunciations of enemies at home and abroad ahead of a national election on Sept. 20. "The message of Leonidas - Molon Labe (Come and get it) – is as timely today as ever for everything tormenting Greece," the retired lieutenant general, Eleftherios Synadinos, told supporters waving flags bearing the party’s Swastika-like emblem."

EU humanitarian emergency: (11.9.15)

Bulgaria: Interior Minister Says Bulgaria Will Fulfill Its Commitment to Accept Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova assured that Bulgaria will fulfill its commitment to accept the refugees, who will be distributed from Greece, Italy and Hungary according to the new quota system unveiled by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday."

Denmark says it already has 'fair share' of refugees (euobserver, link): "Denmark will not take part in a mandatory distribution of asylum seekers, as suggested by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Danish integration minister Inger Stoejberg said. She told told Danish news agency Ritzau on Friday (11 September) that an informal distribution of refugees is already taking place across Europe and that Denmark has granted asylum to 'a fair share' of them."

German politician goes public with racist abuse on Facebook (DW, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians have called on Facebook to do more against racist comments on the site. Now an opposition politician has gone public with the abuse she has taken on her Facebook page."

Germany: The Breaking Point? Germany's Asylum System Struggles to Cope (Der Spiegel Online, link): "As the migrant influx continues, the 'Refugees Welcome' high is beginning to wear off. People are beginning to wonder if Germany will really be able to cope with all the newcomers. And the system is already completely overwhelmed." and Countering the Hate: 'People Are Getting Involved in Tremendous Ways' (DEr Spiegel Online, link): "Around 800,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany this year, with the number of Syrians growing rapidly. Manfred Schmidt, Germany's top migration official, discusses how the country is coping with the massive influx."

Borderland Europe and the challenge of migration (Open Democracy, link) by Etienne Balibar:

" We tend to think that the external limits of the European Union define the 'real' borders of Europe, which is a mistake..... part of the solution is within reach: this minimum would be achieved by 1) an official declaration on the 'state of humanitarian urgency' on the entire 'territory' under the auspices of the European Commission, 2) the binding commitment of all EU member states to treat refugees with dignity and equity from each according to their objectively measurable ability."

New Defense Minister: Hungary Can Protect Its Schengen Border (Hungary Today, link): "Hungary can protect its own and the European Union’s Schengen borders and will prove that ability, István Simicskó, the new Hungarian defense minister, told public television M1. He said that Hungary’s defence system can and must be used to prevent a “new type of migration” across the country, compromising the security of its residents. Asked how the military would be used along the border, the new defense minister said soldiers would assist the police. “Each army has a basic task, a task in protecting the country, a task to deter, to coerce, or to demonstrate power.” The military will need to convey the message that those who enter legally, will receive fair treatment, while illegal immigrants will be prosecuted, he said. The minister also said that early completion of the fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia was of key importance."

Immigration: Hungarian Government Considers Declaring State Of Crisis (Hungary Today, link): "The interior ministry has proposed that the Hungarian government declare a state of crisis in light of the massive influx of migrants, which will be discussed at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, government office chief János Lázár told a press conference. Lázár said that findings by the national security cabinet indicate that organised crime and the threat of terrorism are on the rise in Hungary. In response to a question, Lázár said that the deadline for completing construction on the border fence at the Röszke border station, including the railroad tracks, is September 15."

Hungary: Abysmal Conditions in Border Detention - Ensure Adequate Access to Food, Water, Medical Care (HRW, link): "Migrants and asylum seekers are being held in abysmal conditions in the two Roszke migrant detention centers on the Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today after obtaining footage from inside the camp and interviewing persons currently and formerly detained there. Hungarian police intercept asylum seekers and migrants entering via Serbia and detain them for days for registration and processing in conditions that fall short of Hungary’s international obligations."

Refugee Air (link): "Swedish entrepreneurs and humanitarians are taking migration matters into their own hands, and are working to airlift Syrian refugees into the EU. The effort is led by Susanne Najafi and Emad Zand. “As entrepreneurs we find solutions, and if we can fly people to the moon, why shouldn’t we be able to fly refugees safely to Europe?” says Najafi"

Why Europe is conflicted over immigration (kuve, link)

CoE: The Dublin system has collapsed and must be reformed as a matter of urgency, says Migration Committee (Parlimentary Assembly, link)

Why do so many refugees avoid Bulgaria? (DW, link) "In an Arabic language "Refugee Handbook," Bulgaria ranks first among countries asylum seekers should avoid. Refugees say xenophobia and Islamophobia are widespread and that they try to skirt around the country."

Migrant crisis: People treated 'like animals' in Hungary camp (BBC News, link) with video: "Footage has emerged of migrants being thrown bags of food at a Hungarian camp near the border with Serbia.An Austrian woman who shot the video said the migrants were being treated like "animals" and called for European states to open their borders. The emergency director of Human Rights Watch said the migrants were being held like "cattle in pens""

Serbia happy to help EU, ambivalent about refugee hub status (euractiv, link): "The EU has praised Serbia for coping with the refugee crisis. However, this contributed to widespread speculation inside the country that it will host a large refugee camp."

Polish prime minister says accepting refugees is Poland's duty (Reuters, link): "Poland cannot afford to accept economic migrants, but it is the biggest central European economy's duty to accept refugees fleeing wars, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said on Thursday "Accepting migrants escaping to save their lives is our duty," Kopacz, speaking ahead of an election in October."

Czech political spectrum united in opposition to EU migrant quotas (Praha Radio, link): "Politicians from across the Czech political spectrum have reaffirmed their opposition to a revised plan unveiled by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday that would see member states dividing-up 160,000 asylum seekers. Instead, Czech elected officials are maintaining that assistance to refugees should be a voluntary matter."

Hungary's Orban faces off against refugees (The Local.at, link): " Prime Minister Viktor Orban was never much of a liberal. A former US ambassador recently quoted him as saying: "All this talk about democracy is bullshit" after one too many lectures regarding his authoritarian ways. Yet even by his own reactionary standards, the building of a heavily fortified fence along the country's southern border, patrolled by sniffer dogs and possibly the army, looks like an extreme step -- particularly in a country with vivid memories of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain.The UN's refugee agency said new laws due to come into force next week, threatening three years in jail for anyone breaking through the barrier, "could lead to chaos", while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the fence a breach of "Europe's common values"." [emphasis added]

Italian van driver stopped with 33 Syrians aboard in Hungary - Says 'saw them shivering in cold' (ANSA, link): "Rome, September 11 - An Italian van driver was stopped with 33 Syrians aboard heading for Germany near Budapest Friday, police said. The man, 55, driving a red Fiat Ducato, was stopped near Lake Balaton. There were two women among the refugees in the back. The Italian embassy is investigating the matter. The man reportedly said he had picked up the refugees after he saw them shivering in the cold. He has been accused of human trafficking."

‘Transit’ countries get tough on refugees (euractiv, link): "While Germany has surprised the world with its welcome of refugees, Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Denmark are growing hostile towards them, despite the fact that asylum seekers show no interest in settling there."

CSU denounces Merkel's refugee policy as a 'mistake' (DW, link): "Members of the CSU - sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU - have dubbed the German Chancellor's handling of the refugee crisis a "mistake." Germany saw the arrival of more than 15,000 asylum seekers last weekend alone."

European Commission: Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf):

"The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."

Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link): So far in 2015:

- Arrivals in the EU: 381,412
- Dead/Missing: 2,850
- Arrivals in Greece: 258,365
- Arrivals in Italy: 121,000


See: Greek islands: Map (pdf)

Cities of refuge: EUROCITIES members take leadership (link):

"Johanna Rolland, EUROCITIES president and mayor of Nantes, explains how cities are taking leadership when it comes to welcoming refugees. Under the increasing pressure from European Institutions and the impact of tragic current events, Member states are stepping up their response to one of the greatest humanitarian crisis ever faced by the European Union....

Throughout the summer, our cities have continued to provide emergency assistance, housing, healthcare and social services where asylum seekers and migrants were stranded, transiting, or have reached their final destination. We have also challenged extremist discourses, such as in Leipzig and Dresden. We have called for open and welcoming societies. We have taken leadership and chosen to support movements emerging at local level to welcome refugees."

CLOSING BORDERS: Record number of refugees enter Hungary amid border crackdown fears - Hungarian police say 3,221 people entered country from Serbia on Wednesday in advance of new border controls expected next week (Guardian, link): "Orbán has also ordered the speeding up of the construction of a 3.5-metre high fence along Hungary’s southern frontier with Serbia. He has also vowed to cut to zero the number of migrants entering from next Tuesday. Explaining the new system, the justice minister László Trócsányi said an area similar to an “airport transit zone” would be set up at the border. “While it is located in the territory of the given state, the entry into the transit zone does not qualify, in immigration terms, as an entry into that state,” he said. Activists fear this will strand people in a legal limbo and lead to the vast majority of asylum seekers being turned back "

and see: Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the country’s borders."

VERY Important info for Serbia-Hungary-Border-crossing-refugees (Refugee Relief Action Forum: TwitLonger, link): ""As of next Tuesday, the authorities in Hungary will adopt a completely different approach to the refugees.Those who enter illegally, will be captured, jailed and quickly expelled from the country. Those who submit an application for asylum legally, can not even enter the territory of Hungary and will be returned to Serbia within few hours. The government in the coming weeks is preparing for crowd dispensing scenes, but Orbán said that this is the only way to have relative calm by Christmas.".

Refugees face chaos and harsh conditions at Serbia-Hungary border (AI, link): "“While Europe rejoiced in happy images from Austria and Germany yesterday, refugees crossing into Hungary right now see a very different picture: riot police and a cold hard ground to sleep on,”

Macedonian guards filmed threatening refugees with batons on border with Greece - Guards attempt to control influx of 4,000 people, the largest single wave of refugees and migrants the Greek border police has seen so far (Guardian, link)

MACEDONIA-GREECE: FYROM mulls fencing off border against migrants, says foreign minister ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is considering building a Hungarian-style border fence to stem a rising influx of migrants from the south, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki was quoted as saying on Thursday."

EU humanitarian emergency: (10.9.15)

Refugee Children: Hungarian Orphanages Overwhelmed With Minors Who Make Journey To Europe Alone (IBT, link)

Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link)

Refugee crisis: the fifth boat to land on Lesvos this morning alone (Channel 4 News with short video, link): "The boats pop into view as if from nowhere, frighteningly low in the water, snaking from left to right looking for a place to land on the northern shore of Lesbos. Why here? Because it’s 6km across the Mytilini Strait from Turkey to Greece.... A window of flat calm water with no wind has prompted a mad dash of boats. There were twenty seven yesterday. The one we filmed was the fifth this morning."

Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the country’s borders."

Ireland to take 4,000 refugees in new programme - Burton says total will be ‘signficantly higher’ as family members join under reunification rules (Irish Times, link)

As refugees crowd onto Lesbos, the IRC is providing vital information and registration service (IRC link): "“People overwhelmingly just want to move on,” says Emily David, the IRC’s emergency protection coordinator. “They want to continue their journey at whatever the cost. They’re determined to reach their friends, family and find safety in Europe. We’re here to make sure that journey is as safe and dignified as possible.""

Szijjártó on high moral ground as chaos worsens (Budapest Times, link)

Ács mayor quits Fidesz over PM's remarks on Roma (Budapest Busines Journal, link)

MACEDONIA-SERBIA: 5,000 refugees arrive in Serbian town in one day: A record number of refugees - as many as 5,000 - arrived to the reception center in Kanjiza, northern Serbia, in a single day, RTS said on Thursday morning. (b92, link)

Worsening conditions inside Syria and the region fuel despair, driving thousands towards Europe (UNHCR, link): "Deteriorating conditions in Syria and neighbouring countries are driving thousands of Syrians to risk everything on perilous journeys to Europe, the UN refugee agency cautioned on Tuesday. As the crisis digs deeper into its fifth year with no sign of a political solution in sight, despair is on the rise and hope is in short supply."

Thousands of refugees, migrants at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Thousands of people, including many families with young children, are braving torrential downpours to cross Greece's northern border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), after Greek authorities managed to register about 17,000 people on the island of Lesvos in the space of a few days, allowing them to continue their journey north into Europe.... About 7,000 people waited in the mud of an open field near the northern village of Idomeni to cross the FYROM border early Thursday, with more arriving in trains, buses and taxis."

Common asylum system at a turning point: - Refugees caught in Europe’s solidarity crisis (AIDA, link)

European Parliament: MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "Ms Keller also stressed the need for a "permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states." The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system. The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions."

Dreaming of Europe, Syrians in Turkey undeterred by Aegean tragedy (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Ali, 31, a Syrian seeking to move to Europe, sits in a cafe in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, impatient and angry. Undeterred by a succession of fatal accidents, he wants to cross the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece in the hope of making it to Britain, or Germany as Berlin takes in more Syrian refugees."

Danish police: Refugees can travel on to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish National Police said on Thursday that arriving refugees and migrants will now be allowed to pass through Denmark on the way to Sweden."

Denmark-Germany trains resume amid influx (The Local.de, link): "Denmark's train operator said early Thursday it expected rail traffic across the German border to resume later in the day, after police ordered services to be suspended due to an influx of migrants. "

New spike in refugees entering Austria (The Local.at, link): "Austria witnessed a new spike in migrant numbers overnight with more than 3,000 people crossing unimpeded from Hungary, authorities said on Thursday." and The expats working overtime for refugees (The Local.at, link): "As exhausted and destitute refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, continue to arrive in Vienna one group of expats has been working overtime to gather and distribute donations."

Polish PM says EU summit on migrants may take place earlier than planned (Reuters, link)

Grybauskaite - Lithuania should accept over 1,000 refugees (Baltic Times, link)

Refugee crisis: how does Europe solve a problem like Viktor Orbán? Anti-immigrant stance of Hungary’s prime minister is discomforting other European leaders but there seems little they can do to change his ways (Guardian, link)

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: 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) - Chapter III, preparation for trilogue (106 pages, LIMITE doc no 11696-15, pdf) Multicolumn: Commission proposal, positions of Council and the European Parliament and "compromise"

Refugee crisis: Europe's leading newspapers urge governments to act now in open letter - Europe must show that it is built on the principles of solidarity, equality and liberty (Independent, link):"Our leaders must show courage and insight if they are not to fail this test of our shared European civilization. We need to act, and we need to act now:"

Bernd Ulrich, Die Zeit, Germany, Ezio Mauro, La Repubblica, Italy, Antonio Caño, El Paìs, Spain, Johan Hufnagel and Laurent Joffrin Libération, France, Amol Rajan, The Independent, UK, Oliver Duff, i, UK, Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday, UK, Christian Broughton, independent.co.uk, Andreas Paraschos, Kathimerini, Cypres, András Murányi, Népszabadság, Hungary, Matúš Kostolný, Denník N, Slovakia, , Adam Michnik, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, Jan Helin, Aftonbladet, Sweden, Christian Jensen, Information, Denmark, Anna B. Jenssen, Morgenbladet, Norway"

News Digest (10.9.15)

Syria drone strike sets low threshold for killing people, says UN official - Prof Christof Heyns says UK’s killing of two British jihadis in Raqqa sets a dangerous precedent as other experts question whether attack was justified (Guardian, link)

UK: INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT: That Sir Alan Duncan, Mr Dominic Grieve, Mr George Howarth, Fiona Mactaggart, Angus Robertson, Mr Keith Simpson and Ms Gisela Stuart be appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under Section 1 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

USA: Secret Warfare: U.S. Special Forces Expand Training to Allies With Histories of Abuse (The Intercept, link): "documents obtained by The Intercept demonstrate that from 2012 to 2014 some of America’s most elite troops — including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets — carried out 500 Joint Combined Exchange Training missions around the world."

Austria creates new agency with unprecedented surveillance powers (EDRI, link): "In the midst of the biggest surveillance scandal of mankind and after years of criticism about rogue secret agencies spying on politicians and the government bodies supposed to control them, Austria is planning to establish a new secret agency.Austria’s draft state security law, “Staatsschutzgesetz”, grants new, far reaching surveillance powers while reducing oversight and transparency of the planned ten state security agencies that are tasked with fighting threats to the state and its public institutions.

EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Council of the European Union encouraging MS to use more entry bans (dated 8 September 2015): Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (doc no: 11648-15, pdf). The document notes:

"At its meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015, the European Council concluded that "Member States will fully implement the Return Directive, making full use of all measures it provides to ensure the swift return of irregular migrants; return decisions issued by the Member States will be introduced in the Schengen Information System" [emphasis added]

The Council wants a "new legislative package" but in "short-term" want to use a "soft law" (non-binding, but enabling) set of Council "Conclusions" and:

"The Permanent Representatives Committee is invited to confirm agreement on the draft Council Conclusions as set out in the Annex and to submit them to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) on 14 September 2015 for adoption as an A point."

Statewatch notes that: "A Points" are nodded through without debate.

EU: Council of the European Union: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:

(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.

(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:

"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human
smuggling or trafficking"

Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Deputy PM calls for ‘Mediterranean Shield’ to sink empty smugglers’ ships (Prague Post, link):

"NATO should start a naval operation in the Mediterranean that should sink people smugglers’ ships and protect the Turkish border, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said today. Babiš said he wanted to discuss the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who will come for a two-day visit to the Czech Republic this afternoon. “I want to call on Stoltenberg to start the operation. With its joint forces, NATO should protect the Turkish border and the Mediterranean. It should sink the smugglers’ empty ships and help in further operations against the dangerous criminals and murderers whose business is threatening both the refugees and Europe,” Babiš wrote in a press release."

Statewatch comment: The Czech Minister seems to be unaware that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.

As Lesvos gets tense, leader seeks summit (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions build on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where some 20,000 migrants and refugees are awaiting the documents that will let them continue their journeys into Europe, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked European Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency summit of European Union leaders to address a growing migration crisis.... On Lesvos, many locals have joined efforts to help migrants, providing food and clothing for instance. Others are less accepting, however. And there are fears that tensions on the island will peak as the influx shows no signs of abating."

(9.9.15) Eleven docunments: European Commission proposals on refugee-migrant crisis

including Proposal for a establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 452-15, pdf): " the European Commission has come to the conclusion that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo* , Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are safe countries of origin within the meaning of Directive 2013/32/EU and should be included in the EU common list of safe countries of origin." [emphasis added]

Dated: 9.9.15: EU: Humanitarian emergency: European Parliament: JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: on migration and refugees in Europe: on behalf of the EPP Group; on behalf of the S&D Group; on behalf of the ALDE Group; Judith Sargentini, Ska Keller, Jean Lambert, Ulrike Lunacek, Bodil; Valero, Philippe Lamberts, Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes, Margrete Auken; on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group (pdf):

"not to sanction those who voluntarily help migrants on humanitarian grounds, including carriers by asking the Commission to consider revising Council Directive 2001/51/EC; takes note of the EUNAVFOR Med operation against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean;

Regrets that the leaders of some Member States and the far right parties are using the current situation to fuel anti-migration sentiments while blaming the EU for the crisis, leads to growing numbers of violent actions against migrants."

See also: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Annotated draft agenda (pdf): "Further to the Commission proposals and to the intensive work undertaken at the JHA Council on 14 September and 8/9 October, the European Council will hold a substantial discussion on migration in all its aspects. In this context, it will also take stock of the preparations for the Valletta Summit and the follow-up to the June European Council conclusions on a high-level conference on the Western Balkans route."

GREECE: EXCLUSIVE: Migrants claim rogue Greek coastguard are ROBBING them at gunpoint and puncturing their dinghies in the Mediterranean (Mail Online, link):

- Migrants claim that they have have been robbed of their life possessions while on the perilous crossing to Greece by pirates
- They claim that the masked, armed men may be a rogue element of the Greek coastguard and claim their descriptions fit
- The UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children are told MailOnline they are looking into the claims
- Greek coastguard deny the claim, adding pirates are 'posing as authorities'... but admitted last month that one was a government employee

See also: The writing was on the wall (Statewatch)

EU: Humanitarian emergency: EU refugeee crisis: The time has come to act (pdf) Statement of the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly

"In recent days we have seen several Member States, many ordinary citizens, and civil society groups demonstrating remarkable and humbling leadership as they welcome refugees to their communities.

EU institutions and all Member States must now take their cues from those citizens and act to alleviate the immediate suffering. The EU must use its immense diplomatic, economic and moral capacity to find ways to tackle the wider issues of Middle Eastern security."

The Refugee Crisis: What should the EU do next? (EU Law Analysis, link): "How should the EU address this issue next? Should it abolish or reform the Schengen and/or Dublin rules? Are Member States complying with EU and international law in their response? "

EU: MED: Humanitarian emergency: Council of the European Union discusses response in run-up to the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November 2015: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

and see: Non-paper from the European External Action Service: Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015) - Possible elements for the outcome document (LIMITE doc no: 10908-15, pdf)

Also: Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS: Brussels, 01 06. 2015 Ares(2015) 2397724: Letter to Ministers (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "These documents offer little that has not been agreed before. They speak of "tackling the root causes of "irregular" migration" which are clear to all as being war, persecution and poverty. They call for increasing efforts to get African countries to sign up to readmission agreements to support a forced returns policy to the country of origin or transit state - and there seems to be an unbelievable reluctance to accept that most people do not want to be returned from the countries they have fled which could, in many cases, to be deemed refoulement.

The absolute need at this time is for an effective humanitarian aid and civil protection programme, not the creation of so-called "hotspots" charged with the rapid processing of asylum applications in order to effect a quick "returns" policy - under the watchful eyes of Frontex and Europol."

UK: Ministers drew up 'kill' list of British jihadis fighting with Isis in Syria - National Security Council meeting considered list of targets that went beyond Reyaad Khan, who was killed in RAF drone strike last month (Guardian, link)

EU, US ink 'umbrella agreement', ensures data protection between authorities (CBR, link): "Deal protects personal data exchanged between police and judicial authorities. The EU and the US have reportedly signed on the dotted lines to protect personal data shared for law enforcement purposes, including terrorism investigations." and see: German Data Protection Commissioners Call for Improvements to the General Data Protection Regulation (link)

"We are ashamed" Statement on the desperate situation in the Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully": It is time for the European Parliament to act: for circulation and joining in support

"In August four of us, from Statewatch and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, visited Lesvos where we were horrified to see the situation for refugees deteriorate day by day, with no sign of effective intervention 'on the ground' from International Organisations or the governments of the European Union.

The trip made us ashamed of the EU's response, but applies equally to the whole situation caused by EU member states and EU policies, in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Middle East and Africa:

The MEPs should show leadership in this crisis by insisting that the other EU institutions develop an effective humanitarian protection policy on arrival for refugees , and create EU-wide legal channels to be open to migrants (the initiatives are so far limited to the highly skilled and seasonal migrants), by the end of the year. If they do not do so, then the EP should censure the Commission (ejecting it from office) and shut down the Council and European Council, by blocking all funding for their administration. If the parliament does not act now it will be meaningless to hold further elections."

To sign the
Statement (pdf) please send an email with Support "We are ashamed" statement in the subject line to: office@statewatch.org Please sign up as: an organisation/group or your name (group) or as an individual

Statewatch Observatory on: EU MED crisis - a humanitarian emergency: The Observatory covers the arrival of migrants and the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities) Updated daily.

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (8.9.15)

EU's refugee plan: how does it work? (ekathimerini.com) EU plans with figures

Migrants in Lesbos: volunteers stand alone against the humanitarian crisis (Youtube, link): "Under Juncker's plan for emergency relocation to deal with an escalating crisis, Germany, France and Spain would together relocate nearly 60 percent of 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary, under mandatory quotas. Germany would take 31,443 refugees (26.2 percent), France would take 24,031 (20 percent) and Spain 14,931 (12.4 percent over the next two years. The next biggest intakes would be Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium and Sweden. Member states that refuse the quotas are expected to be asked to offer financial compensation instead

Migrant crisis: Greece acts over Lesbos 'explosion' fears (BBC News, link): "he Greek government and the UN refugee agency have brought in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 stranded migrants on the island of Lesbos. A processing centre has been also set up on an abandoned football ground to help the migrants to get to Athens. A Greek minister said on Monday Lesbos was "on the verge of an explosion". Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants broke through police lines on Hungary's border with Serbia and started walking towards the capital, Budapest. The migrants faced down pepper spray used by police as they broke out of a holding centre in a cornfield and marched down a motorway towards Budapest. They later agreed to be taken by bus to another reception centre."

IOM Monitors Migrant Arrivals, Deaths in Italy, Greece and Spain 8.9.15 (link)

SPAIN: It's time Spain learnt some lessons from its own Civil War refugees (The Local.es, link): "When Alberto Letona sees images of Syrian refugees he can't help think of his own family, who 80 years ago fled the Spanish civil war and sought refuge with strangers.... My mother was only a little Basque girl of seven when General Franco and his troops rebelled against the democratically elected government of the Spanish Republic. It was 1936 and the Spanish Civil War would go on for almost three years with a death toll of half million and further 450,000 fleeing into exile.

SWEDEN: Stockholmers gather to welcome refugees (The Local.se, link): "Volunteers headed to Stockholm's central train station on Tuesday to welcome refugees with clothes, food, and coffee. One told The Local that some Swedes don't realize how lucky they are to live in such a safe place."

Syrian refugees bypass Switzerland for EU states (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is not a "preferred destination" of Syrian refugees, says its migration office, with new figures showing just 401 Syrians applied for asylum in the Alpine country in August. "

'Change of pace' on migrants Renzi tells Merkel (ANSA, link) with EU relocation list..

Hundreds of refugees 'disappear' in Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police cannot account for hundreds of refugees who arrived in Denmark during the course of Monday."

Czech relations with West may worsen over migration (Prague Post, link): "Czech relations with West European countries threaten to worsen due to the migration crisis since the West promotes mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across the European Union, while the Czech Republic rejects the quotas, senior Czech diplomats have told the Czech News Agency."

AUSTRIA: EU quotas 'only way to solve refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that European Union asylum quotas are the only way to solve the ongoing refugee crisis, adding that Austria will consider withholding funds from the EU if other member states continue to oppose quotas. "

Romania and Cyprus impose migrant relocation conditions (euobserve, link): "Romania and Cyprus are demanding EU concessions in exchange for allowing in a set number of relocated asylum seekers. On Monday (7 September), Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta said he won’t accept relocated asylum seekers unless Romania is allowed to join the Schengen passport-free zone."

German budget debate in shadow of refugee influx (DW, link): "Germany's provisional budget for 2016, currently under debate in parliament, is two months old - and already out of date. A further 6 billion euros must be penciled in to help incoming refugees, if that's enough."

German participation in anti-trafficking mission advocated (euractiv, link): "In October, the EU will start using military resources to hunt down human traffickers. Germany's foreign affairs minister has called upon Berlin to participate in the effort."

LESVOS-GREECE: New migrant clashes on Lesvos as EU chief warns ‘exodus’ could last years (ekathimerini.com, link): "Fresh clashes erupted between police and migrants on the Greek island of Lesvos Tuesday, the latest flashpoint of the crisis shaking Europe as EU President Donald Tusk warned the refugee “exodus” could last for years. With authorities warning Lesvos was “on the verge of explosion,” a dozen or so coastguards and riot police armed with batons struggled overnight to control some 2,500 migrants in the island's main port, screaming “keep back” as the crowds surged towards a government-chartered ferry bound for Athens."

Europe needs 'guaranteed relocation system' for Syrian refugees, says UNHCR (ekathimerini.com, link): "UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva. She welcomed separate offers announced by Britain and France on Monday to take in Syrian refugees, but said reception centers must be set up in countries including Hungary and Greece. "Those can only work if there is a guaranteed relocation system whereby European countries saying yes will take X number. We believe it should be 200,000 -- that's the number we believe need relocation in Europe countries," Fleming said."

EU plans to spend €1bn on relocating refugees across bloc (FT, link): "Germany, France and Spain will provide more than half of all the places on the scheme, according to a draft proposal seen by the Financial Times and confirmed by European officials."

Refugee crisis: European leaders preparing EU-wide protection force to deal with unfolding humanitarian catastrophe (Independent, link): "European leaders are preparing to create a powerful EU-wide border protection force to deal with the refugee crisis engulfing the continent, The Independent understands. Under plans being discussed by officials in Brussels, legal responsibility for deporting people deemed to be economic migrants would pass from the member states to the European Union. The proposal – which would have legal force – will be discussed at the meeting of EU interior and justice ministers later this month. "

Comment: Romania and the E.U.’s new Schengen policy (romanian-insider, link)

Report from Lesvos by Fiona O'Malley (7.9.15):" The beach near Eftalou, Lesvos...Groups of around 50 or 60, packed into black rubber dinghies, have been making the trip from Turkey to Lesvos every day for the last eight months or so."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Greece asks EU for humanitarian aid to cope with migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link)

"Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called "a volatile situation" following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.

It requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc's crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (7.9.15)

The little boy lost whose picture helped get the media back on track by Aidan White (Open Democracy, link): "How have media around the world – and the social networks – helped shape the refugee crisis into a more sensitive, humanitarian and people-focused story"

UNHCR saddened by man's death in Bicske, Hungary (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency is saddened at the death of a 50 year old man, on Friday, near a refugee reception centre in the Hungarian town of Bicske. UNHCR staff on the ground were gathering exact details about the circumstance of the death. However, initial reports suggested the man falling down and hitting his head against train tracks, while trying to run away from the police at the train station. An ambulance was called which tried to provide medical assistance on the spot, but the man reportedly died after 50 minutes of the incident."

AUSTRIA: Emergency migrant measures 'phased out' (The Local.at, link): "Up to 20,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary into Austria over the weekend after an agreement with Austria and Hungary to relax asylum rules. However, Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann has said the emergency measures will now be phased out."

Refugee crisis: Why France won't open borders like Germany (The Local.fr, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy."

Spain warns of jihadist infiltration threat with 'avalanche' of refugees (The Local.es, link): "Spain's interior minister on Monday called for tighter controls to prevent members of the armed jihadist group Isis from infiltrating the "avalanche" of refugees arriving in Europe from Syria."

Danish police stop refugee march to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "Up to 150 refugees who began marching towards the border with Sweden, known for its more generous asylum policies, have finally agreed to be taken to police stations to register, as required under EU rules."

Refugee crisis: national newspapers start to rattle the sabres (Guardian, link): "Amid public sentiment and support for the people fleeing oppression, some titles call on David Cameron to launch air strikes in Syria "

Migration and refugee crisis: Europe cannot bury “head and humanity” in the sand (CoE Parliamentary Asembly, link): "Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur has urged Europe not to “bury its head and humanity,” in the sand, as it confronts the region’s migration crisis.“Europe is in the centre of a migration and asylum cauldron,” she said in New York after the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Each day more and more ingredients are being added to this melting pot of human suffering, and Europe can no longer bury its head and humanity in the sand. “In New York during my meetings I was met with polite incredulity at the lack of an organised European response to the 300,000 refugees arriving and travelling through Europe. Yes, this is a significant number, but no, this is not an insurmountable figure for a continent as large and wealthy as Europe."

EU sets new quotas for states to take asylum-seekers, source says  (ekathimerini.com, link): "The EU executive has drawn up a new set of national quotas under which Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday.... The source said the Commission also planned to put Turkey and all the non-EU states of the Western Balkans on a new list of "safe" countries, whose citizens would face accelerated reviews of asylum claims to speed deportation for most of them."

Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants (euractiv, link): "A Hungarian official indirectly admitted that the poster campaign ordered by the government last summer to discourage immigrants from coming into the country was aimed at generating hate towards them."

France reluctant to host large numbers of refugees (euobserver, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy.

UN agencies 'broke and failing' in face of ever-growing refugee crisis - Damage will be impossible to reverse, warns head of UNHCR, after 10% fall in funding forces cuts to food rations and closure of clinics (Guardian, link)

Cyprus says it could take up to 300 preferably Christian refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Union member Cyprus said on Monday it would be willing to take in up to 300 migrants fleeing upheaval in the Middle East under new EU quotas, but would prefer them to be Christians."

Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR.Youtube, link)

Refugee crisis: Hollande says France will take 24,000 refugees and 'begin Syria air missions' (Independent, link)

The Syrian refugee crisis, in 4 maps and charts (VOX, link)

Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe (Independent, link): "As European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees and migrants from settling in the continent, more and more people are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety. Here are some of the ways you can help at home."

V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague Friday."

GERMANY: Five injured in refugee housing fire in Rottenburg - At least five people have been injured after a fire broke out at refugee accomodation in the southwestern German town of Rottenburg. It was not immediately clear if the blaze was a result of arson. (DW, link)

Migrants to lesbos: volunteers only in the face of the humanitarian crisis (France24, link)

Slow crossing causes tension at FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Scuffles broke out early Monday between FYROM police and thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to head north toward Europe. About 2,000 people had gathered at the Greek border near the village of Idomeni just after dawn, attempting to cross into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But FYROM authorities were allowing only small groups to cross every half hour, leading to tension. The situation later calmed after more were allowed to cross, with about 1,000 having passed the border by mid-day.

At least 10,000 migrants to be ferried to mainland in next five days, minister says (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece's migration minister has said at least two-thirds of the estimated 15,000-18,000 refugees and economic migrants stranded in "miserable" conditions on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be ferried to the mainland in the next five days. ... Lesvos bears the brunt of the refugee influx, with more than 1,000 arriving daily on frail boats from nearby Turkey. Most remain stuck there for days, sleeping outdoors until they can be identified, and then find berths on crowded ferries to the mainland.

Cameron authorised targeted airstrike in Syria in August - Politics live (Guardian, link) and Syria: refugees and counter-terrorism - Prime Minister's statement (gov, link)

LESVOS-GREECE: Two arrested for hurling homemade bombs at refugee tents on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions rise on Lesvos, police on Sunday arrested two teenagers for hurling homemade petrol bombs at tents set up by refugees near the port of the eastern Aegean island, injuring a 30-year-old Syrian man.

Also on Sunday, police using riot batons clashed with refugees beating one unconscious and leaving several others injured, reports said. One person was taken away in ambulance, according to the same reports."

See: EU Civil Protection Mechanism (link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Hungarian Parliament toughens laws on border crossing (Budapest Business Journal, link):

"In a parliamentary session begun this morning [Friday], MPs voted on a package of laws early this afternoon that would include stronger penalties for “illegal crossings” of the Hungarian border, with 140 voting in favor and 33 voting against...detailing the role of the army and police in safeguarding Hungary's borders in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.

The amendments passed in Parliament today includes revisions to the Penal Code that will treat “illegal” border crossings, the damage, or the obstruction of the construction of the border fence punishable as a separate crime. The law will also expedite the asylum procedure of refugees and make it more efficient, broaden the defense of the country’s borders, establish provisions for setting up transit zones on the country's borders, and tighten penalties leveled at people smugglers." and Refugee crisis: Hungary may deploy military to southern border, says PM Viktor Orban (Independent, link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (6.9.15)

Danish tourists helping refugees in Greece (The Local,dk, link): "Large numbers of Danes are heading to Greece with bags of unwanted clothes and other goods to help newly-arrived refugees. Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have reported that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists. The scheme allows all customers flying out of Copenhagen Airport and Stockholm's Arlanda Airport and Copenhagen Airport in Denmark to Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have taken advantage of the offer. "

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann called Sunday for an emergency EU summit to resolve the migrant crisis, saying his country's admittance of thousands of refugees crossing from Hungary was just a "temporary" measure (The Local.at, link)

ITALY: How to help refugees if you live in Italy (The Local.it, link).

UK: Oxford City of Sanctuary (link)

EU: Five Steps to Tackle Refugee Crisis - How to Save Lives and Protect People (HRW, link)

GERMANY: Far-right demo disrupts arrival of migrants in Dortmund (DW, link) "Far-right extremists tried to disrupt the arrival of nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Dortmund in western Germany last night. The police made several arrests."

Key dates in Europe's escalating migrant crisis (FR24, link)

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, 2-6-15, link) by Seamus Milne: "What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus."

Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR Youtube, link)

To Be European Among Whites (liberties.eu, link): "European identity is much more than race or ethnicity, but you wouldn’t know it from the actions of many EU members, typified by Hungary’s hate-filled campaign against migrants."

IRELAND: Coveney hits back at critics of migrant aid (independent.ie, link): "Defence Minister Simon Coveney has lashed out at critics of plans for Ireland to take a "very generous" approach to the worst migrant crisis to hit Europe since World War II..... the Government will ask the European Union to relax strict budget spending rules to allow Ireland take in more refugees." and Our leaders defend a monochrome culture - Timid politicians resist helping in this great humanitarian crisis because they think we're racist, writes Willie Kealy (link)

PMs: V4 ready to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The Visegrád Group (V4) countries are ready to provide experts and equipment for the protection of the Schengen Area external borders, to intensify the fight against people smugglers and support the fight against Islamic State, the four prime ministers said in a joint statement today."

ITALY: Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)

Refugee crisis: east and west split as leaders resent Germany for waiving rules - Central European nations pin blame on the EU – but their unilateral actions are a hindrance to a solution (Observer, link): "The European parliament, as ever, has plenty to say about immigration, but absolutely nothing to do because it has no remit over policymaking, which remains overwhelmingly national. The countries of Europe prefer it that way, while blaming Brussels for the ever-worsening state of the union."

GREECE: Baby migrant boy found dead on coast of Agathonisi, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link): "A newborn migrant boy was found dead early on Saturday after his parents reached the steep shores of the Greek island of Agathonisi in a boat from Turkey, the Greek coastguard service said. The baby boy was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Samos, where he was pronounced dead."

Czech police release Syrians who applied for Hungarian asylum (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

Real Madrid join drive to help Spain-based refugees (The Local, es.link)

Thousands to rally for refugees in Stockholm (The Local.se, Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriork)

More migrants march as refugees arrive in Austria (The Local, at,link): "Thousands of migrants streamed into Austria from Hungary on Saturday, with another column of refugees setting out on foot as Budapest ruled out bussing any more the 175 kilometres (110 miles) to the border."

Migrant Children’s Drawings From Hungary Train Station (WSJ, link)

UNHCR applauds Austria and Germany as refugees march across Hungary (link): " It was a remarkable and unexpected display of refugee power – the power of the powerless. It began at noon on September 4 with a spontaneous march out of Budapest down the highway towards the Austrian border by more than 1,000 frustrated refugees. They were marching in protest at the Hungarian government's blanket refusal to let them take trains to Austria and Germany."

This refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its institutions are broken by Paul Mason (Guardian, link): "The EU needs a new asylum system based on reality. But without an influx of migrants, it faces a future of economic stagnation"

Bono warns refugee crisis solution must be found (AOL, link): ""As Nelson Mandela said: 'It always seems impossible until it is done" Bono asked the crowd: "What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe with its heart open?"

Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriorl (mediapart, link): "The French naval frogman who sank the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in July 1985, causing the death of photographer Fernando Pereira, has spoken publicly for the first time. Jean-Luc Kister, who was ordered to sink the boat that took part in protests against France's nuclear tests in the Pacific, has given a long interview to Mediapart's editor-in-chief, Edwy Plenel, the journalist who broke the story of French involvement in the attack 30 years ago. This interview is published simultaneously with a public apology given by Kister on New Zealand state television."

Infographic: Police Brutality in Bulgaria (liberties.eu, link):"The burning issue of police brutality in Bulgaria is highlighted in this new infographic from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. It is based on 1,691 individual interviews with inmates from 29 detention facilities, including all prisons."

EU-ISF:GREECE: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Closing the borders, identifying all migrants/refguees and dealing with "potential radical or extremism groups": The EU Internal Security Fund plan for Greek border control under the EU external borders fund - Greece: National programme (49 pages, pdf)

"Indicatively EBF has funded the purchase of land and sea patrol means and equipment such as thermal cameras and fingerprint scanners.... the procurement of special smart devices equipped with face identification, contemporary surveillance devices for digital recording, transmission of information and fingerprint scanners, could transform any kind of simple patrol to smart patrol policing." and

"in order to ensure effective management of the external maritime borders, in particular at critical area of Eastern Aegean. An investment plan, assisted with adequate technology, is scheduled to step up the surveillance capacity in that region. Investments will integrate with the Frontex sea border operations... The maintenance of high level of security in both Greece and European Union as well as the effective prevention and suppression of radicalization towards terrorism and violent extremism could be addressed through the coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and other national authorities in Greece, including Europol.." and:

"The newly established Intelligence Management and Analysis Division aims at implementing an intelligence-led policing model so as to enhance the coordination between the concerned agencies and the detection of internal security threats at local and national level. Another action which could address the gaps mentioned in baseline, is to identify and register all places of gatherings of potential radical or extremism groups such as worship areas, cultural and artistic heritage places in the Greek territory and depict them in a GIS platform, giving the ability for further process of these large amount of data, providing demographic information with specific patterns. One of the latest techniques to do so is to use Visualization Tools, since one can recognize patterns in a graphic display at just a glance. The confidential content of collected data and the output of analysis, require high level of protection on behalf of Hellenic Police, in order to minimize the possibilities of potential leak." [epmphasis added]

EU: CRISIS: Letter from Hollande and Merkel to Monsieur Donald TUSK President du Conseil europeen, Monsieur Jean-Claude JUNCKER President de la Commission europeenne and Monsieur Xavier BETTEL Premier ministre du Luxembourg (3 September. pdf):

"the creation of Home dtspositifs ("hotspots") in Italy and Greece should be accelerated to ensure as soon as possible (identification, recording, notes the fingerprint of migrants, the determination of the need for protection International and, if necessary, return to the country of origin. This should be fully operational at the latest before the end of the taxation year. The Commission and the European Union of competent agencies will formulate all the necessary support. Germany and France are willing to contribute their expertise in this context, the Commission should be ready to study the creation of new reception facilities in other Member States....

European Union should continue and expand its efforts to dismantle the criminal networks trafficking in human beings. In this context, cooperation with key partners, in particular Turkey, but also I'Egypte, Tunisia and Niger, should be reinforced in order to improve the management of the borders and to implement effective measures to control and curb irregular migration."

Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter (bordercriminologies, link): "The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Agreed text of Council decision on relocation of refugees from Italy & Greece, to be adopted officially on 14 September 2105: Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf): and see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)

HASTA CUANDO TOLERAREMOS LAS GUERRAS DESATADAS POR LA CRUEL EUROPA CONTRA LOS PUEBLOS DEL TERCER MUNDO, CONTRAS SUS MUJERES, SUS HOMBRES, SUS NIÑOS Y NIÑAS…! WHEN TO TOLERATE THE WARS unleashed by EUROPE AGAINST CRUEL Third World peoples, against their wives, MEN, THEIR CHILDREN ...! (link) with telling images and.

EJK - Lost Souls (YouTube, link) Song and iImages from Mytilene, Greece

LONDON: Refugees Welcome Here - National Day Of Action, Saturday 12 September: Marble Arch 12.00 then Rally at Downing Street 2pm (link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (5.9.13)

Here's how you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe (http://mashable.com): "From learning the real issues to supporting both large organizations and grassroots efforts alike, here are six concrete ways you can help during the refugee crisis."

2,200 Austrian drivers join campaign to pick up refugees in Budapest (Yahoo News, link)

V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas (Prague Post, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague."

EU-UK: Cameron limits UK's Syrian refugee intake 'to discourage risky journeys' - Prime minister also rejects obligatory EU quota as aid groups criticise his response to refugee crisis as inadequate (Guardian, link) "David Cameron has set limits on his plan to accept thousands of extra refugees from Syria after he rejected any involvement in an EU scheme for compulsory quotas, saying they would encourage “dangerous” journeys across the Mediterranean. As aid groups said the prime minister’s change of heart fell a long way short of refugees’ needs, Cameron insisted Britain’s main focus would continue to be on providing aid for camps in Syria’s neighbouring countries" and 'Completely inundated': Britons take refugees' aid into their own hands - Moved by coverage of Europe’s migration crisis, people across the UK are collecting donations and organising relief runs (Guardian, link) also: Germany prepares for up to 10,000 refugee arrivals - live updates (Guardian, link)

Hot spots working this year say Hollande-Merkel (ANSA, link) Comment: "Hotspots" are camps where people will be fingerprinted and their asylum claims made and where some will be "returned" from.

Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)

Thousands of migrants leave Hungary as Austria and Germany open borders - Up to 10,000, many refugees from Syria, expected to arrive in Germany on Saturday (Irish Times, link)

GERMANY: Rock for refugees: Bands against right-wing violence (DW, link): "Continued right-wing violence against refugees has spurred artists to help. In a written appeal, 24 German rock bands have called for improved protection for refugees and their accommodations."

Czech asylum facilities are 90% full (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Police vows to stop marking refugees by pens (link): "he method was criticised by some foreign Jewish organisations and Czech NGOs."

KOS: Refugees attacked 'with bats', stun grenades in Greece (The Turkish Weekly, link): "Authorities in Greece have used stun grenades on refugees in Mytilene port, while in Kos island, reports of attacks on asylum seekers by a group calling them to “go home” have emerged, local media and a human rights organization said Friday. On Friday morning, Greek Coast Guard and police used stun grenades to control thousands of refugees, mostly Afghans, in the port of Mytilene, local media said. Around 1,000 Afghans had allegedly tried to occupy Blue Star 1 ferry at the port, shouting "Athens- Athens". After the use of force on the refugees, the ferry eventually managed to sail away from the port, Greek media said."

Europe’s fear of Muslim refugees echoes rhetoric of 1930s anti-Semitism (Wahington Post, link)

Timmermans: Refugee crisis is here to stay (euractiv, link): "First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said what everyone suspected on Friday (4 September): that the refugee crisis overwhelming the EU will last a long time, and that “every single European” will feel its consequences."

Expats in Switzerland mobilize for refugees (The Local, ch, link)

Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece (The Local.se, link) :" Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have told The Local that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists....Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have so far taken advantage of the offer. "

Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake (The Local.se, link): "Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister, has warned that the EU's global credibility is at stake if it does not act now to tackle the refugee crisis."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (4.9.13)

Health Commissioner accused of snubbing invitation to Greek islands (euractiv, link): "Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in Alexis Tsipras' government, has accused EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of damaging the bloc’s image by ignoring his invitation to visit Greek islands."

New EU proposal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers (euobserver, link)

GREECE: Police clash with migrants seeking to board Piraeus-bound ferry (.ekathimerini.com, link)

Visegrad states meet on refusal of refugee quotas (euobserver, link)

Migrant crisis: Hungary train stand-off enters second day (BBC News, link)

Migration crisis: Hungary PM says Europe in grip of madness - Viktor Orbán attacks EU policy, saying the influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europe’s Christian identity (Guardian, link)

EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Migrants refuse to leave train near Hungary camp (BBC News, link) Migrants thinking they were going to Germany refuse to get off train and go to a "camp" to be "registered"- recalling historical parallels

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS the "military" operation enters 2 phase: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, following the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf):

"Now the operation has fulfilled all the military objectives of Phase one, that were related to the collection of information and intelligence. That is why I have proposed to EU Defence ministers today to discuss the transition to Phase two of the operation - that would mean going to the capture and disposal of vessels, including those escorting the migrants and refugees." [emphasis added]

Comment: The operations described would appear to relate to those traveling from north Africa to Italy, especially Libya. The small motorised-rubber dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are destroyed after the journey and all the occupants are migrants/refugees.

Special: EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:Joint Letter from Germany, France and Italy to High Representative (pdf) and Non-Paper: Common external migration policy (pdf)

The suggestions regarding Africa mainly focus on immigration control, and offer little concrete as regards Eritreans in particular. The ministers ought to examine whether EU trade and fisheries meaures have exacerbated the problems of the countries concerned. As regards the Western Balkans, the numbers of Albanians and Kosovars who obtain refugee status is not negligible, and so the decision to apply 'safe country of origin' status is questionable.

As for those reaching or heading for the EU, the non-paper offers little concrete, failing to mention relocation, resettlement, search and rescue, or human rights breaches by Member States as regards the reception and transit of migrants.

There is no mention of the plans to destroy smugglers boats, but it is clear that this will still be discussed. This seems like an ever-more pointless diversion at a time of great humanitarian tragedy.

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS::EU goes to "war": to authorise stage 2 in the planned military operation: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Defence Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf): "I will put forward a proposal to Defence Ministers to pass from phase 1 of the operation, which was information gathering and sharing, to phase 2, which is the fight against smugglers and traffickers in the high seas."

See: See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf): "INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

Statewatch launches Observatory on EU MED crisis - a humanitarian emergency: The Observatory covers the arrival of migrants and the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities)

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees - Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece (Guardian, link): "Warning: this article contains images that readers may find distressing."

and see: Drowned Kurdish boy on beach: the hypocrisy and the truth of what happened (undercoverifo, link): "First, that child… He had a name – Aylan Kurdi. He had a home: it was in Kobani. He had a brother: he was 5 years old and his name was Galip – he too drowned. They died with their mother, Rehan, and eight other refugees when their boat overturned not long after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. The father, Abdullah, survived heartbroken."

Lonndon refugee rally: Tens of thousands plan to join demonstration and call for action to tackle crisis (Evening Standard, link) and Solidarity with Refugees (Facebok)

UK: Petition Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK (Uk.gov, link): There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help. Sign Up; 411,363 signatures so far Already over the 100,000 threshold.

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (3.9.15)

France and Germany call for permanent EU response to migrant crisis (France 24, link)

"The (migrant) problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." (BBC News, link): "Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go". PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering." and "European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU countries should accept at least 100,000 asylum seekers between them, a sharp increase on a previous European Commission target of 40,000. EU states instead so far committed to sharing some 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece."

Member states want to be less attractive to migrants (euractiv, link): "A flurry of ideas about how countries could reduce their attractiveness to asylum seekers have been voiced in various European countries, providing a preview of the discussion at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg tomorrow (4 September)."

Lest we forget, this humanitarian crisis was wating to happen: EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)

Hungary: Stranded in Budapest (UNHCR, link): Video: "Outside the Keleti train station in Budapest, over 3,000 refugees wait to continue their journey.
For two days now, they have been stuck here after Hungarian authorities closed off the station, preventing all refugees from taking trains bound for Austria and Germany"

European Parliament Question: Commission response: FINGERPRINTING: COERCIVE MEASURES MUST BE "PROPORTIONATE": Question to the European Commission: Subject: Unlawful use of force at Pozzallo and Lampedusa reception centres, Italy, to collect migrants' fingerprints — including those of minors — for identification purposes from MEPs:Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Laura Ferrara (EFDD) , Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) and Answer from Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission (links) "Any coercive measures used by Member States must be proportionate, justified and respect the dignity and physical integrity of the individual concerned. Moreover, children under the age of 14 should not be fingerprinted." and see: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

LESVOS-GREECE: Unnberable conditions in Refugee Camp around the Detention Center of Moria (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "Yesterday, 09/01/15, one somalien refugee died because of insuficient medical care in the madeshift refugee Camp outside the Detention Cemtet of Moria. Another one was bitten by snake." and Action on arrivals pledged as Lesvos claims emergency (ekathimerini.com, link): "The caretaker government pledged on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the refugee crisis as the mayor of Lesvos called for the island to be declared in a state of emergency due to the high number of people arriving from Turkish shores.... The caretaker administration is also considering simplifying the registration process for the next few weeks. This would allow refugees to be fast-tracked so they immediately receive their laissez-passer document allowing them to travel on from Greece."

DENMARK: 'Significantly harder to get Danish citizenship' (The Local.dk, link): "The government will attempt to make obtaining Danish citizenship more difficult with four specific changes to current policy, the integration minister has announced."

AUSTRIA: Ski star joins campaign in support of refugees (The Local.au, link) "Austrian alpine skiing champion Marcel Hirscher has joined a new social media campaign using the hashtag #showyourfacechallenge - speaking out in support of refugees and against xenophobia."

France joins call for reform of asylum rules (The Local.fr, link) and Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly (The Local.fr, link) also Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum (The Local.it, link)

Sweden sees summer rise in asylum seekers (The LOcal.se, link): "More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August – the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as the scope of the crisis grows."

German media: Covering the refugee crisis from all sides (DW, link): "TV magazines, websites and newspapers are filled with all sorts of stories about refugees making their way to Germany. The media outlets, including tabloids, have found sensible ways to cover the touchy subject." and Map of arson attacks on refugee centres (link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister signals possibility of allowing refugees to cross Czech territory to Germany (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Speaking in Belgrade, the Czech interior minister also said he was considering a plan under which asylum seekers would be allowed to travel through Czech territory to Germany rather than being returned to Hungary."

Czech Railways ‘obliged’ to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The national rail operator Czech Railways (CD) will be ready to dispatch a special train for migrants from South Moravia"

Germany gets more Italian border controls at Brenner (ANSA, link)

ITALY: Report by ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione): The readmission of foreign citizens in Ventimigla (June 2015): UNLAWFUL ASPECTS (pdf):

Since 11 June 2015, the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia has been the scene of a considerable number of readmissions of migrants, citizens of states which do not belong to the EU, who were first blocked in French territory or upon entry into French territory and then readmitted into Italian territory, presumably on the basis of the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the French Republic on cross-border police and customs cooperation signed in Chambery on 3.10.1997. On 24/25 June, our organisation carried out a fact-finding visit.

EU Ministers to Discuss Naval Mission Against Migrant-Trafficking (Prensa Latina, link):

"Brussels, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) will discuss this weekend in Luxembourg the expansion of a naval mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean, EU sources confirmed today. During preliminary meetings scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, representatives of the 28 member states will discuss the possibility of starting the second phase of the military operation, strongly criticized by humanitarian organizations. According to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the analysis will begin because mission commander, Enrico Credendino, pointed out the need to advance in the mission's implementation."

See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks

Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):

"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

EU: MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (2.9.15)

Czech police arrests 200 refugees and marks them with numbers on their forearms (http://blisty.cz, link):" Czech police continues, nonsensically, arresting refugees which are trying to reach Germany across the territory of the Czech Republic. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in southern Moravia, the Czech police removed some 200 refugees from trains arriving from Austria and Hungary which continued their journey to Germany. The Czech police wrote registration numbers on the refugees' forearms with felt tips (a practice reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps). The refugees are now in detention on police premises in several Moravian towns. The police said it will interrogate them and "then they will decide what to do with them". The refugees were travelling from Budapest and said that they had purchased valid train tickets and that Hungary had allowed them to board the trains." and Just awful: Czech police take 200 #refugees off trains & mark them with numbers on their forearms (link)

EU Commission aims to ease asylum rules for frontier, report says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Commission is drafting a proposal to change the so-called Dublin rule that obliges migrants to request asylum in the country they first arrive in, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Tuesday."

Italy ready to impose Austria border controls (The Local.it, link): "Italy is ready to impose identification checks at Brennero on the border with Austria after receiving a request from Germany for help in easing the flow of migrants into Bavaria, the northern province of Bolzano said on Wednesday. Rome was ready to "reactivate" controls just as it did for the G7 in June, as "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency", a statement from the province said."

Hungary ‘to return economic migrants where they came from’ (France 24, link) and Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens - Emergency meeting, action plan set (Budapest Times, link): "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has convened a session of the national security cabinet by next Tuesday evening to address the challenges of illegal migration. Meanwhile the situation is becoming direr in the capital as designated transit zones are filling up quicker than expected." and Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest (euobserver, link)

BBC Trending - Demand to open doors to Syrians spreading online (BBC, link): "From the UK to Saudi Arabia, the demand that Syrians and other refugees be accepted is being spread by vocal online campaigns. The public reaction to Europe's migrant crisis has been deeply polarised. Many in Europe are dismayed by the news of migrant deaths, and there have been several mass protests demanding stricter controls on the influx. But over recent days there's been a pattern of internet activism with a different set of demands: that it's now time to relax the rules and let refugees in, particularly Syrians fleeing the war there."

Amidst the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War 2, one German couple founds a 'Airbnb-style' non profit to provide affordable housing to refugees (.neurope, link)

Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands - Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other (Guardian, link): "Europe’s fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response."

MOLYVOS- LESVOS: Car park closed to migrants - video (link). The car park is used to bring people from the beaches and from where buses can be called to take them ti the recption centre in Moria - 40 kilometres away

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals, Deaths at Sea Soar (IOM, link)

Europe’s migrant acceptance rates (The Economist, link)

Opinion: Europe can't be a fortress - Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. To keep them out, Hungary has built a fence along the border with Serbia. That's the wrong move, says DW's Zoran Arbutina. (DW, link)

Inability to unite on major challenges may pull the EU apart, say politicians (euractiv, link): "French Socialist Party leaders have warned that the multitude of crises currently buffeting the European Union could deal a death blow to the European project."

Human rights court slows rushed migrant repatriation (euractiv, link): "Fast-tracking the repatriation of migrants who did not qualify as asylum seekers is likely to contravene EU rules, according to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights." See: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger's name exposed (The Local.se, link)

GERMANY: Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees (THe Local.de, link)

AUSTRIA: Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants (The Local.at, link)

DENMARK: Another Muslim cemetery vandalized in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Migration wave is yet to culminate, interior minister says (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Poll: Most Czechs angry at government over its handling immigrants (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

GREECE: Refugee arrivals in Athens prompt new discussions (.ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 4,200 refugees were due to arrive in Piraeus on two ships from Lesvos Tuesday, only temporarily easing the pressure on scant resources on the island but at the same time increasing concern in Athens about the fate of those who would disembark. Authorities on Lesvos have registered some 17,500 refugees and migrants over the past week but the transfer to Athens of many of those people would only provide brief respite as hundreds more are arriving each day." and Caretaker gov't to introduce measures for refugees on islands (link)

GREECE: LESVOS: Kara Tepe! Well Done International Rescue! (Youtube, link) and see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf) also: Greek island of Lesbos overwhelmed by 13,000 refugees says the IRC (IRC, link)

Legal case demands details about how CIA used windowless warehouse in Lithuania as secret prison (BIJ, link): "Now, lawyers for Mustafa al-Hawsawi – one of five men facing a military trial in Guantánamo Bay for allegedly planning the 9/11 attacks – have filed a case with Lithuanian prosecutors to demand more clarity about what went on in the site." See Statewatch Observatory on Rendition

News Digest (2.9.15)

Trumped up lobby group tries to get EU data protection watered down - Don't make us choose between EU and US, beg Swedish companies (The Register, link)

Schengen recoil could turn EU travel back 20 years (euronews, link)

EU: he EU has just become a member of three private-sector anti-terrorism bodies: Joint Decision of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the participation of the European Union in various organisations for cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism (pdf)

"The European Union will participate in the following organisations aimed at preventing and countering terrorism:

– The Hedayah Centre for Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates;
– The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, Valletta, Republic of Malta;
– The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, Geneva, Swiss Confederation."

EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment

Finnish Government and the Desire to Constitutionalize Mass Surveillance: Toward Permanent State of Emergency? (verfassungsblog.de, link):

The Finnish Government, however, wants to swim upstream. In order to satisfy the intelligence wish lists of both the Ministry of Defence and the The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO), the Government decided in August 20 to start preparing a legislation that would authorize both the military and the SUPO to use electronic mass surveillance for intelligence purposes. Although this work has just started, one may already presume that the prepared legislation will be based on Ministry of Defence Working Group Report on the Guidelines for Developing Finnish Intelligence Legislation, which was published in January, and which is available also in English. (pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: (1.9.15)

Agence Europe reports that: "the State of the Union speech to be given at the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on 9 September by Jean-Claude Juncker. The president of the European Commission is expected to announce in his speech a number of proposals for dealing with the migration crisis. On Monday 31 August, Margaritis Schinas, a Commission spokesperson, said that Juncker would bring forward the timing of some measures announced in the European Migration Agenda, including returns policy, the role of the Frontex agency and the common list of safe countries of origin for Western Balkans states that have applied to join the EU. The Commission has announced plans to unveil a permanent European mechanism for relocating asylum-seekers in the member states in the event of an immigration crisis." and:

"In Calais on Monday 31 August, on the fringes of a visit by European Commissioners Timmermans and Avramopoulos, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.. called for the setting up of 'hotspot' sorting centres in Greece and Italy to be speeded up in order to allow economic migrants to be returned to their country of origin. French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 60% of the migrants in Calais were economic migrants and the other people would be able to obtain protection. These figures are challenged by NGOs on the ground."

More than 1,000 refugees rescued in a single day, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link)

HUNGARY: Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis (INYT, link) and Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees - Move follows chaotic scenes when thousands of people were allowed on to trains bound for Austria and Germany without visa checks (Guardian, link)

Berlin Couple Launches Website Matching Refugees With Roommates in Germany, Austria (.haaretz.com, link): "More than 400 refugees currently based in Germany have applied to 'Refugees Welcome' website, which aims to combat housing refugees en masse in makeshift locations."

V4 government heads to discuss migration crisis (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet on Friday or Sunday to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, Slovak PM Robert Fico announced yesterday.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said later yesterday that the V4 meeting will be held in Prague on Friday afternoon."

Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal (BBC News, link): "Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU."

Europe’s response to migrant crisis is not working, warns UN rights expert (UN News Centre, link): " The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said. "

LESVOS: GREECE: Authorities on Lesvos stretched to the limit as refugee number climbs to about 12,000 (ANA-MPA, link)

Merkel urges migrant help for Italy (ANSA, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged the European Union to help Italy on its migrant crisis just as the EU called for common rules rather than walls to address the emergency that has come into sharp focus with a string of deadly incidents. The UN said the vast majority of people trying to cross the Mediterranean were refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."

NORWAY: Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum (The Local.no, link): "Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe."

       UNHCR: Crossings of Mediterranean Sea exceed 300,000, including 200,000 to Greece (link)

GREECE: Constant flow of refugees proves overwhelming for Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ferry carrying some 2,500 refugees at a time to Piraeus almost around the clock, thousands of people remain stuck on the Greek islands, often in squalid or dangerous conditions. Authorities on Lesvos estimate that there are 12,000 refugees on the island, which has a total population of around 85,000."

Solidarity not one way street says Faymann (The Local.at, link): "Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday."

Trainloads of migrants reach Austria, Germany, as EU asylum system collapses (euractiv, link): "Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary yesterday (31 August) as European Union asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU."

Our treatment of today's refugees harks back to Europe's darkest hour (New Statesman, link): "We mustn't forget the lessons of the Second World War in the face of today's refugee crisis... n the 1930s, thousands of persecuted people fled Europe. Our own press ignominiously reported these as "Stateless Jews pouring into this country" and various records exist from that time of public officials reassuring readers that no such thing would be allowed under their watch."

EU struggles to reconcile values with barbed wire fences (euractiv, link): "European politicians gathered in Calais on Monday (31 August) to make assurances that the EU will not abandon those who need protection. But they also reaffirmed the need to protect the bloc's external borders."

Trains packed with migrants arrive in Vienna (euobserver, link): "Hundreds of people seeking refuge arrived at Vienna’s Westbahnhof station from the Hungarian capital Budapest on Monday (31 August), with most seeking to head on to Germany."

Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave - Posthumous publication of Nobel prize-winning writer’s last book attacks rising vitriol towards refugees in Germany (Guardian, link) and Germany urges other EU countries to take in more refugees - Angela Merkel says it isn’t right that some nations are refusing to accept more refugees as France announces new Calais camp (Guardian, link)

GERMANY-EU: Opinion: Merkel steps up: Germany's position on the refugee crisis facing Europe is clear and without "ifs" and "maybes," writes DW's Dagmar Engel.(DW, link)

August 2015

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September 2015 (pdf): There is no mention of the need to provide humanitarian aid and civil protection:

"After a presentation of migration flows by the European agencies Frontex and EASO (European Asylum Support Office), the meeting should discuss the programming of future work, in particular the return policy, international cooperation, and investigation and measures to prevent trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]

Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall:

A compilation of key articles and documents setting out the history of the migrant crisis in Lesvos, Greece which is not new - it dates from at least 2002. They show the development of reception centres, detention centres and "open camps" and the deadly role of the Greek Coastguards (which continues this summer). and include:

- Migration and state crimes: A critical criminological approach and case study of Greece (pdf) by Stratos Georgoulas (University of the Aegean). Examines the history of the Pagani detention centre and see p101 on the activities of the Coast Guard. - Map "Pagani" in the middle of nowhere (link) and "Images" (link)

Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link)

- Pro Asyl and Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants: »The truth may be bitter, but it must be told«: The practices of the Greek coast guard (2007, pdf): "We were able to glean the following patterns of serious human rights violations committed by the Greek coast guard from our interviews with refugees from a wide variety of countries of origin in and outside the detention centres in Chios, Samos and Lesbos."

- Statewatch coverage: Statewatch visit to the Pikpa Centre for asylum-seekers in Mytilene (April 2013) and GREECE: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up - FRONTEX claim that families were not expelled from their rooms refuted (September 2013) and Welcome to the European Union Visit to Moria First Reception Centre , Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf). Also Search for "Lesvos" in the Statewatch database.

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation and Directive on LEAs personal data exchange:

- New DP Regulation: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 11802-15, 102 pages, pdf): Council's negotiating position. Multicolumn document giving the Commission proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council plus "Compromise" position.

- New DP Regulation: Comments from the UK delegation on Chapters II, III and IV (LIMITE doc no: 11428-15, pdf) including: "It is essential that the processing of sensitive data can take place where strictly necessary for the purposes outlined in Article 1(1) of the Directive" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded."

- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters V, VI and VII (LIMITE doc no; 11251-15, pdf) Chapter V covers the : TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA TO THIRD COUNTRIES OR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. Includes 40 Member State positions.

- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11252-15, pdf): With 16 Member State positions. "In view of the Friends of Presidency meeting on 9 September 2015 delegations will find attached Chapters IX and X of the above Directive, as aligned to the text of the General Data Protection Regulation as agreed in the General Approach reached on 15 June 2015." and "DE, ES, HU, IT, NL, LV, PT, SI, UK scrutiny reservation on the whole text."

- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters II, III and IV: On page 6 of document ST 10964/15 INIT recital 13 should read as follows (LIMITE doc no: 10964-COR-1-15, pdf): "Under the Regulation XXX personal data in official documents held by a public authority or a public body or a private body for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest may be disclosed by the authority or body in accordance with Union law or Member State law to which the public authority or body is subject in order to reconcile public access to official documents with the right to the protection of personal data."

EU: MED-CRISIS (31.8.15)

Dutch plan tougher asylum policy as migrants flock to Europe (Reuters, link): "Failed asylum seekers would be limited to "a few weeks'" shelter after being turned down, if they do not agree to return home. They would then either be deported or sent away to fend for themselves. From November, the centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which competes for votes with the popular, anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders, wants to close 30 regional "bed, bath and bread" shelters where asylum seekers have been able till now to get help on the basis of need. Under the plan, six national centres applying the stricter guidelines would provide only to people who agree to leave."

Train with migrants allowed into Austria after lengthy border checks (Rueters, link) with video

HUNGARY: Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens (Budapoest Times, link)

'Why did you annoy them?' Coastguard officials acquitted of torture convictions - Moroccan says he was subjected to waterboarding in 2007 (enetenglish.gr, link)

Germans unite against xenophobia (euractiv, link): "After the recent spate of violence against asylum seekers, a wave of solidarity with refugees has swept through Germany. In many cities around the country, people have taken part in demonstrations and protests against hate speech."

The Migrants Files (link): including "Counting the Dead": "Over 30,000 refugees and migrants have died attempting to reach /stay in Europe since 2000 - and that was 18 mths ago" and "The Migrants’ Files is a project by data journalism agencies Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm and Dataninja; media outlets Neue Zürcher Zeitung, El Confidencial, Sydsvenskan and Radiobubble as well as freelance journalists Alice Kohli, Jean-Marc Manach and Jacopo Ottaviani. The project is partially financed by Journalismfund.eu."

France: Hungary refugee fence not even fit for animals (aljazeera.com, link):"Paris slams Hungary, gateway to EU from Eastern Europe, for erecting 175km fence to stop refugees as new talks called."

GREECE: Frontex requests more information on Symi incident (Frontex, link): "On early Saturday afternoon, a Latvian patrol vessel deployed in operation Poseidon Sea detected a yacht with more than 90 migrants aboard in Symi Island’s Marathounta Bay. None of the officers from the Latvian vessel involved in the incident used any weapons."

Greek coast guard picks up nearly 2,500 migrants in 3 days (ekathimerini.com, link): "The coast guard said Monday it had rescued 2,492 people in 70 operations off the eastern islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Farmakonissi, Kos and Symi from Friday morning until Monday morning." and Ferry carrying 2,500 refugees and migrants docks at Piraeus (link): "A ferry carrying about 2,500 migrants and refugees who had arrived on Samos and Lesvos from the nearby Turkish coast docked early Monday in Greece's main port of Piraeus near Athens.The Eleftherios Venizelos left Samos Sunday with 988 migrants and picked up 1,512 from Lesvos. On Sunday the Cypriot-flagged Tera Jet catamaran arrived in Piraeus carrying 1,745 migrants from Lesvos. Authorities said about 11,000 migrants and refugees are currently on the island."

AUSTRIA: Dubious headlline: Migrant roundup intercepts 200 suspected refugees (The Local.at, link): " Huge traffic jams stretching back 50 kilometres (30 miles) built up along the Austro-Hungarian border on Monday as Austrian police stepped up security checks in the hunt for people smugglers. The measure was put in place on Sunday, three days after an abandoned lorry containing 71 dead migrants, four of them children, was discovered on a motorway near the Hungarian border. Since the operation began at 1830 GMT, more than 200 migrants have been picked up, and another five people have detained on suspicion of smuggling, officials said." and Austria steps up police checks for refugees (link)

DENMARK: Hundreds support vandalized asylum centre (The Local.dk, link): "As many as 2,000 people turned out on Sunday to create a human 'joy ring' around an eastern Jutland asylum centre that was vandalized earlier in the week." and Man jailed for Danish asylum centre arson (link): East Jutland Police said on Friday that a 26-year-old local man has been arrested and will be held on remand for allegedly setting fire to an asylum centre minibus and vandalizing its garage with a swastika and a message telling the centre that this was its “first warning”."

France to build new camp for 1,500 migrants (The Local.fr,link): "France is to build a new humanitarian camp in Calais for 1,500 migrants with construction to begin in 2016, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on Monday. The EU will stump up the money for the new camp."

GERMANY: 'No limit to refugees Germany can take in' (The Local.de, link)

Zeman: Refugees should be promptly returned, not accommodated (Prague Daily Monitor, link). Most immigrants are in Czech Republic illegally, and as they violated law, they should be promptly returned, not placed into various accommodation facilities, President Milos Zeman said in an interview for Radio Frekvence 1 yesterday. Zeman said there were three risks concerning Muslim immigrants. First, it is the creation of socially excluded zones, ghettos, as these people would not be able to assimilate due to their cultural differences, he said. He said there is the risk of spreading infectious diseases, though he would not overestimate it. The third risk are sleeper cells sent by Islamic State that would develop into terrorist organisations, Zeman said."

Eastern Germany 'more susceptible' to 'xenophobic radicalization' (DW, link): "Recent violent protests against a refugees' shelter have sparked a debate about right-wing extremism in Germany. A prominent politician from the west of the country has said the problem is worse in the east." and "We are all Germany" - celebrities support refugees How can you promote tolerance and diversity in Germany? DW talked to celebrities at the German government's annual open house weekend. (link)

Eritrean translators 'intimidating refugees' in Germany (DW, link): "Eritrean translators are deliberately mistranslating the testimonies of refugees during their hearings, according to dissidents' groups in Germany. Some are even intimidating them into hiding human rights abuses."

Refugees are human. This simple fact seems to have been forgotten (Guardian, link): "It is horrific that people are drowning and suffocating to reach safety. These stories should be a reminder that migrants are not just statistics"

Fabius calls Eastern Europe's reluctance to receive migrants ‘scandalous’ (euractiv, link):"French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said it was "scandalous" some Eastern European countries were refusing to accept more migrants and said Hungary's construction of a barrier to stop new arrivals "did not respect Europe's common values" -- drawing an angry response from Budapest."

The missing women of the Mediterranean refugee crisis (Women Under Siege, link): Dirty white gates fronted the detention center on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a tiny speck between Sicily and Tunisia, where 71 women were being held. Beyond the bars, I could just make out laundry hanging from the building in which they were housed—maybe 100 yards away—a yellow scarf, a hot-pink piece of cloth. Sometimes I could even see the women walking in or out of the house, some with hijabs, others with brightly patterned African skirts. But beyond that, the women were invisible, locked illegally for weeks inside a “first reception” center meant for 300 but now housing 771 refugees and migrants from all over sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East."

The battle over the words used to describe migrants (BBC News, link)

Storming the castle: Calais, or the failure of the EU’s migration policies (CER, link)

European Commission looks at possible reforms and future of the Dublin rules. (New Europe, link)

EU:Med-CRISIS: (Sunday) Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting - Call for action comes as UK home secretary Theresa May says only Europeans with a job lined up should be allowed to come to Britain (Guardian, link)

"Germany, France and Britain have issued a joint call for an urgent meeting of EU ministers to find concrete measures to cope with the escalating migration crisis. A statement from the home affairs ministers of the three countries said they had “asked the Luxembourg presidency to organise a special meeting of justice and interior ministers within the next two weeks, so as to find concrete steps” to deal with the situation. The three “underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx”.

The French, British and German statement specifically called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of “safe countries of origin” to be established." [emphasis added] and

Paris, Berlin, London call for urgent meeting on EU refugee policy (DW, link) "The EU needs immediate action to deal with the influx of immigrants, the interior ministers of Germany, France and Britain have said in a statement. The three countries urged new "hot spots" for registration of refugees." [emphasis added]

EU: UK House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper: Migration pressures in Europe: (22 pages, pdf): Good summary:

"While there are some involuntary migrants, subject to people trafficking rather than smuggling, this is the exception...."

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is warning that the world is in the midst of a forced migration crisis, and it expects the situation to get worse still. European leaders are struggling to agree on how to respond to the challenges posed by large movements of irregular migrants across their borders.

Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The recipient countries in the EU are struggling to deal with the large numbers reaching their destination, and securing agreement within the EU on a coordinated response to the challenges posed by the migration flows is proving difficult."
[emphasis added]

EU: West Balkans Summit in Vienna: Final Declaration by the Chair of the Vienna Western Balkans Summit 27 August 2015 (pdf): "the participating States take note with appreciation of the various ongoing efforts undertaken by European Union institutions and agencies as well as individual EU Member States and regional fora such as the Forum Salzburg, which aim at stepping up the Western Balkan countries’ capacities in the areas of border management, in particular the fight against trafficking in human beings, and asylum through strengthened cooperation and additional support."

RAIL SECURITY: Commissioners Avramopoulos and Bulc at the Paris meeting on cross-border cooperation against terrorism and for rail security (pdf) Contains little detail of the measures to be taken and a lot reasserting previous initiatives.

New Zealand: Submission of the Anti-Bases Campaign to the Intelligence and Security Review 12 August 2015 (pdf):

"Oversight has failed and is ineffectual at best and a useful cover-up at worst. Official secrecy means the failures and the mistakes of the agencies are buried in secret archives. The present review must incorporate David Lange’s comments of 1996, that “… it is an outrage that I and other Ministers were told so little, and this raises the question of to whom those concerned (in the agencies) saw themselves ultimately responsible.” There is no evidence that anything has changed in the last twenty years, and considerable evidence that democratic control has actually weakened."

EU: MED-CRISIS: La photo poignante qui symbolise la tragédie des migrants (mais qui n'est pas de Banksy) (SLATE, link) [Photo poignantly symbolizes the tragedy of migrants (but not Banksy)]

EU: MED-CRISIS: (28-30-8-15)

GREECE: EU to help gov’t register and relocate refugees (ekathimerini.com): Comment from "European Asykum Support Office": "EASO Executive Director Robert Visser stressed that Greece also had to do more to ensure that the refugees are properly registered. “Member states are required to know the identity of everyone who enters their territory,” he said. “Greece is no exception.

ShelterBox Helps In Greek Crisis (piratefm.co.uk, link): "A Cornish charity is warning that the crisis is worsening on a Greek island. A second team from UK charity ShelterBox has arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos... Disaster relief charity ShelterBox is providing 100 large UN-style tents to ease the pressure, with 40 planned for construction at Kara Tepe camp in the coming days. But more assistance is needed, on Lesbos and elsewhere."

Nato ready to help EU navies on sea migrants, if asked (euobserver, link)

Solidarity in German stadiums (link)

Hungary completes anti-refugee fence on Serbian border (DW, link): "Hungary has erected a razor-wire barrier along its border to Serbia that is designed to keep out refugees and migrants, the defense ministry says. The move has drawn international criticism."

Let them board the trains! (MIGZOL Hungary, link): "Thursday, 27th August, 20-50 people were found dead in a lorry that was parked in Austria, near the Hungarian border. It is highly likely that these people were not allowed to board the trains to Austria after diligent ethnic profiling by the Hungarian police. The profiling, of course, focuses on who looks like a “migrant”, or a “refugee”."

GREECE: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (link) "I’m Natasha. I’ve worked for refugee organisations in the UK and overseas for the past 9 years. I’m now living in Greece and am heartbroken to see that refugees who have escaped war arrive in Europe and do not even have their basic human rights met."

Europe's migration paralysis (New Europe, link): "As European populations age and shrink, the continent urgently needs immigration. Yet many in Europe strongly oppose immigration, because it also means social change... For many centuries, Europe was a continent plagued by wars, famines, and poverty. Millions of Europeans were driven to emigrate by economic and social deprivation. They sailed across the Atlantic to North and South America, and to places as far away as Australia, to escape misery and seek a better life for themselves and their children. All of them were, in the parlance of the current immigration and refugee debate, “economic migrants.” During the twentieth century, racial persecution, political oppression, and the ravages of two world wars became the predominant causes of flight.""

Islamic State smuggling terrorists among the migrants? Unlikely, say experts (euractive, link): "The risk that groups like Islamic State could smuggle militants into Europe under cover of a huge wave of migrants is much smaller than some politicians suggest, according to security specialists with close ties to governments and intelligence agencies."

Shame on Europe (Save the Children, link): "Children are dying on our doorstep. It’s sickening to see the deaths of so many refugees trying to find safety in Europe. Enough is enough. Pledge your support for those fleeing war and persecution now."

Pope Francis 'deeply concerned for migrant plight' - 'Open your hearts to poor families' pontiff tweets (ANSA, link)

Czech NGO sends aid to refugees in Serbia, Macedonia (Prague Post, link): "People in Need, a Czech humanitarian organization, will send 1.7 million Kc for immediate aid to refugees in Macedonia and Serbia, the organization’s spokesman Petr Stefan told CTK today."

AUSTRIA: Truck death toll 71 including 4 children (The Local.at, link): "The death toll in Thursday's horrific migrant tragedy in Austria is now understood to be 71 people, including eight women and four children."

Migrant children rescued from Austria minivan 'recovering' (BBC News, link): "Three children are recovering in hospital in Austria after being rescued from a minivan containing 26 migrants. Police said the severely dehydrated children would not have lasted much longer in the cramped vehicle. The minivan was stopped in Braunau district on Friday and the Romanian driver was arrested after a chase."

Greece edges closer to EU migration funds (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Government Gazette on Friday published a decision – signed by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and alternate minister for immigration policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou – establishing an agency to manage EU asylum, reception and integration programs.Launching the agency has been a condition for the release of 470 million euros over a five-year period until 2020. The bureau, which will be headquartered on Vouliagmenis Avenue, south of central Athens, is expected to be fully operational by September 15."

GERMANY: Three arrested in Germany over arson attack on refugee home (DW, link): "Three people have been arrested after an arson attack on a refugee shelter in the German state of Lower Saxony. A woman and her three children were lucky to escape with their lives." and Cake and politicians at 'Refugees Welcome' party in Heidenau. The party took place in Heidenau after all, despite a police ban that was lifted following a political outcry"

GERMANY: Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden (The Local.de, link): "Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region."

EU free movement put into question at Vienna summit (euobserver, link): "EU politicians are threatening to dismantle the bloc’s free-movement rights amid calls to revamp asylum rules, due to the surge in the number of people seeking refuge in Europe. On Thursday (27 August), the bodies of up to 50 people, who had suffocated, were found in the back of a refrigerated food truck on the outskirts of Vienna. News of the tragedy came the same day EU and Western Balkan leaders and ministers met in the Austrian capital for a summit on migration issues."

Libyans protest against smugglers after up to 200 drown off coast - Residents of one of Libya’s most notorious people-smuggling hubs take to the streets after bodies found by Libyan coastguard (Guardian, link)

UK deports 52 Syrian refugees (Sunday Times, link): "The Home Office said 52 Syrian nationals were forcibly removed in the year ending in June, but claimed none was sent back to Syria. They were returned instead to other “safe” countries through which they had travelled before arriving in the UK."

Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall: Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link) and Greece's infrastructure struggles to cope with mixed migration flow (UNHCR, 2009, link) and UNHCR alarmed by detention of unaccompanied children in Lesvos, Greece (2009, link) and UNHCR delegation visits detention centre on Greek island, urges closure (2009, link): "PAGANI DETENTION CENTRE, Greece, October 23 (UNHCR) – A UNHCR delegation has called for a crowded migrant detention centre on the Greek island of Lesvos to be closed after visiting the facility with a senior government officia." See: Map "Pagani" (link) and "Images" (link)

News Digest (28-31-8-15)

UK: Clinton secrets hacked by spy in bag EXCLUSIVE: Shocking new twist to the mystery five years on (SUN, link): "THE MI6 spy found dead in a holdall had illegally hacked into secret data on Bill Clinton, The Sun on Sunday can reveal"

USA: FISC BR 15-99 NSA Metadata Collection Extended (pdf)

NGO: German firms mired in worst Greek corruption scandals since WWII (euractiv, link): "Siemens, Daimler, and Rheinmetall have been mired in cases of alleged corruption in Greece, the country that Berlin has repeatedly admonished for the parlous state of its economy. No date has been set yet for 19 former executives of German engineering group Siemens to appear in Greek court, but it is expected to be one of the biggest financial trials of the decade in Greece."

Portuguese Judges Blocks Bill That Allows Government Spying (hngn, link): "The Constitutional Court judges of Portugal have decided to block a legislation that would have allowed the government to access individuals' private data to fight against terrorism and organized crime"

EU's planned data protection legislation raises questions about the nature of privacy (Parliament magazine, link): "Colin Mackay asks whether the EU's new legislation on data privacy, the general data protection regulation, will still be relevant by the time of its introduction."

Editorial | Of militarisation and violence: borders and bordering (WRI, link): "Every day people try to cross into the minority world of the Global North. Wherever they are and attempt to cross, they are victims of surveillance, they are being analysed, digitised, and rendered “border offenders”.2 In the Arizona desert, the Mediterranean Sea, or the urban areas of Cape Town they become the “illegal immigrant” who has to be “resisted”, “deterred” and eventually troops will have to be deployed."

Justice in Europe (Fair Trials, link): "Across Europe, basic rights are being violated every day in police stations, court rooms and prisons. This is destroying the lives of innocent people, causing miscarriages of justice and undermining public faith in criminal justice systems."

France train attack: Europe 'to tighten rail security' (BBC News, link): "European ministers have agreed tighter controls at railway stations, the French interior minister has announced.Bernard Cazeneuve said there would be increased identity and baggage controls at stations and more police patrols on board international trains."

USA: Court: We Can’t Rule on NSA Bulk Data Collection Because We Don’t Know Whose Data Was Collected (The Intercept, link)

New Zealand: Former spy paid to infiltrate Greenpeace and unions *The National, link)

UK: Public Inquiry – Core Participant Status (COPS, link): "The public inquiry into undercover policing, chaired by Lord Pitchford, is being prepared. Some people who are particularly involved can be granted the status of ‘core participant’. This means that they are likely to have greater access to documents and that the costs of their legal representation may be covered."

West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror - US military academy official William Bradford argues that attacks on scholars’ home offices and media outlets – along with Islamic holy sites – are legitimate (Guardian, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: AFRICANS TO BE ON "SAFE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN" LIST?

The European Commissioner says list of "safe countries of origin" likely to include African countries, which means people cannot claim asylum and will be returned. This despite reports that migrants arriving in Greece have come from, for example, Eritrea and Somalia:

"On the idea of a safe list, Timmermans was confident of convincing Balkan countries to accept the return of their citizens, but said that it would be “much more difficult” with African countries." (politico, link) and as to putting countries on a "save country of origin" list

"A list of ‘safe countries’ to which their citizens can be fast-tracked home following rejected asylum applications is being drawn up by the European Commission. The step is being taken in order to deal with the migrant crisis currently threatening to overwhelm government authorities in several EU countries.

[First Vice-President] Timmermans explained that for countries to be added to the list the EU will “need agreement” from those countries, adding “with those in the Balkans it is not difficult, but with African countries it is.” (plus link to video interview: breitbart.com, link)

EU: When solidarity fails (IRR, link); In observations made at a side-meeting of the 87th session of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the IRR’s director warned that Europe’s mishandling of the refugee crisis is fuelling racism:

"hough there has been a huge drive by ordinary European citizens to welcome refugees, to take a stand for human dignity, another trend is undermining it. The truth is that we face the possibility of a perfect storm unless those in power take cognisance of their positive duty to combat racism, rather than fuel it."

EU: MED-CRISIS: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs call for more EU solidarity on visit to reception centres in Sicily (Press release, pdf):

"Countries such as Italy and Greece dealing with an influx of asylum seekers should receive more support from other member states, MEPs said on a delegation visit to the Italian island of Sicily from 22 to 24 July. “Italy spends over €1 billion every year just to take care of those who make it across the Mediterranean. Italy’s borders are the EU's borders and a better management of the migratory flows is our common responsibility,” said French ALDE member Jean Arthuis, co-chair of the delegation."

And see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)

EU: MED-CRISIS: (27.8.15)

Treat refugees humanely, work together, says UNHCR, as thousands continue heading into the Western Balkans from Greece (UNHCR, link)

Viewpoint: Treat refugees as a development issue (BBC News, link): "Europe is facing a mass influx of refugees from outside the region for the first time in its history, as people flee persecution and conflict in countries such as Syria and Iraq. And its politicians are struggling to find a coherent response.... Only a tiny proportion of the world's 20 million refugees come to Europe: 95% are in the countries that neighbour conflict and crisis, mainly in developing regions. About 3.5 million Syrians are in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. More than 500,000 Somalis are in Kenya. More than two million Afghans are in Pakistan and Iran."

Refugees face death threats at Italian hotel (The Local.it, link): "Italian police are investigating claims that dozens of immigrants have received death threats in a xenophobic letter sent to the hotel which is hosting them in Lombardy's Valtellina valley."

Migrant crisis: Grim find of bodies in Austria lorry (BBC News, link): "At least 20 migrants have been found dead in a lorry abandoned in a motorway lay-by near the eastern border with Hungary, the Austrian authorities say. The number of dead could be as high as 50, police say. Their bodies had started to decompose." and Migrant tragedy leaves dozens dead in Austria (The Local.at, link)

European Commission: Funding to main migration-related activities in the Western Balkans and Turkey (pdf):

Migrants crisis: Austria and Balkans call for EU answer (BBC News, link): "Serbia and Macedonia have told a summit in Vienna the EU must come up with an action plan to respond to the influx of migrants into Europe."

Hungary scrambles to confront migrant influx, Merkel heckled (Reuters, link): "The chief commissioner of Hungarian police, Karoly Papp, said police were readying six special border patrol units of an initial 2,106 officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs, to be sent in depending on the situation on the Serbian border. "

More than 50 migrants found dead on boats near Libya coast (euractiv, link): "Rescuers saved about 3,000 migrants, but found more than 50 dead on boats near the coast of Libya yesterday (26 August), the Italian coast guard said."

Migration hijacks EU-Balkan summit in Vienna (euobserver, link)

Desperate migrants find holes in Hungary's razor-wire fence strategy - Viktor Orbán’s populist government hoped to deter new arrivals, but instead, his country is the new focal point of Europe’s migration crisis (Guardian, link)

GREECE: Refugee life at makeshift detention centre in Lesbos - shadow economy has sprung up in a refugee detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos.(BBC News, link-video): There are thousands of people living in the facility, and now makeshift shops have opened up inside the camp. And see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)

GREECE: Minister chides mayors calling for migration action (ekathimerini.com)

German employers 'should hire more refugees' (DW, link): "The Federal Employment Agency has urged German businesses to hire more refugees and harness their potential. Their ability to speak several languages is among the qualities it says would be an asset to firms."

GERMANY: Rostock riots revealed 'the dark side of humanity' (DW, link): "Heidenau, Solingen, Rostock-Lichtenhagen: Germany has a long history of attacks on asylum seekers. One former Rostock city official has spent his career thinking of ways to combat xenophobia."

Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicyles (The Local.no,link) "More than 100 Syrian refugees have crossed the Arctic border from Norway to Russia on bicycles, exploiting a loophole in the country's border regulations."

Norway gives €5m to Greece for refugees (The Local.no, link): "Norway has given Greece €5m in emergency funding to help it provide for a sudden influx of refugees at a time when it is facing its own protracted economic crisis."

AUSTRIA: Kurz threatens tighter border controls (The Local.at, link): "Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has threatened to introduce stricter border controls in Austria if a European solution cannot be found for the asylum crisis."

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Chair of the Conference of the Data Protection Commissioners of the Federation and of the States [Lande]: The General Data Protection Regulation requires substantial improvement in crucial points! (pdf)

"it is of outmost importance that in comparison with the existing legal status, the General Data Protection Regulation guarantees an improved, at least, however, a standard of the protection of fundamental rights which is equivalent to the current one.....

Data transfers to authorities and courts in third countries require stronger control! In the wake of the recent data protection scandals, better protection of the European citizens’ personal data vis-à-vis third-country institutions is urgently required."

GERMANY-NSA: A Dubious Deal with the NSA (Zeit Online, link): "Internal documents show that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, received the coveted software program XKeyscore from the NSA – and promised data from Germany in return." and XKeyscore - the document: Document pertaining to the agreement between the NSA and Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV (link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: GREECE & ITALY: Commission close to disbursing 30 mln euros to Greece as refugee aid (Athens News Agency, link):

"The European Commission is very close to disbursing financial aid totaling 30 million euros to Greece to help the country deal with the refugee and migrant influx of recent months, Natasha Bertaud, spokesperson for the European Commission, said on Tuesday.... The spokeswoman also noted that the European Commission has identified two “hotspots” of migration one in Sicily and one in Piraeus. In the coming days, visiting staff from Europol, Frontex and the European Support Office (EASO) are expected to travel to these two towns to help authorities’ fast track actions which record, fingerprint and authenticate incoming migrants.

Asylum seekers will immediately go through an asylum procedure with support groups from EASO helping in the processing of asylum cases as fast as possible, she added. " [emphasis added]

Note: All the boats from the Greek islands bring migrants to Pireaus, the designated "hotspot".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "In Greece for at least six months this year what has been needed is humanitarian aid and the EU has been conspicuously absent and, until very recently, so to have been the international agencies. Help for those arriving has been dependent on NGOs, local and visiting volunteers. Now when 30 million euros of "aid" does arrive it is to be used for creating "hotspots", Europol and Frontex, fingerprinting and the "immediate processing of asylum cases as fast as possible."

Human rights groups face global crackdown 'not seen in a generation' - Laws affecting funding, requiring registration and prohibiting protest are among controls that are making it difficult for NGOs and other campaign groups (Guardian, link):

"Human rights organisations and campaign groups are facing their biggest crackdown in a generation as a wave of countries pass restrictive laws and curtail activity. Almost half the world’s states have implemented controls that affect tens of thousands of organisations across the globe.

Over the past three years, more than 60 countries have passed or drafted laws that curtail the activity of non-governmental and civil society organisations. Ninety-six countries have taken steps to inhibit NGOs from operating at full capacity, in what the Carnegie Endowment calls a “viral-like spread of new laws” under which international aid groups and their local partners are vilified, harassed, closed down and sometimes expelled....

James Savage, of Amnesty International, says: “This global wave of restrictions has a rapidity and breadth to its spread we’ve not seen before, that arguably represents a seismic shift and closing down of human rights space not seen in a generation. “There are new pieces of legislation almost every week – on foreign funding, restrictions in registration or association, anti-protest laws, gagging laws. And, unquestionably, this is going to intensify in the coming two to three years. You can visibly watch the space shrinking.”"

EU: MED-CRISIS: (26.8.15)

UNHCR: Greater support in countries of first asylum needed to stem refugee outflows (link): "According to recent figures, the 4,089,023 Syrian refugees in host countries neighbouring Syria includes 1,113,941 in Lebanon, 629,245 in Jordan, 250,408 in Iraq, 132,375 in Egypt, and 1,938,999 in Turkey where registration is carried out by Turkish authorities. In addition, some 24,000 Syrian refugees are registered in other countries in North Africa."

Italy hits back at Merkel in migrants row (The Local.it, link): "Italy's Foreign Minister has scathingly dismissed criticism from France and Germany over its handling of the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on its southern shores. "Italy is doing what it has to do ... and even much more by saving thousands of lives and by taking in refugees," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in an interview published in Wednesday's Corriere della Sera, describing his country as a "a positive model on the international stage." and see: Italy saves lives even if it costs votes says Renzi (ANSA, link): "Commenting on the migrant emergency in the Mediterranean, where Italy is in the front line along with Greece, the premier said: "First we'll save human lives even at the cost of losing votes. "It's a question of civilisation." "

Czech finance minister: NATO should be engaged in guarding EU against migrants (FOX News, link): "The Czech Republic's finance minister has called for NATO to get involved in helping protect the European Union's external border against the influx of migrants. Andrej Babis says "we have to defend the Schengen (borderless) zone. We have to engage NATO." Talking on Czech public television on Tuesday, Babis called the migrants, most of whom are fleeing bloody conflicts, "the biggest threat to Europe."" and Czech Republic advocates use of army to protect borders (euobserver, link): "The EU could better protect itself from migrants if it had a common army, Czech president Milos Zeman said Tuesday (25 August), while the Czech finance minister, Andrej Babis, called for the closure of the Schengen area's external borders and for Nato help."

Hours of Waiting in No Man's Land as Greek-Macedonian Borders Open (demotix.com, link): "As the Greek-Macedonian borders have re-opened, refugees are allowed in. Yet hundreds have to wait for hours in the Greek side till the moment they are allowed to cross. The Macedonian military and Greek organisations co-ordinate the flow."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Charles University opens doors to asylum seekers (Radio Praha, link): "“Charles University is aware of the humanitarian tragedy of immigrants seeking asylum in European countries. And in this situation, where a number of political forces are trying to misuse the situation, Charles University wants to show some positive action to help people in need. We are trying to help by what we are best in, which is education.” "

WATCH THE MED: Alarm Phone in contact with 6 vessels in distress in the Central Med, 4400 people rescued in total in one day (link)

Germany suspends Dublin agreement for Syrian refugees (euractiv, link): No returns to state of first entry to EU: "Germany has ceased applying the rules of the Dublin system to Syrian refugees. All deportations to other EU countries have been halted."

Balkan states snub Greece in talks on immigation (ekathimerini.com): "Greece has been left out of an unfolding campaign by Balkan countries to forge a coordinated response to a torrent of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, Kathimerini understands.... Thinly disguised criticism of Athens came from FYROM Foreign Minister Mitko Cavkov, too, who noted it was “absurd that the problem is caused by an EU member-state.” Cavkov said that interior ministers from FYROM, Austria, Hungary and Serbia will soon meet in Skopje to decide further action."

Macedonia to face thousands of EU-bound migrants (euobserver, link): "Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia on a daily basis throughout the next several months, as the European Commission eyes court action against over a dozen member states for violating asylum rules..... Hungary, along with 17 other member states is on the European Commission’s hit-list for committing various violations against EU asylum laws.[link].. The Common European Asylum System is composed of the Dublin regulation, the asylum procedures directive, the reception conditions directive, the qualification directive, and the long-term residence directive. Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden are all under scrutiny."

Everyday People Put Solidarity Into Action Helping Refugees in Greece (Global Voices, link): "Almost 1,000 lives reach Greek shores every day, of which 60% are from Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The Eastern and North Aegean Islands of Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Chios and Lesbos have become temporary shelter for thousands arriving in dinghies from the sea..... Nevertheless, the deus ex machina in this case is not the government, but local residents and activists from near and far who are gathering food, medicine, clothes, toys and other equipment for the refugees."

Europe's migrant crisis will not slow and EU nations must share duties, says UN (Guardian, link): "The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said all EU member states should share the burden of Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the second world war, with an “equitable redistribution” of families seeking asylum.":and UN predicts 3,000 refugees a day will pass through Balkans - Refugee agency says Europe can handle numbers if correct measures taken (Irish Times, link)

GERMANY: Nauen refugee shelter fire 'an attack on everyone' (DW, link): "It may have joined the list of German towns to witness violence aimed at refugees. This time, though, the suspected arson of a sports hall is being felt as an attack on the whole community."

Dispatches: Volunteer Lifeline for Asylum Seekers in Hungary (HRW, link): "Tuesday, 8:07 p.m. at the Nyugati train station in Budapest, the latest train arrives from the Hungarian border town of Szeged carrying migrants and asylum seekers who came via Serbia. Volunteers from the nongovernmental group Migration Aid are standing by to greet them and offer food, clothing, and advice.... it’s shameful that Hungary and other European governments have failed to ensure proper reception conditions for people fleeing war and persecution, as European Union rules require. In Hungary, the government has instead spent millions building an anti-migrant fence."

News Digest (26.8.15)

Europe faces up to flight safety threat posed by drones (euractiv, link): "No-drone zones, software to block flights into sensitive areas and registration rules are among proposals from European regulators and aviation experts to ensure growing numbers of drones don't case dangerous run-ins with passenger aircraft."

GREECE: Golden Dawn MP, cell leader released from custody (ekathimerini.com, link): "Golden Dawn deputy Nikos Kouzilos has been released from custody where he had been awaiting trial on a number of criminal charges along with dozens of other MPs and members of the neofascist party. However, the council of appeals court judges banned Kouzilos from leaving the Attica region, while ordering him to report to his local police station twice a month."

Mass protest against TTIP and CETA to take place in Berlin (euractiv, link): "More than 30 organisations are teaming up for a major demonstration against TTIP and CETA, with concerns ranging from the end of cultural diversity in Europe to devastating effects the deals could have in developing countries. EurActiv Germany reports. Over 50,000 demonstrators are expected to gather in front of Berlin’s central train station on 10 October to protest the EU’s planned free trade agreements with the United States and Canada, TTIP and CETA. Special public transit lines and hundreds of buses are planned to meet the extra demand."

AUSTRIA: Austrian found guilty of Nazi Facebook post (The Local.at, link): "A 28-year-old Austrian man who called for Jews to be gassed in a Facebook post was sentenced to eight months in prison on Tuesday by Wels Provincial Court."

DENMARK: Danish Home Guard to rearm after terror attack (The Local.dk, link): "Six months after some 4,300 volunteer members of the Danish Home Guard were told to disassemble their rifles in the aftermath of the Copenhagen terror attacks, members will once again be allowed to keep functioning weapons at home."

GERMANY: MPs plan new close watch on spies (The Local.de, link): "MPs in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) are planning to put Germany's security services on a much tighter leash in the future following a wave of scandals, media reported on Wednesday." and see: Prosecutors launch case against CIA double agent (The Local.de, link)

NSA-JAPAN: Obama Expresses Regret to Japan's Abe for Spying Charges (New York Times, link): "Japanese officials faced questioning from the media and in parliament after WikiLeaks posted online what appeared to be five U.S. National Security Agency reports on Japanese positions on international trade and climate change. They date from 2007 to 2009. WikiLeaks also posted what it says was an NSA list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts." See: "WikiLeaks published "Target Tokyo" 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy"

Czech intelligence powers widened (Prague Post, link): "The powers of Czech intelligence services will be widened as they will be allowed to breach the tax secret and to ask for information from telecommunications operators under the legislation signed into law by President Miloš Zeman, spokesman Jirí Ovcácek said today. The limitations on the data protected by the bank secret will be cancelled, too."

EU: MED-CRISIS: First step in coercive response to migrants crisis: Italy, Greece must act now on migrants says Merkel 'Set up registration centres by year's end' (ANSA, link):

" Italy and Greece must act as soon as possible to open migrant registration centres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday. "We have established with the heads of government that there should be registration centres in the countries particularly hit by the first arrivals, like Greece and Italy," she said after a summit with French President Francois Hollande. "This must happen quickly, by the end of the year, we cannot accept delays," she said."

and Italy and Greece must act now on migrants: Merkel (The Local.it, link): "Italy and Greece – two countries which have borne the brunt of the migrant crisis - must set up registration centres to help identify asylum-seekers and illegal migrants as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday... Merkel stressed that the centres must be set up at the first ports of call to be administered and staffed by the EU as a whole by the end of the year. "We cannot tolerate a delay," she said."

This will almost certainly involve: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU: MED-CRISIS (25.8.15)

LESVOS/Mytilene: A Good Samaritan in Greece: Papa Stratis needs oxygen pumped to his lungs but that's not stopping him from joining the ranks of Greeks helping refugees arriving in Europe (UNHCR Tracks, link): "Papa Stratis, along with other local volunteers in the village of Kalloni, has been helping refugees since 2007 through the NGO ‘Agkalia‘. In all these years he reckons that he has helped some ten thousand people, including a few locals fallen on hard times. But never before has he seen so many refugees looking for help.... “Every day between one and two hundred people come to Kalloni,” the 57-year old Orthodox priest says. “The local people tell them to come to us for help. We give them food, water, milk for the babies, shoes, clothes. They can stay here too: we have blankets, mattresses on the floor.”... With local authorities overwhelmed by the 64,000 refugee arrivals to Greece since the beginning of the year, local activists like Papa Stratis and the network of volunteers “Village All Together”, are often taking on the sole responsibility of caring for the refugees on the Greek islands. “We have no external funding,” he explains with a smile. “We depend completely on the generosity of the local people.”"

ITALY: Asylum-seekers protest over living conditions (The Local.it, link)

GREECE: One dead, six missing after refugee boat capsizes off Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link) and and see: 2 Refugee Boats Capsize Off Greece, Turkey; 5 Dead (INYT, link)

GERMANY-EU: A ten-point plan for a European refugee policy response (diplo.de, link) and 10 Point Plan (pdf)

GERMANY: Fire destroys another refugee home in Germany (DW, link): "A refugee home has caught fire in Germany, raising concerns over anti-migrant attacks. Meanwhile Chancellor Merkel faces tough questions during her visit to a problematic immigrant neighborhood in the country's west."

AUSTRIA: Austria draws on army in migrant crisis (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian army is to deploy more than 500 troops to help overstretched authorities deal with the large number of migrants arriving from Hungary and Italy, the defence minister said on Tuesday."

GREECE: Efforts continue to locate migrants from capsized boat (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek coast guard patrols and volunteer fishermen on Tuesday were continuing the search for a group of migrants believed missing after their boat capsized off the coast of the island of Lesvos on Monday, killing two of the passengers on board.... Reports on Monday suggested that there were four or five passengers still missing from the rubber dinghy that capsized in choppy waters between the coast of Turkey and the eastern Aegean island.... The Greek government has come under fire from its European Union partners and international organizations for failing to speed up the process of registering incoming migrants and identifying those with legitimate asylum claims."

Migrant crisis: “Let’s not pretend Europe’s response is working” – UN rights expert warns (UNHR, link): "United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. “It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants,” he said. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe.” "

Search and Rescue in Central Mediterranean Sea (migreurop, link): "Report of an observation mission in Sicily carried out, between the 1st of February and the 8th of June 2015, by Sabine Llewellyn, volunteering for the network Migreurop within the NGO ARCI to support the activities of Watch the Med, in the frame of the programmes of Echanges et Partenariats." and see: Report (pdf) and Report - French (link)

Greece: Mytilene (Lesvos): Chaos and squalid conditions face record number of refugees on Lesvos (AI, link): "Overloaded, under-resourced authorities are failing to cope with the dramatic increase in the number of people arriving on the island (33,000 since 1 August) and must rely on local volunteers, NGO activists, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and tourists to step into the massive breach. The vast majority are fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria - 90% of those arriving in 2015 according to UNHCR."

GREECE: Help Refugees Arriving in Mytilene, Greece This list is for: Eric & Philippa Kempson: Dispatch to: Eric Kempson, Eftalou (Amazon, link): "All donations go directly to refugees arriving on the north coast of Mytilene. If you have other ideas (specific medical stuff, baby gear, toys, etc), feel free to add them to your shipment! People have access to food through other means, but other supplies for camping, long walks, general sun exposure all appreciated."

Destination Europe: Migrant Stories (WSJ, link)

Europe's migrant surge: How to cope with record numbers? (France 24, link): "Europe's record wave of would-be asylum seekers and migrants continues unabated and the scramble is on to cope with the crisis" with Marie Martin, Migration and Asylum Officer, Euromed Rights and Nic Conner, Senior Research Fellow, The Bow Group.

The European Union’s migrant ‘emergency’ is entirely of its own making (Guardian, link): "We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era....The emergency is not inevitable: we could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era. The choice is political. We can keep militarising the borders or bank on mobility. We can opt for ferries, visas and aeroplane tickets instead of sinking rubber boats, squalid detention centres and makeshift camps."

Hungary’s migrant fence is simply a pointless PR exercise (Guardian, link): "Short-term measures like walls and fences in Europe won’t solve a migration crisis of this size. People who have risked so much will just find another way."

UNHCR assists refugees at Greece-FYR Macedonia border, where calm is returning (link): "The UN refugee agency has been helping refugees and migrants amid chaotic scenes in the past few days at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as thousands of people tried to cross into FYR Macedonia. The situation was noticeably calmer and more orderly on Sunday, when almost 2,000 people crossed into FYR Macedonia, and Monday. The majority told UNHCR staff that they had fled the war in Syria, passed through Turkey and crossed by boat to Greece. Among them were many young families with small children."

The vital difference between human trafficking and migrant smuggling (Open Democracy, link): "Human smuggling is a crime in as much as it constitutes an illegal border crossing. But it is not innately a crime against people or an abridgement of their human rights. This can never be said of human trafficking."

Germany and France want unified asylum response (euobserver, link): "France and Germany are pushing for a more unified asylum system, as Berlin opens its doors to Syrians. Hollande said in a statement that “a unified system for the right to asylum” is needed." and: Influx grows as Germany, France eye unified response (ekathimerini.com): "According to police estimates, between 8,500 and 9,000 refugees on the island of Lesvos were Monday awaiting transfer to the Greek mainland. A ferry charted by the Greek government – the Eleftherios Venizelos – was expected to pick up another 2,500 Syrians from the island at 2.30 this morning and bring them to Athens. “The foreigners that leave the island every day are replaced by the same number of people arriving from the Turkish coast,” Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Kathimerini."

Germany challenges EU to agree on refugee plan (The Local.se, link): ""Never before have so many people fled political persecution and war as today, many of whom seek refuge here with us in Europe," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an opinion piece, identify a 10 point plan for a European refugee policy response."

UK: Asylum seekers fight deportation to Afghanistan - Lawyers challenge Home Office’s proposed charter flight, thought to be departing Stansted on Tuesday, following court victory for Afghans last week (Guardian, link): "Lord Justice Clarke rejected home secretary Theresa May’s application to overturn the order on the basis that a significant number of people due to board the flight could be affected by an ongoing case about the dangers of forcibly returning failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan."

Denmark considers citizenship rule changes (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government is considering changes to the nation’s citizenship laws that may make it harder to get citizenship in the future and pull the rug out from under 1,950 foreigners who have already satisfied the current requirements.

Germany suspends Dublin III transfers for Syrians (freemovement.org.uk, link): "Germany has taken the extremely welcome step of suspending the transfer of Syrian asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. As long ago as November 2013 UNHCR called for countries not to return Syrian nationals to their first point of entry in the EU. As the war has worsened and more people have fled, the situation has continued to deteriorate both for the people fleeing and in the countries on the periphery of Europe, such as the Balkan states and Greece and Italy, that are struggling to provide adequate reception conditions."

EU: Overstayers: Government reply to questions in the Bundestag at point 16 gives Statewatch as the "public" source::

"With regard to the information from other Member States of the EU is in particular the evaluation regularly published Products made by FRONTEX, which also illicit Include stay. Furthermore, Latvia has under its Presidency in the first half 2015, an EU-Polizeioperation called "Amber Light" initiated, focusing on the theme over-stayer moved. The results are also available to the public
(
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/jul/eu-council-lithuania- presidency-Amberlight-final-report.pdf)" [emphasis added]

And see: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents

News Digest (25.8.15)

UK: Firms using illegal migrant labour face 48-hour closures - New powers to revoke trading licences also included in bill aimed at creating ‘hostile environment’ for unauthorised workers (Guardian, link)

NORWAY: Oslo police slammed for Roma discrimination (The Local.no, link): "The police in Oslo are often racist and discriminate against Roma and African homeless people, a damning new report from Norway's National Institute for Human Rights has found."

EU to review rail security after foiled Thalys attack (euractiv, link): "The European Union will review railway security on high-speed international lines after last week's foiled attack in France. But officials warned on Monday (24 August) against overreaction."

Germany: Halt on Dublin procedures for Syrians (AIDA, link):

"The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has issued internal instructions suspending the Dublin procedure in respect of Syrian nationals. According to the instructions, dated 21 August 2015, Dublin procedures that have already been initiated in relation to Syrians are to be cancelled, in order for Germany to become the Member State responsible for processing their claims."

EU: PUTTING IN PLACE A RETURNS POLICY: Juncker: "In September, the Commission will thus submit a common list of safe countries of origin to the Member States." New Europe inteview, link) and see: Press release of Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 July 2015 (pdf):

"STRONGLY RECOMMENDS therefore that, without delay, Member States assess which third countries could be designated at national level as safe countries of origin."

And see: No need for new EU summit on immigration, says Juncker (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker dismissed calls for a new EU summit on immigration, saying member states should stop dragging their heels and implement existing agreements on the matter..... Juncker added that the European Union should draw up a uniform list of "safe countries" to which migrants could be returned." [Comment: All the evidence is that most migrants are coming from Syria and Afghanistan together with Eritrea, Somalia]

EU: MED-CRISIS (24.8.15)

Welcome to EU - Greece (link)

Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean 'migrants', but we should (Migrants Rights Network, link): "By rejecting the term and using ‘refugee’ instead as a means of arousing the empathy and compassion we should be feeling towards these people, Al Jazeera gives credence to the illiberal voices telling us that migrants are not worthy of our compassion."

UK-EU: The Observer view on Britain’s shameful response to refugees (link)

and see: German ministers call for joint EU policy to cope with refugee crisis (DW, link): "Two leading Social Democrat members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet have called for an EU-wide asylum policy as a way of coping with an unprecedented influx of refugees. "

Swedish tolerance questioned as attacks on migrants rise (euractiv, link):"A series of attacks on beggars and Roma has highlighted a dark side to a country considered a bastion of tolerance, but where the far right has been gaining support by claiming society is under threat from immigrants.... Since most come from Romania and Bulgaria, they are free to travel to Sweden as EU citizens, but their presence has fuelled claims by the Sweden Democrats the country is a soft-touch for migrants and is being swamped."

New one-day peak for Italy migrant rescues (The Local, it, link): "Italy's coastguard picked up another 300 migrants from stricken boats in the Mediterranean on Sunday, a day after overseeing the rescue of 4,400 people in one 24-hour period with help from British, Irish and Norwegian ships."

GERMANY: Gabriel visits Saxony after weekend of violence (The Local.de, link): "Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is to visit the Saxon town of Heidenau on Monday after far right demonstrators clashed with police outside a refugee home in the town over the weekend."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Number of lone underage refugees rising in Czech Republic (Prgaue Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Education Ministry must deal with a rising number of lone underage refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan aged from 15 to 18 years, who fled their countries alone or lost contact with their families during their long journey, daily Pravo writes Saturday.Under Czech law, people under 18 are considered underage and such refugees cannot be sent to detention facilities for adults."

Hollande to meet Merkel on migration, Ukraine (euobserver, link): "French president Francois Hollande is travelling to Berlin on Monday (24 August) to discuss the growing migrant crisis with German chancellor Angela Merkel. The visit, originally planned to cover the Ukraine conflict, comes as thousands of people - many of them fleeing the war in Syria - keep trying to enter the European Union."

Macedonian army allows migrants to cross border - Migrants head towards EU border in southern Hungary after being penned for days in Macedonia (Guardian, link): "“There is a human catastrophe here, and all the EU, the European countries, are to be blamed for this,” said German politician Annette Groth while on a visit to the “neutral” zone between Greece and Macedonia. “The refugees are not leaving their homes for fun.”"

HUNGARY: Volunteers step in as Hungary tries to shut out illegal migrants - ‘Strange and random’ happenings await the recent arrivals in an ill-prepared Europe (Irish Times, link)

IRELAND: Criminalising asylum-seeking in Ireland: the case of Walli Ullah Safi (opendemocracy,link): "The harsh institutional approach to asylum seeking in Ireland is indicative of a mentality that places a severe and punitive burden of proof upon the asylum seeker."

UK Home Office Humanity Crimes Against Africans and Asians – part 1 (Detained Vocies, Stories from inside UK Immigration Detention, link): An account of immigration detainees in UK: "We hope that something will come out of detainee’s plight and maybe a legal challenge from those who wants to see justice being practiced by the UK Home Office. Detention must have time limit and out of country appeal for asylum seekers must be abolished, asylum seekers should not be in continuous detention."

News Digest 24.8.15).

Digital surveillance 'worse than Orwell' says new UN privacy chief - Joseph Cannataci describes UK data protection as ‘a joke’ and says a Geneva convention for the internet is needed (Guardian, link)

After Delfi, the chilling effect on web site comments in Europe has begun (link): "what the verdict in Delfi v Estonia means for our profession. This case, which was heard in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), concerned the issue of liability for comments on web sites, and had huge implications for any web site in Europe that allows comments."

EU: MED-CRISIS (22-23.8.15)

GREECE-EU: Greek president wants EU summit on refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has proposed that a European Union leaders’ summit be called to discuss a mounting migrant and refugee crisis and called for a closer cooperation with the United Nations."

Migrants crisis: More than 2,000 people rescued near Libya coast (BBC News, link): "More than 2,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued from boats off the coast of Libya in one of the biggest single-day operations mounted, Italy's coastguards have said. Distress calls came from more than 20 vessels, AFP reported."

GREECE: Overcrowded and bad conditions at Greek Refugee Centre in Lesbos (YouTube, Molyvos for R