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    ISSN 1756-851X
    09 April 2020

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European Parliament: Draft report: on the draft Council implementing decision on the launch of automated data exchange with regard to dactyloscopic data in the United Kingdom (link): Rapporteur: Juan Fernando López Aguilar:

"1.Rejects the Council draft;
2.Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments."

EU: The EU Integrated Political Crisis Response Arrangements: Operational Conclusions - IPCR Roundtable 25 March 2020 - COVID-19 (pdf):

"1. Speed up delivery of medical equipment - 2. Increase repatriation of stranded citizens - 3. Art 222 TFEU [the 'solidarity clause']"

From the « war against the virus » to the war against exiles : security responses to Covid-19 exacerbate violence at borders (migreurop, link)

"The Greek hotspots in which exiles are crammed without any protection of their rights or from the pandemic are an example of the precarization of their trajectories by the security policies of States. Migreurop denounces the violence inflicted onto exiles in the name of the “war against the virus”, their unequal treatment with regard to the pandemic, and demands the immediate closure of all spaces of migrant detention in order to ensure their right to be protected."

EU/Greece/Turkey: Crisis not averted: security policies cannot solve a humanitarian problem, now or in the long-term (pdf)

At the end of February, the Turkish government announced it would allow refugees to travel onwards to Greece and Bulgaria, in the hope of extracting from the EU further financial support as well as backing for its military operations in Syria. It has now taken up its role as Europe's border guard again, but the manufactured crisis induced by the Turkish decision and the EU response highlight the long-term failings of the EU's asylum and migration model.

EU: MEPs, migration policy experts call for urgent action to uphold refugee rights

Over 100 MEPs from four political groups in the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to take action so that "fundamental rights and the right to asylum" are upheld in Greece. Their calls have been echoed by dozens of migration policy experts working on EU-funded projects.

From Windrush to Covid 19: another scandal in the making (IRR News, link): by Frances Webber:

"A review of differential policies towards different populations draws attention to the ways in which civil society is mobilising to demand protection and an end to the stigmatisation of those with no escape from infection.

The growing coronavirus crisis has exposed many faultlines in the UK and in Europe, and in particular, governments’ treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable and marginalised populations including prisoners and homeless people, carries disquieting echoes."

Threats to journalists: The ’new normal’ in Germany (ECPMF, link):

"The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom publishes results of its five-year study of attacks on media workers in Germany

...In 2019, with the exception of three attacks, they all came from right-wing groups. This confirms the findings of the past four years: media professionals, journalists and reporters were still most at risk from right-wingers who despise the press. ECPMF is not aware of any attacks from the left in 2019."

ENAC: autorizzati i droni per il monitoraggio (link):

The Italian civil aviation authority (ENAC, Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile) has authorised the use of drones on city streets to strengthen the capabilities of police forces and municipal councils. Previous limits for their use that centred on the risk of drones causing damage to people and things in ordinary circumstances may not apply, considering that sidewalks are empty and streets are clear, meaning that drones are useful to monitor gatherings. Derogations to these norms are motivated as follows:

"With a view to guaranteeing the containment of the epidemiological 'coronavirus' emergency, in order to allow operations to monitor the movement of citizens in the municipal territory envisaged in the decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers (PM) of 8 and 9 March 2020, it becomes necessary to derogate from some provisions of the measures in the ENAC Regulation on 'Remotely Piloted Aircraft', 3rd edition of November 2019."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-23.3.20) including:

  • Anti-migration cooperation between the EU, Italy and Libya: some truths
  • Erdogan in talks with European leaders over refugee cash for Turkey
  • COVID-19: No one is safe until All are protected!

Two new analyses and one new briefing: EU-Italy-Libya cooperation; Spanish migration policies

Statewatch is today publishing three new in-depth pieces, examining anti-migration cooperation between the EU, Italy and Libya; the renewal of Italy's Memorandum of Understanding with Libya and the accompanying parliamentary debate; and a briefing outlining demands for the new Spanish government to ensure that its migration policy respects human rights.

HUNGARY: Orbán introduces 'Enabling Act' in the name of fighting coronavirus (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán never lets a crisis go to waste. Friday, he put before the Hungarian Parliament a law that would give him dictatorial powers under cover of declaring a state of emergency to fight the coronavirus. Parliament could vote on this law as early as Monday."

UK at last follows other EU states: UK pubs and restaurants told to shut in virus fight (BBC News, link):

"Cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from Friday night, except for take-away food, to tackle coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

All the UK's nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been told to close "as soon as they reasonably can".

Speaking at a daily Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson said the measures would be enforced "strictly" and that licensing arrangements will make doing so "relatively simple"." (emphasis added)

UK: Undercover policing inquiry: secretive Met unit shredded files (The Guardian, link):

"A secretive Scotland Yard intelligence unit shredded a large number of documents after a public inquiry was set up into the undercover infiltration of political groups, a watchdog has found."

Over 400 migrants returned to Libya over weekend (InfoMigrants, link):

"Over 400 migrants have been picked up by the Libyan coast guard and returned to Libya over the weekend. That’s according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which called the action “unacceptable.”"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.3.20) including:

  • Little new on migration in Commission's plan for a "comprehensive strategy with Africa"
  • More calls for EU and Greece to uphold international law and refugee rights
  • Turkey steps back from confrontation at Greek border
  • Border externalisation: agreements on Frontex ops in Serbia and Montenegro head for approval

Brussels considers pan-EU police searches of ID photos (Politico, link):

"Ready for your closeup? Your face could soon be included in police databases searchable by law enforcement across the European Union."

ITALY: Coronavirus: critical situation in prisons and detention centres

A note issued on 12 March by the ombudsman for people denied their freedom in jails and places of detention on describes the situation as "relatively" calm, despite problems resulting from disturbances and violence in numerous prisons in the past days.

EU: Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval

On 29 January the civil liberties committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) approved the conclusion of status agreements on the actions on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) on the territory of two neighbouring non-EU states - Serbia and Montenegro.

Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

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