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....
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."
- 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)
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)
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"
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.
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