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Certain aspects of migration to EU states for the purpose of highly-skilled employment are governed by a 2009 law known as the 'Blue Card' Directive. In 2016, the Commission published a proposal to replace those rules, but negotiations between the Council and Parliament stalled. Recently, however, a number of secret "trilogue" meetings between Council and Parliament negotiators have been held, and the German Presidency of the Council is looking to find a way to reach agreement on the legislation.
The Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament, made up of centre-left parties from across the EU, is demanding calling for Fabrice Leggeri, director of EU border agency Frontex, to quit. The MEPs consider that Leggeri's performance at a recent hearing of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee, where "he failed to answer questions relating to the agency's involvement in pushbacks at the EU's external borders," warrants his resignation.
Along with a forthcoming Council Resolution on encryption, the German Presidency has produced "Recommendations for a way forward on the topic of encryption." Like the Resolution, the Recommendations underscore the importance of encryption whilst emphasising the need to find ways to circumvent it. The Presidency appears to belive this will be possible through "a lasting dialogue between Member States, the technology industry, civil society and academia," in order "to develop further a consistent regulatory framework across the EU that would allow competent authorities to carry out their operational tasks."
In a document recently circulated to member state delegations in the Council, the German Presidency presents the "state of play" on five issues relating to terrorism: the use of the European Arrest Warrant; support for victims of terrorism; the possibility of the cumulative prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters; digitalisation (including cross-border access to e-evidence and the digitalisation of criminal justice cooperation); and online hate speech (covering the current EU legal framework and "possible next steps").
Passengers at Dakar airport have recently passed through exit checks only to find themselves confronted by French and Spanish officials demanding to see their papers. The officials have reportedly been deployed as "mentors" for Senegalese border guards; their presence is part of "a joint operational program" between Senegal and the EU. Passengers at the airport say they did not see any Senegalese officials accompanying the French and Spanish guards - which raises questions over how exactly the "mentoring" program works - and have expressed indignation that foreign officials are deployed in such a manner, highlighting that it is impossible to imagine the situation in reverse.
Frontex, the EU’s border and coast guard agency, has launched a case against independent activists Luisa Izuzquiza and Arne Semsrott, who last year lost a court case against the agency seeking greater transparency over its border control operations.
A new report from the Migreurop network looks at the changing practices of informal administrative detention used by four EU member states in 2019. A key argument of the report is that the detention of non-nationals is increasingly taking place "outside or at the margins of existing legal frameworks."
A report in The New York Times says that Frontex officials have been discouraging the filing of reports on pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border.
Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of Frontex, has signalled his approval for a working group set up by the agency's Management Board that will look into recent allegations of pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border taking place with the agency's knowledge. However, the main focus of the working group seems to be the issue of "hybrid threats" to internal security. The relationship between the agency's alleged involvement in illegal activity and the possible existence of "hybrid threats" is unclear.
The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane have condemned the UK government's decision not to order a public inquiry into his death as "astonishing, arrogant and cruel".
On 28 November, the UK and France signed the latest agreement aimed at cracking down on irregular migration across the Channel. The plan includes a doubling of the number of French police patrolling the coastline and the deployment of "cutting edge surveillance technology - including drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras."
"The legislation creates therefore avenues for disentangling, splitting the relation between physical presence of an asylum applicant on a territory and the set of laws and fundamental rights associated to it, namely a protective legal order, access to rights and to a jurisdiction enforcing those rights. It creates a sort of ‘lighter’ legal order, a lower density system, which facilitates the exit of the applicant from the territory of the EU, creating a sort of shift from a Europe of rights to the Europe of borders, confinement and expulsions."
Press release published by Rights & Security International, for a new report on detention camps in North East Syria where people are being held indefinitely due to European governments' failure to repatriate their citizens.
The report finds that the CJEU's case law on the extradition of EU citizens to non-EU states "raises several practical and legal issues" - including with regard to the scope of CJEU case law and consultation between the states making and dealing with the extradition requests.
Announcement from the Don't Extradite Assange campaign, which is hosting a public event on Saturday 28 November to mark the tenth anniversary of Wikileaks' publication of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
A declaration calling for "technical solutions for gaining access to encrypted data" through cooperation between states, industry and "other stakeholders" is due to be approved by the Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), the final step before receiving formal sign-off at the December meeting of justice and home affairs ministers. The declaration sets out the Council's policy stance on obtaining access for state authorities to encrypted data, but does not establish any new binding measures. However, the declaration notes that a "regulatory framework... could be further assessed." Here we are publishing the declaration itself - which is currently secret - along with previous versions of the document, so it is possible to see how it has changed over time.
The Spanish Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) has written to the interior ministry to demand the immediate closure of the camp set up by the government in the port of Arguineguín on Gran Canaria to host migrants who have arrived by sea. The Ombudsman says that the camp is putting people's physical integrity at risk, and people have been detained for longer than permitted by law. It would be possible for the Ombudsman to take legal proceedings in the case of inaction. The interior ministry insists it is working to dismantle the camp, which was set up following the recent arrival of large numbers of people via the crossing from West Africa.
Leaks to the Danish media have revealed that the country's intelligence agency is cooperating with the US National Security Agency to tap underseas telecommunications cables. The XKEYSCORE system was revealed in documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
On Wednesday the European Parliament voted in favour of a report that says the provision of development aid by the EU should depend on recipient states' compliance with "migration management" measures. A last-minute amendment by the MEP responsible for the file reversed the original position of the report. Human rights groups have condemned the move.
The Global Terrorism Index 2020, which "provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 50 years, placing a special emphasis on trends over the last decade." The report highlights a "surge in far-right political terrorism, even though the absolute number of far-right attacks remains low when compared to other forms of terrorism."
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