News

Launched in 1999 and updated regularly, Statewatch News includes our own reporting and writing as well as articles, announcements, documents and analyses from elsewhere on civil liberties, EU policies and state practices. You can receive updates in your inbox by signing up to our mailing list, or use an RSS feed to get instant alerts.

08 July 2021

EU: Outgoing Portuguese Presidency report on "e-evidence" state of play

Just prior to handing over the Council Presidency to Slovenia, the Portuguese authorities circulated a note setting out the state of play with negotiations on the controversial "e-evidence" proposal. The proposal would make it simplier for law enforcement and judicial authorities to obtain electronic data held in another member state, but without sufficient safeguards it poses grave risks to fundamental rights.

08 July 2021

EU: New Slovenian Presidency discussion paper on a "sustainable return policy"

In a discussion paper focusing on Frontex's deportation activities, the new Slovenian Council Presidency proposes more strategic cooperation with “crucial third countries of origin and transit”, as well as stronger internal structures and improved procedures at EU and member state level, to overcome “fragmentation” between national approaches.

07 July 2021

UK: Cruelty and illegality in "anti-refugee" asylum proposals

The government has announced a new Nationality and Borders Bill that it claims will "fix the broken asylum system" - a system that the Conservative Party has now been in charge of for more than a decade. It includes a variety of proposals that have been branded as illegal, cruel and "anti-refugee", which will only serve to increase the hardship faced by people in need attempting to reach the UK, and by refugees who make it to UK territory.

05 July 2021

EU: "Specific EU action against violent left-wing and anarchist extremism and terrorism" on the agenda

On 7 July, the Council of the EU's Working Party on Terrorism will discuss whether the EU should launch a specific initiative to counter "violent left-wing and anarchist extremism and terrorism," with a background paper from the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator providing a menu of possible activities that the member states and EU institutions could undertake.

29 June 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Member state comments on the proposed Screening Regulation

Comments from 14 member states show significant divergences on the proposed Screening Regulation, which would entrench hotspot-like infrastructure at the EU's external borders "in the interest of the Member States and to the detriment of the exiled persons".

29 June 2021

EU: New powers for Europol: Proposed Council mandate for negotiations

The Portuguese Presidency of the Council is approaching agreement on its position on granting new powers to EU policing agency Europol. A compromise text, published here, was sent by the Presidency to the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) yesterday. If approved, it will form the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament.

29 June 2021

Brexit: EU "non-paper" on foreign and security policy cooperation with the UK

"The UK is an important global player with which the EU has an interest in cooperating in many fields in the international arena... At the same time, the UK can become a competitor on several fronts vis-à-vis the EU, for instance by trying to bolster its position as a global norm-setter and decision-shaper, or by promoting trade deals with third countries that put it in direct competition with the EU."

25 June 2021

EU: Austrian proposals on upping Frontex's role in "voluntary return and reintegration"

"To effectively incentivise voluntary return and promote sustainable reintegration, well-established reintegration programmes are needed. Against this background, the ERRIN take-over by Frontex constitutes big potential but at the same time a major challenge," says a document produced by the Austrian authorities on increasing Frontex's role in "voluntary return and reintegration."

25 June 2021

Law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies brought together in hunt for "battlefield information"

"It is important that Member States’ law enforcement and judicial authorities which have not yet done so establish a regular dialogue with their military forces and relevant intelligence and security services," as part of the attempt to gather and use "battlefield information" to prosecute terrorists, says a note from the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.

23 June 2021

UK: New anti-protest powers breach human rights, says parliamentary committee

The UK parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has condemned the public order powers in the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, saying that they would further increase restrictions on non-violent protests "in a way that we believe is inconsistent with our rights."

23 June 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Member states get to grips with "solidarity" proposals

After 13 meetings, the Council has made a number of changes to the proposed Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, mainly to the provisions on "solidarity". The document, published here, gives an indication of what exactly the member states think solidarity means in the context of migration and asylum.

21 June 2021

Frontex Observatory updates: Ombudsman closes two inquiries

On 15 and 16 June, the European Ombudsman closed enquiries relating to different aspects of Frontex transparency: complaints, and access to documents.

18 June 2021

Spain: New report calls for a halt to the use of rubber bullets

Between 2000 and 2020 the use of rubber bullets by Spanish security forces has caused the direct death of one person and contributed to the death of 14 others; 11 people have lost an eye. A new report renews the long-standing call for the Spanish government to ban their use.

18 June 2021

EU: States slow to introduce legal changes easing biometric identity checks by police

Member states are making little progress in changing national laws to ease biometric identity checks by the police, one of the key aims of the EU's 'interoperability' initiative.

17 June 2021

Greece: Legal case launched against Frontex director for "aggravated defamation"

A legal complaint has been submitted against Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri for “aggravated defamation by the press” by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), on behalf of themselves and 27 people who were “illegally deported”.

16 June 2021

EU: Drugs strategy includes actions to "tackle encryption" and postal snooping

The Draft EU Drugs Action Plan 2021-25 is heading to the Council for approval, and amongst other things includes an action to "improve possibilities to tackle encryption," as well as the use of new technologies (including the near-ubiquitous "artificial intelligence") for "monitoring suspicious postal items... while preserving the fundamental right of privacy of correspondence."

16 June 2021

UK: Metropolitan Police branded "institutionally corrupt" by inquiry into murder of private detective

London's Metropolitan Police engaged in a form of "institutional corruption" by delaying and denying access to documents and information held by the force that were sought by an inquiry into the unsolved 1987 murder of Daniel Morgan, a private detective.

16 June 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council ready for negotiations with Parliament on European Agency for Asylum

The Council has agreed its position - published here - on the proposed Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), which would take the place of the European Asylum Support Office and have an extended remit and powers.

15 June 2021

UK: MPs must ensure protection for encrypted communications

Over 30 organisations, including Statewatch, have signed a statement published in UK parliament's magazine The House, calling on MPs to ensure that the Online Safety Bill does not undermine or threaten the encryption of digital communications.

14 June 2021

UK and USA confirm continued cooperation on undermining encryption

The UK and USA have outlined their continued commitment to military and security cooperation, including through ongoing plans to undermine encryption for digital communications.

 

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