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 our RSS feed to get instant alerts.

12 June 2023

UK government's AI plans must uphold fundamental rights and democratic values

Thirty civil society organisations, including Statewatch, have published a joint statement calling for the UK government to ensure that it's approach to artificial intelligence upholds fundamental rights and democratic values.

08 June 2023

Schengen priorities: full steam ahead with border controls and law enforcement

A meeting of the Schengen Council, put in place under the French Presidency to improve governance of the Schengen area, is taking place today. A note from the Swedish Presidency of the Council outlines areas requiring “additional focus and impetus” if progress is to be made in the 2023/24 ‘Schengen Cycle’.

08 June 2023

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean: German response to Commission roadmap

Ahead of the upcoming meeting of the European Commission's Contact Group on Search and Rescue on 16 June, the German authorities have issued a response to the Commission's draft roadmap that was published by Statewatch last month. The response is published here.

07 June 2023

Tracking the Pact: Council prepares to approve negotiating positions

The Council is hoping to approve its negotiating positions on the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR), Asylum Procedure Regulation (APR) and Single Permit Directive on legal migration at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting tomorrow. The texts, published here, were circulated in the Council yesterday (AMMR and APR) and at the end of May (Single Permit Directive).

06 June 2023

Frontex aided the deportation of almost 25,000 people in 2022

EU border agency Frontex aided the deportation of almost 25,000 people from EU territory in 2022, a record high. The number of people removed via scheduled flights and “voluntary” return proceedings has been increasing steadily, and the deployment of Frontex return teams supported the removal of almost 4,000 people over the course of the year. The agency has confirmed that deportations remain a “core priority”.

06 June 2023

Interpol must halt Turkey's use of databases to pursue dissidents

Interpol must do more to prevent the Turkish government misusing its databases to target political dissidents abroad, says an open letter to the organisation's secretary-general signed by more than 25 individuals and organisations, including Statewatch. The letter calls for Turkey to be suspended from using Interpol databases - in particular, the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) system - until the problem is dealt with.

25 May 2023

European Commission wants common rules on "registration and certification" for Mediterranean search and rescue organisations

A "Draft Roadmap towards a 'European Framework for Operational Cooperation on Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean Sea'," obtained by Statewatch and published here, indicates that the European Commission is aiming for "standardisation/convergence of registration and certification rules on private vessels carrying out SAR [search and rescue] as their predominant activity." This could be used to hinder the activities of search and rescue organisations.

24 May 2023

European Commission: "the content is the crime," so let's break encryption

The EU's proposed Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) Regulation is perfectly legal, the European Commission has argued, in response to the Council Legal Service's arguments that the "detection orders" set out in the proposal would be illegal.

23 May 2023

Frontex takes the lead on deportations

EU border agency Frontex has recently sought to take on a more prominent role in deportations, and has been testing the possibility of organising the "initiative, destination, date," amongst other tasks - roles previously reserved for national authorities.

23 May 2023

EU rules allowing "exceptional" use of spyware against journalists need "fine-tuning"

Agreement within the Council on the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) is "very close", according to a recent document circulated by the Swedish Presidency - but provisions on the "exceptional" use of spyware against journalists are still the subject of discussions.

22 May 2023

EU: Tracking the Pact: Compromise texts, member state comments, "balance between solidarity and responsibility"

Council documents detailing the state of play with the Asylum Procedure Regulation (including comments from the member states), the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, and a Presidency discussion paper on the "balance between solidarity and responsibility".

22 May 2023

Development of EU border police watchlist is “progressing well”

The development of a new watchlist for “identifying connections” between people seeking authorization to travel to the EU and terrorist or criminal suspects is “progressing well”, according to a Europol report obtained by Statewatch.

22 May 2023

Europol data deals with violent police forces need “strong data protection safeguards”

Proposed data-sharing deals between Europol and five states in Central and South America needs explicit safeguards if they are to uphold fundamental rights, the European Data Protection Supervisor said at the beginning of May. Police forces in those states have brutal records of violence and torture.

17 May 2023

Open Letter to the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union: Ensuring the protection of fundamental rights on the AI Act

With the European Parliament and Council of the EU heading for secret trilogue negotiations on the Artificial Intelligence Act, an open letter signed by 61 organisations - including Statewatch - calls on the Spanish Presidency of the Council to make amendments to the proposal that will ensure the protection of fundamental rights.

11 May 2023

Detention of children: European Court of Human Rights rules against France 11 times

On 4 May 2023, the European Court of Human Rights delivered three rulings concerning the confinement of families with children in administrative detention centres (CRA). These rulings concern seven children, aged between seven months and thirteen years, who were locked up in 2020 and 2021 at the Mesnil-Amelot and Metz detention centres.

11 May 2023

Tracking the Pact: Detention of children and families for the asylum "border procedure"

The Council of the EU wants to simplify the detention of families and children for the purposes of processing asylum applications at the borders.

10 May 2023

UK: Joint civil society solidarity statement on the Illegal Migration Bill

Alongside 174 other organisations, we condemn the Illegal Migration Bill and call on all parliamentarians to reject it. The Bill faces its second reading in the House of Lords today.

04 May 2023

Tracking the Pact: Latest Council documents on Asylum and Migration Management Regulation and Eurodac

Discussions are ongoing on the Pact, with member states debating how to deal with the European Parliament's position on Eurodac and discussions ongoing within the Council on the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation. Documents published here provide an insight into the issues under discussion.

04 May 2023

Council against compensation for recipients of SLAPPs

A forthcoming EU law will seek to prevent the use of "strategic lawsuits against public participation" (SLAPPs) to harass, intimidate and silence NGOs, journalists and critical voices. The European Commission describes SLAPPs as "a particularly harmful form of harassment and intimidation used against those involved in protecting the public interest." The latest Council compromise version of the Directive removes the right for those subjected to a SLAPP to receive compensation.

02 May 2023

French government steps up repression after bloody battle of Sainte-Soline

In the aftermath of the heavy repression of activists protesting against the construction of industrial water storage basins in France on 25 March, two protesters are still in critical condition in hospital. Meanwhile, interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced heavy measures to be taken against the organisers of the mass demonstration in Sainte-Soline and even threatened to take steps against a renowned human rights organisation.


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