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.

24 April 2023

Frontex to spend hundreds of millions of euros on surveillance and deportations

Frontex will spend hundreds of millions of euros on border surveillance and contracts for deportation flights this year, as well as €3 million on storing weapons and ammunition, according to a plan approved by the agency’s management board in mid-February.

19 April 2023

"Going dark": will the next assault on privacy take place behind closed doors?

The Swedish Presidency of the Council proposed to create a High-Level Expert group on data retention to strike a new "balance" between the right to privacy and the right to security, according to two documents published by Statewatch. Member state feedback has been enthusiastic. The aim is to change the rhetoric on surveillance to facilitate the adoption of new rules. The expert group format of discussion and the participation of civil society are still to be decided, with the Commission and the Council likely to co-chair.

17 April 2023

Joint Statement: Tunisia is neither a safe country of origin nor a place of safety for those rescued at sea

We, the undersigned organisations, issue this statement to remind once again that Tunisia is neither a safe country of origin nor a safe third country. Therefore, it cannot be considered as a place of safety for people rescued at sea.

06 April 2023

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council reports on externalisation efforts in Iraq and Nigeria

Two documents obtained by Statewatch assess the state of implementation of the Migration Action Plans approved by the European Council for Iraq and Nigeria. There is little or no attention or funding devoted to establishing legal migration pathways, with the focus instead on continued externalisation of border controls and deportations.

04 April 2023

Conference at University of Hamburg cancelled after intelligence agency intervention

Press release published by AStA of the University of Hamburg and Network for an Alternative Quest on 3 April, following the revoking of permission for a conference at the University of Hamburg following the intervention of the Hamburg domestic intelligence agency (Büro für Verfassungsschutz Hamburg).

03 April 2023

Tracking the Pact: Member state comments on the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation and Asylum Procedure Regulation

Member states are discussing a substantially redrafted version of the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, and a new compromise version of the Asylum Procedure Regulation.

29 March 2023

EU plan for international border data-sharing system “should not proceed”

The European Commission’s plan for a “security-related information sharing system between frontline officers in the EU and key partner countries” should be scrapped, says a paper signed by 10 organisations, including Statewatch, who warn that it may aid political repression and underpin human rights violations.

29 March 2023

EU-USA cooperation on biometric data, breaking encryption, radicalisation

The minutes of the recent EU-US Senior Officials Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs, held in Stockholm on 16 and 17 March, demonstrate cooperation on a vast range of topics - including a "proof of concept" of the "Enhanced Border Security Partnership" involving the transatlantic sharing of biometric data, the need to "reinforce law enforcement’s legitimacy to investigate" in debates around breaking telecoms encryption, and US "concerns on radicalisation among police forces."

27 March 2023

Netherlands liable for human rights violations in Greek refugee camps

Press released issued by Boat Refugee Foundation on 20 March 2023.

23 March 2023

EU: Member states ponder blanket police surveillance of ferry, rail and bus passengers

Legislation is incoming to step up surveillance of air travel, and the possibility of extending the scheme to ferry journeys has been raised in the Council. The Presidency is concerned about delaying the air passenger surveillance plans but has set out options for maritime transport, whilst proposing the Commission launch a study on the surveillance of international bus and coach travel.

22 March 2023

Border externalisation needs “whole-of-government approach” says Swedish Presidency

The Swedish Council Presidency has reiterated the longstanding call for “a true whole-of-government approach and sustained engagement” at all levels to implement EU plans to externalise migration and border control, in a document setting out plans to follow up on European Council conclusions agreed in February.

21 March 2023

Von der Leyen letter: "key border between Bulgaria and Türkiye" is first target for €600 million fund

The European Commission is about to make €600 million available to "substantially support Member States with border control and technological equipment," and "a first objective" for that money "would be the key border between Bulgaria and Turkiye," says a letter to the European Council from Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

13 March 2023

European interior ministers agreed new deportation scheme in secret

European interior ministers signed a secret joint statement in February last year that committed EU and Schengen states to increase financial and material support for deportations from the Balkans, increasing the region’s role as a migration “buffer zone”, a report published today by Statewatch and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung reveals.

09 March 2023

UK asylum plans could end police and judicial cooperation with the EU

The UK government's latest attack on refugees, described as "a clear breach of the Refugee Convention" and seemingly incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, could lead to the EU terminating parts of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

09 March 2023

The externalisation of migration policies to the South is not the solution to the structural crisis of reception in the North

Statement published to coincide with the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting of 9 and 10 March, calling for an end to repressive migration policies and "a return to Europe's founding values of solidarity and respect for the law". Signed by 16 organisations, including Statewatch.

07 March 2023

EU: Simplify visa suspension to limit asylum applications, says Swedish Presidency

The Swedish Council Presidency says there is an “evident” need to revise the EU’s visa suspension mechanism due to “a near-record number of asylum applications in 2022” from citizens of visa-free countries and an “extremely cumbersome” process for removing countries from the visa-free list.

07 March 2023

France: Proposed Olympic surveillance measures violate international human rights law

Civil society public letter on the proposed French law on the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games condemns a legal proposal to deploy algorithmic surveillance cameras in public spaces. The law would make France the first EU country to explicitly legalise such practices, violate international human rights law by contravening the principles of necessity and proportionality, and pose unacceptable risks to fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy, the freedom of assembly and association, and the right to non-discrimination.

07 March 2023

EU: Note on state of play with current justice and home affairs legislative proposals

Last week the Swedish Presidency circulated a note to member states setting out the state of play with the 37 current justice and home affairs legislative proposals that are under negotiation.

02 March 2023

UN migration data kept from the public but delivered to EU border externalisation body

In January, representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN refugee agency (UNHCR) gave presentations to a new EU body launched last year to propel the externalisation of migration policies. The presentations included multiple facts and figures that are no longer made public, and the UNHCR called for the UNHCR and EU member states to align their communications strategies, “without concealing challenges.”

02 March 2023

New technologies having devastating impact on rights in counter-terrorism policy, says UN Special Rapporteur

"New technologies, particularly digital technologies, are transforming the ways in which human rights are impeded and violated around the world," says a damning new report by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. The report "addresses the intersection of counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism with the use of new technologies," and condemns "the elevation of blinkered security thinking that has accompanied a particularly restrictive approach to countering terrorism".


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