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In June the European Commission proposed amendments to the EU’s budget for the 2021-27 period, arguing that existing finances are at “the point of exhaustion”. The changes sought by the Commission would increase the budget for “migration and external challenges” by €15 billion.
Law enforcement officials are meeting today and tomorrow in Logroño, Spain, to discuss "access to electronic communications and digital data as a premise for law enforcement." The Spanish Council Presidency published a discussion paper prior to the meeting, but a document obtained by Statewatch offers far more information on current plans.
None of the decisions adopted by the policing agency's management board since the entry into force of the revamped Europol Regulation last summer were made public, in breach of Europol's own transparency commitments, until Statewatch filed an access to documents request.
A statement signed by representatives of almost 300 organisations from across the UK, including Statewatch: "We all deserve to live safe from harm. But this senselessly cruel Act will have a devastating impact on people’s lives. It turns our country’s back on people seeking safety, blocking them from protection, support, and justice at a time they need it most."
Secret negotiations between the Council of the EU, European Parliament and European Commission on the Artificial Intelligence Act have begun, more than two years after the legislation was proposed. A statement signed by more than 150 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, calls for fundamental rights to be put at the centre of the talks.
A campaign against the deployment of Frontex in Senegal is seeking to halt a proposed agreement between the EU and the West African state and to denounce “how the EU collaborates with our complicit regimes killing people in the Mediterranean and in transit countries.”
A new Statewatch/EuroMed Rights publication analyses the past, present and future of Europe’s “techno-borders” – the extensive infrastructure of surveillance systems, databases, biometric identification techniques and information networks put in place over the last three decades to provide authorities with knowledge of – and thus control over – foreign nationals seeking to enter or staying in EU and Schengen territory.
The proposed recast of the Long-term Residents Directive aims at "attracting skills and talent to the EU."
A new EU law on the exchange of data between national law enforcement authorities entered into force last month. It is intended to harmonise existing rules, speed up exchanges of information, and will lead to an increased amount of data being shared with Europol.
Earlier this year, Statewatch published a secret ministerial statement that committed EU and Schengen states to providing financial and material support for deportations from the Balkans. The European Commission recently answered a parliamentary question on the topic. The answer contains nothing of substance.
Ongoing delays to the Entry/Exit System (EES) may mean the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is put into operation first, in a break with previous plans.
In its current form, the Illegal Migration Bill puts the duty to deport people - including children and victims of trafficking - above human rights and international law. The House of Lords has begun the next stage of scrutiny of the bill. A briefing to peers supported by over 50 organisations, including Statewatch, calls for the addition of a new clause that would prevent the provisions of the Bill taking precedence over the UK's human rights and international obligations.
A new campaign challenging the lack of accountability, transparency and action on recommendations arising from investigations into preventable deaths launched yesterday.
The European Council meeting later this week will express "its profound sorrow for the terrible loss of life as a result of the recent tragedy in the Mediterranean," at the same time as reiterating, for the umpteenth time, its commitment to "breaking the business model of traffickers and smuggling networks and to tackling the root causes of irregular migration." As a recent Europol report highlights, this model is in large part a creation of the EU and its member states. Meanwhile, a letter from Ursula von der Leyen demonstrates how much work is going in to expanding control, and how little to increasing the possibility of legal migration.
An open letter signed by over 80 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, is calling on the UK government to protect digital security and private communications by removing provisions from the Online Safety Bill that would require communications service providers to add "backdoors" to encrypted messaging services, undermining safety for all.
The latest Council Presidency compromise text of the Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation includes new provisions on "solidarity and support measures in a situation of crisis or instrumentalisation," and changes to the proposals on the notification and authorisation procedures for member states deemed to be facing a migration "crisis" or the "instrumentalisation of migration".
The EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Libya is about to receive an update to its tasks. References to supporting institutional reform and cooperation with the UN Support Mission in Libya are to be removed from its mandate. The current budget is to be extended by three months, pending a decision by the Council on funding for the next two years.
The creation of a Latin American internal security system based on the EU model continues, and a draft declaration indicates plans for closer cooperation and synchronisation.
The Schengen visa application process is plagued by a host of problems, including systematic issues with long processing times, “recurrent deficiencies” in data protection, and a general lack of transparency, finds a non-paper prepared by the Commission services and obtained by Statewatch through an access to documents request. The non-paper, circulated to national delegations to the Council in April, is based on a 2022 evaluation of Schengen visa processing carried out in Riyadh, Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul, and New Delhi.
"Pilot projects" intended to beef up border controls, accelerate asylum and deportation proceedings, and reinforce the role of EU agencies in Bulgaria and Romania have just begun - yet EU legislation intended to do the same is yet to be approved.
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