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.

26 January 2022

EU: Tracking the Pact: Border checks, funding, deportations and reception at the centre of the "gradual approach"

On 20 January the French Presidency of the Council circulated a paper examining "four issues to discuss further" relating to its "gradual approach" on the Pact on Migration and Asylum: external border checks and registration; financial and material support to member states with external borders; return and readmission policy; and reception and relocation. The paper highlights the need to "prevent the risk of absconding," which could be done by "increasing detention capacity".

25 January 2022

Europol: Council Presidency proposes workaround for illegal data processing

The French Presidency of the Council wants to enter secret "trilogue" negotiations with the European Parliament and European Commission on new rules governing Europol, the EU policing agency, with a text including a "workaround" to allow Europol to hold on to vast quantities of personal data that it is currently processing illegally.

20 January 2022

EU seeks global counter-terrorism partnership with Egypt

The EU is to put itself forward, alongside Egypt, for the joint presidency of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, "an informal, apolitical, multilateral counterterrorism (CT) platform that contributes to the international architecture for addressing terrorism." The idea was first suggested by the European External Action Service and was recently approved by the Council despite Egypt's appalling record of human rights abuses in the name of counter-terrorism.

20 January 2022

UK can join EU surveillance schemes with no parliamentary scrutiny, warns new report

The UK can join intrusive EU surveillance schemes including a pan-European network of police facial recognition databases with no need for parliamentary debate or scrutiny, says a new report published today by Statewatch.

19 January 2022

EU: Police to support anti-encryption policy development

A police "operational action plan" on preventing child sexual abuse includes a requirement for almost 30 states and EU agencies to gather five case studies, each intended to contribute to EU "policy development" on preventing and combating sexual abuse. While few would disagree with the ends, it is likely that one of the proposed means will be to undermine encryption, threatening the privacy and safety of all users of digital communications technologies.

18 January 2022

EU: Tracking the Pact: French Presidency proposes "a gradual approach" on migration and asylum

At the beginning of January the French state took on the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and last week proposed "a gradual approach" to the Pact on Migration and Asylum. This could also be viewed as a 'pick and mix' perspective, with the emphasis on those measures that member states are most likely to agree upon.

13 January 2022

EU: Europol: "Significant progress" on legalising illegal data practices

There has been "significant progress" in negotiations on new powers for EU police agency Europol, according to a document circulated by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council in December. The police agency was recently ordered to delete vast amounts of personal data that it was processing illegally - but the new rules would allow those practices to continue. Member states may be hoping to approve the new rules before the agency has to implement the deletion order.

12 January 2022

EU: Cybersecurity and law enforcement authorities

Cybersecurity is an issue of growing importance in EU institutions, with negotiations on a renewed Directive on network and information security underway. Documents published here show that last September, the Slovenian Presidency of the Council started a discussion on stepping up the role of law enforcement agencies in cybersecurity affairs, and this month the EU will launch a cybersecurity exercise seeking to test its "resilience" to a cyber-attack by a hostile state actor on vital economic supply chains.

11 January 2022

Bulgaria: Secret surveillance data "could be used for nefarious purposes" due to lack of safeguards, rules ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Bulgarian law regulating secret surveillance by the the police, prosecutors, and military and security agencies is of insufficient quality to protect individuals against violations of the right to privacy, and that the data gathered through secret surveillance operations "could be used for nefarious purposes" due to a lack of safeguards.

05 January 2022

EU: Frontex asks court to reject human rights case, seeks legal costs from asylum seekers

EU border agency Frontex is demanding that judges reject a complaint against it at the European Court of Justice, while seeking to recoup its legal costs from the applicants - an under-age asylum seeker and a recognised refugee.

16 December 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Member states against a search and rescue "solidarity mechanism"

The vast majority of member states are opposed to a separate "solidarity mechanism" for people rescued at sea under the proposed Asylum and Migration Management Regulation. The proposal foresees this solidarity consisting of relocation or "capacity building". Some states would like to be able to offer "solidarity" in other ways - for example, Austria proposes support for externalisation measures as an alternative option to relocation of people rescued at sea.

16 December 2021

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance: opinion on the concept of "racialisation"

"The use of the concept of “racialisation” has the potential to aid understanding of the processes underpinning racism and racial discrimination and to ensure that the voices of racialised groups are heard and taken into account, in particular in the areas of awareness-raising, education and policy making."

16 December 2021

EU: Asylum and borders proposals: the only attack taking place is the attack on peoples’ rights

In response to the arrival of thousands of people at the EU's borders with Belarus, the European Commission has published a raft of new proposals that would weaken asylum rights and strengthen border surveillance and controls. Described as “temporary” on 1 December, proposals published this week would allow their enactment whenever the Council deems migrants are being “instrumentalised” to “attack” the European Union.

15 December 2021

EU-USA meeting to include discussion on "the re-activated EU-US Migration Platform"

The agenda of the EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting, taking place tomorrow, will include discussions on artificial intelligence; counter-terrorism; "relevant developments" regarding Passenger Name Record travel surveillance; and "Reporting on first meeting of the re-activated EU-US Migration Platform".

15 December 2021

Germany: New website documents fatal police shootings

Since German reunification, 309 people have been shot dead by the country's police; there were also 148 fatal police shootings in West Germany from 1976 to 1990. A new website launched by the magazine CILIP documents these cases, seeeking to shed light on the individual cases hidden behind the interior ministry's statistics.

13 December 2021

EU: Draft border proposals: "drones and motion sensors, as well as mobile units to prevent unauthorised border crossings"

Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 as regards the response to threats to the area without controls at internal borders: "SENSITIVE UNTIL ADOPTION"

10 December 2021

UK: "Quasi-detention" of asylum seekers must be replaced with "decent, safe acommodation," say MPs

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Detention has released a report condeming the government's use of an abandoned barracks in Kent to house asylum seekers, and demanding that plans to extend the use of such sites of "quasi-detention" be halted. The report says people seeking asylum should be "housed in decent, safe accommodation in the community that supports their well-being and recovery from trauma, facilitates their engagement with the asylum process, and allows them to build links with their community."

09 December 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Presidency wants JHA Council to find "sustainable solutions" on legal proposals

A working paper circulated on 7 December by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council looks at the state of play of discussions on the legal proposals that are part of the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum. It calls on national ministers in the Justice and Home Affairs Council - meeting tomorrow - to find ways to move forward with negotiations.

09 December 2021

Book review: ‘EU Migration Agencies: The Operation and Cooperation of Frontex, EASO and Europol’

David Fernández-Rojo’s comparative analysis, published by Edward Elgar Publishing, explores the way in which the three agencies have grown together, and what this means for the future of migration management.

07 December 2021

UK: Home Office publishes latest report on financial allowances for asylum-seekers

The Home Office has released its 2020 report into the pitiful living allowance paid to asylum-seekers and failed asylum-seekers, who are barred from working legally. The amounts paid, which are around half that paid to individuals on Jobseekers' Allowance (unemployment benefit), have long been condemned by charities and human rights organisations for leaving people in poverty.


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