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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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".
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.
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"
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."
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.
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.
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.
Press release published by the UK Home Office, 6 December 2021.
More than a decade after the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, the European Commission has decided to notify the United Nations of the competences of the EU under the Convention on Transnational and Organised Crime, and its protocols on migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
The Council is aiming to water down rights protections in the proposed Screening Regulation, which will see most individuals who enter the EU in an irregular fashion detained at the borders with a view to their swift expulsion.
Statewatch Library & Archive goes online after event in Bristol
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