June


EU: MED CRISIS: TURKEY: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update and the outcome of discussion on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 9491, pdf):

"The visa regime in Turkey was a source of concern for many delegations. Both Egypt and Algeria have introduced visa requirements for Syrian nationals. Turkey maintained visa-free travel, which has been identified as a source of concern. Turkey had the capacity to act as a significant transit point for migrants from the wider Middle East-North Africa region: migrants may legally enter Turkey but then illegally enter the EU. Along with Syrians, Moroccan, Tunisian, Libyan, Georgian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iranian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Turkey."

See also: The hidden frontline of Europe's migration crisis - As a gateway to both the EU and the Schengen passport-free zone, Hungary has seen more than 50,000 migrants trying to cross its border this year. Now it is planning a 100-mile wall to keep them out (Daily Telegraph, link) and Top French court approves border controls with Italy (France 24, link): "France's top administrative court said Monday that border controls on migrants at the Italian frontier were legal and did not violate the Schengen agreement that created Europe's passport-free zone. The court dismissed a complaint by three organisations in support of scores of migrants stranded at the border between France and Italy since mid-June."

EU migration policy: comments on the results of the latest European Council (EU Law Analyses, link)

EU Council: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) – Conclusions (pdf). Some change in terminology but same intent: For example, "structured border zones" now referred to as "first reception facilities"... and it not at all clear what the legal powers of Europol, Frontex or EASO are to ensure "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting":

"the setting up of reception and first reception facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States' experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots").

Background:: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")" and Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

Mediterranean migrants: EU leaders agree voluntary intake after heated talks - Long, fractious meeting finally reaches deal on resettling 60,000 asylum seekers, but exempts Hungary and Bulgaria, while UK opts out (Guardian, link):

"The national leaders of Europe have engaged in one of their most bitter rows in years over how to respond to the influx of refugees from across the Mediterranean after they scrapped plans for a quota system to share out the resettlement. The meeting descended into name-calling and recrimination as the leaders fought over a modest scheme to share the intake of 60,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers between their countries over two years...

Italy and Lithuania traded barbed insults, while two EU presidents – Donald Tusk, chairing the summit, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European commission – fought for hours over the wording of the summit statement, which could not be agreed."

EU: MIGRATION POLICY: Council of the European Union: Incoming Luxembourg Council Presidency: Strategic coordination of the work of the Council preparatory bodies in the area of migration (LIMITE doc no: 10249-15, dated 25 June 2015, pdf):

The Council Presidency seem to have forgotten that migration policy is subject to co-responsibility with the European Parliament: How can a legislative body fully play its role if it is not associated when strategies are defined and when legislation is implemented?

"the Luxembourg Presidency proposes to start working on a short and concise paper on the Strategic Coordination of the work of the Council preparatory bodies in
the area of migration, in order to better integrate the work on the internal and external aspects of migration and to improve the efficiency and coherence of the Council preparatory bodies in this area.

The paper would define, under the responsibility of the Trio of Presidencies, the Strategic Coordination in the area of migration. It should be used to mainstream these priorities into the work of the Council preparatory bodies dealing with migration, in particular SCIFA and HLWG, but also other relevant thematic and geographical groups (CODEV, COHOM, etc.)."

Special Report: European Summit (meeting of Prime Ministers) Conclusions: European Council (25 and 26 June 2015) - Draft conclusions (dated 24 June 2015, LIIMITE doc no: 8395-15,pdf).

These Conclusions, drafted yesterday, still contain the same, worrying, and far-reaching measures on migration as the earlier draft and are based on:Letter from Commissioner Avramopolous to Ministers with Annex (pdf) which spells out in more detail where the EU is going:

See: Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")" and Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

And Agenda of Summit (pdf) The UK issues are no 6 on Agenda. The Conclusions state: "IV. UK: 14. The UK Prime Minister set out his plans for an (in/out) referendum in the UK. The European Council agreed to revert to the matter in December."

Hungary and allies reject EU migrant quotas (euobserver, link): "Four Central European countries have declared they are willing to block mandatory quotas on relocation of asylum seekers from northern Africa at this week’s EU summit. In a joint statement issued in Bratislava on Tuesday (23 June), Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – the so-called Visegrad countries - confirmed that “any point of reference in terms of mandatory quotas is unacceptable”."

EU: MED-CRISIS: EU to create new quarantine system for Mediterranean migrants - Italian PM accuses EU of betraying basic values as draft summit papers reveal plans to give police and border agencies enhanced powers of coercion (Guardiun, link)::"“Where is the EU going?” asked Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring civil liberties in the EU. “Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly fingerprinted or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.” 

EU: German-Italian-French non-paper on EU migration policy (pdf) and Letter (pdf). Includes:

- Dialogue with source/transit countries: At upcoming EU-Africa summit in Malta "we should also discuss the relationship between migration and mobility and their impact on development, the promotion of fair trade and the strengthening of security cooperation as well as return and readmission issues"

- Proposal for EU CSDP civilian mission in Niger: EUCAP Sahel Niger to become permanent and "work even more closely with Nigerien authorities in the fight against smuggling and trafficking in human beings"

- Adequate funding for continued "engagement" with countries in the Horn of Africa, to deal with migration from/through those countries (in the recent ISF-Police work programme some money was put aside for this, see: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund
– Police cooperation and crime prevention
(pdf)

- "We must increase the effectiveness of return and readmission programmes"

And: "Our migration policy goals should relate to other relevant horizontal foreign policies such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, water and climate policy and a reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy which also considers the neighbours of our neighbours."

Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")"

This is set out in the Draft Conclusions of the European Council [the EU Heads of State] meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015: Draft conclusions (pdf)

Section 5.c says: "the setting up of structured border zones and facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States' experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots");" [emphasis added]

Will the "swift fingerprinting" of those described here as "illegal" migrants involve coercive measures? See: Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the "proportionate use of coercion" may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..”

Statewatch Director, Tony Bunyan comments: “Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.”

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments on the Draft Conclusions:

"It is remarkable that Member States (if this draft is accepted) are indeed willing to accept the relocation of 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, and 20,000 resettled refugees.

It is also notable that all Member States will participate in the latter decision - with even the UK agreeing recently to resettle a few hundred more Syrians. This is a very modest amount of the numbers needing protection however.

The European Asylum Support Office does not seem to have the powers to participate in fingerprinting asylum-seekers, and the reference to 'bringing together' rules on fast-tracking asylum applications is very vague. Is the intention to lower standards, and if so, how exactly? Any moves to negotiate more readmission agreements and to expel more people who supposedly have no need for protection will have to comply fully with EU, ECHR and all national and international human rights standards.

Equally if Frontex is to gain more powers over expulsion it must be made more fully accountable, including as regards individual complaints against it."

See: UN says one million refugees should be no problem for EU (euractiv, link): "The UN rights chief yesterday (15 June) called for the European Union to take bolder steps to address its swelling migrant crisis, insisting the bloc could easily take in one million refugees"

EU: MED-CRISIS: European External Action Service (EEAS): European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean (Press statement, pdf): Contributing States: Currently 14 Member States (BE, DE, EL, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, LT, LU, NL, SE, SI, UK):

"The Council shall assess whether the conditions for transition beyond the first phase have been met, taking into account any applicable UN Security Council Resolution and consent by the Coastal States concerned."

Consent is needed for the EU to act within the territorial waters of another state (eg: Libya) and see: Comments below on this position.

EU: MED-CRISIS: Official statement on the launch of EUNAVFOR: Council launches EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean (Council of the European Union, pdf):

"The first phase focuses on surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.... The Council will assess when to move beyond this first step, taking into account a UN mandate and the consent of the coastal states concerned.." [emphasis added]

It is by no means certain that a UN mandate will be forthcoming as this requires the consent of the affected states, in this case Libya. The EU's own mission in Libya, EUBAM, withdrew from from the country last autumn, has been slimmed down and is now based in Tunisia because of the highly unstable security situation in Libya where two separate governments are vying for power in addition to a number of warring groups:.See:

EU and political situation in Libya: Interim Strategic Review of EUBAM Libya (LIMITE doc no: 7886-15, 13 April 2015, pdf): "a number of additional considerations have arisen as a result of the mission's relocation to Tunis. The mission's legal status in Tunis is still unclear, with the Tunisian authorities unofficially indicating that they would prefer not to explore the issue....its presence in Tunis will make it difficult for mission staff to assess conditions and operate in Libya" [emphasis added]

See also: EU foreign ministers to agree on Mediterranean intelligence operations (euractiv, link): "EU foreign affairs ministers will today (22 June) agree on an intelligence gathering operation, the first phase of the bloc’s response to the burgeoning migration crisis in the Mediterranean, but military action against people smugglers will depend on the support of Libya’s National Unity Government and the United Nations." and Naval bid to tackle migrants in Med (Yahoo News, link): "With GCHQ - Britain's listening post in Cheltenham - said to be tracking the activities of smuggling gangs moving people to the Libyan coast, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon indicated that he wanted to see more intelligence-sharing." also: Exclusive: France backs Italy-UK Plan for Sicily Intel Cell (Migrant Report, link)

See: EU agrees to launch military operation against people smugglers (FT, link): "EU officials have warned that casualties were possible after deciding to launch military action against people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Ministers of the 28-country bloc meeting in Luxembourg on Monday gave the go-ahead for a c controversial intelligence gathering operation, which will precede full-blown military action this year ... “The use of firepower will be done in such a way that we do all we can to prevent any casualties to anyone,” said one EU official. “There is a difference between smugglers and migrants. If they are migrants, we will be even more cautious.” Asked whether the military operation created the risk of collateral casualties, the official replied: “Of course it would.”" and: EU navies take up position in Mediterranean (euobserver, link)

EU: European Parliament study: Towards more effective global humanitarian action: How the EU can contribute (pdf):

"the EU and member states must commit to placing protection at the centre of humanitarian action and ensure that the EU´s humanitarian aid is not regarded as a crisis management tool, and allowed to become an instrument of its foreign policy."

EU: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU prepares to go to "war" in the Med: Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the Council for a Council Decision launching the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (pdf);

"The Operation Plan and the Rules of Engagement concerning the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) are approved.... EUNAVFOR MED shall be launched on xxx 2015."

See: EU naval mission for Med gets green light (Politico, link)

See also: Draft Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (LIMITE doc no: 8921-15, pdf) and Proposal for for a Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) (LIMITE doc no: 8731-15, pdf): This contains details on:

Mission: "The Union shall conduct a military crisis management operation contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling networks... systematic efforts to dispose of vessels and assets before they are used by smugglers"

Mandate: includes: "boarding search, seize and diversion of smuggling ships"

"The Operation Headquarters of EUNAVFOR MED shall be located in Rome, Italy"
"PSC shall exercise the political control and strategic direction of EUNAVFOR MED" [Political Security Committee]
"The EUMC shall monitor the proper execution of EUNAVFOR MED conducted under the responsibility of the EU Operation Commander" [EU Military Committee]
"The Council hereby authorises the PSC to invite third States to offer contributions"

EU: No agreement on sharing "relocation" of migrants: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 15-16 June 2015, Luxembourg: Final press release (pdf):

"As regards the concrete proposal on relocation, Ministers stressed that on the basis of the principle of solidarity they are all ready to make an effort to help member states under a particular migratory pressure. Several delegations stressed the necessity to strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility.. Ministers invited the Council’s preparatory bodies to continue these discussions with the aim of achieving full implementation as soon as possible."

See also; Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Claude Moraes, regrets EU minister's failure to reach agreement on the migration package (EP Press release, pdf)

Online book: Integrating Immigrants in Europe: Research-Policy Dialogues: Editors: Peter Scholten, Han Entzinger, Rinus Penninx, Stijn Verbeek (link). Download book (pdf) includes the following Chapter: Speaking Truth to Power? Why Civil Society, Beyond Academia, Remains Marginal in EU Migration Policy (pdf) by Ann Singleton:

"Many migrants are excluded from much of society, let alone the migration debates, by citizenship laws, poverty, gendered social and economic injustice and institutional racism. They are structurally excluded and their lives are hidden from the priorities and gaze of the academic-policy nexus (notwithstanding some excellent qualitative research, social media and ‘on the ground’ campaigns). Those whose lives are directly affected by migration policy and practice, namely recent migrants, migrant groups, as well as the wider civil society, remain largely marginalised and their voices unheard in the policy discussions. It begs the question, what is academic research on migration for?"

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Migration - Policy debate & European Council draft Conclusions

- European Agenda on Migration - Policy debate (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 11 June 2015, pdf) Many areas of disagreement between Member States on how to respond to the crisis in the Mediterranean:

""Immediate Action" but also builds on four pillars as a basis for a comprehensive European migration policy: - Reducing incentives for irregular migration; - Border management; - Strong common asylum policy; - New policy on legal migration....

There is wide consensus with regard to the need to further cooperate with third countries since both the root causes of and solutions to migration related issues can be sought there. In order to ensure a genuinely comprehensive approach, some Member States have suggested to strengthen the links with the Internal Security Strategy and measures proposed therein....

Member States’ views differ on the proposed concept of relocation in order to respond to high volumes of arrivals that includes temporary scheme for persons in need of international national protection.. The total number of persons to be relocated, the available funding, and the capacity of the Member
States' structures to deal with relocation were equally questioned..." [emphasis added]

and: Update: COR -1 (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 12 June 2015, pdf)

EU: Jump before you’re pushed: the CJEU rules on the voluntary departure of irregular migrants (EU Law Analysis, link): "For the first time, the CJEU ruled yesterday (in its judgment in Zh and O) on the provisions of the EU’s Returns Directive (the main set of rules governing the expulsion of irregular non-EU migrants) concerning ‘voluntary departure’. The word ‘voluntary’ is a euphemism here, of course..."

See: Full-text of Judgment (pdf)

EU: ECRI reports RACISM: HUNGARY and POLAND: ECRI report on Hungary (pdf),ECRI report on Poland and Albania (pdf)

See: Council of Europe criticises racism in Hungary, Poland (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europe’s expert group on racism and intolerance today (9 June) called for action to fight prejudice in Hungary and Poland, after publishing damning reports on the two countries."

UNHCR: OPTIONS PAPER 1: Options for governments on care arrangements and alternatives to detention for children and families and OPTIONS PAPER 2: Options for governments on open reception and alternatives to detention (links)

UK: Immigration: battening down the hatches (IRR News, link) by Frances Webber:

"The second of a post-election three-part series on civil liberties in the UK observes how the Queen’s Speech immigration proposals contain more of the same old deterrence policies, creating more desperation, in the face of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II."

EU: MED-CRISIS: UN Security Council resolution on migrant trafficking halted (Ansa, link): "Preparation of a draft UN Security Council resolution to authorize an European mission against migrant traffickers in the Mediterranean "has been suspended until the issue of the consent of the Libyan authorities has been resolved," a diplomat of the UN Security Council told ANSA on Wednesday..... the same source said that "regarding implementation, cooperation is necessary from all parties in the country"; and the Libyan government can not give authorization because it does not control the whole territory."

EU: Council of the European Union: Preparation of maritime operation EUNAVFOR MED (Press release, pdf)

And see: Efforts to Secure Security Council Resolution on EU Migrant Plan “Paused” (MIgrants at Sea, link)

Also: Juncker: Commission won’t change its migration agenda (euractiv, link): "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday (3 June) that in spite of opposition from some member states, the EU executive would not change its mind on the proposals it recently made in its attempt to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers in the EU."

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Preventing and combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance should be a priority for member States (link) and see adopted Report (pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Germany and France urge Commission to revise immigration plan (euractiv, link): "Germany and France on Monday (1 June) urged the EU to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers, as their leaders met the European Commission chief in Berlin..... France and Germany said in the joint statement that they currently were among five member states, along with Sweden, Italy and Hungary, that "are in charge of 75% of the asylum seekers". "This situation is not fair and no longer sustainable," they said."

See European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf) and Annexes (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents:

• Including SMART BORDERS: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee: Outcomes:Smart Borders Package, Biometric data in large IT databases in the area of borders, visa and asylum, Foreign Terrorist Fighters (LIMITE doc no: 8964-15, pdf)

• EEAS: Migration in development cooperation - Issues Paper (LIMITE doc no: 9118-15, pdf)

"The answer to many of the challenges in the field of migration lies in the relations with third countries. Partnership with countries of origin and transit is thus crucial and the EU has established dedicated bilateral and regional migration dialogues with all of the most important regions concerned....

EU efforts on fostering diaspora engagement is continuing, in particular on capacity building for government authorities and diaspora associations in developing
appropriate policies and programmes to maximise the development contribution of their diaspora."

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May

 

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