28 March 2012
Vol 4 no 3,
* Response to Madrid bombings
* Irish Presidency & the institutions
* Immigration & asylum
* Policing & criminal law
* EU-US cooperation on PNR data
* Key Resources
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9. Following the adoption
at the February JHA Council of the Decision on financing
expulsions carried out by one member state on behalf
of another (OJ 2004 L 60/55), a guide to the practical implementation of mutual recognition of expulsion
has been produced (6142/04, 10.2.04, pdf). Statewatch reported
that the EU is already planning joint
expulsion flights - although the EU Decision authorising
such measures has not yet been adopted. In a highly questionable
attempt to make the joint expulsions more acceptable to the public,
JHA Commissioner Vittorino has called on member states "to
educate their citizens that joint flights have nothing to do
with collective expulsion" (see Statewatch
10. The Commission has proposed the extension of the European Refugee Fund (COM (2004) 102) which has also been used to fund expulsions. The initial European refugee Fund committed 216 million euros to "support and encourage the efforts made by the Member States in receiving and bearing the consequences of receiving refugees and displaced persons". The draft Decision on the European Refugee Fund referred not to "expulsion" but "voluntary repatriation"; the adopted Decision, however, dropped the word "voluntary". According to the European Commission, "returns" accounted for 21 per cent national Fund activities between 2000 and 2002, though "the proportion of repatriation projects has risen sharply", from 15.82% in 2000 to 24.45% in 2002. Without specifying any figures, the Commission has proposed the extension of the European Refugee Fund to 2010, envisaging:
two financial phases: the first from 2005 to 2007, when the amounts allocated would be broadly similar to those in the current phase, but with a slight increase, and a second phase, from 2008 to 2010, when there would a sizeable increase in the allocations, depending on the new financial perspectives. This increase would enable the Fund to become more than just a symbolic gesture and to produce results and have a significant impact not only on the target groups but also on asylum systems in general.
The EU Asylum working party held its first discussion on the refugee fund proposal on 17 February 2004, producing a revised draft of Articles 1-18 of the proposal (6361/04, 20.2.04, pdf).
11. The Commission's proposal
on the creation of an EU Border Police (COM(2003) 687, 11.11.03)
has been revised following EU working party discussions: latest
draft (6226/04, 12.2.04, pdf). Statewatch
analysis showed how the Commission's proposal was hiding
the development of unaccountable, operational bodies under an
ad hoc framework set out in EU Action Plans. A report from the
Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum on the
implementation of the EU
Action Plan to combat illegal immigration by sea (15445/03,
28.11.03, adopted by November 2003 JHA Council) shows that the
new Sea Borders Centre, Risk Analysis Centre, Centre of Excellence
(in Dover) are working with Europol, the immigration liaison
officers network and false documents party: implementation
report (5769/04, 29.1.04).
12. A Decision on the creation of an EU network of Immigration Liaison Officers was adopted as an A-point by the JHA Council on 19 February 2004 (15813/03, 7.1.04). However, it is clear that a de facto network has been operating for some time. The posting of "immigration liaison officers" (ILOs) has been a central of tenet of EU immigration policy since Maastricht. With the larger member states already using ILOs as part of domestic policy, the EU rationale is that the pool of EU liaison officers could work for the benefit of all the member states. A Joint Action on a common framework for the initiatives of the Member States concerning liaison officers was agreed in October 1996. This was followed by Council conclusions in November 2000 on the "exchange of information and cooperation between the Member States in combating illegal immigration networks" (including the role of ILOs); in May 2001 on "the creation of a network of national immigration liaison officers to help control illegal migration flows through the Western Balkan region"; and in June 2002 the Seville European Council called for the creation of a network of immigration liaison officers before the end of 2002. These initiatives are not mentioned in the adopted Decision.
13. The Council has produced a revised draft of the proposal on the information and coordination network for migration management (the "Iconet" proposal, 6058/04, 9.2.04, pdf). Three issues will be "examined at a later stage": (1) a possible agreement between the Commission and Europol regarding Europol's participation in Iconet (on the basis of the current proposal and its legal basis, Europol would be excluded from participation in the network); (2) "the German delegation suggested that the network could also be used for the exchange of personal data between the national contact points and would submit a more concrete proposal in due time"; (3) the participation of the future Border Agency in the network can be swiftly carried out once the Agency has been established.
14. The Commission has presented its long awaited proposal on the creation of the EU Visa Information System (VIS) (COM (2004) 99). This makes no mention of the detailed functions for VIS already agreed by the Council in the form of conclusions: See Statewatch analysis January 2004 and documentation on SIS, SIS II and VIS.
15. A proposal on subsistence requirements for visa applicants, first made in 2000 but not adopted, has been resurrected (5572/04, 21.1.04). It would amend the EU Common Consular Instructions to require visa applicants to prove that they have between 40 and 60 euros per day for the duration of their stay.
16. The Commission has proposed signature and conclusion of the EC-Albania readmission agreement (COM (2004) 92).
17. The Regulation on financial and technical assistance to third states for immigration, asylum and border controls as adopted by the JHA Council in February (PE-CONS 3968/03, 6.2.04). The budget is 250 million euros for the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2008, of which EUR 120 million is for the period until 31 December 2006, at which point the Commission may propose additional funds.
18. The first annual report on implementation of the ARGO programme 2002-3 has been produced (6485/04, 19.4.04, pdf file). The ARGO programme provides funds for the implementation of EU measures on immigration controls.
19. The EU Working Party on Migration and Expulsion has produced a questionnaire on the EU travel document (6147/04, 10.2.04, pdf). It is the first stage in an evaluation of the usefulness of the EU travel document "with a view to adopting Council conclusions and recommendations on its current and future use".
20. The Strategic Committee on Immigration Frontiers and Asylum has agreed in principle a standard form for refusals at borders ( 16120/03, 12.2.04, pdf). This is to allow the MS to "identify the reasons for a previous decision to refuse the entry of an alien". The standard form "includes a categorisation of the possible reasons for refusal of entry" and provides for an indication "in the passport of the alien concerned the reason or reasons for refusal".
33. The Dutch proposal
for an amendment
to the "Brussels I" Regulation (concerning
jurisdiction over employment contracts) has lapsed with the entry
into force of the Nice Treaty on 1 February 2004.
Statewatch continues to
report the developments and controversy over the exchange of
passenger data with the USA:
34. A draft EP Resolution is highly critical of the Decision by the Commission and Council on access to passenger data (PNR), reserving the right to take the issue to the European Court of Justice.
35. The Article 29 Working Party on data protection has produced a report on transfer of PNR data to Canada (pdf file).
36. The EP rapporteur on PNR has written to national parliaments (text of letter, pdf).
37. A speech by Stefano Rodota, chair of the EU's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, is also critical of the scheme in its current form (text of speech, pdf).
38. A draft Commission Decision on the adequacy of US "undertakings" on data protection in the EU-US agreement on PNR was agreed at the General Affairs Council on 16.2.04 (pdf). US "undertakings", 12 January (see pp 7-10, pdf file).
39. The UK Parliamentary Committee has strongly criticised the Commission report.
40. The EU is leading the call for a global agreement on the exchange of passenger data.
41. For full background see: Observatory on exchange of passenger data (PNR) with the USA
42. and: Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR).
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