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    ISSN 1756-851X
    20 July 2018

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EU-HUNGARY: At last the EU acts: Migration and Asylum: Commission takes further steps in infringement procedures against Hungary (Press release, pdf):

"The European Commission has today decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law. The Commission has also today sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning new Hungarian legislation which criminalises activities that support asylum and residence applications and further restricts the right to request asylum.(...)

The new legislation – so-called "Stop Soros" by the Hungarian authorities – criminalises any assistance offered by any person on behalf of national, international and non-governmental organisations to people wishing to apply for asylum or for a residence permit in Hungary. The laws also include measures which restrict individual freedoms, by preventing anyone who is subject to a criminal procedure under these laws from approaching the transit zones at Hungary's borders, where asylum seekers are held. Sanctions range from temporary confinement to imprisonment of up to 1 year and expulsion from the country." [emphasis added]

UK: British Transport Police "ignorance" of covert surveillance law leaves court "astonished"

The British Transport Police (BTP) has been condemned by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) for a covert surveillance operation directed at a former police superintendent whose subsequent arrest was then the subject of a "gratutitous" press release. He was charged with five counts of sexual assault and found innocent. The judgment highlights the "disturbing lack of familiarity with the relevant requirements of [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act] by almost every officer who was involved."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16-18.7.18) including: Europol proposals on migrant smuggling; Libyan Coast Guard left two adults and a baby to die; Austrian Presidency proposals on asylum

EU: Immigration, Lot of Myths and Little Reality (IPS, link) by Roberto Savio:

"According to the latest statistics, the total flow of immigrants so far in 2018 is 50.000 people, compared with 186,768 last year, 1,259,955 in 2016 and 1,327,825 in 2015. The difference between reality and perceptions is so astonishing, we are clearly witnessing one of the most brilliant manipulations in history."

EU: Libyan Coast Guard left two adults and a baby to die at sea, says rescue group

The Libyan Coast Guard left two adults and a baby to die at sea after destroying the boat in which they were travelling some 80 miles off the coast of Libya, according to the sea rescue organisation Proactiva Open Arms.

EU Austrian Presidency document: "a new, better protection system under which no applications for asylum are filed on EU territory"

A crude paper authored by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU and circulated to other Member States's security officials refers disparagingly to "regions that are characterised by patriarchal, anti-freedom and/or backward-looking religious attitudes" and calls for "a halt to illegal migration to Europe" and the "development of a new, better protection system under which no applications for asylum are filed on EU territory," with some minor exceptions.

See: Austrian Presidency: Informal Meeting of COSI, Vienna, Austria, 2-3 July 2018: Strengthening EU External Border Protection and a Crisis-Resistant EU Asylum System (pdf)

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday relatives urge extension of undercover policy inquiry to North

Recent revelations of the activities of undercover British police in the North make it "imperative" that the Undercover Police Inquiry (UCPI) be extended to Northern Ireland, Kate Nash said last week.

Ms. Nash's brother was killed and her father wounded when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry in January 1972.

EU: Informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Vienna: press releases

Three press releases were published by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU following an informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Vienna on 12 and 13 July 2018.

Hungary is determined to silence any critics left standing (euronews, link):

"With independent media largely silenced or taken over, the courts increasingly curbed, and a parliament firmly under the control of the newly re-elected Fidesz ruling party, Hungary’s nongovernmental groups are the most effective remaining voices to hold the government to account. It should come as no surprise then that they are increasingly under fire.

EU: Council discussions underway on implementing "interoperable" centralised database including EU citizens

The various Council Working groups are considering how the new centralised Justice and Home Affairs is going to work within the overall framework which is set out in: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area: - State of play of its implementation (third implementation report) (LIMITE doc no: 7931-REV-1-18, pdf).

The Commission tries to maintain the pretence that the new centralised database will only cover non-EU nationals but the Justice and Home Affairs working groups and the Security Commissioner are on record that the second stage will cover all existing and new databases including EU citizens.

EU: Council plans to export refugees with negative asylum decisions to "Return Centres" outside EU

The Austrian Council Presidency has circulated the following to Member States' delegations: Presidency discussion paper on Return Centers (LIMITE doc no: 10829-18, pdf, 4 July 2018) calling for "the establishment of Return Centers in third countries."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9-15.7.18)

Press release 12 July 2018: For immediate release; Statewatch launch new Observatory as interoperable Justice and Home Affairs databases morph into a centralised Big Brother database

"The time to ring the alarms bells is not when Big Brother is in place but when there are the first signs of its construction." (Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director)

This Observatory covers the so-called "interoperability" of EU JHA databases which in reality will create a centralised EU state database covering all existing and future JHA databases - through combining biometrics and personal data in a single search.

The Statewatch:
Observatory on "point of no return"

UK-EU-BREXIT: White Paper July 2018: The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union (pdf): See pages 51-63 on justice and home affairs cooperation.

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (First reading) (LIMITE doc no: 10973-18, pdf): The Council developing its negotiating position with 286 Footnotes with Member State positions.

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 - Revised four column table (LIMITE doc no: 10827-18, pdf): Multicolumn document with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise" position.

And see on above document: Presidency note with questions LIMITE doc no 10828-18, pdf)

Neo-Nazi NSU member Beate Zschäpe found guilty of murder, sentenced to life in prison (DW, link):

"The surviving member of the neo-Nazi terrorist group the National Socialist Underground (NSU), Beate Zschäpe, has been found guilty of 10 counts of murder. The trial was one of the biggest in postwar German history.

Beate Zschäpe, member of the neo-Nazi terrorist group the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for the murder of ten people between 2000 and 2007, as well as her part in two bombings, and several robberies and attempted murders. She was also found guilty of membership in and the foundation of a terrorist organization.

And see: Germany's neo-Nazi NSU trial verdict sparks protests, calls for investigation (DW, link):

"Germans took to the streets after the verdict delivery in the National Socialist Underground trial to demand that investigations continue into the series of right-wing extremist murders — and into state failures.""

MED RESCUES: I’m a doctor in Lampedusa. We can’t let these migrant deaths go on by Pietro Bartolo (Guardian, link):

"In the Mediterranean we’re witnessing a slaughter of innocents. I have seen the suffering, and I am ashamed of the Italian government’s response (...)

I stopped feeling proud to be Italian from the moment our government, denying all that had previously been done, decided to establish an agreement with Libyan groups in Tripoli – which meant, directly or indirectly, with people smugglers. I still remember how in 2016 my country had vigorously joined the outrage triggered by Europe’s decision to bankroll Turkey’s President Erdogan with €6bn so he’d ignore or stop the migration flows from Syria. Italy’s position was then sacrosanct. It has since been somehow inexplicably disavowed in deeds."

Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

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