News online - current lead stories
us on and
Top 20 stories - for full
contents see: Statewatch News
online or What's New:
lists all items on the website.
JUNE 2016: STATEWATCHING
EUROPE: European conference marking Statewatch's 25th anniversary
Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside
the EU - a humanitarian emergency: Daily news and document updates
Greece still unhappy with new external border control demands
The Greek government
continues to dispute the findings of a European Commission report
that cites "serious deficiencies" in Greece's external
border control and application of the Schengen legal framework
with Greece voting against and Cyprus and Bulgaria abstaining,
the Council of the EU has now adopted a Decision that makes 50
demands on Greece and warns the country "not to jeopardise
the functioning of the Schengen area."
sentences for Heathrow 13 activists would threaten our right
(The Guardian, link): "Last month, 13 activists were
tried in court for carrying out a peaceful protest against the
expansion of Heathrow airport. They were found guilty of aggravated
trespass, and await sentencing on 24 February. We believe it
would be unjust for these people to receive prison sentences
for their actions. Sending peaceful demonstrators to jail would
represent a massive threat to our right to protest in the UK."
And see: What
do the Heathrow 13 convictions tells us about future civil disobedience? (Netpol, link)
surveillance: "going dark"? Maybe not
A new report
based on discussions amongst "a diverse group of security
and policy experts from academia, civil society, and the U.S.
intelligence community" suggests that state surveillance
is unlikely to be hampered by the rise in the use of encryption
to the extent claimed by law enforcement and intelligence officials.
The report: Don't
Panic. Making Progress on the "Going Dark" Debate (pdf)
crisis: latest news from across Europe (News and major developments, 11.2.16)
AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE: TURKEY-GREECE-GERMANY-NATO:
Defence Ministers agree NATO support to assist with the refugee
and migrants crisis (NATO:press release, pdf)
the illegal trafficking and illegal migration in the Aegean"
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said...The Secretary General
stressed that this mission is not about stopping or
pushing back refugee boats, but about contributing
critical information and surveillance to help counter human
trafficking and criminal networks."
Statewatch Director, comments: "Has noone told him that
the great majority of arrivals come over through smuggling not
trafficking or that there is no such things as "illegal"
migration? And to say that the operation is "not about
stopping or pushing back boats" is economical with
NATO launches sea mission against migrant traffickers (Reuters, link): "Unlike
the EU's maritime mission off the Italian coast, which brings
rescued migrants to Europe's shores, NATO will return migrants
to Turkey even if they are picked up in Greek waters."
MASS REFOULEMENT?: Migrant
crisis: Nato deploys Aegean people-smuggling patrols (BBC News, link):
"German Defence Minister
Ursula Von der Leyen said several Nato members had pledged warships
and that any refugees rescued would be returned to Turkey,
a fellow Nato ally....
ships are being deployed to the Aegean sea to deter people-smugglers
taking migrants from Turkey to Greece.. The announcement followed
a request from Turkey, Germany and Greece at a defence ministers'
meeting in Brussels. Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said the mission
would not be about "stopping or pushing back refugee boats".
Nato, he said, will contribute "critical information and
surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks"."
Minister Kammenos on NATO's involvement in refugee crisis (ANAmpa, link):
"Kammenos noted that Greece in cooperation with Germany
as well as other members of the NATO managed to reach an agreement
that "will finally solve that migration issue."
"Greece has paid an extremely heavy price for the migration
and in the midst of an economic crisis disproportianetly with
the other state members of EU and NATO," stated Kammenos.
He also said that today's decision safeguards that NATO forces
operating in the Aegean will ensure that the migrants to be
arrested will directly return to Turkey. The second very
important fact is according to the Greek Defence Minister that
"it is totally clear that in the forces that will participate
in the NATO group, Turkey will only operate inside its territorial
waters and airspace and Greece accordingly." [emphasis
EU-GREECE: 50 DEMANDS:
Council of the European Union: Draft
Council Implementing Decision setting out a Recommendation on
addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2015 evaluation
of the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of management
of the external borders by Greece (LIMITE doc no: 5876-15, pdf): Detailed
MASS TRANSFER OF ASYLUM-SEEKERS
TO GREECE?: European Commission adopted the following: Recommendation
of 10.2.2016 addressed to the Hellenic Republic on the urgent
measures to be taken by Greece in view of the resumption of transfers
under Regulation (EU) No. 604/2013 (pdf): This Recommendation could mean
that asylum seekers - who should under Dublin have been first
registered in Greece could be transferred back there by other
EU Member States:
Regular reporting by Greece on the progress being made in implementing
these actions, as well as other relevant elements including any
forthcoming reports from UNCHR and other relevant organisations,
should clarify the assessment of whether the conditions are such
as to allow for Member States to resume individual transfers
to Greece under the Dublin Regulation, bearing in mind that the
volume of transfers and the categories of persons to be transferred
should correspond to the specific progress made.
(26) Any resumption of Dublin transfers to Greece should also
take into account that Greece still receives a large number of
potential asylum seekers on a daily basis, and it should be avoided
that an unsustainable burden is placed on Greece.
(27) The responsibility for deciding on such resumption of transfers
lies exclusively with Member States' authorities under the control
of the courts, which may make preliminary references to the European
Court of Justice on the interpretation of the Dublin Regulation."
asylum-seekers are currently not provided with the necessary
free legal aid to enable them to pursue an appeal against
a first instance asylum decision, in accordance with the EU rules.
The relevant provisions of Council Directive 2013/32/EU have
not yet been transposed into national law or implemented."
The Commission is being
dishonest: In the Communication State of Play of Implementation
of the Priority Actions under the European
Agenda on Migration, under the heading "Safe third countries"
it says: "Asylum Procedures Directive requires that the
possibility exists to receive protection in accordance with the
Geneva Convention" (page 18, COM
The full text
of the clause in the Procedures Directive is of course 'the
possibility exists to request refugee status and, if found to
be a refugee, to receive protection in accordance with the
Geneva Convention...'" They have deliberately omitted the
part in bold, with the words 'refugee status' and 'refugee',
referring to receiving protection only.
Professor of Law, University of Essex, comments: "How
is it possible for Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and many others to
'request refugee status', to be 'found to be a refugee' and to
'receive protection in accordance with the Geneva Convention'
in a country which (like Turkey) only applies the Geneva Convention
to refugees from Europe? The Commission's selective and misleading
quotation from the text of the EU Directive suggests that it
knows its argument is weak."
Joint Select Committee: Draft
Investigatory Powers Bill: Report (pdf): "Investigatory Powers:
on the right track but significant changes needed. In its report,
published today, the Committee supports the intention behind
the draft Bill, which is to bring together the numerous provisions
in statute governing intrusive powers which already exist into
one clear piece of legislation. But the Committee finds that
important clarity is lacking in a number of areas." Oral
(link) and Written
crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.2.16)
crisis: European Commission "State of Play" reports:
10 February 2016
CARRY ON AND IMPLEMENT
THE DECISIONS: European Council: European
Council (18-19 February 2016) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 5078-16,
Members of the Schengen area should apply fully the Schengen
Borders Code and refuse entry at external borders to third-country
nationals who do not satisfy the entry conditions or who have
not made an asylum application despite having had the opportunity
to do so...
As far as
the "European Border and Coast Guard" proposal is concerned,
work should be accelerated with a view to reaching a political
agreement under the Netherlands Presidency."
UK: The European Court
of Justice has agreed to expedite the hearing of the Davis-Watson
mass surveillance case:
clear that national legislation that permits the retention of
all electronic communications data and subsequent access to that
data is liable to cause serious interference with the fundamental
rights laid down in Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter (see judgment
in Digital Rights Ireland and Others, C.293/12 and C.594/12,
EU:C:2014:238, paragraph 37)....
it is appropriate to order that Case C.698/15 be determined pursuant
to the expedited procedure."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.2.16)
Where is the EU going?
Turkish PM in Brussels migration talks
prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is set to meet leaders from
a handful of EU states ahead of an EU summit in Brussels next
week... A similar pre-summit meeting was held last December with
Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Greece,
France, Portugal, Slovenia and the Netherlands at the Austrian
permanent representation in Brussels...
hoping to get visa restrictions on its nationals lifted in October.
The EU wants to start returning people this summer who transited
through Turkey to claim asylum in the EU but are not entitled
to international protection.... Nato will discuss possible
support for patrolling the Aegean, after the idea was raised
by Germany and Turkey on Monday.... outstanding political issues
remain, with some member states, particularly in the east,
reluctant to accept Muslims" and
Turkey, Germany to involve NATO in monitoring
Syrian refugee exodus (euractiv, link): "Turkey and Germany
plan to seek help from NATO allies in monitoring Syrian refugees
trying to get to Europe across the Aegean Sea, Turkish Prime
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said yesterday (8 February)."
National reluctance sinks EU's refugee
relocation plan (euractiv, link): "European Commission
chief Jean-Claude Juncker's flagship plan to stem Europe's migration
crisis by redistributing refugees around the bloc risks crumbling,
as EU states balk at sharing the burden, according to several
diplomats and officials.... some countries are setting unacceptable
conditions by refusing Muslims, black people or large families,
with Eastern European states the worst for discriminating on
religious or racial grounds." [emphasis added]
Council of Europe: Greek
Journalist Brutally Attacked during Public Rally (link):
reporter, Demitrios Perros, working as a freelance journalist
for the municipal radio Athens 9,84FM, was brutally
attacked by unknown assailants, on 4 February 2016, while covering
a protest rally organised by the public and private sector workers
confederations, in Athens. According to media reports, the journalist
was approached by persons unknown to him on Panepistimiou Street,
in the centre of the capital, and asked whether he was a journalist.
Following his positive answer, the men started hitting him with
wooden planks on the head and the spine while the police stood
by without taking any action to intervene. Demitrios Perros was
left seriously injured to the head and face and was taken to
the Red Cross hospital by colleagues."
from the European Federation of Journalists (pdf)
monitoring bill 'must do more to protect privacy' (BBC News, link):
to give firm legal backing to mass data collection and hacking
by Britain's spies do not do enough to protect privacy, a watchdog
has warned. The extent of the intelligence agencies' computer
and internet spying operation has recently become clear.
Investigatory Powers Bill is meant to put it on a firm legal
footing. But the Intelligence and Security Committee says the
bill lacks clarity and is a "missed opportunity"."
and Security Committee of Parliament: Report
on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (pdf) And see: MI5
"Covert Technical Operations Specialists" job ad (link)
got real-time leaks from EU security talks (euobserver, link):
"When EU ambassadors met in the Political and Security
Committee (PSC) to discuss Middle East policy on 15 January,
some of them didn't know there was in effect a 29th delegation
in the room - Israel. They were finalising a statement to be
endorsed by EU foreign ministers a few days later. But Israeli
diplomats appeared to be reading EU draft texts and amendments
in real time. Some EU sources said Israeli contacts sent text
messages to them with requests to alter wording shortly after
each new draft went round."
European Parliament study:
of female refugees and asylum seekers in the EU Case study Germany (pdf):
request by the FEMM Committee, the reception of female asylum
seekers in Germany is examined. The research is provided for
the delegation of FEMM Members to a refugee camp in Munich/Germany.
It presents both the EU and the German legal framework concerning
the reception of (female) refugees. Attention has been paid whether
gender-sensitive asylum application procedures and reception
conditions are provided in practice in Germany."
See: Resources for researchers:
Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
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 Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
The Statewatch website
Since its launch this website
has had 15,518,136 user sessions and
119,760,374 "hits" [September 2015]
In the year
2014 there were: 817,219
users sessions and 10,088,230 hits
Join Statewatch regular e-mail
list for new stories: Join Statewatch news e-mail list
database now holds more than 32,000 records (news,
features, analyses and documentation).
If you use this site regularly,
you are encouraged to make a donation
to Statewatch to support future research.
Statewatch is a non-profitmaking
voluntary group founded in 1991, see: About
Contributions to News online
and bulletin are welcomed, please
get in touch.
website is hosted by the Phone Co-op:
Friends of Statewatch
Statewatch does not have a corporate
view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are
those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content
of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute
Statewatch is registered under
the Data Protection Act. Information supplied will be not be
passed to third parties. Registered UK charity number: 1154784.
Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name:
The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office:
10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE.
ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair
dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on
our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed
only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the
relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing
Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms
and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.