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    01 May 2017
 

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EU: Council of the European Union: "Blue Card", Qualifications and Resettlement

"BLUE CARD" - Legal migration: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (LIMITE doc no: 8544-17, pdf): The Council developing its negotiating position - with 138 Footnotes giving Member State positions

QUALIFICATIONS of REFUGEES: Proposal for a Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (LIMITE doc no: 8302-17, pdf):

The Council developing its negotiating position - with 177 Footnotes giving Member State positions

Resettlement: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council (First reading) (LIMITE doc no: 8382-17, pdf): The Council developing its negotiating position - with 173 Footnotes giving Member State positions:

"In order to help reduce the risk of a large-scale irregular inflow of third-country nationals and stateless persons to the territory of the Member States, show solidarity with countries in regions to which or within which a large number of persons in need of international protection has been displaced by helping to alleviate the pressure on those countries, and help achieve the Union's foreign policy objectives, the regions or third countries from which resettlement is to occur should fit in a tailored engagement with third countries to better manage migration...."

EU-UK BREXIT: European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations: European Council (Art. 50) guidelines following the United Kingdom's notification under Article 50 TEU (Press release, pdf) and Guidelines official document: Special meeting of the European Council (Art. 50) (29 April 2017) - Guidelines (Doc no: EUCO XT 20004/17, pdf).

See also: EU Brexit guidelines: What's in the document, and what it really means (Telegraph, link)

EU: "Hotspots": Court of European Auditors: Migration hotspots are working, but critical issues remain, say EU Auditors (Press release, pdf):

"The EU’s so-called “hotspot” approach for irregular migrants arriving in Italy and Greece has helped to significantly improve the registration, identification and security checking of migrants. But more needs to be done as thousands of migrants are still stranded on the Greek islands after their arrival, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. Many of those affected are unaccompanied minors, say the auditors, and more should be done to help them.....

relocation is no longer an option, and returns are slow. As a result, there are still more migrants arriving at the hotspots than leaving, and they are seriously overcrowded." [emphasis added]

See: Full report (pdf)

EU summit to mull post-Brexit membership for a ‘united Ireland’ (euractiv, link): "EU leaders will discuss whether to back automatic membership for Northern Ireland after Brexit if it ever reunifies with Ireland, sources said yesterday (27 April). Ireland is expected to ask the 27 European Union leaders to endorse the idea when they meet in Brussels on Saturday (1 May) without Britain to adopt guidelines for Brexit negotiations."

President Tusk, Invitation Letter to Article 50 European Council: "in order to protect the peace and reconciliation process described by the Good Friday Agreement, we should aim to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. "

EU: Council of the European Union:
Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services in view of changing market realities - Guidance for future work (LIMITE doc no: 8242-17, pdf): The Council working out it negotiating position and 55 Footnotes with Member State positions: "The Presidency text introduced a number of changes to the definition of VSP services in Article 1(1)(aa) with the intention of clarifying the definition and extending its scope to cover more types of services, including the audiovisual content on 'social media ' services."

See also:European Parliament Briefing: The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.4.17) including: Libyan military to be linked up to European surveillance systems

Migrants and refugees are "routinely abused by law enforcement officials in the Western Balkans"

Migrants and refugees in the Western Balkans who are trying to access the territory of the EU "are being routinely abused by law enforcement officials," who are "subjecting people to violence and intimidation and denying access to asylum procedures to those seeking international protection," says a new report by Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association and Oxfam.

And see: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22-24.4.17)

UK: "Double disadvantage" for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women in the criminal justice system

A new report by Agenda and Women in Prison examines the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women in the UK's criminal justice system, including their perceptions of court procedures and practices, experiences of discrimination and racism in prison from both staff and other prisoners, and the impact on their families, for example through being separated from their children.

EU: Law enforcement and forensics: Member States seek improved facial recognition, handwriting analysis, mobile device examination

Member States' responses to a Council questionnaire on law enforcement agencies' training needs with regard to forensics show that there is interest in improving facial recognition, handwriting analysis, speech and audio analysis, digital forensics and the examination of mobile devices, amongst other things.

EU: €25 million for military research includes investigation into "swarming" naval drones

The EU's €25 million 'Preparatory Action on Defence Research' includes a project on technology "to demonstrate that situational awareness in a naval environment can be significantly improved" through the use of unmanned vehicles, which will examine the possibility of "swarming behaviours".

EU pays for "watch towers" on the Georgia-Turkey border

The recent newsletter of the Eastern Partnership Panel on migration provides updates from the first quarter of 2017 on relations between the EU and the 'Eastern Partnership' countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. This includes events such as the EU providing €3.4 million of "communication, surveillance and detection equipment for the strengthening of Georgia’s capabilities of guarding the green border with Turkey," including "watch towers".

German intelligence agency spied on Interpol and news organizations: Spiegel (DW, link)

"The respected news magazine "Spiegel" has reported that Germany's BND spied both on international police agencies and media outlets for years. The latest revelations come as a result of another spy scandal in the US.

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, spied on Interpol, the international police agency based in Lyon, France, as well as national offices in dozens of countries, including the United States, Austria and Greece, the German news magazine "Spiegel" reported on Saturday.

The magazine cited documents it had viewed, reporting that the spying had taken place over many years. It said the BND included the email addresses and phone and fax numbers of police investigators in its sector surveillance list..... The BND also monitored the European police agency, Europol, which is based in The Hague, the report said."

UK: Mayflower Myths (link): Concern over Mayflower 400

"There’s no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it."
(Said by Irwin in ‘The History Boys’ Film 2006 (based on the play by Alan Bennett))

To date, education and history appear to have been framed to service a tourist attraction, emphasizing the details of the 1620 journey and the make-up of the passengers rather than its colonial character and context.....

To date [January 2017] neither include materials about colonialism, slavery or the dramatic losses of Indigenous and African American lives and cultures that occurred both prior to and after the landing in late 1620. Moreover, it should be noted that Indigenous American organisations are currently campaigning over water and land rights and there are also campaigns over commemorations, such as Columbus Day..."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-21.4.17)

Biometric data exchange with the US military: Europol seconds liaison officer for Operation Gallant Phoenix (link):

"Police forces in the EU member states could be able to use fingerprints and DNA traces collected by the US military in Syria and Iraq in the near future. Intelligence services would also be granted access.... Alongside Operation Gallant Phoenix, the US Government has offered to set up a database on “foreign fighters” for a number of EU member states and to compare this information with the biometric data of incoming refugees. According to another paper by the current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, this is “battlefield data from Syria and Iraq and other conflict zones”.

See: Outcome of the EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials Meeting, Valletta, 1-2 March 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 7163-17, pdf) and Security checks in case of irregular immigration - mapping exercise (LIMITE doc no 6717-17, pdf)

Council of the European Union: Relocations, Eurodac & Skilled migrants

Implementation of Relocation Commitments (LIMITE doc no:, 8168-17, pdf):

The Note asks: "How many applicants for international protection will you be relocating from Greece and Italy over the coming five months (May-September) and how many will you be relocating per month?"

The latest 11th Report on relocation by the Commission says that: "Right now, Malta and Finland are the only two Member States so far on track to meet their obligations in time for both Italy and Greece." And records that since September 2015 only 11,339 refugees have been relocated out of 63,302 from Greece (just 18%) and 5,001 of 34,953 from Italy (just 14%)

Eurodac Regulation: Inclusion of colour copies of passport or ID documents in Eurodac (LIMITE doc no: 8221-17, pdf):

Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (LIMITE doc no: 8280-17, 76 pages, pdf): Latest Council negotiating position with 152 Member State positions in Footnotes.

Council of Europe: CPT urges European states to hold persons in remand detention only as a measure of last resort and in adequate conditions (link): "The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) urges the 47 Council of Europe member states to use remand detention only as a measure of last resort and to provide remand prisoners with adequate detention conditions. During visits to prisons throughout Europe, the CPT has often found that remand prisoners are held under very poor conditions and an impoverished regime....

In many European countries the persistent problem of overcrowding in prisons is due to a large extent to the high proportion of remand prisons among the total prison population. In its annual report, published today, the CPT stresses the need for member states to ensure the use, to the extent possible, of alternative measures to pre-trial detention such as provisional suspension of detention, bail, house arrest, electronic monitoring, removal of passports and judicial supervision." See: Annual report (pdf)

SPAIN: Report denounces the radicalisation of policies that violate fundamental rights at Spain's southern border

Press release published by the Andalucian Association for Human Rights (Associación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía, APDHA) on 29 March 2017. Emphasis in original. APDHA denounces the radicalisation of policies that violate fundamental rights at the southern border - During 2016 deaths increased 34% at European coasts and 125% at Spanish coasts

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.4.17) including: Greek and Italian detention centres massively overcrowded; child refugees in France face daily violence; UK plans new express deportation system; and more.

UK: Taser statistics: weapons fired less in 2016 but are "gaining compliance of members of the public"

The Home Office recently published statistics on the use of tasers by police forces across England and Wales during 2016. Overall, there has been an increase in the number of times tasers were drawn by police - reaching an average of 30 a day - but a small decrease in the number of times they were actually fired, leading the Police Federation to argue that "by virtue of possession of a Taser, police officers are gaining compliance of members of the public," thus justifying increased deployment of the electroshock weapons.

EU-AFRICA: Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community report 2016: "an unparalleled platform for information-sharing and joint analysis"

The Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC) "has now reached an enhanced level of maturity," according to the body's annual report for 2016, and is an "unparalleled platform for information-sharing and joint analysis with African countries" which has "captured further attention from the key policy makers in Europe and Africa."

Romanian EU-funded project accused of data protection violations (EurActiv, link):

"The Romanian government has been accused of bias in its awarding of EU funding to the country’s intelligence services. The e-Governance project is also facing serious allegations that it violates European and domestic laws on personal data protection.

UK-IRELAND: Undercover policing: secret Garda report on Mark Kennedy's activities in Ireland: Information Commissioner's decision

On 13 April 2017 the Irish Office of the Information Commissioner published a decision ordering the Department of Justice and Equality to release a 2011 report by An Garda Síochána (Ireland's police force) on the activities of exposed undercover police officer Mark Kennedy. A subsequent article in The Times, based on the report, said that it shows "the gardaí defended having a relationship with international police forces that allowed spies to work here and defended keeping such arrangements a secret from the government."


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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