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    ISSN 1756-851X
    27 April 2015
 

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Top 20 stories - for full contents see: Statewatch News online or What's New: lists all items on the website.

‘The time is here to be seized’ (Institute of Race Relations, link) Written by A. Sivanandan:

"Neoliberalism is not working. All that stuff, about wealth trickling down, no society only individuals, the market as the regulator of everything, is shown to be false in terms of everyday reality."

And: Living to tell the tale (link): "On 18 April, a celebration event of the work of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and its Director Emeritus, Sivanandan, turned into a serious discussion on how to unite and strengthen struggles at a time of globalisation and austerity." and Film: Catching History on the Wing and Buy a copy of the film (link) plus ‘Siva’s aphorisms’ (powerpoint, link)

EU: NEW REGULATION ON DATA PROTECTION: European Parliament: Council’s consolidated version of March 2015) (630 pages, 4.5MB, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"

UN-UK-MEDIA: UN Human Rights Chief urges U.K. to tackle tabloid hate speech, after migrants called “cockroaches” (link):

"After decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion, and in the wake of a recent article in the Sun newspaper calling migrants “cockroaches,” the UN Human Rights Chief on Friday urged the U.K. authorities, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb incitement to hatred by British tabloid newspapers, in line with the country’s obligations under national and international law."

UN human rights chief denounces Sun over Katie Hopkins 'cockroach' column - High commissioner launches scathing attack on tabloid columnist, comparing Hopkins’ migrant remarks with hate language used before Rwandan genocide (Guardian, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: Draft list of Member State "pledges" of military and other "assets" (pdf) Note so far Germany has only given 2 ships and UK warships are not included.

EU: MED CRISIS: Don’t Rock the Boat: EU leaders do as little as possible to address the migrant crisis (EU Law Analysis, link)

"Yesterday the EU leaders, in the European Council, adopted a policy for addressing the recent crisis of large-scale migrant death tolls crossing the Mediterranean. It builds upon the recent 10-point plan adopted by ministers (discussed here), but builds upon it in some respects. There were also some interesting last-minute changes to the earlier draft of the text (all of which are shown in the annex below), indicating leaders’ real priorities...

there is a specific commitment to triple the funds for ‘search and rescue’ as regards existing EU operations. However, this is only ‘within the mandate of Frontex’ – and the head of the EU border agency has stated that this agency does not really have a search and rescue role.

It should be noted that since these operations are coordinated by Frontex, detailed rules of EU law will apply (discussed here) will apply. These rules do allow, in some cases, for returns of migrants directly from their rescue to non-EU countries – as long as those countries are safe. It is unlikely that in the current situation, Libya would qualify as safe."

See: Comparison between Draft and Final Statements (pdf)

Although the statement limits fingerprinting to those who apply for asylum see Statewatch on EU plan for ""systematic identification": Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers

EU MED CRISIS: European Council: Press release (pdf) Final text does not even commit to tiny number of 5,000 resettlement places

EU: MED CRISIS: MEPs condemn EU leaders’ shameful response to migration crisis in Mediterranean (GUE/NGL, link):

"GUE/NGL MEPS have condemned EU leaders in the strongest possible terms for not responding to the spiralling death toll in the Mediterranean with a much-needed robust search and rescue operation as well as proposals for safe and legal access to the EU.

Draft conclusions from today's emergency summit in Brussels show that instead EU governments want to prevent migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores and return swiftly those who arrive in Europe."

Euromedrights: OPEN LETTER TO THE EU HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENTS: ‘No More Excuses’ for Deaths at Sea: Reform Policies, Save Lives! (link):

"Ahead of the EU’s extraordinary summit of 23 April 2015, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is calling on the 28 Heads of States and Governments to urgently reconsider the proposed package of measures to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The EMHRN exhorts EU leaders to shift their focus away from surveillance, intelligence gathering and border controls towards a genuine human rights perspective – with the protection of migrants and refugees at the heart of their concerns."

See also: A deadly crossing: Hasan’s story (AI, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING 23 APRIL 2015, Brussels: Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf) and Questions and Answers: Facts and Figures on cooperation with Africa How does the EU cooperate with Africa on migration? (pdf) and see story below

EU: MED CRISIS: Most migrants crossing Mediterranean will be sent back, EU leaders to agree - Exclusive: Confidential draft from summit reveals that only 5,000 migrants will be allowed to resettle in Europe with at least 150,000 likely to be repatriated (Guardian link):

"EU’s Frontex border agency, the head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, said on the eve of the summit that saving migrants’ lives should not be the priority for his maritime patrols despite the clamour for a more humane response after the deaths of 800 refugees and migrants at the weekend."

See: Statewatch EU Council Draft Conclusions document: Draft European Council Conclusions (pdf)

EU-MED-CRISIS RESPONSE: Draft European Council Statement for 25 April 2015 Summit of Prime MInisters and Heads of State (pdf). includes:

- "to increase the search and rescue possibilities within the mandate of FRONTEX; [p.m.: welcome pledges]

But asks for "volunteer" Member States to join search and rescue - no commitment by all governments

and:- increased intelligence and police-cooperation with third countries

- systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers. The High Representative is invited to immediately begin
preparations for a possible CSDP operation to this effect, in accordance with international law
- increase support to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger among others, to monitor and control the land borders and routes in order to prevent potential
migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores,
- promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin
- new return programme for the rapid return of irregular migrants
- voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering at least 5,000 places to persons qualifying for protection
- registration and finger-printing"
[emphasis added]

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and ‘endangers human rights’ (link):

"Approving a draft resolution based on a report by Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Assembly said: “Mass surveillance does not appear to have contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks, contrary to earlier assertions made by senior intelligence officials. Instead, resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act.”

See: Resolution (pdf) Adopted Recommendations (pdf)

ITALY: Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) statement: Italy and Europe must react immediately to stop the tragedy of the deaths in the Mediterranean: "Inactivity makes them accomplices of a slaughter: A failure to immediately adopt the measures listed above would entail a serious responsibility on Europe's part as, by forgetting its founding values, it remains objectively indifferent to the tragedies that are taking place at our borders."

EU: OPENNESS: Secretive 'trialogue' talks to agree EU law face investigation (euractiv, link): "Three-way talks between the major European institutions to broker deals on EU law face being investigated over their lack of transparency by the bloc’s maladministration watchdog." See: Statewatch Analyses by Tony Bunyan: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf) and Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf): "Under a new agreement between the Council and the European Parliament the efficiency of decision -making is enhanced at the expense of transparency, openness and accountability"

EU: LIBYA & SEARCH & RESCUE: European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-15, pdf):"three possible scenarios for the near future; a stalemate, with no clear winner; an escalation of violence, in which one side might overcome the other following a full-scale civil war; or a cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the political process. What these scenarios demonstrate is that the possibility for the EU to define its strategy and programme its activities depends highly on the outcome. The first 2 scenarios are clearly not conducive to any major EU footprint and/or support programme. Only a ceasefire agreement could eventually allow for a resumption of EU support" [emphasis in original]

and see: Mass drowning prompts talk of EU search-and-rescue operation (euobserver, link): "The EU is mulling options to launch a fully-fledged search and rescue operation following the reported drowning of some 700 EU-bound migrants over the weekend. Speaking on the behalf of Latvia’s EU presidency, interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis on Monday (20 April) said “options should be explored for setting up a full-fledged search and rescue operation of the EU”. But Kozlovskis’ call for a EU-wide rescue mission is likely to meet resistance from national governments like the UK, which insist aid efforts are a pull factor for more people to make the perilous journey. The deaths and boating tragedies have historically been met with emotional statements from the EU and most governments but little in terms of action. “How many more people will have to drown until we finally act in Europe?” said European parliament president Martin Schulz in a statement."

And: EU to launch military operations against migrant-smugglers in Libya (Guardian, link): "The European Union is to launch military operations against the networks of smugglers in Libya deemed culpable of sending thousands of people to their deaths in the Mediterranean. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration issues, said the operation would be “civil-military” modelled on previous military action in the Horn of Africa to combat Somali piracy. The military action would require a UN mandate." [emphasis added]

EU: Leaked digital single market’s ‘evidence file’ reveals Commission’s ambitions - Documents show policy came before evidence for cybersecurity measures (Politico, link):

"Leaked copies of the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy and its supporting Evidence file show the European Commission is ready to propose vast regulatory reforms that could affect everything from sales taxes and e-privacy to Internet searches and big data. The Evidence file, obtained on Monday by POLITICO, tracked changes in the Commission’s priorities and concern for its public image... The strategy, which is entering into service consultation Tuesday and is set to be released on May 6, sets out a roadmap for pushing member states to accept far-reaching changes....

the Commission’s document pointedly identifies their failure to finalize a substantial Telecom Single Market package, known as “Connected Continent”. The inter-service version of the new plan, now circulating, confirms that the Commission is giving up on much of the Connected Continent and, for now, settling for a deal restricted to roaming and net neutrality."

See: Commission Communication (pdf) and Digital Single Market Evidence (link to pdf, 21MB)

See also: CONNECTED CONTINENT: UPDATED for TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Preparation for the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7741-rev-1-15, 308 pages, pdf) ""The second informal trilogue will take place on 21 April 2015." Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"

EU: "FORTRESS EUROPE" RE-BORN: SEARCH & RESCUE CRISIS IN MED: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which do not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" but which includes:

- "A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers" which would require a "civil-military" operation to be authorised by the Council
- "Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants"
- "Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States"
and "Consider options for an emergency relocation"

See: Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU sets out measures (BBC News, link)

Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean: What can the EU do? (EU Law Analysis, link): "There is a moral imperative for the EU to act swiftly and effectively to address the issue." and also Watch the Med (link): "Watch the Mediterranean Sea is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants' rights at the maritime borders of the EU"

EU: Response to deaths in the Mediterranean (19.4.15): Press release (pdf): "the Foreign Affairs Council that will meet tomorrow in Luxembourg, will [discuss] the next steps the EU is going to take to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in an effective and truly European way."

France debates proposed surveillance laws amidst civil society opposition

A new bill on intelligence gathering, debated this week in the French Parliament has been criticised over its ambiguity, allowing for increased surveillance by the State. Motivated by the protection of national security, as well as territorial integrity, the bill is drafted for the additional purpose of counter-terrorism, counter organised crime and in the interests of foreign policy including within the European Union. If passed, the bill would strengthen the monitoring techniques of intelligence services as well as the methods and technology currently used in surveillance.

EU: Search and rescue: The Observer view on the human tragedy in the Mediterranean (link) Editorial: "Europe can’t afford to sit back and do nothing when thousands of migrants are dying every week in search of a new life in Italy and Greece... The fundamental causes of this crisis will take years to address. An urgent first step is to reinstitute EU-underwritten search and rescue operations" and see: Trivialising migrant deaths: why words matter (EU Law Analysis, link): "The escalating tragedy of thousands of migrants’ lives being lost every year during attempted Mediterranean crossings is one of the most difficult issues facing the EU’s immigration policy."

EU response: European Commission: European Commission Statement on developments in the Mediterranean (19-4-15,pdf): "as long as countries of origin and transit do not take action to prevent these desperate trips, people will continue to put their lives at risk" [emphasis added]

And see: Statement of High Representative on capsizing of a migrants' boat in the Mediterranean Sea (19-4-15, pdf): "Every single day, we have the duty to save human lives, sharing among all the 28 this duty and a responsibility that for too long has been left only to the southern countries.... I've decided to put the issue of migration as a formal point on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council I convened tomorrow in Luxembourg, where I'll present a set of proposals for Libya, one of the main routes of illegal trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"Migrants are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty which require long-term solutions. The underlying causes are wars and conflicts, persecution by oppressive and authoritarian regimes or "broken" states, poverty stemming from global inequality and exploitation and the long-term implications of climate change. And the political will to meaningfully address these issues is manifestly absent.

The response to the immediate and continuing tragedies should be obvious. The EU needs to launch an unequivocal and permanent search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean matched by a commitment by all EU governments to share responsibility for migrants' welfare."

And: UNHCR - New Mediterranean boat tragedy may be biggest ever, urgent action is needed now (link)

EU: European Commission says the plans for accession by the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights needs to be changed: Presidency: To: Working Party on fundamental rights, citizens' rights and free movement of persons: On: 21 April 2015: Subject: Technical written contribution from the Commission services - Co-respondent mechanism - Prior involvement of the CJEU (LIMITE doc no DS 1216-15, pdf):

"Article 3 (6) of the draft Accession Agreement should be amended in such a way as to provide for an unlimited right of the EU as a co-respondent to initiate the prior involvement procedure (on the basis of its own interpretation of the case of the Court of Justice)

- paragraph 66 of the Explanatory Report should be amended in order to clarify that the prior involvement procedure also covers the interpretation (and not only the validity) of secondary law."

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposals from Eurojust: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7445-15, pdf) including the involvement of Eurojust at the investigative stage.prior to arrest and charges.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Biometric data and data protection law: the CJEU loses the plot (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Universityof Essex: "I won’t mince words: this judgment is appalling. It’s sensible enough as regards the scope of the passports Regulation itself, which clearly wasn’t intended to apply to any national identity cards or to the creation of government databases using biometric data. But the Court’s fundamental flaw is its failure to confirm and elaborate upon the application of the Charter and the data protection Directive to such databases."

EU: Rights groups: EU leaders don’t care about drowning immigrants (euractiv, link): "Rights groups lashed out at the EU on Wednesday for scrapping rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying it had endangered the lives of thousands of desperate migrants making perilous journeys across the sea."

And see: CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mediterranean migrant tragedy: PACE rapporteur calls for a co-ordinated European response (link): "“The humanitarian plight of these people has become unbearable,” said the rapporteur. “The human rights of refugees, on the one hand, as well as the fight against unscrupulous traffickers, on the other, should be addressed at a European level as a matter of priority.”

See: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the situation in the Mediterranean at the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament Brussels, 14 April 2015 (pdf): Makes no mention or commitment to search and rescue.


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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