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    ISSN 1756-851X
    28 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.

EU: Council of the European Union: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: LIMITE documents from 27 April 2015: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation): RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Preparation for a general approach: Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 7978-REV 1-15, pdf) 53 pages with 233 Member State positions. Possible deal on the key chapter of the data protection regulation - going to COREPER tomorrow.

EU: CONNECTED CONTINENT: Council of the European Union: 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 third informal trilogue - examination of the Presidency compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 8337-15,pdf)

Statewatch News Online: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (08/15) (pdf) and News Online, 27 April 2015 (09/15) (pdf): 18 stories with documentation and 26 News reports from In the News Digest (129 news links from across the EU, so far in April, updated daily)

EU will keep treaty with USA on terrorist finance tracking in force, see: Draft reply to a letter from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party concerning the Renewal of the TFTP Agreement between EU and US (pdf): "the Agreement will automatically be renewed for a period of 1 year from 1 August 2015." See attached letter to Ms Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairperson, Article 29 Data Protection Working Party.

EU: MED CRISIS:

Royal Navy to send drones to the Mediterranean to save migrants Unarmed surveillance drones could be sent to search for dangerously overloaded boats packed with people making the perilous crossing from Libya to Europe (Daily Telegraph, link)

If the EU Attacks Migrant Boats in Zuwara, Libya, How Will It Select from Among the 100s of Boats? (Migrants at Sea, link): "There is no effective and safe (or legal) means by which a particular smuggling boat can be identified and destroyed without destroying multiple other boats."

UK: Special branch "political police" spied on Wapping leaders (Morning Star, link): "Reports unearthed by SOLOMON HUGHES show “anti-violence” officers kept secret files on union chiefs and MPs who dared to support striking printers: "In 2005 I asked for pecial Branch files relating to the Wapping dispute between the Print Unions and News International. The Metropolitan Police gave me the 215-page file, which includes regular - often daily - reports of the picketing and demoemonstrations by Special Branch officers....In a bizarre twist, while the Metropolitan Police did release these Wapping files to me in 2005, they have since refused all requests from other people for copies of the files, for "national security" reasons. They were not secret in 2005, but they are in 2015."

See also: Postal staff urged to find out if they were included on blacklist - Secret file of workers uncovered in 2009 after raid by Information Commissioner’s Office on Consulting Association (Guardian, link)

‘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]


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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