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    ISSN 1756-851X
    21 June 2019

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EU: Non paper - Increasing transparency and accountability of the EU - Joint non paper by Estonia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands on increasing the transparency and accountability of the European Union (pdf)

"A future-proof and effective EU requires a Union that is accountable and enjoys the trust and participation of its citizens. Enhancing openness and sharing information are key, as it brings citizens closer to the EU and enables the institutions to enjoy greater legitimacy, accountability and effectiveness."

See Statewatch Observatory: FOI in the EU

EU must rethink migration policy that empowers "unaccountable militias and regimes", say rights groups

A coalition of civil society organisations working for democracy and human rights in Africa have accused the EU and its member states of empowering "unaccountable militias and regimes" and "undermining rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and the role of civil society" through activities undertaken as part of the EU-driven 'Khartoum Process' and the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

EU's terrorism filter plans: The problems just keep coming (ZDNet, link):

"A few weeks ago, German internet users discovered that their country's authorities had been keeping closer tabs on them than they realized.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.5-13.6.19) including:

  • France carries out first deportation to Eritrea
  • Germany: Bundestag approves new deportation law
  • Italy to fine people saving lives at sea
  • Frontex opens risk analysis cell in Senegal

HUNGARY: Criminalisation of homelessness: "No one has the right to be homeless…" (Verfassungsblog, link):

"In its decision of 4 June, the Hungarian Constitutional Court found section 178/B of the Act on Misdemeanors – making “residing in public spaces as habitual dwelling” a punishable act – conform to the constitution."

ECHR: Unaccompanied migrant minors stayed in Greece in conditions unsuited to their age and circumstances (pdf):

"In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Sh.D. and Others v. Greece, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia (application no. 14165/16) concerning the living conditions in Greece of five unaccompanied migrant minors from Afghanistan, the European Court of Human Rights, unanimously:

- declared the complaints against Austria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia inadmissible as being manifestly ill-founded;

- declared the complaints against Greece under Articles 3 and 5 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights admissible;"

See: Written Submission on behalf of Statewatch as Third Party Intervener (pdf)

UNHCR urges Italy to reconsider proposed decree affecting rescue at sea in the Central Mediterranean (UNHCR UK, link):

"UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is concerned at a recent decree from the Government of Italy that contains several provisions affecting refugees and migrants, including fines for NGO vessels engaged in saving lives at sea.

Sea rescue is a long-standing humanitarian imperative. It is also an obligation under international law. No vessel or shipmaster should be at risk of a fine for coming to the aid of boats in distress and where loss of life may be imminent."

LEAK: EU’s five-year plan doubles down on protecting borders (euractiv, link):

"EU leaders want to focus on migration and protection of external borders, or the “integrity of our physical space”, over the next five years, according to a draft of the so-called strategic agenda obtained by EURACTIV. Economy and climate action rank second and third.

In the draft strategy for 2019-2024, meant to guide the work of the EU institutions, national leaders prioritise migration policy over other areas, while strengthening the economy, fighting climate change and taking Europe global also feature."

See: Draft EU strategy 2019-2024 (pdf)

MI5 in court accused of ‘extraordinary and persistent illegality’ - Agency has been obtaining surveillance warrants based on false information, says Liberty (Guardian, link):

"MI5 has lost control of its data storage operations and has been obtaining surveillance warrants on the basis of information it knows to be false, the high court has heard.

The security agency has been accused of “extraordinary and persistent illegality” in a legal challenge brought by the human rights organisation Liberty. The failures have been identified by the official watchdog, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Sir Adrian Fulford, and admitted in outline by the home secretary, Sajid Javid. The full extent of the problems within MI5 began to become apparent in disclosures made public at the hearing on Tuesday. The revelations relate to bulk interceptions of data acquired through surveillance and hacking programmes and downloaded to its computers."

See statement by Home Secretary: Investigatory Powers Act 2016: Safeguards Relating to Retention and Disclosure of Material (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.6-10.6-19) including 20 items

Statewatch Analysis: The Commission and Italy tie themselves up in knots over Libya (pdf): by Yasha Maccanico.

At the end of March, the European Commission and the Italian interior minister appeared to undermine one another both respectively and collectively through a sequence of messages that emerged as part of their efforts to assert the existence of a Libyan search and rescue (SAR) zone.

The entire incident demonstrates how Italy and the European Commission are trying to assert the fiction of a Libyan SAR zone – financing it, providing resources and managing it – in order to neutralise concerns over both the north African country’s status as an unsafe place and their own humanitarian obligations.

UPDATED: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6-7 June: Returns, Migration challenges, data retention, e-evidence & 5G

Background Note (pdf), Main "B" points agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf), "A" Points - Non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf)

See: Press release for 6-7 June: final (pdf)

‘Violence by design’ – the PPT delivers its verdict on the hostile environment (IRR News, link): "Public tribunal finds hostile environment policies foster racism, institutional cruelty and violence by design.

As the scandal over the treatment of the Windrush generation and the failure to offer adequate compensation continues, the Home Office’s immigration and asylum policies are under scrutiny like never before. The Department of Health and Social Care are under fire too for failing to make public reports on the detrimental effects of immigration checks on migrants. Now the jury of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Violations of the Rights of Migrants and Refugees adds to the pressure, with a damning verdict on the impact of the government’s hostile environment policies."

See: PPT-Report.(pdf)

EU: Press release: EU officials in a panic over the possibility of a world without wiretapping

5G telecoms networks could render traditional police "lawful interception" techniques obsolete unless EU and national governments take action, according to internal EU documents obtained by Statewatch, which is today publishing a new analysis explaining the issues and calling for them to be debated in public.

EU: Ministerial statement on "migration challenges" keeps focus on control measures

Interior ministers and other representatives of EU and Western Balkan states recently produced a statement emphasising the need to maintain strict control measures along the 'Balkan Route' and at the EU's south-eastern borders, with no reference to the dire situation faced by many migrants and refugees in the region.

UPDATE: Case against EU taken to ICC on migration policy in the Mediterranean: Full-text of submission to the court (244 pages, pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.5-3.6.19) including:

  • Submission to ICC seeks prosecution of EU over migrant deaths
  • Hundreds occupy Paris airport to protest against deportations
  • New report on the Dublin Regulation, the "infernal machine of the European asylum system"
  • Externalisation: Frontex launches first formal operation outside of the EU

UK: Five ridiculous reasons why the police label campaigners as ‘domestic extremists’ (The Canary, link):

"Netpol has long argued that police decisions about whom they target are subjective and political. But they are also not entirely arbitrary. There is a definite pattern to how units within the National Counter Terrorism Policing Operations Centre – the latest name for the part of UK policing responsible for gathering intelligence on protest movements – decide on who is a ‘person of interest’ and more likely to face surveillance in the future."

EU: Council of the EU wants data retention without cause - Germany joins in

"On 7 June 2019, the EU Council will vote on the further planning of an EU-wide data retention of telecommunications data. Concrete proposals only exist for mass surveillance without cause - Germany should not support this. One day before, on 6 June 2019, the EU Commission will hold a discussion with non-governmental organisations on the subject."

UK: 'Mind control': The secret UK government blueprints shaping post-terror planning (Middle East Eye, link):

"The British government has prepared for terrorist incidents by pre-planning social media campaigns that are designed to appear to be a spontaneous public response to attacks, Middle East Eye has learned."

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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