Statewatch News Online, 29 May 2015 (13/15): News: Med crisis and EU response

29 May 2015 — Statewatch.org/ • e-mail: office@statewatch.org

Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean

New Key Documents

1. European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice: RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15
2. Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management
 3.Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean – Approval
4. Proposal for Council Decision
5. WRITTEN PROCEDURE for adoption of: Council Decision 
6. Formal Decision in the Official Journal 

NEWS

1.  Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants 
2.  Press coverage (29.5.15):
3.  FORCIBLE FINGERPRINTING Guidelines. 
4.  European Commission Migration Action Plan
5.  Interview | Bridget Anderson on Europe’s ‘violent humanitarianism’ in the Mediterranean
6.  Statewatch Analysis: Manufacturing consent, EU style: The EU’s anti-smuggling military operation
7.  TWO “RESTRICTED” EU DOCUMENTS military plans
8.  EUROPEAN SYSTEM OF BORDER GUARDS?:

New Key Documents

1. European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the “Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean” (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15)
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/may/eu-military-refugee-plan-EUMC.pdf 

2. Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no:http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/may/eu-military-refugee-plan-PMG-8824-15.pdf 

 3. Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean – Approval8702-15 LIMITE doc mo: 8702-15) plus REV 1

4. Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the Council of 19/05/2015 for a Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med): LIMITE doc no: 8731-15

5. WRITTEN PROCEDURE for adoption of: Council Decision amending and extending Decision 2013/233/CFSP on the European Union Integrated Border Management Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya): LIMITE doc no: CM 2671-15 

6. Formal Decision in the Official Journal: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/may/eu-council-EUBAM-libya-amending-2013-decision.pdf 

NEWS

1.  Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

New guidelines released by the European Commission allow Member States to use physical and mental coercive measures to take fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers entering Europe, including minors and pregnant women. If they refuse, they face detention, expulsion and a potential five year EU-wide ban.

“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the proportionate use of coercion may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..” [emphasis added]

See also: The new EU Migration Agenda takes shape: analysis of the first new measures (EU Law Analysis, link)

2. EU: MED CRISIS: Press coverage:

EU’s refugee plans need a reality check: The EU this week outlined plans to resettle and relocate refugees, but one expert taking a closer look at the proposals argues they put the rights of migrants and asylum seekers at risk. (The Local, link) Good critique of EU plans

EU border chief wants protection from armed smugglers: The EU’s border agency Frontex wants military protection from armed migrant smugglers as it expands operations in the Mediterranean and closer to the Libyan coast (euobserver, link) 

British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays ‘awkward’ in Kos (Independent, link)

Mediterranean migrant crisis: Hundreds rescued off Sicily (BBC News, link) and Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before? (BBC, link) with map

Italy Hands Smuggler Unprecedented Life Sentence as Europe Prepares for Migrant Deluge (BB, link)

Tunisian – and Top E.U. Generals – Fear Mission Creep Madness in Libya (The Daily Beast, link): “A newly revealed classified document and a history of grave misjudgments warn against the dangers of the new EU plan to stop migrants…. Europe’s defense chiefs are warning their political superiors that the planned military mission to stop migrant-smuggling boats crossing the Mediterranean can lead to land operations in Libya and possible clashes with the Islamic State’s affiliate in that failing North African state, a turn of events bound to threaten neighboring Tunisia’s fragile equilibrium still further.”

Tunisian PM Speaks Against EU Military Action to Stop Refugee Smugglers (Sputnik News, link): 

“Tunisia opposes any military effort by the EU to tackle refugee smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea, Prime Minister Habib Essid said Thursday. “Tunisia’s position was always clear
We are originally against all military action, both to regulate political conflict and to regulate the problem with illegal smugglers,”  Essid said in the European Parliament.”

Migrants en Méditerranée : la Tunisie contre toute intervention militaire [Migrants in the Mediterranean: Tunisia against all military intervention] (rtbf.be, link):

“Habib Essid said that his country is “against any military intervention to solve this problem. This problem must be resolved upstream and downstream. These people take risks, sell everything they have around them to come to Europe, for more freedom, for better economic opportunities for work. I know the problems this poses for all countries of the European Union, but the solution is to look other than make occasional military interventions.”

The European Parliament press release does not mention these comments: Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid on security and migration challenges (pdf)

Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey (MPI, link): “Deep, sophisticated insight into the decision-making process of those who undertake these journeys is necessary; without this information and a wider understanding of the political economy of migrant smuggling, policymakers essentially are making decisions in the dark.”

3. EU: FORCIBLE FINGERPRINTING, DETENTION, EXPULSION & ENTRY BAN of MIGRANTS including pregnant women and minors: European Commission: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

“Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or expelled & banned from entry. To add insult to injury the Commission deliberately withheld publication of the Guidelines yesterday to control news reporting when announcing its new migration plans.”

See also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on “systematic identification” of migrants and asylum seekers (Statewatch News, March 2015)

4. EU: European Commission Migration Action Plan: The following documents were released:

– Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (COM 286-15pdf)
– Communication: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015 – 2020) (COM 285-15, pdf)
– European Commission makes progress on Agenda on Migration (Press release, pdf)

– Questions and Answers (pdf)

But if you search for the following you get a PR statement/News management (as of 11.30 – 20.00: 27 May)

– Guidelines on the implementation of EU rules on the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)
– Recommendation on a European Resettlement Scheme (pdf) see: Initial Draft (pdf)

5 EU: MED-CRISIS: Interview | Bridget Anderson on Europe’s ‘violent humanitarianism’ in the Mediterranean(Ceasefire, link):

“Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration at the University of Oxford, speaks to Ceasefire’s Luke De Noronha about Europe’s response to the Mediterranean crisis and how borders are ‘a dystopian project whose enforcement exposes the horrific violence of the state….. But it is the nation state that is ultimately what needs to be challenged. Of course the nation state is not going to quietly legislate itself out of existence. And while bordering has intensified, resistance has too.’

6. EU: MED-CRISIS: Statewatch Analysis: Manufacturing consent, EU style: The EU’s anti-smuggling military operation (pdf) Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

A EU military planning document reiterates that the EU’s new anti-smuggling operation could result in a ground conflict in Libya that leads to the loss of life of soldiers, refugees and smugglers, and destabilise Libya in the process. The document makes clear that most of the key details of the plan have not been worked out yet, and there is no political end point. But this is all fine, because the document plans a media strategy designed to brush these problems under the carpet.

7. EU: MED-CRISIS: TWO “RESTRICTED” EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks

Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the “Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean” (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):

“INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force..” [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean(RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): “PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015.”

And see: Boat-sinking operation poses ‘risk’ to EU image (euobserver, link)

 8. EU: EUROPEAN SYSTEM OF BORDER GUARDS?: 21 May 2015: Speech by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the Frontex Conference on the European Day for Border Guards, Warsaw Poland (pdf):

“The ongoing evaluation of Frontex activities should also identify the limitations and shortcomings that will have to be addressed in the medium and long term development of the Agency. When speaking about the future of border management, one of the issues that we will explore is the possible creation of a European System of Border Guards.”

And see: Commissioner backs EU ‘border guard corps’ (euobserver, link):

“Avramopoulos, a Greek former defence minister, used strident terms to praise the EU’s new military operation, EUnavfor Med, which is to start sinking migrant-smugglers’ boats in July if it gets UN and Libyan permission. “Europe has declared a war against smugglers”, he said. He noted that Frontex will create “profiles” of the type of vessels being used “in order to improve their detection”. He also said Frontex’ “mandate must be reinforced” so it can physically help EU countries deport failed asylum claimants.”

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