Statewatch News Online, 3 September 2018 (12/18)

3 September 2018 — Statewatch

NEWS

1.    Research on the situation at the Spanish Southern Border
2.   UK: ICPO inquiry into bulk collection of data
3.   Urgent alert – solidarity with the victims of far-right violence in Saxony
4.   EU: Council: Informal Ministers defence: Austrian non-paper: Synergies and military support
5.  Orbán calls for deportation of migrants, calls Salvini his ‘hero’
6.   Activists held in Greece for illegally aiding migrants
7.   Netherlands: One in five vulnerable Syrian refugees are rejected by NL because of their views
8.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.8.18)
9.   Moria, Lesvos, Greece: Children ‘attempting suicide’ at Greek refugee camp
10. Austria rejects Afghan’s asylum request over appearance
11. UK-BREXIT: No-deal Brexit poses serious risk to public safety, say police leaders
12. ITALY: ‘EU is filth’, Salvini lashes out as tensions between Rome and Brussels grow
13. EU commission rejects Italy budget threat on migrants
14. Matteo Salvini formally investigated over migrant ship standoff
15. Greece: Fresh calls for migrants to be moved from Aegean islands
16. Are You Syrious
17. EU: Schengen searches to be extended
18. Migrants who stormed Morocco-Spain border sent back
19. Hungary: Asylum Seekers Denied Food – Cease Inhumane Treatment, Resume Distribution
20. Lithuania says will not appeal European court ruling over CIA torture jail
21. Poland’s deportation of human rights activist: The back story
22. UK: Misconduct Charges Against Hillsborough Police Chief Sir Norman Bettison Dropped
23. EU: Visa Information System: Proposals sneak in mandatory biometrics for long-stay visas
24. Germany and Greece reach agreement to repatriate refugees
25. Germany – Asylum granted legally in over 99 percent of cases, review
26. EU/UK  Dispute resolution post-Brexit in the light of the White Paper
27. UK: Sandhurst: Police to investigate ‘waterboarding’ claims
28. Are You Serious (17.8.18)
29. EU fears its Brexit talks are being bugged by British secret agents trying to obtain sensitive
30. UK-BREXIT: A New Leak Reveals The Government’s “No Deal” Brexit Papers
31. EU: All visa applicants to be profiled and children fingerprinted for revamped Visa System
32. UK: Arms industry spends millions to promote brands in schools
33. UK: Police officer who arrested Rashan Charles cleared of misconduct
34. G20 in Hamburg: Data protection commissioner considers face recognition illegal
35. Spain to take in 60 of the 141 Aquarius migrants: PM Sanchez
36. Turkish Coast Guard Command: Irregular migration statistics
37. Niger suppresses dissent as US leads influx of foreign armies
38. EU: Keeping the public in the dark: Council working parties keep no minutes of budget meetings
39. UN human rights chief: Trump’s attacks on press ‘close to incitement of violence’
40. Charities in Calais claim police harass British and other volunteers
41. Greek migrant camps at breaking point as arrivals continue

DOCUMENTATION

1.   Council: Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7(1) TEU Reasoned Proposal – Report of the hearing
2.   Privacy International: Open Source Guide to researching surveillance transfers
3.   EU: EEAS: Strategic Review EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison
4.   EU: Biometrics in identity cards: the Member States want to fingerprint children
5.   Draft put together by the Austrian Presidency (LIMITE doc no: 10843/18) on above
6.   EU: Council: More legislative transparency providing it does not stop the “space to think” in secret
7.  Commission: Proposal 2017 evaluation of Spain on the application of the Schengen field of return
8.   EU: Schengen and AFIS: Automated Fingerprint Identification System LIMITE doc no: 11527-18)
9.   CoE: State of democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: Role of institutions
10. CJEU: Pposting on a website of a photograph that was freely accessible on another website
11. UK-EU: Schengen data fiasco – UK responsible for “very serious deficiencies” in its use of SIS
12. Eurojust plans commencing negotiations strategic agreement with Tunisia
13. Council of the European Union: Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LIMITE doc)

NEWS

1. Research on the situation at the Spanish Southern Border: Spanish Southern Border: Human Rights Violations by Private Companies (link):

“The militarization of European Union’s migration policies, responds to a global securitization process that began after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. This process has resulted in an increase of military and defense spending, both at EU level and at member states level. Private actors working in the sector of defense and security have played a leading role in the creation and design of those policies.”

2. UK: ICPO inquiry into bulk collection of data

The new Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office is carrying out an inquiry bulk collection and has had Responses to the IPC’s request for submissions on bulk powers which include:

“”The uses of bulk secondary data illustrated in the Bulk Powers Review make no claim to be limited to ascertaining whether an individual is inside or outside the British Islands. The uses go far wider than that.”

3. Urgent alert – solidarity with the victims of far-right violence in Saxony (IRR News, link);

“German anti-fascists are asking for support and international protest around events in Chemnitz.

On 27/28 August, in scenes reminiscent of the 1991 pogroms in Rostock and Hoyerswerda, police in the east German state of Saxony all but lost control of the streets to the far Right in the former industrial city of Chemnitz, once a Communist stronghold. Far-right protests against immigrants and crime quickly turned into anti-foreigner riots, with many describing the current situation in Chemnitz, where the electoral far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is strong, as a pre-pogrom situation.”

4. EU: Council Presidency: Informal Ministers meeting on defence: Austrian non-paper: Synergies and military support for civil institutions (Council Presidency, link):

“The Austrian non-paper sets out ideas for temporary military support of civil authorities working in external border protection. This support should be provided to handle peak periods and exceptional situations. It should be deployed as an intermediary solution. The aim is to reinforce the synergies of civil-military cooperation.(…)

Military forces are not generally foreseen to act as “first responders” in border protection situations. Instead, their main task should be to support the (civil) forces foreseen for this specific purpose by the individual member states.

Military tasks for the support of civil authorities

Executive tasks

– reaction forces for crowd and riot control
– creation of a secure environment
– personal searches
– surveillance and reconnaissance of the environment.” (emphasis added)

5.  Orbán calls for deportation of migrants, calls Salvini his ‘hero’ (Budapest Business Journal, link):

“At a press conference held after their meeting, Orbán said Salvini has taken on the “historic mission” to stop migration at sea, an endeavor he said no other country has undertaken. Europe’s security depends on Salvini’s success, he added, and therefore the Italian politician cannot back down.

“This courage inspires respect in us,” Orbán said, adding that Hungary will provide every assistance to Italy’s border protection efforts.

Orbán proposed that those who have come to Europe must be taken back to where they came from. Brussels takes the view that this is not possible, but then again – he observed – they said the same about the protection of borders.

6. Activists held in Greece for illegally aiding migrants (euractiv, link):

“Police in Greece said on Tuesday (28 August) they had arrested three members of a Greek NGO on suspicion of helping migrants illegally enter the country.

The members of Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were detained on the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of migrants are housed in squalid conditions in cramped camps.

“The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed,” a police statement said.

Members of the group were in contact with migrants on social media groups and “actively assisted” their illegal entry into Greece from 2015 onwards, according to the statement.

To keep tabs on migrant flows, the accused also illegally monitored Greek coastguard and EU border agency Frontex radio traffic, authorities said. Any information gathered was not shared with Greek authorities, the police said.

Overall, six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals were implicated in the case, they added.”

7. Netherlands: One in five vulnerable Syrian refugees are rejected by NL because of their views (dutchnews.nl, link):

“Some of the most vulnerable refugees living in camps in Turkey have been rejected by the Netherlands because they have extremist sympathies or are too conservative, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday. The Netherlands has agreed to take its ‘fair share’ of refugees under a special scheme worked out with Turkey, but around 20% don’t get final approval, the paper said.” 

8. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.8.18)

9. Moria, Lesvos, Greece: Children ‘attempting suicide’ at Greek refugee camp (BBC News, link):

“At Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, there is deadly violence, overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions and now a charity says children as young as 10 are attempting suicide. The Victoria Derbyshire programme has been given rare access inside.

“We are always ready to escape, 24 hours a day we have our children ready,” says Sara Khan, originally from Afghanistan. (…)

The place smells of raw sewage, and there are around 70 people per toilet, according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).(…)

Back at the MSF tent, Luca Fontana, who has worked all over the world in conflict zones, says the camp is the worst place he has seen in his life.

He worked during the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa but says, “I’ve never seen the level of suffering we are witnessing here every day”.

“Even those affected by Ebola still have the hope to survive or they have the support of their family, their society, their village, their relatives.

“Here, the hope is taken away by the system.””

10. Austria rejects Afghan’s asylum request over appearance (New Europe, link):

“Austria rejected the asylum application of an 18-year-old Afghan gay man as authorities believe he did not “act” or “dress” like a homosexual, the Falter weekly newspaper reports.

Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan and is punishable by death. At the very least, homosexuals face social exclusion.”

11. UK-BREXIT: No-deal Brexit poses serious risk to public safety, say police leaders – Exclusive: leaked letter warns home secretary of ‘significant loss of operational capacity’(Guardian, link):

“A no-deal Brexit poses a substantial risk to public safety, with police officers instantly losing vital access to cross-border investigative powers and databases, the home secretary has been told in a letter from the national body of police and crime commissioners.

In the leaked document – marked “official sensitive” – the police leaders urge Sajid Javid to immediately draft contingency plans, warning that officers faced “a significant loss of operational capacity” should the UK crash out of the EU in March.”

12. ITALY: ‘EU is filth’, Salvini lashes out as tensions between Rome and Brussels grow (euractiv, link):

“Although the 150 migrants stranded on the Diciotti rescue ship were able to disembark on Sunday (26 August), Italy’s firebrand Interior Minister Matteo Salvini engaged in another vilification of the EU, calling it “filth” and reiterating threats to stop EU funding.

“Europe has demonstrated once again to be unprecedented filth that doesn’t deserve our money,” the leader of the far-right Lega told supporters on Sunday in the small town of Pinzolo in the northern Italian Alps.”

13. EU commission rejects Italy budget threat on migrants (euobserver, link):

“The European Commission said on Friday (24 August) it would not bow to threats by the Italian government after deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy would withhold EU funds if other countries did not take migrants from a coast guard ship in Sicily. “

14. Matteo Salvini formally investigated over migrant ship standoff (The Observer, link): “Italian deputy PM allows migrants on the Ubaldo Diciotti to disembark, after he was placed under investigation over their detention.”

15. Greece: Fresh calls for migrants to be moved from Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link):

“Authorities on the eastern Aegean islands have renewed calls on the central government to relocate hundreds of migrants to the mainland as their population on Lesvos, Chios and Samos has risen to 16,334 from 10,349 this time last year. “

16. Are You Syrious (23.8.18, link):

FEATURE

“In protesting the “death of human rights in Malta” crew members of MV Lifeline and Sea-Watch 3 carried a coffin from Castille Square to the court building in Valletta on Thursday. The coffin was draped in a EU flag. Their Captain Claus-Peter Reisch has charges against him for improper ship registration. It is registered as a pleasure craft in the Netherlands and therefore, the claim is made, it cannot serve on a rescue mission “ (…)

LIBYA

“The 25 people returned by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) on Wednesday were immediately detained, reports IOM. Among the 25 were a mother and her child.

More testimonies are coming out about the darkness of Libyan detention centers. A 17 year old states he did not see any light for seven months. An MSF psychologist reports that one of the children who disembarked from the Diciotti ship in Catania is having sight problems after living in darkness for a whole year.

The EU is funding the LCG to literally keep people in the dark.”

17.  EU: Schengen searches to be extended (link)

“Persons listed in the Schengen Information System may, inter alia, be observed or searched by the police. The numbers of these Article 36 alerts are increasing rapidly and are now being explained for the first time in detail. A new category “inquiry check“ is planned in the new regulation for the police database.”

18. Migrants who stormed Morocco-Spain border sent back (euractiv, link):

“Spain on Thursday (23 August) sent back to Morocco 116 migrants who had forced their way into the Spanish territory of Ceuta, in a mass expulsion condemned by human rights activists.

“The 116 sub-Saharan migrants who entered Spain via the Ceuta border illegally yesterday (Wednesday) have been sent back to Morocco,” the Ceuta prefecture said in a statement.”

19. Hungary: Asylum Seekers Denied Food – Cease Inhumane Treatment, Resume Distribution Immediately (HRW, link):

” Hungarian authorities have stopped food distribution since early August 2018 to some rejected asylum seekers held in transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today. They should immediately ensure that all asylum seekers in custody are provided sufficient and appropriate food in line with the government’s legal obligations.”

20. Lithuania says will not appeal European court ruling over CIA torture jail (euractiv, link):

“Lithuania on Wednesday (22 August) said it would not appeal a European court ruling that the Baltic state had been complicit in a clandestine CIA programme by holding terror suspects at a secret detention site on its territory.

“We decided it would make no sense to appeal to the Great Chamber because there are no legal criteria for that,” government official Karolina Bubnyte Sirmene told AFP.(…)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in May that Lithuania hosted a secret prison from February 2005 to March 2006, when CIA operatives held Abu Zubaydah, considered a top Palestinian operative for Al-Qaeda.

The EU and NATO state was ordered to pay €100,000 in damages to Zubaydah for enabling US authorities to subject him to “inhuman treatment”.

21. Poland’s deportation of human rights activist: The back story (euractiv, link):

“The expulsion from the Schengen zone of Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a Ukrainian human rights activist, was due to serious doubts regarding funding of her organisation, Poland’s Internal Security Agency said on Monday (20 August).

The president of the Open Dialog Foundation (ODF) was apprehended at Brussels airport on 13 August and told by security staff that she was on a list of people banned from entering the Schengen zone.”

22. UK: Misconduct Charges Against Hillsborough Police Chief Sir Norman Bettison Dropped (Huffpost, link)

23. EU: Visa Information System: Commission proposals sneak in mandatory biometrics for long-stay visas

EU rules on visa processing oblige all applicants for short-stay visas to provide a variety of personal data, including a photograph and scans of all ten fingerprints, for storage in the central database of the Visa Information System (VIS). Regarding long-stay visas, it is up to Member States to decide what information is taken from applicants – but recent proposals to revamp the VIS include a provision that would introduce a mandatory biometrics requirement. There has been no attempt to demonstrate the necessity or proportionality of this proposal

24. Germany and Greece reach agreement to repatriate refugees (euractiv, link):

“Berlin has reached an agreement with Athens to send back refugees to Greece if they have already applied for asylum there. The move follows a similar agreement with Spain earlier this month while a deal with Italy is also soon to follow.

“The conclusion is imminent,” German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann said on Friday (17 August) in Berlin, pointing out that it only lacks an exchange of agreement letters between the two capitals for the deal to be formally signed.

She said she was not able to reveal any details before that.

She added Germany was negotiating a similar deal with the Italian government, qualifying the planned migration agreement between the two countries as “very advanced”.”

25. Germany – Asylum granted legally in over 99 percent of cases, review finds (The Local.de, link):

“Despite high profile scandals in the past year, the number of refugees who have been unlawfully granted asylum is far lower than feared, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

A review of 43,000 successful claims from the first half of 2018 found that asylum had been wrongfully granted in only 0.7 percent of cases, according to figures provided by the Interior Ministry.

The review led to just 307 successful claimants having their asylum status withdrawn, reported the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.”

26. EU/UK Dispute resolution post-Brexit in the light of the White Paper (EU Law Analysis, link):

“The recent report published by UK in a Changing Europe discussed different governance structures that could potentially regulate UK-EU relations post-Brexit. The now published White Paper provides insight into the sort of institutional framework the UK will seek from the EU upon its withdrawal. Is there merit in the UK’s proposals? Are there alternatives? We look into the options for the dispute resolution mechanism post-Brexit.”

27. UK: Sandhurst: Police to investigate ‘waterboarding’ claims (BBC News, link):

“Military police are investigating claims that two cadets “waterboarded” a fellow recruit at Sandhurst.

The Sun reported two officer cadets allegedly held down an individual, covered his face with a cloth and poured water over it, creating the sensation of drowning.

The alleged incident is said to have taken place on 7 August.

Deputy Commandant of the Royal Military Academy in Surrey Brig Bill Wright said he was “aware of the allegations”.

He said he expected “the highest standards of behaviour at Sandhurst” and had therefore “ordered an investigation by the Royal Military Police”.

Anyone found to have “fallen short” of those expectations would be “dealt with robustly” – and could be dismissed, he added.”

28. Are You Serious (17.8.18, link):

Feature: Asylum-seekers denied food in transit zones

“The Hungarian Helsinki Committee says that the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office refuses to provide food to people in “alien policing procedures” in the transit zones, with the aim of dissuading them from pursuing court appeals and to make them abandon their asylum applications by returning to Serbia.

The inadmissibility decisions are based on a new provision, according to which people are inadmissible if “the applicant arrived through a country where he/she was not exposed to persecution or to serious harm, or if an adequate level of protection was available in the country through which the applicant had arrived to Hungary”.”

And see: Asylum-seekers with Inadmissible Claims are Denied Food in Transit Zones at Border (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, pdf)

29. UPDATED: EU fears its Brexit talks are being bugged by British secret agents trying to obtain sensitive files (Daily Telegraph, link):

“The European Union’s Brexit negotiators fear that they are being bugged by the British secret service after the UK obtained sensitive documents “within hours” of them being presented to a meeting of EU officials last month, The Telegraph understands.

A highly placed EU source revealed the security concerns as British negotiators were set to return to Brussels on Thursday to resume Brexit talks.

The two sides remain far apart on the key issues of customs arrangements and Ireland, with Latvia’s foreign minister warning on Wednesday that the risk of a ‘no deal’ outcome was now “50-50″.”

Statewatch Director, Tony Bunyan, comments: “The UK agency that is capable of obtaining secret documents is GCHQ. While one of their role is gathering military intelligence they as less open about the gathering of what they call “diplomatic” intelligence from “friendly countries” which they have been doing for decades.”

See for example: Britain spied on UN allies over war vote – Security Council members ‘illegally targeted’ by GCHQ after plea from US security agency (The Observer, 8-2-2004, link): “Britain helped America to conduct a secret and potentially illegal spying operation at the United Nations in the run-up to the Iraq war, The Observer can reveal.”

30. UK-BREXIT: A New Leak Reveals The Government’s “No Deal” Brexit Papers Will Cover 84 Areas Of British Life (Buzzfeed, link):

“Papers on the consequences of leaving the EU without an agreement will cover topics from broadcasting to blood safety, according to a list seen by BuzzFeed News.”

31. EU: All visa applicants to be profiled and children fingerprinted for revamped Visa Information System

All applicants for short-stay Schengen visas will be automatically profiled by a set of “risk indicators” and children from the age of six and up will be fingerprinted, if the European Commission’s proposals for the Visa Information System (VIS) are agreed as foreseen.

32. EU fears its Brexit talks are being bugged by British secret agents trying to obtain sensitive files (Daily Telegraph, link):

“The European Union’s Brexit negotiators fear that they are being bugged by the British secret service after the UK obtained sensitive documents “within hours” of them being presented to a meeting of EU officials last month, The Telegraph understands.

A highly placed EU source revealed the security concerns as British negotiators were set to return to Brussels on Thursday to resume Brexit talks.

The two sides remain far apart on the key issues of customs arrangements and Ireland, with Latvia’s foreign minister warning on Wednesday that the risk of a ‘no deal’ outcome was now “50-50″.”

Statewatch Director, Tony Bunyan, comments: “The UK agency that is capable of obtaining secret documents is GCHQ. While one of their role is gathering military intelligence they as less open about the gathering of what they call “diplomatic” intelligence from “friendly countries” which they have been doing for decades.”

33. UK: Police officer who arrested Rashan Charles cleared of misconduct (Guardian, link):

“Officer criticised for ‘basic failings’ in arrest of 20-year-old who died in east London.

The police officer who arrested and detained Rashan Charles before his death has been cleared of misconduct, although the police watchdog said he had “failed to perform his role satisfactorily”.

Charles died last year after he was chased by officers into a shop in Dalston, east London. The 20-year-old swallowed a package of paracetamol and caffeine as he was detained, and a postmortem found that it blocked his airway, causing a heart attack.

On Wednesday the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that while the officer, known only as BX47, had made some mistakes, he was not guilty of misconduct.

The family are “extremely disappointed” by the findings. The solicitor who represents the family, Imran Khan QC, said: “We are
actively considering challenges to the decision.””

34. G20 in Hamburg: Data protection commissioner considers face recognition illegal (link)

“The Hamburg police have been researching facial analysis software for several years, which was then used for the first time after the G20 summit. The technology accesses the nationwide INPOL file for criminal offenders maintained by the Federal Criminal Police Office. The detection rates are meagre, but the system is still to be used permanently in Hamburg for the „processing of major events“.”

35. Spain to take in 60 of the 141 Aquarius migrants: PM Sanchez (The Local, link):

“Spain and Portugal on Tuesday offered to take in most of the 141 migrants on board the Aquarius after it was given permission to dock in Malta, resolving a new standoff over the rescue ship

Madrid said it would accept 60 people, while Portugal offered to welcome 30, with the remainder distributed between France, Germany and Luxembourg, government sources in Malta and Spain said.”

36. Turkish Coast Guard Command: Irregular migration statistics (link): Shows that the recorded number of refugees was 10,583 in 2017 on comparable dates and 15,497 in 2018.

37. Niger suppresses dissent as US leads influx of foreign armies (Guardian, link):

“the 800 US defence personnel in Niger are not alone. They are one of four western armies that have installed themselves in the vast desert landscape, variously flying armed drones, hunting militants, building vast bases, controlling migration and collecting intelligence from the region.

This is what the April protest was about.”

38. EU: Keeping the public in the dark: Council working parties will keep no minutes of meetings on next EU budget

The EU is heading for major new developments with the Commission’s proposals for massively increased justice and home affairs budgets for the 2021 to 2027 period, but it seems that some things never change – transparency in the Council is set to be kept at an absolute minimum.

39. UN human rights chief: Trump’s attacks on press ‘close to incitement of violence’ (Guardian, link)

Exclusive: Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who steps down this month, says US president’s rhetoric echoes that of the worst eras of the 20th century.”

40. Charities in Calais claim police harass British and other volunteers (The Local.fr, link):

“In a new report, UK and French migrant charities in Calais say their volunteers are being systematically bullied by the police.

The UK charity Help Refugees and other NGOs helping migrants in Calais have published a report claiming that their volunteers are systematically harassed and intimidated by the police.

The publication co-authored by UK charity Help Refugees and French NGOs Auberge des Migrants, Utopia56 and Refugee Info Bus lists no less than 646 incidents relating to police intimidation over the past eight months leading up to July.”

41. Greek migrant camps at breaking point as arrivals continue (Channel 4 News, link)

“The migration crisis is shaping politics and influencing elections across Europe, and although the number of people seeking a new life on the continent has slowed, people are still coming by the boatload. One of the countries under the biggest strain is Greece. They’ve had over 500 new arrivals on their islands since Friday. We went to Greece, along with a group who know all too well the plight of escaping persecution – Jewish people brought over as children on the Kindertransport rescue effort during the Nazi era. We visited the island of Lesbos, which is host to more than 10,000 people stuck in camps, both official and unofficial, and had over 250 new arrivals just today.”

DOCUMENTATION

1.  Poland threatens to ignore rulings of EU’s top court (euractiv, link):

“The European Court of Justice (CJEU) is investigating if the recently adopted legislation on the retirement age of Polish Supreme Court judges complies with EU law, but a top Polish official has hinted that the country might ignore future ECJ rulings in this matter.”

See also: Council of the European Union: Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7(1) TEU Reasoned Proposal – Report of the hearing held by the Council on 26 June 2018 (LIMITE doc no:10906-18. 60 pages, pdf): The formal report of the hearing of Poland held on 26 June 2018 in accordance with Article 7(1) TEU.

2. Privacy International: “We recently released a report exposing how states and multilateral institutions are financing, training, and equipping foreign security agencies. We have now developed an Open Source Guide to researching surveillance transfers so that we can uncover more information on this issue.” (link)

3. EU: European External Action ServiceStrategic Review on EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison and Planning Cell

The European External Action Service has produced a: Strategic Review on EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (LIMITE doc no: 11471-18, 98 pages, pdf) for discussion in the Political and Security Committee:

“the existing mandates of EUNAVFOR Med Op Sophia (Op Sophia) and EUBAM Libya will expire on 31 December 2018. A decision on their mandates and on the future of the EU Liaison and Planning Cell (EULPC) needs to be taken in light of the findings of this review and the broader political and security situation in Libya, the Central Mediterranean and the surrounding region.”

4. EU: Biometrics in identity cards: the Member States want to fingerprint children

Proposals to make fingerprinting of all identity card holders in the EU obligatory were published by the European Commission in April as part of proposal on “strengthening the security of identity cards and residence documents”. Early discussions in the Council foresee not only maintaining the mandatory fingerprinting requirement, but making it possible to extend it to children.

5. Draft put together by the Austrian Presidency (LIMITE doc no: 10843/18, pdf) reworded the article in question, which currently says:

“Children under the age of 12 years may be exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints. Persons whose fingerprinting is physically impossible shall be exempt.”

6. EU: Council of the European Union: More legislative transparency providing it does not stop the “space to think” in secret 

The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union has produced a Note on: Legislative transparency (in a non-public LIMITE document: 11099-18, pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

“These proposals will lead to a bit more openness but will not meet the Lisbon Treaty commitments which came into force nearly ten years ago. The Treaty ‘s premise is that all documents concerned with legislative measures should be made public as they are produced.

Until the “space to think” in secret is abolished we will never get full access to all the documents which are part of the legislative paper trail.”

See Statewatch’s Observatory on FOI in the EU which monitors all developments since 1993.

7. Spain: European Commission: Schengen evaluation on returns

The European Commission has published: Proposal for a Council Implementing Decision on setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2017 evaluation of Spain on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of return (LIMITE, COM 2018/300, pdf)

8.  EU: Schengen and AFIS

The Council of the European’s Working Party for Schengen Matters is considering: Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) component of the Schengen Information System (SIS) – Procedure for matches on fingerprints (LIMITE doc no: 11527-18, pdf)

9. Council of Europe: State of democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: Role of institutions – Threats to institutions (pdf): Annual report from the Secretary General:

“Our human rights, democracy and the rule of law depend on the institutions that give them form. But for populists, who invoke the proclaimed “will of the people” in order to stifle opposition, these checks and balances on power are often seen as an obstacle that should be subverted. This year’s report finds nascent trends – illuminated by alarming examples – of exactly this. There have been attempts to undermine institutions at the European level, namely the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights themselves, and at the level of member states which, under the principle of subsidiarity, are at the vanguard of upholding our laws, standards and values.”

10. EU’s top court backs copyright holder in landmark ruling (euractiv, link):

“Users who publish content freely available on the internet should get consent from the person behind it, Europe’s top court ruled on Tuesday (7 August) in a boost to the bloc’s creative industries.(…)

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruling came after a secondary school student in Germany downloaded a photograph of Cordoba from a travel website to illustrate a presentation which was then published on the school website.(…)

“The posting on a website of a photograph that was freely accessible on another website with the consent of the author requires a new authorisation by that author,” judges said.

“By posting on the internet, the photograph is made available to a new public,” they said.

Judges said posting a work online was different from hyperlinks which lead users to another website and thus contribute to the smooth functioning of the internet.”

See: The posting on a website of a photograph that was freely accessible on another website with the consent of the author requires a new authorisation by that author (CJEU Press release, pdf)

11. UK-EU: Schengen data fiasco – UK responsible for “very serious deficiencies” in its use of SIS

On 1 August 2018 the Council of the European Union circulated: Commission Implementing Decision establishing the report of the 2017 evaluation of the United Kingdom on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the Schengen Information System (LIMITE doc no: 11474-118, pdf) which concluded that:

“the Presidency invites the delegations to confirm on 3 September 2018 (Working Party for Schengen Matters (Schengen Evaluations)) that the evaluation process should continue. On this basis, the Presidency will suggest that Coreper recommends, as a I/A-item, that the Council invite the Commission to present a proposal for a Council Implementing Decision setting out a recommendation to address the very serious deficiencies identified in the evaluation of the United Kingdom in view of fulfilling the conditions necessary for the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the Schengen Information System, pursuant to Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1053/2013.”

12. Eurojust – Tunisia: Strategic Agreement

Eurojust: Eurojust’s plans for commencing negotiations with a view to entering into a strategic agreement with Tunisia (Limite doc no: 11407-18, 27 July 2018, pdf).

13. Council of the European Union: Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LIMITE doc no , 6727-ADD-2, pdf): Detailed chart – 14 pages:

“The Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange provides detailed information about crossborder information exchange and cooperation. Member States’ law enforcement officers are invited to use it for training purposes or for instant consultation. The purpose of this Practical Advisor is to increase the efficiency in the use of the instruments available.

The Practical Advisor provides a comparison of requirements for exchange of information via different channels (Interpol/ Europol/ SIRENE/ Liaison Officers/ PCCC), as well as other practical information and advices related to instruments used within the international law enforcement cooperation which could be beneficial not only for the SPOC officers, but also for other national law enforcement authorities.”

See also: Statewatch Observatory on the refugees crisis in the Med and inside the EU

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