Statewatch News Online, 4 March 2019 (06/19)

4 March 2019 — Statewatch

Also available as a pdf file: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/email-4-mar-19.pdf

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STATEWATCH NEWS

1.   EU: Common European Asylum System legislation – still going nowhere fast
2.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.2.19)
3.   EU: Council & Parliament reach agreement immigration liaison officers, visas, biometric ID cards
4.   EU: Council negotiating position on new Frontex Regulation
5.   GREECE: Council of Europe slams Greece over refugee camp conditions
6.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12-18.2.19)
7.   EU: Internal Security Strategy data retention, cooperation with third countries, external borders
8.   UK: New Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act “threatens freedom of expression”

NEWS

1.    EU declines to match UK’s citizens’ rights 
2.    EU’s deadly migration strategy – Officials knew EU military operation Mediterranean dangerous.
3.    UK-BREXIT: IT systems to run UK borders ‘may not be ready for no-deal Brexit’
4.    Nothing has changed on the Greek Islands 
5.    Sweden: Rogue algorithm stops welfare payments for up to 70,000 unemployed 
6.    N IRELAND: No investigation into Pat Finucane’s death so far has been Article 2 compliant
7.    GERMANY: Calling for whistleblowing is not a crime: the case of the German peace activist 
8.    Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.2.19)
9.    African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa
10.  MONTENEGRO: Integrated Border Management Strategy Implemented by Government
11.  UK: Immigration check outcry sees officers removed by councils 
12.  German Government confirms: Libyan authorities not contactable for maritime rescue 
13.  Consequences of security and migration policies at the France-Italy border 
14.  Building States’ Capacity to Manage Legal Identity – Focus on e-Passports & Public Key
15.  Institute of Race Relations: London Clearances a background paper on race, housing & policing
16.  Spain and Morocco reach deal to curb irregular migration flows
17. Greece races to move refugees from island likened to a “new Lesvos”
18.  European Defence Fund agreed amid ethics concerns 
20.  AI: Global assault on NGOs reaches crisis point as new laws curb vital human rights work 
21.  EU to act against Poland if judges harassed for consulting ECJ
22.  UK: Sajid Javid warns EU counterparts of joint policing ‘disruption’ 
23.  Turkey might allow Syrian refugees to go to Europe
24. ECtHR as a drowning ‘Island of Hope’?’ Impending reversal of collective expulsion
25.  A hard Border makes return of violence to Northern Ireland ‘inevitable’ – stark new report warns 
26.  Swedish anti-deportation activist avoids jail time 
27.  When rescue is capture: kidnapping and dividing migrants in the Mediterranean
28. Bulgaria urged to stop locking up stateless people by detained heart doctor
29. Striking for Refugees on Samos? 
30. Are You Syrious? (15.2.19)

DOCUMENTATION

1.   EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) Latest report.
2.   EP: Study: Disinformation & propaganda – impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU
3.   ECHR: Unaccompanied migrant minors in detention 
4.   UK-BREXIT: House of Lords: Proposed Negative Statutory Instruments 
5.   EU: Civil Liberties MEPs back rules improving data exchange between EU information systems
6.   Council of Europe: The case for drafting a European convention on the profession of lawyer 
7.   EU: Common European Asylum System: Evaluation application of recast Qualification Directive
8.   EU: Security Union: Commission recommends international rules for obtaining electronic evidence 
9.   Tighter laws continue to hit migrants across the EU 

STATEWATCH NEWS

1.  EU: Common European Asylum System legislation – still going nowhere fast

The Council’s latest “progress report” on the seven pieces of legislation underpinning the Common European Asylum System has very little progress to report.

2.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.2.19) including:

African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa
Report on the consequences of security and migration policies at French-Italian border
Deal will see Spanish rescue ships return migrants to Morocco

3.  EU: Council and Parliament reach agreement on immigration liaison officers, visas, biometric ID cards

Measures being negotiated as part of the EU’s ‘Security Union’ are moving ahead swiftly, with the Council and Parliament reaching provisional agreements on new rules for immigration liaison officers, the EU’s Visa Code and the introduction of mandatory biometric national identity cards; and the Council agreeing its negotiating position on the new Frontex Regulation.

4. EU: Council negotiating position on new Frontex Regulation

The Council of the EU last week agreed its mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the new Frontex Regulation, which will further increase the powers and role of the border agency. Statewatch is making the Council’s mandate (document 6357/19, LIMITE, pdf) publicly available.

5. GREECE: Council of Europe slams Greece over refugee camp conditions

“Horrific sanitary conditions, lack of food, and police beatings: just some of the conditions migrants in Greek camps are subjected to, according to a new report. The situation for children is particularly precarious.”

6. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12-18.2.19) including:

  • Tighter laws continue to hit migrants across the EU
  • EU asylum applications fall to below half crisis peak
  • EP civil liberties committee against proposal to give Frontex powers to assist non-EU states with deportations

7.  EU: Internal Security Strategy implementation report: updates on data retention, cooperation with third countries, external borders

A comprehensive report on the implementation of the EU’s Internal Security Strategy gives an overview of the ‘state of play’ with regard to potential new data retention measures, cooperation between EU agencies and institutions and third countries in the field of internal security, measures to strengthen the EU’s external borders, and much more.

8. UK: New Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act “threatens freedom of expression”

The UK’s new Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act introduces an array of new offences and powers that could put freedom of expression at risk, according to Index on Censorship.

NEWS

1.  EU declines to match UK’s citizens’ rights guarantee (euractiv, link):

“The European Union will not match the UK government’s decision to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and a Commission spokesperson insisted on Thursday (28 February) that the bloc would not negotiate ‘mini deals’.”

2.  Europe’s deadly migration strategy – Officials knew EU military operation made Mediterranean crossing more dangerous.(Politico, link):

“”But a collection of leaked documents from the European External Action Service, the bloc’s foreign policy arm, obtained by POLITICO, paint a different picture.

In internal memos, the operation’s leaders admit Sophia’s success has been limited by its own mandate ­ it can only operate in international waters, not in Libyan waters or on land, where smuggling networks operate ­ and it is underfunded, understaffed and underequipped.(…)

The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

For the operation’s critics, the EU’s willingness to turn a blind eye to these shortcomings ­ as well as serious human rights abuses by the Libyan coast guard and in the country’s migrant detention centers ­ are symptomatic of what critics call the bloc’s incoherent approach to managing migration and its desire to outsource the problem to non-EU countries.”

3. UK-BREXIT: IT systems to run UK borders ‘may not be ready for no-deal Brexit’ – National Audit Office warns of lack of Brexit preparations at UK border and by traders(Guardian, link):

“Six out of eight critical IT systems required to allow the UK’s borders to function under a no-deal Brexit are in danger of not being ready, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office has also concluded that with 31 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, the readiness of UK’s businesses are a “red-rated” risk if the government crashes out of Europe.”

4.  Nothing has changed on the Greek Islands (AYS Daily Digest 25/02/2019, link):

“Despite continuous claims by the Greek Government and EU authorities, and while still remembering embarrassing statements of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras being proud of the living conditions of refugees on the islands, nothing there seems to change

According to National Statistics 15,493 people are still on the facilities on the islands: 7252 on Lesvos, 1741 on Chios, 4294 on Samos, 1173 on Leros, 995 on Kos and 72 on other islands.

We learned to mistrust such statistics, especially while?­?on February 25th?­?they still state that no one is living in makeshift camps.”

5. Sweden: Rogue algorithm stops welfare payments for up to 70,000 unemployed (Algorithm Watch, link):

“Automated decision-making has become a national talking point in Sweden, after a report by the country’s public broadcaster revealed thousands of unemployed people were wrongly denied benefits by a government computer run amok.

Officials at the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) started looking into the system after they noticed it was failing to generate letters to welfare claimants that had been expected. When they finished their review last year they found major shortcomings, with between 10% and 15% of the computer’s decisions likely to have been incorrect, SVT reported.

It is unclear whether it will be possible to identify and correct the erroneous decisions, and when exactly the problem started.”

6. NORTHERN IRELAND: UKSC: No investigation into Pat Finucane’s death so far has been Article 2 compliant (Irish Legal News, link):

“The widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has been granted a declaration that the state has failed to deliver an Article 2 compliant investigation into the death of her husband, who was shot and killed by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with the UK security forces.

In a unanimous judgment, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore found that the undertaking to carry out a public inquiry was clear and unambiguous, and that Mrs Finucane had a legitimate expectation that this would be complied with. However, he said that the law was clear that government may resile from that undertaking if “macro-political” issues of policy supervene, and accordingly dismissed this part of the appeal.

On the second issue, of whether the state had failed to meet its procedural obligations under Article 2 ECHR, Lord Kerr said that the many shortcomings of Desmond de Silva’s review attested to the fact that it was not an Article 2 compliant inquiry, and that an Article 2 compliant inquiry into the death of Patrick Finucane had not yet taken place.”

See: JUDGMENT In the matter of an application by Geraldine Finucane for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) (pdf)

7.  GERMANY: Calling for whistleblowing is not a crime: the case of the German peace activist (Whistleblowing International Network, link):

“WIN is pleased to highlight the case of peace activist Hermann Theisen where the Court applied the provisions of the EU directive on trade secrets to acquit Mr. Theisen of criminal charges. Mr. Theisen’s case is an important contribution to the ongoing debates surrounding whistleblower protection in Germany. More broadly, though, this case is a landmark, setting the standard of how the trade secrets directive can be used as a conduit for whistleblower protection – a surprising and welcome turnaround for legislation that has a less than favourable reputation amongst many working to support and defend whistleblowers in the EU.”

8. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.2.19) including:

  • African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa
  • Report on the consequences of security and migration policies at French-Italian border
  • Deal will see Spanish rescue ships return migrants to Morocco

9.. African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa (The Guardian, link):

“The African Union is seeking to kill off the EU’s latest blueprint for stemming migration, claiming that it would breach international law by establishing “de facto detention centres” on African soil, trampling over the rights of those being held.

A “common African position paper” leaked to the Guardian reveals the determination of the 55-member state body, currently headed by Egypt, to dissuade any of its coastal states from cooperating with Brussels on the plan.

The EU set plans for “regional disembarkation platforms” in motion last summer to allow migrants found in European waters to have their asylum requests processed on African soil.”

10. MONTENEGRO: Integrated Border Management Strategy Implemented by Government (Total Montenegro News, link):

“The Government adopted the Action Plan for Implementing the Integrated Border Management Strategy 2014-18, for 2019, and adopted the Report on the Implementing Measures and Activities from the Action Plan for 2018.

…Implementing Action Plan was considered very important for meeting the criteria and achieving the European security system, strengthening the ability to take over obligations arising from membership in the European Union, and aligning with Schengen requirements as key challenges in the process of Montenegro’s EU accession.”

11. UK: Immigration check outcry sees officers removed by councils (The Guardian, link):

“Labour councils are removing Home Office immigration officers embedded within local authorities after calls from party members and councillors to stop enabling policies that lead to a “hostile environment” for migrants.

Embedded officials sit in on meetings between councils and vulnerable migrant families and ensure the Home Office is made aware of each person that registers for emergency funds. They can also pass information to immigration enforcement officers, and have been accused of encouraging undocumented migrants to leave the UK voluntarily and of providing poor advice that could damage applications to stay in the country.”

12.  German Government confirms: Libyan authorities not contactable for maritime rescue (Andrej Hunko press release, pdf):

“The Federal Government confirms that there are “difficulties in the availability electronically and by telephone” of the Libyan ‘coastguard’. The same was also said to apply “regarding language barriers”. The EUNAVFOR MED military mission has initiated a “monitoring mecha-nism” to tackle problems such as these, with the aim of evaluating maritime rescue missions.”

13. Persona non grata, Consequences of security and migration policies at the France-Italy border – Observation report 2017-2018 (Anafé, pdf):

“In 2017 and 2018, working with local, national, French and Italian partner non-profits and NGOs, Anafé has monitored the border and has collected testimonies in order to conemn the illegal practices of the French administration against foreigners arriving there.

From Menton to Ventimiglia, in the Roya Valley, from Briançon to the Col de Fréjus and Modane, via the Col de Montgenèvre and the Col de l´Échelle, the conclusions are the same: discriminatory controls, hasty procedures, human rights violations, endangered people, irregularities in entry denials, hindrances to the access to asylum, failure to look after unacompanied minors, irregular push backs, irregular detention, police chases, violence, injuries and deaths.”

14.  Building States’ Capacity to Manage Legal Identity – Focus on e-Passports, Public Key Infrastructure (IOM, link):

“In a world increasingly on the move, technology races to efficiently support the daily management of departures and arrivals of millions of individuals at airports, seaports and land borders. This is a global challenge: facilitate national and international travels while optimizing security checks to adequately address border management risks.

In order to mitigate some of these risks, it is strongly recommended that travelers use biometric travel documents, such as e-passports and electronic identity cards, to properly verify their identity when needed, and obviously at a border.(…)

15. UK: Institute of Race Relations: The London Clearances a background paper on race, housing and policing (IRR News, link):

“New IRR publication provides a fresh take on housing, policing and racism in London.

The moral panic over supposedly dangerous black, urban subcultures in London, emerges at a crucial time, argues the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) in a challenging background paper published today.”

Download copy of report (link)

16.  Spain and Morocco reach deal to curb irregular migration flows (El Pais, link):

“Sea rescue services will be able to return some migrants to Moroccan ports instead of taking them to Spanish ones.

Spain and Morocco have reached an agreement on an unprecedented strategy to contain irregular immigration. Under the deal, Spain’s sea rescue services, Salvamento Marítimo, will be allowed to take some of the rescued migrants back to Moroccan ports, according to three sources in the Spanish government.

The measure will apply to migrants found in missions where Spanish rescue services are assisting the Moroccan Coast Guard in their maritime area of responsibility, and when the nearest port is in Morocco.”

17. Greece races to move refugees from island likened to a ‘new Lesbos’ – Migration minister warns camp on Samos where hundreds of children live in squalor is six times over capacity (Guardian, link):

“Greek authorities are scrambling to house almost 4,000 people crammed into an overflowing migrant camp in Samos, as aid groups warn of a “humanitarian disaster” on one of Europe’s forgotten frontlines.

Likening Samos to a “new Lesbos,” the country’s migration minister warned of a race against the clock to find suitable accommodation for the ever growing number of people trapped in a reception centre now six times over capacity.”

18. European Defence Fund agreed amid ethics concerns (euractiv. link):

“EU institutions reached a partial political agreement on the European Defence Fund (EDF) this week but decisions on the two major issues – budget and funding eligibility – had to be postponed as the file remains plagued by controversy.”

20. AI: Global assault on NGOs reaches crisis point as new laws curb vital human rights work (link):

“Governments across the world are increasingly attacking non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by creating laws that subject them and their staff to surveillance, nightmarish bureaucratic hurdles and the ever-present threat of imprisonment, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

Laws Designed to Silence: The Global Crackdown on Civil Society Organizations reveals the startling number of countries that are using bullying techniques and repressive regulations to prevent NGOs from doing their vital work.”

21.  EU to act against Poland if judges harassed for consulting ECJ (New Europe, link):

“First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, warned that the EU executive will take action against Poland if its government is harassing judges for consulting the European Court of Justice on the legality of Polish reforms.

Speaking to journalists after the General Affairs Council in Brussels, Timmermans was particularly vocal about the request he received from Poland’s main judges’ association, which asked him to act.”

22. UK: Sajid Javid warns EU counterparts of joint policing ‘disruption’ (The Guardian, link):

“The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has urged his EU counterparts to prepare for the eventuality that current joint policing systems could discontinue on 30 March because of a no-deal Brexit.

The EU and the UK have produced similar contingency plans for no-deal arrangements but Javid has now written to member states appealing for them to “minimise operational disruption” by ensuring measures are in place on time.

He also warns that there is, as yet, no deal in place for sharing of airline passenger data, critical in the fight against criminals and terrorists who flee to another country to escape the law.”

The letter: Police and judicial cooperation in the context of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (pdf)

23. Turkey might allow Syrian refugees to go to Europe – newspaper (Ahval, link):

“The Turkish government is considering opening its borders to allow Syrian refugees to travel to Europe as the European Union opposes Ankara’s plan to establish what it calls a safe zone in northeastern Syria, pro-government daily Yeni Safak said on Friday.

The United States and the European Union are sabotaging Turkey’s plans to establish a safe zone to the east of the River Euphrates as a way to help four million Syrians in Turkey return to their homeland, Yeni Safak said.

In response, Turkey is considering abandoning a 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the EU, it said, on the grounds that the EU has failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement.”

24. The ECtHR as a drowning ‘Island of Hope’?’ Its impending reversal of the interpretation of collective expulsion is a warning signal (Verfassungsblog, link):

“The outcome of the currently pending case ND and NT v. Spain before the Grand Chamber may determine the future course of the Court in other migration policy related cases. This particular case deals with Spain’s policy of ‘devoluciones en caliente’ or ‘hot returns’ in Melilla. These are immediate returns of foreign citizens who have been intercepted at the Spanish-Moroccan border area without even assessing these individuals’ identity. The public hearing before the Grand Chamber took place last fall and the pronouncement of the judgment is expected soon. The judgment could be yet another setback for the interpretation of the prohibition of collective expulsion, for push-back policies and, more broadly, for the minimum level of protection for migrants and refugees by the European Convention on Human Rights and its additional protocols. Thus, the ruling might be a further step in a development to cut minimum guarantees for migrants and asylum seekers – a development encouraged by pressure from certain governments.”

25. A hard Border makes return of violence to Northern Ireland ‘inevitable’ – stark new report warns (Irish Independent, link):

“Young people in Northern Ireland will be “groomed into violent activity” if a hard Border emerges after Brexit, a stark new report has warned.

The return of violence on this island is inevitable with the “only issue” being on what scale. The study compiled by the chairs of two Unesco committees also warns that rushing into a referendum on a united Ireland would also result in conflict.

A key problem identified by Professors Mark Brennan and Pat Dolan is that the ‘Agreement Generation’ has no memory of the harm caused by the decades of bloodshed.

They say older people have not shared enough about ‘the horrors of war’ that is termed ‘the period of the troubles’. Instead some of the violence has been ‘romanticised’.”

See: Northern Ireland Returning to Violence as a Result of a Hard Border due to Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risks for Youth (pdf by Senator Mark Daly, Professor Pat Dolan and Professor Mark Brennan.

26. Swedish anti-deportation activist avoids jail time (InfoMigrants, link):

“Elin Ersson prevented a plane from taking off that had an Afghan man aboard who was supposed to be deported back to his country. A Swedish court ruled that she will not have to spend time in jail, but ordered her to pay a fine.

Elin Ersson, the Swedish activist who live-streamed her protest on a plane that was taking an Afghan man back to his home country was fined 3,000 Swedish kronor ($324, €286) in court on Monday.

Ersson protested the deportation on a Turkish airlines plane at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, which was bound for Istanbul on July 23, 2018. She refused to take her seat for take-off unless the man would not be deported. The livestream of her protest went viral.”

27. When rescue is capture: kidnapping and dividing migrants in the Mediterranean (OpenDemocracy, link) by Martina Tazzioli:

“The Italian minister of the interior, Matteo Salvini, is currently under investigation for abuse of power and the kidnapping of 177 migrants. These migrants were, on Salvini’s orders, confined to the coast guard vessel Diciotti for more than one week in late August last year. While this case received international media attention, it was not an isolated event. Over the last several years Italian ministers and politicians have repeatedly violated international and domestic law as they have sought to prevent individuals from migrating over the Mediterranean Sea. The disembarkation of rescued migrants has been denied or delayed many times. On a few occasions, Italy has arbitrarily closed its ports entirely.

…far from being an exclusive Italian affair, the above mentioned legal and political controversies are part of a European battle, in which member states compete to not take care of a few dozen people on a boat seeking asylum. In fact, the recurrent strategy of taking migrants hostage is a sign of how deep Europe’s crisis has become.”

28. Bulgaria urged to stop locking up stateless people by detained heart doctor (Thomson Reuters Foundation, link):

“A cardiac specialist, who was locked up in Bulgaria for six weeks because he has no nationality, has called on the government to stop treating stateless people like criminals.

Sager Al-Anezi, who is from a large stateless population in Kuwait called the Bidoon, qualified as a doctor after moving to Bulgaria in 2007 and was training to become a heart surgeon.

The doctor said stateless people could not go to university in Kuwait, but he was able to obtain a passport from a third country – which he did not want to name – with Kuwait’s blessing which allowed him to study abroad and led him to Bulgaria.

But when he tried to renew that passport the third country refused and he applied for formal recognition as a stateless person in Bulgaria. He was locked up on Jan. 3 when he chased up on that application.”

29. Striking for Refugees on Samos? (Samos Chronicles, link):

“Where were the refugees?

As for the strike itself there was one overwhelming question as far as I was concerned: “Where were the refugees?” What was supposed to be an act of solidarity was massively diminished by their absence. Yet on fine weather days such as this, you will always see many refugees on the streets, walking by the sea front or with their children in the play areas. But on this day, apart from a scattering of young African men on the very edges of the gathering, there were no refugees to be seen. It was startling and disturbing.”

30. Are You Syrious? (15.2.19, link):

Feature

“217 people died in the Mediterranean this year. Among those who lost their lives while dreaming about freedom and dignified life, was were four girls – one was 9 years old, the two 16 and one 17 years.

If the borders are open, these girls would not be forced to take this dangerous journey across the sea in the winter. Even more, if life in the countries where they are coming from is safe, they could stay at home, go to school, fall in love for the first time, go out with friends, laugh, play, plan a future
But, they became just numbers in IOM dark statistics. (…)”

DOCUMENTATION

1.  EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM)

The Commission Services together with the EEAS (European External Action Service) have produced the latest: GAMM update (LIMITE doc no: 6363-19, 43 pages, pdf):

“GAMM UPDATE: 11 February 2019

This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS.”

2. European Parliament: Study: Disinformation and propaganda – impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States (pdf):

“The study formulates recommendations on how to tackle this threat to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It specifically addresses the role of social media platform providers in this regard.”

And: Briefing: Reform of the Dublin system (pdf):

“An agreement on the balance between responsibility and solidarity regarding the distribution of asylum-seekers will be a cornerstone for the new EU asylum policy. Although Parliament’s LIBE committee adopted its positon in autumn 2017, the Council has been unable to reach a position on the proposal.”

3. ECHR: Unaccompanied migrant minors in detention (Factsheet, pdf): List of cases:

““[I]t is important to bear in mind that [the child’s extreme vulnerability] is the decisive factor and … takes precedence over considerations relating to the … status [of] illegal immigrant.”

4. UK-BREXIT: House of Lords: Proposed Negative Statutory Instruments under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 Draft Law Enforcement and Security (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (pdf):

“We were not persuaded that so wideranging an instrument, covering policy areas that are individually of significant concern to the House, can be justified. Effective scrutiny is inhibited by the wide range of issues included.(…)

We take the view that the purpose of contingency regulations is to address the consequences of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU. Any accompanying EM should not be treated simply as an academic exercise dealing only with the moment of transition.”

5. EU: Civil Liberties MEPs back rules improving data exchange between EU information systems (EP press release, link):

“The informal deal between Parliament and Council negotiators on new measures to improve interoperability of EU information systems, was confirmed by Civil Liberties MEPs on Tuesday.

The new rules aim to improve data exchange between EU information systems used in security, border and migration management. They will facilitate the tasks of border guards, migration officers, police officers and judicial authorities by providing them with more systematic and faster access to various EU security and border-control information systems.

Read more about the informal agreement reached on 5 February [ here].”

See: Statewatch Observatory: Creation of a centralised Justice & Home Affairs database is “a point of no return”

6.  Council of Europe: The case for drafting a European convention on the profession of lawyer (pdf):

“It is… a matter of utmost concern that harassment, threats and attacks against lawyers continue to occur in many Council of Europe member States and are even increasing in some of them, where they have become widespread and systematic and are apparently the result of deliberate policy. These include, amongst other things: killings, which are sometimes inadequately investigated by the authorities; physical violence, including by public officials; threats, unjustified public criticism and identification of lawyers with their clients, including by leading politicians; abuse of criminal proceedings to punish lawyers or remove them from certain cases; violation of legal professional privilege through unlawful monitoring of clients’ consultations with their lawyers; search and seizure in the course of unlawful investigations; interrogation of lawyers as witnesses in their clients’ criminal cases; abuse of disciplinary proceedings; and various structural and procedural failures to establish and implement effective guarantees of lawyers’ independence.”

See: Threats to the legal profession (CCBE, pdf)

7. EU: Common European Asylum System: Evaluation of the application of the recast Qualification Directive (2011/95/EU) (pdf):

“The aim of the study was to evaluate the practical application of the Recast Qualification Directive 2011/95/EU (Recast QD or Directive 2011/95/EU) laying down standards for the qualification of third-country nationals as beneficiaries of international protection as well as for the content of such protection. To this end, the study examined how and to what extent Member States had implemented common standards, whether the Recast QD had changed the situation in the Member States when compared to 2013, the deadline for transposing the Recast QD into national legislation, and whether it had led to greater convergence at EU level. Finally, the study identified benchmarks for measuring the implementation of each Article as well as shortcomings which could possibly justify amendments to improve the effectiveness of the Directive.”

And: Executive summary (pdf)

8. EU: Security Union: Commission recommends negotiating international rules for obtaining electronic evidence (European Commission press release, link):

“Today, the European Commission recommends engaging in two international negotiations on cross-border rules to obtain electronic evidence.

With the majority of criminal investigations requiring access to evidence based online and often outside the EU, there is an urgent need to equip police and judicial authorities with quick and efficient tools fit for modern reality.

Following up on the European Council Conclusions from October 2018, the Commission is presenting two negotiating mandates, one for negotiations with the United States and one on the Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe “Budapest” Convention on Cybercrime. Both mandates, which need to be approved by the Council, include specific safeguards on data protection, privacy and procedural rights of individuals.”

9. Tighter laws continue to hit migrants across the EU (FRA, link):

“Stricter migration laws and policies continue to take their toll on migrants’ fundamental rights, finds the agency’s latest report on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. It highlights the hardening political stance in Member States, difficulties in claiming asylum, and poor reception conditions during the cold winter months.”

See: Migration: Key fundamental rights concerns (quarterly report, pdf): covering developments in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Poland.
__________________________________________
Statewatch: Monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
c/o MDR,88 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH
tel: +44(0)203 691 5227
http://www.statewatch.org

e-mail: office@statewatch.org

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