• EU countries set to drop barriers for Ukraine refugees

    The European Commission has proposed that those fleeing the war in Ukraine should be granted “temporary protection” in the EU, while border checks should be simplified. EU interior ministers will decide on the matter on Thursday.

    The proposal put forth by the Commission on Wednesday (2 March) is meant to “offer quick and effective assistance to people fleeing the war in Ukraine” and would see the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive activated for the first time.

    For as long as the directive remains in force, Ukrainians could stay in the EU without going through a formal asylum application. They would also be given access to education, healthcare, and the labour market.

    “Europe stands by those in need of protection,” European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said about the launch of the proposal. “All those fleeing Putin’s bombs are welcome in Europe”.

    While the proposal first needs to be approved by the member states, the Commission is optimistic that the 27 home affairs ministers will decide in favour during their meeting on Thursday.

    While two or three national delegations had questioned whether the EU-level measure would be necessary on top of national ones, there was widespread support for the proposal among member states, a senior Commission official said.

    However, an EU diplomat stressed that the ministers would only vote in principle during the meeting, while a formal decision on activating temporary protection could only follow after additional technical preparations, expected to take several days.

    Simplified border checks

    Under current rules, Ukrainian citizens can enter the EU visa-free but only stay for 90 days. If activated, the temporary protection status would apply for one year but could be extended to three.However, the directive would not apply to all third-country nationals, most of which would be assisted in repatriation by the EU rather than being given a residence permit.

    According to the Commission, there are currently around 600 refugees arriving in the EU every hour. The new measures would allow member states to temporarily relax border checks for anyone coming from Ukraine, regardless of their nationality, to simplify the entry process.

    “We are working to facilitate efficient crossings at the borders for people and their pets, with the necessary security checks,” Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas said.

    To reduce waiting times at the border, member states would perform border checks after the arriving Ukrainian refugees have been transferred to a safe location.This way, it would be possible to cross the border even without a biometric passport, “or any passport at all,” the Commission official said. “While there would still be a check of, for example, fingerprints against all national and European databases, (…) this does not necessarily take place at the border,” they added.According to the Commission, special rules could also ease restrictions on vulnerable groups, such as children.

    Intra-EU solidarity

    The proposal also includes measures to enhance burden and responsibility sharing between the member-states. The directive provides solidarity measures in the form of relocation and material assistance, which aim at relieving the pressure from member states bordering Ukraine.

    However, the relocation and assistance for host states remain voluntary. Instead of setting out quotas for relocation, the Commission placed its bets on a more “fluid approach,” an EU-Commission official has said.Member states can outline their reception capacities through the so-called Solidarity Platform, and the Commission will then coordinate with other countries to ensure a balance of efforts.

    However, member states aim to relieve Eastern EU countries primarily via material assistance rather than through relocations. “Nobody is talking about relocation at this stage,” an EU diplomat said, as the countries most affected are not seeking relocation thus far. Furthermore, Ukrainians can travel throughout the bloc under the visa-free regime and will likely move to the regions with the most significant Ukrainian diaspora.While the solidarity scheme is voluntary, the Commission is confident that member states are willing to participate in this process.

    Most EU countries – among them Germany and France – have already indicated that they would be willing to admit refugees to assist the EU’s Eastern members if needed.“The spirit of solidarity you see at the moment is a strong one,” a Commission senior official said on Wednesday.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-countries-set-to-drop-barriers-for-ukraine-refugees/?_ga=2.20448056.1826578283.1646299483-1187835147.1646299483
    #protection_temporaire #Ukraine #réfugiés_ukrainiens #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UE #EU #Union_européenne

    • Guerre en Ukraine : accord des Européens pour accorder une « protection temporaire » aux réfugiés

      Les ministres européens de l’Intérieur, réunis jeudi à Bruxelles, se sont mis d’accord pour accorder une « protection temporaire » dans l’UE aux réfugiés « fuyant la guerre » en Ukraine, ont annoncé le ministre français Gérald Darmanin et la commissaire européenne Ylva Johansson.

      « Accord historique à l’occasion de la réunion des ministres de l’intérieur de l’UE : l’Union européenne accordera une protection temporaire à ceux qui fuient la guerre en Ukraine », a tweeté le ministre français Gérald Darmanin, qui présidait cette réunion. La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, a elle aussi tweeté en ce sens.

      Plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes ont fui l’Ukraine ces derniers jours, principalement en direction de la Pologne, mais aussi vers la Slovaquie, la Hongrie et la Roumanie. Les ministres avaient donné dimanche mandat à la Commission européenne pour faire rapidement une proposition d’activer au niveau de l’UE un régime spécial, encore jamais utilisé.

      Il prévoit d’octroyer très rapidement une protection temporaire d’un an, prolongeable, aux personnes fuyant l’Ukraine, avec permis de séjour, accès au marché du travail et à l’éducation, etc.

      Pas de mécanisme de #répartition

      La Commission a dévoilé mercredi les détails de sa proposition. Elle ne comprend pas de mécanisme de répartition en tant que tel, car il est attendu que de nombreux Ukrainiens arrivant dans l’UE se répartissent d’eux-mêmes sur le territoire, en rejoignant par exemple de la famille et des communautés déjà installées.

      Mais la proposition part d’un esprit d’"équilibre des efforts" entre États membres, et prévoit notamment que chaque capitale communique ses capacités estimées d’accueil et le nombre de personnes déjà reçues, et collabore avec la Commission et les autres États via une « plateforme de solidarité » où ces informations et les demandes d’aide s’échangeraient.

      La protection des citoyens qui fuient l’Ukraine doit être automatique et directe. C’est à nous de faire passer ce message clair aux Ukrainiens : on est là, on ne vous lâche pas et on en vous lâchera jamais", a plaidé jeudi le secrétaire d’État belge à l’Asile et la Migration, Sammy Mahdi, à son arrivée à la réunion.

      https://www.rtbf.be/article/guerre-en-ukraine-accord-des-europeens-pour-accorder-une-protection-temporaire-

    • Guerre en Ukraine : l’Union européenne s’accorde pour octroyer une « protection temporaire » aux réfugiés

      C’est la première fois que les Etats membres décident à la majorité qualifiée d’activer la directive de 2001 sur l’accueil des personnes déplacées.

      Gérald Darmanin a aussitôt salué une décision « historique ». Les ministres européens de l’Intérieur, réunis jeudi 3 mars à Bruxelles, se sont mis d’accord pour accorder une « protection temporaire » dans l’Union européenne aux réfugiés « fuyant la guerre » en Ukraine.

      C’est la première fois que les Etats membres décident, à la majorité qualifiée (au moins 15 Etats sur 27 représentant 65% de la population), d’activer la directive de 2001 sur l’accueil des personnes déplacées.

      Elle permet aux réfugiés ukrainiens de séjourner jusqu’à trois ans dans l’UE, d’y travailler, d’accéder au système scolaire et d’y recevoir des soins médicaux. Jusqu’à présent, les détenteurs d’un passeport ukrainien ne pouvaient rester que 90 jours sans visa dans l’Union européenne. A ce stade, aucun plan de répartition formelle des réfugiés entre les pays de l’UE n’est sur la table.
      La question des réfugiés non-ukrainiens ne fait pas consensus

      Les ministres n’ont pas précisé immédiatement si la mesure s’appliquerait également aux réfugiés fuyant l’Ukraine mais n’ayant pas la nationalité ukrainienne. Cette question divise les Etats membres : certains, comme la Pologne et l’Autriche, y sont en effet opposés.

      Le ministre autrichien Gerhard Karner a exprimé jeudi matin ses réticences sur ce sujet. « Outre la Pologne, la Slovaquie et la Hongrie, de nombreux pays s’en inquiètent, dont l’Autriche (...), cela ne sert à rien d’inclure ces ressortissants de pays tiers, c’est un autre système » qui devra s’appliquer à ces personnes, avait-il estimé.

      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/manifestations-en-ukraine/guerre-en-ukraine-l-union-europeenne-s-accorde-pour-octroyer-une-protec

    • Marie-Christine Vergiat : « Dès lors qu’un gouvernement dit “on accueille”, c’est possible »

      Plus de trois millions de personnes ont quitté l’Ukraine depuis le début de l’invasion russe. Pour répondre à l’urgence, l’Union européenne a activé un mécanisme inédit d’accueil. Précisions avec Marie-Christine Vergiat, ancienne députée européenne.

      Le 4 mars, l’Union européenne (UE) a décidé de mettre en œuvre un dispositif particulier d’accueil pour les personnes fuyant la guerre en Ukraine (voir le communiqué de l’UE). Il s’agit d’un mécanisme d’urgence qui vise à fournir une protection immédiate et collective (sans qu’il soit nécessaire d’examiner chaque demande individuellement) à des personnes déplacées qui ne sont pas en mesure de retourner dans leur pays d’origine.

      Grâce à cette « protection temporaire », les réfugiés de guerre d’Ukraine, qui sont déjà plus de trois millions, peuvent avoir directement droit au séjour dans l’UE, avec le droit de travailler et la possibilité de scolariser leurs enfants. Mais la décision de l’UE fait aussi la différence entre les réfugiés avec passeport ukrainien et les personnes qui résidaient en Ukraine sans en avoir la nationalité, que ce soient des étudiants étrangers, des réfugiés politiques russes, biélorusses ou d’autres régimes autoritaires (voir le détail de la décision). Explications avec Marie-Christine Vergiat, militante associative, vice-présidente de la Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), qui a été députée européenne pour le Parti de gauche de 2009 à 2019.

      basta ! : Quelle est votre première réaction à l’activation du dispositif de protection temporaire pour les réfugiés d’Ukraine ?

      C’est bien d’avoir déclenché ce mécanisme. Mais il faut accueillir tous les réfugiés, sans aucune discrimination. Toutes les personnes qui se trouvent sur le territoire ukrainien méritent protection et d’être accueillies dans de bonnes conditions sur le territoire européen.

      Depuis quand cette directive européenne sur la protection temporaire des réfugiés existe-t-elle ?

      Elle a été adoptée en 2001 à la suite de la guerre de Bosnie, pendant laquelle il y avait déjà eu un grand nombre de réfugiés, mais sur un espace-temps plus long que la situation actuelle. Aujourd’hui, l’offensive russe a été tellement rapide que les gens ont fui tout de suite. Ce dispositif européen n’avait jamais été activé auparavant. C’est la première fois qu’il est mis en œuvre, alors que le Parlement européen avait demandé son activation notamment en 2015 au moment de la crise de l’accueil des réfugiés qui venaient alors essentiellement de Syrie. On avait alors une majorité au Parlement pour l’activer.

      Pourquoi n’a t-elle pas été activée en 2015 pour l’accueil des Syriens ?

      Parce que le Conseil européen [l’organe de décision de l’Union européenne où siègent les gouvernements des pays membres, ndlr] n’en voulait pas. L’Allemagne avait alors ouvert largement ses portes. Je pense que la position des pays du groupe de Visegrád (Pologne, Hongrie, République tchèque et Slovaquie), qui s’opposaient alors à l’accueil, servait aussi les autres pays pour justifier le refus de l’activation de la directive. En 2015-2016, plusieurs pays de ce groupe avaient bloqué le plan de relocalisation des réfugiés qui étaient arrivés en Grèce principalement. Le plan était pourtant très en-deçà de ce qu’il fallait faire. En 2015 et 2016, 1,5 million de personne sont arrivées en Europe de façon dite irrégulière. Le plan prévoyait de relocaliser environ 10 % de ces personnes. Et même avec cet objectif modeste, les États n’ont pas rempli leurs engagements. Des pays qui à l’époque refusaient l’application de la protection temporaire sont aujourd’hui en première ligne de l’accueil des personnes venues d’Ukraine.

      À qui s’applique cette nouvelle protection temporaire ?

      La décision de mise en œuvre de la directive fait le tri entre différentes catégories de personnes venues d’Ukraine. On voit aussi que c’est un dispositif complètement bordé, au cas où des réfugiés d’autres pays viendraient dans les flux. La décision distingue les Ukrainiens ; les réfugiés et apatrides qui avaient un statut en Ukraine et qui étaient reconnus comme tels avant le 24 février ; les membres de leurs familles, à condition qu’ils aient été eux aussi en situation régulière avant le 24 février ; et les non-Ukrainiens mariés à des Ukrainiens. Après, ça se complique. Il y a les réfugiés et apatrides non reconnus avant le 24 février et ceux qui disposent d’un autre type de séjour, comme les étudiants et résidents avec permis de travail. Pour ceux là, le choix revient aux différents États de l’Union européenne. Soit les États activent la protection temporaire pour ces personnes-là soit ils activent leur droit national. Les gens doivent alors déposer une demande d’asile ou de titre de séjour classique. C’est ce qu’on voit poindre, y compris en France.

      Il y a une dernière catégorie qui visent ceux qui n’ont pas de titre de résidence en Ukraine. Il peut s’agir d’étudiants en court séjour ou encore de travailleurs venus faire une mission et qui se retrouveront en situation irrégulière dès lors qu’ils ne peuvent pas repartir dans leur pays d’origine. Pour eux, c’est le droit national des pays d’accueil qui vaut. Par ailleurs, la décision européenne prévoit que pour toutes les catégories, hormis les Ukrainiens et les réfugiés et apatrides reconnus en Ukraine et leurs familles, les personnes ne pourront déposer une demande que si elles ne peuvent pas retourner dans leur pays d’origine. Elles ne vont pas être systématiquement expulsées, mais pourront l’être. Cela pourra concerner beaucoup d’étudiants, marocains notamment, qui étaient nombreux en Ukraine. Face à ces distinctions, toutes les associations sont unies pour dire qu’il ne faut pas de discriminations entre les différentes catégories de personnes.

      Pour les gens qui entrent dans les « bonnes » cases, en quoi le dispositif de protection temporaire améliore-t-il leur sort ?

      Avec cette directive, la protection se déclenche tout de suite. Les personnes n’ont pas besoin de passer par le parcours habituel pour obtenir un titre de séjour. Elles ont aussi immédiatement le droit de travailler et le droit à l’éducation pour les enfants. En France, la durée de la protection est de six mois, renouvelables.

      En France, les personnes exilées sont maltraitées par les autorités au quotidien, on le voit tous les jours notamment à Calais. Et aujourd’hui, les préfets mettent rapidement un accueil en place pour les réfugiés ukrainiens…

      C’est une vraie politique de deux poids, deux mesures. Cela montre aussi que quand on a la volonté politique, on trouve les moyens. C’est ce qu’a fait l’Allemagne en 2015-2016, en accueillant près d’un million de personnes, avant de bloquer ses frontières faute de solidarité européenne. C’est intéressant de voir que nos politiques nous expliquent, quand on les interroge sur le sujet, qu’il faut fermer les frontières pour contrer la montée de l’extrême droite. Mais cela ne marche pas en France, comme on le voit dans les sondages. Et en Allemagne, l’extrême droite a été contenue et a même plutôt régressé entre 2017 et 2021. Je suis intimement persuadée que la parole politique a du poids. Dès lors qu’un gouvernement dit « on accueille », c’est possible.

      Le fait que l’UE ait activé cette directive pourrait-il devenir un levier pour les associations, pour faire pression pour l’accueil face aux mouvements de migration ?

      On peut espérer que cela soit un point d’appui et que cela serve à d’autres à l’avenir, même si je reste plutôt sceptique.

      Jugez-vous que l’accueil des personnes exilées s’est dégradé en France ces dix dernières années ?

      On n’arrête pas de faire des lois, et à chaque fois, l’accueil régresse. Le résultat, c’est qu’on a de moins en moins de marge de manœuvre. Tous les militants disent que c’est de plus en plus difficile, y compris de faire régulariser les gens. Prenons la circulaire Valls de 2012 sur la régularisation. Au moment où elle a été adoptée, on a tous râlé parce qu’elle n’allait pas assez loin. Mais aujourd’hui, nous n’arrivons quasiment plus à la faire appliquer. Régulariser est de plus en plus difficile. C’est aussi très variable selon les départements, selon qu’ils reçoivent plus ou moins de demandes de titres de séjour. Dans des départements qui en reçoivent moins, ça bloque moins qu’en région parisienne.

      https://basta.media/Alternatives-accueil-des-Refugies-Ukraine-Europe-asile-migrants-marie-chris

  • EU ministers seek solutions as Ukraine humanitarian crisis looms

    EU home affairs ministers have put off a decision on whether to grant temporary protection to Ukrainian refugees amid what threatens to become the “largest humanitarian crisis” in Europe in recent times.

    While a proposal to activate the 2001 #Temporary_Protection_Directive for Ukrainians fleeing the country was “broadly welcomed” by the ministers during their extraordinary meeting on Sunday (27 February), a formal decision will only be made on Thursday, EU Home Affairs and Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson said after the talks.

    Once activated, the directive would stay in force for one year, unless it is prolonged, and would allow Ukrainians to take immediate, temporary refuge in the EU without going through a standard asylum process.

    The exceptional measure, which has never been activated before, is meant to deal with situations where the standard asylum system risks being overburdened due to a mass influx of refugees.

    Based on recent UN estimates, the EU is currently expecting that more than seven million Ukrainians will be displaced within the country, while 18 million will be affected in humanitarian terms, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said after the meeting.

    Four million, he said, are expected to flee the country as refugees.

    While current rules allow any Ukrainian citizen with a biometric passport to enter the EU visa-free, they can only stay for up to 90 days.

    “We need to be prepared for day 91,” Johansson stressed. “I think it is time to activate temporary protection.”

    During the meeting, however, some countries raised doubts as to whether the time was ripe for activating the directive and instead preferred to wait a little longer, she said, while refusing to name the nay-sayers.

    French minister Gérald Darmanin, who currently chairs the Home Affairs Council, said he would not only put a formal decision on the directive on the agenda when the ministers next meet on Thursday, but would also “pick up the phone” in the meantime to lobby for the consent of so-far hesitant member states.

    Beyond the question of refugees’ entry into EU territory, it also remains unclear how they will be distributed among member states. While the temporary protection directive provides for a voluntary “relocation mechanism” to disburden the first-arrival countries, Johansson said several member states had wanted to go further.

    Humanitarian crisis

    “From my perspective, this could even be a good time to make progress on the Migration and Asylum Pact,” she added. Darmanin previously said that ministers had reached an agreement for “compulsory solidarity” to be enshrined in the pact, which is still being negotiated.

    Even before the current crisis, he had put the question of what this would entail in practice on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. According to Darmanin, the concept would not necessarily entail a distribution key for migrants, but could also involve financial aid to recipient countries.

    Lenarčič warned that Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, both inside and outside the EU, risked being overburdened with the accommodation of refugees and were in need of support to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

    He singled out Moldova, which he said did not have the capacities to deal with the situation and for which the EU would need to “step up support”.

    “We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many, many years,” he said, saying that needs were growing continuously. “We have to prepare for this kind of emergency, which is of historical proportions.”

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-ministers-seek-solutions-as-ukraine-humanitarian-crisis-looms

    #réfugiés #réfugiés_ukrainiens #EU #UE #Union_européenne #directive_de_protection_temporaire #directive_protection_temporaire #asile #visa #relocalisation

    –—

    Voir aussi ce fil de discussion :
    For Ukraine’s Refugees, Europe Opens Doors That Were Shut to Others
    https://seenthis.net/messages/950929

  • Poland passes law allowing migrants to be pushed back at border

    Poland’s parliament on Thursday (14 October) passed a legal amendment allowing migrants to be pushed back at the border and for asylum claims made by those who entered illegally to be ignored.

    Lawmakers also gave the green light to a government plan to build a wall to prevent migrants from crossing the border from Belarus, a project estimated to cost €353 million.

    Thousands of migrants, most of them from the Middle East, have sought in recent months to cross from Belarus into Poland or fellow EU member states Latvia and Lithuania.

    Under the newly amended law, a foreigner stopped after crossing the Polish border illegally will be obliged to leave Polish territory and will be temporarily banned from entering the country for a period ranging from “six months to three years”.

    The Polish authorities will also have the right “to leave unexamined” an asylum application filed by a foreigner who is stopped immediately after illegally entering, unless they have arrived from a country where their “life and freedom are threatened”.

    Rights groups have already accused Poland of stopping migrants at the border and pushing them back into Belarus.

    Numerous NGOs have criticised Poland for imposing a state of emergency at the border, which prevents humanitarian organisations from helping migrants and prohibits access to all non-residents, including journalists.

    The law change came two days after a landmark ruling from Poland’s Constitutional Court challenged the primacy of European Union law — a key tenet of EU membership — by declaring important articles in the EU treaties “incompatible” with the Polish constitution.

    The ruling on a case brought by Poland’s right-wing populist government could threaten EU funding for Poland and is being seen as a possible first step to Poland leaving the European Union.

    Earlier Thursday Polish police said that another migrant had been found dead on the border with Belarus, bringing the number of people who have died along the European Union’s eastern border in recent months to seven.

    The European Union accuses Belarus of deliberately orchestrating the influx in retaliation against EU sanctions over the Moscow-backed regime’s crackdown on dissent.

    Last month the UN refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration said they were “shocked and dismayed” by the migrant deaths.

    “Groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services,” they said in a statement.

    In August Christine Goyer, UNHCR representative in Poland, reminded Warsaw that “according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which Poland is signatory, people seeking asylum should never be penalised, even for irregular border crossing”.

    Polish PM berates EU

    In the meantime, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused EU institutions on Thursday of infringing on the rights of member states, as he prepared to present Warsaw’s position in a row over the rule of law next week before the European Parliament.

    “We are at a crucial moment, you could say at a crossroads in the EU’s history,” Morawiecki told the Polish parliament. “Democracy is being tested – how far will European nations retreat before this usurpation by some EU institutions.”

    Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said Morawiecki would attend the European Parliament session in Strasbourg next Tuesday to present Poland’s position in the rule of law dispute.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/poland-passes-law-allowing-migrants-to-be-pushed-back-at-border

    #Pologne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #refoulement #refoulements #push-backs #loi #amendement #Biélorussie #Mateusz_Morawiecki #Morawiecki

    –-
    voir aussi la métaliste sur la situation à la frontière entre la #Pologne et la #Biélorussie (2021) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/935860

    • Et il y a eu ce weekend une chasse aux migrants autour de la ville de Guben (Allemagne).
      « La ville de Guben est située dans la région de Basse-Lusace ; elle est traversée par la rivière Neisse et c’est la partie allemande de la ville historique ; l’autre partie est polonaise (Gubin). »

  • Authorities in Lithuania are considering building a wall with Belarus

    Authorities in Lithuania are now considering building a wall with Belarus. Ingrida Simonyte, the Lithuanian prime minister, has accused the Belarusian government of orchestrating what her country views as a migrant crisis.

    https://twitter.com/VCapici/status/1409246090768101377

    #Lituanie #murs #frontières #Biélorussie #migrations #réfugiés #asile #barrières #barrières_frontalières

    –—

    voir :
    A la frontière entre la #Lituanie et le #Bélarus, Loukachenko se fait maître passeur
    https://seenthis.net/messages/919781

    • Lithuania Reports 116 More Border Arrests Of Migrants Crossing From Belarus

      Lithuanian authorities reported 116 more arrests of migrants crossing the border from Belarus, a surge in crossings that Lithuania says Minsk is purposely organizing in retaliation for European Union sanctions.

      The Lithuanian State Border Security Service said on July 3 that border guards also fired tear gas and warning shots as one group of migrants were being detained.

      The latest figures bring the number of migrants detained over the past two days to 179, the service said; in all 938 people have been arrested crossing from Belarus this year, 12 times as many in all of last year.

      Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said late on July 2 that the government had declared a state of emergency, and he accused Lukashenka seeking “to weaponize migration to weaken our resolve for sanctions.”

      Vilnius contends that the migrants, most of whom are Iraqi, are moved to the border with Lithuania, where Belarusian border guards turn a blind eye as they cross into the European Union member state.

      Lithuania has been one of the loudest critics of Belarus’s strongman leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka since last August’s dispute presidential election. The 66-year-old Lukashenka claimed victory, setting off months of unprecedented protests.

      The opposition says that election was rigged, and the West has refused to recognize the results of the vote.

      The Baltic state has offered refuge to Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who supporters say was the real winner of the election.

      Vilnius has also become a center for Belarusians in exile, and the two countries have expelled a number of diplomats as ties have worsened in recent weeks.

      The EU’s border guard service, Frontex, has sent teams to Lithuania to help deal with the influx of migrants.

      https://www.rferl.org/a/lithuania-migrants-arrests-belarus/31339043.html

    • La Lituanie se dit débordée face à l’afflux de migrants venus de Biélorussie

      La Lituanie s’est déclarée, vendredi, en #état_d'urgence, face à la hausse des arrivées de migrants depuis la Biélorussie voisine. Plus de 150 personnes ont traversé la frontière ces dernières 24 heures. L’agence de garde-frontières européenne, #Frontex, a dépêché une équipe pour venir en aide au pays balte.

      Une équipe de six gardes-frontières de l’agence européenne Frontex a commencé à travailler vendredi 2 juillet en Lituanie pour aider le pays balte à faire face à l’arrivée de migrants. Depuis plusieurs semaines, des dizaines de personnes en provenance de la Biélorussie voisine, passent la frontière ouest du pays pour entrer en Lituanie.

      Le nombre de gardes-frontières de Frontex devant être déployés à la frontière biélorusse devrait passer à 30 dans le courant du mois.

      Les garde-frontières lituaniens ont indiqué avoir arrêté quelque 150 migrants ces dernières 24 heures - près du double du nombre d’arrestations sur l’ensemble de 2020. Face à cet afflux, le gouvernement a déclaré l’état d’urgence vendredi.

      Cela porte le nombre total de traversées illégales de frontières par des migrants cette année à plus de 800, la plupart venant du Moyen-Orient. Sur l’ensemble de 2020, 81 traversées illégales de la frontière avaient été enregistrées – et 37 en 2019.

      La plupart des migrants sont originaires d’Irak, mais il y en a aussi de plus en plus de Syrie, de Gambie, de Guinée et d’Inde, selon le site EUobserver (https://euobserver.com/world/152305).

      « La situation commence à se détériorer »

      « La situation est tendue et a tendance à se détériorer », a déclaré le ministre lituanien des Affaires étrangères Gabrielius Landsbergis à l’AFP.

      Il y a deux semaines, l’armée lituanienne a mis en place un #camp_d’urgence de plusieurs tentes à #Pabradé, à une quarantaine de kilomètres de la capitale Vilnius, pour pouvoir gérer l’afflux. « Le but du ministère est clair : les migrants économiques qui traversent la frontière de l’UE illégalement doivent être renvoyés à l’endroit d’où ils viennent », a-t-il ajouté.

      « Un tiers sont des hommes, un autre tiers sont des femmes, on accueille aussi des enfants, quelques mineurs non accompagnés et des personnes avec des problèmes de santé. Nous sommes inquiets quant à nos capacités d’accueil pour assurer l’hébergement à ces personnes qui demandent l’asile », a expliqué à RFI Egle Samuchovaite (https://www.rfi.fr/fr/europe/20210618-la-lituanie-accuse-la-bi%C3%A9lorussie-de-laisser-passer-des-migrants-s), directrice des programmes de la Croix-Rouge lituanienne, au mois de juin.

      Le gouvernement lituanien, qui s’oppose au président biélorusse Alexandre Loukachenko, a indiqué qu’il soupçonnait les autorités du pays de laisser les migrants passer la frontière.

      Ces tensions entre Minsk et Vilnius interviennent alors que les relations entre l’Union européenne et la Biélorussie sont elles-mêmes très compliquées. En cause : le détournement au mois de mai d’un vol commercial de Ryanair ordonné par le président Loukachenko pour arrêter un dissident politique.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/33405/la-lituanie-se-dit-debordee-face-a-l-afflux-de-migrants-venus-de-bielo

    • L’agence des frontières de l’UE augmente ” considérablement ” l’aide à la Lituanie

      L’agence des frontières de l’Union européenne s’engage à renforcer “de manière significative” son soutien à la Lituanie dans les prochains jours “en raison de la pression migratoire croissante à la frontière lituanienne avec la Biélorussie” que la nation balte tente de contenir .

      La décision de Frontex, l’agence chargée de coordonner le contrôle des frontières entre les États membres de l’UE et les pays tiers, a été annoncée samedi dernier à la suite d’un appel vidéo entre le directeur exécutif de Frontex Fabrice Leggeri et le président lituanien Gitanas Nauseda.

      “La frontière lituanienne est notre frontière extérieure commune et Frontex est prête à aider si nécessaire”, a déclaré Leggeri dans un communiqué. “Nous sommes prêts à renforcer notre niveau de soutien et à déployer plus d’officiers et d’équipements du corps permanent européen” en Lituanie, membre de l’UE et de l’OTAN de 2,8 millions.

      L’opération de Frontex, qui a commencé au début du mois avec le déploiement d’une douzaine d’officiers et de voitures de patrouille, va doubler la semaine prochaine, a indiqué l’agence.

      Le bureau de Nauseda a déclaré séparément que Frontex avait promis que des renforts devraient arriver en Lituanie avant le 15 juillet et que des patrouilles frontalières armées et d’autres traducteurs sont arrivés au cours du week-end.

      En outre, un hélicoptère de patrouille sera envoyé en Lituanie depuis la Pologne voisine et des discussions sont en cours pour envoyer un autre hélicoptère depuis l’Allemagne, a indiqué le bureau de Nauseda.

      Dans un tweet, Nauseda a remercié Frontex pour son soutien “Gérer les flux de migrants illégaux à travers la frontière orientale” avec la Biélorussie, autre ancienne république soviétique qui ne fait pas partie de l’UE.

      La Lituanie, qui a donné refuge à des membres de l’opposition biélorusse, accuse son voisin d’organiser des passages frontaliers principalement par des personnes originaires d’Irak, du Moyen-Orient et d’Afrique.

      En juin, le nombre de passages illégaux des frontières entre la Biélorussie et la Lituanie a sextuplé, augmentant la pression sur les autorités nationales de contrôle des frontières, a déclaré Frontex. Le phénomène s’est accéléré en juillet et plus de 1 500 personnes sont entrées en Lituanie depuis la Biélorussie au cours des deux derniers mois, 20 fois plus qu’en 2020.

      Plus tôt cette semaine, le président autoritaire biélorusse Alexandre Loukachenko a déclaré que son pays ne fermerait pas ses frontières “et ne deviendrait pas un camp pour les personnes fuyant l’Afghanistan, l’Iran, l’Irak, la Syrie, la Libye et la Tunisie”.

      Les tensions entre l’UE et la Biélorussie se sont encore intensifiées après que la Biélorussie a détourné un avion de ligne le 23 mai pour arrêter un journaliste de l’opposition.

      Loukachenko a déclaré que son pays cesserait de coopérer avec le bloc des 27 pays pour endiguer la migration en représailles aux lourdes sanctions économiques que l’UE a imposées à la Biélorussie pour le détournement d’avions de passagers.

      Vendredi, la Lituanie a commencé à construire une double clôture en fil de fer barbelé à la frontière avec la Biélorussie. Il parcourra 550 kilomètres (342 miles), couvrant la majeure partie de la frontière de près de 680 kilomètres (423 miles) et coûtera 41 millions d’euros (48 millions de dollars), selon les autorités lituaniennes.

      En outre, la Lituanie a mis en place des camps de tentes pour accueillir le nombre croissant de migrants.

      https://www.cablechronicles.com/lagence-des-frontieres-de-lue-augmente-considerablement-laide-a-la-

    • EU deploys border force in Lithuania as Belarus opens pathway for migrants

      Officials cite effort by Minsk to ‘weaponize’ irregular migration flows.

      The EU’s border protection agency on Monday said it was mobilizing a rapid intervention force to Lithuania, where the government has accused neighboring Belarus of allowing hundreds of migrants to cross illegally into the country.

      The allegations that Belarus is “weaponizing” migrants in retaliation for EU sanctions and support for political opponents of the country’s long-time leader, Alexander Lukashenko, were discussed Monday in the European Parliament and in the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

      “It seems like the Belarusian authorities now facilitate irregular migration possibly in retaliation to EU restrictive measures and as a response to the Lithuanian support for the civil society in Belarus,” the EU’s commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, testified during a joint hearing of the Parliament’s home affairs and foreign affairs committees.

      Johansson said that the method of arrivals was still under investigation, but that it appeared several flights per day were landing in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, carrying migrants from Istanbul and Baghdad. Officials said at least 60 EU border guards were expected to arrive in Lithuania in the coming days.

      While many of the migrants that have crossed into Lithuania seem to be of Iraqi or Syrian origin, there have also been migrants from African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

      Arriving for Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said his country was struggling to return migrants to their home countries. He added that the Baltic nation is now confronting challenges more commonly seen in frontline EU countries like Greece and Spain that face a constant influx of migrants across the Mediterranean, and have faced similar pressure of arrivals from Turkey and Morocco.

      “The European Union should have a common strategy how to deal with these sort of political or hybrid threats,” Landsbergis said. “We need a strategy of readmission because a country — be it Lithuania, be it Greece or Spain — alone faces a rather challenging path when trying to return the people who illegally entered the country. Secondly, we need to be very strict with the regimes who are using these sorts of weapons.”

      Landsbergis called for additional sanctions against Belarus and said other countries using such tactics should face similar punishment.

      To help manage the crisis, the Lithuanian parliament will convene in a special session on Tuesday to adopt amendments to national asylum laws with an aim of reducing the time needed to evaluate applications for protected status.

      Asked if the situation in Lithuania was adding new urgency to the EU’s years-long struggle to develop a new migration pact, the bloc’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said it was up to the border protection agency, Frontex, to help manage the situation.

      “That’s why we created Frontex, to help member states to face migration crises,” Borrell said at a news conference following the meeting.
      ‘High pressure’ situation

      Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of Frontex, said his agency had anticipated Belarus seeking to use flows of irregular migrants as a political weapon, and has been monitoring the country’s borders since last fall. Testifying in the parliamentary hearing, Leggeri said there had been more than 1,600 irregular border crossings to Lithuania from Belarus since January 1 of this year, but roughly half of those, some 800, occurred in the first week of July.

      “This was clearly the sign that something was happening with more intensity,” Leggeri testified, adding: “We see that there is a high pressure that could even worsen in the next days.”

      Leggeri told Parliament that while the initial arrivals had mostly come from Iraq, Syria and Iran, this month there was a shift toward African nationals, including migrants from Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. He said Lukashenko’s government was encouraging the influx by inviting citizens to travel to Belarus without visas under the guise of obtaining coronavirus vaccines.

      “Belarus announced that 73 countries are encouraged to enter Belarus without a visa and to stay up to five days to get COVID vaccine shots,” he said.

      Lukashenko has simultaneously denied using migrants for political pressure while also warning that Belarus has no intention of halting the flows. He has effectively mocked the EU, saying last week: “We will not hold anyone back. We are not their final destination after all. They are headed to enlightened, warm, cozy Europe.”

      According to statistics from the Lithuanian Border Guard Service, a total of 1,714 irregular migrants crossed the Lithuanian border in 2021, compared to just 74 in 2020. Of these, 1,676 arrived from Belarus. According to the statistics, roughly 1,000 irregular migrants were detained between July 1 and July 11, including 377 from Iraq; 194 from the Democratic Republic of Congo; 118 from Cameroon; 67 from Guinea; 23 from Afghanistan; 22 from Togo; and 20 from Nigeria.

      The bizarre situation of Middle Eastern and African migrants arriving in the Baltics was part of a busy Foreign Affairs Council meeting that included a discussion over lunch with the new Israeli foreign affairs minister, Yair Lapid.

      Ministers also discussed the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which Borrell conceded was a direct consequence of the withdrawal of Western troops that was ordered by U.S. President Joe Biden. Borrell said a new international task force may be needed to try to stabilize the country and, especially, to protect the rights of women and girls, but he gave no indication of how such a task force would operate without military support.

      Ministers also discussed the continuing risk of famine in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Borrell said the EU was trying to mobilize assistance but that it was impossible for the EU alone to address a shortage of food for an estimated 850,000 people.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-deploys-border-force-in-lithuania-as-belarus-opens-pathway-for-migrants-

    • Lithuania introduces pushbacks against migrants crossing from Belarus

      As Lithuania struggles to stem the flow of migrants trying to enter the country from neighboring Belarus, border guards have said that they have begun to push back migrants trying to enter the country using irregular methods of crossing.

      Rustamas Liubajevas, the head of Lithuania’s border guard service, announced on Tuesday that “anyone who tries to enter Lithuanian territory illegally will be refused entry and directed to the nearest operational international border control point.” He added that some 180 migrants had already been sent back to Belarus on Tuesday.

      “Deterrent actions may be taken against those who do not comply,” Liubajevas said further. He did not to disclose the exact measures taken, but said the guards did not use violence to push back the migrants.

      The Baltic News Agency confirmed the reports.


      https://twitter.com/BNSLithuania/status/1422295961074814980

      Criticism against move

      The decision to introduce push backs has been taken by Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite, effectively allowing authorities to use force to send migrants to official border crossing points or to diplomatic missions, where they can apply for asylum legally.

      Lithuanian NGOs meanwhile have responded to the pushback of migrants, saying that it violates international human rights: “This restricts the fundamental human right to seek asylum in a safe state,” Akvile Krisciunaite, a researcher at the Diversity Development Group, told the AFP news agency.

      “Belarus is not a safe country, and human rights are known to be grossly violated there.”

      So far this year, Lithuanian border officials have detained more than 4,000 migrants — mostly Iraqi nationals. That number compares to 81 intercepted migrants for all of 2020.

      ’Cold War’ between Belarus and Lithuania

      Tensions between the two countries are on an all-time high since much of the Belarusian opposition have sought refuge in Lithuania from violent oppression following the disputed presidential reelection of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020. His main challenger and the likely winner of the vote, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has been living in exile in Lithuania ever since.

      Many Western governments, including Lithuania, have denounced the alleged re-election saying results were rigged. The EU then imposed a series of sanctions. Lithuanian officials now said they suspect that the influx of migrants is being staged by the Belarusian government under Lukashenko’s leadership.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/34091/lithuania-introduces-pushbacks-against-migrants-crossing-from-belarus

    • Lithuanian parliament votes to allow mass detention of asylum seekers

      Lithuania’s parliament on Tuesday (13 July) approved the mass detention of migrants and curbed their right of appeal, a move meant to deter high numbers crossing the border with Belarus but which stirred an outcry among humanitarian groups.

      Eighty-four lawmakers supported the bill, with one objection and 5 abstentions, brushing aside protests from Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations saying it violates Lithuania’s international obligations and migrant rights.

      Lithuanian and EU officials have accused Belarus of using illegal migrants as a political weapon to exert pressure on the European Union because of the bloc’s sanctions on Minsk. More than 1,700 people have entered Lithuania from its non-EU neighbour this year, including 1,100 in July alone.

      Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said the detention policy would prevent migrants from illegally travelling onwards to the more affluent west of the EU – the favoured destination of the vast majority of migrants reaching EU territory in recent years.

      The legislation is intended “to send a message to Iraqis and others that this is not a convenient route, conditions will not be good here”, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said in introducing the bill.

      She said such migrants are “not real asylum seekers” but rather Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “tool to use against Lithuania”, after he vowed retaliation for EU sanctions imposed over his violent suppression of street protests.

      The new law bans any release of migrants from detention for six months after their arrival, curbs the right of appeal for rejected asylum-seekers and stipulates that migrants can be deported while their appeals are considered.

      “The law is a potential human rights violation, and it does not correspond to EU directives,” Lithuanian Red Cross programme director Egle Samuchovaite told Reuters.

      “It enshrines the current bad situation in Lithuania’s detention centres in law and leaves vulnerable people in an even more vulnerable situation.”

      Lithuania also began building a 550-km razor wire barrier on its frontier with Belarus on Friday.

      The small Baltic republic of 2.8 million people, on the poorer eastern end of the EU, is used to receiving less than 100 illegal migrants per year and has struggled to cope with the recent influx.

      Fewer rights for migrants

      Several migrants at a temporary detention centre in a disused school in rural Lithuania told Reuters on Monday they had been given no information about their rights or future, nine days after arriving from Belarus.

      They said they had not been given a chance to apply for asylum nor to speak with the help of a translator.

      The new law removes most rights accorded to migrants such as the right to a translator or to obtain information about their status and the asylum process.

      Lithuanian authorities are now obliged only to provide upkeep in detention, medical care and legal aid, but Simonyte said the government will try to do more.

      “The government intends to provide all support that is needed for those people,” she told reporters. “But if there is a very sudden influx in a short time frame, we might be able to ensure only what is absolutely needed. For that we should have a legal framework.”

      Dainius Zalimas, a lawyer who until June was the chairman of Lithuania’s Constitutional Court, said mass detention and restricted appeal process likely violate both Lithuania’s constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.

      “The proposals, which are unconstitutional, are based on premise that all foreigners who crossed the border are second-class human beings, not entitled to constitutional rights,” he told Reuters before the vote.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/lithuanian-parliament-votes-to-allow-mass-detention-of-asylum-seekers

      #détention #détention_massive

    • EU presses Iraq to halt migrant flights to Belarus

      A number of new flights have been announced between Iraq and Belarus.

      The EU is ramping up pressure on Iraq to stop its airlines from flying to Belarus, which helps Minsk send asylum seekers into the EU in retaliation against sanctions imposed by the bloc.

      On Thursday, there were signs that the pressure was beginning to work. An Iraqi Airways flight from Basra to Minsk was canceled. However, an aircraft belonging to another carrier, Fly Baghdad, did land in the Belarusian capital Thursday, although a flight scheduled for Friday was canceled. Iraqi Airways recently expanded its schedule of flights to Belarus, while Fly Baghdad first started trips to Minsk in May.

      “We welcome the reports on the decision about the cancellation of these flights,” a European Commission spokesperson said Thursday, although they did not confirm reports that Iraqi Airways will cancel flights until August 15.

      The EU has accused Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko of trying to “weaponize” the Iraqi migrants who arrive in Minsk. They are taken to the border with Lithuania and then cross into the EU; so far, 4,000 asylum seekers have entered, almost 2,800 of them from Iraq. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis estimates that up to 10,000 migrants could come into his country by the end of the summer. Last year, Lithuania received only about 80 migrants.

      This migration crisis is very different from previous ones where people crossed into the EU by sea. The main access to Belarus is by air, and despite EU efforts to throttle traffic, Minsk is working hard to expand the number of flights reaching the country.

      The immediate pressure is on Iraq, but there is also an increase in flights to Minsk from Turkey, also reportedly carrying asylum seekers.

      The EU is ramping up pressure on Iraq to fall into line.

      Charles Michel, president of the European Council, got involved, speaking to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi, while EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

      Talks with the Iraqis are “done in a very constructive spirit [with] the Iraqi side conveying the willingness to cooperate and jointly address the situation," said the Commission spokesperson.

      Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and others joined Lithuania in putting pressure on Baghdad, diplomats said. An Iraqi delegation was in Lithuania last week and visited the camps where Iraqis are staying.

      Some EU diplomats say that the diplomatic effort is hampered by a lack of strong leverage over Baghdad. The Iraqis “are well aware that we cannot abandon them, we need them for our security and we cannot risk having another Afghanistan next door,” said an EU diplomat.

      The bloc did threaten last month to restrict visas for Iraqis to improve cooperation in taking back people rejected for asylum. The Commission said that “Iraqi authorities cooperate only on voluntary returns and in very exceptional cases (Iraqi nationals convicted for a criminal offence) on forced returns” and that “Iraq’s cooperation with the EU on readmission matters is not sufficient and that action is needed.”
      More flights

      While flights from Iraq are the most pressing issue, there is also worry about the increase in routes from Turkey.

      In recent weeks, Belavia — which is currently banned from European airspace after Minsk illegally diverted a Ryanair plane in May to kidnap an opposition blogger — has beefed up its schedule from Turkey. Two routes between Minsk and Istanbul that had been serviced three times a week are now flying daily. Regular flights from Izmir have been reinstated, as have several regular flights from Antalya — although those are also popular holiday destinations for Belarusians.

      There is also an effort to crack down on EU-based leasing companies supplying aircraft to Belavia.

      Brussels “must make sure that no European company can provide assets that facilitate the trafficking route,” Landsbergis told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook on Wednesday.

      According to an EU official, several of the jets operated by Belavia come from Ireland. A company based in Denmark, Nordic Aviation Capital, has also provided aircraft to Belavia in the past. A spokesperson for the firm said it would not comment, but the company announced last September that it had delivered the last plane of a five-jet agreement to the carrier.

      Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told POLITICO his government does not yet “have sufficient information to verify such claims” but said the case is being reviewed by Danish authorities.

      “But let me be clear: If Danish companies are involved in Lukashenko’s deliberate, malicious and cynical efforts to use migrants as a political weapon to try and put pressure on Lithuania and the EU, then that would of course be totally unacceptable and should be stopped immediately,” he said. “If European companies aid and abet the Lukashenko regime in this way, then I firmly believe we need to revisit our current sanctions in the EU.”

      SMBC Aviation Capital, a Dublin-based company that has previously leased aircraft to Belavia, said in an email on Wednesday that it had not been contacted by Irish or European authorities. The Irish government did not respond to a request for comment.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/belarus-migrant-flights-eu-sanctions-iraq-turkey

      #Irak #vol #vols

    • La Lituanie commence la construction d’une clôture à la frontière avec le Bélarus

      La Lituanie a entrepris la construction d’une clôture le long de sa frontière avec le Bélarus, accusé par Vilnius et Varsovie d’acheminer des migrants vers l’UE.

      C’est un mur de plus qui va être érigé en Europe, de plusieurs centaines de kilomètres de long.

      Tetas, une entreprise de construction qui fait partie du groupe énergétique public lituanien Epso-G a commencé à acheminer le matériel nécessaire à la construction d’une clôture de 111 kilomètres de long, a rapporté le radiodiffuseur public LRT.

      L’entreprise a aussi marqué les sections des points de contrôle frontaliers de Druskininkai, Barauskas et Adutiskis dans le sud-est de la Lituanie.

      Dans l’urgence, des barbelés accordéon vont être posés dans les sections clés ce mois d’octobre, puis la pose d’une clôture de 4 mètres de hauteur sera effectuée à partir de novembre/décembre, avec pour objectif de l’achever d’ici le mois d’avril 2022.
      500 km au total

      Mais ce tronçon de 111 kilomètres ne représente qu’une première étape. L’entreprise Epso-G prévoit de lancer un second appel d’offres dès cette semaine, pour la construction d’une section de 400 kilomètres qui doit être terminée d’ici septembre 2022.

      Le gouvernement lituanien, qui accuse Alexandre Loukachenko de mener une « guerre hybride » contre la Lituanie, a alloué 152 millions d’euros pour la construction d’une barrière de 508 kilomètres.

      La Lituanie a accueilli sur son sol des opposants au régime de Loukachenko et son parlement a reconnu Svetlana Tsikhanovskaïa comme la présidente légitime du Bélarus.

      A Varsovie aussi on s’inquiète des mouvements du voisin de l’est. La Biélorussie augmente la pression de l’émigration illégale vers les frontières de l’UE en acheminant « des dizaines de milliers d’immigrants dans son pays afin de les livrer à la frontière avec la Pologne », a assuré le premier ministre Mateusz Morawiecki.

      Tout le monde en Lituanie ne voit pas ce nouveau mur d’un bon œil.

      Dans une interview au « Courrier d’Europe centrale », l’eurodéputé et ancien ministre de la Défense lituanien Juozas Olekas estime que « Loukachenko est un leader illégitime qui […] utilise les migrants comme un mécanisme de pression sur l’Union européenne ».

      Pour autant, Juozas Olekas déclare : « Je ne suis pas favorable à l’érection de murs sur l’ensemble de la frontière et je pense qu’un travail diplomatique intensif, y compris avec les pays d’origine des migrants, ou de meilleures patrouilles, qui fonctionnent déjà, seraient des mesures plus efficaces. Je pense qu’il est inutile de paniquer, car ça ne sert jamais à rien, et que nous devrions nous concentrer sur des solutions à long terme ».

      https://courrierdeuropecentrale.fr/la-lituanie-commence-la-construction-dune-cloture-a-la-front

  • Syrian refugees complain about Gabčíkovo camp

    SYRIAN asylum seekers who have arrived from Austria and are temporarily placed in the refugee camp in Gabčíkovo (Trnava Region) are complaining about alleged bullying and insufficient care of children.

    They have already signed a petition and have tried to meet with the the management of the facility. The management, however, rejects any meetings. Moreover, they say it is only play-acting when talking to media, the Aktuality.sk website reported.

    “They promised us the same conditions as in Austria but the differences here are huge,” a 20-year-old man from Aleppo told Aktuality.sk.

    There are currently more than 400 Syrians accommodated in Gabčíkovo, including 120 children. All of them are seeking asylum in Austria but have been placed in Slovakia based upon the memorandum on cooperation which was signed between Slovakia and Austria earlier this year.

    The refugees mostly complain about bad conditions for children, most of whom have already reached school age. Nobody has yet secured any courses or lessons for them. As it is possible that they may spend up to six months in the camp, it is likely that they will miss a whole year at school, according to Aktuality.sk.

    The only activity for children in the camp is kindergarten, which is only open between 14:00 and 15:00, where every child younger than 18 can go. They mostly have art lessons there. The activity is led by Thawra, one of the facility’s inhabitants, the website wrote.

    The Syrians also complain about problematic medical care. While in Austria there are doctors who come to the refugee camps daily at certain hours, in Slovakia they have to ask for them. According to official information, the paediatrician visits the facility twice a week between 14:00 and 18:00, but the refugees complain that this is not always true, Aktuality.sk wrote.

    According to the memorandum, the medical care should be secured by Austria. The Syrians say that the problem is with ORS Slovakia company which manages the facility and which is also the official contract partner of the Austrian government.

    Additionally, the refugees say they are not happy about the food they receive. They also say that the kitchens are locked at night and they cannot warm food for their babies.

    “These people have escaped from war, I think it is important that they do not sleep on floor and that they have hot meal every day,” Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said, as quoted by Aktuality.sk, adding that the Gabčíkovo facility is not a hotel.

    #ORS #Slovakia #Gabčíkovo

    https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20063030/syrian-refugees-complain-about-gabcikovo-camp.html

    • Slovakia promotes Gabcikovo camp as answer to refugee problem

      Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, has showcased the Gabčíkovo camp near Bratislava as an example that intergovernmental solutions can work better than the Commission’s relocation system based on mandatory quotas.

      On Saturday (2 July) the Slovak presidency took a group of 58 Brussels journalists to Gabčíkovo, in the Trnava Region, on the border with Hungary, some 50 kilometres from Bratislava, to showcase a refugee camp run in cooperation with Austria.

      The previous day, the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, and other officials had stated that Gabčíkovo was a proof that the country was unfairly criticised for not doing enough to share the burden of the refugee crisis the EU is faced with.

      The camp is a former technical university, which was converted in 2015 into a refugee camp for a period of two years, under a bilateral deal with Austria. So far a total of 1,200 Syrian refugees, mostly families, have been settled in the camp. Before coming to Gabčíkovo, all of them applied for asylum in Austria, and agreed to await the decision on their application in Slovakia.

      Slovakia is providing accommodation and food, while Austria has dispatched 22 social workers, who among other things, teach the refugees German.

      Karl-Heinz Grundböck, spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Austria, expressed thanks to the Slovak government for the assistance, which has been particularly helpful when the Austrian asylum system collapsed last summer, with no accommodation available and asylum seekers sleeping on the grass in the Traiskirchen refugee camp near Vienna.

      At present, only 14 refugees are living in the Gabčíkovo camp, but Austria would like the project to be maintained, because as Grundböck explained, the future remained uncertain.

      The total capacity of the camp, of 500 refugees, was reached during the past winter. All asylum seekers accommodated so far have ultimately received asylum and none has fled.

      Bernard Priecel, director of the migration office of the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia, explained that the refugees don’t want to remain in Slovakia, and if they are forcibly relocated there, would disappear “the next day”. He argued that instead of applying the relocation scheme, as decided upon by the Commission, other types of bilateral projects, such as Gabčíkovo, could be replicated across the EU.

      Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas

      Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November).

      Asked if the Gabčíkovo camp has ever been visited by the Commission, Priecel said no. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the facility in October 2015.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/slovakia-showcases-gabcikovo-camp-as-answer-to-refugee-problem

    • Following Syrian Refugees Into an Unwelcoming Slovakia

      Late last week, after a long journey, a group of 24 young men arrived by bus in a tiny town about an hour outside of Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city.

      Most of the men had traveled for at least a month from their homes in war-torn Syria, following a path that took them first to Turkey, then across the Aegean Sea and through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, then into Austria.

      “We lost everything in our country,” says Mahmood Alokla, 24, who came from outside Damascus. “We lost our sisters and our brothers. We paid all our money—and for this. We don’t want it.”

      Alokla and the other refugees who were sent to a camp in Gabčíkovo (pronounced gab-chee-kovo) say they want to stay in Austria. They proudly display their Austrian ID cards. A few have family in the country. But as the result of a deal between Austrian and Slovak leaders, the refugees were put on a bus and moved. Some of them were separated from family members they had traveled with from Syria.

      Years of conflict in Syria, splintered warring factions, and the rise of ISIS have all driven hundreds of thousands of people to seek safer lives elsewhere. The influx of these asylum-seekers—in addition to thousands more fleeing danger zones around the Middle East and North Africa—has lead to concerns and confusion about where they can, and will, end up.

      “I want to be in Vienna,” says Abdelkarim Alorfi, 26, sitting on the crumbling steps of the main building of the refugee’s housing camp. Alorfi was separated from his brother’s family when he left Austria. “I don’t want to be here. The police are watching.”
      Pictures of Syrain refugees in Slovakia

      View Images

      Refugees collect their luggage at the camp in Gabčíkovo, Slovakia.
      Photograph by Igor Svítok, Demotix, Corbis

      The camp, made up of a series of run-down buildings belonging to the Slovak University of Technology, has been used to accommodate refugees in the past, but it’s been empty for the last six years. A police car sits in a parking lot, and others drive through on surveillance runs.

      It’s no secret that the Slovak government has been loath to accept asylum seekers from the Middle East as the number reaching Western Europe has grown to what many are calling crisis levels in recent weeks.

      In late July, Slovakia agreed to temporarily house 500 refugees from Austria in the Gabčíkovo camp. In early August, the townspeople staged a referendum that garnered a nearly 97 percent vote against allowing refugees to stay at the camp.

      Reports in mid-August indicated the Slovak government would agree to relocate up to 200 Syrians, and initially suggested that these refugees had to be Christian (the BBC reports that about ten percent of Syrians were Christian before the conflict started).

      Marches against the “Islamisation” of Slovakia and Europe have drawn crowds in Bratislava. The most recent saw an estimated 1,000 protesters just a day before the refugees arrived in Gabčíkovo. Plans for a protest against the acceptance of migrants—initiated by the far-right People’s Party and set to take place in Gabčíkovo, whose residents are mostly ethnic Hungarian—were thwarted by police earlier in September.

      On Tuesday, the EU pushed through a measure that would disperse 120,000 refugees across Europe—with Slovakia taking on fewer than 1,000 initially. Slovakia was one of four countries to vote against the proposal. Following the decision, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico continued to hold strong against quotas.

      Alorfi says he thinks he will be in Slovakia for 60 days. Others say five days. One man, speaking on his cell phone a few feet away, shouts over to the rest of the group in Arabic, “Where are we?” A few respond, “Slovakia!”

      The men say they are confused as to why they are in Slovakia. They say they were never told they would be moved out of Austria.

      “We are like animals,” says Dewan Mohammad, 33. “We are here today. We don’t know tomorrow. This is how it is for us Syrians.”
      Picture of Syrian refugees in Slovakia

      View Images

      A group of refugees that traveled from Syria to Austria were, to their surprise, moved to Slovakia, where residents have protested their arrival. Tarek Abood (left) and Abdelkarim Alorfi are among many awaiting a decision on their applications for asylum in Austria.
      Photograph by Meghan Sullivan

      The day before the refugees arrived, Slovakia’s health minister Viliam Čislák was out talking with the media about the need to be sure all the migrants were in good health and had been vaccinated. The same day, Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak told reporters that Slovakia, in conjunction with the Czech Republic, was open to creating a corridor through Slovakia to allow safe passage of refugees into Germany, if Germany supported the idea.

      The concern among many Slovaks is that their nation of 5.4 million cannot accommodate a large influx of immigrants, socially or economically. Prime Minister Fico has said that the current system doesn’t control for potential terrorists slipping in under the radar. And Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak told NPR on Friday that it doesn’t make sense to give asylum to refugees who, effectively, want to establish themselves elsewhere.

      “Sometimes you feel like no one respects you,” Alokla says. “It’s hard in Austria, but we have friends and family. We come here only because of war. “I hope to just be near my sister. It’s peace for me. As you have family, we have. As you have feelings, we have. After some time, if you see the people, you would respect us.”

      As the refugees head into the cafeteria for a lunch provided by the Slovak government, a local woman pushes her young grandson by in a stroller. When asked what she thinks of the situation, she just shrugs her shoulders.

      She and her neighbors could be seeing more migrants temporarily, or permanently, join their community soon.

      https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/09/150923-syrian-refugees-arrive-slovakia-protest

    • Slovakian village doesn’t want Austria’s migrants

      Residents of the Slovakian village of Gabcikovo voted in a referendum on Sunday to reject the establishment of a temporary asylum camp to house 500 migrants bound for Austria under an agreement between Bratislava and Vienna.

      About 97 percent of voters said yes to the question “Are you against the establishment of a temporary migrant camp in the building of the Slovak Technical University?”

      According to Teodor Bodo, the head of the referendum’s electoral commission, 2,600 of Gabcikovo’s 4,300 adult residents participated in the vote, with only 102 in favour of hosting migrants.

      Local authorities organised the consultation following a petition signed by 3,150 residents of Gabcikovo. The interior ministry warned however that the outcome of the consultation was not binding.

      “The local referendum is binding on the municipality, but the interior ministry, as an organ of the state is not obliged to act according to its results,” said ministry spokeswoman Michaela Paulenova.

      Slovakia has agreed to house 500 migrants who have applied for asylum in Austria, at the end of a bilateral agreement concluded on July 21st in Vienna and designed to reduce pressure on the neighbouring country’s capabilities for receiving migrants.

      Under this agreement, hailed as “a great sign of solidarity on the part of Slovakia” by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Slovakia will pay the cost of accommodation and food for migrants while Austria will assume the personnel costs.

      Mikl-Leitner’s Slovak counterpart Robert Kalinak justified Bratislava’s gesture as a desire to “pay (its) debts” to Austria, which hosted refugees during the time of the Iron Curtain and supported Slovakia’s accession to the EU and the Schengen area.

      “Everything is ready now for Gabcikovo to accommodate migrants from Austria”, Paulenova said. The date of their arrival is however not yet known, she added.

      https://www.thelocal.at/20150803/slovakian-village-opposes-hosting-austrias-migrants

    • Asyl : Ein Schauspiel namens Gabčíkovo

      Ein kleiner Ort in der Westslowakei sollte das Lager in Traiskirchen entlasten. Doch bisher lief nichts nach Plan.

      Wien. „Die Lage hier ist nicht gut. Das Camp ist überfüllt und sie haben uns mit 14 anderen Familien in einen 200 Quadratmeter großen Raum gesteckt“, schreibt ein zweifacher irakischer Familienvater und Arzt der „Presse“ aus dem Flüchtlingslager Traiskirchen. Die Situation sei weiter angespannt, Entlastung geboten, meint auch das Innenministerium. Einen Plan dafür gibt es. Seit Juli. 500 Asylwerber aus Traiskirchen sollen vorübergehend, bis zum Bescheid, in der Technischen Universität im westslowakischen 5000-Einwohner-Ort Gabčíkovo untergebracht werden. Die ersten wurden im Juli, dann im August, später Anfang September erwartet. Es kam immer anders.

      Das Innenministerium in Bratislava ist entnervt: „Zweimal wurden Termine abgesagt, bei denen bereits das Essen für die Flüchtlinge in Gabčíkovo vorbereitet war“, sagt Sprecher Ivan Netík Donnerstagvormittag zur „Presse“. Das sei „nicht sehr nett“ von Österreichs Behörden. „Uns ist es auch egal, aus welchen Lagern die Flüchtlinge kommen“, ergänzt er, während es in Österreich die nächste Meldung über einen abgesagten Transport gibt. 42 Syrer aus dem Zeltlager in Krumpendorf sollten nach Gabčíkovo gebracht werden, denn „wir brauchen die Ressourcen dort wegen der Neuankünfte“, sagt Karl-Heinz Grundböck, Sprecher des Innenministeriums. Der Flüchtlingsstrom mündet nun ja in Österreichs Süden. Die Flüchtlinge wollten nicht. Also stellten NGOs Ersatzquartiere auf. Wieder nichts mit Gabčíkovo.

      Die am 21. Juli vereinbarte Asylkoordination mit der Slowakei stand von Anfang an unter keinem guten Stern. 97 Prozent der Bewohner Gabčíkovos lehnten die Pläne ab. Premier Robert Fico setzte sich (nach Zögern) über die Befragung hinweg. Die Bürger sollen nun aber mit einem besseren Kamerasystem im Ort beruhigt werden. Dann das nächste Problem: Die Gründung eines slowakischen Ablegers der österreichischen Flüchtlingsorganisation ORS zog sich in die Länge (ORS ist vor Ort für Sicherheit und Betreuung zuständig). Bratislava erklärte, es warte auf Dokumente aus Österreich, wo erwidert wurde, man warte auf die slowakische Genehmigung. Am 8. September wurde sie erteilt. Schon davor dürfte man im Innenressort aber erkannt haben, dass der größte Fallstrick anderswo lauert: Asylwerber haben genauso wenig Interesse an Mittelosteuropa wie die Staaten dort an deren Aufnahme. Zwingen kann man niemanden.
      Freiwillige gesucht

      Die Asylwerber sollen nun in Informationsgesprächen für Gabčíkovo erwärmt werden. Was für den Ort spreche? „Eine adäquate Unterkunft“, sagt Grundböck. In Traiskirchen gebe es ja teils Zelte. Mitgrund für das geringe Interesse seien die Bilder aus Ungarn und dass der Eindruck entstanden sei, Deutschland nehme alle auf, sagt Grundböck. Wobei im Smartphone-Zeitalter den Asylwerbern auch die Haltung der Slowakei nicht entgangen sein dürfte, die in der Aussage gipfelte, man akzeptiere nur Christen.

      Gestern trafen dann doch erste Asylwerber in Gabčikovo ein. 18 Syrer wurden aus Salzburgs Schwarzenbergkaserne in den Ort gefahren. Den ersten Transport aus Traiskirchen sollte es erst geben, wenn sich 50 Asylwerber gefunden haben. Auch dieser Plan wurde noch am selben Tag verworfen, als die Ersten aus Traiskirchen nach Gabčíkovo gebracht wurden: Es waren sechs Asylwerber an der Zahl.

      ("Die Presse", Print-Ausgabe, 18.09.2015)

      https://www.diepresse.com/4823691/asyl-ein-schauspiel-namens-gabcikovo

  • Migrants: le règlement de Dublin va être supprimé

    La Commission européenne doit présenter le 23 septembre sa proposition de réforme de sa politique migratoire, très attendue et plusieurs fois repoussée.

    Cinq ans après le début de la crise migratoire, l’Union européenne veut changer de stratégie. La Commission européenne veut “abolir” le règlement de Dublin qui fracture les Etats-membres et qui confie la responsabilité du traitement des demandes d’asile au pays de première entrée des migrants dans l’UE, a annoncé ce mercredi 16 septembre la cheffe de l’exécutif européen Ursula von der Leyen dans son discours sur l’Etat de l’Union.

    La Commission doit présenter le 23 septembre sa proposition de réforme de la politique migratoire européenne, très attendue et plusieurs fois repoussée, alors que le débat sur le manque de solidarité entre pays Européens a été relancé par l’incendie du camp de Moria sur lîle grecque de Lesbos.

    “Au coeur (de la réforme) il y a un engagement pour un système plus européen”, a déclaré Ursula von der Leyen devant le Parlement européen. “Je peux annoncer que nous allons abolir le règlement de Dublin et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration”, a-t-elle poursuivi.
    Nouveau mécanisme de solidarité

    “Il y aura des structures communes pour l’asile et le retour. Et il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité”, a-t-elle dit, alors que les pays qui sont en première ligne d’arrivée des migrants (Grèce, Malte, Italie notamment) se plaignent de devoir faire face à une charge disproportionnée.

    La proposition de réforme de la Commission devra encore être acceptée par les Etats. Ce qui n’est pas gagné d’avance. Cinq ans après la crise migratoire de 2015, la question de l’accueil des migrants est un sujet qui reste source de profondes divisions en Europe, certains pays de l’Est refusant d’accueillir des demandeurs d’asile.

    Sous la pression, le système d’asile européen organisé par le règlement de Dublin a explosé après avoir pesé lourdement sur la Grèce ou l’Italie.

    Le nouveau plan pourrait notamment prévoir davantage de sélection des demandeurs d’asile aux frontières extérieures et un retour des déboutés dans leur pays assuré par Frontex. Egalement à l’étude pour les Etats volontaires : un mécanisme de relocalisation des migrants sauvés en Méditerranée, parfois contraints d’errer en mer pendant des semaines en attente d’un pays d’accueil.

    Ce plan ne résoudrait toutefois pas toutes les failles. Pour le patron de l’Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration, Didier Leschi, “il ne peut pas y avoir de politique européenne commune sans critères communs pour accepter les demandes d’asile.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/migrants-le-reglement-de-dublin-tres-controverse-va-etre-supprime_fr_

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Dublin #règlement_dublin #fin #fin_de_Dublin #suppression #pacte #Pacte_européen_sur_la_migration #new_pact #nouveau_pacte #pacte_sur_la_migration_et_l'asile

    –---

    Documents officiels en lien avec le pacte:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/879881

    ping @reka @karine4 @_kg_ @isskein

    • Immigration : le règlement de Dublin, l’impossible #réforme ?

      En voulant abroger le règlement de Dublin, qui impose la responsabilité des demandeurs d’asile au premier pays d’entrée dans l’Union européenne, Bruxelles reconnaît des dysfonctionnements dans l’accueil des migrants. Mais les Vingt-Sept, plus que jamais divisés sur cette question, sont-ils prêts à une refonte du texte ? Éléments de réponses.

      Ursula Von der Leyen en a fait une des priorités de son mandat : réformer le règlement de Dublin, qui impose au premier pays de l’UE dans lequel le migrant est arrivé de traiter sa demande d’asile. « Je peux annoncer que nous allons [l’]abolir et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration », a déclaré la présidente de la Commission européenne mercredi 16 septembre, devant le Parlement.

      Les États dotés de frontières extérieures comme la Grèce, l’Italie ou Malte se sont réjouis de cette annonce. Ils s’estiment lésés par ce règlement en raison de leur situation géographique qui les place en première ligne.

      La présidente de la Commission européenne doit présenter, le 23 septembre, une nouvelle version de la politique migratoire, jusqu’ici maintes fois repoussée. « Il y aura des structures communes pour l’asile et le retour. Et il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité », a-t-elle poursuivi. Un terme fort à l’heure où l’incendie du camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, plus de 8 000 adultes et 4 000 enfants à la rue, a révélé le manque d’entraide entre pays européens.

      Pour mieux comprendre l’enjeu de cette nouvelle réforme européenne de la politique migratoire, France 24 décrypte le règlement de Dublin qui divise tant les Vingt-Sept, en particulier depuis la crise migratoire de 2015.

      Pourquoi le règlement de Dublin dysfonctionne ?

      Les failles ont toujours existé mais ont été révélées par la crise migratoire de 2015, estiment les experts de politique migratoire. Ce texte signé en 2013 et qu’on appelle « Dublin III » repose sur un accord entre les membres de l’Union européenne ainsi que la Suisse, l’Islande, la Norvège et le Liechtenstein. Il prévoit que l’examen de la demande d’asile d’un exilé incombe au premier pays d’entrée en Europe. Si un migrant passé par l’Italie arrive par exemple en France, les autorités françaises ne sont, en théorie, pas tenu d’enregistrer la demande du Dubliné.
      © Union européenne | Les pays signataires du règlement de Dublin.

      Face à l’afflux de réfugiés ces dernières années, les pays dotés de frontières extérieures, comme la Grèce et l’Italie, se sont estimés abandonnés par le reste de l’Europe. « La charge est trop importante pour ce bloc méditerranéen », estime Matthieu Tardis, chercheur au Centre migrations et citoyennetés de l’Ifri (Institut français des relations internationales). Le texte est pensé « comme un mécanisme de responsabilité des États et non de solidarité », estime-t-il.

      Sa mise en application est aussi difficile à mettre en place. La France et l’Allemagne, qui concentrent la majorité des demandes d’asile depuis le début des années 2000, peinent à renvoyer les Dublinés. Dans l’Hexagone, seulement 11,5 % ont été transférés dans le pays d’entrée. Outre-Rhin, le taux ne dépasse pas les 15 %. Conséquence : nombre d’entre eux restent « bloqués » dans les camps de migrants à Calais ou dans le nord de Paris.

      Le délai d’attente pour les demandeurs d’asile est aussi jugé trop long. Un réfugié passé par l’Italie, qui vient déposer une demande d’asile en France, peut attendre jusqu’à 18 mois avant d’avoir un retour. « Durant cette période, il se retrouve dans une situation d’incertitude très dommageable pour lui mais aussi pour l’Union européenne. C’est un système perdant-perdant », commente Matthieu Tardis.

      Ce règlement n’est pas adapté aux demandeurs d’asile, surenchérit-on à la Cimade (Comité inter-mouvements auprès des évacués). Dans un rapport, l’organisation qualifie ce système de « machine infernale de l’asile européen ». « Il ne tient pas compte des liens familiaux ni des langues parlées par les réfugiés », précise le responsable asile de l’association, Gérard Sadik.

      Sept ans après avoir vu le jour, le règlement s’est vu porter le coup de grâce par le confinement lié aux conditions sanitaires pour lutter contre le Covid-19. « Durant cette période, aucun transfert n’a eu lieu », assure-t-on à la Cimade.

      Le mécanisme de solidarité peut-il le remplacer ?

      « Il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité », a promis Ursula von der Leyen, sans donné plus de précision. Sur ce point, on sait déjà que les positions divergent, voire s’opposent, entre les Vingt-Sept.

      Le bloc du nord-ouest (Allemagne, France, Autriche, Benelux) reste ancré sur le principe actuel de responsabilité, mais accepte de l’accompagner d’un mécanisme de solidarité. Sur quels critères se base la répartition du nombre de demandeurs d’asile ? Comment les sélectionner ? Aucune décision n’est encore actée. « Ils sont prêts à des compromis car ils veulent montrer que l’Union européenne peut avancer et agir sur la question migratoire », assure Matthieu Tardis.

      En revanche, le groupe dit de Visegrad (Hongrie, Pologne, République tchèque, Slovaquie), peu enclin à l’accueil, rejette catégoriquement tout principe de solidarité. « Ils se disent prêts à envoyer des moyens financiers, du personnel pour le contrôle aux frontières mais refusent de recevoir les demandeurs d’asile », détaille le chercheur de l’Ifri.

      Quant au bloc Méditerranée (Grèce, Italie, Malte , Chypre, Espagne), des questions subsistent sur la proposition du bloc nord-ouest : le mécanisme de solidarité sera-t-il activé de façon permanente ou exceptionnelle ? Quelles populations sont éligibles au droit d’asile ? Et qui est responsable du retour ? « Depuis le retrait de la Ligue du Nord de la coalition dans le gouvernement italien, le dialogue est à nouveau possible », avance Matthieu Tardis.

      Un accord semble toutefois indispensable pour montrer que l’Union européenne n’est pas totalement en faillite sur ce dossier. « Mais le bloc de Visegrad n’a pas forcément en tête cet enjeu », nuance-t-il. Seule la situation sanitaire liée au Covid-19, qui place les pays de l’Est dans une situation économique fragile, pourrait faire évoluer leur position, note le chercheur.

      Et le mécanisme par répartition ?

      Le mécanisme par répartition, dans les tuyaux depuis 2016, revient régulièrement sur la table des négociations. Son principe : la capacité d’accueil du pays dépend de ses poids démographique et économique. Elle serait de 30 % pour l’Allemagne, contre un tiers des demandes aujourd’hui, et 20 % pour la France, qui en recense 18 %. « Ce serait une option gagnante pour ces deux pays, mais pas pour le bloc du Visegrad qui s’y oppose », décrypte Gérard Sadik, le responsable asile de la Cimade.

      Cette doctrine reposerait sur un système informatisé, qui recenserait dans une seule base toutes les données des demandeurs d’asile. Mais l’usage de l’intelligence artificielle au profit de la procédure administrative ne présente pas que des avantages, aux yeux de la Cimade : « L’algorithme ne sera pas en mesure de tenir compte des liens familiaux des demandeurs d’asile », juge Gérard Sadik.

      Quelles chances pour une refonte ?

      L’Union européenne a déjà tenté plusieurs fois de réformer ce serpent de mer. Un texte dit « Dublin IV » était déjà dans les tuyaux depuis 2016, en proposant par exemple que la responsabilité du premier État d’accueil soit définitive, mais il a été enterré face aux dissensions internes.

      Reste à savoir quel est le contenu exact de la nouvelle version qui sera présentée le 23 septembre par Ursula Van der Leyen. À la Cimade, on craint un durcissement de la politique migratoire, et notamment un renforcement du contrôle aux frontières.

      Quoi qu’il en soit, les négociations s’annoncent « compliquées et difficiles » car « les intérêts des pays membres ne sont pas les mêmes », a rappelé le ministre grec adjoint des Migrations, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, jeudi 17 septembre. Et surtout, la nouvelle mouture devra obtenir l’accord du Parlement, mais aussi celui des États. La refonte est encore loin.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/27376/immigration-le-reglement-de-dublin-l-impossible-reforme

      #gouvernance #Ursula_Von_der_Leyen #mécanisme_de_solidarité #responsabilité #groupe_de_Visegrad #solidarité #répartition #mécanisme_par_répartition #capacité_d'accueil #intelligence_artificielle #algorithme #Dublin_IV

    • Germany’s #Seehofer cautiously optimistic on EU asylum reform

      For the first time during the German Presidency, EU interior ministers exchanged views on reforms of the EU asylum system. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) expressed “justified confidence” that a deal can be found. EURACTIV Germany reports.

      The focus of Tuesday’s (7 July) informal video conference of interior ministers was on the expansion of police cooperation and sea rescue, which, according to Seehofer, is one of the “Big Four” topics of the German Council Presidency, integrated into a reform of the #Common_European_Asylum_System (#CEAS).

      Following the meeting, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, spoke of an “excellent start to the Presidency,” and Seehofer also praised the “constructive discussions.” In the field of asylum policy, she said that it had become clear that all member states were “highly interested in positive solutions.”

      The interior ministers were unanimous in their desire to further strengthen police cooperation and expand both the mandates and the financial resources of Europol and Frontex.

      Regarding the question of the distribution of refugees, Seehofer said that he had “heard statements that [he] had not heard in years prior.” He said that almost all member states were “prepared to show solidarity in different ways.”

      While about a dozen member states would like to participate in the distribution of those rescued from distress at the EU’s external borders in the event of a “disproportionate burden” on the states, other states signalled that they wanted to make control vessels, financial means or personnel available to prevent smuggling activities and stem migration across the Mediterranean.

      Seehofer’s final act

      It will probably be Seehofer’s last attempt to initiate CEAS reform. He announced in May that he would withdraw completely from politics after the end of the legislative period in autumn 2021.

      Now it seems that he considers CEAS reform as his last great mission, Seehofer said that he intends to address the migration issue from late summer onwards “with all I have at my disposal.” adding that Tuesday’s (7 July) talks had “once again kindled a real fire” in him. To this end, he plans to leave the official business of the Interior Ministry “in day-to-day matters” largely to the State Secretaries.

      Seehofer’s shift of priorities to the European stage comes at a time when he is being sharply criticised in Germany.

      While his initial handling of a controversial newspaper column about the police published in Berlin’s tageszeitung prompted criticism, Seehofer now faces accusations of concealing structural racism in the police. Seehofer had announced over the weekend that, contrary to the recommendation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), he would not commission a study on racial profiling in the police force after all.

      Seehofer: “One step is not enough”

      In recent months, Seehofer has made several attempts to set up a distribution mechanism for rescued persons in distress. On several occasions he accused the Commission of letting member states down by not solving the asylum question.

      “I have the ambition to make a great leap. One step would be too little in our presidency,” said Seehofer during Tuesday’s press conference. However, much depends on when the Commission will present its long-awaited migration pact, as its proposals are intended to serve as a basis for negotiations on CEAS reform.

      As Johansson said on Tuesday, this is planned for September. Seehofer thus only has just under four months to get the first Council conclusions through. “There will not be enough time for legislation,” he said.

      Until a permanent solution is found, ad hoc solutions will continue. A “sustainable solution” should include better cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, as the member states agreed on Tuesday.

      To this end, “agreements on the repatriation of refugees” are now to be reached with North African countries. A first step towards this will be taken next Monday (13 July), at a joint conference with North African leaders.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/germany-eyes-breakthrough-in-eu-migration-dispute-this-year

      #Europol #Frontex

    • Relocation, solidarity mandatory for EU migration policy: #Johansson

      In an interview with ANSA and other European media outlets, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs #Ylva_Johansson explained the new migration and asylum pact due to be unveiled on September 23, stressing that nobody will find ideal solutions but rather a well-balanced compromise that will ’’improve the situation’’.

      European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has explained in an interview with a group of European journalists, including ANSA, a new pact on asylum and migration to be presented on September 23. She touched on rules for countries of first entry, a new mechanism of mandatory solidarity, fast repatriations and refugee relocation.

      The Swedish commissioner said that no one will find ideal solutions in the European Commission’s new asylum and migration proposal but rather a good compromise that “will improve the situation”.

      She said the debate to change the asylum regulation known as Dublin needs to be played down in order to find an agreement. Johansson said an earlier 2016 reform plan would be withdrawn as it ’’caused the majority’’ of conflicts among countries.

      A new proposal that will replace the current one and amend the existing Dublin regulation will be presented, she explained.

      The current regulation will not be completely abolished but rules regarding frontline countries will change. Under the new proposal, migrants can still be sent back to the country responsible for their asylum request, explained the commissioner, adding that amendments will be made but the country of first entry will ’’remain important’’.

      ’’Voluntary solidarity is not enough," there has to be a “mandatory solidarity mechanism,” Johansson noted.

      Countries will need to help according to their size and possibilities. A member state needs to show solidarity ’’in accordance with the capacity and size’’ of its economy. There will be no easy way out with the possibility of ’’just sending some blankets’’ - efforts must be proportional to the size and capabilities of member states, she said.
      Relocations are a divisive theme

      Relocations will be made in a way that ’’can be possible to accept for all member states’’, the commissioner explained. The issue of mandatory quotas is extremely divisive, she went on to say. ’’The sentence of the European Court of Justice has established that they can be made’’.

      However, the theme is extremely divisive. Many of those who arrive in Europe are not eligible for international protection and must be repatriated, she said, wondering if it is a good idea to relocate those who need to be repatriated.

      “We are looking for a way to bring the necessary aid to countries under pressure.”

      “Relocation is an important part, but also” it must be done “in a way that can be possible to accept for all member states,” she noted.

      Moreover, Johansson said the system will not be too rigid as the union should prepare for different scenarios.
      Faster repatriations

      Repatriations will be a key part of the plan, with faster bureaucratic procedures, she said. The 2016 reform proposal was made following the 2015 migration crisis, when two million people, 90% of whom were refugees, reached the EU irregularly. For this reason, the plan focused on relocations, she explained.

      Now the situation is completely different: last year 2.4 million stay permits were issued, the majority for reasons connected to family, work or education. Just 140,000 people migrated irregularly and only one-third were refugees while two-thirds will need to be repatriated.

      For this reason, stressed the commissioner, the new plan will focus on repatriation. Faster procedures are necessary, she noted. When people stay in a country for years it is very hard to organize repatriations, especially voluntary ones. So the objective is for a negative asylum decision “to come together with a return decision.”

      Also, the permanence in hosting centers should be of short duration. Speaking about a fire at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos where more than 12,000 asylum seekers have been stranded for years, the commissioner said the situation was the ’’result of lack of European policy on asylum and migration."

      “We shall have no more Morias’’, she noted, calling for well-managed hosting centers along with limits to permanence.

      A win-win collaboration will instead be planned with third countries, she said. ’’The external aspect is very important. We have to work on good partnerships with third countries, supporting them and finding win-win solutions for readmissions and for the fight against traffickers. We have to develop legal pathways to come to the EU, in particular with resettlements, a policy that needs to be strengthened.”

      The commissioner then rejected the idea of opening hosting centers in third countries, an idea for example proposed by Denmark.

      “It is not the direction I intend to take. We will not export the right to asylum.”

      The commissioner said she was very concerned by reports of refoulements. Her objective, she concluded, is to “include in the pact a monitoring mechanism. The right to asylum must be defended.”

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27447/relocation-solidarity-mandatory-for-eu-migration-policy-johansson

      #relocalisation #solidarité_obligatoire #solidarité_volontaire #pays_de_première_entrée #renvois #expulsions #réinstallations #voies_légales

    • Droit d’asile : Bruxelles rate son « #pacte »

      La Commission européenne, assurant vouloir « abolir » le règlement de Dublin et son principe du premier pays d’entrée, doit présenter ce mercredi un « pacte sur l’immigration et l’asile ». Qui ne bouleverserait rien.

      C’est une belle victoire pour Viktor Orbán, le Premier ministre hongrois, et ses partenaires d’Europe centrale et orientale aussi peu enclins que lui à accueillir des étrangers sur leur sol. La Commission européenne renonce définitivement à leur imposer d’accueillir des demandeurs d’asile en cas d’afflux dans un pays de la « ligne de front » (Grèce, Italie, Malte, Espagne). Certes, le volumineux paquet de textes qu’elle propose ce mercredi (10 projets de règlements et trois recommandations, soit plusieurs centaines de pages), pompeusement baptisé « pacte sur l’immigration et l’asile », prévoit qu’ils devront, par « solidarité », assurer les refoulements vers les pays d’origine des déboutés du droit d’asile, mais cela ne devrait pas les gêner outre mesure. Car, sur le fond, la Commission prend acte de la volonté des Vingt-Sept de transformer l’Europe en forteresse.
      Sale boulot

      La crise de 2015 les a durablement traumatisés. A l’époque, la Turquie, par lassitude d’accueillir sur son sol plusieurs millions de réfugiés syriens et des centaines de milliers de migrants économiques dans l’indifférence de la communauté internationale, ouvre ses frontières. La Grèce est vite submergée et plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes traversent les Balkans afin de trouver refuge, notamment en Allemagne et en Suède, parmi les pays les plus généreux en matière d’asile.

      Passé les premiers moments de panique, les Européens réagissent de plusieurs manières. La Hongrie fait le sale boulot en fermant brutalement sa frontière. L’Allemagne, elle, accepte d’accueillir un million de demandeurs d’asile, mais négocie avec Ankara un accord pour qu’il referme ses frontières, accord ensuite endossé par l’UE qui lui verse en échange 6 milliards d’euros destinés aux camps de réfugiés. Enfin, l’Union adopte un règlement destiné à relocaliser sur une base obligatoire une partie des migrants dans les autres pays européens afin qu’ils instruisent les demandes d’asile, dans le but de soulager la Grèce et l’Italie, pays de premier accueil. Ce dernier volet est un échec, les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont voté contre, refusent d’accueillir le moindre migrant, et leurs partenaires de l’Ouest ne font guère mieux : sur 160 000 personnes qui auraient dû être relocalisées, un objectif rapidement revu à 98 000, moins de 35 000 l’ont été à la fin 2017, date de la fin de ce dispositif.

      Depuis, l’Union a considérablement durci les contrôles, notamment en créant un corps de 10 000 gardes-frontières européens et en renforçant les moyens de Frontex, l’agence chargée de gérer ses frontières extérieures. En février-mars, la tentative d’Ankara de faire pression sur les Européens dans le conflit syrien en rouvrant partiellement ses frontières a fait long feu : la Grèce a employé les grands moyens, y compris violents, pour stopper ce flux sous les applaudissements de ses partenaires… Autant dire que l’ambiance n’est pas à l’ouverture des frontières et à l’accueil des persécutés.
      « Usine à gaz »

      Mais la crise migratoire de 2015 a laissé des « divisions nombreuses et profondes entre les Etats membres - certaines des cicatrices qu’elle a laissées sont toujours visibles aujourd’hui », comme l’a reconnu Ursula von der Leyen, la présidente de la Commission, dans son discours sur l’état de l’Union du 16 septembre. Afin de tourner la page, la Commission propose donc de laisser tomber la réforme de 2016 (dite de Dublin IV) prévoyant de pérenniser la relocalisation autoritaire des migrants, désormais jugée par une haute fonctionnaire de l’exécutif « totalement irréaliste ».

      Mais la réforme qu’elle propose, une véritable « usine à gaz », n’est qu’un « rapiéçage » de l’existant, comme l’explique Yves Pascouau, spécialiste de l’immigration et responsable des programmes européens de l’association Res Publica. Ainsi, alors que Von der Leyen a annoncé sa volonté « d’abolir » le règlement de Dublin III, il n’en est rien : le pays responsable du traitement d’une demande d’asile reste, par principe, comme c’est le cas depuis 1990, le pays de première entrée.

      S’il y a une crise, la Commission pourra déclencher un « mécanisme de solidarité » afin de soulager un pays de la ligne de front : dans ce cas, les Vingt-Sept devront accueillir un certain nombre de migrants (en fonction de leur richesse et de leur population), sauf s’ils préfèrent « parrainer un retour ». En clair, prendre en charge le refoulement des déboutés de l’asile (avec l’aide financière et logistique de l’Union) en sachant que ces personnes resteront à leur charge jusqu’à ce qu’ils y parviennent. Ça, c’est pour faire simple, car il y a plusieurs niveaux de crise, des exceptions, des sanctions, des délais et l’on en passe…

      Autre nouveauté : les demandes d’asile devront être traitées par principe à la frontière, dans des camps de rétention, pour les nationalités dont le taux de reconnaissance du statut de réfugié est inférieur à 20% dans l’Union, et ce, en moins de trois mois, avec refoulement à la clé en cas de refus. « Cette réforme pose un principe clair, explique un eurocrate. Personne ne sera obligé d’accueillir un étranger dont il ne veut pas. »

      Dans cet ensemble très sévère, une bonne nouvelle : les sauvetages en mer ne devraient plus être criminalisés. On peut craindre qu’une fois passés à la moulinette des Etats, qui doivent adopter ce paquet à la majorité qualifiée (55% des Etats représentant 65% de la population), il ne reste que les aspects les plus répressifs. On ne se refait pas.


      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/09/22/droit-d-asile-bruxelles-rate-son-pacte_1800264

      –—

      Graphique ajouté au fil de discussion sur les statistiques de la #relocalisation :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/605713

    • Le pacte européen sur l’asile et les migrations ne tire aucune leçon de la « crise migratoire »

      Ce 23 septembre 2020, la nouvelle Commission européenne a présenté les grandes lignes d’orientation de sa politique migratoire à venir. Alors que cinq ans plutôt, en 2015, se déroulait la mal nommée « crise migratoire » aux frontières européennes, le nouveau Pacte Asile et Migration de l’UE ne tire aucune leçon du passé. Le nouveau pacte de l’Union Européenne nous propose inlassablement les mêmes recettes alors que les preuves de leur inefficacité, leur coût et des violences qu’elles procurent sont nombreuses et irréfutables. Le CNCD-11.11.11, son homologue néerlandophone et les membres du groupe de travail pour la justice migratoire appellent le parlement européen et le gouvernement belge à un changement de cap.

      Le nouveau Pacte repose sur des propositions législatives et des recommandations non contraignantes. Ses priorités sont claires mais pas neuves. Freiner les arrivées, limiter l’accueil par le « tri » des personnes et augmenter les retours. Cette stratégie pourtant maintes fois décriée par les ONG et le milieu académique a certes réussi à diminuer les arrivées en Europe, mais n’a offert aucune solution durable pour les personnes migrantes. Depuis les années 2000, l’externalisation de la gestion des questions migratoires a montré son inefficacité (situation humanitaires dans les hotspots, plus de 20.000 décès en Méditerranée depuis 2014 et processus d’encampement aux frontières de l’UE) et son coût exponentiel (coût élevé du contrôle, de la détention-expulsion et de l’aide au développement détournée). Elle a augmenté le taux de violences sur les routes de l’exil et a enfreint le droit international en toute impunité (non accès au droit d’asile notamment via les refoulements).

      "ll est important que tous les États membres développent des systèmes d’accueil de qualité et que l’UE s’oriente vers une protection plus unifiée"

      La proposition de mettre en place un mécanisme solidaire européen contraignant est à saluer, mais celui-ci doit être au service de l’accueil et non couplé au retour. La possibilité pour les États européens de choisir à la carte soit la relocalisation, le « parrainage » du retour des déboutés ou autre contribution financière n’est pas équitable. La répartition solidaire de l’accueil doit être permanente et ne pas être actionnée uniquement en cas « d’afflux massif » aux frontières d’un État membre comme le recommande la Commission. Il est important que tous les États membres développent des systèmes d’accueil de qualité et que l’UE s’oriente vers une protection plus unifiée. Le changement annoncé du Règlement de Dublin l’est juste de nom, car les premiers pays d’entrée resteront responsables des nouveaux arrivés.

      Le focus doit être mis sur les alternatives à la détention et non sur l’usage systématique de l’enfermement aux frontières, comme le veut la Commission. Le droit de demander l’asile et d’avoir accès à une procédure de qualité doit être accessible à tous et toutes et rester un droit individuel. Or, la proposition de la Commission de détenir (12 semaines maximum) en vue de screener (5 jours de tests divers et de recoupement de données via EURODAC) puis trier les personnes migrantes à la frontière en fonction du taux de reconnaissance de protection accordé en moyenne à leur pays d’origine (en dessous de 20%) ou de leur niveau de vulnérabilité est contraire à la Convention de Genève.

      "La priorité pour les personnes migrantes en situation irrégulière doit être la recherche de solutions durables (comme l’est la régularisation) plutôt que le retour forcé, à tous prix."

      La priorité pour les personnes migrantes en situation irrégulière doit être la recherche de solutions durables (comme l’est la régularisation) plutôt que le retour forcé, à tous prix, comme le préconise la Commission.

      La meilleure façon de lutter contre les violences sur les routes de l’exil reste la mise en place de plus de voies légales et sûres de migration (réinstallation, visas de travail, d’études, le regroupement familial…). Les ONG regrettent que la Commission reporte à 2021 les propositions sur la migration légale. Le pacte s’intéresse à juste titre à la criminalisation des ONG de sauvetage et des citoyens qui fournissent une aide humanitaire aux migrants. Toutefois, les propositions visant à y mettre fin sont insuffisantes. Les ONG se réjouissent de l’annonce par la Commission d’un mécanisme de surveillance des droits humains aux frontières extérieures. Au cours de l’année écoulée, on a signalé de plus en plus souvent des retours violents par la Croatie, la Grèce, Malte et Chypre. Toutefois, il n’est pas encore suffisamment clair si les propositions de la Commission peuvent effectivement traiter et sanctionner les refoulements.

      Au lendemain de l’incendie du hotspot à Moria, symbole par excellence de l’échec des politiques migratoires européennes, l’UE s’enfonce dans un déni total, meurtrier, en vue de concilier les divergences entre ses États membres. Les futures discussions autour du Pacte au sein du parlement UE et du Conseil UE seront cruciales. Les ONG membres du groupe de travail pour la justice migratoire appellent le Parlement européen et le gouvernement belge à promouvoir des ajustements fermes allant vers plus de justice migratoire.

      https://www.cncd.be/Le-pacte-europeen-sur-l-asile-et

    • The New Pact on Migration and Asylum. A Critical ‘First Look’ Analysis

      Where does it come from?

      The New Migration Pact was built on the ashes of the mandatory relocation scheme that the Commission tried to push in 2016. And the least that one can say, is that it shows! The whole migration plan has been decisively shaped by this initial failure. Though the Pact has some merits, the very fact that it takes as its starting point the radical demands made by the most nationalist governments in Europe leads to sacrificing migrants’ rights on the altar of a cohesive and integrated European migration policy.

      Back in 2016, the vigorous manoeuvring of the Commission to find a way out of the European asylum dead-end resulted in a bittersweet victory for the European institution. Though the Commission was able to find a qualified majority of member states willing to support a fair distribution of the asylum seekers among member states through a relocation scheme, this new regulation remained dead letter. Several eastern European states flatly refused to implement the plan, other member states seized this opportunity to defect on their obligations and the whole migration policy quickly unravelled. Since then, Europe is left with a dysfunctional Dublin agreement exacerbating the tensions between member states and 27 loosely connected national asylum regimes. On the latter point, at least, there is a consensus. Everyone agrees that the EU’s migration regime is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.

      Obviously, the Commission was not keen to go through a new round of political humiliation. Having been accused of “bureaucratic hubris” the first time around, the commissioners Schinas and Johansson decided not to repeat the same mistake. They toured the European capitals and listened to every side of the entrenched migration debate before drafting their Migration Pact. The intention is in the right place and it reflects the complexity of having to accommodate 27 distinct democratic debates in one single political space. Nevertheless, if one peers a bit more extensively through the content of the New Plan, it is complicated not to get the feelings that the Visegrad countries are currently the key players shaping the European migration and asylum policies. After all, their staunch opposition to a collective reception scheme sparked the political process and provided the starting point to the general discussion. As a result, it is no surprise that the New Pact tilts firmly towards an ever more restrictive approach to migration, beefs up the coercive powers of both member states and European agencies and raises many concerns with regards to the respect of the migrants’ fundamental rights.
      What is in this New Pact on Migration and Asylum?

      Does the Pact concede too much ground to the demands of the most xenophobic European governments? To answer that question, let us go back to the bizarre metaphor used by the commissioner Schinas. During his press conference, he insisted on comparing the New Pact on Migration and Asylum to a house built on solid foundations (i.e. the lengthy and inclusive consultation process) and made of 3 floors: first, some renewed partnerships with the sending and transit states, second, some more effective border procedures, and third, a revamped mandatory – but flexible ! – solidarity scheme. It is tempting to carry on with the metaphor and to say that this house may appear comfortable from the inside but that it remains tightly shut to anyone knocking on its door from the outside. For, a careful examination reveals that each of the three “floors” (policy packages, actually) lays the emphasis on a repressive approach to migration aimed at deterring would-be asylum seekers from attempting to reach the European shores.
      The “new partnerships” with sending and transit countries, a “change in paradigm”?

      Let us add that there is little that is actually “new” in this New Migration Pact. For instance, the first policy package, that is, the suggestion that the EU should renew its partnerships with sending and transit countries is, as a matter of fact, an old tune in the Brussels bubble. The Commission may boast that it marks a “change of paradigm”, one fails to see how this would be any different from the previous European diplomatic efforts. Since migration and asylum are increasingly considered as toxic topics (for, they would be the main factors behind the rise of nationalism and its corollary, Euroscepticism), the European Union is willing to externalize this issue, seemingly at all costs. The results, however, have been mixed in the past. To the Commission’s own admission, only a third of the migrants whose asylum claims have been rejected are effectively returned. Besides the facts that returns are costly, extremely coercive, and administratively complicated to organize, the main reason for this low rate of successful returns is that sending countries refuse to cooperate in the readmission procedures. Neighbouring countries have excellent reasons not to respond positively to the Union’s demands. For some, remittances sent by their diaspora are an economic lifeline. Others just do not want to appear complicit of repressive European practices on their domestic political scene. Furthermore, many African countries are growing discontent with the forceful way the European Union uses its asymmetrical relation of power in bilateral negotiations to dictate to those sovereign states the migration policies they should adopt, making for instance its development aid conditional on the implementation of stricter border controls. The Commission may rhetorically claim to foster “mutually beneficial” international relation with its neighbouring countries, the emphasis on the externalization of migration control in the EU’s diplomatic agenda nevertheless bears some of the hallmarks of neo-colonialism. As such, it is a source of deep resentment in sending and transit states. It would therefore be a grave mistake for the EU to overlook the fact that some short-term gains in terms of migration management may result in long-term losses with regards to Europe’s image across the world.

      Furthermore, considering the current political situation, one should not primarily be worried about the failed partnerships with neighbouring countries, it is rather the successful ones that ought to give us pause and raise concerns. For, based on the existing evidence, the EU will sign a deal with any state as long as it effectively restrains and contains migration flows towards the European shores. Being an authoritarian state with a documented history of human right violations (Turkey) or an embattled government fighting a civil war (Lybia) does not disqualify you as a partner of the European Union in its effort to manage migration flows. It is not only morally debatable for the EU to delegate its asylum responsibilities to unreliable third countries, it is also doubtful that an increase in diplomatic pressure on neighbouring countries will bring major political results. It will further damage the perception of the EU in neighbouring countries without bringing significant restriction to migration flows.
      Streamlining border procedures? Or eroding migrants’ rights?

      The second policy package is no more inviting. It tackles the issue of the migrants who, in spite of those partnerships and the hurdles thrown their way by sending and transit countries, would nevertheless reach Europe irregularly. On this issue, the Commission faced the daunting task of having to square a political circle, since it had to find some common ground in a debate bitterly divided between conflicting worldviews (roughly, between liberal and nationalist perspectives on the individual freedom of movement) and competing interests (between overburdened Mediterranean member states and Eastern member states adamant that asylum seekers would endanger their national cohesion). The Commission thus looked for the lowest common denominator in terms of migration management preferences amongst the distinct member states. The result is a two-tier border procedure aiming to fast-track and streamline the processing of asylum claims, allowing for more expeditious returns of irregular migrants. The goal is to prevent any bottleneck in the processing of the claims and to avoid the (currently near constant) overcrowding of reception facilities in the frontline states. Once again, there is little that is actually new in this proposal. It amounts to a generalization of the process currently in place in the infamous hotspots scattered on the Greek isles. According to the Pact, screening procedures would be carried out in reception centres created across Europe. A far cry from the slogan “no more Moria” since one may legitimately suspect that those reception centres will, at the first hiccup in the procedure, turn into tomorrow’s asylum camps.

      According to this procedure, newly arrived migrants would be submitted within 5 days to a pre-screening procedure and subsequently triaged into two categories. Migrants with a low chance of seeing their asylum claim recognized (because they would come from a country with a low recognition rate or a country belonging to the list of the safe third countries, for instance) would be redirected towards an accelerated procedure. The end goal would be to return them, if applicable, within twelve weeks. The other migrants would be subjected to the standard assessment of their asylum claim. It goes without saying that this proposal has been swiftly and unanimously condemned by all human rights organizations. It does not take a specialized lawyer to see that this two-tiered procedure could have devastating consequences for the “fast-tracked” asylum seekers left with no legal recourse against the initial decision to submit them to this sped up procedure (rather than the standard one) as well as reduced opportunities to defend their asylum claim or, if need be, to contest their return. No matter how often the Commission repeats that it will preserve all the legal safeguards required to protect migrants’ rights, it remains wildly unconvincing. Furthermore, the Pact may confuse speed and haste. The schedule is tight on paper (five days for the pre-screening, twelve weeks for the assessment of the asylum claim), it may well prove unrealistic to meet those deadlines in real-life conditions. The Commission also overlooks the fact that accelerated procedures tend to be sloppy, thus leading to juridical appeals and further legal wrangling and eventually amounting to processes far longer than expected.
      Integrating the returns, not the reception

      The Commission talked up the new Pact as being “balanced” and “humane”. Since the two first policy packages focus, first, on preventing would-be migrants from leaving their countries and, second, on facilitating and accelerating their returns, one would expect the third policy package to move away from the restriction of movement and to complement those measures with a reception plan tailored to the needs of refugees. And here comes the major disappointment with the New Pact and, perhaps, the clearest indication that the Pact is first and foremost designed to please the migration hardliners. It does include a solidarity scheme meant to alleviate the burden of frontline countries, to distribute more fairly the responsibilities amongst member states and to ensure that refugees are properly hosted. But this solidarity scheme is far from being robust enough to deliver on those promises. Let us unpack it briefly to understand why it is likely to fail. The solidarity scheme is mandatory. All member states will be under the obligation to take part. But there is a catch! Member states’ contribution to this collective effort can take many shapes and forms and it will be up to the member states to decide how they want to participate. They get to choose whether they want to relocate some refugees on their national soil, to provide some financial and/or logistical assistance, or to “sponsor” (it is the actual term used by the Commission) some returns.

      No one expected the Commission to reintroduce a compulsory relocation scheme in its Pact. Eastern European countries had drawn an obvious red line and it would have been either naïve or foolish to taunt them with that kind of policy proposal. But this so-called “flexible mandatory solidarity” relies on such a watered-down understanding of the solidarity principle that it results in a weak and misguided political instrument unsuited to solve the problem at hand. First, the flexible solidarity mechanism is too indeterminate to prove efficient. According to the current proposal, member states would have to shoulder a fair share of the reception burden (calculated on their respective population and GDP) but would be left to decide for themselves which form this contribution would take. The obvious flaw with the policy proposal is that, if all member states decline to relocate some refugees (which is a plausible scenario), Mediterranean states would still be left alone when it comes to dealing with the most immediate consequences of migration flows. They would receive much more financial, operational, and logistical support than it currently is the case – but they would be managing on their own the overcrowded reception centres. The Commission suggests that it would oversee the national pledges in terms of relocation and that it would impose some corrections if the collective pledges fall short of a predefined target. But it remains to be seen whether the Commission will have the political clout to impose some relocations to member states refusing them. One could not be blamed for being highly sceptical.

      Second, it is noteworthy that the Commission fails to integrate the reception of refugees since member states are de facto granted an opt-out on hosting refugees. What is integrated is rather the return policy, once more a repressive instrument. And it is the member states with the worst record in terms of migrants’ rights violations that are the most likely to be tasked with the delicate mission of returning them home. As a commentator was quipping on Twitter, it would be like asking a bully to walk his victim home (what could possibly go wrong?). The attempt to build an intra-European consensus is obviously pursued at the expense of the refugees. The incentive structure built into the flexible solidarity scheme offers an excellent illustration of this. If a member state declines to relocate any refugee and offers instead to ‘sponsor’ some returns, it has to honour that pledge within a limited period of time (the Pact suggests a six month timeframe). If it fails to do so, it becomes responsible for the relocation and the return of those migrants, leading to a situation in which some migrants may end up in a country where they do not want to be and that does not want them to be there. Hardly an optimal outcome…
      Conclusion

      The Pact represents a genuine attempt to design a multi-faceted and comprehensive migration policy, covering most aspects of a complex issue. The dysfunctions of the Schengen area and the question of the legal pathways to Europe have been relegated to a later discussion and one may wonder whether they should not have been included in the Pact to balance out its restrictive inclination. And, in all fairness, the Pact does throw a few bones to the more cosmopolitan-minded European citizens. For instance, it reminds the member states that maritime search and rescue operations are legal and should not be impeded, or it shortens (from five to three years) the waiting period for refugees to benefit from the freedom of movement. But those few welcome additions are vastly outweighed by the fact that migration hardliners dominated the agenda-setting in the early stage of the policy-making exercise and have thus been able to frame decisively the political discussion. The end result is a policy package leaning heavily towards some repressive instruments and particularly careless when it comes to safeguarding migrants’ rights.

      The New Pact was first drafted on the ashes of the mandatory relocation scheme. Back then, the Commission publicly made amends and revised its approach to the issue. Sadly, the New Pact was presented to the European public when the ashes of the Moria camp were still lukewarm. One can only hope that the member states will learn from that mistake too.

      https://blog.novamigra.eu/2020/09/24/the-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum-a-critical-first-look-analysis

    • #Pacte_européen_sur_la_migration : un “nouveau départ” pour violer les droits humains

      La Commission européenne a publié aujourd’hui son « Nouveau Pacte sur l’Asile et la Migration » qui propose un nouveau cadre règlementaire et législatif. Avec ce plan, l’UE devient de facto un « leader du voyage retour » pour les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s en Méditerranée. EuroMed Droits craint que ce pacte ne détériore encore davantage la situation actuelle pour au moins trois raisons.

      Le pacte se concentre de manière obsessionnelle sur la politique de retours à travers un système de « sponsoring » : des pays européens tels que l’Autriche, la Pologne, la Hongrie ou la République tchèque – qui refusent d’accueillir des réfugié.e.s – pourront « sponsoriser » et organiser la déportation vers les pays de départ de ces réfugié.e.s. Au lieu de favoriser l’intégration, le pacte adopte une politique de retour à tout prix, même lorsque les demandeurs.ses d’asile peuvent être victimes de discrimination, persécution ou torture dans leur pays de retour. A ce jour, il n’existe aucun mécanisme permettant de surveiller ce qui arrive aux migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s une fois déporté.e.s.

      Le pacte proposé renforce la sous-traitance de la gestion des frontières. En termes concrets, l’UE renforce la coopération avec les pays non-européens afin qu’ils ferment leurs frontières et empêchent les personnes de partir. Cette coopération est sujette à l’imposition de conditions par l’UE. Une telle décision européenne se traduit par une hausse du nombre de refoulements dans la région méditerranéenne et une coopération renforcée avec des pays qui ont un piètre bilan en matière de droits humains et qui ne possèdent pas de cadre efficace pour la protection des droits des personnes migrantes et réfugiées.

      Le pacte vise enfin à étendre les mécanismes de tri des demandeurs.ses d’asile et des migrant.e.s dans les pays d’arrivée. Ce modèle de tri – similaire à celui utilisé dans les zones de transit aéroportuaires – accentue les difficultés de pays tels que l’Espagne, l’Italie, Malte, la Grèce ou Chypre qui accueillent déjà la majorité des migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s. Placer ces personnes dans des camps revient à mettre en place un système illégal d’incarcération automatique dès l’arrivée. Cela accroîtra la violence psychologique à laquelle les migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s sont déjà soumis. Selon ce nouveau système, ces personnes seront identifié.e.s sous cinq jours et toute demande d’asile devra être traitée en douze semaines. Cette accélération de la procédure risque d’intensifier la détention et de diviser les arrivant.e.s entre demandeurs.ses d’asile et migrant.e.s économiques. Cela s’effectuerait de manière discriminatoire, sans analyse détaillée de chaque demande d’asile ni possibilité réelle de faire appel. Celles et ceux qui seront éligibles à la protection internationale seront relocalisé.e.s au sein des États membres qui acceptent de les recevoir. Les autres risqueront d’être déportés immédiatement.

      « En choisissant de sous-traiter davantage encore la gestion des frontières et d’accentuer la politique de retours, ce nouveau pacte conclut la transformation de la politique européenne en une approche pleinement sécuritaire. Pire encore, le pacte assimile la politique de “retour sponsorisé” à une forme de solidarité. Au-delà des déclarations officielles, cela démontre la volonté de l’Union européenne de criminaliser et de déshumaniser les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s », a déclaré Wadih Al-Asmar, Président d’EuroMed Droits.

      https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-nouveau-depart-pour-violer-les-droits

    • Whose Pact? The Cognitive Dimensions of the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum

      This Policy Insight examines the new Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the principles and commitments enshrined in the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees (UN GCR) and the EU Treaties. It finds that from a legal viewpoint the ‘Pact’ is not really a Pact at all, if understood as an agreement concluded between relevant EU institutional parties. Rather, it is the European Commission’s policy guide for the duration of the current 9th legislature.

      The analysis shows that the Pact has intergovernmental aspects, in both name and fundamentals. It does not pursue a genuine Migration and Asylum Union. The Pact encourages an artificial need for consensus building or de facto unanimity among all EU member states’ governments in fields where the EU Treaties call for qualified majority voting (QMV) with the European Parliament as co-legislator. The Pact does not abolish the first irregular entry rule characterising the EU Dublin Regulation. It adopts a notion of interstate solidarity that leads to asymmetric responsibilities, where member states are given the flexibility to evade participating in the relocation of asylum seekers. The Pact also runs the risk of catapulting some contested member states practices’ and priorities about localisation, speed and de-territorialisation into EU policy.

      This Policy Insight argues that the Pact’s priority of setting up an independent monitoring mechanism of border procedures’ compliance with fundamental rights is a welcome step towards the better safeguarding of the rule of law. The EU inter-institutional negotiations on the Pact’s initiatives should be timely and robust in enforcing member states’ obligations under the current EU legal standards relating to asylum and borders, namely the prevention of detention and expedited expulsions, and the effective access by all individuals to dignified treatment and effective remedies. Trust and legitimacy of EU asylum and migration policy can only follow if international (human rights and refugee protection) commitments and EU Treaty principles are put first.

      https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/whose-pact

    • First analysis of the EU’s new asylum proposals

      This week the EU Commission published its new package of proposals on asylum and (non-EU) migration – consisting of proposals for legislation, some ‘soft law’, attempts to relaunch talks on stalled proposals and plans for future measures. The following is an explanation of the new proposals (not attempting to cover every detail) with some first thoughts. Overall, while it is possible that the new package will lead to agreement on revised asylum laws, this will come at the cost of risking reduced human rights standards.

      Background

      Since 1999, the EU has aimed to create a ‘Common European Asylum System’. A first phase of legislation was passed between 2003 and 2005, followed by a second phase between 2010 and 2013. Currently the legislation consists of: a) the Qualification Directive, which defines when people are entitled to refugee status (based on the UN Refugee Convention) or subsidiary protection status, and what rights they have; b) the Dublin III Regulation, which allocates responsibility for an asylum seeker between Member States; c) the Eurodac Regulation, which facilitates the Dublin system by setting up a database of fingerprints of asylum seekers and people who cross the external border without authorisation; d) the Asylum Procedures Directive, which sets out the procedural rules governing asylum applications, such as personal interviews and appeals; e) the Reception Conditions Directive, which sets out standards on the living conditions of asylum-seekers, such as rules on housing and welfare; and f) the Asylum Agency Regulation, which set up an EU agency (EASO) to support Member States’ processing of asylum applications.

      The EU also has legislation on other aspects of migration: (short-term) visas, border controls, irregular migration, and legal migration – much of which has connections with the asylum legislation, and all of which is covered by this week’s package. For visas, the main legislation is the visa list Regulation (setting out which non-EU countries’ citizens are subject to a short-term visa requirement, or exempt from it) and the visa code (defining the criteria to obtain a short-term Schengen visa, allowing travel between all Schengen states). The visa code was amended last year, as discussed here.

      For border controls, the main legislation is the Schengen Borders Code, setting out the rules on crossing external borders and the circumstances in which Schengen states can reinstate controls on internal borders, along with the Frontex Regulation, setting up an EU border agency to assist Member States. On the most recent version of the Frontex Regulation, see discussion here and here.

      For irregular migration, the main legislation is the Return Directive. The Commission proposed to amend it in 2018 – on which, see analysis here and here.

      For legal migration, the main legislation on admission of non-EU workers is the single permit Directive (setting out a common process and rights for workers, but not regulating admission); the Blue Card Directive (on highly paid migrants, discussed here); the seasonal workers’ Directive (discussed here); and the Directive on intra-corporate transferees (discussed here). The EU also has legislation on: non-EU students, researchers and trainees (overview here); non-EU family reunion (see summary of the legislation and case law here) and on long-term resident non-EU citizens (overview – in the context of UK citizens after Brexit – here). In 2016, the Commission proposed to revise the Blue Card Directive (see discussion here).

      The UK, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of most of these laws, except some asylum law applies to the UK and Ireland, and Denmark is covered by the Schengen and Dublin rules. So are the non-EU countries associated with Schengen and Dublin (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). There are also a number of further databases of non-EU citizens as well as Eurodac: the EU has never met a non-EU migrant who personal data it didn’t want to store and process.

      The Refugee ‘Crisis’

      The EU’s response to the perceived refugee ‘crisis’ was both short-term and long-term. In the short term, in 2015 the EU adopted temporary laws (discussed here) relocating some asylum seekers in principle from Italy and Greece to other Member States. A legal challenge to one of these laws failed (as discussed here), but in practice Member States accepted few relocations anyway. Earlier this year, the CJEU ruled that several Member States had breached their obligations under the laws (discussed here), but by then it was a moot point.

      Longer term, the Commission proposed overhauls of the law in 2016: a) a Qualification Regulation further harmonising the law on refugee and subsidiary protection status; b) a revised Dublin Regulation, which would have set up a system of relocation of asylum seekers for future crises; c) a revised Eurodac Regulation, to take much more data from asylum seekers and other migrants; d) an Asylum Procedures Regulation, further harmonising the procedural law on asylum applications; e) a revised Reception Conditions Directive; f) a revised Asylum Agency Regulation, giving the agency more powers; and g) a new Resettlement Regulation, setting out a framework of admitting refugees directly from non-EU countries. (See my comments on some of these proposals, from back in 2016)

      However, these proposals proved unsuccessful – which is the main reason for this week’s attempt to relaunch the process. In particular, an EU Council note from February 2019 summarises the diverse problems that befell each proposal. While the EU Council Presidency and the European Parliament reached agreement on the proposals on qualification, reception conditions and resettlement in June 2018, Member States refused to support the Presidency’s deal and the European Parliament refused to renegotiate (see, for instance, the Council documents on the proposals on qualification and resettlement; see also my comments on an earlier stage of the talks, when the Council had agreed its negotiation position on the qualification regulation).

      On the asylum agency, the EP and Council agreed on the revised law in 2017, but the Commission proposed an amendment in 2018 to give the agency more powers; the Council could not agree on this. On Eurodac, the EP and Council only partly agreed on a text. On the procedures Regulation, the Council largely agreed its position, except on border procedures; on Dublin there was never much prospect of agreement because of the controversy over relocating asylum seekers. (For either proposal, a difficult negotiation with the European Parliament lay ahead).

      In other areas too, the legislative process was difficult: the Council and EP gave up negotiating amendments to the Blue Card Directive (see the last attempt at a compromise here, and the Council negotiation mandate here), and the EP has not yet agreed a position on the Returns Directive (the Council has a negotiating position, but again it leaves out the difficult issue of border procedures; there is a draft EP position from February). Having said that, the EU has been able to agree legislation giving more powers to Frontex, as well as new laws on EU migration databases, in the last few years.

      The attempted relaunch

      The Commission’s new Pact on asylum and immigration (see also the roadmap on its implementation, the Q and As, and the staff working paper) does not restart the whole process from scratch. On qualification, reception conditions, resettlement, the asylum agency, the returns Directive and the Blue Card Directive, it invites the Council and Parliament to resume negotiations. But it tries to unblock the talks as a whole by tabling two amended legislative proposals and three new legislative proposals, focussing on the issues of border procedures and relocation of asylum seekers.

      Screening at the border

      This revised proposals start with a new proposal for screening asylum seekers at the border, which would apply to all non-EU citizens who cross an external border without authorisation, who apply for asylum while being checked at the border (without meeting the conditions for legal entry), or who are disembarked after a search and rescue operation. During the screening, these non-EU citizens are not allowed to enter the territory of a Member State, unless it becomes clear that they meet the criteria for entry. The screening at the border should take no longer than 5 days, with an extra 5 days in the event of a huge influx. (It would also be possible to apply the proposed law to those on the territory who evaded border checks; for them the deadline to complete the screening is 3 days).

      Screening has six elements, as further detailed in the proposal: a health check, an identity check, registration in a database, a security check, filling out a debriefing form, and deciding on what happens next. At the end of the screening, the migrant is channelled either into the expulsion process (if no asylum claim has been made, and if the migrant does not meet the conditions for entry) or, if an asylum claim is made, into the asylum process – with an indication of whether the claim should be fast-tracked or not. It’s also possible that an asylum seeker would be relocated to another Member State. The screening is carried out by national officials, possibly with support from EU agencies.

      To ensure human rights protection, there must be independent monitoring to address allegations of non-compliance with human rights. These allegations might concern breaches of EU or international law, national law on detention, access to the asylum procedure, or non-refoulement (the ban on sending people to an unsafe country). Migrants must be informed about the process and relevant EU immigration and data protection law. There is no provision for judicial review of the outcome of the screening process, although there would be review as part of the next step (asylum or return).

      Asylum procedures

      The revised proposal for an asylum procedures Regulation would leave in place most of the Commission’s 2016 proposal to amend the law, adding some specific further proposed amendments, which either link back to the screening proposal or aim to fast-track decisions and expulsions more generally.

      On the first point, the usual rules on informing asylum applicants and registering their application would not apply until after the end of the screening. A border procedure may apply following the screening process, but Member States must apply the border procedure in cases where an asylum seeker used false documents, is a perceived national security threat, or falls within the new ground for fast-tracking cases (on which, see below). The latter obligation is subject to exceptions where a Member State has reported that a non-EU country is not cooperating on readmission; the process for dealing with that issue set out under the 2019 amendments to the visa code will then apply. Also, the border process cannot apply to unaccompanied minors or children under 12, unless they are a supposed national security risk. Further exceptions apply where the asylum seeker is vulnerable or has medical needs, the application is not inadmissible or cannot be fast-tracked, or detention conditions cannot be guaranteed. A Member State might apply the Dublin process to determine which Member State is responsible for the asylum claim during the border process. The whole border process (including any appeal) must last no more than 12 weeks, and can only be used to declare applications inadmissible or apply the new ground for fast-tracking them.

      There would also be a new border expulsion procedure, where an asylum application covered by the border procedure was rejected. This is subject to its own 12-week deadline, starting from the point when the migrant is no longer allowed to remain. Much of the Return Directive would apply – but not the provisions on the time period for voluntary departure, remedies and the grounds for detention. Instead, the border expulsion procedure would have its own stricter rules on these issues.

      As regards general fast-tracking, in order to speed up the expulsion process for unsuccessful applications, a rejection of an asylum application would have to either incorporate an expulsion decision or entail a simultaneous separate expulsion decision. Appeals against expulsion decisions would then be subject to the same rules as appeals against asylum decisions. If the asylum seeker comes from a country with a refugee recognition rate below 20%, his or her application must be fast-tracked (this would even apply to unaccompanied minors) – unless circumstances in that country have changed, or the asylum seeker comes from a group for whom the low recognition rate is not representative (for instance, the recognition rate might be higher for LGBT asylum-seekers from that country). Many more appeals would be subject to a one-week time limit for the rejected asylum seeker to appeal, and there could be only one level of appeal against decisions taken within a border procedure.

      Eurodac

      The revised proposal for Eurodac would build upon the 2016 proposal, which was already far-reaching: extending Eurodac to include not only fingerprints, but also photos and other personal data; reducing the age of those covered by Eurodac from 14 to 6; removing the time limits and the limits on use of the fingerprints taken from persons who had crossed the border irregularly; and creating a new obligation to collect data of all irregular migrants over age 6 (currently fingerprint data for this group cannot be stored, but can simply be checked, as an option, against the data on asylum seekers and irregular border crossers). The 2020 proposal additionally provides for interoperability with other EU migration databases, taking of personal data during the screening process, including more data on the migration status of each person, and expressly applying the law to those disembarked after a search and rescue operation.

      Dublin rules on asylum responsibility

      A new proposal for asylum management would replace the Dublin regulation (meaning that the Commission has withdrawn its 2016 proposal to replace that Regulation). The 2016 proposal would have created a ‘bottleneck’ in the Member State of entry, requiring that State to examine first whether many of the grounds for removing an asylum-seeker to a non-EU country apply before considering whether another Member State might be responsible for the application (because the asylum seeker’s family live there, for instance). It would also have imposed obligations directly on asylum-seekers to cooperate with the process, rather than only regulate relations between Member States. These obligations would have been enforced by punishing asylum seekers who disobeyed: removing their reception conditions (apart from emergency health care); fast-tracking their substantive asylum applications; refusing to consider new evidence from them; and continuing the asylum application process in their absence.

      It would no longer be possible for asylum seekers to provide additional evidence of family links, with a view to being in the same country as a family member. Overturning a CJEU judgment (see further discussion here), unaccompanied minors would no longer have been able to make applications in multiple Member States (in the absence of a family member in any of them). However, the definition of family members would have been widened, to include siblings and families formed in a transit country. Responsibility for an asylum seeker based on the first Member State of irregular entry (a commonly applied criterion) would have applied indefinitely, rather than expire one year after entry as it does under the current rules. The ‘Sangatte clause’ (responsibility after five months of living in a second Member State, if the ‘irregular entry’ criterion no longer applies) would be dropped. The ‘sovereignty clause’, which played a key part in the 2015-16 refugee ‘crisis’ (it lets a Member State take responsibility for any application even if the Dublin rules do not require it, cf Germany accepting responsibility for Syrian asylum seekers) would have been sharply curtailed. Time limits for detention during the transfer process would be reduced. Remedies for asylum seekers would have been curtailed: they would only have seven days to appeal against a transfer; courts would have fifteen days to decide (although they could have stayed on the territory throughout); and the grounds of review would have been curtailed.

      Finally, the 2016 proposal would have tackled the vexed issue of disproportionate allocation of responsibility for asylum seekers by setting up an automated system determining how many asylum seekers each Member State ‘should’ have based on their size and GDP. If a Member State were responsible for excessive numbers of applicants, Member States which were receiving fewer numbers would have to take more to help out. If they refused, they would have to pay €250,000 per applicant.

      The 2020 proposal drops some of the controversial proposals from 2016, including the ‘bottleneck’ in the Member State of entry (the current rule, giving Member States an option to decide if a non-EU country is responsible for the application on narrower grounds than in the 2016 proposal, would still apply). Also, the sovereignty clause would now remain unchanged.

      However, the 2020 proposal also retains parts of the 2016 proposal: the redefinition of ‘family member’ (which could be more significant now that the bottleneck is removed, unless Member States choose to apply the relevant rules on non-EU countries’ responsibility during the border procedure already); obligations for asylum seekers (redrafted slightly); some of the punishments for non-compliant asylum-seekers (the cut-off for considering evidence would stay, as would the loss of benefits except for those necessary to ensure a basic standard of living: see the CJEU case law in CIMADE and Haqbin); dropping the provision on evidence of family links; changing the rules on responsibility for unaccompanied minors; retaining part of the changes to the irregular entry criterion (it would now cease to apply after three years; the Sangatte clause would still be dropped; it would apply after search and rescue but not apply in the event of relocation); curtailing judicial review (the grounds would still be limited; the time limit to appeal would be 14 days; courts would not have a strict deadline to decide; suspensive effect would not apply in all cases); and the reduced time limits for detention.

      The wholly new features of the 2020 proposal are: some vague provisions about crisis management; responsibility for an asylum application for the Member State which issued a visa or residence document which expired in the last three years (the current rule is responsibility if the visa expired less than six months ago, and the residence permit expired less than a year ago); responsibility for an asylum application for a Member State in which a non-EU citizen obtained a diploma; and the possibility for refugees or persons with subsidiary protection status to obtain EU long-term resident status after three years, rather than five.

      However, the most significant feature of the new proposal is likely to be its attempt to solve the underlying issue of disproportionate allocation of asylum seekers. Rather than a mechanical approach to reallocating responsibility, the 2020 proposal now provides for a menu of ‘solidarity contributions’: relocation of asylum seekers; relocation of refugees; ‘return sponsorship’; or support for ‘capacity building’ in the Member State (or a non-EU country) facing migratory pressure. There are separate rules for search and rescue disembarkations, on the one hand, and more general migratory pressures on the other. Once the Commission determines that the latter situation exists, other Member States have to choose from the menu to offer some assistance. Ultimately the Commission will adopt a decision deciding what the contributions will be. Note that ‘return sponsorship’ comes with a ticking clock: if the persons concerned are not expelled within eight months, the sponsoring Member State must accept them on its territory.

      Crisis management

      The issue of managing asylum issues in a crisis has been carved out of the Dublin proposal into a separate proposal, which would repeal an EU law from 2001 that set up a framework for offering ‘temporary protection’ in a crisis. Note that Member States have never used the 2001 law in practice.

      Compared to the 2001 law, the new proposal is integrated into the EU asylum legislation that has been adopted or proposed in the meantime. It similarly applies in the event of a ‘mass influx’ that prevents the effective functioning of the asylum system. It would apply the ‘solidarity’ process set out in the proposal to replace the Dublin rules (ie relocation of asylum seekers and other measures), with certain exceptions and shorter time limits to apply that process.

      The proposal focusses on providing for possible exceptions to the usual asylum rules. In particular, during a crisis, the Commission could authorise a Member State to apply temporary derogations from the rules on border asylum procedures (extending the time limit, using the procedure to fast-track more cases), border return procedures (again extending the time limit, more easily justifying detention), or the time limit to register asylum applicants. Member States could also determine that due to force majeure, it was not possible to observe the normal time limits for registering asylum applications, applying the Dublin process for responsibility for asylum applications, or offering ‘solidarity’ to other Member States.

      Finally, the new proposal, like the 2001 law, would create a potential for a form of separate ‘temporary protection’ status for the persons concerned. A Member State could suspend the consideration of asylum applications from people coming from the country facing a crisis for up to a year, in the meantime giving them status equivalent to ‘subsidiary protection’ status in the EU qualification law. After that point it would have to resume consideration of the applications. It would need the Commission’s approval, whereas the 2001 law left it to the Council to determine a situation of ‘mass influx’ and provided for the possible extension of the special rules for up to three years.

      Other measures

      The Commission has also adopted four soft law measures. These comprise: a Recommendation on asylum crisis management; a Recommendation on resettlement and humanitarian admission; a Recommendation on cooperation between Member States on private search and rescue operations; and guidance on the applicability of EU law on smuggling of migrants – notably concluding that it cannot apply where (as in the case of law of the sea) there is an obligation to rescue.

      On other issues, the Commission plan is to use current legislation – in particular the recent amendment to the visa code, which provides for sticks to make visas more difficult to get for citizens of countries which don’t cooperate on readmission of people, and carrots to make visas easier to get for citizens of countries which do cooperate on readmission. In some areas, such as the Schengen system, there will be further strategies and plans in the near future; it is not clear if this will lead to more proposed legislation.

      However, on legal migration, the plan is to go further than relaunching the amendment of the Blue Card Directive, as the Commission is also planning to propose amendments to the single permit and long-term residence laws referred to above – leading respectively to more harmonisation of the law on admission of non-EU workers and enhanced possibilities for long-term resident non-EU citizens to move between Member States (nb the latter plan is separate from this week’s proposal to amend this law as regards refugees and people with subsidiary protection already). Both these plans are relevant to British citizens moving to the EU after the post-Brexit transition period – and the latter is also relevant to British citizens covered by the withdrawal agreement.

      Comments

      This week’s plan is less a complete restart of EU law in this area than an attempt to relaunch discussions on a blocked set of amendments to that law, which moreover focusses on a limited set of issues. Will it ‘work’? There are two different ways to answer that question.

      First, will it unlock the institutional blockage? Here it should be kept in mind that the European Parliament and the Council had largely agreed on several of the 2016 proposals already; they would have been adopted in 2018 already had not the Council treated all the proposals as a package, and not gone back on agreements which the Council Presidency reached with the European Parliament. It is always open to the Council to get at least some of these proposals adopted quickly by reversing these approaches.

      On the blocked proposals, the Commission has targeted the key issues of border procedures and allocation of asylum-seekers. If the former leads to more quick removals of unsuccessful applicants, the latter issue is no longer so pressing. But it is not clear if the Member States will agree to anything on border procedures, or whether such an agreement will result in more expulsions anyway – because the latter depends on the willingness of non-EU countries, which the EU cannot legislate for (and does not even address in this most recent package). And because it is uncertain whether they will result in more expulsions, Member States will be wary of agreeing to anything which either results in more obligations to accept asylum-seekers on their territory, or leaves them with the same number as before.

      The idea of ‘return sponsorship’ – which reads like a grotesque parody of individuals sponsoring children in developing countries via charities – may not be appealing except to those countries like France, which have the capacity to twist arms in developing countries to accept returns. Member States might be able to agree on a replacement for the temporary protection Directive on the basis that they will never use that replacement either. And Commission threats to use infringement proceedings to enforce the law might not worry Member States who recall that the CJEU ruled on their failure to relocate asylum-seekers after the relocation law had already expired, and that the Court will soon rule on Hungary’s expulsion of the Central European University after it has already left.

      As to whether the proposals will ‘work’ in terms of managing asylum flows fairly and compatibly with human rights, it is striking how much they depend upon curtailing appeal rights, even though appeals are often successful. The proposed limitation of appeal rights will also be maintained in the Dublin system; and while the proposed ‘bottleneck’ of deciding on removals to non-EU countries before applying the Dublin system has been removed, a variation on this process may well apply in the border procedures process instead. There is no new review of the assessment of the safety of non-EU countries – which is questionable in light of the many reports of abuse in Libya. While the EU is not proposing, as the wildest headbangers would want, to turn people back or refuse applications without consideration, the question is whether the fast-track consideration of applications and then appeals will constitute merely a Potemkin village of procedural rights that mean nothing in practice.

      Increased detention is already a feature of the amendments proposed earlier: the reception conditions proposal would add a new ground for detention; the return Directive proposal would inevitably increase detention due to curtailing voluntary departure (as discussed here). Unfortunately the Commission’s claim in its new communication that its 2018 proposal is ‘promoting’ voluntary return is therefore simply false. Trump-style falsehoods have no place in the discussion of EU immigration or asylum law.

      The latest Eurodac proposal would not do much compared to the 2016 proposal – but then, the 2016 proposal would already constitute an enormous increase in the amount of data collected and shared by that system.

      Some elements of the package are more positive. The possibility for refugees and people with subsidiary protection to get EU long-term residence status earlier would be an important step toward making asylum ‘valid throughout the Union’, as referred to in the Treaties. The wider definition of family members, and the retention of the full sovereignty clause, may lead to some fairer results under the Dublin system. Future plans to improve the long-term residents’ Directive are long overdue. The Commission’s sound legal assessment that no one should be prosecuted for acting on their obligations to rescue people in distress at sea is welcome. The quasi-agreed text of the reception conditions Directive explicitly rules out Trump-style separate detention of children.

      No proposals from the EU can solve the underlying political issue: a chunk of public opinion is hostile to more migration, whether in frontline Member States, other Member States, or transit countries outside the EU. The politics is bound to affect what Member States and non-EU countries alike are willing to agree to. And for the same reason, even if a set of amendments to the system is ultimately agreed, there will likely be continuing issues of implementation, especially illegal pushbacks and refusals to accept relocation.

      https://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2020/09/first-analysis-of-eus-new-asylum.html?spref=fb

    • Pacte européen sur les migrations et l’asile : Le rendez-vous manqué de l’UE

      Le nouveau pacte européen migrations et asile présenté par la Commission ce 23 septembre, loin de tirer les leçons de l’échec et du coût humain intolérable des politiques menées depuis 30 ans, s’inscrit dans la continuité des logiques déjà largement éprouvées, fondées sur une approche répressive et sécuritaire au service de l’endiguement et des expulsions et au détriment d’une politique d’accueil qui s’attache à garantir et à protéger la dignité et les droits fondamentaux.

      Des « nouveaux » camps européens aux frontières pour filtrer les personnes arrivées sur le territoire européen et expulser le plus grand nombre

      En réaction au drame des incendies qui ont ravagé le camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, affirmait le 17 septembre devant les députés européens qu’« il n’y aurait pas d’autres Moria » mais de « véritables centres d’accueil » aux frontières européennes.

      Si le nouveau pacte prévoie effectivement la création de « nouveaux » camps conjuguée à une « nouvelle » procédure accélérée aux frontières, ces derniers s’apparentent largement à l’approche hotspot mise en œuvre par l’Union européenne (UE) depuis 2015 afin d’organiser la sélection des personnes qu’elle souhaite accueillir et l’expulsion, depuis la frontière, de tous celles qu’elle considère « indésirables ».

      Le pacte prévoie ainsi la mise en place « d’un contrôle préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire pour toutes les personnes qui se présentent aux frontières extérieures ou après un débarquement, à la suite d’une opération de recherche et de sauvetage ». Il s’agira, pour les pays situés à la frontière extérieure de l’UE, de procéder – dans un délai de 5 jours et avec l’appui des agences européennes (l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes – Frontex et le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile – EASO) – à des contrôles d’identité (prise d’empreintes et enregistrement dans les bases de données européennes) doublés de contrôles sécuritaires et sanitaires afin de procéder à un tri préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire, permettant d’orienter ensuite les personne vers :

      Une procédure d’asile accélérée à la frontière pour celles possédant une nationalité pour laquelle le taux de reconnaissance d’une protection internationale, à l’échelle de l’UE, est inférieure à 20%
      Une procédure d’asile normale pour celles considérées comme éligibles à une protection.
      Une procédure d’expulsion immédiate, depuis la frontière, pour toute celles qui auront été rejetées par ce dispositif de tri, dans un délai de 12 semaines.

      Pendant cette procédure de filtrage à la frontière, les personnes seraient considérées comme n’étant pas encore entrées sur le territoire européen ce qui permettrait aux Etats de déroger aux conventions de droit international qui s’y appliquent.

      Un premier projet pilote est notamment prévu à Lesbos, conjointement avec les autorités grecques, pour installer un nouveau camp sur l’île avec l’appui d’une Task Force européenne, directement placée sous le contrôle de la direction générale des affaires intérieure de la Commission européenne (DG HOME).

      Difficile de voir où se trouve l’innovation dans la proposition présentée par la Commission. Si ce n’est que les États européens souhaitent pousser encore plus loin à la fois la logique de filtrage à ces frontières ainsi que la sous-traitance de leur contrôle. Depuis l’été 2018, l’Union européenne défend la création de « centres contrôlés au sein de l’UE » d’une part et de « plateformes de débarquement dans les pays tiers » d’autre part. L’UE, à travers ce nouveau mécanisme, vise à organiser l’expulsion rapide des migrants qui sont parvenus, souvent au péril de leur vie, à pénétrer sur son territoire. Pour ce faire, la coopération accrue avec les gardes-frontières des États non européens et l’appui opérationnel de l’agence Frontex sont encore et toujours privilégiés.
      Un « nouvel écosystème en matière de retour »

      L’obsession européenne pour l’amélioration du « taux de retour » se retrouve au cœur de ce nouveau pacte, en repoussant toujours plus les limites en matière de coopération extérieure et d’enfermement des personnes étrangères jugées indésirables et en augmentant de façon inédite ses moyens opérationnels.

      Selon l’expression de Margaritis Schinas, commissaire grec en charge de la « promotion du mode de vie européen », la nouvelle procédure accélérée aux frontières s’accompagnera d’« un nouvel écosystème européen en matière de retour ». Il sera piloté par un « nouveau coordinateur de l’UE chargé des retours » ainsi qu’un « réseau de haut niveau coordonnant les actions nationales » avec le soutien de l’agence Frontex, qui devrait devenir « le bras opérationnel de la politique de retour européenne ».

      Rappelons que Frontex a vu ses moyens décuplés ces dernières années, notamment en vue d’expulser plus de personnes migrantes. Celle-ci a encore vu ses moyens renforcés depuis l’entrée en vigueur de son nouveau règlement le 4 décembre 2019 dont la Commission souhaite accélérer la mise en œuvre effective. Au-delà d’une augmentation de ses effectifs et de la possibilité d’acquérir son propre matériel, l’agence bénéficie désormais de pouvoirs étendus pour identifier les personnes « expulsables » du territoire européen, obtenir les documents de voyage nécessaires à la mise en œuvre de leurs expulsions ainsi que pour coordonner des opérations d’expulsion au service des Etats membres.

      La Commission souhaite également faire aboutir, d’ici le second trimestre 2021, le projet de révision de la directive européenne « Retour », qui constitue un recul sans précédent du cadre de protection des droits fondamentaux des personnes migrantes. Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : L’expulsion au cœur des politiques migratoires européennes, 22 mai 2019
      Des « partenariats sur-mesure » avec les pays d’origine et de transit

      La Commission étend encore redoubler d’efforts afin d’inciter les Etats non européens à participer activement à empêcher les départs vers l’Europe ainsi qu’à collaborer davantage en matière de retour et de réadmission en utilisant l’ensemble des instruments politiques à sa disposition. Ces dernières années ont vu se multiplier les instruments européens de coopération formelle (à travers la signature, entre autres, d’accords de réadmission bilatéraux ou multilatéraux) et informelle (à l’instar de la tristement célèbre déclaration entre l’UE et la Turquie de mars 2016) à tel point qu’il est devenu impossible, pour les États ciblés, de coopérer avec l’UE dans un domaine spécifique sans que les objectifs européens en matière migratoire ne soient aussi imposés.

      L’exécutif européen a enfin souligné sa volonté de d’exploiter les possibilités offertes par le nouveau règlement sur les visas Schengen, entré en vigueur en février 2020. Celui-ci prévoie d’évaluer, chaque année, le degré de coopération des Etats non européens en matière de réadmission. Le résultat de cette évaluation permettra d’adopter une décision de facilitation de visa pour les « bon élèves » ou à l’inverse, d’imposer des mesures de restrictions de visas aux « mauvais élèves ». Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : Expulsions contre visas : le droit à la mobilité marchandé, 2 février 2020.

      Conduite au seul prisme des intérêts européens, cette politique renforce le caractère historiquement déséquilibré des relations de « coopération » et entraîne en outre des conséquences désastreuses sur les droits des personnes migrantes, notamment celui de quitter tout pays, y compris le leur. Sous couvert d’aider ces pays à « se développer », les mesures « incitatives » européennes ne restent qu’un moyen de poursuivre ses objectifs et d’imposer sa vision des migrations. En coopérant davantage avec les pays d’origine et de transit, parmi lesquelles des dictatures et autres régimes autoritaires, l’UE renforce l’externalisation de ses politiques migratoires, sous-traitant la gestion des exilées aux Etats extérieurs à l’UE, tout en se déresponsabilisant des violations des droits perpétrées hors de ses frontières.
      Solidarité à la carte, entre relocalisation et expulsion

      Le constat d’échec du système Dublin – machine infernale de l’asile européen – conjugué à la volonté de parvenir à trouver un consensus suite aux profonds désaccords qui avaient mené les négociations sur Dublin IV dans l’impasse, la Commission souhaite remplacer l’actuel règlement de Dublin par un nouveau règlement sur la gestion de l’asile et de l’immigration, liant étroitement les procédures d’asile aux procédures d’expulsion.

      Les quotas de relocalisation contraignants utilisés par le passé, à l’instar du mécanisme de relocalisation mis en place entre 2015 et 2017 qui fut un échec tant du point de vue du nombre de relocalisations (seulement 25 000 relocalisations sur les 160 000 prévues) que du refus de plusieurs Etats d’y participer, semblent être abandonnés.

      Le nouveau pacte propose donc un nouveau mécanisme de solidarité, certes obligatoire mais flexible dans ses modalités. Ainsi les Etats membres devront choisir, selon une clé de répartition définie :

      Soit de participer à l’effort de relocalisation des personnes identifiées comme éligibles à la protection internationale depuis les frontières extérieures pour prendre en charge l’examen de leur demande d’asile.
      Soit de participer au nouveau concept de « parrainage des retours » inventé par la Commission européenne. Concrètement, il s’agit d’être « solidaire autrement », en s’engageant activement dans la politique de retour européenne par la mise en œuvre des expulsions des personnes que l’UE et ses Etats membres souhaitent éloigner du territoire, avec la possibilité de concentrer leurs efforts sur les nationalités pour lesquelles leurs perspectives de faire aboutir l’expulsion est la plus élevée.

      De nouvelles règles pour les « situations de crise et de force majeure »

      Le pacte prévoie d’abroger la directive européenne relative à des normes minimales pour l’octroi d’une protection temporaire en cas d’afflux massif de personnes déplacées, au profit d’un nouveau règlement européen relatif aux « situations de crise et de force majeure ». L’UE et ses Etats membres ont régulièrement essuyé les critiques des acteurs de la société civile pour n’avoir jamais activé la procédure prévue par la directive de 2001, notamment dans le cadre de situation exceptionnelle telle que la crise de l’accueil des personnes arrivées aux frontières sud de l’UE en 2015.

      Le nouveau règlement prévoie notamment qu’en cas de « situation de crise ou de force majeure » les Etats membres pourraient déroger aux règles qui s’appliquent en matière d’asile, en suspendant notamment l’enregistrement des demandes d’asile pendant un durée d’un mois maximum. Cette mesure entérine des pratiques contraires au droit international et européen, à l’instar de ce qu’a fait la Grèce début mars 2020 afin de refouler toutes les personnes qui tenteraient de pénétrer le territoire européen depuis la Turquie voisine. Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : Frontière Grèce-Turquie : de l’approche hotspot au scandale de la guerre aux migrant·e ·s, 3 mars 2020

      Cette proposition représente un recul sans précédent du droit d’asile aux frontières et fait craindre de multiples violations du principe de non refoulement consacré par la Convention de Genève.

      Bien loin d’engager un changement de cap des politiques migratoires européennes, le nouveau pacte européen migrations et asile ne semble n’être qu’un nouveau cadre de plus pour poursuivre une approche des mouvements migratoires qui, de longue date, s’est construite autour de la volonté d’empêcher les arrivées aux frontières et d’organiser un tri parmi les personnes qui auraient réussi à braver les obstacles pour atteindre le territoire européen, entre celles considérées éligibles à la demande d’asile et toutes les autres qui devraient être expulsées.

      De notre point de vue, cela signifie surtout que des milliers de personnes continueront à être privées de liberté et à subir les dispositifs répressifs des Etats membres de l’Union européenne. Les conséquences néfastes sur la dignité humaine et les droits fondamentaux de cette approche sont flagrantes, les personnes exilées et leurs soutiens y sont confrontées tous les jours.

      Encore une fois, des moyens très importants sont consacrés à financer l’érection de barrières physiques, juridiques et technologiques ainsi que la construction de camps sur les routes migratoires tandis qu’ils pourraient utilement être redéployés pour accueillir dignement et permettre un accès inconditionnel au territoire européen pour les personnes bloquées à ses frontières extérieures afin d’examiner avec attention et impartialité leurs situations et assurer le respect effectif des droits de tou∙te∙s.

      Nous appelons à un changement radical des politiques migratoires, pour une Europe qui encourage les solidarités, fondée sur la protection des droits humains et la dignité humaine afin d’assurer la protection des personnes et non pas leur exclusion.

      https://www.lacimade.org/pacte-europeen-sur-les-migrations-et-lasile-le-rendez-vous-manque-de-lue

    • EU’s new migrant ‘pact’ is as squalid as its refugee camps

      Governments need to share responsibility for asylum seekers, beyond merely ejecting the unwanted

      One month after fires swept through Europe’s largest, most squalid refugee camp, the EU’s migration policies present a picture as desolate as the blackened ruins of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. The latest effort at overhauling these policies is a European Commission “pact on asylum and migration”, which is not a pact at all. Its proposals sharply divide the EU’s 27 governments.

      In an attempt to appease central and eastern European countries hostile to admitting asylum-seekers, the commission suggests, in an Orwellian turn of phrase, that they should operate “relocation and return sponsorships”, dispatching people refused entry to their places of origin. This sort of task is normally reserved for nightclub bouncers.

      The grim irony is that Hungary and Poland, two countries that would presumably be asked to take charge of such expulsions, are the subject of EU disciplinary proceedings due to alleged violations of the rule of law. It remains a mystery how, if the commission proposal moves forward, the EU will succeed in binding Hungary and Poland into a common asylum policy and bend them into accepting EU definitions of the rule of law.

      Perhaps the best thing to be said of the commission’s plan is that, unlike the UK government, EU policymakers are not toying with hare-brained schemes of sending asylum-seekers to Ascension Island in the south Atlantic. Such options are the imagined privilege of a former imperial power not divested of all its far-flung possessions.

      Yet the commission’s initiative still reeks of wishful thinking. It foresees a process in which authorities swiftly check the identities, security status and health of irregular migrants, before returning them home, placing them in the asylum system or putting them in temporary facilities. This will supposedly decongest EU border zones, as governments will agree how to relocate new arrivals. But it is precisely the lack of such agreement since 2015 that led to Moria’s disgraceful conditions.

      The commission should not be held responsible for governments failing to shoulder their responsibilities. It is also justified in emphasising the need for a strong EU frontier. This is a precondition for free movement inside the bloc, vital for a flourishing single market.

      True, the Schengen system of border-free internal travel is curtailed at present because of the pandemic, not to mention restrictions introduced in some countries after the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis. But no government wants to abandon Schengen. Where they fall out with each other is over the housing of refugees and migrants.

      Europe’s overcrowded, unhygienic refugee camps, and the paralysis that grips EU policies, are all the more shameful in that governments no longer face a border emergency. Some 60,800 irregular migrants crossed into the EU between January and August, 14 per cent less than the same period in 2019, according to the EU border agency.

      By contrast, there were 1.8m illegal border crossings in 2015, a different order of magnitude. Refugees from conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria made desperate voyages across the Mediterranean, with thousands drowning in ramshackle boats. Some countries, led by Germany and Sweden, were extremely generous in opening their doors to refugees. Others were not.

      The roots of today’s problems lie in the measures devised to address that crisis, above all a 2016 accord with Turkey. Irregular migrants were kept on Moria and other Greek islands, designated “hotspots”, in the expectation that failed asylum applicants would be smoothly returned to Turkey, its coffers replenished by billions of euros in EU assistance. In practice, few went back to Turkey and the understaffed, underfunded “hotspots” became places of tension between refugees and locals.

      Unable to agree on a relocation scheme among themselves, EU governments lapsed into a de facto policy of deterrence of irregular migrants. The pandemic provided an excuse for Italy and Malta to close their ports to people rescued at sea. Visiting the Greek-Turkish border in March, Ursula von der Leyen, the commission president, declared: “I thank Greece for being our European aspida [shield].”

      The legitimacy of EU refugee policies depends on adherence to international law, as well the bloc’s own rules. Its practical success requires all governments to share a responsibility for asylum-seekers that goes beyond ejecting unwanted individuals. Otherwise the EU will fall into the familiar trap of cobbling together unsatisfactory half-measures that guarantee more trouble in the future.

      https://www.ft.com/content/c50c6b9c-75a8-40b1-900d-a228faa382dc?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754

    • The EU’s pact against migration, Part One

      The EU Commission’s proposal for a ‘New Pact for Migration and Asylum’ offers no prospect of ending the enduring mobility conflict, opposing the movements of illegalised migrants to the EU’s restrictive migration policies.

      The ’New Pact for Migration and Asylum’, announced by the European Commission in July 2019, was finally presented on September 23, 2020. The Pact was eagerly anticipated as it was described as a “fresh start on migration in Europe”, acknowledging not only that Dublin had failed, but also that the negotiations between European member states as to what system might replace it had reached a standstill.

      The fire in Moria that left more than 13.000 people stranded in the streets of Lesvos island offered a glaring symbol of the failure of the current EU policy. The public outcry it caused and expressions of solidarity it crystallised across Europe pressured the Commission to respond through the publication of its Pact.

      Considering the trajectory of EU migration policies over the last decades, the particular position of the Commission within the European power structure and the current political conjuncture of strong anti-migration positions in Europe, we did not expect the Commission’s proposal to address the mobility conflict underlying its migration policy crisis in a constructive way. And indeed, the Pact’s main promise is to manage the diverging positions of member states through a new mechanism of “flexible solidarity” between member states in sharing the “burden” of migrants who have arrived on European territory. Perpetuating the trajectory of the last decades, it however remains premised on keeping most migrants from the global South out at all cost. The “New Pact” then is effectively a pact between European states against migrants. The Pact, which will be examined and possibly adopted by the European Parliament and Council in the coming months, confirms the impasse to which three decades of European migration and asylum policy have led, and an absence of any political imagination worthy of the name.
      The EU’s migration regime’s failed architecture

      The current architecture of the European border regime is based on two main and intertwined pillars: the Schengen Implementing Convention (SIC, or Schengen II) and the Dublin Convention, both signed in 1990, and gradually enforced in the following years.[1]

      Created outside the EC/EU context, they became the central rationalities of the emerging European border and migration regime after their incorporation into EU law through the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997/99). Schengen instituted the EU’s territory as an area of free movement for its citizens and, as a direct consequence, reinforced the exclusion of citizens of the global South and pushed control towards its external borders.

      However this profound transformation of European borders left unchanged the unbalanced systemic relations between Europe and the Global South, within which migrants’ movements are embedded. As a result, this policy shift did not stop migrants from reaching the EU but rather illegalised their mobility, forcing them to resort to precarious migration strategies and generating an easily exploitable labour force that has become a large-scale and permanent feature of EU economies.

      The more than 40,000 migrant deaths recorded at the EU’s borders by NGOs since the end of the 1980s are the lethal outcomes of this enduring mobility conflict opposing the movements of illegalised migrants to the EU’s restrictive migration policies.

      The second pillar of the EU’s migration architecture, the Dublin Convention, addressed asylum seekers and their allocation between member-states. To prevent them from filing applications in several EU countries – derogatively referred to as “asylum shopping” – the 2003 Dublin regulation states that the asylum seekers’ first country of entry into the EU is responsible for processing their claims. Dublin thus created an uneven European geography of (ir)responsibility that allowed the member states not directly situated at the intersection of European borders and routes of migration to abnegate their responsibility to provide shelter and protection, and placed a heavier “burden” on the shoulders of states located at the EU’s external borders.

      This unbalanced architecture, around which the entire Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was constructed, would begin to wobble as soon as the number of people arriving on the EU’s shores rose, leading to crisis-driven policy responses to prevent the migration regime from collapsing under the pressure of migrants’ refusal to be assigned to a country that was not of their choosing, and conflicts between member states.

      As a result, the development of a European border, migration and asylum policy has been driven by crisis and is inherently reactive. This pattern particularly holds for the last decade, when the large-scale movements of migrants to Europe in the wake of the Arab Uprisings in 2011 put the EU migration regime into permanent crisis mode and prompted hasty reforms. As of 2011, Italy allowed Tunisians to move on, leading to the re-introduction of border controls by states such as France, while the same year the 2011 European Court of Human Rights’ judgement brought Dublin deportations to Greece to a halt because of the appalling reception and living conditions there. The increasing refusal by asylum seekers to surrender their fingerprints – the core means of implementing Dublin – as of 2013 further destabilized the migration regime.

      The instability only grew when in April 2015, more then 1,200 people died in two consecutive shipwrecks, forcing the Commission to publish its ‘European Agenda for Migration’ in May 2015. The 2015 agenda announced the creation of the hotspot system in the hope of re-stabilising the European migration regime through a targeted intervention of European agencies at Europe’s borders. Essentially, the hotspot approach offered a deal to EU member states: comprehensive registration in Europeanised structures (the hotspots) by so-called “front-line states” – thus re-imposing Dublin – in exchange for relocation of part of the registered migrants to other EU countries – thereby alleviating front-line states of part of their “burden”.

      This plan however collapsed before it could ever work, as it was immediately followed by the large-scale summer arrivals of 2015 as migrants trekked across Europe’s borders. It was simultaneously boycotted by several member states who refused relocations and continue to lead the charge in fomenting an explicit anti-migration agenda in the EU. While border controls were soon reintroduced, relocations never materialised in a meaningful manner in the years that followed.

      With the Dublin regime effectively paralysed and the EU unable to agree on a new mechanism for the distribution of asylum seekers within Europe, the EU resorted to the decades-old policies that had shaped the European border and migration regime since its inception: keeping migrants out at all cost through border control implemented by member states, European agencies or outsourced to third countries.

      Considering the profound crisis the turbulent movements of migrants had plunged the EU into in the summer of 2015, no measure was deemed excessive in achieving this exclusionary end: neither the tacit acceptance of violent expulsions and push-backs by Spain and Greece, nor the outsourcing of border control to Libyan torturers, nor the shameless collaboration with dictatorial regimes such as Turkey.

      Under the guise of “tackling the root causes of migration”, development aid was diverted and used to impose border externalisation and deportation agreements. But the external dimension of the EU’s migration regime has proven just as unstable as its internal one – as the re-opening of borders by Turkey in March 2020 demonstrates. The movements of illegalised migrants towards the EU could never be entirely contained and those who reached the shores of Europe were increasingly relegated to infrastructures of detention. Even if keeping thousands of migrants stranded in the hell of Moria may not have been part of the initial hotspot plan, it certainly has been the outcome of the EU’s internal blockages and ultimately effective in shoring up the EU’s strategy of deterrence.

      The “New Pact” perpetuating the EU’s failed policy of closure

      Today the “New Pact”, promised for Spring 2020 and apparently forgotten at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been revived in a hurry to address the destruction of Moria hotspot. While detailed analysis of the regulations that it proposes are beyond the scope of this article,[2] the broad intentions of the Pact’s rationale are clear.

      Despite all its humane and humanitarian rhetoric and some language critically addressing the manifest absence of the rule of law at the border of Europe, the Commission’s pact is a pact against migration. Taking stock of the continued impasse in terms of internal distribution of migrants, it re-affirms the EU’s central objective of reducing, massively the number of asylum seekers to be admitted to Europe. It promises to do so by continuing to erect chains of externalised border control along migrants’ entire trajectories (what it refers to as the “whole-of-route approach”).

      Those who do arrive should be swiftly screened and sorted in an infrastructure of detention along the borders of Europe. The lucky few who will succeed in fitting their lives into the shrinking boxes of asylum law are to be relocated to other EU countries in function of a mechanism of distribution based on population size and wealth of member states.

      Whether this will indeed undo the imbalances of the Dublin regime remains an open question[3], nevertheless, this relocation key is one of the few positive steps offered by the Pact since it comes closer to migrants’ own “relocation key” but still falls short of granting asylum seekers the freedom to choose their country of protection and residence.[4] The majority of rejected asylum seekers – which may be determined on the basis of an extended understanding of the “safe third country” notion – is to be funnelled towards deportations operated by the EU states refusing relocation. The Commission hopes deportations will be made smoother after a newly appointed “EU Return Coordinator” will have bullied countries of origin into accepting their nationals using the carrot of development aid and the stick of visa sanctions. The Commission seems to believe that with fewer expected arrivals and fewer migrants ending up staying in Europe, and with its mechanism of “flexible solidarity” allowing for a selective participation in relocations or returns depending on the taste of its member states, it can both bridge the gap between member states’ interests and push for a deeper Europeanisation of the policy field in which its own role will become more central.

      Thus, the EU Commission’s attempt to square the circle of member states’ conflicting interests has resulted in a European pact against migration, which perpetuates the promises of the EU’s (anti-)migration policy over the last three decades: externalisation, enhanced borders, accelerated asylum procedures, detention and deportations to prevent and deter migrants from the global South. It seeks to strike yet another deal between European member states, without consulting – and at the expense of – migrants themselves. Because most of the policy means contained in the pact are not new, and have always failed to durably end illegalised migration – instead they have created a large precaritised population at the heart of Europe – we do not see how they would work today. Migrants will continue to arrive, and many will remain stranded in front-line states or other EU states as they await deportation. As such, the outcome of the pact (if it is agreed upon) is likely a perpetuation and generalisation of the hotspot system, the very system whose untenability – glaringly demonstrated by Moria’s fire – prompted the presentation of the New Pact in the first place. Even if the Commission’s “no more Morias” rhetoric would like to persuade us of the opposite,[5] the ruins of Moria point to the past as well as the potential future of the CEAS if the Commission has its way.

      We are dismayed at the loss of yet another opportunity for Europe to fundamentally re-orient its policy of closure, one which is profoundly at odds with the reality of large-scale displacement in an unequal and interconnected world. We are dismayed at the prospect of more suffering and more political crises that can only be the outcome of this continued policy failure. Clearly, an entirely different approach to how Europe engages with the movements of migration is called for. One which actually aims to de-escalate and transform the enduring mobility conflict. One which starts from the reality of the movements of migrants and offers a frame for it to unfold rather than seeks to suppress and deny it.

      Notes and references

      [1] We have offered an extensive analysis of the following argument in previous articles. See in particular : Bernd Kasparek. 2016. “Complementing Schengen: The Dublin System and the European Border and Migration Regime”. In Migration Policy and Practice, edited by Harald Bauder and Christian Matheis, 59–78. Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship. Houndmills & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani. 2016. “Ebbing and Flowing: The EU’s Shifting Practices of (Non-)Assistance and Bordering in a Time of Crisis”. Near Futures Online. No 1. Available here.

      [2] For first analyses see Steve Peers. 2020. “First analysis of the EU’s new asylum proposals”, EU Law Analysis, 25 September 2020; Sergio Carrera. 2020. “Whose Pact? The Cognitive Dimensions of the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum”, CEPS, September 2020.

      [3] Carrera, ibid.

      [4] For a discussion of migration of migrants’ own relocation key, see Philipp Lutz, David Kaufmann and Anna Stütz. 2020. “Humanitarian Protection as a European Public Good: The Strategic Role of States and Refugees”, Journal of Common Market Studies 2020 Volume 58. Number 3. pp. 757–775. To compare the actual asylum applications across Europe over the last years with different relocations keys, see the tool developed by Etienne Piguet.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/the-eus-pact-against-migration-part-one

      #whole-of-route_approach #relocalisation #clé_de_relocalisation #relocation_key #pays-tiers_sûrs #EU_Return_Coordinator #solidarité_flexible #externalisation #new_pact

    • Towards a European pact with migrants, Part Two

      We call for a new Pact that addresses the reality of migrants’ movements, the systemic conditions leading people to flee their homes as well as the root causes of Europe’s racism.

      In Part One, we analysed the EU’s new Pact against migration. Here, we call for an entirely different approach to how Europe engages with migration, one which offers a legal frame for migration to unfold, and addresses the systemic conditions leading people to flee their homes as well as the root causes of Europe’s racism.Let us imagine for a moment that the EU Commission truly wanted, and was in a position, to reorient the EU’s migration policy in a direction that might actually de-escalate and transform the enduring mobility conflict: what might its pact with migrants look like?

      The EU’s pact with migrants might start from three fundamental premises. First, it would recognize that any policy that is entirely at odds with social practices is bound to generate conflict, and ultimately fail. A migration policy must start from the social reality of migration and provide a frame for it to unfold. Second, the pact would acknowledge that no conflict can be brought to an end unilaterally. Any process of conflict transformation must bring together the conflicting parties, and seek to address their needs, interests and values so that they no longer clash with each other. In particular, migrants from the global South must be included in the definition of the policies that concern them. Third, it would recognise, as Tendayi Achiume has put it, that migrants from the global South are no strangers to Europe.[1] They have long been included in the expansive webs of empire. Migration and borders are embedded in these unequal relations, and no end to the mobility conflict can be achieved without fundamentally transforming them. Based on these premises, the EU’s pact with migrants might contain the following four core measures:
      Global justice and conflict prevention

      Instead of claiming to tackle the “root causes” of migration by diverting and instrumentalising development aid towards border control, the EU’s pact with migrants would end all European political and economic relations that contribute to the crises leading to mass displacement. The EU would end all support to dictatorial regimes, would ban all weapon exports, terminate all destabilising military interventions. It would cancel unfair trade agreements and the debts of countries of the global South. It would end its massive carbon emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. Through these means, the EU would not claim to end migration perceived as a “problem” for Europe, but it would contribute to allowing more people to live a dignified life wherever they are and decrease forced migration, which certainly is a problem for migrants. A true commitment to global justice and conflict prevention and resolution is necessary if Europe wishes to limit the factors that lead too many people onto the harsh paths of exile in their countries and regions, a small proportion of whom reach European shores.
      Tackling the “root causes” of European racism

      While the EU’s so-called “global approach” to migration has in fact been one-sided, focused exclusively on migration as “the problem” rather then the processes that drive the EU’s policies of exclusion, the EU’s pact with migrants would boldly tackle the “root causes” of racism and xenophobia in Europe. Bold policies designed to address the EU’s colonial past and present and the racial imaginaries it has unleashed would be proposed, a positive vision for living in common in diverse societies affirmed, and a more inclusive and fair economic system would be established in Europe to decrease the resentment of European populations which has been skilfully channelled against migrants and racialised people.
      Universal freedom of movement

      By tackling the causes of large-scale displacement and of exclusionary migration policies, the EU would be able to de-escalate the mobility conflict, and could thus propose a policy granting all migrants legal pathways to access and stay in Europe. As an immediate outcome of the institution of right to international mobility, migrants would no longer resort to smugglers and risk their lives crossing the sea – and thus no longer be in need of being rescued. Using safe and legal means of travel would also, in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, allow migrants to adopt all sanitary measures that are necessary to protect migrants and those they encounter. No longer policed through military means, migration could appear as a normal process that does not generate fear. Frontex, the European border agency, would be defunded, and concentrate its limited activities on detecting actual threats to the EU rather then constructing vulnerable populations as “risks”. In a world that would be less unequal and in which people would have the possibly to lead a dignified life wherever they are, universal freedom of movement would not lead to an “invasion” of Europe. Circulatory movement rather then permanent settlement would be frequent. Migrants’ legal status would no longer allow employers to push working conditions down. A European asylum system would continue to exist, to grant protection and support to those in need. The vestiges of the EU’s hotspots and detention centres might be turned into ministries of welcome, which would register and redirect people to the place of their choice. Registration would thus be a mere certification of having taken the first step towards European citizenship, transforming the latter into a truly post-national institution, a far horizon which current EU treaties only hint at.
      Democratizing borders

      Considering that all European migration policies to date have been fundamentally undemocratic – in that they were imposed on a group of people – migrants – who had no say in the legislative and political process defining the laws that govern their movement – the pact would instead be the outcome of considerable consultative process with migrants and the organisations that support them, as well the states of the global South. The pact, following from Étienne Balibar’s suggestion, would in turn propose to permanently democratise borders by instituting “a multilateral, negotiated control of their working by the populations themselves (including, of course, migrant populations),” within “new representative institutions” that “are not merely ‘territorial’ and certainly not purely national.”[2] In such a pact, the original promise of Europe as a post-national project would finally be revived.

      Such a policy orientation may of course appear as nothing more then a fantasy. And yet it appears evident to us that the direction we suggest is the only realistic one. European citizens and policy makers alike must realise that the question is not whether migrants will exercise their freedom to cross borders, but at what human and political cost. As a result, it is far more realistic to address the processes within which the mobility conflict is embedded, than seeking to ban human mobility. As the Black Lives Matter’s slogan “No justice no peace!” resonating in the streets of the world over recent months reminds us, without mobility justice, [3] their can be no end to mobility conflict.
      The challenges ahead for migrant solidarity movements

      Our policy proposals are perfectly realistic in relation to migrants’ movements and the processes shaping them, yet we are well aware that they are not on the agenda of neoliberal and nationalist Europe. If the EU Commission has squandered yet another opportunity to reorient the EU’s migration policy, it is simply that this Europe, governed by these member states and politicians, has lost the capacity to offer bold visions of democracy, freedom and justice for itself and the world. As such, we have little hope for a fundamental reorientation of the EU’s policies. The bleak prospect is of the perpetuation of the mobility conflict, and the human suffering and political crises it generates.

      What are those who seek to support migrants to do in this context?

      We must start by a sobering note addressed to the movement we are part of: the fire of Moria is not only a symptom and symbol of the failures of the EU’s migration policies and member states, but also of our own strategies. After all, since the hotspots were proposed in 2015 we have tirelessly denounced them, and documented the horrendous living conditions they have created. NGOs have litigated against them, but efforts have been turned down by a European Court of Human Rights that appears increasingly reluctant to position itself on migration-related issues and is thereby contributing to the perpetuation of grave violations by states.

      And despite the extraordinary mobilisation of civil society in alliance with municipalities across Europe who have declared themselves ready to welcome migrants, relocations never materialised on any significant scale. After five years of tireless mobilization, the hotspots still stand, with thousands of asylum seekers trapped in them.

      While the conditions leading to the fire are still being clarified, it appears that the migrants held hostage in Moria took it into their own hands to try to get rid of the camp through the desperate act of burning it to the ground. As such, while we denounce the EU’s policies, our movements are urgently in need of re-evaluating their own modes of action, and re-imagining them more effectively.

      We have no lessons to give, as we share these shortcomings. But we believe that some of the directions we have suggested in our utopian Pact with migrants can guide migrant solidarity movements as well , as they may be implemented from the bottom-up in the present and help reopen our political imagination.

      The freedom to move is not, or not only, a distant utopia, that may be instituted by states in some distant future. It can also be seen as a right and freedom that illegalised migrants seize on a day-to-day basis as they cross borders without authorisation, and persist in living where they choose.

      Freedom of movement can serve as a useful compass to direct and evaluate our practices of contestation and support. Litigation remains an important tool to counter the multiple forms of violence and violations that migrants face along their trajectories, even as we acknowledge that national and international courts are far from immune to the anti-migrant atmosphere within states. Forging infrastructures of support for migrants in the course of their mobility (such as the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone and the civilian rescue fleet) – and their stay (such as the many citizen platforms for housing )– is and will continue to be essential.

      While states seek to implement what they call an “integrated border management” that seeks to manage migrants’ unruly mobilities before, at, and after borders, we can think of our own networks as forming a fragmented yet interconnected “integrated border solidarity” along the migrants’ entire trajectory. The criminalisation of our acts of solidarity by states is proof that we are effective in disrupting the violence of borders.

      Solidarity cities have formed important nodes in these chains, as municipalities do have the capacity to enable migrants to live in dignity in urban spaces, and limit the reach of their security forces for example. Their dissonant voices of welcome have been important in demonstrating that segments of the European population, which are far from negligible, refuse to be complicit with the EU’s policies of closure and are ready to embody an open relation of solidarity with migrants and beyond. However we must also acknowledge that the prerogative of granting access to European states remains in the hands of central administrations, not in those of municipalities, and thus the readiness to welcome migrants has not allowed the latter to actually seek sanctuary.

      While humanitarian and humanist calls for welcome are important, we too need to locate migration and borders in a broader political and economic context – that of the past and present of empire – so that they can be understood as questions of (in)justice. Echoing the words of the late Edouard Glissant, as activists focusing on illegalised migration we should never forget that “to have to force one’s way across borders as a result of one’s misery is as scandalous as what founds that misery”.[4] As a result of this framing, many more alliances can be forged today between migrant solidarity movements and the global justice and climate justice movements, as well as anti-racist, anti-fascist, feminist and decolonial movements. Through such alliances, we may be better equipped to support migrants throughout their entire trajectories, and transform the conditions that constrain them today.

      Ultimately, to navigate its way out of its own impasses, it seems to us that migrant solidarity movements must address four major questions.

      First, what migration policy do we want? The predictable limits of the EU’s pact against migration may be an opportunity to forge our own alternative agenda.

      Second, how can we not only oppose the implementation of restrictive policies but shape the policy process itself so as to transform the field on which we struggle? Opposing the EU’s anti-migrant pact over the coming months may allow us to conduct new experiments.

      Third, as long as policies that deny basic principles of equality, freedom, justice, and our very common humanity, are still in place, how can we lead actions that disrupt them effectively? For example, what are the forms of nongovernmental evacuations that might support migrants in accessing Europe, and moving across its internal borders?

      Fourth, how can struggles around migration and borders be part of the forging of a more equal, free, just and sustainable world for all?

      The next months during which the EU’s Pact against migration will be discussed in front of the European Parliament and Council will see an uphill battle for all those who still believe in the possibility of a Europe of openness and solidarity. While we have no illusions as to the policy outcome, this is an opportunity we must seize, not only to claim that another Europe and another world is possible, but to start building them from below.

      Notes and references

      [1] Tendayi Achiume. 2019, “The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders.” Dissent 66.3: pp.27-32.

      [2] Etienne Balibar. 2004. We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship. Princeton: University Press, p. 108 and 117.

      [3] Mimi Sheller. 2018. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes. London: Verso.

      [4] Edouard Glissant. 2006. “Il n’est frontière qu’on n’outrepasse”. Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/towards-pact-migrants-part-two

    • Pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile : Afin de garantir un nouveau départ et d’éviter de reproduire les erreurs passées, certains éléments à risque doivent être reconsidérés et les aspects positifs étendus.

      L’engagement en faveur d’une approche plus humaine de la protection et l’accent mis sur les aspects positifs et bénéfiques de la migration avec lesquels la Commission européenne a lancé le Pacte sur la migration et l’asile sont les bienvenus. Cependant, les propositions formulées reflètent très peu cette rhétorique et ces ambitions. Au lieu de rompre avec les erreurs de la précédente approche de l’Union européenne (UE) et d’offrir un nouveau départ, le Pacte continue de se focaliser sur l’externalisation, la dissuasion, la rétention et le retour.

      Cette première analyse des propositions, réalisée par la société civile, a été guidée par les questions suivantes :

      Les propositions formulées sont-elles en mesure de garantir, en droit et en pratique, le respect des normes internationales et européennes ?
      Participeront-elles à un partage plus juste des responsabilités en matière d’asile au niveau de l’UE et de l’international ?
      Seront-elles susceptibles de fonctionner en pratique ?

      Au lieu d’un partage automatique des responsabilités, le Pacte introduit un système de Dublin, qui n’en porte pas le nom, plus complexe et un mécanisme de « parrainage au retour »

      Le Pacte sur la migration et l’asile a manqué l’occasion de réformer en profondeur le système de Dublin : le principe de responsabilité du premier pays d’arrivée pour examiner les demandes d’asile est, en pratique, maintenu. De plus, le Pacte propose un système complexe introduisant diverses formes de solidarité.

      Certains ajouts positifs dans les critères de détermination de l’Etat membre responsable de la demande d’asile sont à relever, par exemple, l’élargissement de la définition des membres de famille afin d’inclure les frères et sœurs, ainsi qu’un large éventail de membres de famille dans le cas des mineurs non accompagnés et la délivrance d’un diplôme ou d’une autre qualification par un Etat membre. Cependant, au regard de la pratique actuelle des Etats membres, il sera difficile de s’éloigner du principe du premier pays d’entrée comme l’option de départ en faveur des nouvelles considérations prioritaires, notamment le regroupement familial.

      Dans le cas d’un nombre élevé de personnes arrivées sur le territoire (« pression migratoire ») ou débarquées suite à des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage, la solidarité entre Etats membres est requise. Les processus qui en découlent comprennent une série d’évaluations, d’engagements et de rapports devant être rédigés par les États membres. Si la réponse collective est insuffisante, la Commission européenne peut prendre des mesures correctives. Au lieu de promouvoir un mécanisme de soutien pour un partage prévisible des responsabilités, ces dispositions tendent plutôt à créer des formes de négociations entre États membres qui nous sont toutes devenues trop familières. La complexité des propositions soulève des doutes quant à leur application réelle en pratique.

      Les États membres sont autorisés à choisir le « parrainage de retour » à la place de la relocalisation de personnes sur leur territoire, ce qui indique une attention égale portée au retour et à la protection. Au lieu d’apporter un soutien aux Etats membres en charge d’un plus grand nombre de demandes de protection, cette proposition soulève de nombreuses préoccupations juridiques et relatives au respect des droits de l’homme, en particulier si le transfert vers l’Etat dit « parrain » se fait après l’expiration du délai de 8 mois. Qui sera en charge de veiller au traitement des demandeurs d’asile déboutés à leur arrivée dans des Etats qui n’acceptent pas la relocalisation ?

      Le Pacte propose d’étendre l’utilisation de la procédure à la frontière, y compris un recours accru à la rétention

      A défaut de rééquilibrer la responsabilité entre les États membres de l’UE, la proposition de règlement sur les procédures communes exacerbe la pression sur les États situés aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et sur les pays des Balkans occidentaux. La Commission propose de rendre, dans certains cas, les procédures d’asile et de retour à la frontière obligatoires. Cela s’appliquerait notamment aux ressortissants de pays dont le taux moyen de protection de l’UE est inférieur à 20%. Ces procédures seraient facultatives lorsque les Etats membres appliquent les concepts de pays tiers sûr ou pays d’origine sûr. Toutefois, la Commission a précédemment proposé que ceux-ci deviennent obligatoires pour l’ensemble des Etats membres. Les associations réitèrent leurs inquiétudes quant à l’utilisation de ces deux concepts qui ont été largement débattus entre 2016 et 2019. Leur application obligatoire ne doit plus être proposée.

      La proposition de procédure à la frontière repose sur deux hypothèses erronées – notamment sur le fait que la majorité des personnes arrivant en Europe n’est pas éligible à un statut de protection et que l’examen des demandes de protection peut être effectué facilement et rapidement. Ni l’une ni l’autre ne sont correctes. En effet, en prenant en considération à la fois les décisions de première et de seconde instance dans toute l’UE il apparaît que la plupart des demandeurs d’asile dans l’UE au cours des trois dernières années ont obtenu un statut de protection. En outre, le Pacte ne doit pas persévérer dans cette approche erronée selon laquelle les procédures d’asile peuvent être conduites rapidement à travers la réduction de garanties et l’introduction d’un système de tri. La durée moyenne de la procédure d’asile aux Pays-Bas, souvent qualifiée d’ « élève modèle » pour cette pratique, dépasse un an et peut atteindre deux années jusqu’à ce qu’une décision soit prise.

      La proposition engendrerait deux niveaux de standards dans les procédures d’asile, largement déterminés par le pays d’origine de la personne concernée. Cela porte atteinte au droit individuel à l’asile et signifierait qu’un nombre accru de personnes seront soumises à une procédure de deuxième catégorie. Proposer aux Etats membres d’émettre une décision d’asile et d’éloignement de manière simultanée, sans introduire de garanties visant à ce que les principes de non-refoulement, d’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant, et de protection de la vie privée et familiale ne soient examinés, porte atteinte aux obligations qui découlent du droit international. La proposition formulée par la Commission supprime également l’effet suspensif automatique du recours, c’est-à-dire le droit de rester sur le territoire dans l’attente d’une décision finale rendue dans le cadre d’une procédure à la frontière.

      L’idée selon laquelle les personnes soumises à des procédures à la frontière sont considérées comme n’étant pas formellement entrées sur le territoire de l’État membre est trompeuse et contredit la récente jurisprudence de l’UE, sans pour autant modifier les droits de l’individu en vertu du droit européen et international.

      La proposition prive également les personnes de la possibilité d’accéder à des permis de séjour pour des motifs autres que l’asile et impliquera très probablement une privation de liberté pouvant atteindre jusqu’à 6 mois aux frontières de l’UE, c’est-à-dire un maximum de douze semaines dans le cadre de la procédure d’asile à la frontière et douze semaines supplémentaires en cas de procédure de retour à la frontière. En outre, les réformes suppriment le principe selon lequel la rétention ne doit être appliquée qu’en dernier recours dans le cadre des procédures aux frontières. En s’appuyant sur des restrictions plus systématiques des mouvements dans le cadre des procédures à la frontière, la proposition restreindra l’accès de l’individu aux services de base fournis par des acteurs qui ne pourront peut-être pas opérer à la frontière, y compris pour l’assistance et la représentation juridiques. Avec cette approche, on peut s’attendre aux mêmes échecs rencontrés dans la mise en œuvre des « hotspot » sur les îles grecques.

      La reconnaissance de l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant comme élément primordial dans toutes les procédures pour les États membres est positive. Cependant, la Commission diminue les garanties de protection des enfants en n’exemptant que les mineurs non accompagnés ou âgés de moins de douze ans des procédures aux frontières. Ceci est en contradiction avec la définition internationale de l’enfant qui concerne toutes les personnes jusqu’à l’âge de dix-huit ans, telle qu’inscrite dans la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant ratifiée par tous les États membres de l’UE.

      Dans les situations de crise, les États membres sont autorisés à déroger à d’importantes garanties qui soumettront davantage de personnes à des procédures d’asile de qualité inférieure

      La crainte d’iniquité procédurale est d’autant plus visible dans les situations où un État membre peut prétendre être confronté à une « situation exceptionnelle d’afflux massif » ou au risque d’une telle situation.

      Dans ces cas, le champ d’application de la procédure obligatoire aux frontières est considérablement étendu à toutes les personnes en provenance de pays dont le taux moyen de protection de l’UE est inférieur à 75%. La procédure d’asile à la frontière et la procédure de retour à la frontière peuvent être prolongées de huit semaines supplémentaires, soit cinq mois chacune, ce qui porte à dix mois la durée maximale de privation de liberté. En outre, les États membres peuvent suspendre l’enregistrement des demandes d’asile pendant quatre semaines et jusqu’à un maximum de trois mois. Par conséquent, si aucune demande n’est enregistrée pendant plusieurs semaines, les personnes sont susceptibles d’être exposées à un risque accru de rétention et de refoulement, et leurs droits relatifs à un accueil digne et à des services de base peuvent être gravement affectés.

      Cette mesure permet aux États membres de déroger à leur responsabilité de garantir un accès à l’asile et un examen efficace et équitable de l’ensemble des demandes d’asile, ce qui augmente ainsi le risque de refoulement. Dans certains cas extrêmes, notamment lorsque les États membres agissent en violation flagrante et persistante des obligations du droit de l’UE, le processus de demande d’autorisation à la Commission européenne pourrait être considéré comme une amélioration, étant donné qu’actuellement la loi est ignorée, sans consultation et ce malgré les critiques de la Commission européenne. Toutefois, cela ne peut être le point de départ de l’évaluation de cette proposition de la législation européenne. L’impact à grande échelle de cette dérogation offre la possibilité à ce qu’une grande majorité des personnes arrivant dans l’UE soient soumises à une procédure de second ordre.

      Pré-filtrage à la frontière : risques et opportunités

      La Commission propose un processus de « pré-filtrage à l’entrée » pour toutes les personnes qui arrivent de manière irrégulière aux frontières de l’UE, y compris à la suite d’un débarquement dans le cadre des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage. Le processus de pré-filtrage comprend des contrôles de sécurité, de santé et de vulnérabilité, ainsi que l’enregistrement des empreintes digitales, mais il conduit également à des décisions impactant l’accès à l’asile, notamment en déterminant si une personne doit être sujette à une procédure d’asile accélérée à la frontière, de relocalisation ou de retour. Ce processus peut durer jusqu’à 10 jours et doit être effectué au plus près possible de la frontière. Le lieu où les personnes seront placées et l’accès aux conditions matérielles d’accueil demeurent flous. Le filtrage peut également être appliqué aux personnes se trouvant sur le territoire d’un État membre, ce qui pourrait conduire à une augmentation de pratiques discriminatoires. Des questions se posent également concernant les droits des personnes soumises au filtrage, tels que l’accès à l’information, , l’accès à un avocat et au droit de contester la décision prise dans ce contexte ; les motifs de refus d’entrée ; la confidentialité et la protection des données collectées. Etant donné que les États membres peuvent facilement se décharger de leurs responsabilités en matière de dépistage médical et de vulnérabilité, il n’est pas certain que certains besoins seront effectivement détectés et pris en considération.

      Une initiative à saluer est la proposition d’instaurer un mécanisme indépendant des droits fondamentaux à la frontière. Afin qu’il garantisse une véritable responsabilité face aux violations des droits à la frontière, y compris contre les éloignements et les refoulements récurrents dans un grand nombre d’États membres, ce mécanisme doit être étendu au-delà de la procédure de pré-filtrage, être indépendant des autorités nationales et impliquer des organisations telles que les associations non gouvernementales.

      La proposition fait de la question du retour et de l’expulsion une priorité

      L’objectif principal du Pacte est clair : augmenter de façon significative le nombre de personnes renvoyées ou expulsées de l’UE. La création du poste de Coordinateur en charge des retours au sein de la Commission européenne et d’un directeur exécutif adjoint aux retours au sein de Frontex en sont la preuve, tandis qu’aucune nomination n’est prévue au sujet de la protection de garanties ou de la relocalisation. Le retour est considéré comme un élément admis dans la politique migratoire et le soutien pour des retours dignes, en privilégiant les retours volontaires, l’accès à une assistance au retour et l’aide à la réintégration, sont essentiels. Cependant, l’investissement dans le retour n’est pas une réponse adaptée au non-respect systématique des normes d’asile dans les États membres de l’UE.

      Rien de nouveau sur l’action extérieure : des propositions irréalistes qui risquent de continuer d’affaiblir les droits de l’homme

      La tension entre l’engagement rhétorique pour des partenariats mutuellement bénéfiques et la focalisation visant à placer la migration au cœur des relations entre l’UE et les pays tiers se poursuit. Les tentatives d’externaliser la responsabilité de l’asile et de détourner l’aide au développement, les mécanismes de visa et d’autres outils pour inciter les pays tiers à coopérer sur la gestion migratoire et les accords de réadmission sont maintenues. Cela ne représente pas seulement un risque allant à l’encontre de l’engagement de l’UE pour ses principes de développement, mais cela affaiblit également sa posture internationale en générant de la méfiance et de l’hostilité depuis et à l’encontre des pays tiers. De plus, l’usage d’accords informels et la coopération sécuritaire sur la gestion migratoire avec des pays tels que la Libye ou la Turquie risquent de favoriser les violations des droits de l’homme, d’encourager les gouvernements répressifs et de créer une plus grande instabilité.

      Un manque d’ambition pour des voies légales et sûres vers l’Europe

      L’opportunité pour l’UE d’indiquer qu’elle est prête à contribuer au partage des responsabilités pour la protection au niveau international dans un esprit de partenariat avec les pays qui accueillent la plus grande majorité des réfugiés est manquée. Au lieu de proposer un objectif ambitieux de réinstallation de réfugiés, la Commission européenne a seulement invité les Etats membres à faire plus et a converti les engagements de 2020 en un mécanisme biennal, ce qui résulte en la perte d’une année de réinstallation européenne.

      La reconnaissance du besoin de faciliter la migration de main-d’œuvre à travers différents niveaux de compétences est à saluer, mais l’importance de cette migration dans les économies et les sociétés européennes ne se reflète pas dans les ressources, les propositions et les actions allouées.

      Le soutien aux activités de recherche et de sauvetage et aux actions de solidarité doit être renforcé

      La tragédie humanitaire dans la mer Méditerranée nécessite encore une réponse y compris à travers un soutien financier et des capacités de recherches et de sauvetage. Cet enjeu ainsi que celui du débarquement sont pris en compte dans toutes les propositions, reconnaissant ainsi la crise humanitaire actuelle. Cependant, au lieu de répondre aux comportements et aux dispositions règlementaires des gouvernements qui obstruent les activités de secours et le travail des défendeurs des droits, la Commission européenne suggère que les standards de sécurité sur les navires et les niveaux de communication avec les acteurs privés doivent être surveillés. Les acteurs privés sont également requis d’adhérer non seulement aux régimes légaux, mais aussi aux politiques et pratiques relatives à « la gestion migratoire » qui peuvent potentiellement interférer avec les obligations de recherches et de sauvetage.

      Bien que la publication de lignes directrices pour prévenir la criminalisation de l’action humanitaire soit la bienvenue, celles-ci se limitent aux actes mandatés par la loi avec une attention spécifique aux opérations de sauvetage et de secours. Cette approche risque d’omettre les activités humanitaires telles que la distribution de nourriture, d’abris, ou d’information sur le territoire ou assurés par des organisations non mandatées par le cadre légal qui sont également sujettes à ladite criminalisation et à des restrictions.

      Des signes encourageants pour l’inclusion

      Les changements proposés pour permettre aux réfugiés d’accéder à une résidence de long-terme après trois ans et le renforcement du droit de se déplacer et de travailler dans d’autres Etats membres sont positifs. De plus, la révision du Plan d’action pour l’inclusion et l’intégration et la mise en place d’un groupe d’experts pour collecter l’avis des migrants afin de façonner la politique européenne sont les bienvenues.

      La voie à suivre

      La présentation des propositions de la Commission est le commencement de ce qui promet d’être une autre longue période conflictuelle de négociations sur les politiques européennes d’asile et de migration. Alors que ces négociations sont en cours, il est important de rappeler qu’il existe déjà un régime d’asile européen et que les Etats membres ont des obligations dans le cadre du droit européen et international.

      Cela requiert une action immédiate de la part des décideurs politiques européens, y compris de la part des Etats membres, de :

      Mettre en œuvre les standards existants en lien avec les conditions matérielles d’accueil et les procédures d’asile, d’enquêter sur leur non-respect et de prendre les mesures disciplinaires nécessaires ;
      Sauver des vies en mer, et de garantir des capacités de sauvetage et de secours, permettant un débarquement et une relocalisation rapide ;
      Continuer de s’accorder sur des arrangements ad-hoc de solidarité pour alléger la pression sur les Etats membres aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et encourager les Etats membres à avoir recours à la relocalisation.

      Concernant les prochaines négociations sur le Pacte, nous recommandons aux co-législateurs de :

      Rejeter l’application obligatoire de la procédure d’asile ou de retour à la frontière : ces procédures aux standards abaissés réduisent les garanties des demandeurs d’asile et augmentent le recours à la rétention. Elles exacerbent le manque de solidarité actuel sur l’asile dans l’UE en plaçant plus de responsabilité sur les Etats membres aux frontières extérieures. L’expérience des hotspots et d’autres initiatives similaires démontrent que l’ajout de procédures ou d’étapes dans l’asile peut créer des charges administratives et des coûts significatifs, et entraîner une plus grande inefficacité ;
      Se diriger vers la fin de la privation de liberté de migrants, et interdire la rétention de mineurs conformément à la Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant, et de dédier suffisamment de ressources pour des solutions non privatives de libertés appropriées pour les mineurs et leurs familles ;
      Réajuster les propositions de réforme afin de se concentrer sur le maintien et l’amélioration des standards des droits de l’homme et de l’asile en Europe, plutôt que sur le retour ;
      Œuvrer à ce que les propositions réforment fondamentalement la façon dont la responsabilité des demandeurs d’asile en UE est organisée, en adressant les problèmes liés au principe de pays de première entrée, afin de créer un véritable mécanisme de solidarité ;
      Limiter les possibilités pour les Etats membres de déroger à leurs responsabilités d’enregistrer les demandes d’asile ou d’examiner les demandes, afin d’éviter de créer des incitations à opérer en mode gestion de crise et à diminuer les standards de l’asile ;
      Augmenter les garanties pendant la procédure de pré-filtrage pour assurer le droit à l’information, l’accès à une aide et une représentation juridique, la détection et la prise en charge des vulnérabilités et des besoins de santé, et une réponse aux préoccupations liées à l’enregistrement et à la protection des données ;
      Garantir que le mécanisme de suivi des droits fondamentaux aux frontières dispose d’une portée large afin de couvrir toutes les violations des droits fondamentaux à la frontière, qu’il soit véritablement indépendant des autorités nationales et dispose de ressources adéquates et qu’il contribue à la responsabilisation ;
      S’opposer aux tentatives d’utiliser l’aide au développement, au commerce, aux investissements, aux mécanismes de visas, à la coopération sécuritaire et autres politiques et financements pour faire pression sur les pays tiers dans leur coopération étroitement définie par des objectifs européens de contrôle migratoire ;
      Evaluer l’impact à long-terme des politiques migratoires d’externalisation sur la paix, le respect des droits et le développement durable et garantir que la politique extérieure migratoire ne contribue pas à la violation de droits de l’homme et prenne en compte les enjeux de conflits ;
      Développer significativement les voies légales et sûres vers l’UE en mettant en œuvre rapidement les engagements actuels de réinstallation, en proposant de nouveaux objectifs ambitieux et en augmentant les opportunités de voies d’accès à la protection ainsi qu’à la migration de main-d’œuvre et universitaire en UE ;
      Renforcer les exceptions à la criminalisation lorsqu’il s’agit d’actions humanitaires et autres activités indépendantes de la société civile et enlever les obstacles auxquels font face les acteurs de la société civile fournissant une assistance vitale et humanitaire sur terre et en mer ;
      Mettre en place une opération de recherche et de sauvetage en mer Méditerranée financée et coordonnée par l’UE ;
      S’appuyer sur les propositions prometteuses pour soutenir l’inclusion à travers l’accès à la résidence à long-terme et les droits associés et la mise en œuvre du Plan d’action sur l’intégration et l’inclusion au niveau européen, national et local.

      https://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer/positions/europe/774-pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-et-l-asile-afin-de-garantir-un-no

    • Nouveau Pacte européen  : les migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s traité.e.s comme des « # colis à trier  »

      Le jour même de la Conférence des Ministres européens de l’Intérieur, EuroMed Droits présente son analyse détaillée du nouveau Pacte européen sur l’asile et la migration, publié le 23 septembre dernier (https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Analysis-of-Asylum-and-Migration-Pact_Final_Clickable.pdf).

      On peut résumer les plus de 500 pages de documents comme suit  : le nouveau Pacte européen sur l’asile et la migration déshumanise les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s, les traitant comme des «  #colis à trier  » et les empêchant de se déplacer en Europe. Ce Pacte soulève de nombreuses questions en matière de respect des droits humains, dont certaines sont à souligner en particulier  :

      L’UE détourne le concept de solidarité. Le Pacte vise clairement à «  rétablir la confiance mutuelle entre les États membres  », donnant ainsi la priorité à la #cohésion:interne de l’UE au détriment des droits des migrant.e.s et des réfugié.e.s. La proposition laisse le choix aux États membres de contribuer – en les mettant sur un pied d’égalité – à la #réinstallation, au #rapatriement, au soutien à l’accueil ou à l’#externalisation des frontières. La #solidarité envers les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s et leurs droits fondamentaux sont totalement ignorés.

      Le pacte promeut une gestion «  sécuritaire  » de la migration. Selon la nouvelle proposition, les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s seront placé.e.s en #détention et privé.e.s de liberté à leur arrivée. La procédure envisagée pour accélérer la procédure de demande d’asile ne pourra se faire qu’au détriment des lois sur l’asile et des droits des demandeur.se.s. Il est fort probable que la #procédure se déroulera de manière arbitraire et discriminatoire, en fonction de la nationalité du/de la demandeur.se, de son taux de reconnaissance et du fait que le pays dont il/elle provient est «  sûr  », ce qui est un concept douteux.

      L’idée clé qui sous-tend cette vision est simple  : externaliser autant que possible la gestion des frontières en coopérant avec des pays tiers. L’objectif est de faciliter le retour et la réadmission des migrant.e.s dans le pays d’où ils/elles sont parti.es. Pour ce faire, l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex) verrait ses pouvoirs renforcés et un poste de coordinateur.trice européen.ne pour les retours serait créé. Le pacte risque de facto de fournir un cadre juridique aux pratiques illégales telles que les refoulements, les détentions arbitraires et les mesures visant à réduire davantage la capacité en matière d’asile. Des pratiques déjà en place dans certains États membres.

      Le Pacte présente quelques aspects «  positifs  », par exemple en matière de protection des enfants ou de regroupement familial, qui serait facilité. Mais ces bonnes intentions, qui doivent être mises en pratique, sont noyées dans un océan de mesures répressives et sécuritaires.

      EuroMed Droits appelle les Etats membres de l’UE à réfléchir en termes de mise en œuvre pratique (ou non) de ces mesures. Non seulement elles violent les droits humains, mais elles sont impraticables sur le terrain  : la responsabilité de l’évaluation des demandes d’asile reste au premier pays d’arrivée, sans vraiment remettre en cause le Règlement de Dublin. Cela signifie que des pays comme l’Italie, Malte, l’Espagne, la Grèce et Chypre continueront à subir une «  pression  » excessive, ce qui les encouragera à poursuivre leurs politiques de refoulement et d’expulsion. Enfin, le Pacte ne répond pas à la problématique urgente des «  hotspots  » et des camps de réfugié.e.s comme en Italie ou en Grèce et dans les zones de transit à l’instar de la Hongrie. Au contraire, cela renforce ce modèle dangereux en le présentant comme un exemple à exporter dans toute l’Europe, alors que des exemples récents ont démontré l’impossibilité de gérer ces camps de manière humaine.

      https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/nouveau-pacte-europeen%e2%80%af-les-migrant-e-s-et-refugie-e-s-traite

      #paquets_de_la_poste #paquets #poste #tri #pays_sûrs

    • A “Fresh Start” or One More Clunker? Dublin and Solidarity in the New Pact

      In ongoing discussions on the reform of the CEAS, solidarity is a key theme. It stands front and center in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum: after reassuring us of the “human and humane approach” taken, the opening quote stresses that Member States must be able to “rely on the solidarity of our whole European Union”.

      In describing the need for reform, the Commission does not mince its words: “[t]here is currently no effective solidarity mechanism in place, and no efficient rule on responsibility”. It’s a remarkable statement: barely one year ago, the Commission maintained that “[t]he EU [had] shown tangible and rapid support to Member States under most pressure” throughout the crisis. Be that as it may, we are promised a “fresh start”. Thus, President Von der Leyen has announced on the occasion of the 2020 State of the Union Address that “we will abolish the Dublin Regulation”, the 2016 Dublin IV Proposal (examined here) has been withdrawn, and the Pact proposes a “new solidarity mechanism” connected to “robust and fair management of the external borders” and capped by a new “governance framework”.

      Before you buy the shiny new package, you are advised to consult the fine print however. Yes, the Commission proposes to abolish the Dublin III Regulation and withdraws the Dublin IV Proposal. But the Proposal for an Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (hereafter “the Migration Management Proposal”) reproduces word-for-word the Dublin III Regulation, subject to amendments drawn … from the Dublin IV Proposal! As for the “governance framework” outlined in Articles 3-7 of the Migration Management Proposal, it’s a hodgepodge of purely declamatory provisions (e.g. Art. 3-4), of restatements of pre-existing obligations (Art. 5), of legal bases authorizing procedures that require none (Art. 7). The one new item is a yearly monitoring exercise centered on an “European Asylum and Migration Management Strategy” (Art. 6), which seems as likely to make a difference as the “Mechanism for Early Warning, Preparedness and Crisis Management”, introduced with much fanfare with the Dublin III Regulation and then left in the drawer before, during and after the 2015/16 crisis.

      Leaving the provisions just mentioned for future commentaries – fearless interpreters might still find legal substance in there – this contribution focuses on four points: the proposed amendments to Dublin, the interface between Dublin and procedures at the border, the new solidarity mechanism, and proposals concerning force majeure. Caveat emptor! It is a jungle of extremely detailed and sometimes obscure provisions. While this post is longer than usual – warm thanks to the lenient editors! – do not expect an exhaustive summary, nor firm conclusions on every point.
      Dublin, the Undying

      To borrow from Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Dublin system have been once more greatly exaggerated. As noted, Part III of the Migration Management Proposal (Articles 8-44) is for all intents and purposes an amended version of the Dublin III Regulation, and most of the amendments are lifted from the 2016 Dublin IV Proposal.

      A first group of amendments concerns the responsibility criteria. Some expand the possibilities to allocate applicants based on their “meaningful links” with Member States: Article 2(g) expands the family definition to include siblings, opening new possibilities for reunification; Article 19(4) enlarges the criterion based on previous legal abode (i.e. expired residence documents); in a tip of the hat to the Wikstroem Report, commented here, Article 20 introduces a new criterion based on prior education in a Member State.

      These are welcome changes, but all that glitters is not gold. The Commission advertises “streamlined” evidentiary requirements to facilitate family reunification. These would be necessary indeed: evidentiary issues have long undermined the application of the family criteria. Unfortunately, the Commission is not proposing anything new: Article 30(6) of the Migration Management Proposal corresponds in essence to Article 22(5) of the Dublin III Regulation.

      Besides, while the Commission proposes to expand the general definition of family, the opposite is true of the specific definition of family applicable to “dependent persons”. Under Article 16 of the Dublin III Regulation, applicants who e.g. suffer from severe disabilities are to be kept or brought together with a care-giving parent, child or sibling residing in a Member State. Due to fears of sham marriages, spouses have been excluded and this is legally untenable and inhumane, but instead of tackling the problem the Commission proposes in Article 24 to worsen it by excluding siblings. The end result is paradoxical: persons needing family support the most will be deprived – for no apparent reason other than imaginary fears of “abuses” – of the benefits of enlarged reunification possibilities. “[H]uman and humane”, indeed.

      The fight against secondary movements inspires most of the other amendments to the criteria. In particular, Article 21 of the Proposal maintains and extends the much-contested criterion of irregular entry while clarifying that it applies also to persons disembarked after a search and rescue (SAR) operation. The Commission also proposes that unaccompanied children be transferred to the first Member State where they applied if no family criterion is applicable (Article 15(5)). This would overturn the MA judgment of the ECJ whereby in such cases the asylum claim must be examined in the State where the child last applied and is present. It’s not a technical fine point: while the case-law of the ECJ is calculated to spare children the trauma of a transfer, the proposed amendment would subject them again to the rigours of Dublin.

      Again to discourage secondary movements, the Commission proposes – as in 2016 – a second group of amendments: new obligations for the applicants (Articles 9-10). Applicants must in principle apply in the Member State of first entry, remain in that State for the duration of the Dublin procedure and, post-transfer, remain in the State responsible. Moving to the “wrong” State entails losing the benefits of the Reception Conditions Directive, subject to “the need to ensure a standard of living in accordance with” the Charter. It is debatable whether this is a much lesser standard of reception. More importantly: as reception conditions in line with the Directive are seldom guaranteed in several frontline Member States, the prospect of being treated “in accordance with the Charter” elsewhere will hardly dissuade applicants from moving on.

      The 2016 Proposal foresaw, as further punishment, the mandatory application of accelerated procedures to “secondary movers”. This rule disappears from the Migration Management Proposal, but as Daniel Thym points out in his forthcoming contribution on secondary movements, it remains in Article 40(1)(g) of the 2016 Proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation. Furthermore, the Commission proposes deleting Article 18(2) of the Dublin III Regulation, i.e. the guarantee that persons transferred back to a State that has meanwhile discontinued or rejected their application will have their case reopened, or a remedy available. This is a dangerous invitation to Member States to reintroduce “discontinuation” practices that the Commission itself once condemned as incompatible with effective access to status determination.

      To facilitate responsibility-determination, the Proposal further obliges applicants to submit relevant information before or at the Dublin interview. Late submissions are not to be considered. Fairness would demand that justified delays be excused. Besides, it is also proposed to repeal Article 7(3) of the Dublin III Regulation, whereby authorities must take into account evidence of family ties even if produced late in the process. All in all, then, the Proposal would make proof of family ties harder, not easier as the Commission claims.

      A final group of amendments concern the details of the Dublin procedure, and might prove the most important in practice.

      Some “streamline” the process, e.g. with shorter deadlines (e.g. Article 29(1)) and a simplified take back procedure (Article 31). Controversially, the Commission proposes again to reduce the scope of appeals against transfers to issues of ill-treatment and misapplication of the family criteria (Article 33). This may perhaps prove acceptable to the ECJ in light of its old Abdullahi case-law. However, it contravenes Article 13 ECHR, which demands an effective remedy for the violation of any Convention right.
      Other procedural amendments aim to make it harder for applicants to evade transfers. At present, if a transferee absconds for 18 months, the transfer is cancelled and the transferring State becomes responsible. Article 35(2) of the Proposal allows the transferring State to “stop the clock” if the applicant absconds, and to resume the transfer as soon as he reappears.
      A number of amendments make responsibility more “stable” once assigned, although not as “permanent” as the 2016 Proposal would have made it. Under Article 27 of the Proposal, the responsibility of a State will only cease if the applicant has left the Dublin area in compliance with a return decision. More importantly, under Article 26 the responsible State will have to take back even persons to whom it has granted protection. This would be a significant extension of the scope of the Dublin system, and would “lock” applicants in the responsible State even more firmly and more durably. Perhaps by way of compensation, the Commission proposes that beneficiaries of international protection obtain “long-term status” – and thus mobility rights – after three years of residence instead of five. However, given that it is “very difficult in practice” to exercise such rights, the compensation seems more theoretical than effective and a far cry from a system of free movement capable of offsetting the rigidities of Dublin.

      These are, in short, the key amendments foreseen. While it’s easy enough to comment on each individually, it is more difficult to forecast their aggregate impact. Will they – to paraphrase the Commission – “improv[e] the chances of integration” and reduce “unauthorised movements” (recital 13), and help closing “the existing implementation gap”? Probably not, as none of them is a game-changer.

      Taken together, however, they might well aggravate current distributive imbalances. Dublin “locks in” the responsibilities of the States that receive most applications – traditional destinations such as Germany or border States such as Italy – leaving the other Member States undisturbed. Apart from possible distributive impacts of the revised criteria and of the now obligations imposed on applicants, first application States will certainly be disadvantaged combination by shortened deadlines, security screenings (see below), streamlined take backs, and “stable” responsibility extending to beneficiaries of protection. Under the “new Dublin rules” – sorry for the oxymoron! – effective solidarity will become more necessary than ever.
      Border procedures and Dublin

      Building on the current hotspot approach, the Proposals for a Screening Regulation and for an Asylum Procedures Regulation outline a new(ish) “pre-entry” phase. This will be examined in a forthcoming post by Lyra Jakuleviciene, but the interface with infra-EU allocation deserves mention here.

      In a nutshell, persons irregularly crossing the border will be screened for the purpose of identification, health and security checks, and registration in Eurodac. Protection applicants may then be channelled to “border procedures” in a broad range of situations. This will be mandatory if the applicant: (a) attempts to mislead the authorities; (b) can be considered, based on “serious reasons”, “a danger to the national security or public order of the Member States”; (c) comes from a State whose nationals have a low Union-wide recognition rate (Article 41(3) of the Asylum Procedure Proposal).

      The purpose of the border procedure is to assess applications “without authorising the applicant’s entry into the Member State’s territory” (here, p.4). Therefore, it might have seemed logical that applicants subjected to it be excluded from the Dublin system – as is the case, ordinarily, for relocations (see below). Not so: under Article 41(7) of the Proposal, Member States may apply Dublin in the context of border procedures. This weakens the idea of “seamless procedures at the border” somewhat but – from the standpoint of both applicants and border States – it is better than a watertight exclusion: applicants may still benefit from “meaningful link” criteria, and border States are not “stuck with the caseload”. I would normally have qualms about giving Member States discretion in choosing whether Dublin rules apply. But as it happens, Member States who receive an asylum application already enjoy that discretion under the so-called “sovereignty clause”. Nota bene: in exercising that discretion, Member States apply EU Law and must observe the Charter, and the same principle must certainly apply under the proposed Article 41(7).

      The only true exclusion from the Dublin system is set out in Article 8(4) of the Migration Management Proposal. Under this provision, Member States must carry out a security check of all applicants as part of the pre-entry screening and/or after the application is filed. If “there are reasonable grounds to consider the applicant a danger to national security or public order” of the determining State, the other criteria are bypassed and that State becomes responsible. Attentive readers will note that the wording of Article 8(4) differs from that of Article 41(3) of the Asylum Procedure Proposal (e.g. “serious grounds” vs “reasonable grounds”). It is therefore unclear whether the security grounds to “screen out” an applicant from Dublin are coextensive with the security grounds making a border procedure mandatory. Be that as it may, a broad application of Article 8(4) would be undesirable, as it would entail a large-scale exclusion from the guarantees that applicants derive from the Dublin system. The risk is moderate however: by applying Article 8(4) widely, Member States would be increasing their own share of responsibilities under the system. As twenty-five years of Dublin practice indicate, this is unlikely to happen.
      “Mandatory” and “flexible” solidarity under the new mechanism

      So far, the Migration Management Proposal does not look significantly different from the 2016 Dublin IV Proposal, which did not itself fundamentally alter existing rules, and which went down in flames in inter- and intra-institutional negotiations. Any hopes of a “fresh start”, then, are left for the new solidarity mechanism.

      Unfortunately, solidarity is a difficult subject for the EU: financial support has hitherto been a mere fraction of Member State expenditure in the field; operational cooperation has proved useful but cannot tackle all the relevant aspects of the unequal distribution of responsibilities among Member States; relocations have proved extremely beneficial for thousands of applicants, but are intrinsically complex operations and have also proven politically divisive – an aspect which has severely undermined their application and further condemned them to be small scale affairs relative to the needs on the ground. The same goes a fortiori for ad hoc initiatives – such as those that followed SAR operations over the last two years– which furthermore lack the predictability that is necessary for sharing responsibilities effectively. To reiterate what the Commission stated, there is currently “no effective solidarity mechanism in place”.

      Perhaps most importantly, the EU has hitherto been incapable of accurately gauging the distributive asymmetries on the ground, to articulate a clear doctrine guiding the key determinations of “how much solidarity” and “what kind(s) of solidarity”, and to define commensurate redistributive targets on this basis (see here, p.34 and 116).

      Alas, the opportunity to elaborate a solidarity doctrine for the EU has been completely missed. Conceptually, the New Pact does not go much farther than platitudes such as “[s]olidarity implies that all Member States should contribute”. As Daniel Thym aptly observed, “pragmatism” is the driving force behind the Proposal: the Commission starts from a familiar basis – relocations – and tweaks it in ways designed to convince stakeholders that solidarity becomes both “compulsory” and “flexible”. It’s a complicated arrangement and I will only describe it in broad strokes, leaving the crucial dimensions of financial solidarity and operational cooperation to forthcoming posts by Iris Goldner Lang and Lilian Tsourdi.

      The mechanism operates according to three “modes”. In its basic mode, it is to replace ad hoc solidarity initiatives following SAR disembarkations (Articles 47-49 of the Migration Management Proposal):

      The Commission determines, in its yearly Migration Management Report, whether a State is faced with “recurring arrivals” following SAR operations and determines the needs in terms of relocations and other contributions (capacity building, operational support proper, cooperation with third States).
      The Member States are “invited” to notify the “contributions they intend to make”. If offers are sufficient, the Commission combines them and formally adopts a “solidarity pool”. If not, it adopts an implementing act summarizing relocation targets for each Member State and other contributions as offered by them. Member States may react by offering other contributions instead of relocations, provided that this is “proportional” – one wonders how the Commission will tally e.g. training programs for Libyan coastguards with relocation places.
      If the relocations offered fall 30% short of the target indicated by the Commission, a “critical mass correction mechanism” will apply: each Member States will be obliged to meet at least 50% of the quota of relocations indicated by the Commission. However, and this is the new idea offered by the Commission to bring relocation-skeptics onboard, Member States may discharge their duties by offering “return sponsorships” instead of relocations: the “sponsor” Member State commits to support the benefitting Member State to return a person and, if the return is not carried out within eight months, to accept her on its territory.

      If I understand correctly the fuzzy provision I have just summarized – Article 48(2) – it all boils down to “half-compulsory” solidarity: Member States are obliged to cover at least 50% of the relocation needs set by the Commission through relocations or sponsorships, and the rest with other contributions.

      After the “solidarity pool” is established and the benefitting Member State requests its activation, relocations can start:

      The eligible persons are those who applied for protection in the benefitting State, with the exclusion of those that are subject to border procedures (Article 45(1)(a)).Also excluded are those whom Dublin criteria based on “meaningful links” – family, abode, diplomas – assign to the benefitting State (Article 57(3)). These rules suggest that the benefitting State must carry out identification, screening for border procedures and a first (reduced?) Dublin procedure before it can declare an applicant eligible for relocation.
      Persons eligible for return sponsorship are “illegally staying third-country nationals” (Article 45(1)(b)).
      The eligible persons are identified, placed on a list, and matched to Member States based on “meaningful links”. The transfer can only be refused by the State of relocation on security grounds (Article 57(2)(6) and (7)), and otherwise follows the modalities of Dublin transfers in almost all respects (e.g. deadlines, notification, appeals). However, contrary to what happens under Dublin, missing the deadline for transfer does not entail that the relocation is cancelled it (see Article 57(10)).
      After the transfer, applicants will be directly admitted to the asylum procedure in the State of relocation only if it has been previously established that the benefitting State would have been responsible under criteria other than those based on “meaningful links” (Article 58(3)). In all the other cases, the State of relocation will run a Dublin procedure and, if necessary, transfer again the applicant to the State responsible (see Article 58(2)). As for persons subjected to return sponsorship, the State of relocation will pick up the application of the Return Directive where the benefitting State left off (or so I read Article 58(5)!).

      If the Commission concludes that a Member State is under “migratory pressure”, at the request of the concerned State or of its own motion (Article 50), the mechanism operates as described above except for one main point: beneficiaries of protection also become eligible for relocation (Article 51(3)). Thankfully, they must consent thereto and are automatically granted the same status in the relocation State (see Articles 57(3) and 58(4)).

      If the Commission concludes that a Member State is confronted to a “crisis”, rules change further (see Article 2 of the Proposal for a Migration and Asylum Crisis Regulation):

      Applicants subject to the border procedure and persons “having entered irregularly” also become eligible for relocation. These persons may then undergo a border procedure post-relocation (see Article 41(1) and (8) of the Proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation).
      Persons subject to return sponsorship are transferred to the sponsor State if their removal does not occur within four – instead of eight – months.
      Other contributions are excluded from the palette of contributions available to the other Member States (Article 2(1)): it has to be relocation or return sponsorship.
      The procedure is faster, with shorter deadlines.

      It is an understatement to say that the mechanism is complex, and your faithful scribe still has much to digest. For the time being, I would make four general comments.

      First, it is not self-evident that this is a good “insurance scheme” for its intended beneficiaries. As noted, the system only guarantees that 50% of the relocation needs of a State will be met. Furthermore, there are hidden costs: in “SAR” and “pressure” modes, the benefitting State has to screen the applicant, register the application, and assess whether border procedures or (some) Dublin criteria apply before it can channel the applicant to relocation. It is unclear whether a 500 lump sum is enough to offset the costs (see Article 79 of the Migration Management Proposal). Besides, in a crisis situation, these preliminary steps might make relocation impractical – think of the Greek registration backlog in 2015/6. Perhaps, extending relocation to persons “having entered irregularly” when the mechanism is in “crisis mode” is meant precisely to take care of this. Similar observations apply to return sponsorship. Under Article 55(4) of the Migration Management Proposal, the support offered by the sponsor to the benefitting State can be rather low key (e.g. “counselling”) and there seems to be no guarantee that the benefitting State will be effectively relieved of the political, administrative and financial costs associated to return. Moving from costs to risks, it is clear that the benefitting State bears all the risks of non implementation – in other words, if the system grinds to a halt or breaks down, it will be Moria all over again. In light of past experience, one can only agree with Thomas Gammelthoft-Hansen that it’s a “big gamble”. Other aspects examined below – the vast margins of discretion left to the Commission, and the easy backdoor opened by the force majeure provisions – do not help either to create predictability.
      Second, as just noted the mechanism gives the Commission practically unlimited discretion at all critical junctures. The Commission will determine whether a Member States is confronted to “recurring arrivals”, “pressure” or a “crisis”. It will do so under definitions so open-textured, and criteria so numerous, that it will be basically the master of its determinations (Article 50 of the Migration Management Proposal). The Commission will determine unilaterally relocation and operational solidarity needs. Finally, the Commission will determine – we do not know how – if “other contributions” are proportional to relocation needs. Other than in the most clear-cut situations, there is no way that anyone can predict how the system will be applied.
      Third: the mechanism reflects a powerful fixation with and unshakable faith in heavy bureaucracy. Protection applicants may undergo up to three “responsibility determination” procedures and two transfers before finally landing in an asylum procedure: Dublin “screening” in the first State, matching, relocation, full Dublin procedure in the relocation State, then transfer. And this is a system that should not “compromise the objective of the rapid processing of applications”(recital 34)! Decidedly, the idea that in order to improve the CEAS it is above all necessary to suppress unnecessary delays and coercion (see here, p.9) has not made a strong impression on the minds of the drafters. The same remark applies mutatis mutandis to return sponsorships: whatever the benefits in terms of solidarity, one wonders if it is very cost-effective or humane to drag a person from State to State so that they can each try their hand at expelling her.
      Lastly and relatedly, applicants and other persons otherwise concerned by the relocation system are given no voice. They can be “matched”, transferred, re-transferred, but subject to few exceptions their aspirations and intentions remain legally irrelevant. In this regard, the “New Pact” is as old school as it gets: it sticks strictly to the “no choice” taboo on which Dublin is built. What little recognition of applicants’ actorness had been made in the Wikstroem Report is gone. Objectifying migrants is not only incompatible with the claim that the approach taken is “human and humane”. It might prove fatal to the administrative efficiency so cherished by the Commission. Indeed, failure to engage applicants is arguably the key factor in the dismal performance of the Dublin system (here, p.112). Why should it be any different under this solidarity mechanism?

      Framing Force Majeure (or inviting defection?)

      In addition to addressing “crisis” situations, the Proposal for a Migration and Asylum Crisis Regulation includes separate provisions on force majeure.

      Thereunder, any Member State may unilaterally declare that it is faced with a situation making it “impossible” to comply with selected CEAS rules, and thus obtain the right – subject to a mere notification – to derogate from them. Member States may obtain in this way longer Dublin deadlines, or even be exempted from the obligation to accept transfers and be liberated from responsibilities if the suspension goes on more than a year (Article 8). Furthermore, States may obtain a six-months suspension of their duties under the solidarity mechanism (Article 9).

      The inclusion of this proposal in the Pact – possibly an attempt to further placate Member States averse to European solidarity? – beggars belief. Legally speaking, the whole idea is redundant: under the case-law of the ECJ, Member States may derogate from any rule of EU Law if confronted to force majeure. However, putting this black on white amounts to inviting (and legalizing) defection. The only conceivable object of rules of this kind would have been to subject force majeure derogations to prior authorization by the Commission – but there is nothing of the kind in the Proposal. The end result is paradoxical: while Member States are (in theory!) subject to Commission supervision when they conclude arrangements facilitating the implementation of Dublin rules, a mere notification will be enough to authorize them to unilaterally tear a hole in the fabric of “solidarity” and “responsibility” so painstakingly – if not felicitously – woven in the Pact.
      Concluding comments

      We should have taken Commissioner Ylva Johansson at her word when she said that there would be no “Hoorays” for the new proposals. Past the avalanche of adjectives, promises and fancy administrative monikers hurled at the reader – “faster, seamless migration processes”; “prevent the recurrence of events such as those seen in Moria”; “critical mass correction mechanism” – one cannot fail to see that the “fresh start” is essentially an exercise in repackaging.

      On responsibility-allocation and solidarity, the basic idea is one that the Commission incessantly returns to since 2007 (here, p. 10): keep Dublin and “correct” it through solidarity schemes. I do sympathize to an extent: realizing a fair balance of responsibilities by “sharing people” has always seemed to me impracticable and undesirable. Still, one would have expected that the abject failure of the Dublin system, the collapse of mutual trust in the CEAS, the meagre results obtained in the field of solidarity – per the Commission’s own appraisal – would have pushed it to bring something new to the table.

      Instead, what we have is a slightly milder version of the Dublin IV Proposal – the ultimate “clunker” in the history of Commission proposals – and an ultra-bureaucratic mechanism for relocation, with the dubious addition of return sponsorships and force majeure provisions. The basic tenets of infra-EU allocation remain the same – “no choice”, first entry – and none of the structural flaws that doomed current schemes to failure is fundamentally tackled (here, p.107): solidarity is beefed-up but appears too unreliable and fuzzy to generate trust; there are interesting steps on “genuine links”, but otherwise no sustained attempt to positively engage applicants; administrative complexity and coercive transfers reign on.

      Pragmatism, to quote again Daniel Thym’s excellent introductory post, is no sin. It is even expected of the Commission. This, however, is a study in path-dependency. By defending the status quo, wrapping it in shiny new paper, and making limited concessions to key policy actors, the Commission may perhaps carry its proposals through. However, without substantial corrections, the “new” Pact is unlikely to save the CEAS or even to prevent new Morias.

      http://eumigrationlawblog.eu/a-fresh-start-or-one-more-clunker-dublin-and-solidarity-in-the-ne

      #Francesco_Maiani

      #force_majeure

    • European Refugee Policy: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Make It Better

      In 2015 and 2016, more than 1 million refugees made their way to the European Union, the largest number of them originating from Syria. Since that time, refugee arrivals have continued, although at a much slower pace and involving people from a wider range of countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

      The EU’s response to these developments has had five main characteristics.

      First, a serious lack of preparedness and long-term planning. Despite the massive material and intelligence resources at its disposal, the EU was caught completely unaware by the mass influx of refugees five years ago and has been playing catch-up ever since. While the emergency is now well and truly over, EU member states continue to talk as if still in the grip of an unmanageable “refugee crisis.”

      Second, the EU’s refugee policy has become progressively based on a strategy known as “externalization,” whereby responsibility for migration control is shifted to unstable states outside Europe. This has been epitomized by the deals that the EU has done with countries such as Libya, Niger, Sudan, and Turkey, all of which have agreed to halt the onward movement of refugees in exchange for aid and other rewards, including support to the security services.

      Third, asylum has become increasingly criminalized, as demonstrated by the growing number of EU citizens and civil society groups that have been prosecuted for their roles in aiding refugees. At the same time, some frontline member states have engaged in a systematic attempt to delegitimize the NGO search-and-rescue organizations operating in the Mediterranean and to obstruct their life-saving activities.

      The fourth characteristic of EU countries’ recent policies has been a readiness to inflict or be complicit in a range of abuses that challenge the principles of both human rights and international refugee law. This can be seen in the violence perpetrated against asylum seekers by the military and militia groups in Croatia and Hungary, the terrible conditions found in Greek refugee camps such as Moria on the island of Lesvos, and, most egregiously of all, EU support to the Libyan Coastguard that enables it to intercept refugees at sea and to return them to abusive detention centers on land.

      Fifth and finally, the past five years have witnessed a serious absence of solidarity within the EU. Frontline states such as Greece and Italy have been left to bear a disproportionate share of the responsibility for new refugee arrivals. Efforts to relocate asylum seekers and resettle refugees throughout the EU have had disappointing results. And countries in the eastern part of the EU have consistently fought against the European Commission in its efforts to forge a more cooperative and coordinated approach to the refugee issue.

      The most recent attempt to formulate such an approach is to be found in the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, which the Commission proposed in September 2020.

      It would be wrong to entirely dismiss the Pact, as it contains some positive elements. These include, for example, a commitment to establish legal pathways to asylum in Europe for people who are in need of protection, and EU support for member states that wish to establish community-sponsored refugee resettlement programs.

      In other respects, however, the Pact has a number of important, serious flaws. It has already been questioned by those countries that are least willing to admit refugees and continue to resist the role of Brussels in this policy domain. The Pact also makes hardly any reference to the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration—a strange omission given the enormous amount of time and effort that the UN has devoted to those initiatives, both of which were triggered by the European emergency of 2015-16.

      At an operational level, the Pact endorses and reinforces the EU’s externalization agenda and envisages a much more aggressive role for Frontex, the EU’s border control agency. At the same time, it empowers member states to refuse entry to asylum seekers on the basis of very vague criteria. As a result, individuals may be more vulnerable to human smugglers and traffickers. There is also a strong likelihood that new refugee camps will spring up on the fringes of Europe, with their residents living in substandard conditions.

      Finally, the Pact places enormous emphasis on the involuntary return of asylum seekers to their countries of origin. It even envisages that a hardline state such as Hungary could contribute to the implementation of the Pact by organizing and funding such deportations. This constitutes an extremely dangerous new twist on the notions of solidarity and responsibility sharing, which form the basis of the international refugee regime.

      If the proposed Pact is not fit for purpose, then what might a more constructive EU refugee policy look like?

      It would in the first instance focus on the restoration of both EU and NGO search-and-rescue efforts in the Mediterranean and establish more predictable disembarkation and refugee distribution mechanisms. It would also mean the withdrawal of EU support for the Libyan Coastguard, the closure of that country’s detention centers, and a substantial improvement of the living conditions experienced by refugees in Europe’s frontline states—changes that should take place with or without a Pact.

      Indeed, the EU should redeploy the massive amount of resources that it currently devotes to the externalization process, so as to strengthen the protection capacity of asylum and transit countries on the periphery of Europe. A progressive approach on the part of the EU would involve the establishment of not only faster but also fair asylum procedures, with appropriate long-term solutions being found for new arrivals, whether or not they qualify for refugee status.

      These changes would help to ensure that those searching for safety have timely and adequate opportunities to access their most basic rights.

      https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2020/11/5/european-refugee-policy-whats-gone-wrong-and-how-to-make-it-b

    • The New Pact on Migration and Asylum: Turning European Union Territory into a non-Territory

      Externalization policies in 2020: where is the European Union territory?

      In spite of the Commission’s rhetoric stressing the novel elements of the Pact on Migration and Asylum (hereinafter: the Pact – summarized and discussed in general here), there are good reasons to argue that the Pact develops and consolidates, among others, the existing trends on externalization policies of migration control (see Guild et al). Furthermore, it tries to create new avenues for a ‘smarter’ system of management of immigration, by additionally controlling access to the European Union territory for third country nationals (TCNs), and by creating different categories of migrants, which are then subject to different legal regimes which find application in the European Union territory.

      The consolidation of existing trends concerns the externalization of migration management practices, resort to technologies in developing migration control systems (further development of Eurodac, completion of the path toward full interoperability between IT systems), and also the strengthening of the role of the European Union executive level, via increased joint management involving European Union agencies: these are all policies that find in the Pact’s consolidation.

      This brief will focus on externalization (practices), a concept which is finding a new declination in the Pact: indeed, the Pact and several of the measures proposed, read together, are aiming at ‘disentangling’ the territory of the EU, from a set of rights which are related with the presence of the migrant or of the asylum seeker on the territory of a Member State of the EU, and from the relation between territory and access to a jurisdiction, which is necessary to enforce rights which otherwise remain on paper.

      Interestingly, this process of separation, of splitting between territory-law/rights-jurisdiction takes place not outside, but within the EU, and this is the new declination of externalization which one can find in the measures proposed in the Pact, namely with the proposal for a Screening Regulation and the amended proposal for a Procedure Regulation. It is no accident that other commentators have interpreted it as a consolidation of ‘fortress Europe’. In other words, this externalization process takes place within the EU and aims at making the external borders more effective also for the TCNs who are already in the territory of the EU.

      The proposal for a pre-entry screening regulation

      A first instrument which has a pivotal role in the consolidation of the externalization trend is the proposed Regulation for a screening of third country nationals (hereinafter: Proposal Screening Regulation), which will be applicable to migrants crossing the external borders without authorization. The aim of the screening, according to the Commission, is to ‘accelerate the process of determining the status of a person and what type of procedure should apply’. More precisely, the screening ‘should help ensure that the third country nationals concerned are referred to the appropriate procedures at the earliest stage possible’ and also to avoid absconding after entrance in the territory in order to reach a different state than the one of arrival (recital 8, preamble of proposal). The screening should contribute as well to curb secondary movements, which is a policy target highly relevant for many northern and central European Union states.

      In the new design, the screening procedure becomes the ‘standard’ for all TCNs who crossed the border in irregular manner, and also for persons who are disembarked following a search and rescue (SAR) operation, and for those who apply for international protection at the external border crossing points or in transit zones. With the screening Regulation, all these categories of persons shall not be allowed to enter the territory of the State during the screening (Arts 3 and 4 of the proposal).

      Consequently, different categories of migrants, including asylum seekers which are by definition vulnerable persons, are to be kept in locations situated at or in proximity to the external borders, for a time (up to 5 days, which can become 10 at maximum), defined in the Regulation, but which must be respected by national administrations. There is here an implicit equation between all these categories, and the common denominator of this operation is that all these persons have crossed the border in an unauthorized manner.

      It is yet unclear how the situation of migrants during the screening is to be organized in practical terms, transit zones, hotspot or others, and if this can qualify as detention, in legal terms. The Court of Justice has ruled recently on Hungarian transit zones (see analysis by Luisa Marin), by deciding that Röszke transit zone qualified as ‘detention’, and it can be argued that the parameters clarified in that decision could find application also to the case of migrants during the screening phase. If the situation of TCNs during the screening can be considered detention, which is then the legal basis? The Reception Conditions Directive or the Return Directive? If the national administrations struggle to meet the tight deadlines provided for the screening system, these questions will become more urgent, next to the very practical issue of the actual accommodation for this procedure, which in general does not allow for access to the territory.

      On the one side, Article 14(7) of the proposal provides a guarantee, indicating that the screening should end also if the checks are not completed within the deadlines; on the other side, the remaining question is: to which procedure is the applicant sent and how is the next phase then determined? The relevant procedure following the screening here seems to be determined in a very approximate way, and this begs the question on the extent to which rights can be protected in this context. Furthermore, the right to have access to a lawyer is not provided for in the screening phase. Given the relevance of this screening phase, also fundamental rights should be monitored, and the mechanism put in place at Article 7, leaves much to the discretion of the Member States, and the involvement of the Fundamental Rights Agency, with guidance and support upon request of the MS can be too little to ensure fundamental rights are not jeopardized by national administrations.

      This screening phase, which has the purpose to make sure, among other things, that states ‘do their job’ as to collecting information and consequently feeding the EU information systems, might therefore have important effects on the merits of the individual case, since border procedures are to be seen as fast-track, time is limited and procedural guarantees are also sacrificed in this context. In the case the screening ends with a refusal of entry, there is a substantive effect of the screening, which is conducted without legal assistance and without access to a legal remedy. And if this is not a decision in itself, but it ends up in a de-briefing form, this form might give substance to the next stage of the procedure, which, in the case of asylum, should be an individualized and accurate assessment of one’s individual circumstances.

      Overall, it should be stressed that the screening itself does not end up in a formal decision, it nevertheless represents an important phase since it defines what comes after, i.e., the type of procedure following the screening. It must be observed therefore, that the respect of some procedural rights is of paramount importance. At the same time, it is important that communication in a language TCNs can understand is effective, since the screening might end in a de-briefing form, where one or more nationalities are indicated. Considering that one of the options is the refusal of entry (Art. 14(1) screening proposal; confirmed by the recital 40 of the Proposal Procedure Regulation, as amended in 2020), and the others are either access to asylum or expulsion, one should require that the screening provides for procedural guarantees.

      Furthermore, the screening should point to any element which might be relevant to refer the TCNs into the accelerated examination procedure or the border procedure. In other words, the screening must indicate in the de-briefing form the options that protect asylum applicants less than others (Article 14(3) of the proposal). It does not operate in the other way: a TCN who has applied for asylum and comes from a country with a high recognition rate is not excluded from the screening (see blog post by Jakuleviciene).

      The legislation creates therefore avenues for disentangling, splitting the relation between physical presence of an asylum applicant on a territory and the set of laws and fundamental rights associated to it, namely a protective legal order, access to rights and to a jurisdiction enforcing those rights. It creates a sort of ‘lighter’ legal order, a lower density system, which facilitates the exit of the applicant from the territory of the EU, creating a sort of shift from a Europe of rights to the Europe of borders, confinement and expulsions.

      The proposal for new border procedures: an attempt to create a lower density territory?

      Another crucial piece in this process of establishing a stronger border fence and streamline procedures at the border, creating a ‘seamless link between asylum and return’, in the words of the Commission, is constituted by the reform of the border procedures, with an amendment of the 2016 proposal for the Regulation procedure (hereinafter: Amended Proposal Procedure Regulation).

      Though border procedures are already present in the current Regulation of 2013, they are now developed into a “border procedure for asylum and return”, and a more developed accelerated procedure, which, next to the normal asylum procedure, comes after the screening phase.

      The new border procedure becomes obligatory (according to Art. 41(3) of the Amended Proposal Procedure Regulation) for applicants who arrive irregularly at the external border or after disembarkation and another of these grounds apply:

      – they represent a risk to national security or public order;

      – the applicant has provided false information or documents or by withholding relevant information or document;

      – the applicant comes from a non-EU country for which the share of positive decisions in the total number of asylum decisions is below 20 percent.

      This last criterion is especially problematic, since it transcends the criterion of the safe third country and it undermines the principle that every asylum application requires a complex and individualized assessment of the particular personal circumstances of the applicant, by introducing presumptive elements in a procedure which gives fewer guarantees.

      During the border procedure, the TCN is not granted access to the EU. The expansion of the new border procedures poses also the problem of the organization of the facilities necessary for the new procedures, which must be a location at or close to the external borders, in other words, where migrants are apprehended or disembarked.

      Tellingly enough, the Commission’s explanatory memorandum describes as guarantees in the asylum border procedure all the situations in which the border procedure shall not be applied, for example, because the necessary support cannot be provided or for medical reasons, or where the ‘conditions for detention (…) cannot be met and the border procedure cannot be applied without detention’.

      Also here the question remains on how to qualify their stay during the procedure, because the Commission aims at limiting resort to detention. The situation could be considered de facto a detention, and its compatibility with the criteria laid down by the Court of Justice in the Hungarian transit zones case is questionable.

      Another aspect which must be analyzed is the system of guarantees after the decision in a border procedure. If an application is rejected in an asylum border procedure, the “return procedure” applies immediately. Member States must limit to one instance the right to effective remedy against the decision, as posited in Article 53(9). The right to an effective remedy is therefore limited, according to Art. 53 of the Proposed Regulation, and the right to remain, a ‘light’ right to remain one could say, is also narrowly constructed, in the case of border procedures, to the first remedy against the negative decision (Art. 54(3) read together with Art. 54(4) and 54(5)). Furthermore, EU law allows Member States to limit the right to remain in case of subsequent applications and provides that there is no right to remain in the case of subsequent appeals (Art. 54(6) and (7)). More in general, this proposal extends the circumstances where the applicant does not have an automatic right to remain and this represents an aspect which affects significantly and in a factual manner the capacity to challenge a negative decision in a border procedure.

      Overall, it can be argued that the asylum border procedure is a procedure where guarantees are limited, because the access to the jurisdiction is taking place in fast-track procedures, access to legal remedies is also reduced to the very minimum. Access to the territory of the Member State is therefore deprived of its typical meaning, in the sense that it does not imply access to a system which is protecting rights with procedures which offer guarantees and are therefore also time-consuming. Here, efficiency should govern a process where the access to a jurisdiction is lighter, is ‘less dense’ than otherwise. To conclude, this externalization of migration control policies takes place ‘inside’ the European Union territory, and it aims at prolonging the effects of containment policies because they make access to the EU territory less meaningful, in legal terms: the presence of the person in the territory of the EU does not entail full access to the rights related to the presence on the territory.

      Solidarity in cooperating with third countries? The “return sponsorship” and its territorial puzzle

      Chapter 6 of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposes, among other things, to create a conditionality between cooperation on readmission with third countries and the issuance of visas to their nationals. This conditionality was legally established in the 2019 revision of the Visa Code Regulation. The revision (discussed here) states that, given their “politically sensitive nature and their horizontal implications for the Member States and the Union”, such provisions will be triggered once implementing powers are conferred to the Council (following a proposal from the Commission).

      What do these measures entail? We know that they can be applied in bulk or separately. Firstly, EU consulates in third countries will not have the usual leeway to waive some documents required to apply for visas (Art. 14(6), visa code). Secondly, visa applicants from uncooperative third countries will pay higher visa fees (Art. 16(1) visa code). Thirdly, visa fees to diplomatic and service passports will not be waived (Art. 16(5)b visa code). Fourthly, time to take a decision on the visa application will be longer than 15 days (Art. 23(1) visa code). Fifthly, the issuance of multi-entry visas (MEVs) from 6 months to 5 years is suspended (Art. 24(2) visa code). In other words, these coercive measures are not aimed at suspending visas. They are designed to make the procedure for obtaining a visa more lengthy, more costly, and limited in terms of access to MEVs.

      Moreover, it is important to stress that the revision of the Visa Code Regulation mentions that the Union will strike a balance between “migration and security concerns, economic considerations and general external relations”. Consequently, measures (be they restrictive or not) will result from an assessment that goes well beyond migration management issues. The assessment will not be based exclusively on the so-called “return rate” that has been presented as a compass used to reward or blame third countries’ cooperation on readmission. Other indicators or criteria, based on data provided by the Member States, will be equally examined by the Commission. These other indicators pertain to “the overall relations” between the Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and a given third country, on the other. This broad category is not defined in the 2019 revision of the Visa Code, nor do we know what it precisely refers to.

      What do we know about this linkage? The idea of linking cooperation on readmission with visa policy is not new. It was first introduced at a bilateral level by some member states. For example, fifteen years ago, cooperation on redocumentation, including the swift delivery of laissez-passers by the consular authorities of countries of origin, was at the centre of bilateral talks between France and North African countries. In September 2005, the French Ministry of the Interior proposed to “sanction uncooperative countries [especially Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria] by limiting the number of short-term visas that France delivers to their nationals.” Sanctions turned out to be unsuccessful not only because of the diplomatic tensions they generated – they were met with strong criticisms and reaction on the part of North African countries – but also because the ratio between the number of laissez-passers requested by the French authorities and the number of laissez-passers delivered by North African countries’ authorities remained unchanged.

      At the EU level, the idea to link readmission with visa policy has been in the pipeline for many years. Let’s remember that, in October 2002, in its Community Return Policy, the European Commission reflected on the positive incentives that could be used in order to ensure third countries’ constant cooperation on readmission. The Commission observed in its communication that, actually, “there is little that can be offered in return. In particular visa concessions or the lifting of visa requirements can be a realistic option in exceptional cases only; in most cases it is not.” Therefore, the Commission set out to propose additional incentives (e.g. trade expansion, technical/financial assistance, additional development aid).

      In a similar vein, in September 2015, after years of negotiations and failed attempt to cooperate on readmission with Southern countries, the Commission remarked that the possibility to use Visa Facilitation Agreements as an incentive to cooperate on readmission is limited in the South “as the EU is unlikely to offer visa facilitation to certain third countries which generate many irregular migrants and thus pose a migratory risk. And even when the EU does offer the parallel negotiation of a visa facilitation agreement, this may not be sufficient if the facilitations offered are not sufficiently attractive.”

      More recently, in March 2018, in its Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for an amendment of the Common Visa Code, the Commission itself recognised that “better cooperation on readmission with reluctant third countries cannot be obtained through visa policy measures alone.” It also added that “there is no hard evidence on how visa leverage can translate into better cooperation of third countries on readmission.”

      Against this backdrop, why has so much emphasis been put on the link between cooperation on readmission and visa policy in the revised Visa Code Regulation and later in the New Pact? The Commission itself recognised that this conditionality might not constitute a sufficient incentive to ensure the cooperation on readmission.

      To reply to this question, we need first to question the oft-cited reference to third countries’ “reluctance”[n1] to cooperate on readmission in order to understand that, cooperation on readmission is inextricably based on unbalanced reciprocities. Moreover, migration, be it regular or irregular, continues to be viewed as a safety valve to relieve pressure on unemployment and poverty in countries of origin. Readmission has asymmetric costs and benefits having economic social and political implications for countries of origin. Apart from being unpopular in Southern countries, readmission is humiliating, stigmatizing, violent and traumatic for migrants,[n2] making their process of reintegration extremely difficult, if not impossible, especially when countries of origin have often no interest in promoting reintegration programmes addressed to their nationals expelled from Europe.

      Importantly, the conclusion of a bilateral agreement does not automatically lead to its full implementation in the field of readmission, for the latter is contingent on an array of factors that codify the bilateral interactions between two contracting parties. Today, more than 320 bilateral agreements linked to readmission have been concluded between the 27 EU Member States and third countries at a global level. Using an oxymoron, it is possible to argue that, over the past decades, various EU member states have learned that, if bilateral cooperation on readmission constitutes a central priority in their external relations (this is the official rhetoric), readmission remains peripheral to other strategic issue-areas which are detailed below. Finally, unlike some third countries in the Balkans or Eastern Europe, Southern third countries have no prospect of acceding to the EU bloc, let alone having a visa-free regime, at least in the foreseeable future. This basic difference makes any attempt to compare the responsiveness of the Balkan countries to cooperation on readmission with Southern non-EU countries’ impossible, if not spurious.

      Today, patterns of interdependence between the North and the South of the Mediterranean are very much consolidated. Over the last decades, Member States, especially Spain, France, Italy and Greece, have learned that bringing pressure to bear on uncooperative third countries needs to be evaluated cautiously lest other issues of high politics be jeopardized. Readmission cannot be isolated from a broader framework of interactions including other strategic, if not more crucial, issue-areas, such as police cooperation on the fight against international terrorism, border control, energy security and other diplomatic and geopolitical concerns. Nor can bilateral cooperation on readmission be viewed as an end in itself, for it has often been grafted onto a broader framework of interactions.

      This point leads to a final remark regarding “return sponsorship” which is detailed in Art. 55 of the proposal for a regulation on asylum and migration management. In a nutshell, the idea of the European Commission consists in a commitment from a “sponsoring Member State” to assist another Member State (the benefitting Member State) in the readmission of a third-country national. This mechanism foresees that each Member State is expected to indicate the nationalities for which they are willing to provide support in the field of readmission. The sponsoring Member State offers an assistance by mobilizing its network of bilateral cooperation on readmission, or by opening a dialogue with the authorities of a given third country where the third-country national will be deported. If, after eight months, attempts are unsuccessful, the third-country national is transferred to the sponsoring Member State. Note that, in application of Council Directive 2001/40 on mutual recognition of expulsion decisions, the sponsoring Member State may or may not recognize the expulsion decision of the benefitting Member State, just because Member States continue to interpret the Geneva Convention in different ways and also because they have different grounds for subsidiary protection.

      Viewed from a non-EU perspective, namely from the point of view of third countries, this mechanism might raise some questions of competence and relevance. Which consular authorities will undertake the identification process of the third country national with a view to eventually delivering a travel document? Are we talking about the third country’s consular authorities located in the territory of the benefitting Member State or in the sponsoring Member State’s? In a similar vein, why would a bilateral agreement linked to readmission – concluded with a given ‘sponsoring’ Member State – be applicable to a ‘benefitting’ Member State (with which no bilateral agreement or arrangement has been signed)? Such territorially bounded contingencies will invariably be problematic, at a certain stage, from the viewpoint of third countries. Additionally, in acting as a sponsoring Member State, one is entitled to wonder why an EU Member State might decide to expose itself to increased tensions with a given third country while putting at risk a broader framework of interactions.

      As the graph shows, not all the EU Member States are equally engaged in bilateral cooperation on readmission with third countries. Moreover, a geographical distribution of available data demonstrates that more than 70 per cent of the total number of bilateral agreements linked to readmission (be they formal or informal[n3]) concluded with African countries are covered by France, Italy and Spain. Over the last decades, these three Member States have developed their respective networks of cooperation on readmission with a number of countries in Africa and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

      Given the existence of these consolidated networks, the extent to which the “return sponsorship” proposed in the Pact will add value to their current undertakings is objectively questionable. Rather, if the “return sponsorship” mechanism is adopted, these three Member States might be deemed to act as sponsoring Member States when it comes to the expulsion of irregular migrants (located in other EU Member States) to Africa and the MENA region. More concretely, the propensity of, for example, Austria to sponsor Italy in expelling from Italy a foreign national coming from the MENA region or from Africa is predictably low. Austria’s current networks of cooperation on readmission with MENA and African countries would never add value to Italy’s consolidated networks of cooperation on readmission with these third countries. Moreover, it is unlikely that Italy will be proactively “sponsoring” other Member States’ expulsion decisions, without jeopardising its bilateral relations with other strategic third countries located in the MENA region or in Africa, to use the same example. These considerations concretely demonstrate that the European Commission’s call for “solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility”, on which its “return sponsorship” mechanism is premised, is contingent on the existence of a federative Union able to act as a unitary supranational body in domestic and foreign affairs. This federation does not exist in political terms.

      Beyond these practical aspects, it is important to realise that the cobweb of bilateral agreements linked to readmission has expanded as a result of tremendously complex bilateral dynamics that go well beyond the mere management of international migration. These remarks are crucial to understanding that we need to reflect properly on the conditionality pattern that has driven the external action of the EU, especially in a regional context where patterns of interdependence among state actors have gained so much relevance over the last two decades. Moreover, given the clear consensus on the weak correlation between cooperation on readmission and visa policy (the European Commission being no exception to this consensus), linking the two might not be the adequate response to ensure third countries’ cooperation on readmission, especially when the latter are in position to capitalize on their strategic position with regard to some EU Member States.

      Conclusions

      This brief reflection has highlighted a trend which is taking shape in the Pact and in some of the measures proposed by the Commission in its 2020 package of reforms. It has been shown that the proposals for a pre-entry screening and the 2020 amended proposal for enhanced border procedures are creating something we could label as a ‘lower density’ European Union territory, because the new procedures and arrangements have the purpose of restricting and limiting access to rights and to jurisdiction. This would happen on the territory of a Member State, but in a place at or close to the external borders, with a view to confining migration and third country nationals to an area where the territory of a state, and therefore, the European territory, is less … ‘territorial’ than it should be: legally speaking, it is a ‘lower density’ territory.

      The “seamless link between asylum and return” the Commission aims to create with the new border procedures can be described as sliding doors through which the third country national can enter or leave immediately, depending on how the established fast-track system qualifies her situation.

      However, the paradox highlighted with the “return sponsorship” mechanism shows that readmission agreements or arrangements are no panacea, for the vested interests of third countries must also be taken into consideration when it comes to cooperation on readmission. In this respect, it is telling that the Commission never consulted third states on the new return sponsorship mechanism, as if their territories were not concerned by this mechanism, which is far from being the case. For this reason, it is legitimate to imagine that the main rationale for the return sponsorship mechanism may be another one, and it may be merely domestic. In other words, the return sponsorship, which transforms itself into a form of relocation after eight months if the third country national is not expelled from the EU territory, subtly takes non-frontline European Union states out of their comfort-zone and engage them in cooperating on expulsions. If they fail to do so, namely if the third-country national is not expelled after eight months, non-frontline European Union states are as it were ‘forcibly’ engaged in a ‘solidarity practice’ that is conducive to relocation.

      Given the disappointing past experience of the 2015 relocations, it is impossible to predict whether this mechanism will work or not. However, once one enters sliding doors, the danger is to remain stuck in uncertainty, in a European Union ‘no man’s land’ which is nothing but another by-product of the fortress Europe machinery.

      http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2020/11/the-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum.html

    • Le nouveau Pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile

      Ce 23 septembre 2020, la Commission européenne a présenté son très attendu nouveau Pacte sur la migration et l’asile.

      Alors que l’Union européenne (UE) traverse une crise politique majeure depuis 2015 et que les solutions apportées ont démontré leur insuffisance en matière de solidarité entre États membres, leur violence à l’égard des exilés et leur coût exorbitant, la Commission européenne ne semble pas tirer les leçons du passé.

      Au menu du Pacte : un renforcement toujours accru des contrôles aux frontières, des procédures expéditives aux frontières de l’UE avec, à la clé, la détention généralisée pour les nouveaux arrivants, la poursuite de l’externalisation et un focus sur les expulsions. Il n’y a donc pas de changement de stratégie.

      Le Règlement Dublin, injuste et inefficace, est loin d’être aboli. Le nouveau système mis en place changera certes de nom, mais reprendra le critère tant décrié du “premier pays d’entrée” dans l’UE pour déterminer le pays responsable du traitement de la demande d’asile. Quant à un mécanisme permanent de solidarité pour les États davantage confrontés à l’arrivée des exilés, à l’instar des quotas de relocalisations de 2015-2017 – relocalisations qui furent un échec complet -, la Commission propose une solidarité permanente et obligatoire mais… à la carte, où les États qui ne veulent pas accueillir de migrants peuvent choisir à la place de “parrainer” leur retour, ou de fournir un soutien opérationnel aux États en difficulté. La solidarité n’est donc cyniquement pas envisagée pour l’accueil, mais bien pour le renvoi des migrants.

      Pourtant, l’UE fait face à beaucoup moins d’arrivées de migrants sur son territoire qu’en 2015 (1,5 million d’arrivées en 2015, 140.00 en 2019)

      Fin 2019, l’UE accueillait 2,6 millions de réfugiés, soit l’équivalent de 0,6% de sa population. À défaut de voies légales et sûres, les personnes exilées continuent de fuir la guerre, la violence, ou de rechercher une vie meilleure et doivent emprunter des routes périlleuses pour rejoindre le territoire de l’UE : on dénombre plus de 20.000 décès depuis 2014. Une fois arrivées ici, elles peuvent encore être détenues et subir des mauvais traitements, comme c’était le cas dans le camp qui a brûlé à Moria. Lorsqu’elles poursuivent leur route migratoire au sein de l’UE, elles ne peuvent choisir le pays où elles demanderont l’asile et elles font face à la loterie de l’asile…

      Loin d’un “nouveau départ” avec ce nouveau Pacte, la Commission propose les mêmes recettes et rate une opportunité de mettre en œuvre une tout autre politique, qui soit réellement solidaire, équitable pour les États membres et respectueuse des droits fondamentaux des personnes migrantes, avec l’établissement de voies légales et sûres, des procédures d’asile harmonisées et un accueil de qualité, ou encore la recherche de solutions durables pour les personnes en situation irrégulière.

      Dans cette brève analyse, nous revenons sur certaines des mesures phares telles qu’elles ont été présentées par la Commission européenne et qui feront l’objet de discussions dans les prochains mois avec le Parlement européen et le Conseil européen. Nous expliquerons également en quoi ces mesures n’ont rien d’innovant, sont un échec de la politique migratoire européenne, et pourquoi elles sont dangereuses pour les personnes migrantes.

      https://www.cire.be/publication/le-nouveau-pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-et-lasile

      Pour télécharger l’analyse :
      https://www.cire.be/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?juwpfisadmin=false&action=wpfd&task=file.download&wpfd_category_

    • New pact on migration and asylum. Perspective on the ’other side’ of the EU border

      At the end of September 2020, and after camp Moria on Lesvos burned down leaving over 13,000 people in an even more precarious situation than they were before, the European Commission (EC) introduced a proposal for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. So far, the proposal has not been met with enthusiasm by neither member states or human rights organisations.

      Based on first-hand field research interviews with civil society and other experts in the Balkan region, this report provides a unique perspective of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum from ‘the other side’ of the EU’s borders.

      #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #rapport #Refugee_rights #militarisation

    • Impakter | Un « nouveau » pacte sur l’asile et les migrations ?

      Le média en ligne Impakter propose un article d’analyse du Pacte sur l’asile et les migrations de l’Union européenne. Publié le 23 septembre 2020, le pacte a été annoncé comme un “nouveau départ”. En réalité, le pacte n’est pas du tout un nouveau départ, mais la même politique avec un ensemble de nouvelles propositions. L’article pointe l’aspect critique du projet, et notamment des concepts clés tels que : « processus de pré-selection », « le processus accélérée » et le « pacte de retour ». L’article donne la parole à plusieurs expertises et offre ainsi une meilleure compréhension de ce que concrètement ce pacte implique pour les personnes migrantes.

      L’article de #Charlie_Westbrook “A “New” Pact on Migration and Asylum ?” a été publié le 11 février dans le magazine en ligne Impakter (sous licence Creative Commons). Nous vous en proposons un court résumé traduisant les lignes directrices de l’argumentaire, en français ci-dessous. Pour lire l’intégralité du texte en anglais, vous pouvez vous rendre sur le site de Impakter.

      –---

      Le “Nouveau pacte sur la migration et l’asile”, a été publié le 23 septembre, faisant suite à l’incendie du camp surpeuplé de Moria. Le pacte a été annoncé comme un “nouveau départ”. En réalité, le pacte n’est pas du tout un nouveau départ, mais la même politique avec un ensemble de nouvelles propositions sur lesquelles les États membres de l’UE devront maintenant se mettre d’accord – une entreprise qui a déjà connu des difficultés.

      Les universitaires, les militants et les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme de l’UE soulignent les préoccupations éthiques et pratiques que suscitent nombre des propositions suggérées par la Commission, ainsi que la rhétorique axée sur le retour qui les anime. Charlie Westbrook la journaliste, a contacté Kirsty Evans, coordinatrice de terrain et des campagnes pour Europe Must Act, qui m’a fait part de ses réactions au nouveau Pacte.

      Cet essai vise à présenter le plus clairement possible les problèmes liés à ce nouveau pacte, en mettant en évidence les principales préoccupations des experts et des ONG. Ces préoccupations concernent les problèmes potentiels liés au processus de présélection, au processus accéléré (ou “fast-track”) et au mécanisme de parrainage des retours.

      Le processus de présélection

      La nouvelle proposition est d’instaurer une procédure de contrôle préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire européen. L’ONG Human Rights Watch, dénonce la suggestion trompeuse du pacte selon laquelle les personnes soumises à la procédure frontalière ne sont pas considérées comme ayant formellement pénétré sur le territoire. Ce processus concerne toute personne extra-européenne qui franchirait la frontière de manière irrégulière. Ce manque de différenciation du type de besoin inquiète l’affirme l’avocate et professeur Lyra Jakulevičienė, car cela signifie que la politique d’externalisation sera plus forte que jamais. Ce nouveau règlement brouille la distinction entre les personnes demandant une protection internationale et les autres migrants “en plaçant les deux groupes de personnes sous le même régime juridique au lieu de les différencier clairement, car leurs chances de rester dans l’UE sont très différentes”. Ce processus d’externalisation, cependant, “se déroule “à l’intérieur” du territoire de l’Union européenne, et vise à prolonger les effets des politiques d’endiguement parce qu’elles rendent l’accès au territoire de l’UE moins significatif”, comme l’expliquent Jean-Pierre Cassarino, chercheur principal à la chaire de la politique européenne de voisinage du Collège d’Europe, et Luisa Marin, professeur adjoint de droit européen. En d’autres termes, les personnes en quête de protection n’auront pas pleinement accès aux droits européens en arrivant sur le territoire de l’UE. Il faudra d’abord déterminer ce qu’elles “sont”. En outre, les recherches universitaires montrent que les processus d’externalisation “entraînent le contournement des normes fondamentales, vont à l’encontre de la bonne gouvernance, créent l’immobilité et contribuent à la crise du régime mondial des réfugiés, qui ne parvient pas à assurer la protection”. Les principales inquiétudes de ces deux expert·es sont les suivantes : la rapidité de prise de décision (pas plus de 5 jours), l’absence d’assistance juridique, Etat membre est le seul garant du respect des droits fondamentaux et si cette période de pré-sélection sera mise en œuvre comme une détention.

      Selon Jakulevičienė, la proposition apporte “un grand potentiel” pour créer davantage de camps de style “Moria”. Il est difficile de voir en quoi cela profiterait à qui que ce soit.

      Procédure accélérée

      Si un demandeur est orienté vers le système accéléré, une décision sera prise dans un délai de 12 semaines – une durée qui fait craindre que le système accéléré n’aboutisse à un retour injuste des demandeurs. En 2010, Human Rights Watch a publié un rapport de fond détaillant comment les procédures d’asile accélérées étaient inadaptées aux demandes complexes et comment elles affectaient négativement les femmes demandeurs d’asile en particulier.
      Les personnes seront dirigées vers la procédure accélérée si : l’identité a été cachée ou que de faux documents ont été utilisés, si elle représente un danger pour la sécurité nationale, ou si elle est ressortissante d’un pays pour lesquels moins de 20% des demandes ont abouti à l’octroi d’une protection internationale.

      Comme l’exprime le rapport de Human Rights Watch (HRW), “la procédure à la frontière proposée repose sur deux hypothèses erronées – que la majorité des personnes arrivant en Europe n’ont pas besoin de protection et que l’évaluation des demandes d’asile peut être faite facilement et rapidement”.

      Essentiellement, comme l’écrivent Cassarino et Marin, “elle porte atteinte au principe selon lequel toute demande d’asile nécessite une évaluation complexe et individualisée de la situation personnelle particulière du demandeur”.

      Tout comme Jakulevičienė, Kirsty Evans s’inquiète de la manière dont le pacte va alimenter une rhétorique préjudiciable, en faisant valoir que “le langage de l’accélération fait appel à la “protection” de la rhétorique nationale évidente dans la politique et les médias en se concentrant sur le retour des personnes sur leur propre territoire”.

      Un pacte pour le retour

      Désormais, lorsqu’une demande d’asile est rejetée, la décision de retour sera rendue en même temps.

      Le raisonnement présenté par la Commission pour proposer des procédures plus rapides et plus intégrées est que des procédures inefficaces causent des difficultés excessives – y compris pour ceux qui ont obtenu le droit de rester.

      Les procédures restructurées peuvent en effet profiter à certains. Cependant, il existe un risque sérieux qu’elles aient un impact négatif sur le droit d’asile des personnes soumises à la procédure accélérée – sachant qu’en cas de rejet, il n’existe qu’un seul droit de recours.

      La proposition selon laquelle l’UE traitera désormais les retours dans leur ensemble, et non plus seulement dans un seul État membre, illustre bien l’importance que l’UE accorde aux retours. À cette fin, l’UE propose la création d’un nouveau poste de coordinateur européen des retours qui s’occupera des retours et des réadmissions.

      Décrite comme “la plus sinistre des nouvelles propositions”, et assimilée à “une grotesque parodie de personnes parrainant des enfants dans les pays en développement par l’intermédiaire d’organisations caritatives”, l’option du parrainage de retour est également un signe fort de l’approche par concession de la Commission.

      Pour M. Evans, le fait d’autoriser les pays à opter pour le “retour” comme moyen de “gérer la migration” semble être une validation du comportement illégal des États membres, comme les récentes expulsions massives en Grèce. Alors, qu’est-ce que le parrainage de retour ? Eh bien, selon les termes de l’UE, le parrainage du retour est une option de solidarité dans laquelle l’État membre “s’engage à renvoyer les migrants en situation irrégulière sans droit de séjour au nom d’un autre État membre, en le faisant directement à partir du territoire de l’État membre bénéficiaire”.

      Les États membres préciseront les nationalités qu’ils “parraineront” en fonction, vraisemblablement, des relations préexistantes de l’État membre de l’UE avec un État non membre de l’UE. Lorsque la demande d’un individu est rejetée, l’État membre qui en est responsable s’appuiera sur ses relations avec le pays tiers pour négocier le retour du demandeur.

      En outre, en supposant que les réadmissions soient réussies, le parrainage des retours fonctionne sur la base de l’hypothèse qu’il existe un pays tiers sûr. C’est sur cette base que les demandes sont rejetées. La manière dont cela affectera le principe de non-refoulement est la principale préoccupation des organisations des droits de l’homme et des experts politiques, et c’est une préoccupation qui découle d’expériences antérieures. Après tout, la coopération avec des pays tiers jusqu’à présent – à savoir l’accord Turquie-UE et l’accord Espagne-Maroc – a suscité de nombreuses critiques sur le coût des droits de l’homme.

      Mais en plus des préoccupations relatives aux droits de l’homme, des questions sont soulevées sur les implications ou même les aspects pratiques de l’”incitation” des pays tiers à se conformer, l’image de l’UE en tant que champion des droits de l’homme étant déjà corrodée aux yeux de la communauté internationale.

      Il s’agira notamment d’utiliser la délivrance du code des visas comme méthode d’incitation. Pour les pays qui ne coopèrent pas à la réadmission, les visas seront plus difficiles à obtenir. La proposition visant à pénaliser les pays qui appliquent des restrictions en matière de visas n’est pas nouvelle et n’a pas conduit à une amélioration des relations diplomatiques. Guild fait valoir que cette approche est injuste pour les demandeurs de visa des pays “non coopérants” et qu’elle risque également de susciter des sentiments d’injustice chez les voisins du pays tiers.

      L’analyse de Guild est que le nouveau pacte est diplomatiquement faible. Au-delà du financement, il offre “peu d’attention aux intérêts des pays tiers”. Il faut reconnaître, après tout, que la réadmission a des coûts et des avantages asymétriques pour les pays qui les acceptent, surtout si l’on considère que la migration, comme le soulignent Cassarino et Marin, “continue d’être considérée comme une soupape de sécurité pour soulager la pression sur le chômage et la pauvreté dans les pays d’origine”.

      https://asile.ch/2021/03/02/impakter-un-nouveau-pacte-sur-lasile-et-les-migrations

      L’article original :
      A “New” Pact on Migration and Asylum ?
      https://impakter.com/a-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum

    • The EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees. International Experiences on Containment and Mobility and their Impacts on Trust and Rights

      In September 2020, the European Commission published what it described as a New Pact on Migration and Asylum (emphasis added) that lays down a multi-annual policy agenda on issues that have been central to debate about the future of European integration. This book critically examines the new Pact as part of a Forum organized by the Horizon 2020 project ASILE – Global Asylum Governance and the EU’s Role.

      ASILE studies interactions between emerging international protection systems and the United Nations Global Compact for Refugees (UN GCR), with particular focus on the European Union’s role and the UN GCR’s implementation dynamics. It brings together a new international network of scholars from 13 institutions examining the characteristics of international and country specific asylum governance instruments and arrangements applicable to people seeking international protection. It studies the compatibility of these governance instruments’ with international protection and human rights, and the UN GCR’s call for global solidarity and responsibility sharing.

      https://www.asileproject.eu/the-eu-pact-on-migration-and-asylum-in-light-of-the-united-nations-glob

  • New camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    In Bosnia, local authorities in the northwest Una-Sana canton ordered the mandatory relocation of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers sleeping outdoors into a temporary camp currently under construction near the village of Lipa, some 25 kilometers from the Croatian border.

    Authorities have since agreed to have the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Danish Refugee Council manage the new camp on behalf of the government.

    An estimated 3,000 of those who are trying to make their way into the EU through Croatia are squatting in abandoned buildings or sleeping outdoors in the region, while another 4,100 are accommodated in facilities managed by IOM.

    “IOM is trying their best to create dignified conditions and ensure adequate access to health and other support services. However, the camps remain overcrowded and unfit for prolonged stay,” said Jelena Sesar, a researcher at Amnesty International.

    People who did not enter the official camps during the winter months cannot effectively self-isolate and are often barred from health institutions available to ordinary citizens.

    “The [Bosnian] state authorities for the past two years have done next to nothing to deal with the migrant crisis in the country and have practically left the Una-Sana canton to deal on its own with the flow of refugees,” Sesar told EURACTIV.

    Bosnian authorities have previously come under heavy criticism by civil rights groups for the Vucjak camp, built on a former landfill near the Croatian border in an area with landmines from the 1990s war, where migrants lived without heating, running water or toilets.

    Last December, authorities dismantled the Vucjak camp and transferred hundreds of people who were living at the site to a new camp near Sarajevo.

    Bosnia closes ’jungle’ migrant camp
    Bosnia on Wednesday (11 December) dismantled tents at the makeshift migrant camp known as the “jungle” for its harsh conditions, after transferring hundreds of people who were living at the site to Sarajevo.

    However, human rights organisations remain concerned about the capacity of Bosnian authorities to support the increasing number of refugees and migrants arriving into the country.

    “It’s simply difficult to see how now, in the crisis conditions, the local government is going to get organised so quickly and in a week do something that they have not been able to do over the past two years,” said Sesar.

    Authorities are procuring 40 tents which are each able to accommodate up to 50 people.

    “Such tents are already used in other camps. They don’t offer much privacy and there’s certainly no place for self-isolation or social distancing, the measures that are necessary to reduce the spread of the virus,” Sesar warned.

    Another issue is the safe transport of thousands of refugees to the new site while keeping distancing measures to prevent new infections.

    “At a time when governments across Europe have started thinking about releasing people from migration detention in order to decongest these areas where people are confined together and therefore at greater risk, Bosnia is doing the opposite,” said Sesar.

    “While finding adequate housing for refugees and migrants sleeping outdoors is certainly welcome and necessary, Bosnian authorities must ensure that this new camp gives maximum protection by providing access to clean water, sanitation and essential healthcare, as well as resources to ensure necessary physical distancing.”

    The EU on Wednesday (8 April) announced a €15.6 billion support package for foreign countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with €2.8 billion earmarked for research, health and water systems, which includes supporting equal access to health systems for migrants, refugees and host communities.

    However, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell confirmed that “there is no fresh money,” and that funding will come from reallocation of existing funds and programmes.

    EU unveils €15bn COVID rescue plan, but includes no new money
    The EU unveiled on Wednesday (8 April) a support package worth €15.6 billion for African and other partner countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but conceded that it includes no new money.

    Inside the bloc, the EU has been pushing to relocate vulnerable migrants to hotels and accommodation that are currently left empty during the pandemic.

    “What we should do now is to immediately evacuate the most vulnerable individuals out of these camps so that they can be secured in hotel rooms or apartments and not be affected if the virus breaks out in these camps,” home affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Deutsche Welle.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/refugees-left-behind-in-coronavirus-crisis-aid-groups-warn

    #Covid-19 #Migrants #Migrations #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Lipa #camp #Unasanacanton #Fédérationcroatomusulmane

  • Greece to extend border fence over migration surge

    Greece will extend its fence on the border with Turkey, a government source said Sunday (8 March), amid continuing efforts by migrants to break through in a surge enabled by Ankara.

    “We have decided to immediately extend the fence in three different areas,” the government source told AFP, adding that the new sections, to the south of the area now under pressure, would cover around 36 kilometres (22 miles).

    The current stretch of fence will also be upgraded, the official added.

    Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers have been trying to break through the land border from Turkey for a week after Ankara announced it would no longer prevent people from trying to cross into the European Union.

    A police source Sunday told AFP that riot police reinforcements from around the country had been sent to the border in recent days, in addition to drones and police dogs.

    There have been numerous exchanges of tear gas and stones between Greek riot police and migrants.

    Turkey has also bombarded Greek forces with tear gas at regular intervals, and Athens has accused Turkish police of handing out wire cutters to migrants to help them break through the border fence.

    The Greek government over the weekend also released footage which it said showed a Turkish armoured vehicle assisting efforts to bring down the fence.

    “Parts of the fence have been removed, both by the (Turkish) vehicle and with wire cutters, but they are constantly being repaired,” local police unionist Elias Akidis told Skai TV.

    Turkey has accused Greek border guards of using undue force against the migrants, injuring many and killing at least five.

    The government in Athens has consistently dismissed the claim as lies.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/greece-to-extend-border-fence-over-migration-surge
    #murs #Evros #barrières_frontalières #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #extension
    ping @fil @reka @albertocampiphoto

    • je suis tombé sur une vidéo YT d’un compte néo-nazi montrant une attaque du mur de l’Evros par des migrants. L’attaque y est présentée comme soutenue par la police turque, ce qui est vraiment beaucoup solliciter les images… les migrants sont noyés sous les lacrymos.

    • Evros: Greece to extend the fence on the borders with Turkey to 40km

      Greece will extend the fence to its Evros borders with Turkey to 40 km, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday morning. The additional fence will be installed in “sensitive” areas preferred for illegal entries by migrants and refugees.

      The fence currently covers 12.5 km.

      Speaking to ANT1 TV, Petsas noted that at the moment the most vulnerable border point is in the south.

      The current 12.5 km fence of land access points is installed north and south of Kastanies customs office, where thousands of migrants and refugees have amassed.

      According to the daily Kathimerini, the 40 kilometers new fence is planned to be partially installed either in areas where the Evros waters are low or in areas where the landscape favors illegla paasage.

      Sections such as Ormenio, Gardens, Feres, Tychero, Soufli, Dikaia, Dilofo, Marassia, Nea Vyssa and elsewhere have been designated as the areas where the new fence will installed by the Greek Army and support by the police.

      According to a report by daily Elftheros Typos, Greece’s Plan B aside from the fence extension is the presence of about 4,000 police officers and soldiers in parallel patrols, helicopters, unmanned aircraft, message broadcasting, cameras for audio-video.

      A Greek Army – Greek Police “joint operations center” is to be established in Nea Vryssa.

      According to the daily more than 1,000 soldiers, two commandos squads, 1,500 police and national guards are currently operating in the Evros area.

      Petsas underlined that the Greek government has changed its policy because there is a national security issue at the moment.

      He reiterated the new policy saying that “no one will cross the border.”

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/03/06/evros-greece-fence-borders-turkey-extension

    • Video 2 - Violences contre les exilé·es à la frontière gréco-turque

      Depuis le début du mois de mars 2020, des milliers d’exilé·es, incité·es voire poussé·es par les autorités turques, se sont précipité·es aux frontières terrestres et maritimes entre la Turquie et la Grèce. Ils et elles se sont heurté·es à la violence de la police et de l’armée grecque, ainsi que de groupe fascistes, mobilisés pour leur en interdire le franchissement, la suite : www.gisti.org/spip.php ?article6368

      https://indymotion.fr/videos/watch/e8938a1c-5456-46e8-a0cb-be0806c96051?start=1s

    • Greece shields Evros border with blades wire, 400 new border guards

      Greece is strengthening ifs defense and is preparing for a possible new wave of migrants at its Evros border. A fence of sharp blades wire (concertina wire) and 400 additional border guards are to shield the country for the case Turkey will open its borders again so that migrants can cross into Europe.

      According to daily ethnos (https://www.ethnos.gr/ellada/105936_ohyronetai-o-ebros-frahtis-me-lepidoforo-syrmatoplegma-kai-400-neoi-sy), Ankara has already been holding groups of migrants in warehouses near the border, while the Greek side is methodically being prepared for the possibility of a new attempt for waves of migrants to try to cross again the border.

      “At the bridgeheads of Peplos and Fera, at the land borders after the riverbed is aligned, and in other vulnerable areas along the border, kilometer-long of metal fence with sharp blades wire are being installed, the soil is being cleaned from wild vegetation and clearing of marsh lands.

      The fence in the northern part is being strengthened and expanded, and 11 additional border pylons, each one 50 meters high, will be installed along the river in the near future. Each pylon will be equipped with cameras and modern day and night surveillance systems, with a range of several kilometers and multiple telecommunications capabilities, the daily notes.

      Within the next few months, 400 newly recruited border guards will be on duty and will almost double the deterrent force and enhance the joint patrols of the Army and Police, ethnos adds.

      Big armored military vehicles destined for Libya and confiscated five years ago south of Crete have been made available to the Army in the area, the daily notes.

      One and a half month after the end of the “war without arms” at the Evros border from end of February till the end of March, sporadic movement on the Turkish side of the border has been observed.

      At least four shooting incidents have been reported in the past two weeks, with Turkish jandarmerie to have fired at Greek border guards and members of the Frontex.

      Greece’s security forces are on high alert.

      Just a few days ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara’s policy of “open borders” will continue for anyone wishing to cross into Europe.

      Speaking to nationalist Akit TV on Wednesday, Cavusoglu claimed that Greece used “inhumane” behavior towards the migrants who want to cross into the country.

      Also Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had threatened that the migrants will be allowed to leave Turkey again once the pandemic was over.

      PS It could be a very hot summer, should Turkey attempt to send migrants to Europe by land through Evros and by sea with boats to the Aegean islands and at the same time, deploys a drilling ship off Crete in July, as it claimed a few days ago.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/05/17/greece-shields-evros-border-blades-wire-400-border-guards

      #militarisation_des_frontières

    • Pour la bagatelle de 63 millions d’euro...

      Greece to extend fence on land border with Turkey to deter migrants

      Greece will proceed with plans to extend a cement and barbed-wire fence that it set up in 2012 along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, the government said on Monday.

      The conservative government made the decision this year, spokesman Stelios Petsas said, after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter EU member Greece in late February when Ankara said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.

      Greece, which is at odds with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, has been a gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, with more than a million passing through the country in 2015-2016.

      The project led by four Greek construction companies will be completed within eight months at an estimated cost of 63 million euros, Petsas told a news briefing.

      The 12.5-kilometre fence was built eight years ago to stop migrants from crossing into Greece. It will be extended in areas indicated by Greek police and the army, Petsas said without elaborating. In March, he said it would be extended to 40 kilometres.

      Tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, who disagree over where their continental shelves begin and end, have recently escalated further over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region.

      https://kdal610.com/2020/08/24/greece-to-extend-fence-on-land-border-with-turkey-to-deter-migrants

    • Greece to extend fence on land border with Turkey to deter migrants

      Greece will proceed with plans to extend a cement and barbed-wire fence that it set up in 2012 along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, the government said on Monday.

      The conservative government made the decision this year, spokesman Stelios Petsas said, after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter EU member Greece in late February when Ankara said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.

      Greece, which is at odds with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, has been a gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, with more than a million passing through the country in 2015-2016.

      The project led by four Greek construction companies will be completed within eight months at an estimated cost of 63 million euros, Petsas told a news briefing.

      The 12.5-kilometre fence was built eight years ago to stop migrants from crossing into Greece. It will be extended in areas indicated by Greek police and the army, Petsas said without elaborating. In March, he said it would be extended to 40 kilometres.

      Tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, who disagree over where their continental shelves begin and end, have recently escalated further over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region.

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-turkey-fence/greece-to-extend-fence-on-land-border-with-turkey-to-deter-migrants-idUK

    • Evros land border fence to be ready in eight months

      The construction of a new fence on northeastern Greece’s Evros land border with Turkey will be completed in eight months, according to Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, speaking in Parliament on Monday.

      The border fence project has a total budget of 62.9 million euros and has been undertaken by a consortium put together by four construction companies.

      It will have a total length of 27 kilometers and eight elevated observatories will be constructed to be used by the Hellenic Army.

      Moreover, the existing fence will be reinforced with a steel railing measuring 4.3 meters in height, instead of the current 3.5 meters.

      Damage to the existing fence during attempts by thousands of migrants to cross into Greece territory from Turkey, as well as bad weather, will be repaired – including a 400-meter stretch that collapsed as a result of flooding.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/256184/article/ekathimerini/news/evros-land-border-fence-to-be-ready-in-eight-months

    • New Evros fence to be completed by April next year, PM says during on-site inspection

      Construction of a new fence designed to stop undocumented migrants from slipping into Greece along its northeastern border with Turkey, demarcated by the Evros River, is expected to be completed by April next year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a visit at the area of Ferres on Saturday.

      “Building the Evros fence was the least we could do to secure the border and make the people of Evros feel more safe,” Mitsotakis said.

      The 62.9-million-euro steel fence with barbed wire will be five meters high and have a total length of 27 kilometers. Eight elevated observatories will be constructed to be used by the Hellenic Army. The project, which is designed to also serve as anti-flood protection, has been undertaken by a consortium put together by four construction companies.

      During a meeting with local officials, Mitsotakis also confirmed the hiring of 400 guards to patrol the border.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/258187/article/ekathimerini/news/new-evros-fence-to-be-completed-by-april-next-year-pm-says-during-on-s

    • To Vima: Evros wall will be ready in April, the Min. of Public
      Order said that ’labourers worked in the snow to finish the fence’.
      It also claims drones fly daily over the border - can anyone confirm? Only found older news saying they were to be deployed.

      https://twitter.com/lk2015r/status/1363625427307278340

      –—

      Εβρος : Ο φράκτης, τα drones και ο χιονιάς

      O καινούργιος φράκτης στα σύνορα με μήκος 27 χιλιόμετρα και με 13 χιλιόμετρα ο παλαιός, θα είναι απόλυτα έτοιμος τον Απρίλιο.

      Ούτε το χιόνι, ούτε οι λευκές νύχτες του Φεβρουαρίου, ούτε οι θερμοκρασίες κάτω από το μηδέν εμπόδισαν τα συνεργεία στις εργασίες τους για την κατασκευή του φράκτη στον Έβρο. Όπως μου είπε ο Μιχάλης Χρυσοχοΐδης « μηχανήματα και εργάτες δούλεψαν μέσα στα χιόνια για να ολοκληρώσουν τον φράκτη ». Μου αποκάλυψε μάλιστα ότι ο καινούργιος φράκτης στα σύνορα με μήκος 27 χιλιόμετρα και με 13 χιλιόμετρα ο παλαιός, θα είναι απόλυτα έτοιμος τον Απρίλιο. Και τούτο παρά το γεγονός ότι αυτές τις ημέρες το μόνον που δυσκολεύει τις εργασίες είναι τα πολλά νερά του ποταμού ο οποίος έχει υπερχειλίσει. Ωστόσο τα drones πετούν καθημερινά και συλλέγουν πληροφορίες, οι περιπολίες είναι συνεχείς και τα ηχοβολιστικά μηχανήματα έτοιμα, εάν χρειαστεί να δράσουν.

      https://www.tovima.gr/2021/02/19/opinions/evros-o-fraktis-ta-drones-kai-o-xionias

    • In post-pandemic Europe, migrants will face digital fortress

      As the world begins to travel again, Europe is sending migrants a loud message: Stay away!

      Greek border police are firing bursts of deafening noise from an armored truck over the frontier into Turkey. Mounted on the vehicle, the long-range acoustic device, or “sound cannon,” is the size of a small TV set but can match the volume of a jet engine.

      It’s part of a vast array of physical and experimental new digital barriers being installed and tested during the quiet months of the coronavirus pandemic at the 200-kilometer (125-mile) Greek border with Turkey to stop people entering the European Union illegally.

      A new steel wall, similar to recent construction on the US-Mexico border, blocks commonly-used crossing points along the Evros River that separates the two countries.

      Nearby observation towers are being fitted with long-range cameras, night vision, and multiple sensors. The data will be sent to control centers to flag suspicious movement using artificial intelligence analysis.

      “We will have a clear ‘pre-border’ picture of what’s happening,” Police Maj. Dimonsthenis Kamargios, head of the region’s border guard authority, told the Associated Press.

      The EU has poured 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) into security tech research following the refugee crisis in 2015-16, when more than 1 million people – many escaping wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – fled to Greece and on to other EU countries.

      The automated surveillance network being built on the Greek-Turkish border is aimed at detecting migrants early and deterring them from crossing, with river and land patrols using searchlights and long-range acoustic devices.

      Key elements of the network will be launched by the end of the year, Kamargios said. “Our task is to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. We need modern equipment and tools to do that.”

      Researchers at universities around Europe, working with private firms, have developed futuristic surveillance and verification technology, and tested more than a dozen projects at Greek borders.

      AI-powered lie detectors and virtual border-guard interview bots have been piloted, as well as efforts to integrate satellite data with footage from drones on land, air, sea and underwater. Palm scanners record the unique vein pattern in a person’s hand to use as a biometric identifier, and the makers of live camera reconstruction technology promise to erase foliage virtually, exposing people hiding near border areas.

      Testing has also been conducted in Hungary, Latvia and elsewhere along the eastern EU perimeter.

      The more aggressive migration strategy has been advanced by European policymakers over the past five years, funding deals with Mediterranean countries outside the bloc to hold migrants back and transforming the EU border protection agency, Frontex, from a coordination mechanism to a full-fledged multinational security force.

      But regional migration deals have left the EU exposed to political pressure from neighbors.

      Earlier this month, several thousand migrants crossed from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in a single day, prompting Spain to deploy the army. A similar crisis unfolded on the Greek-Turkish border and lasted three weeks last year.

      Greece is pressing the EU to let Frontex patrol outside its territorial waters to stop migrants reaching Lesbos and other Greek islands, the most common route in Europe for illegal crossing in recent years.

      Armed with new tech tools, European law enforcement authorities are leaning further outside borders.

      Not all the surveillance programs being tested will be included in the new detection system, but human rights groups say the emerging technology will make it even harder for refugees fleeing wars and extreme hardship to find safety.

      Patrick Breyer, a European lawmaker from Germany, has taken an EU research authority to court, demanding that details of the AI-powered lie detection program be made public.

      “What we are seeing at the borders, and in treating foreign nationals generally, is that it’s often a testing field for technologies that are later used on Europeans as well. And that’s why everybody should care, in their own self-interest,” Breyer of the German Pirates Party told the AP.

      He urged authorities to allow broad oversight of border surveillance methods to review ethical concerns and prevent the sale of the technology through private partners to authoritarian regimes outside the EU.

      Ella Jakubowska, of the digital rights group EDRi, argued that EU officials were adopting “techno-solutionism” to sideline moral considerations in dealing with the complex issue of migration.

      “It is deeply troubling that, time and again, EU funds are poured into expensive technologies which are used in ways that criminalize, experiment with and dehumanize people on the move,” she said.

      Migration flows have slowed in many parts of Europe during the pandemic, interrupting an increase recorded over years. In Greece, for example, the number of arrivals dropped from nearly 75,000 in 2019 to 15,700 in 2020, a 78% decrease.

      But the pressure is sure to return. Between 2000 and 2020, the world’s migrant population rose by more than 80% to reach 272 million, according to United Nations data, fast outpacing international population growth.

      At the Greek border village of Poros, the breakfast discussion at a cafe was about the recent crisis on the Spanish-Moroccan border.

      Many of the houses in the area are abandoned and in a gradual state of collapse, and life is adjusting to that reality.

      Cows use the steel wall as a barrier for the wind and rest nearby.

      Panagiotis Kyrgiannis, a Poros resident, says the wall and other preventive measures have brought migrant crossings to a dead stop.

      “We are used to seeing them cross over and come through the village in groups of 80 or a 100,” he said. “We were not afraid. … They don’t want to settle here. All of this that’s happening around us is not about us.”

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1162084/in-post-pandemic-europe-migrants-will-face-digital-fortress

      #pandémie #covid-19 #coronavirus #barrière_digitale #mur_digital #pré-mur #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #détecteurs_de_mensonge #satellite #biométrie #Hongrie #Lettonie #Frontex #surveillance #privatisation #techno-solutionism #déshumanisation

    • Greece: EU Commission upgrades border surveillance – and criticises it at the same time

      The Greek border police are using a sound cannon and drones on a new border fence, and the EU Commission expresses its „concern“ about this. However, it is itself funding several similar research projects, including a semi-autonomous drone with stealth features for „effective surveillance of borders and migration flows“

      On Monday, the Associated Press (AP) news agency had reported (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-europe-migration-technology-health-c23251bec65ba45205a0851fab07e) that police in Greece plan to deploy a long-range sound cannon at the external border with Turkey in the future. The device, mounted on a police tank, makes a deafening noise with the volume of a jet engine. It is part of a system of steel walls that is being installed and tested along with drones on the 200-kilometre border with Turkey for migration defence. The vehicle, made by the Canadian manufacturer #Streit, comes from a series of seized „#Typhoons“ (https://defencereview.gr/mrap-vehicles-hellenic-police) that were to be illegally exported to Libya via Dubai (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/streit-libya-un-1.3711776).

      After the AP report about the sound cannons went viral, Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz had clarified that it was not an EU project (https://twitter.com/Ad4EU/status/1400010786064437248).

      Yesterday, AP reported again on this (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-europe-migration-government-and-politics-2cec83ae0d8544a719a885a). According to Jahnz, the Commission has „noted with concern“ the installation of the technology and is requesting information on its use. Methods used in EU member states would have to comply with European fundamental rights, including the „right to dignity“. The right to asylum and the principle of non-refoulement in states where refugees face persecution must also be respected.

      The Commission’s outrage is anything but credible. After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used refugees to storm the Turkish-Greek border in March 2020, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled to the border river Evros before the start of a Frontex mission and declared her solidarity there. Literally, the former German Defence Minister said (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_380): „I thank Greece for being our European shield“.

      Commission funds research on border surveillance

      Also yesterday, the Commission-funded #ROBORDER project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/740593/de) said in a statement (https://roborder.eu/2021/06/03/new-collaboration-with-borderuas-project) that it is now cooperating with the #BorderUAS project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/883272/de). Both are about the use of drones. The police in Greece are involved and the applications are to be tested there.

      The acronym ROBORDER stands for „#Autonomous_Swarm_of_Heterogeneous_Robots_for_Border_Surveillance“. It works with drones on water, on land and in the air. In Greece, for example, a drone is to be used to detect „unauthorised sea border crossing“ (https://roborder.eu/the-project/demonstrators), as well as an aircraft from the #Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with a surveillance test platform, #radar systems and thermal imaging cameras.

      All drones in ROBORDER are supposed to be able to operate in swarms. They are controlled via a mobile control centre from the German company #Elettronica. This „#Multipurpose_Mission_Support_Vehicle“ (#MUROS) is used to collect all recorded data (https://www.elettronica.de/de/produkte/oeffentliche-sicherheit-integration). The project, which will soon come to an end, will cost around nine million euros, of which the EU Commission will pay the largest share.

      High-resolution cameras on lighter-than-air drones

      The acronym BorderUAS means „#Semi-Autonomous_Border_Surveillance_Platform_with_a_High-Resolution_Multi-Sensor_Surveillance_Payload“. Border authorities, police forces as well as companies and institutes mainly from Eastern Europe and Greece want to use it to investigate so-called lighter-than-air drones.

      These can be small zeppelins or balloons that are propelled by alternative propulsion systems and have a multitude of sensors and cameras. The participating company #HiperSfera (https://hipersfera.hr) from Croatia markets such systems for border surveillance, for example.

      The project aims to prevent migration on the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route, the Western Balkan route and across the EU’s eastern external land border. According to the project description, these account for 58 percent of all detected irregular border crossings. BorderUAS ends in 2023, and the technology will be tested by police forces in Greece, Ukraine and Belarus until then. The Commission is funding the entire budget with around seven million euros.

      Civilian and military drone research

      For border surveillance, the EU Defence Agency and the Commission are funding numerous civilian and military drone projects in Greece. These include the €35 million #OCEAN2020 project (https://ocean2020.eu), which conducts research on the integration of drones and unmanned submarines into fleet formations. #ARESIBO, which costs around seven million euros (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833805/de) and on which the Greek, Portuguese and Romanian Ministries of Defence and the #NATO Research Centre are working on drone technology, will end in 2022. With another five million euros, the Commission is supporting an „#Information_Exchange_for_Command_Control_and_Coordination_Systems_at_the_Borders“ (#ANDROMEDA) (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833881/de). This also involves drones used by navies, coast guards and the police forces of the member states.

      In #CAMELOT (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/740736/de) are flying various drones from Israel and Portugal, and as in ROBORDER, a single ground station is to be used for this purpose. A scenario „illegal activity, illegal immigration persons“ is being tested with various surveillance equipment at the Evros river. The Commission is contributing eight million euros of the total sum. This year, results from #FOLDOUT (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/214861/factsheet/de) will also be tried out on the Greek-Turkish border river Evros, involving satellites, high-flying platforms and drones with technology for „through-foliage detection“ (https://foldout.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Flyer_v1_Foldout_EN_v2_Print.pdf) in the „outermost regions of the EU„. The Commission is allocating eight million euros for this as well.

      Also with EU funding, predominantly Greek partners, including drone manufacturers #ALTUS and #Intracom_Defense, as well as the Air Force, are developing a drone under the acronym LOTUS with „autonomy functions“ and stealth features for surveillance. The project manager promotes the system as suitable for „effective surveillance of borders and migration flows“ (https://www.intracomdefense.com/ide-leader-in-european-defense-programs).

      https://digit.site36.net/2021/06/04/greece-eu-commission-upgrades-border-surveillance-and-criticises-it-at

      #drones #Canada #complexe_militaro-industriel

    • La Grèce construit un mur sur sa frontière avec la Turquie

      22 août - 13h : La Grèce a annoncé vendredi avoir achevé une clôture de 40 km à sa frontière avec la Turquie et mis en place un nouveau système de #surveillance pour empêcher d’éventuels demandeurs d’asile d’essayer d’atteindre l’Europe après la prise de contrôle de l’Afghanistan par les talibans.

      La crise afghane a créé « des possibilités de flux de migrants », a déclaré le ministre de la Protection des citoyens Michalis Chrysochoidis après s’être rendu vendredi dans la région d’Evros avec le ministre de la Défense et le chef des forces armées. « Nous ne pouvons pas attendre passivement l’impact possible », a-t-il affirmé. « Nos frontières resteront sûres et inviolables. »

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/refugies-balkans-les-dernieres-infos

  • EU to end ship patrols in scaled down Operation Sophia

    The European Union will cease the maritime patrols that have rescued thousands of migrants making the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, but it will extend air missions, two diplomats said on Tuesday (26 March).

    A new agreement on the EU’s Operation Sophia was hammered out after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

    Operation Sophia’s mandate was due to expire on Sunday but should now continue for another six months with the same aim of deterring people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But it will no longer deploy ships, instead relying on air patrols and closer coordination with Libya, the diplomats said.

    “It is awkward, but this was the only way forward given Italy’s position, because nobody wanted the Sophia mission completely shut down,” one EU diplomat said.

    A second diplomat confirmed a deal had been reached and said it must be endorsed by all EU governments on Wednesday.

    The tentative deal, however, could weaken Operation Sophia’s role in saving lives in the sea where nearly 2,300 people perished last year, according to United Nations figures.

    From the more than one million refugees and migrants who made it to the bloc during a 2015 crisis, sea arrivals dropped to 141,500 people in 2018, according to the United Nations.

    Still, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, has said his country would no longer be the main point of disembarkation for people trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat and rescued by Sophia’s patrol ships.

    Rome called for other countries to open up their ports instead, but no other EU states came forward. Diplomats said countries including Spain, France and Germany signalled they were not willing to host more rescued people – most of whom are fleeing wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

    However, EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading smugglers.

    The compromise discussion in Brussels did not discuss military aspects of the role of air patrols. But the new arrangement will involve more training of the coast guard in Libya, where lawlessness has allowed smugglers to openly operate sending people to Europe by sea.

    But it would be in line with the EU’s policy of turning increasingly restrictive on Mediterranean immigration since the surge in 2015 and discouraging people from risking their lives in the sea in trying to cross to Europe where governments do not want them.

    The bloc has already curbed operations of EU aid groups in the part of the Mediterranean in question and moved its own ships further north where fewer rescues take place.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-to-end-ship-patrols-in-scaled-down-operation-sophia
    #opération_sophia #méditerranée #asile #réfugiés #sauvetage #missions_aériennes #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #mer_Méditerranée #sauvetages

    • Commissioner calls for more rescue capacity in the Mediterranean

      I take note of the decision taken by the EU’s Political and Security Committee with regards to Operation Sophia. I regret that this will lead to even fewer naval assets in the Mediterranean, which could assist the rescue of persons in distress at sea. Lives are continuing to be lost in the Mediterranean. This should remind states of the urgency to adopt a different approach, one that should ensure a sufficiently resourced and fully operational system for saving human lives at sea and to safeguard rescued migrants’ dignity.

      Whilst coastal states have the responsibility to ensure effective coordination of search and rescue operations, protecting lives in the Mediterranean requires concerted efforts of other states as well, to begin with the provision of naval assets specifically dedicated to search and rescue activities, deployed in those areas where they can make an effective contribution to saving human lives. Furthermore, I reiterate my call to all states to refrain from hindering and criminalising the work of NGOs who are trying to fill the ever-increasing gap in rescue capacity. States should rather support and co-operate with them, including by ensuring that they can use ports for their life-saving activities.

      Finally, the decision to continue only with aerial surveillance and training of the Libyan Coast Guard further increases the risks that EU member states, directly or indirectly, contribute to the return of migrants and asylum seekers to Libya, where it is well-documented, in particular recently by the United Nations, that they face serious human rights violations. So far, calls to ensure more transparency and accountability in this area, including by publishing human rights risk assessments and setting up independent monitoring mechanisms, have not been heeded. The onus is now on EU member states to show urgently that the support to the Libyan Coast Guard is not contributing to human rights violations, and to suspend this support if they cannot do so.

      https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/commissioner-calls-for-more-rescue-capacity-in-the-mediterranean
      #droits_humains #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye

    • EU to end ship patrols in scaled down migrant rescue operation: diplomats

      The European Union will cease the maritime patrols that have rescued thousands of migrants making the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, but it will extend air missions, two diplomats said on Tuesday.
      A new agreement on the EU’s Operation Sophia was hammered out after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

      Operation Sophia’s mandate was due to expire on Sunday but should now continue for another six months with the same aim of detering people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But it will no longer deploy ships, instead relying on air patrols and closer coordination with Libya, the diplomats said.

      “It is awkward, but this was the only way forward given Italy’s position, because nobody wanted the Sophia mission completely shut down,” one EU diplomat said.

      A second diplomat confirmed a deal had been reached and said it must be endorsed by all EU governments on Wednesday.

      The tentative deal, however, could weaken Operation Sophia’s role in saving lives in the sea where nearly 2,300 people perished last year, according to United Nations figures.

      From the more than one million refugees and migrants who made it to the bloc during a 2015 crisis, sea arrivals dropped to 141,500 people in 2018, according to the United Nations.

      Still, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, has said his country would no longer be the main point of disembarkation for people trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat and rescued by Sophia’s patrol ships.

      Rome called for other countries to open up their ports instead, but no other EU states came forward. Diplomats said countries including Spain, France and Germany signaled they were not willing to host more rescued people - most of whom are fleeing wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

      However, EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading smugglers.

      The compromise discussion in Brussels did not discuss military aspects of the role of air patrols. But the new arrangement will involve more training of the coast guard in Libya, where lawlessness has allowed smugglers to openly operate sending people to Europe by sea.

      But it would be in line with the EU’s policy of turning increasingly restrictive on Mediterranean immigration since the surge in 2015 and discouraging people from risking their lives in the sea in trying to cross to Europe where governments do not want them.

      The bloc has already curbed operations of EU aid groups in the part of the Mediterranean in question and moved its own ships further north where fewer rescues take place.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-sophia/eu-weighs-up-awkward-migration-compromise-on-mediterranean-mission-idUSKCN1

    • En Méditerranée, l’UE retire ses navires militaires qui ont sauvé 45.000 migrants

      Les États membres de l’Union européenne ont décidé, mercredi 27 mars, de retirer leurs navires militaires engagés en Méditerranée dans le cadre de l’opération militaire dite « Sophia », au moins temporairement. Depuis 2015, ces bateaux ont pourtant permis de sauver 45 000 migrants environ.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280319/en-mediterranee-l-ue-retire-ses-navires-militaires-qui-ont-sauve-45000-mig

    • #EUNAVFOR_MED Operation Sophia : mandate extended until 30 September 2019

      The Council today extended the mandate of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 30 September 2019.

      The Operation Commander has been instructed to suspend temporarily the deployment of the Operation’s naval assets for the duration of this extension for operational reasons. EU member states will continue to work in the appropriate fora on a solution on disembarkation as part of the follow-up to the June 2018 European Council conclusions.

      The Operation will continue to implement its mandate accordingly, strengthening surveillance by air assets as well as reinforcing support to the Libyan Coastguard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea through enhanced monitoring, including ashore, and continuation of training.

      The operation’s core mandate is to contribute to the EU’s work to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation has also supporting tasks. It trains the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and monitors the long-term efficiency of the training and it contributes to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. In addition, the operation also conducts surveillance activities and gathers information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. As such, the operation contributes to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean region.

      EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia was launched on 22 June 2015. It is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration. The Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Credendino, from Italy. The headquarters of the operation are located in Rome.

      Today’s decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure.

      https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/03/29/eunavfor-med-operation-sophia-mandate-extended-until-30-september-2

  • Soutien aux réfugiés en #Grèce : octroi d’une #aide_d'urgence de 180 millions d’euros

    La Commission européenne a annoncé aujourd’hui l’octroi d’un nouveau #financement de 180 millions d’euros pour des projets d’aide en Grèce, visant notamment à étendre le programme phare d’« #aide_d'urgence_à_l'intégration_à_l'hébergement » (#ESTIA) destiné à aider les réfugiés à trouver un #logement en zone urbaine et à l’extérieur des camps ainsi qu’à leur fournir une aide régulière en espèces.

    Ce financement intervient alors que le commissaire chargé de l’aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises, Christos Stylianides, rencontrait aujourd’hui le Premier ministre grec, Alexis Tsipras, à Athènes.

    Le programme ESTIA, lancé en juillet 2017 avec le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), est la plus grande opération d’aide menée par l’UE dans le pays, en cohérence avec la politique du gouvernement grec visant à sortir les réfugiés des camps. Jusqu’à présent, il a permis de créer plus de 23 000 places d’hébergement urbain et de mettre en place un système d’assistance pécuniaire en espèces pour plus de 41 000 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile.

    « Les programmes humanitaires que nous avons déployés en Grèce en faveur des réfugiés témoignent clairement de la solidarité européenne. Nous restons fermement déterminés à aider les réfugiés en Grèce à mener une vie plus sûre, plus normale et plus digne ainsi qu’à faciliter leur intégration dans l’économie locale et dans la société. Grâce à notre programme ESTIA, nous parvenons à améliorer concrètement la vie des gens. Je souhaite tout particulièrement rendre hommage aux citoyens et aux maires grecs qui ont accueilli des réfugiés dans leur municipalité en leur manifestant une grande attention et de l’empathie » a déclaré M. Christos Stylianides, commissaire chargé de l’aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises.

    Six autres contrats ont été signés avec le Conseil danois pour les réfugiés, l’Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, Médecins du Monde, la Croix-Rouge espagnole ainsi que les ONG grecques METAdrasi et Smile of the Child, pour répondre aux besoins humanitaires urgents en Grèce, notamment en matière d’abris, de soins de santé primaires, d’aide psychosociale, d’amélioration des conditions d’hygiène, d’éducation informelle et de services d’interprétation pour les soins de santé et la protection.

    Constituée de divers financements, l’aide globale mise à la disposition de la Grèce par la Commission européenne pour l’aider à gérer la situation humanitaire, la migration et les frontières extérieures dépasse 1,5 milliard d’euros.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-2604_fr.htm
    #Europe #UE #EU #aide #hébergement #aide_financière

    • Migration : Commission steps up emergency assistance to Spain and Greece

      The European Commission has awarded an additional €45.6 million in emergency assistance to support Spain and Greece respond to the migratory challenges they face.

      In view of increased arrivals, Spain will receive €25.6 million to improve the reception capacity for arrivals at its southern coast and in Ceuta and Melilla as well as to help increase returns. Another €20 million has been awarded to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve reception conditions in Greece, notably on the island of Lesvos.

      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said: “The Commission continues to deliver on its commitment to support Member States under pressure. Spain has seen arrival figures increase during the past year and we need to step up our support to help manage the numbers and return those who have no right to stay. And while the EU-Turkey Statement has greatly contributed to lowering the number of arrivals in Greece, the country is still facing significant migratory pressure, in particular on the islands. Over €1 billion has now been awarded in emergency assistance to help Member States manage migration.”

      With the new funding decisions an important milestone has been reached: In total, the Commission has now mobilised over €1 billion in emergency assistance to help manage migration under the current financial framework (2014-2020) – support that has gone to the Member States most affected such as Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Sweden and now also Spain.

      Spain

      €24.8 million has been awarded to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the Spanish Red Cross for a project aimed at providing healthcare, food, and shelter to migrants arriving on the southern coast of Spain and in Ceuta and Melilla.
      A further €720,000 has been awarded to the Ministry of Interior to help improve the quality of return facilities and infrastructure for return transfers.

      The emergency funding awarded to Spain comes on top of €692 million allocated to Spain for migration, border and security management under national programmes for the period 2014-2020.

      Greece

      The additional €20 million awarded to the UNHCR will be used to help manage the reception facilities in the island of Lesvos, support local community projects and provide further emergency accommodation on the islands.
      It will also go towards stepping up measures for the protection of children, non-formal education and to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

      This funding decision comes on top of more than €1.6 billion of funding support awarded by the Commission since 2015 to address migration challenges in Greece.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4342_en.htm
      #Espagne

    • Migration: Commission increases emergency assistance for Spain to €30 million [Updated on 3/8/2018 at 13:01]

      Yesterday, the Commission awarded an additional €3 million in emergency assistance under the #Internal_Security_Fund (#ISF) to support Spain in responding to the recent migratory pressure. The assistance will mainly support the costs linked to the deployment of extra staff from the Guardia Civil to the southern borders of Spain. This support brings to €30 million the emergency funding awarded to Spain since July to help the country address migratory challenges. This financial assistance comes on top of €691.7 million allocated to Spain under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) national programme 2014-2020. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 299 63444)

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-18-4834_en.htm

    • Avramopoulos in Spain to announce further EU support to tackle migration

      As Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos headed to Madrid, the European Commission announced Friday (3 August) a further €3 million in emergency aid to support Spanish border guards in curbing irregular migration.

      The new cash comes from the Internal Security Fund and aims to help cover the costs linked to the deployment of extra staff in the southern borders of Spain.

      In July this year, the EU executive awarded €24.8 million to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the Spanish Red Cross to enhance reception capabilities, health assistance, food and shelter for migrants arriving through the Western Mediterranean route.

      A further €720,000 went to the Ministry of Interior to help improve the quality of return and transfer facilities in the south of Spain, Ceuta and Melilla.

      This financial assistance comes on top of €691.7 million allocated to Spain under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund since 2014.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/avramopoulos-in-spain-to-announce-further-eu-support-to-tackle-migration/?_ga=2.232982942.1049233813.1533558974-1514184901.1489527159

    • Migration : Commission provides €24.1 million to the International Organisation for Migration to provide support, help and education for migrant children in Greece

      The European Commission has awarded €24.1 million in emergency assistance under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to support Greece in responding to migratory challenges. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will receive the funding to help ensure that migrant children can be immediately placed in a protective environment and receive education. It will notably support child-adequate accommodation, medical and psychological support, interpretation and cultural mediation as well as food provision for up to 1,200 unaccompanied minors in the Greek islands and in the mainland and facilitate formal education by providing transport and school kits. In addition, the funding will help assist migrants registered for assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes. Today’s funding decision comes on top of more than €1.6 billion of funding support awarded by the Commission since 2015 to address migration challenges in Greece. Under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), Greece has now been awarded €482.2 million in emergency funding, in addition to €561 million already awarded under these funds for the Greek national programme 2014-2020.

      v. aussi :


      https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/20181010_managing-migration-eu-financial-support-to-greece_en.pdf

    • EC provides 43.7 million euros to increase migrant reception capacity in mainland Greece

      The European Commission has awarded an additional 43.7 million euros in emergency assistance to the International Organization for Migration (#IOM) to support Greece in responding to migratory challenges, the EU’s executive body said Wednesday.

      The grant, which comes from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, is designed to support the provision of emergency shelter for up to 6,000 asylum seekers and refugees by rapidly establishing places in temporary accommodation facilities, the Commission said.

      “The funding aims to provide dignified accommodation as well as basic assistance and protection services to the most vulnerable migrants in Greece, especially in view of the upcoming winter months and the need to decongest reception facilities on the Greek islands,” it said.

      The Commission has awarded more than 1.6 billion euros in funding since 2015 to address migratory challenges in Greece.

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/234665/article/ekathimerini/news/ec-provides-437-million-euros-to-increase-migrant-reception-capacity-i
      #OIM

    • Migration et #frontières : la Commission octroie 305 millions d’euros supplémentaires aux États membres sous pression

      Cette semaine, la Commission européenne a débloqué une enveloppe supplémentaire de 305 millions d’euros d’aide d’urgence afin de soutenir la #Grèce, l’#Italie, #Chypre et la #Croatie dans le domaine de la gestion des migrations et des frontières.

      Ces moyens financiers soutiendront les efforts déployés pour accroître les capacités d’#accueil, protéger les victimes de la traite des êtres humains et renforcer les capacités de surveillance et de #gestion_des_frontières.

      M. Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissaire pour la migration, les affaires intérieures et la citoyenneté, a déclaré à cette occasion : « La Commission est résolue à continuer de soutenir les États membres soumis à une #pression_migratoire. Les 305 millions d’euros supplémentaires attribués cette semaine à plusieurs pays permettront de répondre à des besoins urgents, en faisant en sorte que les nouveaux migrants arrivés dans ces pays soient hébergés convenablement et reçoivent de la #nourriture et de l’#eau, que la #sûreté et la #sécurité des personnes les plus vulnérables soient garanties et que les #contrôles_aux_frontières soient renforcés, si nécessaire. »

      Ce #financement_d'urgence, qui sera accordé au titre du Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » (#AMIF) et du #Fonds_pour_la_sécurité_intérieure (#FSI) de la Commission, constitue une partie des 10,8 milliards d’euros déjà mobilisés par la Commission en faveur de la gestion des migrations et des frontières et de la sécurité intérieure pour la période 2014-2020.

      Grèce

      La Commission débloque 289 millions d’euros pour soutenir la gestion des migrations en Grèce. Cette enveloppe sera répartie comme suit :

      Hébergements locatifs et allocations : 190 millions d’euros seront versés au Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (#HCR) pour permettre la poursuite du programme #ESTIA (#aide_d'urgence_à_l'intégration_et_à_l'hébergement). Ce programme fournit des #logements en location permettant d’accueillir jusqu’à 25 000 demandeurs d’asile et réfugiés et distribue des #allocations mensuelles en espèces pour un maximum de 70 000 personnes. Le HCR recevra également un autre montant de 5 millions d’euros afin d’augmenter encore la capacité d’#accueil dans les nouveaux #centres_d'accueil ouverts en Grèce continentale, en mettant à disposition et en distribuant 400 conteneurs préfabriqués.
      Conditions d’accueil : 61 millions d’euros iront à l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (#OIM) et au Fonds international de secours à l’enfance des Nations unies (#UNICEF), pour permettre la poursuite des programmes d’appui sur le terrain dans les centres d’accueil en Grèce continentale. Ces programmes englobent l’#accès_aux_soins de santé et à l’#éducation non formelle, la création de zones de sécurité spécifiques pour les #mineurs_non_accompagnés, ainsi que des formations destinées au personnel opérationnel.
      Recherche et sauvetage : 33 millions d’euros destinés aux garde-côtes grecs permettront de couvrir une partie des frais de fonctionnement afférents aux activités de connaissance de la situation maritime en mer Égée et contribueront à assurer des débarquements sûrs et une prise en charge efficiente des migrants à la suite d’opérations de recherche et sauvetage.
      Adaptation aux conditions hivernales : l’OIM recevra, pour soutenir ses préparatifs, 357 000 euros supplémentaires afin de fournir des couvertures, des vestes d’hiver et des kits d’hivernage dans les infrastructures d’accueil sur les îles grecques et dans la région de l’Évros.

      La Commission a mis plus de 2 milliards d’euros à la disposition de la Grèce pour la gestion des migrations, dont près de 1,5 milliard d’euros à titre d’aide financière d’urgence (voir la fiche d’information pour en savoir plus).

      Italie

      La Commission octroie 5,3 millions d’euros d’aide financière d’urgence aux autorités italiennes pour contribuer à protéger les victimes de la traite des êtres humains dans le contexte migratoire. Dans le cadre d’un projet pilote mené dans des centres d’hébergement de demandeurs d’asile dans la région du Piémont, le financement servira à identifier les victimes de la traite des êtres humains et à les encourager à recourir aux possibilités d’assistance à leur disposition.

      Depuis le début de la crise migratoire, la Commission a mis à disposition près de 950 millions d’euros pour soutenir la gestion des migrations et des frontières en Italie. Ce financement comprend un montant de plus de 225 millions d’euros d’aide d’urgence et 724 millions d’euros déjà alloués à l’Italie au titre de ses programmes nationaux relevant du Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » et du Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure 2014-2020 (voir la fiche d’information pour en savoir plus).

      Chypre

      La Commission accorde 3,1 millions d’euros à Chypre pour que ce pays renforce sa capacité d’accueil et transforme le centre d’urgence temporaire « #Pournaras » en un centre de premier accueil à part entière. Grâce à ce financement, le centre deviendra un centre de formalités universel pouvant fonctionner 24 heures sur 24 et 7 jours sur 7. Les services assurés sur place comprendront l’examen médical, l’#enregistrement, le relevé des #empreintes_digitales, le #filtrage, la fourniture d’informations et la possibilité de présenter une demande d’asile.

      L’aide d’urgence s’inscrit dans le cadre des efforts déployés par la Commission pour renforcer l’appui à la gestion des migrations en faveur de Chypre, après l’augmentation considérable du nombre d’arrivées que ce pays a connue au cours de l’année 2018. Ce nouveau financement vient s’ajouter à près de 40 millions d’euros alloués à la gestion des migrations pour la période 2014-2020, et à près de 1 million d’euros d’aide d’urgence alloué en 2014 pour les questions migratoires. Le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile déploie actuellement 29 agents chargés de dossiers afin d’aider Chypre à résorber l’arriéré de demandes d’asile consécutif à l’augmentation des arrivées au cours des dernières années.

      Croatie

      La Commission accorde 6,8 millions d’euros à la Croatie pour aider ce pays à renforcer la gestion des frontières extérieures de l’UE, dans le strict respect des règles de l’UE. Cette enveloppe permettra de renforcer la surveillance des frontières et les capacités des services répressifs, en couvrant les coûts opérationnels (indemnités journalières, compensation des heures supplémentaires et équipements) de dix postes de police des frontières. Un mécanisme de suivi sera mis en place afin de faire en sorte que toutes les mesures appliquées aux frontières extérieures de l’UE soient proportionnées et respectent pleinement les droits fondamentaux et la législation de l’Union en matière d’asile.

      Le montant octroyé aujourd’hui porte l’aide d’urgence totale en faveur de la gestion des migrations et des frontières allouée à la Croatie par la Commission à près de 23,2 millions d’euros. Cette somme s’ajoute à près de 108 millions d’euros alloués à la Croatie au titre des programmes nationaux relevant du Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » et du Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure 2014-2020.

      Contexte

      Le soutien opérationnel et financier de l’Union joue un rôle déterminant pour aider les États membres à relever les défis migratoires depuis 2015.

      Le soutien de l’UE a également pris la forme d’une aide financière sans précédent accordée au titre du budget de l’UE à des partenaires – non seulement des autorités nationales, mais aussi des organisations internationales et des organisations non gouvernementales. En plus des dotations initiales pour la période 2014-2020 s’élevant à 6,9 milliards d’euros pour le Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » (AMIF) et le Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure (#FSI_frontières_et_police), un montant supplémentaire de 3,9 milliards d’euros a été mobilisé en faveur de la gestion des migrations et des frontières et de la sécurité intérieure, pour atteindre 10,8 milliards d’euros.

      En outre, tirant les leçons de l’expérience, et compte tenu du fait que la gestion des migrations et des frontières demeurera un défi à l’avenir, la Commission a également proposé d’augmenter fortement les financements en la matière au titre du prochain budget de l’UE pour la période 2021-2027.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6884_fr.htm
      #traite_d'êtres_humains #surveillance_des_frontières #santé #MNA #IOM #Evros #Fonds_Asile_migration_et_intégration #tri #catégorisation

  • Un texte écrit par le grand chef de #Frontex lui-même... #Fabrice_Leggeri, sur les #frontières, évidemment...

    Safeguarding borders for an open Europe

    Freedom of movement is a right enshrined in the European Union’s area of freedom, security and justice. But it is only by protecting the EU’s external borders that this freedom can continue to exist, writes Fabrice Leggeri.
    At the same time, returning to the old system of checking passports and customs papers at every border within the EU would not only damage mutual trust but could do irreparable harm to our economies.

    But even though a recent study by the European Parliament found that the indefinite suspension of the Schengen Area could cost up to €230 billion over a period of 10 years, the concept of the area of freedom, security and justice has taken a series of hard knocks over the last few years.

    This was due in part to the influx of refugees that began with the deterioration of the situation in Syria. Then there were the terror attacks that have taken place on European soil with horrifying frequency have aroused fears for security, a topic that surveys show is high on the list of priorities of EU citizens.

    In seeking remedies, we must not frame migration as a security problem. Indeed, conflating these issues would play into the hands of the very extremists we are struggling to defeat. However, we need stable borders, and for this, we need new and innovative European solutions.

    The recent transformation of Frontex into the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is just such a solution. It allows us to move beyond our former focus on migration and migratory flows to safeguarding the security of the EU’s external borders, including the crucial fight against organised crime.

    It is a tough task. But our increased budget and expanded mandate give us invaluable tools to assess weaknesses in the border control capabilities of member states and address them by making specific recommendations, such as modernising equipment, deploying additional officers to particular sections of the border, providing training to frontline practitioners, or in some places improving the reception and registration facilities for newly arrived migrants.

    With a coastline of almost 66,000 km and land borders of more than 13,000 km, Europe is only as secure as its external borders. And on the basis of our own findings and analysis, we know there are indeed many dangers lurking, from the human traffickers through to the many tonnes of hard drugs and weapons seized with our help on their way into the EU.

    That is why we now have more than 1,700 officers deployed at the EU’s external borders to assist member states. The new mandate has also allowed us to establish a large pool of officers committed by national authorities, who can be rapidly deployed in case of proven threats.

    So Frontex is increasingly moving from a supporting role to coordinating and complementing the work of our partners in the member states, and this trend will strengthen further over the next decade.

    However, we will still remain only one piece of the puzzle. Our colleagues in the European Commission and Parliament are another. And the many remaining pieces are made up of the national border and coast guards, the frontline workers at the EU’s borders and their brave colleagues out on the high seas. It is together with them, and only together, that Frontex forms the European border and coast guard.

    Since its inception in 2004, Frontex has found itself the brunt of criticism, either that the agency is trying to create ‘Fortress Europe’, ignoring the needs of those fleeing war and persecution; or conversely, that it is not being tough enough on protecting the EU’s external borders.

    Of concern to me is not so much that the errors at the root of this critique indicate a lack of understanding of our work, but – far more importantly – of the issues at stake.

    For border security is not a matter of encouraging unfounded suspicions, or indiscriminately excluding those who need our help. In fact, it is quite the reverse.

    By improving our risk analysis, intelligence sharing, and surveillance techniques, we ensure that the needs of people seeking international protection from war or persecution are met, while those who could endanger our security are detected and dealt with appropriately.

    And strengthening our borders is not just about irregular migrants. Since March 2017, everybody crossing the EU’s external borders legally has been checked. And the EU is at an advanced stage of establishing a system similar to the one used in the US, to check that visitors from countries exempt from visa requirements do not pose a threat of any kind during their stay.

    As Frontex continues to expand, there is nonetheless one thing that will not change. Rescuing people in danger is an essential part of our mandate wherever Frontex is active at the EU’s maritime borders.

    Indeed, I would go so far as to say that respect for fundamental rights is an integral component of effective border management. The agency is bound by the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, and Frontex has advanced mechanisms for recording potential or alleged violations.

    Finally, I must make the point that border management is not the answer to all Europe’s challenges, just as it is not an ersatz for migration policy. If we want to put an end to the drowning in the Mediterranean and the deaths in the Sahel, we need to work harder and cooperate more closely to eliminate the root causes of migration, from armed conflict through to famine.

    At the same time (and as reiterated by the European Commission on numerous occasions), we need to offer those in need of international protection legal paths to enter the EU. This would not only save lives but also cut off financing for the criminal smuggling rings currently making a fortune out of the misery of their fellow humans.

    So we are speaking here not just about migration or borders, but about the EU and our own future. Some people took the events of 2015 and the ongoing crisis to claim that the EU has failed as a project and belongs on the rubbish heap of history. I believe the opposite.

    With the creation of the European Border and Coast Guard, the EU has embarked on a new stage of its journey. There is no single country that can safeguard its citizens from internationally organised crime, and at the same time meet its humanitarian obligations to assist those fleeing persecution.

    If protecting our external borders and safeguarding free movement really matters to us, then it is time to speak out for Europe, and for the additional resources needed at the regional and national level to avoid a repeat of 2015. This would serve the interests not just of a few, but of everyone in the EU.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/opinion/safeguarding-borders-for-an-open-europe
    #frontières_extérieures #ouverture_des_frontières #fermeture_des_frontières #liberté_de_mouvement (mais que à l’intérieur de l’Europe c’est une bonne chose, nous suggère #Leggeri)

    Je me suis permise de corriger son titre, sur twitter :

    Wrong. Here is the correct version of your title, Mr @fabriceleggeri: “Opening #borders for safeguarding #Europe

    https://twitter.com/EURACTIV/status/970618491765231616

    cc @isskein

    • Un commentaire sur FB, de Yasha Maccanico :

      Perfect comment, Cristina! ... Frontex should have been disbanded in 2014 because in 10 years since its creation it had undermined everything that is worthwhile about Europe, including freedom of movement, and betrayed the EU to promote the corporate plunder of its resources by security and technology firms. It is currently the agency for the institutionalisation of racism and discrimination, for the systematic violation of human rights, for the funding of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes to entrap their citizens and promote racism against foreigners who may be making their way towards Europe, for the subordination of humanity to procedures to enable its control technologies to function and mistreat human beings who disobey. Its role alongside the Commission in the European Agenda on Migration has been subversive and has successfully pushed Italy and other states towards intolerance and in a nationalist-fascist direction for the purpose of fighting so-called irregular migration. What it terms safeguarding borders means mass murder, the mass detention and abuse of people and the violation of every existing right and legal safeguard to disempower its targets. Leggeri and Avramopoulos need to be held to account for this... every penny (or cent) spent on Frontex and on fighting so-called irregular immigration works against Europe and the EU, degrading both. The economic and ethical cost of what they are doing is enormous...

      https://www.facebook.com/cristina.delbiaggio/posts/10155014609560938?comment_id=10155014873480938

  • Migrants et réfugiés : la #Bosnie-Herzégovine, nouveau #pays_de_transit ?

    La « #route_des_Balkans » est fermée depuis mars 2016, mais de plus en plus de réfugiés et migrants traversent la Bosnie-Herzégovine pour se rendre en Croatie avant de rejoindre les pays de l’Europe occidentale.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-Herzeovine-refugies
    #Bosnie #transit #parcours_migratoires #itinéraires_migratoires #routes_migratoires #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #nouvelle_route_des_balkans

    • Migrants take new Balkan route through Bosnia

      A new Balkan route through Bosnia has opened up for migrants, four years after a crisis in which more than one million people landed on Europe’s shores.

      Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, took the so-called Balkans route northwest of Greece in 2015 and 2016.

      The route was effectively closed in March 2016 and until recently the few still making the journey avoided Bosnia and its mountains.

      Instead they opted for a route through Serbia before dodging the Croatian and Hungarian authorities in order to make it into the European Union (EU).

      But now an alternative migrants’ itinerary from Greece through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia has emerged.

      The route, according to a western diplomatic source, matches the one taken by arms and drugs traffickers, indicating that human smuggling networks have been established.

      – Thousands paid to people smugglers -

      One migrant Ahmed Wessam, who spoke to AFP in Sarajevo, left the northeastern Syrian town of Hassake a month ago having paid people smugglers to get him to Europe.

      “A thousand dollars (800 euros) to go from Turkey to Greece, a thousand euros to go from Greece to Albania and so on,” Wessam told AFP.

      According to Bosnian authorities, since the beginning of the year 700 migrants have entered the country illegally and almost 800 were intercepted at the border.

      Most of them are Syrians, Pakistanis, Libyans or Afghans.

      The authorities fear that the end of the cold weather could spell a big hike in numbers.

      “We have no capacity to accept thousands of refugees... although they do not want to stay in Bosnia,” Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said recently.

      Head of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the Balkans Stephane Moissaing dismissed concerns of a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis.

      However, the Bosnian authorities should “handle (the situation) in a humane way, so it does not become a real humanitarian crisis”, he said.

      The country’s current reception capacities are limited to a centre for asylum-seekers near Sarajevo, with space for just 154 people.

      The situation “gets complicated,” Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic admitted recently, stating that there were currently between 45,000 and 50,000 migrants between Greece and Bosnia, many of whom might try their luck through Bosnia.

      The border with Croatia, an EU member state, is 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) long and Sarajevo has only 2,000 border police officers.

      According to Nidzara Ahmetasevic, a volunteer working with migrants in Sarajevo, the number of migrants in the country “is at least double” what the official figures show.

      “We are in contact with more than 300 people. We have found a solution (in terms of accommodation) for some 50, but we could fill two more houses of that size,” she said.

      – Baby due -

      Initially intended to be a hostel in a Sarajevo suburb, the large building where Wessam and his relatives have been staying has individual rooms equipped with toilets.

      The house was made available by a Bosnian who lives abroad.

      Samira Samadi, 35, another migrant staying there, left the central Iranian town of Ispahan in early 2017 along with her husband.

      She takes advantage of an MSF doctor’s visit to check if her pregnancy is proceeding well.

      “I want to go to Germany but... because of my wife’s pregnancy we can’t continue,” her husband Anoush Orak said.

      “We will probably wait here for the birth of our child.”

      The couple have already tried to illegally enter Croatia but the snow and forests put them off.

      Wessam, however, will depart in a “week, maybe 10 days”.

      “I do not know how to cross the border but we will try and retry. We have already crossed many times,” he said.

      http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/migrants-take-new-balkan-route-through-bosnia/article/518216

    • Migrants en Bosnie-Herzégovine : l’appel à l’aide de #Bihać

      Confrontés à la fermeture des frontières des Balkans, les candidats à l’exil tentent de trouver des routes alternatives. Depuis plusieurs mois, la Bosnie-Herzégovine fait ainsi face à une très forte hausse des passages illégaux. Le maire de Bihać, à la frontière croate, lance un S.O.S : la situation est hors de contrôle dans sa ville.

      Depuis le début de l’année, Bihać fait face à une hausse exponentielle d’arrivées de migrants. Située au nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, cette ville de 50 000 habitants se trouve en effet tout près de la frontière avec la Croatie, porte d’entrée dans l’Union européenne.

      La municipalité tente d’apporter son aide, mais elle n’a pas les capacités pour accueillir ces centaines de migrants. Face à l’urgence, le maire a fini par lancer un appel à l’aide il y a quelques jours. « Nous cherchons une solution car nous ne pouvons plus gérer la situation », a expliqué Šuhret Fazlić. « Les gens s’installent dans les parcs, dans la rue et entrent dans les bâtiments désaffectés. Nous ne pouvons plus attendre, la situation menace de devenir une catastrophe humanitaire. »

      « À Bihać, nous avons connu la guerre, la faim et l’isolement. Nous ne pouvons pas détourner le regard, nous sommes face à un problème sécuritaire. Des cas de maltraitance ont été constatés », s’inquiète le maire. Les autorités au niveau national, compétentes pour les questions migratoires, continuent pourtant d’ignorer les appels à l’aide des autorités locales. Selon le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les Réfugiés (UNHCR), plus de 500 migrants ont été enregistrés à Bihać ces derniers jours.

      Lors d’un entretien avec l’ambassadrice slovène en Bosnie-Herzégovine, le Premier ministre du canton d’#Una-Sana, auquel est rattachée Bihać, a déclaré qu’il n’y aurait dans la région « ni construction, ni mise en place de camps ou de centres d’accueil pour les réfugiés ». Selon le ministère de l’Intérieur du canton d’Una-Sana, la police croate renverrait illégalement les migrants vers la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Migrants-Bihac

    • Le UNHCR appelle la Bosnie-Herzégovine à augmenter ses capacités d’accueil

      29 avril 2018 – 21h30 Le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies aux réfugiés (UNHCR) appelé les autorités de Bosnie-Herzégovine à augmenter leurs capacités d’accueil en raison du nombre croissants de migrants et de réfugiés qui traversent le pays et qui, pour certains, veulent y demander l’asile. Pour l’instant, il existe un seul centre d’accueil pour les demandeurs d’asile, à Delijaš près de Trnovo, avec une capacité de 150 lits. Un autre centre pourrait ouvrir à Salakovac, près de Mostar, avec une capacité d’accueil de 100 à 120 lits. Le UNHCR a déjà investi 500 000 marks (environ 250 000 euros) pour sa réhabilitation.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/les-dernieres-infos-nuit-violences-lesbos

    • Che cosa sta succedendo in Bosnia?

      Da dicembre dell’anno scorso, la Bosnia è stata testimone di un flusso di persone sempre crescente in fuga dalla guerra. I volontari, quotidianamente presenti sul campo, sono molto preoccupati per il fatto che l’assenza e la mancanza di una risposta da parte delle istituzioni e delle organizzazioni non governative possa portare ad un tracollo della situazione.

      La Bosnia sta diventando la parte finale del collo della bottiglia lungo quella che potrebbe essere definita la nuova “rotta balcanica” di cui questo Paese non ha mai fatto parte. Si tratta di uno stato povero, uscito da pochi anni dalla guerra, circondato da montagne aspre e di difficile accesso, per terreni ancora pieni di mine anti-uomo. Nonostante tutto, è diventato un Paese di transito per i migranti che, nel tentativo di evitare la violenza della polizia ungherese e i respingimenti della polizia croata, più volte documentati da Are You Syrious, hanno intrapreso la via bosniaca.

      Secondo i dati dell’UNHCR, nelle prime due settimane di aprile sono stati registrati 13 casi di respingimenti dalla Bosnia verso la Serbia. I volontari che da un anno stanno documentando le violenze al confine serbo-ungherese sono pronti a spostarsi lungo il confine con la Bosnia per monitorare la situazione. Per il momento il confine tra la Bosnia e la Croazia, lungo 900 km, è a corto di personale e questo rende ancora facile l’attraversamento. Tuttavia, proprio questa settimana, l’UE ha deciso di stanziare nuovi fondi per aumentare il pattugliamento lungo le frontiere anche se non si sa bene dove verranno intensificati i controlli. Secondo quanto dichiarato da Dragan Mektić, il ministro della sicurezza in Bosnia Erzegovina, per proteggere i confini, servirebbero almeno 500 poliziotti di frontiera.

      Una pericolosa assenza da parte del governo e delle ong

      Il governo bosniaco ha dichiarato che non è in grado di farsi carico di un numero crescente di rifugiati. A febbraio Borislav Bojić, presidente della commissione parlamentare per i diritti umani, aveva avvertito che i fondi stanziati per la crisi migratoria sarebbero finiti a fine maggio. Tuttavia, recentemente, ha dichiarato di riuscire a gestire la situazione.

      Nell’unico centro per l’asilo a Delijaš vicino a Sarajevo, ci sono circa 160 posti, ovviamente costantemente occupati. Secondo quanto si legge nel rapporto pubblicato da Human Rights Watch, il governo, assieme ai partner internazionali, dovrebbe impegnarsi perché i diritti umani e la legge sui rifugiati vengano rispettati. Tuttavia nella realtà la situazione è molto preoccupante nonostante le dichiarazioni del rappresentante dell’Organizzazione Internazionale delle Migrazioni in Bosnia Erzegovina. “Stiamo fornendo supporto al governo per quanto riguarda la crisi migratoria nel Paese, nel rafforzamento delle capacità istituzionali, nel supporto alla polizia di frontiera e nell’assistenza diretta ai rifugiati”.

      L’UNHCR ha iniziato a fornire un contributo per alloggiare le persone negli ostelli e l’OIM ha iniziato a collaborare con i volontari per l’assistenza medica, fino ad ora gestita interamente con fondi e donazioni private. Molti migranti hanno denunciato il fatto che negli alloggi dell’UNHCR ricevono solo un pasto al giorno e alcuni si sono trasferiti nei posti messi a disposizione dei volontari.

      La complessità del sistema di asilo

      Il sistema di asilo in Bosnia Erzegovina impedisce alle persone di ottenere un riconoscimento del proprio status perché ci sono regole impossibili da rispettare. Quando una persona arriva in Bosnia, deve esprimere l’intenzione di chiedere asilo alla polizia di frontiera o al Ministero degli affari esteri. Successivamente ha 14 giorni per registrare la propria domanda di asilo. Questa procedura, tuttavia, può essere effettuata solo da coloro che si trovano nell’unico centro per l’asilo a Delijaš. Tutti gli altri invece vengono automaticamente esclusi, perché per fare la richiesta di asilo completa, è necessario presentare i documenti relativi alla propria residenza, attestazioni impossibili da ottenere per chi è fuori dal sistema di accoglienza ufficiale. I volontari, che gestiscono diverse case a Sarajevo, stanno cercando di capire, con l’aiuto dell’OIM, come poter registrare i migranti in modo che non vengano accusati di risiedere illegalmente nel Paese. Il governo bosniaco ha iniziato a diffondere illazioni sul fatto che le persone che arrivano sono richiedenti asilo falsi in quanto non desiderano fermarsi nel Paese. Nello stesso tempo però in Bosnia non esiste una legge che permette a queste persone di risiedervi legalmente. Potrebbe trattarsi di una mossa da parte del governo per accusare i volontari di aiutare persone non regolarmente registrate.

      Il sostegno da parte della popolazione locale

      Nonostante questa propaganda di stato, la mancanza di una risposta istituzionale e di un sistema di asilo adeguato, la popolazione locale è amichevole e si spende quotidianamente per aiutare le persone in transito. Molti di loro sono testimoni diretti degli orrori della recente guerra in Bosnia.

      In un parco di Sarajevo, c’è una costante distribuzione di cibo gestita dai locali. Nella più grande delle case gestite dai volontari, a circa 30 minuti dal centro di Sarajevo, gli abitanti consegnano ogni giorno donazioni. Inoltre i volontari organizzano distribuzioni quotidiane di cibo, di giorno e di notte, per assicurarsi che chi dorme per strada abbia almeno un sacco a pelo, coperte e qualcosa da mangiare.

      Molte persone, in tarda serata, prendono l’autobus per Bihać e Velika Kladuša, due città vicino al confine con la Croazia, con l’obiettivo di provare a valicare la frontiera. In entrambe le città i locali danno cibo e sostegno alle persone. In questi luoghi non sono disponibili aiuti medici da parte delle grandi ong, e l’intero sistema è totalmente gestito dalla gente locale.

      A Velika Kladuša, i volontari di AYS hanno anche scoperto che un ristorante locale sta cucinando pasti gratuiti per le persone. Quando la settimana scorsa i responsabili della Croce Rossa sono arrivata in questo paese, i locali hanno detto loro che era da novembre che stavano gestendo da soli la situazione e che era meglio che andassero via.

      La più grande ong umanitaria della Bosnia, Pomozi.ba, invierà cinque tonnellate di cibo raccolto dai locali a Velika Kladuša. La relazione per ora pacifica tra i rifugiati e gli abitanti del luogo è un equilibrio fragile e la mancanza di risposta istituzionale, col perpetrarsi e il deteriorarsi della situazione, potrebbe diventare un problema.

      Qual è la prospettiva futura?

      Per ora nessuno sa come si svilupperà la situazione nel Paese e quante persone attraverseranno la Bosnia il mese prossimo. Le autorità si aspettano che il numero degli arrivi aumenterà e che, con l’avvicinarsi dell’estate, ci sarà la necessità di un maggiore accesso alle strutture igieniche come le docce. L’ong Medici Senza Frontiere sta discutendo con Pomozi.ba su alcune possibili soluzioni e sullo stanziamento di nuovi fondi, in particolari nei due paesi di confine, Velika Kladuša e Bihac, ma devono ancora essere definite le tempistiche.

      Con l’arrivo di un numero sempre maggiore di famiglie, sarà necessario aumentare il numero degli alloggi e di strutture e servizi adatti per i bambini. Inoltre sta crescendo il numero di minori stranieri non accompagnati, che, secondo la legge del Paese, dovrebbero essere messi in strutture protette. Proprio per non rimanere bloccati in Bosnia, molti giovani mentono sulla propria età dichiarando di essere più vecchi di quello che effettivamente sono.

      La maggior parte delle persone che arrivano in Bosnia sono in viaggio da anni, hanno vissuto in campi profughi e hanno fresche nella memoria storie traumatiche. Lo stress psicologico in questi contesti è molto alto e, data la recente storia bosniaca, le competenze in questo campo da parte della popolazione locale sono molto alte.

      In una Bosnia dove si incontrano rifugiati di guerra e abitanti di un Paese del dopoguerra, sono tante le storie che si intrecciano. L’assenza delle organizzazioni internazionali è tale per cui ora la popolazione locale non vuole più il loro aiuto. Tuttavia, come è già avvenuto in altri contesti, la disponibilità ad aiutare diminuisce con il perdurare e il deteriorarsi della situazione.

      https://lungolarottabalcanica.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/che-cosa-sta-succedendo-in-bosnia

    • Bosnie-Herzégovine : les autorités dépassées par l’afflux de migrants et de réfugiés

      Alors que 400 migrants campent toujours dans un parc du centre de Sarajevo et que la ville de Bihać est débordée par l’afflux de réfugiés, les autorités peinent à s’organiser et à trouver des capacités d’accueil. Les autorités de #Republika_Srpska refusent de loger des demandeurs d’asile.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-Herzegovine-des-migrants-Sarajevo
      #Sarajevo

    • Commission européenne - Assistance humanitaire aux réfugiés et migrants - Bosnie-Herzégovine

      La Commission européenne a annoncé aujourd’hui 1,5 million d’euros d’aide humanitaire pour répondre aux besoins croissants des réfugiés, des demandeurs d’asile et des migrants bloqués en Bosnie-Herzégovine. Cela porte le financement humanitaire de la Commission à 30,5 millions d’euros pour répondre aux besoins dans les Balkans occidentaux depuis le début de la crise des réfugiés.

      Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “The number of refugees and migrants arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina has increased and we must act swiftly. We are committed to help Bosnia and Herzegovina deal with this situation and deliver assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and migrants. Our funding will support their basic needs and provide emergency shelter, food and health assistance, as well as protection.”

      EU humanitarian aid will be provided in locations such as Sarajevo, Bihać and Velika Kladusa in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The funding aims to strengthen the provision of assistance, the protective environment and enhancing the capacity of organisations already providing first-line emergency response.

      Background

      Since the beginning of the refugee crisis in Western Balkans the European Commission has allocated more than €25 million in humanitarian aid to assist refugees and migrants in Serbia, and over €4 million to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. EU humanitarian aid helps the most vulnerable refugees and migrants to meet basic needs and preserve their dignity.

      In addition to humanitarian assistance, the European Commission provides Western Balkans partners with significant financial and technical support for activities related to migration and refugee crisis. This is done primarily through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance. Since 2007 the Commission has been providing assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of migration and border management through the Instrument of pre-accession amounting to €24.6 million. From January 2016 Bosnia and Herzegovina also benefits from the regional programme ’Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management’ worth €8 million.

      Around 4.900 refugees and migrants entered Bosnia and Herzegovina since early January 2018, according to government estimates. Approximately 2.500 refugees and migrants in need of assistance are currently stranded in the country. The EU will provide its assistance through humanitarian partner organisations already present in the country.

      http://www.europeanmigrationlaw.eu/fr/articles/actualites/commission-europeenne-assistance-humanitaire-aux-refugies-et-mi

    • Bosnia: respingimenti, violenze e pessime condizioni umanitarie alla nuova frontiera della rotta balcanica

      In Bosnia-Erzegovina si profila una crisi se non verrà avviata una risposta umanitaria coordinata prima che le temperature inizino a diminuire. Attualmente più di 4000 migranti e rifugiati stanno trovando rifugio in campi informali e abitazioni occupate lungo il confine della Bosnia con la Croazia.

      È una situazione nuova per la Bosnia, che prima di quest’anno non aveva visto un numero significativo di persone transitare attraverso il paese come parte della cosiddetta rotta balcanica. Anche se il flusso di persone che arrivano nel paese è in aumento da mesi, le condizioni umanitarie di base nei due punti di maggiore affluenza lungo il confine rimangono pesantemente inadeguate.

      Ai margini della città di Bihac, circa 3000 persone vivono dentro e intorno a una struttura di cemento in stato di deterioramento. Con dei fori aperti come finestre e pozze di fango e acqua piovana sul pavimento, l’ex dormitorio a cinque piani ora è pieno di gente che dorme su coperte, con tende allestite nei corridoi e lenzuola appese ai soffitti nel tentativo di creare un po’ di privacy. Un pendio boscoso dietro l’edificio è cosparso di altre tende.
      Nel frattempo, appena fuori dalla vicina città di Velika Kladuša, circa 1000 persone vivono in tende e rifugi improvvisati fatti di teloni e altri materiali di fortuna. Intorno ai ripari vengono scavate fosse per evitare gli allagamenti durante i forti temporali estivi.

      Adulti, famiglie e bambini non accompagnati si affollano in entrambe le località. Vengono da paesi come Pakistan, Afghanistan, Siria, Iraq e altri ancora. Come per tutti coloro che percorrono la rotta balcanica, il loro obiettivo è fuggire da conflitti e povertà nei loro paesi di origine.
      Una risposta lenta

      “Le pessime condizioni umanitarie negli insediamenti transitori al confine della Bosnia-Erzegovina sono rese peggiori da una risposta lenta e inadeguata alla situazione”, afferma Juan Matias Gil, capo missione di MSF per Serbia e Bosnia- Erzegovina.

      Da giugno 2018, MSF sta lavorando costantemente sul campo in entrambi i siti. In collaborazione con le autorità mediche locali, MSF gestisce una piccola clinica mobile per rispondere alle principali urgenze sanitarie di base mentre riferisce i casi più complessi all’assistenza sanitaria secondaria nel circostante Cantone di Una-Sana.

      “L’inverno si sta avvicinando e finora ci sono voluti mesi per fornire a questa popolazione in aumento servizi minimi di base” afferma Gil di MSF. “Con l’arrivo dell’inverno non c’è tempo da perdere. La mancanza di preparativi tempestivi potrebbe costare vite umane.”
      Gli inverni scorsi lungo la rotta balcanica

      Rifugiati e persone in movimento lungo la rotta balcanica hanno vissuto in condizioni disperate e disumane gli inverni passati.

      In Serbia e lungo i suoi confini, la mancanza di un piano per l’inverno coordinato a livello istituzionale ha lasciato migliaia di persone al freddo per diversi inverni consecutivi. Man a mano che le frontiere dell’UE si sono chiuse, migliaia di persone si sono ritrovate bloccate in condizioni di tempo gelido, bloccate in un paese che non è in grado di offrire ripari sufficienti.

      Durante gli scorsi inverni, nella regione MSF ha curato persone per ipotermia e congelamento e la clinica di MSF a Belgrado ha visto un aumento delle malattie respiratorie perché per scaldarsi le persone devono bruciare plastica e altri materiali di fortuna.

      Indipendentemente dalla stagione, migranti e richiedenti asilo che cercano di attraversare i confini settentrionali della Serbia hanno ripetutamente denunciato le violenze da parte delle guardie di frontiera. Nei primi sei mesi del 2017, le cliniche mobili di MSF a Belgrado hanno trattato 24 casi di traumi intenzionali che secondo quanto riferito si sono verificati lungo il confine tra Serbia e Croazia.
      Nuove rotte, continue problematiche

      Le persone che arrivano e cercano di attraversare il confine tra Bosnia e Croazia provengono principalmente da campi e insediamenti informali in Serbia, ma alcuni hanno tentato nuove rotte dalla Grecia attraverso l’Albania e il Montenegro per arrivare qui.

      Quello che è chiaro è che le persone che sono fuggite da conflitti e instabilità nei paesi d’origine continuano a cercare sicurezza in Europa. “Queste persone sono bloccate in Bosnia-Erzegovina”, dice Gil di MSF. “In assenza di canali sicuri per richiedere asilo e protezione internazionale, le persone sono continuamente costrette ad affrontare viaggi pericolosi e ad attraversare le frontiere in modo irregolare.”

      “Siamo preoccupati delle denunce di respingimenti e violenze contro i rifugiati e i migranti sul lato croato del confine“, conclude Gil. “Di fronte al protrarsi della stessa situazione anche in Bosnia-Erzegovina, ci aspettiamo che i migranti si troveranno ad affrontare lo stesso tipo di problemi che hanno avuto in altri punti della rotta balcanica: malattie della pelle e delle vie respiratorie, peggioramento delle condizioni di salute mentale e aumento della violenza.”

      https://www.medicisenzafrontiere.it/news-e-storie/news/bosnia-respingimenti-violenze-e-pessime-condizioni-umanitarie-a

    • Bihac, dove 4 mila migranti attendono di passare il confine tra la Bosnia e la Croazia

      “Le pessime condizioni umanitarie negli insediamenti transitori al confine della Bosnia- Erzegovina sono rese peggiori da una risposta lenta e inadeguata alla situazione”, afferma Juan Matias Gil, capo missione di Medici Senza Frontiere per Serbia e Bosnia-Erzegovina

      https://video.corriere.it/bihac-dove-4-mila-migranti-attendono-passare-confine-la-bosnia-croazia/b589f9d6-a54c-11e8-8d66-22179c67a670

    • AYS Daily Digest 16/4/19 : How do the EU Commission’s funds manage to bypass those in need ? — case : #Tuzla

      In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a while now people have been arriving from the east part of the country, coming from Serbia to Tuzla. It has once again become a point of transit for many and, although it has been so for some months now, the problem is ignored by the only authorities who could make possible to assist the people who gather usually around the bus station or in front of the field office of the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs (SFA). It is responsible for the first step in the process of seeking asylum. In order to obtain the document from the office, people sleep rough on the pavement, sometime just in front of the lit and heated empty front space of the office that, of course, does not work on weekends and is open on workdays from 9am to 5pm.

      A very well organized small group of volunteers from Tuzla have been handling the situation for these people in transit who are constantly arriving. They have nowhere to go and there are no official systems of aid or accommodation. None of the big organisations are present to provide assistance, advice, nor even to research into the situation and the existing problematic in order to push for better solutions as important international stake holders on the issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Citizens who have been organizing small groups of helpers in the past months have run out of strenghts, options, finances and ways to point to the problem. They have already asked for an organised reception system, toilets to be made available 24/7, water supply, shower, food, clothes and health assistance, and if possible, an organized 24hour accommodation, as the people usually don’t stay there for logner.

      Unfortunately, along with the absence of responsibility by the county, the issue was not officially tackled by the City council, nor made part of the topics of their meetings, according to the local media, in spite of the citizens’ demands and volunteers’ desperation. To our knowledge, there wasn’t and there currently is no activity of IOM or UNHCR, as we wrote already. We intend to support their efforts to the best of our abilities, if you wish to come help (on your own expenses, staying in a hostel or so) or if you can provide financial support to them, let us know and the local team will estimate if and what sort of help is needed.

      Perhaps some explanations are due on the implementation and control of Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and Internal Security Fund as these situations become more and more common.

      https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-16-4-19-how-do-the-eu-commissions-funds-manage-to-bypass-th

      Reçu par email via Inicijativa Dobrodošli, avec ce commentaire :

      All the risks and threats, still are not stopping people in their determination to affirm their freedom of movement and their right to find their new homes. As reported by Are You Syrious, In Bosnia-Herzegovina people have been arriving at the eastern part of the country, coming from Serbia to Tuzla. It has once again become a point of transit for many and, although it has been so for some months now, the problem is ignored by the only authorities who could make possible to assist the people who gather usually around the bus station or in front of the field office of the Foreigners’ sector office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to obtain a document from the office, continue the AYS report, people sleep rough on the pavement, sometimes just in front of the lit and heated empty front space of the office that, of course, does not work on weekends. Up until now, citizens from Tuzla are the only ones that are handling the situation, organizing small groups of helpers and volunteers in the past months.

  • Report: Western Balkans route not closed, just diverted via Bulgaria

    A report by a German think tank reveals the deficiencies of the deal with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees to Europe. Migration is on the menu of the two-day summit starting today (22 June).

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/report-western-balkans-route-not-closed-just-diverted-via-bulgaria
    #route_des_balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #routes_migratoires #Bulgarie #rapport #refoulements #push-back #statistiques #chiffres

    Lien vers le rapport:
    The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal and the Not Quite Closed Balkan Route


    http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/13436.pdf
    #accord_UE-Turquie #Turquie #Grèce #nouvelle_route_des_balkans
    cc @i_s_

    • Bloqués en Serbie : les réfugiés perdus de la « route des Balkans »

      Malgré sa fermeture officielle, il y a bientôt deux ans, la « route des Balkans » est toujours active. Environ 5 000 réfugiés sont bloqués en Serbie qui, de pays de transit, s’est brutalement transformée en cul-de-sac. D’autres exilés continuent d’arriver, via la Turquie, la Grèce, puis la Macédoine ou la Bulgarie.

      Certains ont déjà essayé dix fois, quinze fois, de passer en #Hongrie, la porte d’entrée de l’espace Schengen. « La nuit, nous jetons des tissus sur les barrières de barbelés », poursuit Rauf. Ces tentatives répétées, les migrants ont fini par leur donner un nom : « #le_jeu ». Celui du chat et de la souris avec les forces de police qui patrouillent nuit et jour de l’autre côté de l’immense mur qui ceinture la frontière. La plupart se font vite rattraper. Au programme : prise d’identité et renvoi en Serbie, non sans un tabassage quasi systématique.
      #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières

      C’est une ferme abandonnée, cachée derrière un bois touffu, au milieu de la plaine de Voïvodine, tout au nord de la Serbie, à quelques centaines de mètres de la frontière hongroise. Une cinquantaine de jeunes hommes vivent ici, s’entassant dans des pièces aux fenêtres depuis longtemps disparues. L’hiver, les températures descendent la nuit sous les – 10 °C.
      Pour se réchauffer, les migrants font brûler du bois et de vieux plastiques et entassent autant de couvertures qu’ils le peuvent. Rauf, originaire du Pendjab, n’a que 15 ans, mais cela fait plus d’un an qu’il est sur la route. « J’ai traversé le Pakistan, l’Iran, la Turquie, la Grèce, la Macédoine, la Serbie », explique-t-il. Son objectif ? Rejoindre Paris, où son père est installé.

      « Depuis plus d’un an, nos médecins et nos infirmières entendent les mêmes histoires décrivant des hommes battus et humiliés », détaille Stéphane Moissaing, le directeur de la mission de Médecins sans frontières (MSF) en Serbie. « La Hongrie, la Croatie, mais aussi la Bulgarie utilisent intentionnellement la #violence pour dissuader les migrants de demander l’asile dans l’Union européenne. Cela ne les décourage pas, mais cela leur cause de sérieux dégâts physiques, les rendant plus vulnérables encore », s’indigne-t-il.
      #vulnérabilité

      Une équipe mobile de MSF passe une fois par semaine dans les bois proches de la frontière. « Nous soignons des grippes, des infections respiratoires et intestinales, des maladies de peau dues aux mauvaises conditions d’hygiène, mais aussi les blessures provoquées par les coups et les morsures des chiens et des policiers », explique Iva, la doctoresse serbe de l’équipe. Autour de #Subotica, entre #Horgoš et #Bački_Vinogradi, ils sont plusieurs centaines à survivre dans les carcasses d’anciennes fermes, se regroupant par nationalités.
      Ce matin ensoleillé de janvier, l’ambiance est pourtant détendue. L’ONG allemande Rigardu a installé un camion-douche et un « salon de beauté », permettant aux migrants de se raser ou de se couper les cheveux. Au sol, des téléphones sont en train de se recharger, branchés sur le groupe électrogène apporté par les volontaires. Pour franchir la frontière, il est essentiel de compter sur les #passeurs : deux sont présents, négociant sans se cacher leurs services avec ceux qui ont un peu d’argent. Ils demandent 300 à 400 euros par personne, largement redistribués en pourboire à des policiers hongrois de connivence. En revanche, la police serbe est invisible et tolère le campement de migrants, à l’écart des villes.
      #violences_policières

      Selon Stéphane Moissaing, 1 000 à 1 500 migrants pénétreraient chaque mois en Serbie, majoritairement depuis la Macédoine et la Bulgarie, et autant en sortiraient. Depuis la fermeture officielle de la « route des Balkans », en mars 2016, les voies de passage demeurent globalement les mêmes, malgré le renforcement des moyens des polices locales et de ceux de #Frontex. En 2015 et 2017, le budget de l’agence européenne a été multiplié par deux, passant de 143 à plus de 280 millions d’euros.
      Pour déjouer ces mesures de sécurité, certains migrants tentent alors d’ouvrir de nouvelles routes. En 2017, 735 personnes en situation irrégulière ont été interpellées en #Bosnie-Herzégovine, huit fois plus que l’année précédente, dont la moitié à proximité de la frontière avec la Serbie. Et la tendance semble s’accélérer : plus du quart de ces arrestations ont eu lieu en décembre. « Ce sont les plus pauvres, ceux qui n’ont plus les moyens de se payer des passeurs, qui essaient de contourner l’obstacle hongrois par le sud, continue Stéphane Moissaing. Le phénomène reste pour l’instant marginal, mais l’on ne sait pas ce qu’il adviendra au printemps, quand les flux repartiront à la hausse. »
      Selon les données du Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés, 4000 autres personnes sont hébergées dans des camps gérés par le gouvernement serbe, un chiffre stable depuis des mois. Celui d’#Obrenovac, dans la grande banlieue de Belgrade, n’accueille que des hommes seuls, dont 17 mineurs. Au dernier comptage, ils étaient 737, dont 235 Afghans et 395 Pakistanais, suivis par un impressionnant patchwork de nationalités : Algériens, Marocains, Népalais, Indiens, Somaliens, etc.
      À Obrenovac, les responsables du centre font visiter la salle de sport, le foyer, la petite école, qui offre des cours d’anglais, de serbe et de mathématiques aux mineurs. Les résidents peuvent circuler librement, se rendre en ville en déclarant leur sortie. Les conditions sont correctes, mais la promiscuité qui se prolonge finit par exaspérer. En novembre dernier, le camp a été le théâtre d’une bataille rangée impliquant plusieurs centaines de personnes, principalement des Afghans et des Pakistanais. Une autre bagarre a éclaté le 23 janvier. Miloš, un employé du Commissariat serbe aux réfugiés, résume le problème à une histoire « d’excès d’hormones entre jeunes adultes ». La très grande majorité de ces hommes ont entre 20 et 30 ans.
      Certains sont bloqués depuis plus de deux ans.
      #attente

      Beaucoup de migrants refusent de loger dans le centre, par peur d’être identifiés et de devoir donner leurs empreintes digitales. « Ceux-là, s’ils veulent bénéficier des services du centre, il faut qu’ils s’enregistrent », poursuit le jeune homme, qui a déjà travaillé dans d’autres camps, « plus calmes, où il y a des familles ». C’est aux abords du centre que les passeurs concluent leurs affaires, et la police s’accommode des allers-retours fréquents avec les squats permettant le passage clandestin de la frontière.
      Milica, également employée par le Commissariat serbe, s’occupe surtout des mineurs. « Certains restent prostrés. Ils ont tous essayé de franchir la frontière de nombreuses fois, ils ont été battus, refoulés. Beaucoup ont été renvoyés de Hongrie ou de Croatie. Ils ont perdu tout #espoir, et la perspective d’un retour au pays serait la fin de leur rêve, la reconnaissance de leur échec. » Pour les volontaires des ONG, le principal problème reste le désœuvrement. « Ils reçoivent trois repas par jour et prennent des douches chaudes, mais ne font rien de leur journée. Comment vivre comme cela durant des mois ? », s’interroge l’un d’eux.
      Idriss, 23 ans, étudiait le droit à Alger. Il a décidé de prendre la route voilà 18 mois à cause de « problèmes » qu’il ne préfère pas détailler. Il a d’abord gagné la Turquie, où il a brièvement travaillé, avant de s’engager sur la route des Balkans. Le jeune homme passe l’hiver à Obrenovac pour reprendre des forces. La poursuite du voyage dépendra de sa capacité de rassembler assez d’argent pour traiter avec les passeurs.
      À la frontière avec la Croatie, près de #Šid, environ 150 personnes vivent dans les bois qui jouxtent le Centre d’accueil, certaines depuis plus d’un an. Ils sont algériens pour la plupart, mais il y a aussi des Afghans et des Marocains. Ces jeunes hommes préfèrent rester dans la « #jungle », considérant que faute d’être syriens ou irakiens, ils n’ont aucune chance d’obtenir l’asile en Serbie et qu’un séjour dans un camp officiel ne ferait que retarder leur objectif : rejoindre un pays riche de l’Union européenne.
      #campement

      Sava, un autre employé du Commissariat, lui-même réfugié serbe chassé de la Krajina croate en 1995, lance : « Nous, les Serbes, savons ce qu’être réfugié veut dire. Nous considérons les migrants comme des êtres humains, ils sont bien mieux traités chez nous que chez vous, à Calais. » Sa supérieure surenchérit : « Tous les problèmes viennent des camps sauvages que dressent des anarchistes payés par l’Union européenne… Ils manipulent les migrants, alors que leur seul but est de récupérer des subventions ! » Les 25 et 26 décembre dernier, plusieurs dizaines de migrants ont entrepris un sit-in dans les champs qui séparent Serbie et Croatie, aux abords de la localité de #Tovarnik, avant d’être évacués par la police serbe, qui les a conduits vers des camps, comme celui d’Obrenovac.

      En 2018, la Serbie devrait toucher 16 millions d’euros de l’Union européenne pour financer les centres d’accueil. En ajoutant les moyens mis à disposition par les ONG, cela représente un budget annuel de près de 4 000 euros par réfugié, plus élevé que les revenus de nombreux Serbes. « La route des Balkans fonctionne toujours », explique Stéphane Moissaing. « L’UE s’accommode de ces flux, pourvu qu’ils restent discrets. » Les chiffres restent en effet bien éloignés de ceux de 2015. « Pour sa part, ajoute l’humanitaire, Belgrade essaie de concentrer les gens dans les #camps, alors que certaines familles sont bloquées dans le pays depuis deux ans. »

      En ce moment, MSF tente de mettre sur pied un programme de relogement dans des appartements vides, mais les autorités serbes ne cachent pas leurs réticences. L’inscription de quelques enfants de réfugiés dans des écoles de la banlieue de Belgrade à l’automne dernier relevait avant tout d’une bonne opération de communication. Et deux demandes d’asile seulement ont été acceptées par les autorités serbes en 2017. Même les migrants employés par les ONG présentes en Serbie ne parviennent pas à l’obtenir.
      Pour les autorités serbes, le calcul est gagnant de tout point de vue. Belgrade démontre son empressement à jouer le rôle de gardien des frontières européennes. Cela sert de monnaie d’échange au président Aleksandar Vučić, tout en lui assurant un joli pactole. Quant au flux minime de ceux que les passeurs parviennent à faire pénétrer en Hongrie ou en Croatie, il ne sert qu’à faire tenir l’ensemble du système.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/260218/bloques-en-serbie-les-refugies-perdus-de-la-route-des-balkans

      Je copie-colle ici un passage de l’article, qui met en avant le #business de l’#accueil des réfugiés :

      En 2018, la Serbie devrait toucher 16 millions d’euros de l’Union européenne pour financer les centres d’accueil. En ajoutant les moyens mis à disposition par les ONG, cela représente un budget annuel de près de 4 000 euros par réfugié, plus élevé que les revenus de nombreux Serbes.

    • ON THE BALKAN ROUTE : PERNICIOUS EFFECTS OF E.U. ANTI-MIGRATION POLICIES

      The “Balkan route” refers to a migration route that links Turkey to Western Europe. In 2015, Hungary, Macedonia and Croatia unilaterally closed their borders, while in 2016 the EU signed an agreement with Turkey aimed at putting an end to migrant crossings of the Aegean Sea. These uncoordinated migration and containment policies led to an encampment situation in Greece and Serbia.


      http://www.noria-research.com/balkan-route-pernicious-effects-e-u-anti-migration-policies
      #encampement

      Et le reportage photo :


      http://www.noria-research.com/on-the-balkan-route
      #photographie

    • Réfugiés : la Bulgarie veut fermer les frontières des Balkans

      Le projet a été révélé mardi par Reuters. En pleine préparation du sommet européen des 28-29 juin, l’UE envisagerait la création de « hotspots » installés dans les pays à ses frontières. Les Balkans, qui font face à une forte hausse des arrivées, sont en première ligne, et le Premier ministre bulgare, Boïko Borissov, réclame la fermeture des frontières.

      Une semaine après la polémique de l’Aquarius, voilà qui risque de susciter de vifs débats, d’autant que le nombre de passes irréguliers est en forte hausse depuis le printemps. Cette information qui a fuité vient en tout cas confirmer les propos tenus un peu plus tôt par le Premier ministre bulgare, dont le pays tient la présidence tournante de l’UE jusqu’au 30 juin. Boïko Borissov a appelé les États membres à « fermer [leurs] frontières » à tous ceux qui ne passent pas par les postes de contrôle autorisés.

      « La Bulgarie a traversé (la crise des réfugiés, NDLR) ; sans trop parler, sans trop se plaindre. Nous avons sécurisé notre frontière avec la Turquie en posant (dès la fin 2013, NDLR) des grillages (https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/bulgarie-des-grillages-et-des-barbeles-pour-arreter-les-migrants), en déployant des forces de police supplémentaires et des gardes-côtes. Je vais donc recommander un compromis au Conseil européen : de la prévention, incluant la fermeture de toutes les frontières de l’UE », a-t-il déclaré. « Pourquoi l’Europe doit-elle être un terrain sans clôture ? », a-t-il ajouté, prenant les États-Unis comme exemple.

      Si Boïko Borissov vante sa politique vis-à-vis des migrants, Amnesty International rappelle dans son dernier rapport de février 2018 qu’elle a été mise en œuvre au prix de « nombreux recours excessifs à la force et de vols par la police aux frontières ».

      La déclaration du Premier ministre bulgare s’inscrit dans la lignée de la position du Chancelier autrichien Sebastian Kurz, dont le pays va reprendre la présidence tournante de l’UE après la Bulgarie le 1er juillet prochain. Il a fait du « combat contre l’immigration illégale » sa priorité.

      Elle s’inscrit également dans le contexte où la route des migrants jusqu’à l’UE passe de plus en plus par les Balkans, via l’Albanie, la Bosnie et le Monténégro, qui s’apprête à demander un « accord de statut » auprès de l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex) pour bénéficier de son aide dans la gestion de ses frontières.

      Mais c’est en Bosnie-Herzégovine que la situation est particulièrement tendue. Lundi après-midi, plus de 200 migrants qui étaient basés à Velika Kladuša ont tenté collectivement de franchir la frontière croate. Ils ont été bloqués par la police au poste de Maljevac. Cet épisode fait suite à l’agression au couteau qui a provoqué la mort d’un ressortissant marocain vendredi 15 juin à Velika Kladuša. Les migrants s’estiment en danger et demandent à pouvoir passer en Croatie.

      Depuis janvier 2018, plus de 6000 personnes ont traversé la Bosnie-Herzégovine. La semaine dernière, le directeur du Service des étrangers de Bosnie, Slobodan Ujić, a mis en garde que si l’Autriche et la Slovénie fermaient leurs frontières aux migrants, la Bosnie-Herzégovine serait forcée de fermer ses propres frontières avec la Serbie et le Monténégro.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Migrants-Pourquoi-l-Europe-doit-elle-etre-un-terrain-sans-cloture

  • Report : Western Balkans route not closed, just diverted via Bulgaria – EURACTIV.com

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/report-western-balkans-route-not-closed-just-diverted-via-bulgaria

    Don, l’Europe essaye de fermer les corridors (ou « routes ») migratoires.

    A report by a German think tank reveals the deficiencies of the deal with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees to Europe. Migration is on the menu of the two-day summit starting today (22 June).

    Migration will be discussed on Friday (23 June), the second day of the summit. According to diplomats decisions are not expected at this stage, but a frank discussion “on the external aspects” is very likely to take place.

    On Wednesday (21 June), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung released a 26-page report, pointing out at the fragility of the situation since the EU-Turkey deal, which in theory closed the Western Balkans route.

  • The curious tale of the French prime minister, PNR and peculiar patterns – by Estelle Massé & Joe McNameen
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/opinion/checked-for-tuesthe-curious-tale-of-the-french-prime-minister-pnr-and-pecu

    This blind faith in the value of passenger profiling — despite the lack of evidence for its efficacy in preventing crime or terrorism — argues for deeper reflection. So, we followed the advice of Timothy Kirkhope, the MEP in charge of the EU PNR file, who once explained that PNR was not about profiling, it was just about “patterns in data.”

    We began “looking for patterns” to explain what has been happening and we found one. It turns out that [Manuel] Valls is a cheerleader both for the PNR directive and for a company called #Safran, which sells PNR surveillance technology.

    Safran has a major base in Evry, the small town south of Paris where Valls was mayor from 2001-2012. The company employs more than 3,300 people and, earlier this year, Valls visited the site and discussed Safran’s role in ensuring long-term employment in the region. The French government said in a statement following the visit, “We have one aim: that the French industry stays ahead.”

    The company now appears to be in fine fettle. It won major contracts to put in place expensive #PNR_systems in France and #Estonia. Now that the PNR directive will make such systems mandatory across the EU, it is also seeking contracts in several other EU countries.

    That’s not the end of the story. The pattern of links between Valls and Safran run even deeper. According to the French news outlet Marianne, in 2012, when a Safran contract was not renewed, Valls, who was then interior minister, allegedly intervened to help the company. He appears to have done so despite the fact that the proposed change to the contract could have saved €30 million of public funds.

    Bertrand Marechaux, the police chief who questioned the contract, kept fighting to modify it and initiating legal proceedings against Mopho, a subsidiary of Safran. He was ultimately removed from his position. Valls’ office didn’t respond to Marianne’s request for comment at the time.

    We think this compelling pattern should spur the public to start asking questions. Was Prime Minister Valls truly eager for the symbolic adoption of the EU PNR or did he want his old constituency to benefit? Hard to know. More of the pattern for Valls’ behaviour could surface following MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld’s question to the Commission regarding the #lobbying communications of companies that have won bids for building PNR systems in EU member states.

    #aviation #surveillance #armement #industrie #france

  • Private ships play big role in Europe’s migrant crisis

    Two years ago, a small, privately-run ship set out to lend a hand to military operations in the Mediterranean rescuing migrants on boats near capsizing off Libya.

    http://www.thelocal.it/20160806/small-aid-ships-play-big-role-in-europes-migrant-crisis
    #privatisation #asile #migrations #secours #naufrages #mer #Méditerranée #mourir_en_mer #réfugiés #sauvetages #MOAS #SOS_Méditerranée #ONG #sauvetage

    • Da yacht di lusso a nave di soccorso. Il dono del privato per salvare migranti nel Mediterraneo

      #Astral, la nave donata da un privato salperà all’alba del 3 luglio da Lampedusa e farà poi base a Malta, aggiungendosi alle sette imbarcazioni umanitarie già presenti nell’area. Il dono da parte dell’imprenditore Livio Lo Monaco sarà impiegata per salvare la vita dei migranti che sfidano il mare


      http://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/emergenza/2016/07/01/news/da_yacht_di_lusso_a_nave_di_soccorso_il_dono_del_privato_per_salvare_migr

    • How NGOs took over migrant rescues in the Mediterranean

      The launch of Operation Triton in 2014 shifted the focus of EU efforts in the Southern Mediterranean from Search and Rescue (SAR) to border control. Several NGOs have since attempted to fill the gap left by the absence of large-scale humanitarian operations.

      https://euobserver.com/opinion/134803

    • «Besonders schlimm ist es, wenn kleine Kinder ertrinken»

      Der ehemalige italienische Marineadmiral #Franco_Potenza leitet die Missionen der Hilfsorganisation Migration Offshore Aid Station. In der Regel seien fünf bis sechs Organisationen mit Rettungsschiffen vor der nordafrikanischen Küste.


      http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/ausland/europa/besonders-schlimm-ist-es-wenn-kleine-kinder-ertrinken/story/17465438
      #témoignage

    • Migranti, Ft: Frontex accusa ong di collusione con trafficanti

      Roma, 15 dic. (askanews) - L’Agenzia europea per le frontiere esterne, Frontex, ha accusato le organizzazioni umanitarie che operano nel Mediterraneo di collusione con i trafficanti di esseri umani. E’ quanto si legge in rapporti confidenziali ottenuti dal Financial Times, pubblicati nel giorno del vertice Ue chiamato a discutere la crisi dei migranti. Le ong hanno respinto con forza l’accusa.

      http://www.prealpina.it/pages/migranti-ft-frontex-accusa-ong-di-collusione-con-trafficanti-131166.html

      #frontex #trafic_d'êtres_humains

    • EU border force accuses charities of #collusion with migrant smugglers

      Frontex charges open up long-simmering dispute with NGOs over how to solve the crisis

      https://www.ft.com/content/3e6b6450-c1f7-11e6-9bca-2b93a6856354
      #ong

      Je copie-colle le contenu de l’article, si jamais un jour il disparaît... On ne sait jamais...

      The EU’s border agency has raised concerns about the interaction of charities and people smugglers operating in the Mediterranean, according to confidential reports seen by the Financial Times.

      The points outlined by Frontex bring to the fore a long-simmering dispute between EU officials and non-governmental organisations over how to resolve a migration crisis that has caused the deaths of 4,700 people this year alone.

      Frontex put its concerns in a confidential report last month, raising the idea that migrants had been given “clear indications before departure on the precise direction to be followed in order to reach the NGOs’ boats”.

      The agency also raised concerns in another report last week, which stated: “First reported case where the criminal networks were smuggling migrants directly on an NGO vessel.”

      NGOs operating in the region emphatically denied working with people smugglers.

      Elsewhere in the reports, which were shared among EU officials and diplomats, Frontex said people rescued by NGO vessels were often “not willing to co-operate with debriefing experts at all” with some claiming “that they were warned not to co-operate with Italian law enforcement or Frontex”.

      The number of rescues triggered by a distress signal fell from roughly two-thirds of all incidents this summer to barely one in 10 in October, according to Frontex figures. This drop-off coincided with a jump in the number of rescues carried out by NGOs in the central Mediterranean. They responded to more than 40 per cent of rescues in October, compared with just 5 per cent at the start of the year.

      It is no wonder that these accusations come now. We have a worsening situation in the central Med and a lot of efforts taken by the EU to shutdown migration. They are trying to shut this down by all means necessary

      Frontex also suggested the change in activity could be down to NGOs operating closer to Libyan territorial waters, or even to the lights used by rescue boats, which — the agency said — acted “as a beam for the migrants”.

      Charities operating in the region reacted angrily to the accusations. They say a drop in distress calls from boats carrying migrants has been due to increased rescue efforts, meaning that people were picked up before their situation worsened.

      Aurelie Ponthieu, a humanitarian adviser with Médecins Sans Frontières, which operates two rescue boats, said: “We are actively searching for boats in distress. We spot them earlier. This is a response to the needs that we see at sea.”

      So far this year more than 170,000 people have attempted to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, about 15 per cent more than last year, according to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. The number of deaths has jumped by a quarter after 3,800 last year.

      NGO workers blamed the increased numbers of deaths on smugglers changing tactics and sending people out on increasingly unseaworthy vessels — a trend that they blamed on a crackdown on people smugglers by EU authorities. Ms Ponthieu said the agency’s focus was misconceived. She said the issue was “why so many people die, which is what Frontex should be focusing on. They should be looking at their own actions.”

      MSF this year said it would refuse EU funding in protest at the bloc’s handling of the refugee crisis.

      Founded in 2004, Frontex has scooped up more staff, money and powers as the EU attempts to get to grips with a growing problem of irregular migration. The EU this year turned the agency, which has a €250m budget, into a fully fledged border guard with the power to deploy 1,500 staff to support a member state if they are overwhelmed by arrivals.

      Frontex also criticised charities for failing to help with investigations into people smuggling by refusing to collect leftover evidence from rescued boats. “We have an obligation to help save their lives, not perform the duties of security agencies,” said Save the Children, which has rescued 2,400 people in October and November.

      The European Commission is examining whether stricter control of non-governmental rescue missions is needed, although officials stressed that legislation was unlikely.

      NGOs have played a crucial role in saving thousands of lives in the central Mediterranean, according to the commission, and have “mostly acted in support [of] and close co-ordination” with governments.

      Ruben Neugebauer, of Sea Watch, a German charity that runs rescue operations, said the EU was attempting to criminalise the efforts of NGOs in the Mediterranean. “It is no wonder that these accusations come now. We have a worsening situation in the central Med and a lot of efforts taken by the EU to shut down migration. They are trying to shut this down by all means necessary.”

      This article has been revised since original publication to correct inaccuracy and because comments by Aurelie Ponthieu of MSF were initially wrongly attributed

    • Las ONG responden a Frontex: «Si rescatar a personas en el mar es un delito, que nos detengan»

      La reacción se ha producido de forma unánime. «Una aberración», «un despropósito», son algunas de las palabras con las que las ONG que apoyan los rescates en el Mar Mediterráneo califican las acusaciones de colaboración con redes de tráfico recogidas en un informe confidencial de la Agencia Europea de Guardia de Fronteras y Costas (Frontex).

      http://www.eldiario.es/desalambre/rescatar-salvamento-naufragan-ONG-Frontex_0_591441012.html

    • Frontex all’attacco degli operatori umanitari:che fine ha fatto l’operazione #Triton?

      Sono anni che i vertici di Frontex vanno all’attacco delle Organizzazioni non governative e dei comandi della Guardia Costiera che antepongono la salvaguardia della vita umana in mare alla difesa dei confini esterni dell’Unione Europea e al contrasto di quella che definiscono soltanto come “immigrazione illegale”. Questi attacchi si erano intensificati dopo le cd. Primavere arabe e si sono poi attenuati nel 2015, per qualche mese, solo dopo le stragi più terribili che sono costate migliaia di vittime nel Mediterraneo, in particolare sulla rotte che dalla Libia puntano sull’Italia.

      http://www.a-dif.org/2016/12/18/frontex-allattacco-degli-operatori-umanitariche-fine-ha-fatto-loperazione-tri

    • reçu par email via la mailing-list de Migreurop:

      « Il est particulièrement inquiétant d’entendre des accusations envers des ONGs qui encourageraient les passeurs via les médias quand Frontex refuse de nous rencontrer. Nous avons demandé la tenue d’une réunion afin de pouvoir répondre à ces critiques, mais n’avons pas reçu de réponse à ce jour. De telles critiques sont scandaleuses en ce qu’elles impliquent. M. Leggeri suggèrerait-t-il que nous nous éloignions des zones où les gens sont les plus susceptibles de se noyer afin de rendre plus difficile le trafic des passeurs ? Devrions-nous simplement les laisser mourir ? »
      « Nous ne partageons pas de mandat commun avec FRONTEX, nous ne sommes ni une police des frontières ni une brigade anti-contrebande ; nous sommes des médecins et infirmiers et nous prenons la mer pour sauver des vies. Travailler aussi près que possible des eaux territoriales de la Libye est le seul moyen possible pour réduire les hauts risques de mortalité en Mer Méditerranée – Moins les gens passeront du temps sur une embarcation surchargée, moins il y aura de chances qu’ils meurent.
      Plutôt que de réitérer ces attaques préjudiciables et infondées vis-à-vis des ONG, FRONTEX devrait réévaluer ses propres opérations actuelles et considérer son propre rôle dans les situations dramatiques que nous constatons chaque jour en Méditerranée. Les passeurs s’adapteront toujours à ce qui se dressera face à eux et tant que les gens n’auront pas d’alternatives en dehors de la Libye, ils continueront à se noyer. »

      Stefano Argenziano
      Operations Coordinator

    • Et voilà des textes qui polluent le net de conneries...

      Le ONG contrabbandano immigrati in Europa ?

      Qualcosa di molto strano accade nel Mediterraneo Gefira – South FrontPer due mesi, utilizzando marinetraffic.com, abbiamo monitorato i movimenti delle navi di proprietà di un paio di organizzazioni non governative e, utilizzando i dati di data.unhcr.org abbiamo tracciato l’arrivo quotidiano di immigrati africani in Italia. Abbiamo scoperto di essere testimoni di una grande truffa e di un’operazione di traffico illegale di esseri umani. ONG, contrabbandieri e mafia in combutta con l’Unione europea hanno spedito migliaia di clandestini verso l’Europa con il pretesto di salvarli, assistiti dalla guardia costiera italiana che ne coordina le attività. I trafficanti di esseri umani contattano la guardia costiera italiana per ricevere aiuto e raccogliere i loro dubbi carichi. Le navi delle ONG vengono dirette sul “luogo del soccorso”, anche se è ancora in Libia. Le 15 navi che abbiamo osservato sono di proprietà o affittate da ONG viste regolarmente salpare dai porti italiani in direzione sud, fermarsi a poche miglia dalle coste libiche, prendere il carico umano a bordo e naturalmente rientrare per 260 miglia in Italia, anche se il porto di Zarzis, in Tunisia, è solo a 60 miglia di distanza dal punto di salvataggio. Le organizzazioni in questione sono: MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), Jugend Rettet, Stichting Bootvluchting, Medici Senza Frontiere, Save the Children, Proactiva Open Arms, Sea-Watch.org, Sea-Eye e Life Boat. Le vere intenzioni dietro le ONG non sono chiare. Il loro movente può essere il denaro, che non sorprenderebbe se si rivelasse essere così. Possono anche essere politicamente pilotati; le attività dell’organizzazione di Malta, MOAS, che traffica persone in Italia, è la migliore garanzia che i migranti non appaiano sulla rive maltesi. MOAS è gestita da un ufficiale della marina maltese ben noto per maltrattamenti ai rifugiati (1). E’ anche possibile che tali organizzazioni siano gestite da ingenui “buonisti” che non sanno di servire da magnete per le persone provenienti dall’Africa e quindi, volenti o nolenti, causare altri morti, per non parlare delle azioni per destabilizzare l’Europa. Per quanto nobili siano le intenzioni di tali organizzazioni, sono criminali, come la maggior parte dei migranti che non può ricevere asilo, finendo per strada a Roma o Parigi, minando la stabilità in Europa aumentando le tensioni sociali a sfondo razziale. Bruxelles ha creato una legislazione particolare per proteggere i trafficanti di esseri umani dalle accuse. In una sezione dedicata a una risoluzione UE, intitolata Ricerca e salvataggio, il testo afferma che “proprietari privati di navi e organizzazioni non governative che assistono i salvataggi nel Mediterraneo non dovrebbero rischiare punizioni per tale assistenza“. (2) Nei due mesi di osservazione, abbiamo monitorato almeno 39000 africani illegalmente contrabbandati in Italia con il pieno consenso delle autorità italiane ed europee.

      http://marcodellaluna.info/sito/2016/12/09/le-ong-contrabbandano-immigrati-in-europa

    • Quel video online sui migranti: le rivelazioni che rivelazioni non sono

      Il video di un giovane youtuber che rivelerebbe la “verità sui migranti” spopola online e raggiunge la televisione. Ma di svelato” c’è ben poco, di confusione invece tanta

      http://www.cartadiroma.org/editoriale/youtube-verita-migranti-disinformazione
      #mensonge #désinformation #réseaux_sociaux

      v. aussi: http://www.butac.it/la-verita-sui-migranti-soccorsi-nel-mediterraneo

      La vidéo dont on parle...:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP4rYgJKo_w&index=1&list=PLOhX3kYhesg8LY4ZOQG_cYekOpxqzJiOe

    • Mediterraneo: se i veri complici non sono le ong ma l’Europa

      Dopo le accuse alle ong che operano in mare lanciate da Frontex e l’indagine esplorativa della Procura di Catania sui sospetti di collusione con i trafficanti di esseri umani e di responsabilità nell’aumento dei flussi migratori, Medici Senza Frontiere e Moas, entrambe impegnate nello Stretto di Sicilia, mettono i puntini sulle i

      http://www.vita.it/it/article/2017/03/24/mediterraneo-se-i-veri-complici-non-sono-le-ong-ma-leuropa/142874

    • Recuperi o salvataggi? Criminalizzazione dei soccorsi e altre stragi in mare

      È di alcune ore fa la notizia relativa all’ultimo terribile naufragio al largo della Libia, nel quale avrebbero perso la vita circa 240 persone, secondo il racconto dell’ong Pro-activa Open Arms, che ha recuperato cinque cadaveri trovati vicino a due gommoni vuoti. Il 20 marzo scorso erano stati accertati altri 38 morti al largo delle coste libiche. I migranti viaggiavano a bordo di due gommoni alla deriva che sono stati “soccorsi” dalla Guardia Costiera Libica.

      http://siciliamigranti.blogspot.ch/2017/03/recuperi-o-salvataggi-criminalizzazione.html

    • Mediterraneo: una politica di morte

      Anziché inviare missioni internazionali di soccorso, di garantire vie d’accesso legali e sicure e di operare per la pace e il miglioramento delle condizioni di vita nei paesi di partenza, si alimentano le guerre e si indaga sui soccorritori umanitari.

      Si vogliono sgomberare le acque a nord della costa libica da testimoni scomodi che potrebbero documentare l’assenza di soccorsi in acque internazionali i respingimenti collettivi congiunti già programmati tra EunavforMed, Frontex e la sedicente Guardia costiera libica.

      http://www.a-dif.org/2017/03/26/mediterraneo-una-politica-di-morte

    • Aid groups deny rescue ships in Mediterranean are abetting migrant smugglers

      Aid groups operating rescue ships in the Mediterranean have rejected suspicions raised by an Italian prosecutor that by saving tens of thousands of migrants they are effectively aiding Libya-based people smugglers.


      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-italy-idUSKBN16Z2C7?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

    • NGOs under attack for saving too many lives in the Mediterranean

      The criminalisation of volunteers, activists and NGOs serves to deter European civic society from getting involved, and to ultimately weaken and divide the last bastion against the EU’s tough line on refugees and migrants that now prevails. It is this tough line that is also producing the systematic closure of legal routes out of Syria, trapping Syrians in border camps and protracted legal and existential limbo, and making the crossings from Libya into Italy more dangerous and deadly.

      https://nandosigona.info/2017/03/29/ngos-under-attack-for-saving-too-many-lives-in-the-mediterranean

    • Commentaire de Fulvio Vassallo sur Facebook, le 30 mars 2017 :

      Sta per partire l’operazione #Eunavfor_MED Fase tre. Ecco perche’ le Organizzazioni non governative devono essere allontanate dalla zona contigua alle acque territoriali libiche. Un disegno politico militare che produrrà migliaia di morti, in mare e nei centri di detenzione libici. http://m.huffingtonpost.it/news/eunavfor-med Un disegno politico sul quale l’Unione Europea punta la sua scelta di sbarramento. Divisi su tutto riescono solo a decidere la morte dei migranti.