• EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment (19.06.2020)

      The approval of the new #Frontex_Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU’s border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.

      In 2020 Frontex’s #budget grew to €420.6 million, an increase of over 34% compared to 2019. The European Commission has proposed that in the next EU budget (formally known as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF, covering 2021-27) €11 billion will be made available to the agency, although legal negotiations are ongoing and have hit significant stumbling blocks due to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and political disagreements.

      Nevertheless, the increase for this year has clearly provided a number of opportunities for Frontex. For instance, it has already agreed contracts worth €28 million for the acquisition of dozens of vehicles equipped with thermal and day cameras, surveillance radar and sensors.

      According to the contract for the provision of Mobile Surveillance Systems, these new tools will be used “for detection, identification and recognising of objects of interest e.g. human beings and/or groups of people, vehicles moving across the border (land and sea), as well as vessels sailing within the coastal areas, and other objects identified as objects of interest”. [1]

      Frontex has also published a call for tenders for Maritime Analysis Tools, worth a total of up to €2.6 million. With this, Frontex seeks to improve access to “big data” for maritime analysis. [2] The objective of deploying these tools is to enhance Frontex’s operational support to EU border, coast guard and law enforcement authorities in “suppressing and preventing, among others, illegal migration and cross-border crime in the maritime domain”.

      Moreover, the system should be capable of delivering analysis and identification of high-risk threats following the collection and storage of “big data”. It is not clear how much human input and monitoring there will be of the identification of risks. The call for tenders says the winning bidder should have been announced in May, but there is no public information on the chosen company so far.

      As part of a 12-month pilot project to examine how maritime analysis tools could “support multipurpose operational response,” Frontex previously engaged the services of the Tel Aviv-based company Windward Ltd, which claims to fuse “maritime data and artificial intelligence… to provide the right insights, with the right context, at the right time.” [3] Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. [4]

      As the agency’s gathering and processing of data increases, it also aims to improve and develop its own internal IT systems, through a two-year project worth €34 million. This will establish a set of “framework contracts”. Through these, each time the agency seeks a new IT service or system, companies selected to participate in the framework contracts will submit bids for the work. [5]

      The agency is also seeking a ’Software Solution for EBCG [European Border and Coast Guard] Team Members to Access to Schengen Information System’, through a contract worth up to €5 million. [6] The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the EU’s largest database, enabling cooperation between authorities working in the fields of police, border control and customs of all the Schengen states (26 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and its legal bases were recently reformed to include new types of alert and categories of data. [7]

      This software will give Frontex officials direct access to certain data within the SIS. Currently, they have to request access via national border guards in the country in which they are operating. This would give complete autonomy to Frontex officials to consult the SIS whilst undertaking operations, shortening the length of the procedure. [8]

      With the legal basis for increasing Frontex’s powers in place, the process to build up its personnel, material and surveillance capacities continues, with significant financial implications.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/june/eu-frontex-splashes-out-millions-of-euros-for-new-technology-and-equipme

      #technologie #équipement #Multiannual_Financial_Framework #MFF #surveillance #Mobile_Surveillance_Systems #Maritime_Analysis_Tools #données #big_data #mer #Windward_Ltd #Israël #John_Browne #BP #complexe_militaro-industriel #Software_Solution_for_EBCG_Team_Members_to_Access_to_Schengen_Information_System #SIS #Schengen_Information_System

    • EU : Guns, guards and guidelines : reinforcement of Frontex runs into problems (26.05.2020)

      An internal report circulated by Frontex to EU government delegations highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency is urging swift action to implement the mandate and is pressing ahead with the recruitment of its new ‘standing corps’. However, there are legal problems with the acquisition, registration, storage and transport of weapons. The agency is also calling for derogations from EU rules on staff disciplinary measures in relation to the use of force; and wants an extended set of privileges and immunities. Furthermore, it is assisting with “voluntary return” despite this activity appearing to fall outside of its legal mandate.

      State-of-play report

      At the end of April 2020, Frontex circulated a report to EU government delegations in the Council outlining the state of play of the implementation of its new Regulation (“EBCG 2.0 Regulation”, in the agency and Commission’s words), especially relating to “current challenges”.[1] Presumably, this refers to the outbreak of a pandemic, though the report also acknowledges challenges created by the legal ambiguities contained in the Regulation itself, in particular with regard to the acquisition of weapons, supervisory and disciplinary mechanisms, legal privileges and immunities and involvement in “voluntary return” operations.

      The path set out in the report is that the “operational autonomy of the agency will gradually increase towards 2027” until it is a “fully-fledged and reliable partner” to EU and Schengen states. It acknowledges the impacts of unforeseen world events on the EU’s forthcoming budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework, MFF) for 2021-27, and hints at the impact this will have on Frontex’s own budget and objectives. Nevertheless, the agency is still determined to “continue increasing the capabilities” of the agency, including its acquisition of new equipment and employment of new staff for its standing corps.

      The main issues covered by the report are: Frontex’s new standing corps of staff, executive powers and the use of force, fundamental rights and data protection, and the integration into Frontex of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System.

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

      A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”.[2] The report notes that the establishment of the standing corps has been heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. According to the report, 7,238 individuals had applied to join the standing corps before the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,482 of these – over 75% – were assessed by the agency as eligible, with a final 304 passing the entire selection process to be on the “reserve lists”.[3]

      Despite interruptions to the recruitment procedure following worldwide lockdown measures, interviews for Category 1 staff – permanent Frontex staff members to be deployed on operations – were resumed via video by the end of April. 80 candidates were shortlisted for the first week, and Frontex aims to interview 1,000 people in total. Despite this adaptation, successful candidates will have to wait for Frontex’s contractor to re-open in order to carry out medical tests, an obligatory requirement for the standing corps.[4]

      In 2020, Frontex joined the European Defence Agency’s Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Communications and Information System (CIS) services in order to ensure ICT support for the standing corps in operation as of 2021.[5] The EDA describes SatCom and CIS as “fundamental for Communication, Command and Control in military operations… [enabling] EU Commanders to connect forces in remote areas with HQs and capitals and to manage the forces missions and tasks”.[6]

      Training

      The basic training programme, endorsed by the management board in October 2019, is designed for Category 1 staff. It includes specific training in interoperability and “harmonisation with member states”. The actual syllabus, content and materials for this basic training were developed by March 2020; Statewatch has made a request for access to these documents, which is currently pending with the Frontex Transparency Office. This process has also been affected by the novel coronavirus, though the report insists that “no delay is foreseen in the availability of the specialised profile related training of the standing corps”.

      Use of force

      The state-of-play-report acknowledges a number of legal ambiguities surrounding some of the more controversial powers outlined in Frontex’s 2019 Regulation, highlighting perhaps that political ambition, rather than serious consideration and assessment, propelled the legislation, overtaking adequate procedure and oversight. The incentive to enact the legislation within a short timeframe is cited as a reason that no impact assessment was carried out on the proposed recast to the agency’s mandate. This draft was rushed through negotiations and approved in an unprecedented six-month period, and the details lost in its wake are now coming to light.

      Article 82 of the 2019 Regulation refers to the use of force and carriage of weapons by Frontex staff, while a supervisory mechanism for the use of force by statutory staff is established by Article 55. This says:

      “On the basis of a proposal from the executive director, the management board shall: (a) establish an appropriate supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on use of force by statutory staff, including rules on reporting and specific measures, such as those of a disciplinary nature, with regard to the use of force during deployments”[7]

      The agency’s management board is expected to make a decision about this supervisory mechanism, including specific measures and reporting, by the end of June 2020.

      The state-of-play report posits that the legal terms of Article 55 are inconsistent with the standard rules on administrative enquiries and disciplinary measures concerning EU staff.[8] These outline, inter alia, that a dedicated disciplinary board will be established in each institution including at least one member from outside the institution, that this board must be independent and its proceedings secret. Frontex insists that its staff will be a special case as the “first uniformed service of the EU”, and will therefore require “special arrangements or derogations to the Staff Regulations” to comply with the “totally different nature of tasks and risks associated with their deployments”.[9]

      What is particularly astounding about Frontex demanding special treatment for oversight, particularly on use of force and weapons is that, as the report acknowledges, the agency cannot yet legally store or transport any weapons it acquires.

      Regarding service weapons and “non-lethal equipment”,[10] legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland, where the agency’s headquarters is located. Frontex has applied to the Commission for clarity on how to proceed, says the report. Frontex declined to comment on the status of this consultation and any indications of the next steps the agency will take. A Commission spokesperson stated only that it had recently received the agency’s enquiry and “is analysing the request and the applicable legal framework in the view of replying to the EBCGA”, without expanding further.

      Until Frontex has the legal basis to do so, it cannot launch a tender for firearms and “non-lethal equipment” (which includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs). However, the report implies the agency is ready to do so as soon as it receives the green light. Technical specifications are currently being finalised for “non-lethal equipment” and Frontex still plans to complete acquisition by the end of the year.

      Privileges and immunities

      The agency is also seeking special treatment with regard to the legal privileges and immunities it and its officials enjoy. Article 96 of the 2019 Regulation outlines the privileges and immunities of Frontex officers, stating:

      “Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU shall apply to the Agency and its statutory staff.” [11]

      However, Frontex notes that the Protocol does not apply to non-EU states, nor does it “offer a full protection, or take into account a need for the inviolability of assets owned by Frontex (service vehicles, vessels, aircraft)”.[12] Frontex is increasingly involved in operations taking place on non-EU territory. For instance, the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states, primarily in the Western Balkans, concerning Frontex activities in those countries. To launch operations under these agreements, Frontex will (or, in the case of Albania, already has) agree on operational plans with each state, under which Frontex staff can use executive powers.[13] The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.

      Law enforcement

      To implement its enhanced functions regarding cross-border crime, Frontex will continue to participate in Europol’s four-year policy cycle addressing “serious international and organised crime”.[14] The agency is also developing a pilot project, “Investigation Support Activities- Cross Border Crime” (ISA-CBC), addressing drug trafficking and terrorism.

      Fundamental rights and data protection

      The ‘EBCG 2.0 Regulation’ requires several changes to fundamental rights measures by the agency, which, aside from some vague “legal analyses” seem to be undergoing development with only internal oversight.

      Firstly, to facilitate adequate independence of the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO), special rules have to be established. The FRO was introduced under Frontex’s 2016 Regulation, but has since then been understaffed and underfunded by the agency.[15] The 2019 Regulation obliges the agency to ensure “sufficient and adequate human and financial resources” for the office, as well as 40 fundamental rights monitors.[16] These standing corps staff members will be responsible for monitoring compliance with fundamental rights standards, providing advice and assistance on the agency’s plans and activities, and will visit and evaluate operations, including acting as forced return monitors.[17]

      During negotiations over the proposed Regulation 2.0, MEPs introduced extended powers for the Fundamental Rights Officer themselves. The FRO was previously responsible for contributing to Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy and monitoring its compliance with and promotion of fundamental rights. Now, they will be able to monitor compliance by conducting investigations; offering advice where deemed necessary or upon request of the agency; providing opinions on operational plans, pilot projects and technical assistance; and carrying out on-the-spot visits. The executive director is now obliged to respond “as to how concerns regarding possible violations of fundamental rights… have been addressed,” and the management board “shall ensure that action is taken with regard to recommendations of the fundamental rights officer.” [18] The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation.

      The state-of-play report says that “legal analyses and exchanges” are ongoing, and will inform an eventual management board decision, but no timeline for this is offered. [19] The agency will also need to adapt its much criticised individual complaints mechanism to fit the requirements of the 2019 Regulation; executive director Fabrice Leggeri’s first-draft decision on this process is currently undergoing internal consultations. Even the explicit requirement set out in the 2019 Regulation for an “independent and effective” complaints mechanism,[20] does not meet minimum standards to qualify as an effective remedy, which include institutional independence, accessibility in practice, and capacity to carry out thorough and prompt investigations.[21]

      Frontex has entered into a service level agreement (SLA) with the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) for support in establishing and training the team of fundamental rights monitors introduced by the 2019 Regulation. These monitors are to be statutory staff of the agency and will assess fundamental rights compliance of operational activities, advising, assisting and contributing to “the promotion of fundamental rights”.[22] The scope and objectives for this team were finalised at the end of March this year, and the agency will establish the team by the end of the year. Statewatch has requested clarification as to what is to be included in the team’s scope and objectives, pending with the Frontex Transparency Office.

      Regarding data protection, the agency plans a package of implementing rules (covering issues ranging from the position of data protection officer to the restriction of rights for returnees and restrictions under administrative data processing) to be implemented throughout 2020.[23] The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.

      Returns

      The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) – a network of 15 European states and the Commission facilitating cooperation over return operations “as part of the EU efforts to manage migration” – is to be handed over to Frontex. [24] A handover plan is currently under the final stage of review; it reportedly outlines the scoping of activities and details of “which groups of returnees will be eligible for Frontex assistance in the future”.[25] A request from Statewatch to Frontex for comment on what assistance will be provided by the agency to such returnees was unanswered at the time of publication.

      Since the entry into force of its new mandate, Frontex has also been providing technical assistance for so-called voluntary returns, with the first two such operations carried out on scheduled flights (as opposed to charter flights) in February 2020. A total of 28 people were returned by mid-April, despite the fact that there is no legal clarity over what the definition “voluntary return” actually refers to, as the state-of-play report also explains:

      “The terminology of voluntary return was introduced in the Regulation without providing any definition thereof. This terminology (voluntary departure vs voluntary return) is moreover not in line with the terminology used in the Return Directive (EBCG 2.0 refers to the definition of returns provided for in the Return Directive. The Return Directive, however, does not cover voluntary returns; a voluntary return is not a return within the meaning of the Return Directive). Further elaboration is needed.”[26]

      On top of requiring “further clarification”, if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate. Statewatch has launched an investigation into the agency’s activities relating to voluntary returns, to outline the number of such operations to date, their country of return and country of destination.

      Frontex is currently developing a module dedicated to voluntary returns by charter flight for its FAR (Frontex Application for Returns) platform (part of its return case management system). On top of the technical support delivered by the agency, Frontex also foresees the provision of on-the-ground support from Frontex representatives or a “return counsellor”, who will form part of the dedicated return teams planned for the standing corps from 2021.[27]

      Frontex has updated its return case management system (RECAMAS), an online platform for member state authorities and Frontex to communicate and plan return operations, to manage an increased scope. The state-of-play report implies that this includes detail on post-return activities in a new “post-return module”, indicating that Frontex is acting on commitments to expand its activity in this area. According to the agency’s roadmap on implementing the 2019 Regulation, an action plan on how the agency will provide post-return support to people (Article 48(1), 2019 Regulation) will be written by the third quarter of 2020.[28]

      In its closing paragraph, related to the budgetary impact of COVID-19 regarding return operations, the agency notes that although activities will resume once aerial transportation restrictions are eased, “the agency will not be able to provide what has been initially intended, undermining the concept of the EBCG as a whole”.[29]

      EUROSUR

      The Commission is leading progress on adopting the implementing act for the integration of EUROSUR into Frontex, which will define the implementation of new aerial surveillance,[30] expected by the end of the year.[31] Frontex is discussing new working arrangements with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). The development by Frontex of the surveillance project’s communications network will require significant budgetary investment, as the agency plans to maintain the current system ahead of its planned replacement in 2025.[32] This investment is projected despite the agency’s recognition of the economic impact of Covid-19 on member states, and the consequent adjustments to the MFF 2021-27.

      Summary

      Drafted and published as the world responds to an unprecedented pandemic, the “current challenges” referred to in the report appear, on first read, to refer to the budgetary and staffing implications of global shut down. However, the report maintains throughout that the agency’s determination to expand, in terms of powers as well as staffing, will not be stalled despite delays and budgeting adjustments. Indeed, it is implied more than once that the “current challenges” necessitate more than ever that these powers be assumed. The true challenges, from the agency’s point of view, stem from the fact that its current mandate was rushed through negotiations in six months, leading to legal ambiguities that leave it unable to acquire or transport weapons and in a tricky relationship with the EU protocol on privileges and immunities when operating in third countries. Given the violence that so frequently accompanies border control operations in the EU, it will come as a relief to many that Frontex is having difficulties acquiring its own weaponry. However, it is far from reassuring that the introduction of new measures on fundamental rights and accountability are being carried out internally and remain unavailable for public scrutiny.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Note: this article was updated on 26 May 2020 to include the European Commission’s response to Statewatch’s enquiries.

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

      “the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states... under which” replaces “the agency has entered into working agreements with Balkan states, under which”
      “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in any detail in the Regulation beyond monitoring the agency’s ’compliance with fundamental rights, including by conducting investigations’” replaces “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation”
      “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it further exposes the haste with which legislation written to deny entry into the EU and facilitate expulsions was drafted” replaces “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate”

      Endnotes

      [1] Frontex, ‘State of play of the implementation of the EBCG 2.0 Regulation in view of current challenges’, 27 April 2020, contained in Council document 7607/20, LIMITE, 20 April 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/may/eu-council-frontex-ECBG-state-of-play-7607-20.pdf

      [2] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

      [4] Jane Kilpatrick, ‘Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards’, Statewatch Analysis, March 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-355-frontex-recruitment-standing-corps.pdf

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

      [6] EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market

      [7] Article 55(5)(a), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex 2019 Regulation), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [8] Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

      [11] Protocol (No 7), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.202.01.0001.01.ENG#d1e3363-201-1

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

      [13] ‘Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval’, Statewatch News, 11 March 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/frontex-status-agreements.htm

      [14] Europol, ‘EU policy cycle – EMPACT’, https://www.europol.europa.eu/empact

      [15] ‘NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex’s respect for fundamental rights’, Statewatch News, 5 March 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/fx-consultative-forum-rep.htm; ‘Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations’, Statewatch News, 21 May 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      [16] Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

      [21] Sergio Carrera and Marco Stefan, ‘Complaint Mechanisms in Border Management and Expulsion Operations in Europe: Effective Remedies for Victims of Human Rights Violations?’, CEPS, 2018, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/Complaint%20Mechanisms_A4.pdf

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

      [24] ERRIN, https://returnnetwork.eu

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [28] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

      [30] Matthias Monroy, ‘Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders’, Statewatch Analysis, February 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-354-frontex-drones.pdf

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

      [32] Section 7.2, state of play report
      Next article >

      Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/eu-guns-guards-and-guidelines-reinforcement-of-frontex-runs-into-problem

      #EBCG_2.0_Regulation #European_Defence_Agency’s_Satellite_Communications (#SatCom) #Communications_and_Information_System (#CIS) #immunité #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #Fundamental_Rights_Officer (#FRO) #European_Return_and_Reintegration_Network (#ERRIN) #renvois #expulsions #réintégration #Directive_Retour #FAR (#Frontex_Application_for_Returns) #RECAMAS #EUROSUR #European_Aviation_Safety_Agency (#EASA) #European_Organisation_for_the_Safety_of_Air_Navigation (#EUROCONTROL)

    • Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards

      On 4 January 2020 the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted a decision on the profiles of the staff required for the new “standing corps”, which is ultimately supposed to be staffed by 10,000 officials. [1] The decision ushers in a new wave of recruitment for the agency. Applicants will be put through six months of training before deployment, after rigorous medical testing.

      What is the standing corps?

      The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps is the new, and according to Frontex, first ever, EU uniformed service, available “at any time…to support Member States facing challenges at their external borders”.[2] Frontex’s Programming Document for the 2018-2020 period describes the standing corps as the agency’s “biggest game changer”, requiring “an unprecedented scale of staff recruitment”.[3]

      The standing corps will be made up of four categories of Frontex operational staff:

      Frontex statutory staff deployed in operational areas and staff responsible for the functioning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit[4];
      Long-term staff seconded from member states;
      Staff from member states who can be immediately deployed on short-term secondment to Frontex; and

      A reserve of staff from member states for rapid border interventions.

      These border guards will be “trained by the best and equipped with the latest technology has to offer”.[5] As well as wearing EU uniforms, they will be authorised to carry weapons and will have executive powers: they will be able to verify individuals’ identity and nationality and permit or refuse entry into the EU.

      The decision made this January is limited to the definition of profiles and requirements for the operational staff that are to be recruited. The Management Board (MB) will have to adopt a new decision by March this year to set out the numbers of staff needed per profile, the requirements for individuals holding those positions, and the number of staff needed for the following year based on expected operational needs. This process will be repeated annually.[6] The MB can then further specify how many staff each member state should contribute to these profiles, and establish multi-annual plans for member state contributions and recruitment for Frontex statutory staff. Projections for these contributions are made in Annexes II – IV of the 2019 Regulation, though a September Mission Statement by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urges the recruitment of 10,000 border guards by 2024, indicating that member states might be meeting their contribution commitments much sooner than 2027.[7]

      The standing corps of Frontex staff will have an array of executive powers and responsibilities. As well as being able to verify identity and nationality and refuse or permit entry into the EU, they will be able to consult various EU databases to fulfil operational aims, and may also be authorised by host states to consult national databases. According to the MB Decision, “all members of the Standing Corps are to be able to identify persons in need of international protection and persons in a vulnerable situation, including unaccompanied minors, and refer them to the competent authorities”. Training on international and EU law on fundamental rights and international protection, as well as guidelines on the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection, will be mandatory for all standing corps staff members.

      The size of the standing corps

      The following table, taken from the 2019 Regulation, outlines the ambitions for growth of Frontex’s standing corps. However, as noted, the political ambition is to reach the 10,000 total by 2024.

      –-> voir le tableau sur le site de statewatch!

      Category 2 staff – those on long term secondment from member states – will join Frontex from 2021, according to the 2019 Regulation.[8] It is foreseen that Germany will contribute the most staff, with 61 expected in 2021, increasing year-by-year to 225 by 2027. Other high contributors are France and Italy (170 and 125 by 2027, respectively).

      The lowest contributors will be Iceland (expected to contribute between one and two people a year from 2021 to 2027), Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Liechtenstein is not contributing personnel but will contribute “through proportional financial support”.

      For short-term secondments from member states, projections follow a very similar pattern. Germany will contribute 540 staff in 2021, increasing to 827 in 2027; Italy’s contribution will increase from 300 in 2021 to 458 in 2027; and France’s from 408 in 2021 to 624 in 2027. Most states will be making less than 100 staff available for short-term secondment in 2021.

      What are the profiles?

      The MB Decision outlines 12 profiles to be made available to Frontex, ranging from Border Guard Officer and Crew Member, to Cross Border Crime Detection Officer and Return Specialist. A full list is contained in the Decision.[9] All profiles will be fulfilled by an official of the competent authority of a member state (MS) or Schengen Associated Country (SAC), or by a member of Frontex’s own statutory staff.

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

      border checks and surveillance;
      interviewing, debriefing* and screening arrivals and registering fingerprints;
      supporting the collection, assessment, analysis and distribution of information with EU member and non-member states;
      verifying travel documents;
      escorting individuals being deported on Frontex return operations;
      operating data systems and platforms; and
      offering cultural mediation

      *Debriefing consists of informal interviews with migrants to collect information for risk analyses on irregular migration and other cross-border crime and the profiling of irregular migrants to identify “modus operandi and migration trends used by irregular migrants and facilitators/criminal networks”. Guidelines written by Frontex in 2012 instructed border guards to target vulnerable individuals for “debriefing”, not in order to streamline safeguarding or protection measures, but for intelligence-gathering - “such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences,” said an internal document.[10] It is unknown whether those instructions are still in place.

      Recruitment for the profiles

      Certain profiles are expected to “apply self-safety and security practice”, and to have “the capacity to work under pressure and face emotional events with composure”. Relevant profiles (e.g. crew member) are required to be able to perform search and rescue activities in distress situations at sea borders.

      Frontex published a call for tender on 27 December for the provision of medical services for pre-recruitment examinations, in line with the plan to start recruiting operational staff in early 2020. The documents accompanying the tender reveal additional criteria for officials that will be granted executive powers (Frontex category “A2”) compared to those staff stationed primarily at the agency’s Warsaw headquarters (“A1”). Those criteria come in the form of more stringent medical testing.

      The differences in medical screening for category A1 and A2 staff lie primarily in additional toxicology screening and psychiatric and psychological consultations. [11] The additional psychiatric attention allotted for operational staff “is performed to check the predisposition for people to work in arduous, hazardous conditions, exposed to stress, conflict situations, changing rapidly environment, coping with people being in dramatic, injure or death exposed situations”.[12]

      Both A1 and A2 category provisional recruits will be asked to disclose if they have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease or “genital organ disease”, as well as depression, nervous or mental disorders, among a long list of other ailments. As well as disclosing any medication they take, recruits must also state if they are taking oral contraceptives (though there is no question about hormonal contraceptives that are not taken orally). Women are also asked to give the date of their last period on the pre-appointment questionnaire.

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

      Frontex training materials on forced return operations obtained by Statewatch in 2019 acknowledge the likelihood of psychological stress among staff, among other health risks. (One recommendation contained in the documents is to “never touch yourself with gloves”). Citing “dissonance within the team, long hours with no rest, group dynamic, improvisation and different languages” among factors behind psychological stress, the training materials on medical precautionary measures for deportation escort officers also refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the lack of an area to retreat to and body clock disruption as exacerbating risks. The document suggests a high likelihood that Frontex return escorts will witness poverty, “agony”, “chaos”, violence, boredom, and will have to deal with vulnerable persons.[13]

      For fundamental rights monitors (officials deployed to monitor fundamental rights compliance during deportations, who can be either Frontex staff or national officials), the training materials obtained by Statewatch focus on the self-control of emotions, rather than emotional care. Strategies recommended include talking to somebody, seeking professional help, and “informing yourself of any other option offered”. The documents suggest that it is an individual’s responsibility to prevent emotional responses to stressful situations having an impact on operations, and to organise their own supervision and professional help. There is no obvious focus on how traumatic responses of Frontex staff could affect those coming into contact with them at an external border or during a deportation. [14]

      The materials obtained by Statewatch also give some indication of the fundamental rights training imparted to those acting as deportation ‘escorts’ and fundamental rights monitors. The intended outcomes for a training session in Athens that took place in March 2019 included “adapt FR [fundamental rights] in a readmission operation (explain it with examples)” and “should be able to describe Non Refoulement principle” (in the document, ‘Session Fundamental rights’ is followed by ‘Session Velcro handcuffs’).[15] The content of the fundamental rights training that will be offered to Frontex’s new recruits is currently unknown.

      Fit for service?

      The agency anticipates that most staff will be recruited from March to June 2020, involving the medical examination of up to 700 applicants in this period. According to Frontex’s website, the agency has already received over 7,000 applications for the 700 new European Border Guard Officer positions.[16] Successful candidates will undergo six months of training before deployment in 2021. Apparently then, the posts are a popular career option, despite the seemingly invasive medical tests (especially for sexually active women). Why, for instance, is it important to Frontex to know about oral hormonal contraception, or about sexually transmitted infections?

      When asked by Statewatch if Frontex provides in-house psychological and emotional support, an agency press officer stated: “When it comes to psychological and emotional support, Frontex is increasing awareness and personal resilience of the officers taking part in our operations through education and training activities.” A ‘Frontex Mental Health Strategy’ from 2018 proposed the establishment of “a network of experts-psychologists” to act as an advisory body, as well as creating “online self-care tools”, a “psychological hot-line”, and a space for peer support with participation of psychologists (according to risk assessment) during operations.[17]

      One year later, Frontex, EASO and Europol jointly produced a brochure for staff deployed on operations, entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety – Deployment Information’, which offers a series of recommendations to staff, placing the responsibility to “come to the deployment in good mental shape” and “learn how to manage stress and how to deal with anger” more firmly on the individual than the agency.[18] According to this document, officers who need additional support must disclose this by requesting it from their supervisor, while “a helpline or psychologist on-site may be available, depending on location”.

      Frontex anticipates this recruitment drive to be “game changing”. Indeed, the Commission is relying upon it to reach its ambitions for the agency’s independence and efficiency. The inclusion of mandatory training in fundamental rights in the six-month introductory education is obviously a welcome step. Whether lessons learned in a classroom will be the first thing that comes to the minds of officials deployed on border control or deportation operations remains to be seen.

      Unmanaged responses to emotional stress can include burnout, compassion-fatigue and indirect trauma, which can in turn decrease a person’s ability to cope with adverse circumstance, and increase the risk of violence.[19] Therefore, aside from the agency’s responsibility as an employer to safeguard the health of its staff, its approach to internal psychological care will affect not only the border guards themselves, but the people that they routinely come into contact with at borders and during return operations, many of whom themselves will have experienced trauma.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

      [1] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [2] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [3] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [4] The ETIAS Central Unit will be responsible for processing the majority of applications for ‘travel authorisations’ received when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System comes into use, in theory in late 2022. Citizens who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation to travel to the Schengen area.

      [5] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [6] Article 54(4), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [7] ‘European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more’, 29 January 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_124; “Mission letter” from Ursula von der Leyen to Ylva Johnsson, 10 September 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/mission-letter-ylva-johansson_en.pdf

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

      [9] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [10] ‘Press release: EU border agency targeted “isolated or mistreated” individuals for questioning’, Statewatch News, 16 February 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm

      [11] ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841

      [12] ‘Provision of medical services – pre-recruitment examination, Terms of Reference - Annex II to invitation to tender no Frontex/OP/1491/2019/KM’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=65398

      [13] Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor

      [14] Ibid.

      [15] Frontex, document listing course learning outcomes from deportation escorts’ training, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-deportation-escorts-training-course-learning-outcomes.pdf

      [16] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [17] Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

      [18] EASO, Europol and Frontex, ‘Occupational health and safety’, 12 August 2019, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/17cc07e0-bd88-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-103142015

      [19] Trauma Treatment International, ‘A different approach for victims of trauma’, https://www.tt-intl.org/#our-work-section

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/frontex-launches-game-changing-recruitment-drive-for-standing-corps-of-b
      #gardes_frontières #staff #corps_des_gardes-frontières

    • Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders (27.02.2020)

      Instead of providing sea rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean, the EU is expanding air surveillance. Refugees are observed with drones developed for the military. In addition to numerous EU states, countries such as Libya could also use the information obtained.

      It is not easy to obtain majorities for legislation in the European Union in the area of migration - unless it is a matter of upgrading the EU’s external borders. While the reform of a common EU asylum system has been on hold for years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed to reshape the border agency Frontex with unusual haste shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. A new Regulation has been in force since December 2019,[1] under which Frontex intends to build up a “standing corps” of 10,000 uniformed officials by 2027. They can be deployed not just at the EU’s external borders, but in ‘third countries’ as well.

      In this way, Frontex will become a “European border police force” with powers that were previously reserved for the member states alone. The core of the new Regulation includes the procurement of the agency’s own equipment. The Multiannual Financial Framework, in which the EU determines the distribution of its financial resources from 2021 until 2027, has not yet been decided. According to current plans, however, at least €6 billion are reserved for Frontex in the seven-year budget. The intention is for Frontex to spend a large part of the money, over €2 billion, on aircraft, ships and vehicles.[2]

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

      The upgrade plans include the stationing of large drones in the central and eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, Frontex is looking for a private partner to operate flights off Malta, Italy or Greece. A corresponding tender ended in December[3] and the selection process is currently underway. The unmanned missions could then begin already in spring. Frontex estimates the total cost of these missions at €50 million. The contract has a term of two years and can be extended twice for one year at a time.

      Frontex wants drones of the so-called MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class. Their flight duration should be at least 20 hours. The requirements include the ability to fly in all weather conditions and at day and night. It is also planned to operate in airspace where civil aircraft are in service. For surveillance missions, the drones should carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called “daylight spotter” systems that independently detect moving targets and keep them in focus. Other equipment includes systems for locating mobile and satellite telephones. The drones will also be able to receive signals from emergency call transmitters sewn into modern life jackets.

      However, the Frontex drones will not be used primarily for sea rescue operations, but to improve capacities against unwanted migration. This assumption is also confirmed by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Watch, which has been providing assistance in the central Mediterranean with various ships since 2015. “Frontex is not concerned with saving lives,” says Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch. “While air surveillance is being expanded with aircraft and drones, ships urgently needed for rescue operations have been withdrawn”. Sea-Watch demands that situation pictures of EU drones are also made available to private organisations for sea rescue.

      Aircraft from arms companies

      Frontex has very specific ideas for its own drones, which is why there are only a few suppliers worldwide that can be called into question. The Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which Frontex tested for several months on the Greek island of Crete[4] and which is also flown by the German Bundeswehr, is one of them. As set out by Frontex in its invitation to tender, the Heron 1, with a payload of around 250 kilograms, can carry all the surveillance equipment that the agency intends to deploy over the Mediterranean. Also amongst those likely to be interested in the Frontex contract is the US company General Atomics, which has been building drones of the Predator series for 20 years. Recently, it presented a new Predator model in Greece under the name SeaGuardian, for maritime observation.[5] It is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and a system for receiving position data from larger ships, thus fulfilling one of Frontex’s essential requirements.

      General Atomics may have a competitive advantage, as its Predator drones have several years’ operational experience in the Mediterranean. In addition to Frontex, the European Union has been active in the central Mediterranean with EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In March 2019, Italy’s then-interior minister Matteo Salvini pushed through the decision to operate the EU mission from the air alone. Since then, two unarmed Predator drones operated by the Italian military have been flying for EUNAVFOR MED for 60 hours per month. Officially, the drones are to observe from the air whether the training of the Libyan coast guard has been successful and whether these navy personnel use their knowledge accordingly. Presumably, however, the Predators are primarily pursuing the mission’s goal to “combat human smuggling” by spying on the Libyan coast. It is likely that the new Operation EU Active Surveillance, which will use military assets from EU member states to try to enforce the UN arms embargo placed on Libya,[6] will continue to patrol with Italian drones off the coast in North Africa.

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

      In addition to Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) are also investing in maritime surveillance using drones. Together, the three agencies coordinate some 300 civil and military authorities in EU member states.[7] Their tasks include border, fisheries and customs control, law enforcement and environmental protection.

      In 2017, Frontex and EMSA signed an agreement to benefit from joint reconnaissance capabilities, with EFCA also involved.[8] At the time, EMSA conducted tests with drones of various sizes, but now the drones’ flights are part of its regular services. The offer is not only open to EU Member States, as Iceland was the first to take advantage of it. Since summer 2019, a long-range Hermes 900 drone built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems has been flying from Iceland’s Egilsstaðir airport. The flights are intended to cover more than half of the island state’s exclusive economic zone and to detect “suspicious activities and potential hazards”.[9]

      The Hermes 900 was also developed for the military; the Israeli army first deployed it in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The Times of Israel puts the cost of the operating contract with EMSA at €59 million,[10] with a term of two years, which can be extended for another two years. The agency did not conclude the contract directly with the Israeli arms company, but through the Portuguese firm CeiiA. The contract covers the stationing, control and mission control of the drones.

      New interested parties for drone flights

      At the request of the German MEP Özlem Demirel (from the party Die Linke), the European Commission has published a list of countries that also want to use EMSA drones.[11] According to this list, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and also Greece have requested unmanned flights for pollution monitoring this year, while Bulgaria and Spain want to use them for general maritime surveillance. Until Frontex has its own drones, EMSA is flying its drones for the border agency on Crete. As in Iceland, this is the long-range drone Hermes 900, but according to Greek media reports it crashed on 8 January during take-off.[12] Possible causes are a malfunction of the propulsion system or human error. The aircraft is said to have been considerably damaged.

      Authorities from France and Great Britain have also ordered unmanned maritime surveillance from EMSA. Nothing is yet known about the exact intended location, but it is presumably the English Channel. There, the British coast guard is already observing border traffic with larger drones built by the Tekever arms company from Portugal.[13] The government in London wants to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. The drones take off from the airport in the small town of Lydd and monitor the approximately 50-kilometre-long and 30-kilometre-wide Strait of Dover. Great Britain has also delivered several quadcopters to France to try to detect potential migrants in French territorial waters. According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, eight gendarmes have been trained to control the small drones[14].

      Information to non-EU countries

      The images taken by EMSA drones are evaluated by the competent national coastguards. A livestream also sends them to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.[15] There they are fed into the EUROSUR border surveillance system. This is operated by Frontex and networks the surveillance installations of all EU member states that have an external border. The data from EUROSUR and the national border control centres form the ‘Common Pre-frontier Intelligence Picture’,[16] referring to the area of interest of Frontex, which extends far into the African continent. Surveillance data is used to detect and prevent migration movements at an early stage.

      Once the providing company has been selected, the new Frontex drones are also to fly for EUROSUR. According to the invitation to tender, they are to operate in the eastern and central Mediterranean within a radius of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). This would enable them to carry out reconnaissance in the “pre-frontier” area off Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Within the framework of EUROSUR, Frontex shares the recorded data with other European users via a ‘Remote Information Portal’, as the call for tender explains. The border agency has long been able to cooperate with third countries and the information collected can therefore also be made available to authorities in North Africa. However, in order to share general information on surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea with a non-EU state, Frontex must first conclude a working agreement with the corresponding government.[17]

      It is already possible, however, to provide countries such as Libya with the coordinates of refugee boats. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) must be informed of actual or suspected emergencies. With EU funding, Italy has been building such a centre in Tripoli for the last two years.[18] It is operated by the military coast guard, but so far has no significant equipment of its own.

      The EU military mission “EUNAVFOR MED” was cooperating more extensively with the Libyan coast guard. For communication with European naval authorities, Libya is the first third country to be connected to European surveillance systems via the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network[19]. Information handed over to the Libyan authorities might also include information that was collected with the Italian military ‘Predator’ drones.

      Reconnaissance generated with unmanned aerial surveillance is also given to the MRCC in Turkey. This was seen in a pilot project last summer, when the border agency tested an unmanned aerostat with the Greek coast guard off the island of Samos.[20] Attached to a 1,000 metre-long cable, the airship was used in the Frontex operation ‘Poseidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean. The 35-meter-long zeppelin comes from the French manufacturer A-NSE.[21] The company specializes in civil and military aerial observation. According to the Greek Marine Ministry, the equipment included a radar, a thermal imaging camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the tracking of larger ships. The recorded videos were received and evaluated by a situation centre supplied by the Portuguese National Guard. If a detected refugee boat was still in Turkish territorial waters, the Greek coast guard informed the Turkish authorities. This pilot project in the Aegean Sea was the first use of an airship by Frontex. The participants deployed comparatively large numbers of personnel for the short mission. Pictures taken by the Greek coastguard show more than 40 people.

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

      Human rights organisations accuse EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex of passing on information to neighbouring countries leading to rejections (so-called ‘push-backs’) in violation of international law. People must not be returned to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Frontex does not itself return refugees in distress who were discovered at sea via aerial surveillance, but leaves the task to the Libyan or Turkish authorities. Regarding Libya, the Agency since 2017 provided notice of at least 42 vessels in distress to Libyan authorities.[22]

      Private rescue organisations therefore speak of so-called ‘pull-backs’, but these are also prohibited, as the Israeli human rights lawyer Omer Shatz argues: “Communicating the location of civilians fleeing war to a consortium of militias and instructing them to intercept and forcibly transfer them back to the place they fled from, trigger both state responsibility of all EU members and individual criminal liability of hundreds involved.” Together with his colleague Juan Branco, Shatz is suing those responsible for the European Union and its agencies before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Soon they intend to publish individual cases and the names of the people accused.

      Matthias Monroy

      An earlier version of this article first appeared in the German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique: ‘Drohnen für Frontex Statt sich auf die Rettung von Bootsflüchtlingen im Mittelmeer zu konzentrieren, baut die EU die Luftüberwachung’.

      Note: this article was corrected on 6 March to clarify a point regarding cooperation between Frontex and non-EU states.

      Endnotes

      [1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-33-2019-INIT/en/pdf

      [2] European Commission, ‘A strengthened and fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard’, 12 September 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

      [3] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Medium Altitude Long Endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance’, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:490010-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1

      [4] IAI, ‘IAI AND AIRBUS MARITIME HERON UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED 200 FLIGHT HOURS IN CIVILIAN EUROPEAN AIRSPACE FOR FRONTEX’, 24 October 2018, https://www.iai.co.il/iai-and-airbus-maritime-heron-unmanned-aerial-system-uas-successfully-complet

      [5] ‘ European Maritime Flight Demonstrations’, General Atomics, http://www.ga-asi.com/european-maritime-demo

      [6] ‘EU agrees to deploy warships to enforce Libya arms embargo’, The Guardian, 17 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/eu-agrees-deploy-warships-enforce-libya-arms-embargo

      [7] EMSA, ‘Heads of EMSA and Frontex meet to discuss cooperation on European coast guard functions’, 3 April 2019, http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-a-press-centre/external-news/item/3499-heads-of-emsa-and-frontex-meet-to-discuss-cooperation-on-european-c

      [8] Frontex, ‘Frontex, EMSA and EFCA strengthen cooperation on coast guard functions’, 23 March 2017, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-emsa-and-efca-strengthen-cooperation-on-coast-guard-functions

      [9] Elbit Systems, ‘Elbit Systems Commenced the Operation of the Maritime UAS Patrol Service to European Union Countries’, 18 June 2019, https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/elbit-systems-commenced-the-operation-of-the-maritime-uas-patrol-servi

      [10] ‘Elbit wins drone contract for up to $68m to help monitor Europe coast’, The Times of Israel, 1 November 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast

      [11] ‘Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission’, https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

      [12] ‘Το drone της FRONTEX έπεσε, οι μετανάστες έρχονται’, Proto Thema, 27 January 2020, https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/968869/to-drone-tis-frontex-epese-oi-metanastes-erhodai

      [13] Morgan Meaker, ‘Here’s proof the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel’, Wired, 10 January 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-drones-migrants-english-channel

      [14] ‘Littoral: Les drones pour lutter contre les traversées de migrants sont opérationnels’, La Voix du Nord, 26 March 2019, https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/557951/article/2019-03-26/les-drones-pour-lutter-contre-les-traversees-de-migrants-sont-operation

      [15] ‘Frontex report on the functioning of Eurosur – Part I’, Council document 6215/18, 15 February 2018, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6215-2018-INIT/en/pdf

      [16] European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en

      [17] Legal reforms have also given Frontex the power to operate on the territory of non-EU states, subject to the conclusion of a status agreement between the EU and the country in question. The 2016 Frontex Regulation allowed such cooperation with states that share a border with the EU; the 2019 Frontex Regulation extends this to any non-EU state.

      [18] ‘Helping the Libyan Coast Guard to establish a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-000547_EN.html

      [19] Matthias Monroy, ‘EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean’, 7 July 2018, https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/03/eu-funds-the-sacking-of-rescue-ships-in-the-mediterranean

      [20] Frontex, ‘Frontex begins testing use of aerostat for border surveillance’, 31 July 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-begins-testing-use-of-aerostat-for-border-surveillance-ur33N8

      [21] ‘Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission’, 7 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002529-ASW_EN.html

      [22] ‘Answer given by Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission’, 8 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002654-ASW_EN.html

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/drones-for-frontex-unmanned-migration-control-at-europe-s-borders

      #drones

    • Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency (16.12.2019)

      The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

      The establishment of a new ’standing corps’ of 10,000 border guards to be commanded by EU border agency Frontex has generated significant public and press attention in recent months. However, the new rules governing Frontex[1] include a number of other significant developments - including a mandate for the surveillance of migratory movements and migration “hotspots” within the EU.

      Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”[2] New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU. While this is only supposed to deal with “trends, volumes and routes,” rather than personal data, it is intended to inform operational activity within the EU.

      This may mean an increase in operations against ‘unauthorised’ migrants, bringing with it risks for fundamental rights such as the possibility of racial profiling, detention, violence and the denial of access to asylum procedures. At the same time, in a context where internal borders have been reintroduced by numerous Schengen states over the last five years due to increased migration, it may be that he agency’s new role contributes to a further prolongation of internal border controls.

      From external to internal surveillance

      Frontex was initially established with the primary goals of assisting in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. Over the years it has obtained increasing powers to conduct surveillance of those borders in order to identify potential ’threats’.

      The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has a key role in this task, taking data from a variety of sources, including satellites, sensors, drones, ships, vehicles and other means operated both by national authorities and the agency itself. EUROSUR was formally established by legislation approved in 2013, although the system was developed and in use long before it was subject to a legal framework.[3]

      The new Frontex Regulation incorporates and updates the provisions of the 2013 EUROSUR Regulation. It maintains existing requirements for the agency to establish a “situational picture” of the EU’s external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or the ports of non-EU states – which is then distributed to the EU’s member states in order to inform operational activities.[4]

      The new rules also provide a mandate for reporting on “unauthorised secondary movements” and goings-on in the “hotspots”. The Commission’s proposal for the new Frontex Regulation was not accompanied by an impact assessment, which would have set out the reasoning and justifications for these new powers. The proposal merely pointed out that the new rules would “evolve” the scope of EUROSUR, to make it possible to “prevent secondary movements”.[5] As the European Data Protection Supervisor remarked, the lack of an impact assessment made it impossible: “to fully assess and verify its attended benefits and impact, notably on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”[6]

      The term “secondary movements” is not defined in the Regulation, but is generally used to refer to journeys between EU member states undertaken without permission, in particular by undocumented migrants and applicants for internal protection. Regarding the “hotspots” – established and operated by EU and national authorities in Italy and Greece – the Regulation provides a definition,[7] but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.

      Legal provisions

      A quick glance at Section 3 of the new Regulation, dealing with EUROSUR, gives little indication that the system will now be used for internal surveillance. The formal scope of EUROSUR is concerned with the external borders and border crossing points:

      “EUROSUR shall be used for border checks at authorised border crossing points and for external land, sea and air border surveillance, including the monitoring, detection, identification, tracking, prevention and interception of unauthorised border crossings for the purpose of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.”

      However, the subsequent section of the Regulation (on ‘situational awareness’) makes clear the agency’s new internal role. Article 24 sets out the components of the “situational pictures” that will be visible in EUROSUR. There are three types – national situational pictures, the European situational picture and specific situational pictures. All of these should consist of an events layer, an operational layer and an analysis layer. The first of these layers should contain (emphasis added in all quotes):

      “…events and incidents related to unauthorised border crossings and cross-border crime and, where available, information on unauthorised secondary movements, for the purpose of understanding migratory trends, volume and routes.”

      Article 26, dealing with the European situational picture, states:

      “The Agency shall establish and maintain a European situational picture in order to provide the national coordination centres and the Commission with effective, accurate and timely information and analysis, covering the external borders, the pre-frontier area and unauthorised secondary movements.”

      The events layer of that picture should include “information relating to… incidents in the operational area of a joint operation or rapid intervention coordinated by the Agency, or in a hotspot.”[8] In a similar vein:

      “The operational layer of the European situational picture shall contain information on the joint operations and rapid interventions coordinated by the Agency and on hotspots, and shall include the mission statements, locations, status, duration, information on the Member States and other actors involved, daily and weekly situational reports, statistical data and information packages for the media.”[9]

      Article 28, dealing with ‘EUROSUR Fusion Services’, says that Frontex will provide national authorities with information on the external borders and pre-frontier area that may be derived from, amongst other things, the monitoring of “migratory flows towards and within the Union in terms of trends, volume and routes.”

      Sources of data

      The “situational pictures” compiled by Frontex and distributed via EUROSUR are made up of data gathered from a host of different sources. For the national situational picture, these are:

      national border surveillance systems;
      stationary and mobile sensors operated by national border agencies;
      border surveillance patrols and “other monitoring missions”;
      local, regional and other coordination centres;
      other national authorities and systems, such as immigration liaison officers, operational centres and contact points;
      border checks;
      Frontex;
      other member states’ national coordination centres;
      third countries’ authorities;
      ship reporting systems;
      other relevant European and international organisations; and
      other sources.[10]

      For the European situational picture, the sources of data are:

      national coordination centres;
      national situational pictures;
      immigration liaison officers;
      Frontex, including reports form its liaison officers;
      Union delegations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions;
      other relevant Union bodies, offices and agencies and international organisations; and
      third countries’ authorities.[11]

      The EUROSUR handbook – which will presumably be redrafted to take into account the new legislation – provides more detail about what each of these categories may include.[12]

      Exactly how this melange of different data will be used to report on secondary movements is currently unknown. However, in accordance with Article 24 of the new Regulation:

      “The Commission shall adopt an implementing act laying down the details of the information layers of the situational pictures and the rules for the establishment of specific situational pictures. The implementing act shall specify the type of information to be provided, the entities responsible for collecting, processing, archiving and transmitting specific information, the maximum time limits for reporting, the data security and data protection rules and related quality control mechanisms.” [13]

      This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”.[14] According to a ‘roadmap’ setting out plans for the implementation of the new Regulation, this implementing act should have been drawn up in the last quarter of 2020 by a newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Committee sitting within the Commission. However, that Committee does not yet appear to have held any meetings.[15]

      Operational activities at the internal borders

      Boosting Frontex’s operational role is one of the major purposes of the new Regulation, although it makes clear that the internal surveillance role “should not lead to operational activities of the Agency at the internal borders of the Member States.” Rather, internal surveillance should “contribute to the monitoring by the Agency of migratory flows towards and within the Union for the purpose of risk analysis and situational awareness.” The purpose is to inform operational activity by national authorities.

      In recent years Schengen member states have reintroduced border controls for significant periods in the name of ensuring internal security and combating irregular migration. An article in Deutsche Welle recently highlighted:

      “When increasing numbers of refugees started arriving in the European Union in 2015, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary quickly reintroduced controls, citing a “continuous big influx of persons seeking international protection.” This was the first time that migration had been mentioned as a reason for reintroducing border controls.

      Soon after, six Schengen members reintroduced controls for extended periods. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway cited migration as a reason. France, as the sixth country, first introduced border checks after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, citing terrorist threats. Now, four years later, all six countries still have controls in place. On November 12, they are scheduled to extend them for another six months.”[16]

      These long-term extensions of internal border controls are illegal (the upper limit is supposed to be two years; discussions on changes to the rules governing the reintroduction of internal border controls in the Schengen area are ongoing).[17] A European Parliament resolution from May 2018 stated that “many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful.”[18] Yves Pascou, a researcher for the European Policy Centre, told Deutsche Welle that: “"We are in an entirely political situation now, not a legal one, and not one grounded in facts.”

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

      “there has been a noticeable lack of detail and evidence given by the concerned EU Member States [those which reintroduced internal border controls]. For example, there have been no statistics on the numbers of people crossing borders and seeking asylum, or assessment of the extent to which reintroducing border checks complies with the principles of proportionality and necessity.”[19]

      One purpose of Frontex’s new internal surveillance powers is to provide such evidence (albeit in the ideologically-skewed form of ‘risk analysis’) on the situation within the EU. Whether the information provided will be of interest to national authorities is another question. Nevertheless, it would be a significant irony if the provision of that information were to contribute to the further maintenance of internal borders in the Schengen area.

      At the same time, there is a more pressing concern related to these new powers. Many discussions on the reintroduction of internal borders revolve around the fact that it is contrary to the idea, spirit (and in these cases, the law) of the Schengen area. What appears to have been totally overlooked is the effect the reintroduction of internal borders may have on non-EU nationals or ethnic minority citizens of the EU. One does not have to cross an internal Schengen frontier too many times to notice patterns in the appearance of the people who are hauled off trains and buses by border guards, but personal anecdotes are not the same thing as empirical investigation. If Frontex’s new powers are intended to inform operational activity by the member states at the internal borders of the EU, then the potential effects on fundamental rights must be taken into consideration and should be the subject of investigation by journalists, officials, politicians and researchers.

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

      [1] The new Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU in mid-November: Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [2] Article 12, ‘Common application of surveillance tools’, Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013R1052

      [3] According to Frontex, the Eurosur Network first came into use in December 2011 and in March 2012 was first used to “exchange operational information”. The Regulation governing the system came into force in October 2013 (see footnote 2). See: Charles Heller and Chris Jones, ‘Eurosur: saving lives or reinforcing deadly borders?’, Statewatch Journal, vol. 23 no. 3/4, February 2014, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=33156

      [4] Recital 34, 2019 Regulation: “EUROSUR should provide an exhaustive situational picture not only at the external borders but also within the Schengen area and in the pre-frontier area. It should cover land, sea and air border surveillance and border checks.”

      [5] European Commission, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action no 98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) no 1052/2013 and Regulation (EU) no 2016/1624’, COM(2018) 631 final, 12 September 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-com-frontex-proposal-regulation-com-18-631.pdf

      [6] EDPS, ‘Formal comments on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard’, 30 November 2018, p. p.2, https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-11-30_comments_proposal_regulation_european_border_coast_guard_en.pdf

      [7] Article 2(23): “‘hotspot area’ means an area created at the request of the host Member State in which the host Member State, the Commission, relevant Union agencies and participating Member States cooperate, with the aim of managing an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders”

      [8] Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

      [12] European Commission, ‘Commission Recommendation adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’, C(2015) 9206 final, 15 December 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/legal-documents/docs/eurosur_handbook_annex_en.pdf

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

      [14] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [15] Documents related to meetings of committees operating under the auspices of the European Commission can be found in the Comitology Register: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=Search.Search&NewSearch=1

      [16] Kira Schacht, ‘Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement’, DW, 12 November 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/border-checks-in-eu-countries-challenge-schengen-agreement/a-51033603

      [17] European Parliament, ‘Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders’, https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2017/0245(COD)&l=en

      [18] ‘Report on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area’, 3 May 2018, para.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0160_EN.html

      [19] Elpseth Guild et al, ‘Internal border controls in the Schengen area: is Schengen crisis-proof?’, European Parliament, June 2016, p.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571356/IPOL_STU(2016)571356_EN.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2019/monitoring-secondary-movements-and-hotspots-frontex-is-now-an-internal-s

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Info sur la refonte de la #Directive_Retour et les futurs projets de réforme du #régime_d'asile_européen_commun

    info sur la prochaine étape européenne en matière de politique migratoire. Plus précisément sur la refonte de la Directive Retour qui va passer au vote en #LIBE et aussi des infos sur l’évolution du Régime d’Asile Européen Commun (#RAEC), histoire d’informer de ce vers quoi l’on tend probablement pour la prochaine législature (donc le prochain mandat).

    Dans un effort pour réformer le Régime d’Asile Européen Commun (RAEC) et tendre vers une #uniformisation du droit d’asile au niveau européen, les directives sont revues une à une depuis quelques années (Directive Accueil, Procédure, Qualification et Retour + le règlement Dublin qui est au point mort depuis 2017 à cause du Conseil Européen).
    Ces #révisions rentrent dans le cadre de l’#agenda_européen_pour_les_migrations qui a été élaboré en 2015 par la Commission sous ordre du Conseil Européen.

    Le package est en état d’avancement prochain et l’étape la plus proche semble concerner la refonte de la Directive Retour.
    Néanmoins, il y a également un nombre assez important de dispositifs prévus dont il est peut-être pas inintéressant d’évoquer dans le sillage de l’analyse sur cette Directive.

    Il y a donc deux parties dans ce mail d’info : la première sur le Régime d’Asile Européen Commun (RAEC) et ce qu’il préfigure ; la seconde sur le texte de la Directive Retour plus précisément.

    Le Régime d’Asile Européen Commun :

    Il y a de nombreux discours actuellement autour de la mise en place d’un droit d’asile "harmonisé" au niveau européen.

    C’est une obsession de Macron depuis son élection. Il a réaffirmé, lors de la restitution du Grand Débat, sa volonté d’une Europe au régime d’asile commun : "c’est aussi une Europe qui tient ses frontières, qui les protège. C’est une Europe qui a un droit d’asile refondé et commun et où la #responsabilité va avec la #solidarité."
    https://www.elysee.fr/emmanuel-macron/2019/04/25/conference-de-presse-grand-debat-national

    La confusion est telle que les journalistes ne semblent pas toujours comprendre si ce régime d’asile commun existe ou non.

    Sur france inter par exemple :
    "Cela fait plusieurs années que l’on parle de la mise en place d’un régime d’asile européen commun. Nous en sommes encore très loin mais plusieurs textes sont actuellement en discussion, sur les procédures, sur l’accueil, les qualifications, les réinstallations, la création d’une agence européenne pour l’asile "
    https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/cafe-europe/cafe-europe-24-fevrier-2018

    Et non... ça ne fait pas plusieurs années qu’on en parle... ça fait plusieurs années qu’il existe !

    Historique :

    En vérité, cette tentative d’harmonisation des législations est ancienne et date à peu près du Conseil Européen de #Tampere en 1999 qui donna les premières impulsions pour la mise en place du Régime d’Asile Européen Commun avec tout ce que l’on connait maintenant à savoir par exemple, le #règlement_Dublin.
    Ici le résumé des orientations du Conseil sont claires :
    "il faut, pour les domaines distincts, mais étroitement liés, de l’#asile et des #migrations, élaborer une politique européenne commune (...) Il est convenu de travailler à la mise en place d’un régime d’asile européen commun, fondé sur l’application intégrale et globale de la Convention de Genève. (...) Ce régime devrait comporter, à court terme, une méthode claire et opérationnelle pour déterminer l’Etat responsable de l’examen d’une demande d’asile, des normes communes pour une procédure d’asile équitable et efficace, des conditions communes minimales d’#accueil des demandeurs d’asile, et le rapprochement des règles sur la reconnaissance et le contenu du statut de réfugié."
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/tam_fr.htm#a

    Vous avez ici les bases du RAEC et notamment du règlement Dublin qui vise justement à la détermination de l’#Etat_responsable de l’asile afin de lutter contre le "#shopping_de_l'asile", un """"fléau""""" qui avait déjà touché l’Europe durant les années 90 avec la crise des Balkans (en 1992, 700 000 personnes environ ont demandé l’asile en Europe, ce qui signifie par ailleurs que non... 2015 n’est pas une situation si inédite. La situation s’est stabilisée après 1993 où 500 000 personnes ont demandé l’asile, puis 300 000 dans les années qui ont suivi, mais pas au point de ne pas "forcer" les pays à réagir au niveau européen).
    https://www.persee.fr/doc/homig_1142-852x_1996_num_1198_1_2686

    Cet acte fondateur du #Conseil_de_Tampere est corroboré par plusieurs documents et on peut en trouver aussi confirmation par exemple dans le rapport sur la #politique_européenne_de_Retour (rédigé tous les trois ans) qui commence par :
    "L’Union européenne s’efforce depuis 1999 de mettre au point une approche globale sur la question des migrations, qui couvre l’#harmonisation des conditions d’admission, les droits des ressortissants de pays tiers en séjour régulier ainsi que l’élaboration de mesures juridiques et le renforcement d’une coopération pratique en matière de prévention des flux migratoires irréguliers."
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=celex:52014DC0199

    Bref, à partir de 1999 et donc du Conseil de Tampere, la direction est prise de mener une politique migratoire à l’échelle européenne pour renforcer le contrôle des frontières extérieures.

    Les Textes du RAEC, l’échec de l’harmonisation et les règlements qui nous attendent en conséquence :

    Le Conseil (donc les États) ordonné à Tampere et donc la Commission exécute en proposant plusieurs textes qui vont dessiner le paysage actuel du droit d’asile européen commun.

    Un ensemble de textes est donc créé et adopté :

    Le règlement Dublin succède donc à la convention de Dublin en 2003
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A8glement_Dublin_II
    Avec son frère le règlement #Eurodac qui permet la mise en oeuvre de #Dublin aussi en 2003 (logique) :
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurodac

    #Frontex est lancé en 2004 :
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agence_europ%C3%A9enne_pour_la_gestion_de_la_coop%C3%A9ration_op%C3%A9

    Et les directives qui constituent le coeur du Régime d’Asile Européen Commun avec le règlement Dublin sont lancées dans la foulée :

    La #Directive_Accueil en 2003 (puis réformée en 2013)
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32013L0033

    La #Directive_Procédure en 2005 (réformée aussi en 2013)
    https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/public/Procedures-FR.pdf

    La #Directive_Qualification en 2004 (réformée en 2011)
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32011L0095

    La Directive Retour en 2008 (qui va être réformée maintenant)
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM%3Ajl0014

    L’ensemble de ces textes avait pour but d’harmoniser les législations nationales européennes (pour le meilleur et pour le pire d’ailleurs).
    Le problème concerne donc, non pas l’absence de législations européennes communes, mais plutôt les marges de manoeuvres des Etats dans l’interprétation des Directives et leur transposition dans les législations nationales. Cette marge de manoeuvre est telle qu’elle permet aux Etats de retenir ce qui les arrange dans tel ou tel texte, de sorte que toute tentative d’harmonisation est impossible.

    Dès lors, la diversité des procédures est toujours la norme d’un pays à l’autre ; un pays comme les Pays-Bas donne 4 ans de protection subsidiaire, tandis que la France avant la loi Asile n’en donnait qu’une ; la liste des pays sûrs n’est pas la même selon les Etats .... etc etc etc

    Les Etats ont tellement la main que finalement, on peut assez facilement conclure à l’#échec total des tentatives d’harmonisation et donc du RAEC, tant les Etats ont, du début à la fin, fait un peu près ce qu’ils voulaient avec les textes.
    (voir également Sarah Lamort : https://www.amazon.fr/Europe-terre-dasile-Sarah-Lamort/dp/2130734669)

    La Commission a elle-même très bien compris ces faiblesses.

    Exaspérée elle déclare en 2016 que malgré ses efforts pour la mise en place effective du RAEC : " il existe encore des différences notables entre les États membres dans les types de procédures utilisés, les conditions d’accueil offertes aux demandeurs, les #taux_de_reconnaissance et le type de protection octroyé aux bénéficiaires d’une protection internationale. Ces #divergences contribuent à des #mouvements_secondaires et à une course à l’asile (« #asylum_shopping »), créent des facteurs d’attraction et conduisent en définitive à une répartition inégale entre les États membres de la responsabilité d’offrir une protection à ceux qui en ont besoin.(...) Ces #disparités résultent en partie des dispositions souvent discrétionnaires qui figurent dans la version actuelle de la directive relative aux procédures d’asile et de celle relative aux conditions d’accueil." et de toutes les autres en vérité pouvons-nous ajouter...
    L’objectif est donc de "renforcer et harmoniser davantage les règles du régime d’asile européen commun, de façon à assurer une plus grande égalité de traitement dans l’ensemble de l’Union et à réduire les facteurs d’attraction injustifiés qui encouragent les départs vers l’UE" (les facteurs d’attraction étant le "shopping de l’asile")

    Et pour cela la Commission propose de transformer quasiment toutes les Directives citées plus haut en Règlement... :
    " la Commission proposera un nouveau règlement instituant une procédure d’asile commune unique dans l’Union et remplaçant la directive relative aux procédures d’asile ; un nouveau règlement relatif aux conditions que doivent remplir les demandeurs d’asile remplaçant l’actuelle directive du même nom, et des modifications ciblées de la directive relative aux conditions d’accueil."
    https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/FR/1-2016-197-FR-F1-1.PDF

    La différence entre la Directive et le Règlement étant que justement la Directive est soumise à une interprétation des Etats dans la transposition au sein des législations nationales de la dite Directive (dont on voit qu’elle est large), tandis qu’un Règlement est contraignant et s’applique sans interprétation, ni marge de manoeuvre whatsoever à tous les Etats (comme le règlement Dublin).
    Ici par exemple, la Commission propose de changer la Directive Procédure en un Règlement, histoire par exemple, que tous les pays aient la même liste de pays d’origine sûrs une bonne fois pour toute : https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0467

    Ce processus d’abrogation des #directives pour en faire des #règlements est en cours et il est très important puisque cela signifie qu’il va falloir surveiller de très près les dispositions qui vont apparaitre dans ces nouveaux textes qui vont TOUS s’appliquer stricto sensu.
    Ce n’est pas forcément une bonne nouvelle.

    Reste que les Etats pourraient s’opposer à l’imposition de textes aussi coercitifs et d’ailleurs, ils ont eux-mêmes bloqué la révision du règlement Dublin. Cela pose la question de l’Etat d’avancement.

    Etat d’avancement :
    Depuis l’annonce de la transformation des Directives en Règlements en 2016, les dossiers ne semblent pas avoir tant avancés que cela pour autant que je sache sauf concernant quelques dossiers majeurs, notamment la Directive Retour.

    Concernant la mise en place des règlements, la Commission est très vague dans sa dernière communication sur l’état d’avancement de l’agenda européen matière de migrations de mars 2019 : https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2019:0126:FIN:FR:PDF
    En décembre 2017, elle disait :
    "Présentées il y a un an et demi, ces propositions en sont à des stades d’avancement différents dans le processus législatif. Certaines, comme la proposition concernant l’Agence de l’Union européenne pour l’asile et la réforme d’Eurodac, sont sur le point d’être adoptées. D’autres, à savoir le cadre de l’Union pour la réinstallation, le règlement relatif aux conditions que doivent remplir les demandeurs d’asile et la directive relative aux conditions d’accueil, progressent. En revanche, la proposition de règlement sur les procédures d’asile et, comme pierre angulaire, la proposition de révision du règlement de Dublin, nécessitent encore un travail considérable. Dans ce contexte, il convient aussi de progresser dans les travaux sur la notion de pays tiers sûr au sens de l’UE, en tenant compte des conclusions du Conseil européen de juin"
    https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2017/FR/COM-2017-820-F1-FR-MAIN-PART-1.PDF

    Il y a donc fort à parier qu’en à peine 1 an et demi, les choses n’aient pas beaucoup avancées concernant les règlements.
    Bref, comme il était assez attendu, ce qui ne contraint pas totalement les Etats avancent et le reste piétine pour le moment.

    Par contre, elles avancent concernant la politique des retours et donc la Directive Retour !

    Politique des retours et externalisation de l’asile :

    Après le Conseil de Tampere en 1999, vient la "crise des migrants" en 2015, qui ne fera qu’accélérer les constatations de l’échec du RAEC.

    Le Conseil européen lance donc une réunion spéciale en avril 2015 qui annonce un changement de stratégie vers l’extérieur avec notamment un renforcement de la coopération avec les pays tiers pour le "contrôle de l’immigration". Ordre est donné à la Commission de mobiliser tous les moyens nécessaires pour mettre cette nouvelle stratégie en oeuvre.
    Ce n’est pas le lancement officiel de l’externalisation de l’Asile puisque le processus de Khartoum et de Rabat sont antérieurs et déjà lancés.
    Néanmoins, il me parait assez évident personnellement qu’un coup d’accélérateur à la stratégie d’externalisation sera donné à partir de ce Conseil qui sera entièrement tourné vers la coopération internationale :
    https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/04/23/special-euco-statement

    Dans le prolongement logique des décisions prises lors du Conseil d’avril 2015 et de l’orientation stratégique vers l’extérieur, le Conseil Européen lancera le Sommet de la Valette en novembre où il invitera un nombre conséquent de pays africains.
    Ainsi le Sommet de la Valette, "fut l’occasion de reconnaître que la gestion des migrations relève de la responsabilité commune des pays d’origine, de transit et de destination. L’UE et l’Afrique ont travaillé dans un esprit de partenariat afin de trouver des solutions communes aux défis d’intérêt commun."
    https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/meetings/international-summit/2015/11/11-12

    C’est après ce Sommet que seront initiés le Fond Fiduciaire, les accords avec la Turquie, la Libye, les garde-côtes, la transformation de Frontex etc
    Bien que tout cela ait été préparé en amont.

    Après les ordres du Conseil, la Commission s’exécute avec l’Agenda Européen en Matière de Migrations et la focale sur les retours :
    Devant la stratégie d’orientation du Conseil qui demande des réformes fortes et des actions pour transformer la politique européenne d’asile, la Commission s’exécute en mai 2015 avec l’Agenda Européen des migrations :https://ec.europa.eu/france/node/859_fr

    Cet agenda met l’emphase sur un nombre impressionnant de points, mais une large part est également réservée aux retours page 11 et 12 (puisqu’il faudrait s’assurer que les retours soient efficaces et effectifs d’après la Commission).
    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/background-information/docs/communication_on_the_european_agenda_on_migration_fr.pdf

    Dans la foulée la Commission lance donc une réflexion sur la politique des retours qui culminera la même année en 2015 avec The Action Plan of Return.
    L’action plan partira d’un principe assez simple, si les migrants viennent, c’est parce qu’on ne les renvoie pas...
    "The European Agenda on Migration, adopted by the European Commission on 13 May 2015, highlighted that one of the incentives for irregular migration is the knowledge that the EU’s system to return irregular migrants is not sufficiently effective"
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52015DC0453

    Ce plan est censé résoudre ce problème.
    Mais il sera aussi un relatif échec, ce qui n’empêchera pas la Commission d’insister en lançant un nouveau plan en 2017, The Renewed Action Plan on return :
    "Despite this, the overall impact on the return track record across the European Union remained limited, showing that more resolute action is needed to bring measurable results in returning irregular migrants. "
    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/20170302_a_more_effective_return_policy_in_the_european_union_-_a_renewed_

    Toujours dans la foulée d’une politique d’expulsion efficace, il sera discuté plus tard (en mars 2019 sur l’évaluation de l’application de l’agenda européen) de la meilleure façon d’exécuter les retours en Europe. C’est là où nous en sommes.
    Pour la mise en place d’une politique de retour efficace, il y a donc deux stratégies :

    1) renforcer les accords de réadmission avec des accords bilatéraux ou par le biais des accords de Cotonou (qui vont être révisés et qui ont beaucoup tourné autour des migrations justement...on en reparlera un jour).
    "Concernant donc "les retours et la réadmission, l’UE continue d’œuvrer à la conclusion d’accords et d’arrangements en matière de réadmission avec les pays partenaires, 23 accords et arrangements ayant été conclus jusqu’à présent. Les États membres doivent maintenant tirer pleinement parti des accords existants."
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1496_fr.htm

    2) renforcer les procédures de retour depuis l’Europe.
    La Commission espère en conséquence que "le Parlement européen et le Conseil devraient adopter rapidement la proposition de la Commission en matière de retour, qui vise à limiter les abus et la fuite des personnes faisant l’objet d’un retour au sein de l’Union"
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1496_fr.htm

    C’est pourquoi la Commission propose de revoir la Directive Retour.

    La Directive Retour :
    La directive retour est donc la prochaine directive sur la liste des refontes.
    Ce sera un gros sujet a priori puisque la prochaine étape c’est le vote en Commission LIBE avant donc le vote en plénière.
    L’échéance est donc proche et les discussions bien avancées.

    Un texte problématique :

    Article 6 et 16
    En gros, les problèmes qui se posent avec ce texte ont surtout à voir avec l’article 6 qui décrit une liste de 16 critères de "risque de fuites", les derniers étant particulièrement dangereux puisqu’il semblerait que "résister aux procédures de retour" ou "refuser de donner ses empreintes" peuvent représenter des risques de fuites....
    Cet élargissement des critères est à mettre en lien avec l’article 18 qui permet la détention de toutes les personnes qui représentent un risque de fuite. Avec un élargissement pareil des critères de "fuites", je crains que l’on ne se donne le droit d’enfermer tout le monde.

    Article 7
    L’article 7 oblige les Etats tiers à coopérer dans les procédures de retour.
    L’application de cet article me semblait complexe mais le Brief du Parlement sur la Directive au paragraphe "Council" (donc sur les discussions au Conseil) ajoute que les Etats réfléchissent à la possibilité de sanctions pour les pays tiers en cas de non-respect de cette obligation de coopération.
    Et à ce moment-là j’ai compris.... Ma théorie c’est qu’un chantage quelconque pourra être mis en place pour établir une pression forçant les Etats tiers à coopérer.
    Tout le problème tient sur l’amplitude des sanctions possibles. Je n’en vois pas beaucoup, sauf à menacer de rompre des accords commerciaux ou de développement.

    C’est déjà plus ou moins le cas via le Fond Fiduciaire ou les fonds d’aide au dvp puisque l’on voit parfois que l’aide au dvp dépend de la mise en place d’accords de réadmission.
    Par exemple : l’UE et l’Afghanistan ont signé un accord de réadmission en Octobre 2016 : https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eu_afghanistan_joint_way_forward_on_migration_issues.pdf
    Et dans la foulée d’octobre, 5 milliards d’aide au dvp étaient débloqués pour la période 2016-2020 à la conférence de Bruxelles (https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eu-afghanistan_march_2019.pdf).

    Avec une opération pareille, des soupçons de chantage à l’aide au dvp me paraissent tout à fait légitime.
    Cependant, ils existaient une séparation dans la forme. C’est-à-dire que même si les liens peuvent sembler évidents, les accords de réadmission n’établissaient pas directement de chantage entre l’un et l’autre. Il n’était pas écrit que des "sanctions" étaient possibles (du moins pas dans l’exemple de l’Afghanistan ni même dans l’accord de Cotonou - exception faite de ce qui concerne l’article 96 et le respect des droits—et dans aucun autre texte à ma connaissance).
    Ici le Conseil veut faire un pas de plus dans la direction d’une politique assumée de pressions via des sanctions et donc, indirectement semble-t-il, de chantage.

    Les Pays Tiers-Sûrs
    Un autre élément dangereux dans ce paragraphe sur le Conseil dans le Brief du Parlement : c’est que les Etats de leur côté réfléchissent aussi à la possibilité de renvoyer une personne dans un pays tiers considéré comme sûr qui ne soit pas le pays d’origine.
    En d’autres termes, renvoyer les soudanais par exemple, en Egypte par exemple légalement.

    Cela rejoint a priori les discussions sur la notion de pays tiers sûrs que la Commission et le Conseil continuent de vouloir développer depuis très longtemps malgré les oppositions franches des ONG (http://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer/actualites/le-concept-de-pays-tiers-sur-une-remise-en-cause-profonde-de-l-acces-) ou même l’avis défavorable de la Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme en 2017 (https://www.cncdh.fr/sites/default/files/171219_avis_concept_pays_tiers_sur_5.pdf)
    On ferait ici un pas de plus au sein du creuset initié par la politique des "pays d’origine sûrs" et on s’offrirait le droit de renvoyer des personnes dans des pays qui n’auraient pas les conditions pour les accueillir dignement (tant matériellement que du point de vue du respect des droits...).

    Article 22
    L’article 22 est aussi très problématique puisque les dispositions aux frontières devraient changer :
    Les migrants en zone d’attente devraient recevoir une décision de retour simplifiée plutôt qu’une explication motivée.
    Il ne devrait plus y avoir aucune chance de départ volontaire, sauf si le migrant possède un document de voyage en cours de validité (remis aux autorités) et coopère pleinement (car s’il ne coopère pas, on l’a vu, il peut être déclaré en "tentative de fuite" ou en "fuite").
    Concernant les recours, les migrants ne disposeront que de 48 heures pour faire appel d’une décision de retour fondée sur un rejet de l’asile à la frontière, et l’effet suspensif ne s’appliquera qu’à la présentation de nouvelles conclusions importantes (type CNDA) ou qu’il n’y a pas déjà eu de contrôle juridictionnel effectif.

    Article 16
    D’ailleurs, les recours peuvent subir un changement relativement dramatique à cause de l’article 16. Selon le brief de la Commission :
    " Proposed Article 16(4) imposes a general obligation on Member States to establish ‘reasonable’ time limits. In relation to appeals lodged against return decisions adopted as a consequence of a decision rejecting an application for international protection, Member States would have to establish a time limit for lodging an appeal of a maximum of five days, but would be free to fix a shorter period."
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637901/EPRS_BRI(2019)637901_EN.pdf
    Une manière de réduire encore plus les possibilités de recours.

    Article 13
    L’article 13 apporte aussi des changements aux refus d’entrée : " the proposal would allow Member States to impose an isolated entry ban, not accompanied by a corresponding return decision, if the irregularity of a stay is detected when the third-country national is exiting the territory of a Member State"
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637901/EPRS_BRI(2019)637901_EN.pdf

    Néanmoins, j’ai pour le moment du mal à évaluer l’étendue de cette proposition à l’article 13 et il faudrait peut-être en discuter avec l’anafé par exemple.

    #procédure_d'asile #réforme

    Reçu par email via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 06.06.2019

    • New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

      A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine ’voluntary’ return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch. [1]

      The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a ’recast’ version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on “illegally staying third-country nationals” in the EU. [2]

      The proposal aims to increase the number of deportations from the EU by reducing or eliminating existing safeguards for those facing deportation proceedings - but even if such a method could be considered legitimate, there is no evidence to suggest that the proposed measures will have the intended effect.

      For example, the proposal introduces numerous new grounds for placing migrants in detention and would introduce a new ’minimum maximum’ period of detention of at least three months. [3]

      However, in 2017, Spain (with a maximum detention period of 60 days) had a ’return rate’ of 37%, while the return rate from countries with a detention limit of 18 months (the maximum period permitted under the current Returns Directive) differed significantly: 11% in the Czech Republic, 18% in Belgium, 40% in Greece and 46% in Germany. [4]

      The report urges EU lawmakers to discard the proposal and focus on alternative measures that would be less harmful to individuals. It includes an article-by-article analysis of the Commission’s proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council, as they were prior to the EU institutions’ summer break.

      The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will begin discussing the proposal again in the coming weeks.

      Quotes

      Statewatch researcher Jane Kilpatrick said:

      “The proposed recast prioritises detention for more people and for longer durations - the physical and mental harms of which are well-known, especially for people with prior traumatic experiences - over any collaborative measures. The recast would remove the option for states to adopt measures more respectful of human rights and health. The fact that it hasn’t relied on any evidence that these will even work suggests it is a political exercise to appease anti-migrant rhetoric.”

      Chris Jones, a researcher at Statewatch, added:

      “The EU cannot claim to be a bastion of human rights at the same time as trying to undermine or eliminate existing safeguards for third-country nationals subject to deportation proceedings. Given that there is no evidence to suggest the proposed measures would actually work, it seems that lawmakers are dealing with a proposal that would be both harmful and ineffective. The previous MEP responsible for the proposal did a good job of trying to improve it - but it would be better to reject it altogether.”

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-returns-directive.htm

    • New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

      A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine ’voluntary’ return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch. [1]

      The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a ’recast’ version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on “illegally staying third-country nationals” in the EU. [2]

      The proposal aims to increase the number of deportations from the EU by reducing or eliminating existing safeguards for those facing deportation proceedings - but even if such a method could be considered legitimate, there is no evidence to suggest that the proposed measures will have the intended effect.

      For example, the proposal introduces numerous new grounds for placing migrants in detention and would introduce a new ’minimum maximum’ period of detention of at least three months. [3]

      However, in 2017, Spain (with a maximum detention period of 60 days) had a ’return rate’ of 37%, while the return rate from countries with a detention limit of 18 months (the maximum period permitted under the current Returns Directive) differed significantly: 11% in the Czech Republic, 18% in Belgium, 40% in Greece and 46% in Germany. [4]

      The report urges EU lawmakers to discard the proposal and focus on alternative measures that would be less harmful to individuals. It includes an article-by-article analysis of the Commission’s proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council, as they were prior to the EU institutions’ summer break.

      The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will begin discussing the proposal again in the coming weeks.

      Quotes

      Statewatch researcher Jane Kilpatrick said:

      “The proposed recast prioritises detention for more people and for longer durations - the physical and mental harms of which are well-known, especially for people with prior traumatic experiences - over any collaborative measures. The recast would remove the option for states to adopt measures more respectful of human rights and health. The fact that it hasn’t relied on any evidence that these will even work suggests it is a political exercise to appease anti-migrant rhetoric.”

      Chris Jones, a researcher at Statewatch, added:

      “The EU cannot claim to be a bastion of human rights at the same time as trying to undermine or eliminate existing safeguards for third-country nationals subject to deportation proceedings. Given that there is no evidence to suggest the proposed measures would actually work, it seems that lawmakers are dealing with a proposal that would be both harmful and ineffective. The previous MEP responsible for the proposal did a good job of trying to improve it - but it would be better to reject it altogether.”

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-returns-directive.htm

  • Je vais mettre ici quelques informations et documents que j’ai trouvé concernant la question de la prise d’ #empreintes_digitales de demandeurs d’asile, notamment de la part de l’#Italie et de la #Grèce, en vue de leur #enregistrement et #identification dans la base de données #Eurodac.
    C’est pour la préparation d’un chapitre de livre que je suis en train d’écrire, mais je me dis qu’il s’agit d’informations qu’il est bien garder quelque part, sachant que pas tout va in fine rentrer dans le chapitre...

    NB : Il y a déjà des informations sur ce sujet sur seenthis :
    https://seenthis.net/recherche?recherche=%23r%C3%A9fugi%C3%A9s+%23empreintes_digitales

    Les informations compilées ici n’ont pas un vrai ordre chronologique ou logique. L’ordre est dicté par l’avancée de mes recherches... chaotiques...

    cc @isskein

    • Hotspots and Relocation Schemes: the right therapy for the Common European Asylum System?

      The arrivals observed throughout 2015 have been concentrated in both Greece – accounting for more than 800,000 in 2015 alone – and Italy. These two “frontline” states, have been faced with the formidable logistical challenge of organising the first reception and identification of migrants. A full implementation of Dublin and EURODAC would have made the challenges even more difficult. Frontline states would have been responsible for fingerprinting all arriving persons, receiving their claims, and in most cases – given that Dublin assigns responsibility primarily to the state of first entry – processing them as well as organizing long-term reception or return.

      Many of these responsibilities have remained virtual. A large number of those who arrived on Greek shores in particular have moved on to other Member States via the “Balkan route” without filing a claim or even being identified there. Failed identification in the first state of entry raised security concerns and rendered the Dublin system practically inapplicable vis-à-vis the frontline states – nothing new in respect of Greece, already “excised” from the Dublin system by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011. Destination and transit states reacted with a flurry of unilateral responses ranging from the temporary reintroduction of checks at internal borders, to the erection of barbed wire fences, to the announcement of national ‘caps’ on the number of persons who would be admitted to claim asylum.

      http://eumigrationlawblog.eu/hotspots-and-relocation-schemes-the-right-therapy-for-the-common-
      #hotspots #relocalisation

    • The Reform of Dublin III regulation

      Another salient criterion is irregular entry (Art . 13 DRIII). Its effective operation would shift responsibility to States located at the Southern and Eastern borders of the Union – to an unmanageable extent in Greece in 2015 . This has not happened owing to the extreme i nefficiency of the Dublin system ( see below). Also, as acknowledged by the Commission , the fear of incurring overwhelming responsibilit ies has motivated border States not to register arriving persons – before, and more visibly during the “crisis” of 2015 – undermining the effective operation of the criterion.

      A ce paragraphe est ajoutée une note :

      See in particular April 2016 Communication (footnote 2 ), p. 4. See also European Commission (2007). Dublin II Evaluation (footnote 11 ), p. 9. The Commission has launched infringement proceedings against i.a. Italy and Greece for their alleged failure to systematically fingerprint irregular arrivals: see European Commission (2015). Managing the refugee crisis: State of play of the im plementation of the priority actions under the European Agenda on Migration, COM (2015) 510, 14 October 2015, p. 11 and Annex 6. Available from: http://www.refworld.org/docid/563201fc4.html .

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571360/IPOL_STU(2016)571360_EN.pdf

    • Managing the Refugee Crisis: State of Play of the Implementation of the Priority Actions under the European Agenda on Migration (14.10.2015)

      Effectively managing the pressure of migratory flows on some parts of the shared external Schengen border accompanied by steps to prevent secondary movements and the immediate return to the country of relocation of relocated persons found in another Member State. The other essential component is action to secure swift return, voluntary or forced, of people not in need of international protection and who do not therefore qualify for relocation. The p riority actions set out by the Commission focused heavily on the operational working of the se measures .requires both responsibility and solidarity on the part of all Member States. The rapid roll - out of the ’hotspot’ approach is providing support to the most affected Member States to ensure the proper reception, identification and processing of arrivals. In parallel, the measures proposed by the Commission and adopted by the Council to relocate 160,000 people in clear need of international protection . This will allow for a significant, if partial, reduction of the pressure on the most affected Member States. It is of crucial importance that the se parallel measures will now be fully implemented, with the fingerprinting of all migrants, the prompt selection and relocation of asylum applicants and adequate reception capacities,

      http://www.refworld.org/docid/563201fc4.html

    • Et voilà le résultat avec la mise sur pied des hotspots :

      COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the State of Play of Implementation of the Priority Actions under the European Agenda on Migration (10.02.1016)

      With strong, dedicated EU support, Greece and Italy started to set up – and in some cases completed – hotspots 3 to ensure screening, identifi cation and fingerprinting of third country nationals arriving irregularly at the external EU border. Registration is a crucial first step in the control and management of the flows. The hotspots are designed to ensure integrated teams of border agents operate in dedicated facilities, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Everyone arriving in the external borders should be registered, fingerprinted and have their documents checked against national and international security databases. Third country nationa ls arriving irregularly should then be channelled into one of three processes: the national asylum syst em, the European relocation system or the return system. The proportion of migrants whose fingerpri nts are included in th e Eurodac database has risen in Greece from 8% in September 2015 to 78 % in January 2016, and in Italy from 36% to 87% over the same period 4 . These figures are expected to improve further as the hotspots become more fully operational.

      The rules on registration, identification, fi ngerprinting and security screening of arrivals need to be applied effectively and systematically.

      Par rapport à la Grèce :

      Reception capacities should be increased, supporting both humanita rian needs and better management of inflows – with EU funding already in place to help to achie ve swiftly the 50,000 target agreed at the Western Balkans Leaders’ Meeting. Standardised procedures for all stages of the process should be applied and full deployment of Eurodac fingerprinting machines completed. There must also be no gaps in EU support: the agencies should be present on all islands.

      Et par rapport à l’Italie :

      The Commission is ready to organise an innovative mobile hotspot team (with agents from Frontex and EASO) in Eastern Sicily to support the identification, fingerprinting and provision of information to migrants who cannot be disembarked in the designated hotspot ports, to help plug gaps in the fingerprinting and registration of migrants beyond the hotspots.

      Both Greece and Italy have faced the problem of a refusal by migrants to be fingerprinted. National legislation will have to be amended as a matter of priority an d all operational steps taken to ensure that all migrants are finge rprinted – including as a last resort through a proportionate use of coercion – and all secondary movements of unidentif ied and unregistered migrants are avoided. Progress has been made, but this should be accelerated to ensure full 100% coverage of identification and registration of all entries by the March Eur opean Council.

      To help manage the refugee crisis effectively, leaders at the February European Council should commit to: • The urgent completion of the set-up of hotspots in Greece and Italy to ensure the registration of and support to migrants and refugees in line with the principle that no one should arrive in the EU without having been properly registered and fingerprinted, with dedicated EU support to secure increased reception capacity and fully functioning asylum and return procedures;

      https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-85-EN-F1-1.PDF

    • Connais-tu les travaux du projet de recherche « Processing Citizenship », et notamment les contributions de Annalisa Pelliza ?

      https://processingcitizenship.eu/team/annalisa-pelizza

      https://easst.net/article/processing-citizenship-digital-registration-of-migrants-as-co-production-of-i

      In this first stage of investigation, we are also interested in the chain of artefacts deployed at Hotspots that translate previous identities into new European-readable ones. This line of investigation is key in light of recent developments in the European migration landscape. The goal of the so called “Hotspot approach”, introduced in 2015, is to operationally support frontline Member States (i.e., Greece and Italy) in “swiftly identify[ing], register[ing] and fingerprint[ing] incoming migrants” (Commission, 2015a: 1). Hotspots are thus the first step in the procedure of sorting migrants into three alternative paths: “relocation” or “resettlement” to another Member State (for those identified as in clear need of international protection), or “return” to the country of legal residence (for those who are not deemed in need of protection). They can be conceived as “routers” that create “early entrenchments” (Star and Lampland, 2009) in sorting individuals, liminal situations in which past identities are assessed and translated into proto-decisions.

      http://www.4sonline.org/blog/post/how_government_databases_create_european_readable_identities_for_migrants

      On July 20 2015 – one month before the growing number of migrants crossing the Balkans pushed some countries to declare a state of emergency – the European database containing fingerprints of asylum seekers, called Eurodac, was rendered interoperable with national police authorities’ databases Europe-wide. From that moment, Member States’ police forces could query European data sources not only to grant citizenship rights, but also to preserve order in their national territory. An almost unnoticed technical switch in the Eurodac system marked a major shift in personal data exchange policy Europe-wide.

    • Question posée le 9 avril 2018 via la mailing-list Migreurop :

      Dans le cadre de nos séances d’informations juridique pour les migrants en transit au hub Humanitaire de Bruxelles, nous entendons régulièrement que l’Italie ne mettrais pas systématiquement les empreintes prises dans le système commun mais nous ne trouvons rien de fiable sur ce sujet. Quelqu’un du réseau peut nous éclaircir sur cette pratique, svp ?

      Voici la réponse reçue via la même mailing-list (auteure de la réponse "Tata) :

      Il n’existe pas de réponse claire à cette question cruciale. Mais j’ai quelques éléments d’infos qui peuvent un peu éclairer. En l’espace de 6 mois, entre avant et après la mise en place des hotspots, le taux officiel d’identification est passé de 8 à 100%. Donc officiellement la réponse est non. Cette rumeur est donc devenue beaucoup moins vraie après la mise en place des hotspots.

      Ceci dit :

      – il y a des gens qui arrivent en petit bateau, ailleurs, ne se font pas intercepter et ne donnent pas leurs empreintes
      – il y a des gens qui réussissent d’une maniere ou d’une autre à ne pas les donner, ou elles ne sont pas lisibles
      – il y a des erreurs de la part de la police et des empreintes pas très nettes
      – Les personnes sont enregistrées en cat. 2 et s’ils acceptent de rester en italie, une deuxieme fois en cat. 1. S’ils ne sont qu’en catégorie 2 (une seule prise d’empreintes), alors il arrive que les prefectures du moins en france n’en tiennent pas compte. Il arrive aussi qu’il y ait eu un laps de temps de plus d’un an entre ce pré-enregistrement et la demande d’asile dans un autre pays. Dans ce cas là, un article du reg dublin dit que si preuve de présence de 5 mois, alors plus de procédure dublin. Mais il n’est pas très clair s’il arrive que les personnes passent en cat normale de demandeur d’asile grâce à ça. Bcp d’amis dont c’est le cas se sont retrouvés sans soucis en ce qui concerne dublin.

      Conclusion (toujours la même) : c’est une question de chance ! (mais celle-ci s’est drastiquement réduite avec les hotspots).

    • Implementing the Common European Asylum System: Commission escalates 8 infringement proceedings

      The Commission is today urging Greece, Croatia and Italy to correctly implement the Eurodac Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 603/2013), which provides for effective fingerprinting of asylum seekers and transmission of data to the Eurodac central system within 72 hours. Effective implementation of the Eurodac Regulation is essential for the functioning of the Dublin system and EU relocation schemes. The European Commission sent administrative letters to Greece, Croatia and Italy in October. Two months later, concerns have not been effectively addressed. The European Commission has therefore decided today to send Letters of Formal Notice to Greece, Croatia and Italy (the first step of an infringement procedure).

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6276_EN.htm

  • Comment la Commission et les industriels voudraient imposer le gaz (de schiste) aux Européens
    http://multinationales.org/Comment-la-Commission-et-les-industriels-cherchent-a-imposer-le-gaz

    À des années-lumières de ses beaux discours sur le climat, la Commission européenne souhaite un développement massif du gaz sur le vieux continent, à travers la construction de gazoducs et de nouveaux terminaux méthaniers destinés à accueillir, notamment, le #gaz_de_schiste américain. Une politique qui va directement à l’encontre d’une véritable transition énergétique. Quelques mois après la Conférence de Paris, les beaux discours de la COP21 paraissent déjà bien oubliés dans les couloirs de la Commission (...)

    #Enquêtes

    / #Énergie, #union_européenne, #changement_climatique, gaz de schiste, Engie (ex GDF Suez), #EDF, #Énergies_fossiles, #Lobbying, #influence, aides publiques et (...)

    #Engie_ex_GDF_Suez_ #aides_publiques_et_subventions
    « http://ec.europa.eu/france/news/2016/20160218_vers_une_union_de_l_energie_fr.htm »
    « https://multinationales.org/De-la-mer-Caspienne-a-la-Mediterranee-un-projet-de-gazoduc-geant-sy »
    « https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/news/commission-unveils-list-195-key-energy-infrastructure-projects »
    « https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-110-EN-F1-1.PDF »
    « https://multinationales.org/Gladstone-LNG-l-autre-megaprojet-australien-d-une-entreprise-franca »
    « http://www.gie.eu/download/maps/2015/GIE_LNG_2015_A0_1189x841_FULL_wINFOGRAPHICS_FINAL.pdf »
    « http://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/opinion/lost-in-the-gas-bubble »
    « http://www.novethic.fr/breves/details/gaz-une-etude-denonce-un-sur-investissement-dans-les-infrastructures-europe »
    « https://blogs.mediapart.fr/maxime-combes/blog/260216/tafta-bruxelles-deroule-le-tapis-rouge-pour-lindustrie-fossile »
    « http://www.actu-environnement.com/ae/news/conseil-europeen-environnement-apres-cop-21-26360.php4 »
    « http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/canetesefcovic_small.pdf »
    « http://www.journaldelenvironnement.net/article/lacq-un-risque-sanitaire-ignore,67971 »