country:latvia

  • The European benchmark for refugee integration: A comparative analysis of the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism in 14 EU countries

    The report presents a comparative, indicator-based assessment of the refugee integration frameworks in place in 14 countries: Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

    Conclusions cover the full range of integration dimensions, such as housing, employment, education and aspects of legal integration, and refer to recognized refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

    Legal and policy indicators are the focus of analysis, as well as indicators on mainstreaming, coordination and efforts to involve refugees and locals.

    Results are presented in terms of concrete steps that policymakers need to take in order to establish a refugee integration framework in line with the standards required by international and EU law.


    http://www.ismu.org/en/the-european-benchmark-for-refugee-integration-a-comparative-analysis-of-the-n

    #rapport #intégration #France #Grèce #République_Tchèque #Hongrie #Italie #Lettonie #Lituanie #Pays-Bas #Pologne #Portugal #Roumanie #Slovénie #Espagne #Suède #réfugiés #migrations #asile #regroupement_familial #citoyenneté #logement #hébergement #emploi #travail #intégration_professionnelle #éducation #santé #sécurité_sociale
    ping @karine4

    • European Border and Coast Guard: Launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Today, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, in cooperation with the Albanian authorities, is launching the first ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country. As of 22 May, teams from the Agency will be deployed together with Albanian border guards at the Greek-Albanian border to strengthen border management and enhance security at the EU’s external borders, in full agreement with all concerned countries. This operation marks a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and its Western Balkan partners, and is yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The launch event is taking place in Tirana, Albania, in the presence of Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Edi Rama, Albanian Prime Minister and Sandër Lleshaj, Albanian Interior Minister.

      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: "With the first ever deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams outside of the EU, we are opening an entirely new chapter in our cooperation on migration and border management with Albania and with the whole Western Balkan region. This is a real game changer and a truly historical step, bringing this region closer to the EU by working together in a coordinated and mutually supportive way on shared challenges such as better managing migration and protecting our common borders.”

      Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, said: “Today we mark a milestone for our agency and the wider cooperation between the European Union and Albania. We are launching the first fully fledged joint operation outside the European Union to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.”

      While Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders, the European Border and Coast Guard is able to lend both technical and operational support and assistance. The European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to support the Albanian border guards in performing border checks at crossing points, for example, and preventing unauthorised entries. All operations and deployments at the Albanian border with Greece will be conducted in full agreement with both the Albanian and Greek authorities.

      At the start of the operation, the Agency will be deploying 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and 1 thermo-vision van from 12 EU Member States (Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.

      Strengthened cooperation between priority third countries and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will contribute to the better management of irregular migration, further enhance security at the EU’s external borders and strengthen the Agency’s ability to act in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, while bringing that neighbourhood closer to the EU.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2591_en.htm
      #externalisation

    • Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos in Albania at the official launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      We are here today to celebrate an important achievement and a milestone, both for Albania and for the EU.

      Only six months ago, here in Tirana, the EU signed the status agreement with Albania on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard. This agreement, that entered into force three weeks ago, was the first agreement ever of its kind with a neighbouring country.

      Today, we will send off the joint European Border and Coast Guard Teams to be deployed as of tomorrow for the first time in a non-EU Member State. This does not only mark a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and Western Balkan partners, it is also yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The only way to effectively address migration and security challenges we are facing today and those we may be confronted with in the years to come is by working closer together, as neighbours and as partners. What happens in Albania and the Western Balkans affects the European Union, and the other way around.

      Joint approach to border management is a key part of our overall approach to managing migration. It allows us to show to our citizens that their security is at the top of our concerns. But effective partnership in ensuring orderly migration also enables us, as Europe, to remain a place where those in need of protection can find shelter.

      Albania is the first country in the Western Balkans with whom the EU is moving forward with this new important chapter in our joint co-operation on border management.

      This can be a source of pride for both Albania and the EU and an important step that brings us closer together.

      While the overall situation along the Western Balkans route remains stable with continuously low levels of arrivals - it is in fact like night and day when compared to three years ago - we need to remain vigilant.

      The Status Agreement will help us in this effort. It expands the scale of practical, operational cooperation between the EU and Albania and hopefully soon with the rest of the Western Balkan region.

      These are important elements of our co-operation, also in view of the continued implementation of the requirements under the visa liberalisation agreement. Visa-free travel is a great achievement, which brings benefits to all sides and should be safeguarded.

      Together with Albanian border guards, European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to perform border checks at crossing points and perform border surveillance to prevent unauthorized border crossings and counter cross-border criminality.

      But, let me be clear, Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders. European Border and Coast Guard Teams may only perform tasks and exercise powers in the Albanian territory under instructions from and, as a general rule, in the presence of border guards of the Republic of Albania.

      Dear Friends,

      When it comes to protecting our borders, ensuring our security and managing migration, the challenges we face are common, and so must be our response.

      The European Border and Coast Guard Status Agreement and its implementation will allow us to better work together in all these areas. I hope that these agreements can be finalised also with other Western Balkans partners as soon as possible.

      I wish to thank Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Albanian authorities, and the Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri and his team for their close cooperation in bringing this milestone achievement to life. I also want to thank all Member States who have contributed with staff and the personnel who will be part of this first deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams in a neighbouring country.

      With just a few days to go before the European Elections, the need for a more united and stronger European family is more important than ever. We firmly believe that a key priority is to have strong relations with close neighbours, based on a clear balance of rights and obligations – but above all, on genuine partnership. This includes you, fellow Albanians.

      Albania is part of the European family.Our challenges are common. They know no borders. The progress we are witnessing today is another concrete action and proof of our commitment to bring us closer together. To make us stronger.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-19-2668_en.htm

    • Externalisation: Frontex launches first formal operation outside of the EU and deploys to Albania

      The EU has taken a significant, if geographically small, step in the externalisation of its borders. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has launched its first Joint Operation on the territory of a non-EU-Member State, as it begins cooperation with Albania on the border with Greece.

      After the launch of the operation in Tirana on 21 May a deployment of 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and a thermo-vision van started yesterday, 22 May (European Commission, link). Twelve Member States (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) have contributed to the operation.

      New agreements

      The move follows the entry into force on 1 May this year of a Status Agreement between the EU and Albania on actions carried out by Frontex in that country (pdf). Those actions are made possible by the conclusion of operational plans, which must be agreed between Frontex and the Albanian authorities.

      The Status Agreement with Albania was the first among several similar agreements to be signed between the Agency and Balkan States, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia.

      The nascent operation in Albania will give Frontex team members certain powers, privileges and immunities on Albanian territory, including the use of force in circumstances authorised by Albanian border police and outlined in the operational plan.

      Frontex does not publish operational plans whilst operations (which can be renewed indefinitely) are ongoing, and documents published after the conclusion of operations (usually in response to requests for access to documents) are often heavily-redacted (Ask the EU, link).

      Relevant articles

      Article 4 of the Status Agreement outlines the tasks and powers of members of Frontex teams operating in Albanian territory. This includes the use of force, if it is authorised by both the Frontex team member’s home Member State and the State of Albania, and takes place in the presence of Albanian border guards. However, Albania can authorise team members to use force in their absence.

      Article 6 of the Status Agreement grants Frontex team members immunity from Albanian criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction “in respect of the acts performed in the exercise of their official functions in the course of the actions carried out in accordance with the operational plan”.

      Although a representative of Albania would be informed in the event of an allegation of criminal activity, it would be up to Frontex’s executive director to certify to the court whether the actions in question were performed as part of an official Agency function and in accordance with the Operational Plan. This certification will be binding on the jurisdiction of Albania. Proceedings may only continue against an individual team member if the executive director confirms that their actions were outside the scope of the exercise of official functions.

      Given the closed nature of the operational plans, this grants the executive director wide discretion and ensures little oversight of the accountability of Agency team members. Notably, Article 6 also states that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses. This immunity does not, however, extend to the jurisdiction of team members’ home Member States, and they may also waive the immunity of the individual under Albanian jurisdiction.

      Right to redress

      These measures of immunity alongside the lack of transparency surrounding documents outlining team members’ official functions and activities (the operational plan) raise concerns regarding access to redress for victims of human rights violations that may occur during operations.

      Human rights organisations have denounced the use of force by Frontex team members, only to have those incidents classified by the Agency as par for the course in their operations. Cases include incidents of firearm use that resulted in serious injury (The Intercept, link), but that was considered to have taken place according to the standard rules of engagement. This opacity has implications for individuals’ right to good administration and to the proper functioning of accountability mechanisms.

      If any damage results from actions that were carried out according to the operational plan, Albania will be held liable. This is the most binding liability outlined by the Status Agreement. Albania may only “request” that compensation be paid by the Member State of the team member responsible, or by the Agency, if acts were committed through gross negligence, wilful misconduct or outside the scope of the official functions of the Agency team or staff member.

      Across the board

      The provisions regarding tasks, powers and immunity in the Status Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia are all broadly similar, with the exception of Article 6 of the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This states:

      “Members of the team who are witnesses may be obliged by the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina… to provide evidence in accordance with the procedural law of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

      The Status Agreement with Serbia, an early draft of which did not grant immunity to team members, is now consistent with the Agreement with Albania and includes provisions stating that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses.

      It includes a further provision that:

      “...members of the team may use weapons only when it is absolutely necessary in self-defence to repel an immediate life-threatening attack against themselves or another person, in accordance with the national legislation of the Republic of Serbia”.

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/may/fx-albania-launch.htm

    • La police des frontières extérieures de l’UE s’introduit en Albanie

      Frontex, l’agence chargée des frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne, a lancé mardi en Albanie sa première opération hors du territoire d’un de ses États membres.

      Cette annonce de la Commission européenne intervient quelques jours avant les élections européennes et au moment où la politique migratoire de l’UE est critiquée par les candidats souverainistes, comme le ministre italien de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini ou le chef de file de la liste française d’extrême droite, Jordan Bardella, qui a récemment qualifié Frontex d’« hôtesse d’accueil pour migrants ».

      Cette opération conjointe en Albanie est « une véritable étape historique rapprochant » les Balkans de l’UE, et témoigne d’une « meilleure gestion de la migration et de la protection de nos frontières communes », a commenté à Tirana le commissaire chargé des migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

      L’Albanie espère convaincre les États membres d’ouvrir des négociations d’adhésion ce printemps, ce qui lui avait été refusé l’an passé. Son premier ministre Edi Rama a salué « un pas très important dans les relations entre l’Albanie et l’Union européenne » et a estimé qu’il « renforçait également la coopération dans le domaine de la sécurité ».

      À partir de 22 mai, Frontex déploiera des équipes conjointes à la frontière grecque avec des agents albanais.

      La Commission européenne a passé des accords semblables avec la Macédoine du Nord, la Serbie, le Monténégro et la Bosnie-Herzégovine, qui devraient également entrer en vigueur.

      Tous ces pays sont sur une des « routes des Balkans », qui sont toujours empruntées clandestinement par des milliers de personnes en route vers l’Union européenne, même si le flux n’est en rien comparable avec les centaines de milliers de migrants qui ont transité par la région en quelques mois jusqu’à la fermeture des frontières par les pays de l’UE début 2016.

      Ce type d’accord « contribuera à l’amélioration de la gestion de la migration clandestine, renforcera la sécurité aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et consolidera la capacité de l’agence à agir dans le voisinage immédiat de l’UE, tout en rapprochant de l’UE les pays voisins concernés », selon un communiqué de la Commission.

      Pour éviter de revivre le chaos de 2015, l’Union a acté un renforcement considérable de Frontex. Elle disposera notamment d’ici 2027 d’un contingent de 10 000 garde-frontières et garde-côtes pour aider des pays débordés.


      https://www.lapresse.ca/international/europe/201905/21/01-5226931-la-police-des-frontieres-exterieures-de-lue-sintroduit-en-albani

    • European Border and Coast Guard Agency began to patrol alongside the Albanian-Greek border in late May (https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118). Similar agreements have recently been concluded with Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina but Albania is the first country to start implementing programs aimed at blocking refugees entering the EU. Bilten states that Frontex employees can carry arms and fight “against any kind of crime, from” illegal migration “to theft of a car or drug trafficking”. Frontex’s mission is not time-bound, i.e. it depends on the EU’s need. The Albanian authorities see it as a step forward to their membership in the Union.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa dobrodosli, le 10.06.2019

      L’article original:
      Što Frontex radi u Albaniji?

      Nakon što je Europska unija službeno zatvorila “balkansku migrantsku rutu”, očajni ljudi počeli su tražiti nove puteve. Jedan od njih prolazi kroz Albaniju, a tamošnja se vlada odrekla kontrole nad vlastitom granicom u nadi da će time udobrovoljiti unijske dužnosnike.

      Agencija za europsku graničnu i obalnu stražu, Frontex, počela je krajem prošlog mjeseca patrolirati uz albansko-grčku granicu. Već prvog dana, raspoređeno je pedesetak policajaca iz različitih zemalja članica EU koji bi se u suradnji s albanskim graničarima trebali boriti protiv “ilegalne migracije”. Iako je slične dogovore Unija nedavno sklopila sa zemljama poput Srbije, Sjeverne Makedonije, Crne Gore te Bosne i Hercegovine – a sve s ciljem blokiranja mogućnosti izbjeglica da uđu na područje EU – Albanija je prva zemlja u kojoj je počela provedba tog programa. Zaposlenici Frontexa ne samo da smiju nositi oružje, već imaju i dozvolu da se bore protiv bilo koje vrste kriminala, od “ilegalnih migracija” do krađe automobila ili trgovine drogom. Također, njihova misija nije vremenski ograničena, što znači da će Frontexovi zaposlenici patrolirati s albanske strane granice dok god to Unija smatra potrebnim.

      Unatoč nekim marginalnim glasovima koji su se žalili zbog kršenja nacionalne suverenosti prepuštanjem kontrole nad granicom stranim trupama, javnost je reagirala bilo potpunom nezainteresiranošću ili čak blagom potporom sporazumu koji bi tobože trebao pomoći Albaniji da uđe u Europsku uniju. S puno entuzijazma, lokalni su se mediji hvalili kako su u prva četiri dana Frontexovi zaposlenici već ulovili 92 “ilegalna migranta”. No to nije prvo, a ni najozbiljnije predavanje kontrole nad granicom koje je poduzela albanska vlada. Još od kasnih 1990-ih i ranih 2000-ih jadranskim i jonskim teritorijalnim vodama Republike Albanije patrolira talijanska Guardia di Finanza. Tih se godina albanska obala često koristila kao most prema Italiji preko kojeg je prelazila većina migranata azijskog porijekla, ne samo zbog blizine južne Italije, već i zbog slabosti državnih aparata tijekom goleme krize 1997. i 1998. godine.

      Helikopteri Guardije di Finanza također kontroliraju albansko nebo u potrazi za poljima kanabisa i to sve u suradnji s lokalnom državnom birokracijom koja je sama dijelom suradnica dilera, a dijelom nesposobna da im se suprotstavi. No posljednjih godina, zbog toga što su druge rute zatvorene, sve veći broj ljudi počeo se kretati iz Grčke preko Albanije, Crne Gore i BiH prema zemljama EU. Prema Međunarodnoj organizaciji za migracije, granicu je prešlo oko 18 tisuća ljudi, uglavnom iz Sirije, Pakistana i Iraka. To predstavlja povećanje od sedam puta u odnosu na godinu ranije. Tek manji dio tih ljudi je ulovljen zbog nedostatka kapaciteta granične kontrole ili pak potpune indiferencije prema ljudima kojima siromašna zemlja poput Albanije nikada neće biti destinacija.
      Tranzitna zemlja

      Oni koje ulove smješteni su u prihvatnom centru blizu Tirane, ali odatle im je relativno jednostavno pobjeći i nastaviti put dalje. Dio njih službeno je zatražio azil u Albaniji, ali to ne znači da će se dulje zadržati u zemlji. Ipak, očekuje se da će ubuduće albanske institucije biti znatno agresivnije u politici repatrijacije migranata. U tome će se susretati s brojnim pravnim i administrativnim problemima: kako objašnjavaju lokalni stručnjaci za migracije, Albanija sa zemljama iz kojih dolazi većina migranata – poput Sirije, Pakistana, Iraka i Afganistana – uopće nema diplomatske odnose niti pravne predstavnike u tim zemljama. Zbog toga je koordiniranje procesa repatrijacije gotovo nemoguće. Također, iako sporazum o repatrijaciji postoji s Grčkoj, njime je predviđeno da se u tu zemlju vraćaju samo oni za koje se može dokazati da su iz nje došli, a većina migranata koji dođu iz Grčke nastoji sakriti svaki trag svog boravka u toj zemlji.

      U takvoj situaciji, čini se izvjesnim da će Albanija biti zemlja u kojoj će sve veći broj ljudi zapeti na neodređeno vrijeme. Prije nekih godinu i pol dana, izbila je javna panika s dosta rasističkih tonova. Nakon jednog nespretnog intervjua vladinog dužnosnika njemačkom mediju proširile su se glasine da će se u Albaniju naseliti šesto tisuća Sirijaca. Brojka je već na prvi pogled astronomska s obzirom na to da je stanovništvo zemlje oko tri milijuna ljudi, ali teorije zavjere se obično šire kao požar. Neki od drugorazrednih političara čak su pozvali na oružanu borbu ako dođu Sirijci. No ta je panika zapravo brzo prošla, ali tek nakon što je vlada obećala da neće primiti više izbjeglica od onog broja koji bude određen raspodjelom prema dogovoru u Uniji. Otad zapravo nema nekog osobitog antimigrantskog raspoloženja u javnosti, unatoč tome što tisuće ljudi prolazi kroz zemlju.
      Europski san

      Odnos je uglavnom onaj indiferencije. Tome pridonosi nekoliko stvari: činjenica da je gotovo trećina stanovništva Albanije također odselila u zemlje Unije,1 zatim to što ne postoje neke vjerske i ultranacionalističke stranke, ali najviše to što nitko od migranata nema nikakvu namjeru ostati u zemlji. No zašto je albanska vlada tako nestrpljiva da preda kontrolu granice i suverenitet, odnosno zašto je premijer Edi Rama izgledao tako entuzijastično prilikom ceremonije s Dimitrisom Avramopulosom, europskim povjerenikom za migracije, unutrašnje poslove i državljanstvo? Vlada se nada da će to ubrzati njezin put prema članstvu u Europskoj uniji. Posljednjih pet godina provela je čekajući otvaranje pristupnih pregovora, a predavanje kontrole nad granicom vidi kao još jednu ilustraciju svoje pripadnosti Uniji.

      S druge strane, stalna politička kriza koju su izazvali studentski protesti u prosincu 2018., te kasnije bojkot parlamenta i lokalnih izbora od strane opozicijskih stranaka, stavlja neprestani pritisak na vladu. Očajnički treba pozitivan znak iz EU jer vodi političku i ideološku borbu protiv opozicije oko toga tko je autentičniji kulturni i politički predstavnik europejstva. Vlada naziva opoziciju i njezine nasilne prosvjede antieuropskima, dok opozicija optužuje vladu da svojom korupcijom i povezanošću s organiziranim kriminalom radi protiv europskih želja stanovništva. Prije nekoliko dana, Komisija je predložila početak pristupnih pregovora s Albanijom, no Europsko vijeće je to koje ima zadnju riječ. Očekuje se kako će sve ovisiti o toj odluci. Ideja Europe jedno je od čvorišta vladajuće ideologije koja se desetljećima gradi kao antipod komunizmu i Orijentu te historijska destinacija kojoj Albanci stoljećima teže.

      Neoliberalna rekonstrukcija ekonomije i društva gotovo je uvijek legitimirana tvrdnjama kako su to nužni – iako bolni – koraci prema integraciji u Europsku uniju. Uspješnost ove ideologije ilustrira činjenica da otprilike 90% ispitanih u različitim studijama podržava Albansku integraciju u EU. U toj situaciji ne čudi ni odnos prema Frontexu.

      https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118

  • Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena review – a blistering Latvian bestseller | Books | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/aug/31/soviet-milk-by-nora-ikstena-review

    Outre le fait que le livre a l’air d’être très intéressant, cette écrivaine nous fait l’honneur d’une visite sur notre île au milieu du fjord, nous pourrons discuter de cette œuvre.

    A century has passed since the Baltic state of Latvia officially became a nation, and for half that time it was part of the Soviet Union. It’s a bitter history and there’s a sense in Nora Ikstena’s bestselling novel, about women versus the state, of a hard-won creative reckoning.

    Running from the end of the second world war to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the novel – Ikstena’s 20th – is narrated in alternating sections by an unnamed mother and daughter. “My milk was bitter: the milk of incomprehension, of extinction. I protected my child from it,” says the mother, a fertility specialist whose medical career is blighted after she turns on the abusive husband of a childless woman who seeks her help during a research trip to Leningrad.

    #Littérature #soviétisme #ex-urss #nora_ikstena

    • Nora Ikstena’s ‘Soviet Milk’ - The White Review
      http://www.thewhitereview.org/reviews/nora-ikstenas-soviet-milk

      Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena opens with two women who cannot remember. ‘I don’t remember 15 October 1969,’ says the first. ‘I don’t remember 22 October 1944,’ says the second, ‘but I can reconstruct it.’ They can only reconstruct what happened because these are the days on which they were born. Birth reminds us that we are always dependent upon another to know the truth of who we are, something few of us ever come to terms with. These two women are never named: the first, born in Riga in 1969 in the early years of Leonid Brezhnev’s rule over the Soviet Union, is the daughter of the second, born when Riga was liberated from the Nazis at the end of the Second World War. This mother is also a daughter, born to a woman who resolved to forget the independent Latvia of her youth, and a father who refused to forget that Latvia condemned him to the gulag. Soviet Milk consists of these two women telling their stories in short alternating sections, manifesting in its form the intimacy and distance of what the daughter calls their ‘two parallel worlds’.

  • Finland-Norway rail link planned to fit Arctic sea routes - Reuters
    https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN1SF0YE


    The sun shines low in the sky just after midnight over a frozen coastline near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen, April 26, 2007.
    REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

    A Finnish company said on Thursday it planned to develop a railway connection between north Finland and Norway’s Kirkenes port to link with potential Arctic shipping routes at an estimated cost of between 3-5 billion euros (2.6-4.3 billion pounds).
    […]
    Finland’s Finest Bay Area Development said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Norway’s Sør-Varanger Utvikling to investigate how to build a railway and its impact on the environment, society and the economy.

    An Arctic railway would connect Finland to the Northeast Passage,” Kustaa Valtonen, a director at Finest Bay Area Development, said in a statement. “We will provide a faster trade route between Asian and European markets.

    The company also plans an undersea tunnel between Finland’s capital Helsinki and Estonia’s capital Tallinn.
    […]
    Last year, a Finnish government study concluded a railway connection to Kirkenes would take at least 15 years to build and would not be economically viable.

    We expect to see a significant increase in cargo traffic between Europa and Asia. Their study did not cover it too well,” Valtonen told Reuters.

    Finest’s planned 100 km (60 mile) tunnel for linking Helsinki with Estonia’s capital Tallinn got in March a provisional 15 billion euros in financing from China’s Touchstone Capital Partners.

    EDIT : j’avais oublié la légende de la photo. D’illustration ! on est à plus de 1000 km et 8°30’ plus au nord que Kirkenes… Presque la distance Helsinki - Kirkenes.

  • The Giant Soviet Pipeline System That’s Full of Tainted Crude - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-26/the-giant-soviet-pipeline-system-that-s-full-of-tainted-crude


    A section of the Druzhba crude oil pipeline near Styri, Ukraine.
    Photographer: John Guillemin/Bloomberg

    Russia’s giant Soviet-era oil pipeline is a vital piece of Europe’s energy infrastructure, carrying crude to refineries across the region. This week it’s been hit by probably the biggest crisis in its 55-year history: both branches of the #Druzhba pipeline have been closed due to the presence of contaminated crude oil that can cause serious damage to refineries.

    What is the Druzhba pipeline?
    The Druzhba, or Friendship, pipeline system is a Soviet-era behemoth, originally designed to carry crude from the USSR to allied countries in eastern Europe. The line starts at Almetyevsk in the Republic of Tatarstan, a town that was founded in 1953 as an oil-processing center for the giant Romashkino oil field, then the mainstay of the Soviet oil industry. It’s now also a major pipeline junction, where conduits from the Volga-Urals region, West Siberia and the Caspian Sea meet.

    The Druzhba pipeline carries oil westwards to Mozyr in Belarus, where it splits into two branches. One continues westwards across Poland and into Germany. It delivers crude to refineries at Plock and Gdansk in Poland and Schwedt and Leuna in Germany. A southern branch crosses Ukraine to Uzhgorod on the border with the Slovak Republic, where it again splits. One leg delivers crude to the Szazhalombatta refinery near Budapest in Hungary. The other supplies refineries in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The total length of the line, including all its branches, is around 5,500 kilometers (3,420 miles).

    Construction of the system began in 1960 and the line was put into operation in October 1964.

    A spur line from Unecha in Russia that crossed Belarus to an export terminal on the Baltic Sea at Ventspils in Latvia was completed in 1968, but was closed in 2002 after Russia halted crude exports through Latvia, following the construction of its own Baltic export terminal at Primorsk. A new spur line from Unecha, bypassing Belarus to a second Russian Baltic export terminal at Ust-Luga, came into operation in March 2012.

    The importance of Druzhba
    Druzhba can carry between 1.2 million and 1.4 million barrels of crude a day, according to the International Association of Oil Transporters, with the possibility of boosting that to around 2 million barrels. It forms a vital source of supply for the refineries along its route in Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

    During 2018, the Druzhba network was used to deliver about 1 million barrels a day of Russian crude to those five countries, with a further 500,000 barrels a day pumped to Ust-Luga for export by sea.

    While most of the refineries along its length can source at least some of their crude requirements via other routes, Druzhba has provided most of their feedstock and most were designed specifically to process the Russian Urals crude delivered through the pipeline.

    The #contamination
    Europe’s oil refineries stopped accepting piped deliveries of Urals crude from Russia this week after flows were found to be contaminated with abnormally high levels of organic chlorides that, when refined, become hydrochloric acid that can damage the plants.

    The issue was first raised by Belarus and has also affected supplies from the Russian port of Ust-Luga, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    There are no signs that shipments from Novorossiysk or Primorsk, two other Russian tanker-loading facilities, have been disrupted.

    Russia’s government has blamed a private storage terminal in the center of the country for the problem. It will now take two weeks to ensure uncontaminated crude is flowing along the entire length of the pipeline.

    The millions of barrels tainted crude will need to blended with larger quantities of unblemished oil to get the impurities down to safe levels, a task that might some weeks or months.

    Organic chlorides are generally not present in crude oils, but are used to dissolve wax and during cleaning operations at production sites, pipelines or tanks.

    #drujba #pipelines #oléoducs

  • Quand l’essence européenne alimente l’Australie en fin d’hiver. Plus de 20000 km de voyage, les pays exportateurs étant l’Estonie et la Lettonie…
    Au cœur de ce business, le trader #Trafigura.

    The 16,000-Mile Gasoline Cargoes Revealing Dysfunctional Trade - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-04/the-16-000-mile-gasoline-cargoes-revealing-dysfunctional-trade


    Australia is increasingly taking Europe’s end-of-season gasoline.
    Bloomberg LP, Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

    • Traders sending more and more European gasoline to Australia
    • Shipments show challenge for country to cover own fuel needs

    Summer is coming to Europe and that can only mean one thing. It must be time to send the continent’s excess gasoline halfway across the planet.

    At least 400,000 metric tons of gasoline have been shipped or booked for delivery to Australia from northwest Europe since the start of this year, according to shipping data compiled by Bloomberg. Over 10,000 tons of marine fuel will probably be consumed to transport these cargoes just on one leg of the journey, more than some refineries produce in a day.

    While the precise motives for the trades are unlikely to become known, such cargoes could make sense because of the onset of Europe’s summer, which means switching to gasoline that’s more suited to warmer temperatures. That requires any excess stockpiles of winter-grade product to be cleared. Nonetheless, the cargoes also highlight the challenges Australia faces to supply itself or source alternative inventories more locally.
    […]
    European flows to Australia accelerated last year, having halted since 2012. Estonia and Latvia — two Baltic states — delivered cargoes for the first time in at least seven years in 2018, according to data from ITC Trade Map, a venture between the WTO and the United Nations.

    Commodities trader Trafigura Group Ltd. was the main charterer for the 400,000 tons sailing or booked for delivery so far in 2019. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

  • CHILD IMMIGRATION DETENTION IN THE EU

    On a given date in 2016, 180 children were detained in the 14 EU countries that provided data2. The longest detention period of unaccompanied children was 195 days (of a 15-year old boy in Latvia, whose nationality was not reported) and 151 days (of a 16-year old Syrian boy in Poland)3. There is significant divergence between member states in the methodology of collecting data; in some countries, children who are detained with their parents are not counted separately as they may not always have been subject to a detention order but deprived of liberty to keep them together with their parents.


    https://picum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Child-Immigration-Detention-in-the-EU-Final-ENG.pdf
    #enfants #enfance #rétention #détention_administrative #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rapport #EU #UE #Europe #statistiques #chiffres
    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Le crabe EST une espèce sédentaire, et donc une ressource naturelle. Il est donc protégé par l’exclusivité de la #ZEE.

    Intéressant débat juridique, avec conséquences sur la maîtrise par la Norvège de ses ressources d’hydrocarbures.

    À noter, l’absence de position sur le traité du #Svalbard

    Abide by the claw : Norway’s Arctic snow crab ruling boosts claim to oil | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-eu-snowcrab-idUSKCN1Q3115


    A fisherman holds a snow crab in Kjoellefjord, Norway, November 1, 2017.
    NTB Scanpix/Terje Bendiksby via REUTERS

    A court delivered a painful nip to European Union fishermen on Thursday by tightening Norway’s grip on snow crab catches in the Arctic, a ruling that may also let Oslo claw more control of oil and gas from other nations.

    Fishermen from the European Union must ask permission from Oslo to catch snow crab — whose meat is a delicacy for gourmets from Canada to Japan — in Arctic waters north of Norway, the Norwegian Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling.

    The court dismissed an appeal by a Latvian fishing firm and its Russian captain against fines imposed by a lower court for catching snow crab around the remote Svalbard Islands in 2017 with only an EU license.

    Latvia’s Foreign Ministry said it would review the decision at a government meeting.

    Norway is tightening its grip,” in the Arctic, said Oeystein Jensen, a researcher in international law at the independent Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo.

    The court clarifies that if you are going to fish, or search for oil and gas, you need permission from the Norwegian authorities,” he told Reuters.

    At issue was whether the snow crab was a sedentary species living on the seabed or moves around like fish, and who gets to control the stocks.

    The court agreed with non-EU member Norway that snow crabs are sedentary, like corals or oysters, and that as such under the U.N. Law of the Sea they are a resource belonging to the continental shelf of Norway extending hundreds of miles (kms) offshore.

    Had Norway lost the case, the EU could have staked a claim over the snow crab and it could have been harder for Oslo to regulate access to potential oil and gas resources beneath the Arctic seabed.

    For the Norwegian coastguard this is a big relief - they can arrest any ships fishing illegally in the Svalbard area,” chief public prosecutor Lars Fause told Reuters.

    The Latvian firm, SIA North Star, argued that the crabs are not sedentary because they scurry around and so should be regulated under regional fisheries accords signed by parties including the European Union, Norway and Russia.

    It argued that it had a valid EU permit.

    We’re very disappointed,” defense lawyer Hallvard Oestgaard told Reuters. He said that his client would consider whether to try to appeal to international tribunals.

    And SIA North Star argued that Norway is obliged under an international 1920 treaty to allow other nations access to the waters around Svalbard.

    That treaty grants sovereignty to Norway but gives other signatories rights to engage in commercial activities on and around Svalbard. Russia, for instance, runs a coal mine on Svalbard.

    But Oslo says rights to exploit resources around Svalbard extend only to a narrow band of just 12 nautical miles offshore. The court ruled that the Latvian catches were illegal under Norwegian law, irrespective of the Svalbard Treaty.

  • Our #5g Futures at 5GTechritory — DZone #iot
    https://hackernoon.com/our-5g-futures-at-5gtechritory-dzone-iot-b371a65e70d3?source=rss----3a81

    Our 5G Futures at 5GTechritoryThe 5G loungeThe countries surrounding the Baltic Sea are renowned for their constant pushes for innovation. From #estonia’s “Government-as-a-service” to Finland and Latvia having some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, these are nations unafraid to try new ideas. These pushes include the next generation of mobile communication standards, with the first commercial 5G networks launched in Tampere (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia), years ahead of many other countries.5G is the fifth generation of the mobile communication standards we are currently using. It aims to continue the trends of increased speed and bandwidth, but also to introduce new features to complement our increasingly inter-connected world. These include reduced latency, lower power (...)

    #5g-futures #smart-cities

  • The role of trade in the greenhouse gas footprints of EU diets
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912418300361


    Fig. 3. Dietary emissions presented in A) food item groups (categories ‘Meat, eggs’ and ‘Dairy’ also include the emissions from feed production), B) production regions.

    Meat and egg consumption represents the largest share of food supply #emissions in all EU countries (Fig. 3A), ranging from 49% to 64% (EU average 56%), followed by the consumption of dairy products that account for 16–36% of the dietary emissions (EU average 27%). Direct consumption of cereals, rice, and maize account for 2–8% of the emissions (EU average 4%). Beverages and stimulants, and the consumption of vegetable oils for food account on average for less than 5% each. Emissions related to feed embedded in animal product consumption account for approximately 37% of the total emissions.

    Most emissions from the production and trade of the EU food supply are caused by the consumption of domestic products or imports from other European countries (EU average 64%) (Fig. 3B). Latin America (EU average 25%) is the second most important import region followed by Asia (EU average 7%) and Africa (EU average 3%). The dominance of domestic production and intra-EU trade is expected, as most of the emissions accounted in our study are related to animal product consumption. Animal products in the EU are generally produced in nearby countries, and food and feed crops are also traded from regions further away.

    #climat #agriculture


    • Fig. 2. Production- and trade-related dietary emissions of the average diets in EU countries.

      Emissions here account for the direct food consumption and the feed used in the production of the animal products that were consumed. Enteric fermentation (14–30%, EU average 22%) and manure management (15–25%, EU average 22%) are major emission sources followed by inorganic (8–26%, EU average 14%) and organic (2–6%, EU average 3%) fertilizer use (Fig. 2). International transportation emissions account only for approximately 6% of the emissions (3–20%). Non-CO2 emissions dominate the picture and account on average for over 60% of the total emissions. Land use change emissions account for on average 30% of the emissions (min 17% Latvia, max 43% the Netherlands).

  • EU border ’lie detector’ system criticised as pseudoscience

    Technology that analyses facial expressions being trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia.

    The EU has been accused of promoting pseudoscience after announcing plans for a “#smart_lie-detection_system” at its busiest borders in an attempt to identify illegal migrants.

    The “#lie_detector”, to be trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia, involves the use of a computer animation of a border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language, asking questions via a webcam.

    The “deception detection” system will analyse the micro-expressions of those seeking to enter EU territory to see if they are being truthful about their personal background and intentions. Those arriving at the border will be required to have uploaded pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds.

    According to an article published by the European commission, the “unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying”.

    The project’s coordinator, George Boultadakis, who works for the technology supplier, European Dynamics, in Luxembourg, said: “We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks. The system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.”

    Travellers who have been flagged as low risk by the #avatar, and its lie detector, will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry. Those judged to be of higher risk will undergo a more detailed check.

    Border officials will use a handheld device to automatically crosscheck information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings.

    When documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm-vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk will be recalculated. A border guard will then take over from the automated system.

    The project, which has received €4.5m (£3.95m) in EU funding, has been heavily criticised by experts.

    Bruno Verschuere, a senior lecturer in forensic psychology at the University of Amsterdam, told the Dutch newspaper De Volskrant he believed the system would deliver unfair outcomes.
    A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’ - podcast

    “Non-verbal signals, such as micro-expressions, really do not say anything about whether someone is lying or not,” he said. “This is the embodiment of everything that can go wrong with lie detection. There is no scientific foundation for the methods that are going to be used now.

    “Once these systems are put into use, they will not go away. The public will only hear the success stories and not the stories about those who have been wrongly stopped.”

    Verschuere said there was no evidence for the assumption that liars were stressed and that this translated to into fidgeting or subtle facial movements.

    Bennett Kleinberg, an assistant professor in data science at University College London, said: “This can lead to the implementation of a pseudoscientific border control.”

    A spokesman for the project said: “The border crossing decision is not based on the single tool (ie lie detection) but on the aggregated risk estimations based on a risk-based approach and technology that has been used widely in custom procedures.

    “Therefore, the overall procedure is safe because it is not relying in the risk on one analysis (ie the lie detector) but on the correlated risks from various analysis.”

    The technology has been designed by a consortium of the Hungarian national police, Latvian customs, and Manchester Metropolitan and Leibnitz universities. Similar technology is being developed in the US, where lie detection is widely used in law enforcement, despite scepticism over its scientific utility in much of the rest of the world.

    Last month, engineers at the University of Arizona said they had developed a system that they hoped to install on the US-Mexico border known as the #Automated_Virtual_Agent_for_Truth_Assessments_in_Real-Time, or Avatar.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/02/eu-border-lie-detection-system-criticised-as-pseudoscience?CMP=share_bt
    #wtf #what_the_fuck #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #technologie #expressions_faciales #Grèce #Hongrie #Lettonie #mensonge #abus #gardes-frontière #biométrie #biomarqueurs #corps #smart_borders #risques #université #science-fiction
    ping @reka @isskein

    • Smart lie-detection system to tighten EU’s busy borders

      An EU-funded project is developing a way to speed up traffic at the EU’s external borders and ramp up security using an automated border-control system that will put travellers to the test using lie-detecting avatars. It is introducing advanced analytics and risk-based management at border controls.

      More than 700 million people enter the EU every year – a number that is rapidly rising. The huge volume of travellers and vehicles is piling pressure on external borders, making it increasingly difficult for border staff to uphold strict security protocols – checking the travel documents and biometrics of every passenger – whilst keeping disruption to a minimum.

      To help, the EU-funded project IBORDERCTRL is developing an ‘intelligent control system’ facilitating – making faster – border procedures for bona fide and law-abiding travellers. In this sense, the project is aiming to deliver more efficient and secure land border crossings to facilitate the work of border guards in spotting illegal immigrants, and so contribute to the prevention of crime and terrorism.

      ‘We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks,’ says project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics in Luxembourg. ‘IBORDERCTRL’s system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.’
      Smart ‘deception detection’

      The IBORDERCTRL system has been set up so that travellers will use an online application to upload pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds, then use a webcam to answer questions from a computer-animated border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language. The unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying.

      This pre-screening step is the first of two stages. Before arrival at the border, it also informs travellers of their rights and travel procedures, as well as providing advice and alerts to discourage illegal activity.

      The second stage takes place at the actual border. Travellers who have been flagged as low risk during the pre-screening stage will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry, while higher-risk passengers will undergo a more detailed check.

      Border officials will use a hand-held device to automatically cross-check information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings. After the traveller’s documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk posed by the traveller will be recalculated. Only then does a border guard take over from the automated system.

      At the start of the IBORDERCTRL project, researchers spent a lot of time learning about border crossings from border officials themselves, through interviews, workshops, site surveys, and by watching them at work.

      It is hoped that trials about to start in Hungary, Greece and Latvia will prove that the intelligent portable control system helps border guards reliably identify travellers engaging in criminal activity. The trials will start with lab testing to familiarise border guards with the system, followed by scenarios and tests in realistic conditions along the borders.
      A mounting challenge

      ‘The global maritime and border security market is growing fast in light of the alarming terror threats and increasing terror attacks taking place on European Union soil, and the migration crisis,” says Boultadakis.

      As a consequence, the partner organisations of IBORDERCTRL are likely to benefit from this growing European security market – a sector predicted to be worth USD 146 billion (EUR 128 bn) in Europe by 2020.

      Project details

      Project acronym: #iBorderCtrl
      Participants: Luxembourg (Coordinator), Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Latvia
      Project N°: 700626
      Total costs: € 4 501 877
      EU contribution: € 4 501 877
      Duration: September 2016 to August 2019


      http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?artid=49726

    • AVATAR - Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time

      There are many circumstances, particularly in a border-crossing scenario, when credibility must be accurately assessed. At the same time, since people deceive for a variety of reasons, benign and nefarious, detecting deception and determining potential risk are extremely difficult. Using artificial intelligence and non-invasive sensor technologies, BORDERS has developed a screening system called the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR). The AVATAR is designed to flag suspicious or anomalous behavior that warrants further investigation by a trained human agent in the field. This screening technology may be useful at Land Ports of Entry, airports, detention centers, visa processing, asylum requests, and personnel screening.

      The AVATAR has the potential to greatly assist DHS by serving as a force multiplier that frees personnel to focus on other mission-critical tasks, and provides more accurate decision support and risk assessment. This can be accomplished by automating interviews and document/biometric collection, and delivering real-time multi-sensor credibility assessments in a screening environment. In previous years, we have focused on conducting the basic research on reliably analyzing human behavior for deceptive cues, better understanding the DHS operational environment, and developing and testing a prototype system.

      Principal Investigators:
      #Aaron_Elkins
      #Doug_Derrick
      #Jay_Nunamaker, Jr.
      #Judee_Burgoon
      Status:
      Current

      http://borders.arizona.edu/cms/projects/avatar-automated-virtual-agent-truth-assessments-real-time
      #University_of_Arizona

    • Un #détecteur_de_mensonges bientôt testé aux frontières de l’Union européenne

      L’Union européenne va tester dans un avenir proche un moyen de réguler le passage des migrants sur certaines de ses frontières, en rendant celui-ci plus simple et plus rapide. Ce moyen prendra la forme d’un détecteur de mensonges basé sur l’intelligence artificielle.

      Financé depuis 2016 par l’UE, le projet iBorderCtrl fera bientôt l’objet d’un test qui se déroulera durant six mois sur quatre postes-frontière situés en Hongrie, en Grèce et en Lettonie. Il s’avère que chaque année, environ 700 millions de nouvelles personnes arrivent dans l’UE, et les gardes-frontières ont de plus en plus de mal à effectuer les vérifications d’usage.

      Ce projet iBorderCtrl destiné à aider les gardes-frontières n’est autre qu’un détecteur de mensonges reposant sur une intelligence artificielle. Il s’agit en somme d’une sorte de garde frontière virtuel qui, après avoir pris connaissance des documents d’un individu (passeport, visa et autres), lui fera passer un interrogatoire. Ce dernier devra donc faire face à une caméra et répondre à des questions.

      L’IA en question observera la personne et fera surtout attention aux micro-mouvements du visage, le but étant de détecter un éventuel mensonge. À la fin de l’entretien, l’individu se verra remettre un code QR qui déterminera son appartenance à une des deux files d’attente, c’est-à-dire les personnes acceptées et celles – sur lesquelles il subsiste un doute – qui feront l’objet d’un entretien plus poussé avec cette fois, des gardes-frontières humains.

      Le système iBorderCtrl qui sera bientôt testé affiche pour l’instant un taux de réussite de 74 %, mais les porteurs du projet veulent atteindre au moins les 85 %. Enfin, évoquons le fait que ce dispositif pose assez logiquement des questions éthiques, et a déjà de nombreux opposants !

      L’IA a été présentée lors du Manchester Science Festival qui s’est déroulé du 18 au 29 octobre 2018, comme le montre la vidéo ci-dessous :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fsd3Ubqi38

      https://sciencepost.fr/2018/11/un-detecteur-de-mensonges-bientot-teste-aux-frontieres-de-lunion-europee

  • Pro-Russian Harmony tipped to be Latvia’s largest party following election | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/07/pro-russian-harmony-tipped-to-be-latvias-largest-party-following-electi

    The pro-Kremlin Harmony party looked set to hold the balance of power in Latvia, following a general election on Saturday, with an exit poll showing it topping the vote ahead of liberals.

    A public TV exit poll showed Harmony had a 19.4% vote share, while the liberal pro-EU, pro-Nato For Development was in second place with 13.4%, ahead of the rightwing National Alliance on 12.6%.

    Populists, who could help Harmony form a coalition, followed closely behind. The New Conservative party was on 12.4% and KPV LV showed 11.5%.

    The Greens and Farmers Union of the prime minister, Māris Kučinskis, managed 9.7%.

    #lettonie #élections

  • #Nord_Stream 2 project can bec
    ome collision point in transatlantic relations - Rinkevics
    https://www.baltictimes.com/nord_stream_2_project_can_become_collision_point_in_transatlantic_relat

    RIGA - The planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline can become a collision point in transatlantic relations, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity) believes.

    While participating in a roundtable of an energy security conference organized by the Munich Security Conference and the ONS (Offshore Northern Seas Foundation) in Stavanger, Norway, Rinkevics expressed concern about the Nord Stream 2 project, which threatens to increase dependence on one dominant supplier and delivery route, which is contrary to the principles of the Energy Union (EU), LETA was told at the Latvian Foreign Ministry.

    Rinkevics argued that the only way to address these issues at the EU level was to support the diversification of energy supply sources and develop the EU’s internal energy market. Moreover, energy is not only a matter for European security but also a question of transatlantic relations. Nord Stream 2 can become one of the collision points in the transatlantic relationship.

    At the same time, Rinkevics indicated that Latvia and the other Baltic States had done much to integrate into the EU energy market, which means that the Baltic States can no longer be regarded as “energy islands”.

    #russie #lettoni #gazprom #guerre_des_tubes #gaz

  • Netanyahu expands his struggle against EU during Baltics visit -

    Netanyahu said he intended to counterbalance the EU’s ’unfriendly approach to Israel’ through direct contact with European leaders

    Noa Landau
    Aug 24, 2018 4:18 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-expands-his-struggle-against-eu-during-baltics-visit-1.6

    In the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania – his ancestors’ homeland, as he often points out – Benjamin Netanyahu formally thanked the country’s prime minister for helping him wage his all-out diplomatic war on the European Union in recent years.
    Netanyahu lauded Saulius Skvernelis on Thursday for his “strong stand” in support of Israel in EU forums. He said it was refreshing to see Skvernelis stand for “clarity, truth and courage.”
    “I want to thank you, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Linas, for the strong position you have taken in the forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency. Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels. There are many distortions that are leveled at us and it’s refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage. And we discussed how that can be expanded,” he said.

    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Netanyahu said he intended to counterbalance the EU’s “unfriendly approach to Israel” through direct contact with European leaders, as he began a three-day trip to Lithuania, where he is set to meet leaders of the Baltic nations.
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    Lithuania helped Netanyahu visit the EU headquarters in December by getting him a breakfast invitation with European foreign ministers before their monthly session. The move was seen at the time as running contrary to protocol and raised considerable anger in the office of the union’s head of foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini.
    Netanyahu has systematically cozied up to the most nationalistic countries of central and east Europe, with the aim of sabotaging the required consensus among the union’s 28 members to pursue a uniform foreign policy. Now he further revealed his strategy to use sub-regional blocs of states, like the Visegrad Forum and its star from Hungary, Viktor Orban, to sway EU positions on the Palestinians and Iran, or at least prevent a consensus, a tactic that would hinder the possibility of advancing new moves affecting Israel.
    “I am interested in balancing the not always friendly attitude of the European Union towards Israel so that we receive fairer and more straight-forward treatment. I am doing this through contacts with blocs of countries within the European Union, Eastern European countries, [and] now with the Baltic countries, as well, of course, as with other countries,” Netanyahu said before boarding his plane.
    Netanyahu is also due to meet Lituhania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas. Also, Netanyahu is scheduled to attend a commemoration ceremony at the memorial site of the Jews’ massacre in Ponar, meet the leaders of the Jewish community in the Vilnius’ Choral Synagogue, the only in the city to survive the Holocaust, and visit the gravesite of the Vilna Gaon, where he will no doubt tell his hosts yet again the history of his family, descendants from the sage of Vilna.
    “You know, my family’s from here,” Netanyahu told his Lithuanian counterpart a moment before their meeting. “I know, I know,” the host said.
    Israel’s relations with Lithuania and Latvia have been growing warmer in the last few years. Estonia is seen as cooler in its position and leaning toward a neutral stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – especially during its term as the EU’s president. Unlike West Europe’s larger states, the Baltic states suffer from negative migration to other EU countries, which leads to a brain drain, and Israel is seeking to strengthen its relations with Estonia on the basis of this issue. Also, the complex history of the Baltic states and Russia has led to the rise of ultra-nationalistic views, and, since the Russian invasion of Crimea, deep concern over defense and military power.
    Netanyahu emphasized that, too, in his meetings, telling Lithuanian leaders that like Israel, Lithuania has great national pride, while stressing that this quality stood “alongside democratic values and individual rights.”
    Observers in the corridors of Brussels told Haaretz that Netanyahu’s acts indeed have a “chilling effect” on the ability to publish joint statements in the name of the 28 member states. These dynamics are not new but became more prevalent and assertive in the past two or three years. “It’s more difficult for the EU to speak with one clear voice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” one observer said.
    Netanyahu’s cultivation of relations with the eastern European and Baltic states at the expense of the large liberal countries, like France and Germany, comes at a price that some would call ideological and others would call strategic. He is doing all he can to undermine Germany and France in a bid to prevent EU support for the two-state solution, which he himself usually supports in statements made to international audiences.

  • The shape of society: Coexisting in Latvia’s Soviet apartment blocks — Strelka Mag

    http://strelka.com/en/magazine/2018/05/07/latvian-pavilion-venice-biennale

    https://storage.strelka.com/i/cd0416c1-cc2b-4d94-9737-eafdf2d86122/w/1200

    Latvia is a century old this year. The anniversary coincides with the republic’s eighth crack at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The Latvian Pavilion’s entry ‘Together and Apart’ opens May 25 in the Arsenale and will examine how apartment buildings have shaped society in light of ideological turning points over the last 100 years. One of the topics to be addressed is the issue of coexisting in an increasingly complex world. Architects Matiss Groskaufmanis and Evelina Ozola, set designer Anda Skrejane, and New Theatre Institute of Latvia director Gundega Laivina are curating the exhibition, which is divided into four parts. “‘Distance’ portrays proximities between individual spheres that emerge as a consequence of demographic shifts; ‘Promise’ looks at the apartment building as a political project; ‘Warmth’ explores the relationship between energy and consumption, geopolitics, and collective decision making; ‘Self’ deals with the individual apartment as a subject of private property, and the limitations of it,’” reads the pavilion’s statement.

    #architecture #soviétisme #urban_matter #lettonie

  • #Lev_Rudnev Author of the Colossus of MSU
    Russia-InfoCentre

    http://www.russia-ic.com/people/general/r/183

    The imposing monumental buildings projected by the famous Soviet architect Lev Rudnev cannot but leave a lasting impression of stern beauty and might. His giants of the Moscow State University (MSU) and the Frunze Military Academy make up a specific face of the capital of Russia.

    Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev was born on March 13, 1885 into a teacher’s family in the town of Opochka. He graduated a college and an art school in Riga (Latvia) and in 1906 entered the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.

    During his studies already Rudnev started his architecture design and building construction practice. Along with academic classes he gained deeper perception of classical Russian architecture while working as an assistant in the architect Fomin’s workshop. The very first independent project of the student Rudnev attracted attention of the Association of Architect Artists.

    #architecture #soviétisme #urss #Lev_Vladimirovich_Rudnev

  • President Donald J. Trump’s Support for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trumps-support-estonia-latvia-lithuania

    Donc, nous, forcément, on est très rassuré.

    We are very protective of the Baltic region… We have great friends there.

    President Donald J. Trump

    BOOSTING DEFENSE AND SECURITY COOPERATION: President Donald J. Trump supports strengthening efforts to enhance the defense and security of our Baltic NATO Allies.

    The United States plans to provide nearly $100 million for procurement of large-caliber ammunition and over $70 million in training and equipping programs to the Baltics to build the capacity of the national military or national-level security forces of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

    #trump #pays_baltes #états-unis #otan #sécurité_collective

  • photographer Alexander Gronsky spent four years capturing the patches of grass and sand on the city’s periphery sought out by Muscovites

    Journeys — The Calvert Journal

    http://reports.calvertjournal.com/journeys

    Where do Muscovites go on a sunny day? The options for sun-seekers in the Russian capital are, it seems, limited. To create Pastoral 2008-2012, award-winning photographer Alexander Gronsky (Aperture Portfolio prize, Silver Camera Grand Prix) spent four years capturing the patches of grass and sand on the city’s periphery sought out by Muscovites — along with the towering apartment blocks, wires and cranes that thwart any attempt at Arcadian escape.

    Gronsky, who was born in Estonia and now lives in Latvia, explores Moscow’s wastelands, neither urban nor rural, the peripheral areas on the outskirts of the city.

    #photographie #moscou #rural-urban #espaces_intersticiels

  • What became of Latvia’s left ? | openDemocracy

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/will-mawhood/what-became-of-latvias-left

    L’article est très intéressant, mais j’avoue une faiblesse, je référeence aussi pour l’illustration, une magnifique œuvre assez précoce de Gustav Klucis (the Red Latvian Riflemen, 1918)

    The past month has seen a flurry of articles on the anniversary of October 1917 in St Petersburg and their consequences — many illuminating, some rather less so. Illuminating or not, the emphasis has usually been on the Russian in Russian revolution — the impact on the modern Russian state. But St Petersburg was an imperial capital at the time, ruling not only over the cities of the modern Russian Federation, but Tashkent, Tbilisi and Tallinn as well. It was very often in these peripheral regions that the revolution was most enthusiastically received.

    Indeed, the corner of the empire that was perhaps the reddest of all was not Russian at all. It was a place that very rarely comes up these days when the left is discussed, a country where the right appears to have a lock on both the government and the retelling of history — Latvia.

    #lettonie #soviétisme #image #gustav_klucis

  • Secret Soviet Posters Demystify Map Symbols

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/maps-soviet-symbols-spy-cartography-posters

    During the Cold War, the Soviet military mapped the entire world. This secret program was one of the most ambitious mapping efforts ever undertaken, and it produced thousands—perhaps even millions—of maps of every part of the planet. It also produced these clever training posters, which show in a very visual way how the symbols used on Soviet military maps corresponded to things in the real world.

    The posters offer insight into the remarkable range of symbols the Soviets used to create their maps. There are symbols differentiating types of power plants, factories, and train stations, to name just a few examples.

    The posters, each roughly 2 feet by 3 feet, were discovered in a map shop in Riga, Latvia by John Davies, a British map enthusiast who’s been studying the Soviet military maps for more than a decade. The owner of the map shop had acquired the posters along with an enormous cache of military maps after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90s. The posters appear in a new book, The Red Atlas, by Davies and Alexander Kent, a geographer at Canterbury Christ Church University.

    #soviétisme #cartographie #manipulation #urss #union_soviétique #sémiologie #symbolique

  • Russia Secretly Mapped the Whole World in the Cold War - CityLab

    https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/11/red-atlas-soviet-union-city-maps/546029

    English retiree John Davies has been smitten with maps his whole life. “I was drawing maps of my house as a toddler,” he said. Though his career in software didn’t allow regular forays into cartography, he would visit map shops on his travels.

    On a business trip to Riga, Latvia’s capital, in the early 2000s, he hit the mother lode. Davies happened upon a shop that held bundles of Cold War-era maps of British cities, created by the Soviet military. The maps were so detailed that they included such elements as the products factories made and bridges’ load-bearing capacity. “I was just amazed,” Davies said.

    #soviétisme #cartographie #manipulation #urss #union_soviétique

  • Latvians in the Soviet Political Elite 1920-1937 | Latvian History
    https://latvianhistory.com/2014/06/16/latvians-in-the-soviet-political-elite-1920-1937

    he Latvian nation has suffered from the Soviet repressions like no other. However, among ranks of communist supporters and top officials, Latvians took a high position. It happened because of the nature of the times before the Russian revolution and after. On the beginning of the 20th century, the New Current (Jaunā Strāva) was strongest Latvian leftist movement with whom many Latvian future social democrats and communists emerged. The revolution of 1905 was directed by Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party. Before World War I some Latvians moved to Russia to look for new farmland, while intellectuals like Krišjānis Valdemārs, Krišjānis Barons, Baumaņu Kārlis and others established carriers in Petersburg and Moscow. The German invasion in 1915 made hundreds of thousand Latvians go on the refuge to Russia. Locals in Moscow begun to notice that city is full of Latvians and Jews, who were forced to leave Lithuania and Latvia. The fall of Russian invasion made many previously mistreated minorities including Latvians to believe its their time to take power for themselves. And since Bolshevism an international movement in its roots seemed the most popular and strongest choice many Latvians chose the Soviet way. In future it turned out an ill-fated tragic choice, but in 1917 the perspective of independent Latvian state seemed far from reality.

    #lettonie #colonisation #urss #union_soviétique #révolution_ruse #1917

  • How a small group of Israelis made the Western Wall Jewish again
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.792857

    On Saturday, June 10, 1967, the fifth day of the Six-Day War, Yosef Schwartz, a contractor, entered the bomb shelter in the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood in western Jerusalem and found his daughter and grandchildren. “It was quite normal to see us and bring bread and milk,” says his daughter Zehava Fuchs. “But this time he was very tense, he hugged me and the children and he looked different than usual.”

    Schwartz, who was wearing the uniform of the old Haganah police force, left without saying where he was going. “I went up to the apartment to call my mother, she told me he didn’t want to say where he wast going,” said Fuchs.

    “The next day he came back crying. My brother was a pilot then and I was very worried something had happened, but then he told me that he had been in the Old City and touched the Kotel. He told how at night they demolished all the Mughrabi neighborhood. He was completely secular, but he said that when they worked there was a mystical feeling, they felt they were on a mission,” she added.

    Schwartz was one of 15 older contractors from the Jeruslaem contractors association who were called on by then Mayor Teddy Kollek that night to come to the Western Wall, which had just been captured. The task was to demolish the houses in the Mughrabi (Moroccan) Quarter that was built right next to the Kotel and create the Western Wall Plaza.

    Sasson Levy, one of the two contractors who is still alive, remembers the excitement very well: “I was sky-high, it was a pleasure.”

    Kollek enlisted the contractors for the work, but to this day it is still not clear who made the decision about the demolition. It is clear Kollek was involved, as well as Shlomo Lahat, who was the new military governor of East Jerusalem (and later mayor of Tel Aviv), and the head of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Uzi Narkiss. It is clear they intentionally made the decision without asking for – or receiving permission. No written documents remain concerning the decision, except for a hand-drawn map on a piece of paper that marked the boundaries of the area to be demolished.

    The contractors association was the most readily available source of manpower, but that was not the only reason that Kollek turned to them. The fear of an international protest made it necessary to use an unofficial civilian body to take on the job. The demolition work was given to the Jerusalem contractors and builders organization to distance any involvement of official bodies in the demolition as much as possible, wrote Uzi Benziman in Haaretz Magazine last week (in Hebrew).

    Kollek explained the urgency of clearing the plaza stemmed from the Shavuot holiday in a few days, when tens of thousands of Israelis were expected to flock to the Kotel. Leaving the old buildings standing could be dangerous, said Kollek. But the contractors, who were not called up to the reserves because of their age, saw it as much more than just another engineering project: That night remained engraved in their memories as a historic moment. So much so that after the war they established the “Order of the Kotel,” a sort of imitation of an order of knights for those who “purified the Kotel plaza for the people of Israel,” as they wrote about themselves.

    A coincidence led researchers from Yad Ben Zvi, the Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem named after former President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, to study the Order of the Kotel story. Next week an exhibition will go on display at the Institute about the Order and the creation of the Western Wall Plaza.

    The work began about 11 P.M. The first job was to demolish a toilet that was built up against the Western Wall. A day earlier, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion visited the Kotel and reprimanded Yaakov Yannai, the head of the National Parks Authority, about the bathroom. “You come to place like this and you see a stench in the wall, we were surprised by it,” Levy remembers. “It made us angry in all the joy. At first we worked with hoes, pickaxes, cultivators and hammers. After that Zalman [Broshi, one of the largest builders in Jerusalem] brought in the tractor.”

    Two bulldozers worked to demolish the houses. They ran into difficulties when the rooms underground collapsed suddenly under the bulldozers, but the collapse also provided them with space to bury the rubble and flatten the ground. 135 houses were demolished, and in the end the demolition exceeded the area drawn on the map.

    Levy does not remember the residents of the houses or whether anyone was evacuated from them. Fuchs says that when she asked her father about them, “he said they went with a megaphone and asked the people to gather, and they went out through the Zion Gate, because through this gat they took out the refugees of the Jewish Quarter [in 1948].”

    Bruria Shiloni, the daughter of Yosef Zaban, and who was there that night, does not remember the residents. “I didn’t have the impression that people lived there, that there was life,” says Shiloni. “Later I heard that they smuggled them out of there. The feeling was that they were demolishing empty and piled up huts, I didn’t see movement of people.”

    Benziman tells how in one case the residents refused to leave the house and left only after the bulldozer rammed the wall. In one house, an elderly woman named Haja Ali Taba’aki was found dead in her bed. In one of the pictures a bulldozer can be seen demolishing a house with furniture, curtains and a vase with flowers inside.

    Zaban was the father of Yair Tsaban, who became a member of Knesset for the left-wing Mapam party. Shiloni went to the Kotel with her father and remembers the trip and Kollek standing on a crate or step, speaking to those present. During the demolition she was not there, after two officers accompanied her to find her husband, a platoon commander who had been wounded in the fighting.

    The Order of the Western Wall was founded that same night and the members continued to meet regularly until the 1990s, when most of them passed away. In 1967 they enlisted in another task from Kollek and built the structure near the windmill in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood of the capital that housed the original carriage used by Moses Montefiore in his travels. In 1983 they published album with almost prophetic predictions by Itamar Ben-Avi, a journalist and son of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, about the creation of the Kotel Plaza. Ben-Avi died in 1943. In 1987 the members of the Oder attended a ceremony in their honor in the Knesset, and received the “Defender of the Kotel” decoration.

    The founder of the order was Baruch Barkai, who became the secretary of the group and a rather unusual figure. Barkai was born in Latvia, studied law, was a journalist, art collector and a member of the Lehi pre-state underground, also known as the Stern Gang. He was even arrested on suspicions of being involved in the murder of Chaim Arlosoroff. Barkai later wrote a number of books, two of which are etiquette guides, and founded the most polite Knesset member competition.

    “It was a difficult day for him,” says Barkai’s son Itamar, who was named after Ben-Avi, who his father admired. The 1983 album says the Order was founded on Sunday, the third day of the Hebrew month of Sivan, June 11, 1967 at 3 A.M. in the Kotel Plaza, with the 15 members who had answered the call of the engineering officer, Capt. Eitan Ben Moshe, to purify the Kotel Plaza. “In doing so they fulfilled the vision of Itamar Ben-Avi: ‘The Kotel with space on the right and space on the left too, the Kotel with a broad courtyard in front of it.”

    The Yad Ben- Zvi researchers discovered the story by accident, through a person who participated in the demolition, but not a member of the Order.

    Ze’ev Ben Gal was born to a Samaritan family, fled his parent’s home, enlisted in the Palmah and lived on Kibbuts Rosh Hanikra. During the Six-Day War he served as a bulldozer driver in the reserves and was called to the Mughrabi neighborhood. During his work he noticed a large iron lock, it seems the lock on the gate to the neighborhood, and kept it. After he died last year, the lock made its way to the kibbutz archive, where they decided to give it, and the story behind it, to Yad Ben-Zvi.

    Fuchs was photographed for the movie that was part of the “50 Faces, 50 years” project created by the Tower of David Museum in the Old City. She said about her father, Schwartz, that he was so proud of every house he built, and suddenly he was proud of demolishing houses, “but he felt that he was carrying out a great mission for the Jewish people.”

    Anyone who knew the Kotel before the demolition was amazed by the plaza that was born overnight. “I read in the newspaper that they demolished the houses and straightened the plaza in front of the Kotel, but I didn’t imagine they made a stadium,” an “elderly Yemenite” Jew was quoted in the Davar newspaper. The quote appears in an article that appeared recently by Shmuel Bahat in the journal Et-mol, published by Yad Ben Zvi. Kollek too is quoted justifying the demolitions: “It ws the greatest thing we could do and it is good we did it immediately.”

    • The EU has built #1000_km of border walls since fall of Berlin Wall

      European Union states have built over 1,000km of border walls since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a new study into Fortress Europe has found.

      Migration researchers have quantified the continent’s anti-immigrant infrastructure and found that the EU has gone from just two walls in the 1990s to 15 by 2017.

      Ten out of 28 member states stretching from Spain to Latvia have now built such border walls, with a sharp increase during the 2015 migration panic, when seven new barriers were erected.

      Despite celebrations this year that the Berlin Wall had now been down for longer than it was ever up, Europe has now completed the equivalent length of six Berlin walls during the same period. The barriers are mostly focused on keeping out undocumented migrants and would-be refugees.

      The erection of the barriers has also coincided with the rise of xenophobic parties across the continent, with 10 out of 28 seeing such parties win more than half a million votes in elections since 2010.

      “Europe’s own history shows that building walls to resolve political or social issues comes at an unacceptable cost for liberty and human rights,” Nick Buxton, researcher at the Transnational Institute and editor of the report said.

      “Ultimately it will also harm those who build them as it creates a fortress that no one wants to live in. Rather than building walls, Europe should be investing in stopping the wars and poverty that fuels migration.”

      Tens of thousands of people have died trying to migrate into Europe, with one estimate from June this year putting the figure at over 34,000 since the EU’s foundation in 1993. A total of 3,915 fatalities were recorded in 2017.

      The report also looked at eight EU maritime rescue operations launched by the bloc, seven of which were carried out specifically by the EU’s border agency Frontex.

      The researchers found that none of the operations, all conducted in the Mediterranean, had the rescue of people as their principal goal – with all of them focused on “eliminating criminality in border areas and slowing down the arrival of displaced peoples”.

      Just one, Operation Mare Nostrum, which was carried out by the Italian government, included humanitarian organisations in its fleets. It has since been scrapped and replaced by Frontex’s Operation Triton, which has a smaller budget.

      “These measures lead to refugees and displaced peoples being treated like criminals,” Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto, researcher for Delàs Center and co-author of the report said.

      At the June European Council, EU leaders were accused by NGOs of “deliberately condemning vulnerable people to be trapped in Libya, or die at sea”, after they backed the stance of Italy’s populist government and condemned rescue boats operating in the sea.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-border-wall-berlin-migration-human-rights-immigration-borders-a862

    • Building walls. Fear and securitization in the European Union

      This report reveals that member states of the European Union and Schengen Area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls, the equivalent of more than six times the total length of the Berlin Walls, since the nineties to prevent displaced people migrating into Europe. These physical walls are accompanied by even longer ‘maritime walls’, naval operations patrolling the Mediterranean, as well as ‘virtual walls’, border control systems that seek to stop people entering or even traveling within Europe, and control movement of population.
      Authors
      Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto, Pere Brunet
      In collaboration with
      Stop Wapenhandel, Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau
      Programmes
      War & Pacification

      On November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, marking what many hoped would be a new era of cooperation and openness across borders. German President Horst Koehler celebrating its demise some years later spoke of an ‘edifice of fear’ replaced by a ‘place of joy’, opening up the possibility of a ‘cooperative global governance which benefits everyone’. 30 years later, the opposite seems to have happened. Edifices of fear, both real and imaginary, are being constructed everywhere fuelling a rise in xenophobia and creating a far more dangerous walled world for refugees fleeing for safety.

      This report reveals that member states of the European Union and Schengen Area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls, the equivalent of more than six times the total length of the Berlin Walls, since the nineties to prevent displaced people migrating into Europe. These physical walls are accompanied by even longer ‘maritime walls’, naval operations patrolling the Mediterranean, as well as ‘virtual walls’, border control systems that seek to stop people entering or even traveling within Europe, and control movement of population. Europe has turned itself in the process into a fortress excluding those outside– and in the process also increased its use of surveillance and militarised technologies that has implications for its citizens within the walls.

      This report seeks to study and analyse the scope of the fortification of Europe as well as the ideas and narratives upon which it is built. This report examines the walls of fear stoked by xenophobic parties that have grown in popularity and exercise an undue influence on European policy. It also examines how the European response has been shaped in the context of post-9/11 by an expanded security paradigm, based on the securitization of social issues. This has transformed Europe’s policies from a more social agenda to one centred on security, in which migrations and the movements of people are considered as threats to state security. As a consequence, they are approached with the traditional security tools: militarism, control, and surveillance.

      Europe’s response is unfortunately not an isolated one. States around the world are answering the biggest global security problems through walls, militarisation, and isolation from other states and the rest of the world. This has created an increasingly hostile world for people fleeing from war and political prosecution.

      The foundations of “Fortress Europe” go back to the Schengen Agreement in 1985, that while establishing freedom of movement within EU borders, demanded more control of its external borders. This model established the idea of a safe interior and an unsafe exterior.

      Successive European security strategies after 2003, based on America’s “Homeland Security” model, turned the border into an element that connects local and global security. As a result, the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) became increasingly militarised, and migration was increasingly viewed as a threat.

      Fortress Europe was further expanded with policy of externalization of the border management to third countries in which agreements have been signed with neighbouring countries to boost border control and accept deported migrants. The border has thus been transformed into a bigger and wider geographical concept.
      The walls and barriers to movement

      The investigation estimates that the member states of the European Union and the Schengen area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls on their borders since nineties, to prevent the entrance of displaced people and migration into their territory.


      The practice of building walls has grown immensely, from 2 walls in the decade of the 1990s to 15 in 2017. 2015 saw the largest increase, the number of walls grew from 5 to 12.

      Ten out of 28 member states (Spain, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) have built walls on their borders to prevent immigration, all of them belonging to the Schengen area except for Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

      One country that is not a member of the European Union but belongs to the Schengen area has built a wall to prevent migration (Norway). Another (Slovakia) has built internal walls for racial segregation. A total of 13 walls have been built on EU borders or inside the Schengen area.

      Two countries, both members of the European Union and the Schengen area, (Spain and Hungary) have built two walls on their borders for controlling migration. Another two (Austria and the United Kingdom) have built walls on their shared borders with Schengen countries (Slovenia and France respectively). A country outside of the European Union, but part of of the so-called Balkan route (Macedonia), has built a wall to prevent migration.


      Internal controls of the Schengen area, regulated and normalized by the Schengen Borders Code of 2006, have been gone from being an exception to be the political norm, justified on the grounds of migration control and political events (such as political summit, large demonstrations or high profile visitors to a country). From only 3 internal controls in 2006, there were 20 in 2017, which indicates the expansion in restrictions and monitoring of peoples’ movements.


      The maritime environment, particularly the Mediterranean, provides more barriers. The analysis shows that of the 8 main EU maritime operations (Mare Nostrum, Poseidon, Hera, Andale, Minerva, Hermes, Triton and Sophia) none have an exclusive mandate of rescuing people. All of them have had, or have, the general objective of fighting crime in border areas. Only one of them (Mare Nostrum) included humanitarian organisations in its fleet, but was replaced by Frontex’s “Triton” Operation (2013-2015) which had an increased focus on prosecuting border-related crimes. Another operation (Sophia) included direct collaboration with a military organisation (NATO) with a mandate focused on the persecution of persons that transport people on migratory routes. Analysis of these operations show that their treatment of crimes is sometimes similar to their treatment of refugees, framed as issues of security and treating refugees as threats.

      There are also growing numbers of ‘virtual walls’ which seek to control, monitor and surveil people’s movements. This has resulted in the expansion, especially since 2013, of various programs to restrict people’s movement (VIS, SIS II, RTP, ETIAS, SLTD and I-Checkit) and collect biometric data. The collected data of these systems are stored in the EURODAC database, which allows analysis to establish guidelines and patterns on our movements. EUROSUR is deployed as the surveillance system for border areas.

      Frontex: the walls’ borderguards

      The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) plays an important role in this whole process of fortress expansion and also acts and establishes coordination with third countries by its joint operation Coordination Points. Its budgets have soared in this period, growing from 6.2 million in 2005 to 302 million in 2017.


      An analysis of Frontex budget data shows a growing involvement in deportation operations, whose budgets have grown from 80,000 euros in 2005 to 53 million euros in 2017.

      The European Agency for the Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) deportations often violate the rights of asylum-seeking persons. Through Frontex’s agreements with third countries, asylum-seekers end up in states that violate human rights, have weak democracies, or score badly in terms of human development (HDI).


      Walls of fear and the influence of the far-right

      The far-right have manipulated public opinion to create irrational fears of refugees. This xenophobia sets up mental walls in people, who then demand physical walls. The analysed data shows a worrying rise in racist opinions in recent years, which has increased the percentage of votes to European parties with a xenophobic ideology, and facilitated their growing political influence.

      In 28 EU member states, there are 39 political parties classified as extreme right populists that at some point of their history have had at least one parliamentary seat (in the national Parliament or in the European Parliament). At the completion of this report (July 2018), 10 member states (Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Sweden) have xenophobic parties with a strong presence, which have obtained more than half a million votes in elections since 2010. With the exception of Finland, these parties have increased their representation. In some cases, like those in Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden, there has been an alarming increase, such as Alternative for Germany (AfD) winning 94 seats in the 2017 elections (a party that did not have parliamentary representation in the 2013 elections), the Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland winning 235 seats after the 2015 elections (an increase of 49%), and Lega Nord’s (LN) strong growth in Italy, which went from 18 seats in 2013 to 124 seats in 2018.

      Our study concludes that, in 9 of these 10 states, extreme right-wing parties have a high degree of influence on the government’s migration policies, even when they are a minority party. In 4 of them (Austria, Finland, Italy and Poland) these parties have ministers in the government. In 5 of the remaining 6 countries (Germany, Denmark, Holland, Hungary, and Sweden), there has been an increase of xenophobic discourse and influence. Even centrist parties seem happy to deploy the discourse of xenophobic parties to capture a sector of their voters rather than confront their ideology and advance an alternative discourse based on people’s rights. In this way, the positions of the most radical and racist parties are amplified with hardly any effort. In short, our study confirms the rise and influence of the extreme-right in European migration policy which has resulted in the securitization and criminalization of migration and the movements of people.

      The mental walls of fear are inextricably connected to the physical walls. Racism and xenophobia legitimise violence in the border area Europe. These ideas reinforce the collective imagination of a safe “interior” and an insecure “outside”, going back to the medieval concept of the fortress. They also strengthen territorial power dynamics, where the origin of a person, among other factors, determines her freedom of movement.

      In this way, in Europe, structures and discourses of violence have been built up, diverting us from policies that defend human rights, coexistence and equality, or more equal relationships between territories.

      https://www.tni.org/en/publication/building-walls
      #rapport

      Pour télécharger le rapport:
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/building_walls_-_full_report_-_english.pdf

      #murs_virtuelles #surveillance #murs_maritimes #murs_terrestres #EUROSUR #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #racisme #xénophobie #VIS #SIS #ETIAS #SLTD