• En Grèce, la gauche convalescente pâtit encore de l’échec de Syriza
    3 AOÛT 2020 PAR ELISA PERRIGUEUR

    Le parti conservateur Nouvelle Démocratie est en position de force. Face à sa politique de plus en plus ferme et à l’ordre néolibéral qu’il met en place à l’issue de la première phase de la crise sanitaire, la gauche a du mal à être entendue.

    Athènes (#Grèce).– #Athènes, fin juillet 2020. Les manifestations sont désormais restreintes, comme le prévoit la loi tout juste adoptée au Parlement. Le gouvernement jugeait que les rassemblements paralysaient l’activité des commerçants, déjà rendue difficile par le #Covid-19. En cette période estivale, les #réfugiés des camps d’identification dits « hotspots » ne sont pas libres de leurs mouvements, car le ministère de l’immigration limite toujours leurs déplacements, officiellement « par mesure de précaution » en raison du virus.

    Deux mois après la fin du #confinement, la droite Nouvelle Démocratie (ND) applique sans obstacle sa politique conservatrice sous le sceau de la loi et l’ordre. Le faible impact sanitaire du coronavirus sert son entreprise. Le parti est plébiscité pour sa bonne gestion au début de la pandémie. 

    En face, l’opposition de #gauche parlementaire, composée de #Syriza, la principale force, des communistes du KKE et des altermondialistes du parti #MeRA_25, critique le manque d’action sociale et les faibles moyens alloués à l’hôpital public durant le confinement. Mais elle a visiblement bien du mal à se faire entendre. 

    « La Grèce vit actuellement dans un espace de non-idée à gauche, constate Filippa Chatzistavrou, politiste de l’université d’Athènes. Le premier ministre Kyriakos Mitsotakis intervient dans l’urgence dans cette crise. Il joue un rôle de pompier globalement apprécié par la société. » Quant aux difficultés de la gauche, elles sont plus anciennes que la pandémie, ajoute-t-elle. « C’est l’échec de Syriza qui a fait perdre espoir à beaucoup de citoyens. » 

    Pour comprendre la désillusion de l’électorat de la gauche grecque, il faut remonter à la « capitulation idéologique », selon l’expression de ses partisans amers. Elle a eu lieu le 13 juillet 2015, lorsque l’ancien premier ministre de gauche radicale Alexis #Tsipras a signé le troisième #mémorandum. Selon le parti Syriza, il s’agissait d’éviter une sortie de la zone #euro

    Les électeurs séduits par son programme anti-#austérité, issus du centre, de l’extrême gauche, voire du mouvement anarchiste, ont alors subi un #choc. Beaucoup parlent toujours de « trahison ». D’autant que quelques jours plus tôt, le 5 juillet 2015, 61,3 % des électeurs avaient exprimé leur refus aux mesures d’austérité des créanciers lors d’un référendum. Sur les murs d’Athènes, quelques tags défraîchis « Oxi » (« Non », en grec) rappellent encore aujourd’hui cette séquence intense pour la gauche grecque. 

    « Je n’étais pas d’accord avec ce mémorandum même si on ne connaît pas les dessous des négociations, il y avait beaucoup de pressions de la part des médias, de l’UE… Le tout sur fond de crise des réfugiés [qui venaient en nombre depuis la Turquie –ndlr]… », se souvient Nikolaos Kourampas, 49 ans, géologue qui partage sa vie entre la Grèce et l’Écosse. Il vote encore Syriza, mais « sans grande conviction ».

    La sanction est tombée cinq ans après le référendum lors des législatives anticipées de juillet 2019, auxquelles seulement 58 % des inscrits ont participé. Syriza a été devancé de huit points par la droite ND qui a obtenu 39,8 % des suffrages. Syriza a remplacé l’ex-parti socialiste Pasok comme principale force d’opposition de gauche au Parlement. L’historique mouvement socialiste s’est, lui, fondu dans une coalition centriste baptisée Kinal.

    « Les électeurs de gauche attendaient de Syriza qu’il revendique une véritable idéologie contre ce système d’austérité, qu’il propose une politique alternative dépassant les ordres néolibéraux des créanciers internationaux, ce que le parti n’a pas fait. Aujourd’hui, ces personnes, traumatisées, ont perdu confiance et ne s’intéressent plus à l’activité parlementaire », décrypte Seraphim Seferiades, directeur d’un laboratoire de recherches sur les politiques contestataires à l’université Panteion, à Athènes. 

    Syriza paie toujours son retournement lors du #référendum de 2015, estime aussi l’Athénien Ramin Bakhtiari, 35 ans, salarié d’une organisation internationale d’aide aux migrants. Lui a voté pour le parti de gauche en 2019, « uniquement pour tenter de barrer la route à la ND, ultralibérale, qui veut transformer la Grèce en hôtel », résume-t-il. Ce dernier apprécie la « ligne sociale » du parti, qui durant son mandat a mis en place une aide humanitaire pour les plus démunis, augmenté le salaire minimum, etc. « Mais il se voulait parti antisystème en 2015, il est devenu un parti systémique », regrette-t-il.

    Syriza s’est en effet transformé au contact du pouvoir entre 2015 et 2019, constate la politiste Filippa Chatzistavrou. « Mais au lieu de renforcer sa présence dans les syndicats [puissants en Grèce – ndlr] ou au niveau local, le mouvement a préféré constituer un cercle de fidèles autour d’Alexis Tsipras et passer à une organisation verticale. »

    Syriza défend désormais sa position de poids au Parlement. « Élu avec 31 % des suffrages, le parti s’est établi comme la force dominante des politiques de gauche et progressiste en Grèce, insiste son porte-parole Alexis Charitsis. Néanmoins, nous sommes ouverts aux critiques. Nous répondons à ceux qui disent à Syriza de “faire plus” avec notre programme déterminé “Restons debout”. » Lancé à la fin du confinement, ce dernier privilégie l’action sociale. 

    Syriza propose entre autres « des aides sans conditions aux entreprises, particulièrement les PME, le soutien financier aux indépendants et aux scientifiques, un salaire minimum pour les plus vulnérables », détaille Alexis Charitsis. « La période actuelle d’instabilité, de désespoir et d’austérité n’est pas le résultat de la pandémie mais de la politique gouvernementale consistant à prioriser les intérêts des oligarques et des grandes sociétés. »

    Mais dans l’hémicycle, aucune alliance ne semble possible face à une droite majoritaire. Le parti communiste #KKE, auquel quelques déçus de Syriza ont donné leur voix en juillet 2019, estime qu’« une grande partie du peuple grec est aux limites de la survie », dénonce l’eurodéputé communiste Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos. « Le résultat d’une gestion du gouvernement grec, avec l’accord des partis politiques bourgeois tels que Syriza, Pasok ou Kinal », ajoute-t-il.

    Ce parti post-stalinien à la culture très militante, qui continuer à placer la lutte des classes au cœur de sa politique, a toujours fait cavalier seul. Le KKE stagne au Parlement avec des scores allant de 5 à 8 % des voix depuis le milieu des années 1990.

    D’autres déçus de Syriza ont donné leur bulletin au jeune parti de gauche radicale MeRA25. Mais son leader, Yanis #Varoufakis, divise. Les critiques jugent l’ancien ministre des finances de Syriza trop « narcissique » ou « provocateur ».

    Dimitri*, trentenaire athénien, admire celui « qui a tenté de négocier un accord juste en 2015 alors que les autres membres de Syriza étaient paniqués [au cours des réunions tendues de l’Eurogroupe pour trouver une solution à la crise de la dette, comme l’ont montré (écouter ici) les enregistrements « Varoufakis Leaks » diffusés sur Mediapart]. » Et d’ajouter : « MeRA25 a un programme clair en cas de prise de pouvoir. »

    Parmi ses propositions figurent la réduction de la TVA de 24 % à 15 ou 18 %, la création d’une taxe spéciale pour les banques ou les étrangers ayant investi dans l’immobilier pour obtenir un « golden visa » [permettant à des ressortissants non européens de s’établir et voyager dans l’UE – ndlr]. 

    En dépit d’une offre politique peu inspirante, la société civile est prête à bouger. Les violences policières de plus en plus visibles, le traitement controversé des réfugiés, les projets jugés anti-écologiques du gouvernement alimentent une résistance sociale. Elle se manifeste chez des mouvements autonomes, des initiatives anarchistes ou anticapitalistes ou de partis extra-parlementaires, à l’origine de manifestations récentes. 

    « Pendant le confinement, nous avons organisé des actions contre le fascisme, en faveur de l’hôpital, plusieurs collectes pour les réfugiés », assure Petros Constantinou, l’un des membres du front extra-parlementaire Antarsya, qui rassemble des organisations trotskistes et anticapitalistes. Ses quelques milliers d’adhérents, favorables entre autres au « Grexit » et à l’effacement de la dette, tentent d’être de toutes ces luttes contre le pouvoir. 

    « Malheureusement, cette gauche extra-parlementaire milite aujourd’hui dans un registre de résistance en proposant des solutions maximalistes [comme la sortie de l’euro ou de l’Otan – ndlr] difficilement applicables dans la conjoncture actuelle, estime la politiste Filippa Chatzistavrou. Ce contre-système attire les jeunes politisés mais n’est qu’un canal de colère. » 

    Ces résistances pourraient permettre à la gauche radicale de se renouveler, pense au contraire l’expert Seraphim Seferiades. « Je ne serai pas surpris qu’un processus de formation d’une force politique composée de plusieurs groupes soit en cours à l’extérieur de l’hémicycle, dit-il. C’est le même schéma qui avait mené dans les années 2000 à la formation de la coalition Syriza. » Ce processus, qui avait pris de court les partis traditionnels, avait abouti en 2015 à l’accession au pouvoir du parti de gauche radicale.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/030820/en-grece-la-gauche-convalescente-patit-encore-de-l-echec-de-syriza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      State-of-play report

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

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

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

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

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

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

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

      Training

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

      Use of force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Privileges and immunities

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

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

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

      Law enforcement

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

      Fundamental rights and data protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Returns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      EUROSUR

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

      Summary

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

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

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

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

      Endnotes

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

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

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

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

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

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

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

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

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

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

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

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

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

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

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

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

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

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

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

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

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

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

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

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

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

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

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

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

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

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

      What is the standing corps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The size of the standing corps

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

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

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

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

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

      What are the profiles?

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

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

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

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

      Recruitment for the profiles

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

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

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

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

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

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

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

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

      Fit for service?

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

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

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

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

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

      [14] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

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

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

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

      Aircraft from arms companies

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

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

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

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

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

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

      New interested parties for drone flights

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

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

      Information to non-EU countries

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

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

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

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

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

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

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

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

      Matthias Monroy

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

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

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #drones

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

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

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

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

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

      From external to internal surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

      Legal provisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Sources of data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Operational activities at the internal borders

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

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

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

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

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

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

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

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

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

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

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

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • #Santé_mentale des #migrants : des #blessures invisibles

    Une prévalence élevée du trouble de stress post-traumatique et de la #dépression

    Les #migrations, les migrants et leur #santé ne peuvent être compris indépendamment du contexte historique et politique dans lequel les mouvements de population se déroulent, et, ces dernières décennies, les migrations vers l’#Europe ont changé. L’#immigration de travail s’est restreinte, et la majorité des étrangers qui arrivent en #France doivent surmonter des obstacles de plus en plus difficiles, semés de #violence et de #mort, au fur et à mesure que les #frontières de l’Europe se ferment. Ils arrivent dans des pays où l’#hostilité envers les migrants croît et doivent s’engager dans un processus hasardeux de #demande_d’asile. Ce contexte a de lourds effets sur la santé mentale des migrants. Ces migrants peuvent être des adultes ou des enfants, accompagnés ou non d’un parent – on parle dans ce dernier cas de mineur non accompagné*. S’il n’existe pas de pathologie psychiatrique spécifique de la migration1 et que tous les troubles mentaux peuvent être rencontrés, il n’en reste pas moins que certaines pathologies sont d’une grande fréquence comme le trouble de stress post-traumatique et la dépression.

    Facteurs de risque

    Pour approcher la vie psychique des migrants et les difficultés auxquelles ils font face, nous distinguerons quatre facteurs à l’origine de difficultés : le vécu prémigratoire, le voyage, le vécu post-migratoire, et les aspects transculturels.

    Vécu prémigratoire

    Avant le départ, de nombreux migrants ont vécu des événements adverses et traumatiques : #persécution, #guerre, #violence_physique, #torture, violence liée au #genre (#mutilations, #viols), #deuils de proches dans des contextes de #meurtre ou de guerre, #emprisonnement, famine, exposition à des scènes horribles, etc. Les violences ont fréquemment été dirigées contre un groupe, amenant une dislocation des liens communautaires, en même temps que des liens familiaux. Ces traumatismes ont un caractère interhumain et intentionnel, et une dimension collective, témoignant d’une situation de violence organisée, c’est-à-dire d’une relation de violence exercée par un groupe sur un autre.2, 3 Cette situation de traumatismes multiples et intentionnels est fréquemment à l’origine d’une forme particulière de troubles appelée trouble de stress post-traumatique complexe. Les nombreuses pertes, deuils et pertes symboliques fragilisent vis-à-vis du risque dépressif.

    Départ et #voyage

    La migration est en elle-même un événement de vie particulièrement intense, obligeant à des renoncements parfois douloureux, déstabilisante par tous les remaniements qu’elle implique. Ce risque est pris par ceux qui partent avec un #projet_migratoire élaboré. En revanche, l’exil dans une situation critique est plus souvent une fuite, sans projet, sans espoir de retour, bien plus difficile à élaborer.1 Vers une Europe dont les frontières se sont fermées, les routes migratoires sont d’une dangerosité extrême. Nous connaissons tous le drame de la Méditerranée, ses morts en mer innombrables.4 Les adolescents venant seuls d’Afghanistan, par exemple, peuvent mettre plusieurs années à arriver en Europe, après des avancées, des retours en arrière, des phases d’incarcération ou de #prostitution. Durant ce long voyage, tous sont exposés à de nouvelles violences, de nouveaux traumatismes et à la traite des êtres humains, surtout les femmes et les enfants.

    Vécu post-migratoire

    Une fois dans le pays hôte, les migrants se retrouvent coincés entre un discours idéal sur l’asile, la réalité d’une opinion publique souvent hostile et des politiques migratoires contraignantes qui les forcent sans cesse à prouver qu’ils ne sont pas des fraudeurs ou des criminels.5 Les réfugiés qui ont vécu un traumatisme dans le pays d’origine vivent donc un nouveau traumatisme : le déni de leur vécu par le pays d’accueil. Ce déni, qui est pathogène, prend de multiples aspects, mais il s’agit d’être cru : par les agents de l’Office de protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (Ofpra) qui délivre le statut de réfugié, par les conseils départementaux, qui décident, avec un certain arbitraire, de la crédibilité de la minorité des jeunes non accompagnés. L’obtention d’un statut protecteur dans un cas, l’obligation de quitter le territoire dans l’autre. Mais raconter en détail des événements traumatiques que l’on n’a parfois jamais pu verbaliser est difficile, parfois impossible. Lorsque des troubles de la mémoire ou des reviviscences traumatiques les empêchent de donner des détails précis, on leur répond...

    #migration #mental_health #trauma #depression #violence

    https://www.larevuedupraticien.fr/article/sante-mentale-des-migrants-des-blessures-invisibles

  • Automated suspicion: The EU’s new travel surveillance initiatives

    This report examines how the EU is using new technologies to screen, profile and risk-assess travellers to the Schengen area, and the risks this poses to civil liberties and fundamental rights.

    By developing ‘interoperable’ biometric databases, introducing untested profiling tools, and using new ‘pre-crime’ watchlists, people visiting the EU from all over the world are being placed under a veil of suspicion in the name of enhancing security.

    Watch the animation below for an overview of the report. A laid-out version will be available shortly. You can read the press release here: https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/july/eu-to-deploy-controversial-technologies-on-holidaymakers-and-business-tr

    –----

    Executive summary

    The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has raised the possibility of widespread surveillance and location tracking for the purpose of disease control, setting alarm bells ringing amongst privacy advocates and civil rights campaigners. However, EU institutions and governments have long been set on the path of more intensive personal data processing for the purpose of migration control, and these developments have in some cases passed almost entirely under the radar of the press and civil society organisations.

    This report examines, explains and critiques a number of large-scale EU information systems currently being planned or built that will significantly extend the collection and use of biometric and biographic data taken from visitors to the Schengen area, made up of 26 EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. In particular, it examines new systems being introduced to track, analyse and assess the potential security, immigration or public health risks posed by non-EU citizens who have to apply for either a short-stay visa or a travel authorisation – primarily the #Visa_Information_System (#VIS), which is being upgraded, and the #European_Travel_Information_and_Authorisation_System (#ETIAS), which is currently under construction.

    The visa obligation has existed for years. The forthcoming travel authorisation obligation, which will cover citizens of non-EU states who do not require a visa, is new and will massively expand the amount of data the EU holds on non-citizens. It is the EU’s equivalent of the USA’s ESTA, Canada’s eTA and Australia’s ETA.[1] These schemes represent a form of “government permission to travel,” to borrow the words of Edward Hasbrouck,[2] and they rely on the extensive processing of personal data.

    Data will be gathered on travellers themselves as well as their families, education, occupation and criminal convictions. Fingerprints and photographs will be taken from all travellers, including from millions of children from the age of six onwards. This data will not just be used to assess an individual’s application, but to feed data mining and profiling algorithms. It will be stored in large-scale databases accessible to hundreds of thousands of individuals working for hundreds of different public authorities.

    Much of this data will also be used to feed an enormous new database holding the ‘identity data’ – fingerprints, photographs, names, nationalities and travel document data – of non-EU citizens. This system, the #Common_Identity_Repository (#CIR), is being introduced as part of the EU’s complex ‘interoperability’ initiative and aims to facilitate an increase in police identity checks within the EU. It will only hold the data of non-EU citizens and, with only weak anti-discrimination safeguards in the legislation, raises the risk of further entrenching racial profiling in police work.

    The remote monitoring and control of travellers is also being extended through the VIS upgrade and the introduction of ETIAS. Travel companies are already obliged to check, prior to an individual boarding a plane, coach or train, whether they have the visa required to enter the Schengen area. This obligation will be extended to include travel authorisations, with travel companies able to use the central databases of the VIS and ETIAS to verify whether a person’s paperwork is in order or not. When people arrive at the Schengen border, when they are within the Schengen area and long after they leave, their personal data will remain stored in these systems and be available for a multitude of further uses.

    These new systems and tools have been presented by EU institutions as necessary to keep EU citizens safe. However, the idea that more personal data gathering will automatically lead to greater security is a highly questionable claim, given that the authorities already have problems dealing with the data they hold now.

    Furthermore, a key part of the ‘interoperability’ agenda is the cross-matching and combination of data on tens of millions of people from a host of different databases. Given that the EU’s databases are already-known to be strewn with errors, this massively increases the risks of mistakes in decision making in a policy field – immigration – that already involves a high degree of discretion and which has profound implications for peoples’ lives.

    These new systems have been presented by their proponents as almost-inevitable technological developments. This is a misleading idea which masks the political and ethical judgments that lie behind the introduction of any new technology. It would be fairer to say that EU lawmakers have chosen to introduce unproven, experimental technologies – in particular, automated profiling – for use on non-EU citizens, who have no choice in the matter and are likely to face difficulties in exercising their rights.

    Finally, the introduction of new databases designed to hold data on tens of millions of non-citizens rests on the idea that our public authorities can be trusted to comply with the rules and will not abuse the new troves of data to which they are being given access. Granting access to more data to more people inevitably increases the risk of individual abuses. Furthermore, the last decade has seen numerous states across the EU turn their back on fundamental rights and democratic standards, with migrants frequently used as scapegoats for society’s ills. In a climate of increased xenophobia and social hostility to foreigners, it is extremely dangerous to assert that intrusive data-gathering will counterbalance a supposed threat posed by non-citizens.

    Almost all the legislation governing these systems has now been put in place. What remains is for them to be upgraded or constructed and put into use. Close attention should be paid by lawmakers, journalists, civil society organisations and others to see exactly how this is done. If all non-citizens are to be treated as potential risks and assessed, analysed, monitored and tracked accordingly, it may not be long before citizens come under the same veil of suspicion.

    https://www.statewatch.org/automated-suspicion-the-eu-s-new-travel-surveillance-initiatives

    #vidéo:
    https://vimeo.com/437830786

    #suspects #suspicion #frontières #rapport #StateWatch #migrations #asile #réfugiés #EU #UE #Union_européenne
    #surveillance #profiling #database #base_de_données #données_personnelles #empreintes_digitales #enfants #agences_de_voyage #privatisation #interopérabilité

    ping @mobileborders @isskein @etraces @reka

  • L’accord sur le transfert de données personnelles entre l’UE et les Etats-Unis annulé par la justice européenne
    https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2020/07/16/la-justice-europeenne-annule-l-accord-sur-le-transfert-de-donnees-personnell

    Ce dispositif adopté en 2016 est utilisé par la quasi-totalité des grandes entreprises américaines pour traiter les données personnelles (identité, comportement en ligne, géolocalisation…) de leurs utilisateurs européens. — Permalien

    #europe #internet #usa #vieprivée

  • Experten-Bündnis: „Höchste Zeit“ für eigene europäische Digital-Inf...
    https://diasp.eu/p/11350389

    Experten-Bündnis: „Höchste Zeit“ für eigene europäische Digital-Infrastruktur

    Eine eigene Digital-Infrastruktur für Europa muss schnell her, Gaia-X reicht nicht aus, sagt eine Allianz aus Experten. Experten-Bündnis: „Höchste Zeit“ für eigene europäische Digital-Infrastruktur #DigitaleAgenda #EU #Europa #Experten-Bündnis

    • Le calvaire des travailleuses domestiques éthiopiennes, victimes de la crise au Liban
      https://www.rts.ch/info/11457522-le-calvaire-des-travailleuses-domestiques-ethiopiennes-victimes-de-la-c

      Le Liban compte près de 250’000 travailleuses domestiques. Depuis des années, des associations dénoncent les abus dont elles font l’objet, alors que la crise aggrave encore leur situation, au point que beaucoup rêvent désormais de rentrer au pays.

      Zeina est Ethiopienne. Elle a rejoint des compatriotes à Mar Elias, un camp palestinien aux portes de Beyrouth, où elle séjourne depuis qu’elle a perdu son emploi il y a huit mois. Elle était venue au Liban sous contrat et vivait au domicile de ses employeurs. Jusqu’à l’arrivée de la crise sanitaire.

      « Mes employeurs m’ont dit qu’ils n’avaient plus d’argent et que je devais m’arranger avec mon ambassade. Donc je suis partie, que pouvais-je faire d’autre ? », témoigne la jeune fille de 26 ans. « Avant la crise sanitaire, je gagnais 150 dollars par mois, mais il n’y a désormais plus aucune offre de travail ailleurs. On veut toutes rentrer chez nous... »

      Résignées et déterminées à rentrer
      Rentrer, c’est en effet le rêve de nombreuses migrantes. Longtemps, les devises attiraient la main d’œuvre étrangère, malgré des conditions de travail régulièrement dénoncées par les associations de protection.

      Aujourd’hui, l’inflation est galopante, la livre libanaise dégringole, le dollar américain se raréfie, ce qui entraîne une chute drastique du pouvoir d’achat des travailleuses domestiques. « On a peur car on n’a plus d’argent. Il faut payer le loyer, et la nourriture est devenue très chère », déplore Marta, qui a également trouvé refuge dans le camp de Mar Elias.

      Or, impossible pour elle d’envisager un retour en Ethiopie, son passeport lui ayant été confisqué par son ancienne employeuse. « J’avais fui sa maison car elle me payait 100 dollars par mois, au lieu de 150. Sans papiers de résidence, comment vais-je pouvoir continuer à vivre ici ? »

      « J’ai dormi trois jours dans la rue »
      Pour réclamer de l’aide, des Ethiopiennes se rassemblent régulièrement devant leur consulat, en banlieue de Beyrouth. « J’ai dit à mes employeurs que je ne voulais pas travailler gratuitement, alors ils m’ont amené ici, devant le consulat », témoigne Massarat.

      « J’ai dormi trois jours dans la rue, avant d’être emmenée dans un hôtel, avec des compatriotes. On veut partir mais personne n’est en mesure de me dire quand on pourra quitter le pays », soupire la jeune femme de 23 ans.

      Pour Tsigeweyni, qui a réussi à garder son travail d’employée de maison, « le consulat éthiopien a également sa part de responsabilité, mais fait face à beaucoup de problèmes ».

      « Jeter un domestique à la rue salit l’image du Liban ! »
      En attendant un éventuel retour au pays, des ONG ont fourni quelques logements qui font office d’hôtels. Un réseau de solidarité entre Ethiopiennes, très actif, s’est également développé depuis le début de la crise, même si ses moyens restent limités.

      Tsigeweyni en fait partie et donne un coup de main dès qu’elle le peut. « Pour moi, voir des familles jeter leur domestique à la rue salit l’image du Liban ! Une famille qui, quand elle en avait les moyens, a recruté une fille, a le devoir, selon la loi, de la rapatrier chez elle. »

      Et de dénoncer le laxisme des autorités libanaises : « ce qui se passe est de la responsabilité de l’Etat libanais, des employeurs et des bureaux de recrutement », rappelle-t-elle. Au Liban, l’employeur fait office de tuteur pour son employée, le travail domestique n’étant pas réglementé par le code du travail. Ce faible niveau de protection ouvre la voie à de nombreux abus, tels que le non-versement des salaires, l’exploitation, et des traitements violents subis par certaines travailleuses.

      De leur côté, les autorités libanaises ont ouvert une enquête, pour poursuivre les employeurs qui se débarrassent de leur domestique. Mais le retour des Ethiopiennes, qui sont plus de 100’000 au Liban, reste un casse-tête. Beaucoup affirment ne pas oser raconter leur situation à leur famille restée en Ethiopie.

      #Femmes #Esclaves #esclavage #Liban #Ethiopie #crise #migrants #migrantes

    • . . . . . . . . . . .
      La BCE subventionne le rachat par LVMH, groupe de Bernard Arnault, d’un joaillier américain pour 14 milliards d’€
      https://linsoumission.fr/2020/07/01/scandale-comment-la-banque-centrale-europeenne-a-gave-lhomme-le-plus-r
      Vous n’avez pas entendu parler du scandale Arnault / BCE dans les médias traditionnels. Même pas dans Les Échos . Ce journal, possédé par Bernard Arnault, en a fait un papier très technique. Objectif : noyer le lecteur pour qu’il ne comprenne surtout pas le scandale. « La BCE offre un festin gratuit au plus riche des français » titre l’agence Bloomberg du côté de la presse anglo-saxonne. « La BCE achète des obligations LVMH pour financer l’acquisition de Tiffany, rendant encore plus riche l’homme le plus riche de France » , tacle de son côté le site financier américain Zéro Hedge. Du côté de la presse française ? À part dans la presse spécialisée, silence radio.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5spkN4KdFx4


      On parle pourtant de Bernard Arnault. L’homme le plus riche de France. Le troisième homme le plus riche du monde juste derrière Bill Gates et Jeff Bezos. Le patron d’Amazon a pris « un peu » d’avance dans la course à l’accumulation de milliards https://lafranceinsoumise.fr/2020/04/20/amazon-gagne-parts-de-marche-hallucinantes-avec-crise-commission-enquete-covid19/?%20target=_blank . Celui-ci a en effet empoché 24 milliards de dollars pendant le confinement. Mais Bernard Arnault peut aussi se frotter les mains. Son groupe de luxe, LVMH, vient de racheter « Tiffany & Co » : une entreprise américaine de joaillerie et d’« art de la table ». Fondée en 1837 dans Manhattan à New York, cette entreprise a atteint une cotation boursière de 14 milliards de dollars au moment de son rachat par le groupe de Bernard Arnault.

      Jusque-là, rien d’inhabituel pour le n°1 mondial du luxe. LVMH est coutumier du fait et engloutit les groupes de luxe les uns après les autres. Petit détail cependant. En février dernier, LVMH a lancé une émission obligataire pour un montant de 9,3 milliards d’€ dans le but de financer l’achat de « Tiffany ». Or, depuis juin 2016, un nouveau programme d’achat d’actifs financiers a été lancé par la BCE : un programme d’achat d’obligations « corporate », émises par les entreprises de la zone euro (programme CSPP). Et c’est grâce à ce dispositif que LVMH a pu se gaver auprès de la BCE. L’insoumise Manon Aubry a été une des rares élues à dénoncer le scandale. Nous l’avons donc invitée sur l’insoumission, pour nous l’expliquer. Et comme vous pourrez le constater dans notre interview, ce n’est que le premier scandale dans l’Affaire BCE-Arnault.

      De directrice adjointe de la BCE au conseil d’administration de LVMH : le cas Natacha Valla
      Utiliser de l’argent public pour financer le rachat de Tiffany par LVMH ? Christine Lagarde ne voit pas le problème. La présidente de la BCE répond : « le programme de rachat d’obligation corporate (CSPP) par la BCE est collé à la photographie du marché. Les titres verts représentent 20 % du marché. Ils représentent donc 20 % de nos achats. » Le réchauffement climatique ? Que nenni ! Ce n’est pas le problème de la BCE qui se borne à reproduire fidèlement la compétition et les rapports de force du marché dans sa politique monétaire. La BCE est indépendante, on vous dit ! Indépendante des États, ça oui. Indépendante des intérêts privés et financiers ? C’est plus compliqué. Un cas illustre assez bien les passerelles et potentiels conflits d’intérêts entre dirigeants de la BCE et des plus grands groupes mondiaux.

      Elle a un nom, elle a une adresse : Natacha Valla , directrice adjointe de la politique monétaire de la BCE. Enfin… elle l’était jusqu’au 30 juin 2020, jour où nous écrivons ces lignes. Dès le 1er Juillet, Natacha Valla aura rejoint le conseil d’administration… de LVMH.
      . . . . . . . . . . .
      #BCE #cadeau #ue #union_européenne #LVMH #bernard_arnault #natacha_valla #femme #conflits_d'intérêts #europe #france #corruption #capitalisme #ue #union_européenne

  • EU pays for surveillance in Gulf of Tunis

    A new monitoring system for Tunisian coasts should counter irregular migration across the Mediterranean. The German Ministry of the Interior is also active in the country. A similar project in Libya has now been completed. Human rights organisations see it as an aid to „#pull_backs“ contrary to international law.

    In order to control and prevent migration, the European Union is supporting North African states in border surveillance. The central Mediterranean Sea off Malta and Italy, through which asylum seekers from Libya and Tunisia want to reach Europe, plays a special role. The EU conducts various operations in and off these countries, including the military mission „#Irini“ and the #Frontex mission „#Themis“. It is becoming increasingly rare for shipwrecked refugees to be rescued by EU Member States. Instead, they assist the coast guards in Libya and Tunisia to bring the people back. Human rights groups, rescue organisations and lawyers consider this assistance for „pull backs“ to be in violation of international law.

    With several measures, the EU and its member states want to improve the surveillance off North Africa. Together with Switzerland, the EU Commission has financed a two-part „#Integrated_Border_Management Project“ in Tunisia. It is part of the reform of the security sector which was begun a few years after the fall of former head of state Ben Ali in 2011. With one pillar of this this programme, the EU wants to „prevent criminal networks from operating“ and enable the authorities in the Gulf of Tunis to „save lives at sea“.

    System for military and border police

    The new installation is entitled „#Integrated_System_for_Maritime_Surveillance“ (#ISMariS) and, according to the Commission (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000891-ASW_EN.html), is intended to bring together as much information as possible from all authorities involved in maritime and coastal security tasks. These include the Ministry of Defence with the Navy, the Coast Guard under the Ministry of the Interior, the National Guard, and IT management and telecommunications authorities. The money comes from the #EU_Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa, which was established at the Valletta Migration Summit in 2015. „ISMariS“ is implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and follows on from an earlier Italian initiative. The EU is financing similar projects with „#EU4BorderSecurity“ not only in Tunisia but also for other Mediterranean countries.

    An institute based in Vienna is responsible for border control projects in Tunisia. Although this #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD) was founded in 1993 by Austria and Switzerland, it is not a governmental organisation. The German Foreign Office has also supported projects in Tunisia within the framework of the #ICMPD, including the establishment of border stations and the training of border guards. Last month German finally joined the Institute itself (https://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/dokumente/1493-deutscher-beitritt-zum-international-centre-for-migration-policy-development/file). For an annual contribution of 210,000 euro, the Ministry of the Interior not only obtains decision-making privileges for organizing ICMPD projects, but also gives German police authorities the right to evaluate any of the Institute’s analyses for their own purposes.

    It is possible that in the future bilateral German projects for monitoring Tunisian maritime borders will also be carried out via the ICMPD. Last year, the German government supplied the local coast guard with equipment for a boat workshop. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/194/1919467.pdf), the Federal Police carried out 14 trainings for the national guard, border police and coast guard, including instruction in operating „control boats“. Tunisia previously received patrol boats from Italy and the USA (https://migration-control.info/en/wiki/tunisia).

    Vessel tracking and coastal surveillance

    It is unclear which company produced and installed the „ISMariS“ surveillance system for Tunisia on behalf of the ICPMD. Similar facilities for tracking and displaying ship movements (#Vessel_Tracking_System) are marketed by all major European defence companies, including #Airbus, #Leonardo in Italy, #Thales in France and #Indra in Spain. However, Italian project management will probably prefer local companies such as Leonardo. The company and its spin-off #e-GEOS have a broad portfolio of maritime surveillance systems (https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/sea/maritime-domain-awareness/coastal-surveillance-systems).

    It is also possible to integrate satellite reconnaissance, but for this the governments must conclude further contracts with the companies. However, „ISMariS“ will not only be installed as a Vessel Tracking System, it should also enable monitoring of the entire coast. Manufacturers promote such #Coastal_Surveillance_Systems as a technology against irregular migration, piracy, terrorism and smuggling. The government in Tunisia has defined „priority coastal areas“ for this purpose, which will be integrated into the maritime surveillance framework.

    Maritime „#Big_Data

    „ISMariS“ is intended to be compatible with the components already in place at the Tunisian authorities, including coastguard command and control systems, #radar, position transponders and receivers, night vision equipment and thermal and optical sensors. Part of the project is a three-year maintenance contract with the company installing the „ISMariS“.

    Perhaps the most important component of „ISMariS“ for the EU is a communication system, which is also included. It is designed to improve „operational cooperation“ between the Tunisian Coast Guard and Navy with Italy and other EU Member States. The project description mentions Frontex and EUROSUR, the pan-European surveillance system of the EU Border Agency, as possible participants. Frontex already monitors the coastal regions off Libya and Tunisia (https://insitu.copernicus.eu/FactSheets/CSS_Border_Surveillance) using #satellites (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-003212-ASW_EN.html) and an aerial service (https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/26/frontex-air-service-reconnaissance-for-the-so-called-libyan-coast-guar).

    #EUROSUR is now also being upgraded, Frontex is spending 2.6 million Euro (https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:109760-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML) on a new application based on artificial intelligence. It is to process so-called „Big Data“, including not only ship movements but also data from ship and port registers, information on ship owners and shipping companies, a multi-year record of previous routes of large ships and other maritime information from public sources on the Internet. The contract is initially concluded for one year and can be extended up to three times.

    Cooperation with Libya

    To connect North African coastguards to EU systems, the EU Commission had started the „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ project two years after the fall of North African despots. To combat irregular migration, from 2013 onwards Spain, Italy and Malta have trained a total of 141 members of the Libyan coast guard for sea rescue. In this way, „Seahorse Mediterranean“ has complemented similar training measures that Frontex is conducting for the Coastal Police within the framework of the EU mission #EUBAM_Libya and the military mission #EUNAVFOR_MED for the Coast Guard of the Tripolis government.

    The budget for „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ is indicated by the Commission as 5.5 million Euro (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000892-ASW_EN.html), the project was completed in January 2019. According to the German Foreign Office (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/196/1919625.pdf), Libya has signed a partnership declaration for participation in a future common communication platform for surveillance of the Mediterranean. Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are also to be persuaded to participate. So far, however, the governments have preferred unilateral EU support for equipping and training their coastguards and navies, without having to make commitments in projects like „Seahorse“, such as stopping migration and smuggling on the high seas.

    https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/28/eu-pays-for-surveillance-in-gulf-of-tunis

    #Golfe_de_Tunis #surveillance #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #surveillance_des_frontières #Tunisie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #Algérie #Egypte #Suisse #EU #UE #Union_européenne #Trust_Fund #Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Allemagne #Italie #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_tunisiens #intelligence_artificielle #IA #données #Espagne #Malte #business

    ping @reka @isskein @_kg_ @rhoumour @karine4

    –—

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765330

    Et celle-ci sur le lien entre développement et contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

  • Le choc et la panique à la rescousse des traités pour fragiliser l’Etat
    https://www.investigaction.net/fr/le-choc-et-la-panique-a-la-rescousse-des-traites-pour-fragiliser-let

    Nos gouvernements vont-ils profiter du contexte de la crise pour passer des réformes impopulaires selon la stratégie du choc dévoilée par Naomi Klein ? C’est ce que redoute Carlos Perez. Auteur de L’Enfance sous pression et d’Au-delà du geste technique, il dénonce les atteintes à la démocratie qui pourraient ouvrir la voie à de nouvelles percées du néolibéralisme. (IGA)

     

    Comme le souligne Naomi Klein dans son essai « Stratégie du Choc : La montée d’un capitalisme du désastre », les États profitent et se servent de la crise et de la panique pour s’accorder des pouvoirs spéciaux et mettre en place des réglementations liberticides et par la même occasion affaiblir les services sociaux.

    La stratégie consiste à profiter du choc et de la désorientation pour faire passer des politiques impopulaires. En voici quelques exemples récents en pleine période de pandémie :

    1° En Belgique, le ministre-président flamand, Jan Jambon (N-VA), veut voir davantage de gens au travail, entre autres dans les secteurs de la construction et des titres-services où le mécanisme du chômage temporaire est, à ses yeux, parfois trop rapidement demandé, a-t-il indiqué mercredi 25 mars au parlement flamand1.
    On voit bien là un confinement de classes sociales à deux vitesses : déjà qu’ils n’ont pratiquement pas de matériel de protection pour sauver leur propre vie, les ouvriers n’ont pas les mêmes droits face à la pandémie.

    2° En France, le Sénat a voté, dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi (19-20 mars), la loi dite d’adaptation au coronavirus (la loi « urgence coronavirus ») à 252 voix pour, 2 contre, et 90 abstentions. « Ce texte, qui acte le report des élections municipales « au plus tard en juin », constitue une attaque importante contre les droits des travailleurs, tant sur le plan social que démocratique. (…)Macron et son gouvernement instrumentalisent ainsi la crise sanitaire, pour faire les cadeaux dont ils rêvaient au patronat ».2 Entré en vigueur en mars, l’état d’urgence était fixé pour une période de deux mois. Il a ensuite été prolongé jusqu’au 10 juillet.

    3° Les États-Unis, qui n’en sont plus à une folie près, envisagent « pourquoi pas » (puisque ce pays n’a pas forcément de sécurité sociale) ni plus ni moins que de laisser mourir les anciens dans cette période de Coronavirus qui va effectivement toucher un maximum de personnes âgées. « Sacrifier les personnes âgées pour sauver l’économie » ce sont les propos chocs du vice-gouverneur Républicain du Texas, Dan Patrick.
    De plus, ce même pays va utiliser la pandémie pour réduire les libertés individuelles et serrer la vis un cran de plus en annonçant que les personnes qui propagent le virus intentionnellement pourraient entrer dans le champ d’application des lois antiterroristes et être poursuivies au pénal, autant dire presque tout le monde se promenant dans la rue3.

    4° Pour couronner le tout, au Royaume-Uni, l’ancien Premier ministre britannique, Gordon Brown, appelle à la création d’un « gouvernement mondial » pour lutter contre la menace actuelle. Un groupe de travail international « veillerait à ce que les efforts des banques centrales soient coordonnés », selon M. Brown, qui souhaite que la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international reçoivent plus d’argent et de pouvoir.

    Sans une minute à perdre les banques sont d’ores et déjà à la manœuvre pour régler les problèmes, quelle ironie !4
Comme on le constate les idées et les projets pour détruire nos droits et nos services sociaux ne manquent pas, même en pleine période de chaos pas un moment de répit chez nos réformateurs libéraux pour placer leurs projets politiques.

    Les traités sont en place depuis pas mal de temps, il faut juste la bonne excuse pour les sortir du placard. Le but inavoué reste inchangé : passer toutes les lois liberticides et proposer des traités toxiques qui doivent déréguler l’État.

    Si nos gouvernements promettent de renforcer les soins de santé, ils assurent aussi qu’il faudra retrouver l’équilibre budgétaire après s’être massivement endetté, en bonne partie pour « rassurer les marchés ». Des milliards d’euros ont ainsi été déversés pour sauver une finance déjà en crise bien avant la pandémie. Le danger, bien réel, est de voir passer de nouvelles réformes et accords qui, une fois de plus, fragiliseront les plus faibles pour tenter de sauver un système qui profite aux plus riches. Nos gouvernements pourraient profiter de la crise pour passer en force des accords impopulaires, parfois négociés en catimini.

    On se souvient comment WikiLeaks avait débusqué l’Accord sur le Commerce des Services (ACS), connu sous son acronyme anglais TiSA (pour Trade in Services Agreement), concocté en douce en 2013 à l’initiative des États-Unis et de L’Australie.

    « TISA quatre lettres qui vont changer le monde ou qui font peur ? TISA serait l’accord fondateur du commerce mondial libéré des grandes contraintes des États d’une cinquantaine de pays, dont les États-Unis et l’Union européenne ».

    « C’est en 2013 que les négociations TISA ont vraiment commencé. Les négociateurs sont représentatifs de 70% du commerce mondial. Et le traité porte sur le lissage des règles communes, ouvrant ainsi les portes à un desserrement des liens qui entravent les entreprises en activités dans le secteur des services »5.

    C’est un marché mondial de 44.000 milliards de dollars, selon le département du Commerce américain. Les services représentent plus des trois quarts du produit intérieur brut (PIB) des pays développés (75% aux États-Unis et 78% dans l’Union européenne).

    Mais au plan du commerce international les exportations de services sont bien moins élevées que celles des marchandises et c’est peut-être là que le bât blesse. Il faut libéraliser cette caverne d’Ali Baba seul. Les services de l’État du ressort exclusif du régalien sont exclus de la négociation.

    Sinon tout est sur la table : services financiers, commerces de détail, transports maritimes et routiers, conseils, approvisionnements en énergie, santé, éducation, gestion de l’eau, etc. bref tous nos services sociaux sont susceptibles d’être privatisés et libéralisés. Voilà l’imposture qui peut nous tomber sur la tête si nous ne prenons pas le dessus très rapidement sur la peur du moment et repartons sur nos propres revendications chacun dans son secteur. Une doctrine de choc qui spécule sur les catastrophes et qui va encore approfondir les inégalités pourrait nous être imposée.

    Dans mon secteur d’activité, le sport, parent pauvre des services sociaux, cette stratégie de dérégulation est depuis bien longtemps en action par le truchement du partenariat public-privé (« PPP ») dans l’investissement de mégaprojets d’infrastructures. Une façon sournoise de socialiser les pertes tout en privatisant les bénéfices, ce sont des millions d’argent public qui sont détournés. 

    Si on veut penser à l’après-crise, chacun doit le faire dès maintenant dans chaque secteur et se poser les bonnes questions. Dans le domaine du sport, prendre réellement soin de la population est une urgence que tout le monde a bien comprise. À travers cette crise, qu’est-ce que cela signifie ? C’est à ce stade qu’intervient ma modeste contribution.

    Les solutions sont à portée de main et ne vont pas forcément dans le sens des grandes rencontres sportives de prestige qui devraient démarrer très vite et redonner des jeux et du pain à la plèbe pour masquer la tragédie et l’irresponsabilité de nos représentants politiques. 
Ce confinement nous a bien démontré à quel point le sport-compétition est futile et inutile et que l’éducation motrice sanitaire, la culture physique était le meilleur outil à notre disposition pour favoriser et surmonter les altérations physiques et psychologiques dues au confinement, en plus de permettre une meilleure adaptation et résilience individuelle et collective et donc un véritable outil de santé publique.

    Si on parle du sport comme outil de santé publique, il faut au contraire et inéluctablement dans ce secteur clé de la prévention s’orienter vers des revendications claires. Le sport n’est pas une marchandise, mais un droit, le droit au bien-être, aux soins et à la santé pour tous et accessible à tous : 

    1° Cela commence par une planification intégrée : mettre au service de la population et prioritairement de nos anciens et de nos jeunes une vraie prévention sanitaire. Cela semble véritablement nécessaire comme on l’a constaté dans cette dure épreuve de pandémie où le taux de morbidité critique a été une cause de l’inflation de personnes en danger de mort.

    Avec l’aide de tous les professionnels de la prévention, de l’hygiène et de la santé, médecins nutritionnistes spécialistes de la motricité, tous doivent collaborer c’est-à-dire dans les petits clubs et dans les petites structures qui s’occupent de plus de 90% des affiliés dans le sport et pas au service des clubs de première division qui ont des budgets cotés en bourse et qui représentent une infime minorité de personnes. La santé de tous doit passer avant l’argent de quelques-uns. 

    2° Il faudrait mutualiser toutes les ASBL qui représentent plus de 90% des affiliés et les organiser en coopératives en y développant pourquoi pas une véritable politique de masse salariale au lieu de la comprimer , ASBL qui bien souvent pour fonctionner ont du personnel bénévole précarisé et instable et où les gens doivent faire don de leur argent et de leur travail. Ce sont des milliers d’heures non rétribuées, en gros ce sont des sous-traitants de l’État paupérisés et marginalisés.

     
3° Même si la mesure peut paraître radicale sur la forme, sur le fond elle est essentielle et empreinte de justice sociale, les multinationales ne peuvent pas avoir la clé de notre santé : réquisitionner toutes les structures de grandes marques « Low Cost » disséminées à travers le pays et les mettre à la disposition du citoyen comme service public pour soutenir les populations dans les quartiers en y incorporant une véritable masse salariale c’est-à-dire des salariés compétents et au service de tous. 

    Généraliser la question d’utilité publique au sport qui est un outil d’émancipation, d’hygiène et de progrès social, est la seule démarche logique saine et indispensable, le constat est très clair et largement partagé. Ce secteur, en dehors de la compétition, du tri, de la sélection et de la relégation, est un outil essentiel pour renforcer la colonne vertébrale sanitaire, pour sortir de périodes difficiles voir d’émulation générale. Si l’utopie est le début de la transformation, alors soyons utopiques et préparons notre avenir, l’intelligence collective viendra toujours d’en bas !

    Fils d’immigrés espagnols ayant fui le franquisme pour travailler dans les mines de Belgique, Carlos Perez est préparateur physique. Il a notamment animé un centre sportif dans un quartier populaire de Molenbeek. Il y a été confronté à des problèmes récurrents qui l’ont amené à questionner l’impact de notre modèle économique et de notre système scolaire sur la santé des jeunes et des travailleurs. Dans son dernier ouvrage qui vient de paraître chez Aden http://www.aden.be/index.php , Carlos Perez lance les bases d’une nouvelle pratique, l’écomotricité, pour un développement durable de l’être humain.

    #néolibéralisme #capitalisme #capitalisme_du_désastre #Stratégie_du_Choc #Angleterre #Belgique #France #USA #ACS #TISA #PPP #Sport #pandémie #covid-19 #coronavirus #santé_publique #low_cost

    • Près de 2 députés européens sur 3 ne déclarent pas de rencontres avec des lobbyistes
      https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_rencontres-lobbyistes-et-deputes-europeens-le-lent-chemin-vers-la-transp

      Plus de 35.000 lobbyistes gravitent autour des institutions européennes, à Bruxelles : du représentant de Google à celui des producteurs de patates, des activistes pour les droits humains à l’industrie navale, de Greenpeace à Total, ils tentent de peser sur les décisions politiques de l’Union.

      Un travail discret mais intensif : à Bruxelles, les lobbys ont un budget cumulé de 1,5 milliard d’euros par an.

      Restent-ils dans les clous, pour influencer la fabrication des lois ?

      Un code de conduite encadre les contacts de ces lobbys avec les politiques et les fonctionnaires européens. Des règles qui ont été renforcées l’an dernier dans les institutions européennes, à la Commission et au Parlement. Les institutions sont-elles pour autant devenues transparentes ?

      Un rapport de l’ONG « Transparency International » (un lobby… sur le travail de lobbying) au sujet du Parlement européen montre qu’il reste du chemin à faire.

      63% des députés européens ne déclarent pas leurs rencontres
      Depuis un an, les députés européens sont invités à inscrire dans un registre informatique les réunions qu’ils tiennent avec des lobbyistes.

      C’est obligatoire pour les parlementaires qui sont en première ligne sur un dossier : ceux qui sont Président ou Rapporteur d’une Commission parlementaire (des rôles clefs dans la fabrication d’une loi européenne), ou ceux qui mènent le travail législatif sur un dossier pour un groupe politique.

      Les autres eurodéputés ne sont pas obligés de publier leurs réunions avec les lobbys, mais ils sont invités à le faire.

      Selon le comptage de « Transparency International », en un an, 259 députés européens ont fait le pas, sur les 704 : c’est 37% de l’hémicycle.

      63% des députés européens n’ont donc publié aucune de leurs rencontres.

      De grands écarts entre Etats…
      « Transparency International » constate de grands écarts selon les Etats de ces députés européens.

      Aux extrêmes, 90% des députés de Suède ont pris le pli de communiquer leurs contacts avec des groupes d’intérêts. Tandis qu’aucun député croate ou chypriote n’a déclaré de rencontre, en un an.

      « Les pays du nord, la Suède, le Danemark, la Finlande sont assez transparents » commente Raphaël Kergueno, pour Transparency International, « mais d’un autre côté, il y a des pays à la traîne ». Et il épingle l’Italie, l’Etat qui envoie le plus d’Eurodéputés au Parlement européen après l’Allemagne et la France : 76 élus. « En Italie, moins de 7% des députés européens publient des rencontres avec des lobbyistes. »

      La Belgique, pour sa part, affiche un bilan mitigé. Ni cancre, ni exemplaire.

      52% des eurodéputés belges publient leurs rencontres : Pascal Arimont (Christlich Soziale Partei), Marc Botenga (PTB), Geert Bourgeois (N-VA), Saskia Bricmont (Ecolo), Petra de Sutter (Groen), Cindy Franssen (CD&V), Philippe Lamberts (Ecolo), Kris Peeters (CD&V), Frédérique Ries (MR), Johan Van Overtveldt (N-VA) et Marc Tarabella (PS).

      Et les autres ? Ceux que nous avons pu joindre se disent tous « favorables » à l’exercice, tout en n’ayant pas encore publié de réunion. Certains rappellent, au détour de justifications souvent administratives, que ce n’est pas obligatoire.

      Marie Arena (PS) a rejoint le mouvement dans la foulée de ce rapport. Elle évoque « un enregistrement en interne mais pas sur le site du Parlement, à cause de contraintes logistiques. Un souci à présent corrigé ».

      Olivier Chastel (MR) explique qu’il a fait le choix de ne pas recevoir de représentants des lobbys : « Etant actif dans les commissions budget et de contrôle budgétaire, mes rencontres se font principalement avec les différentes instances de l’Union comme la Commission européenne ou la Cour des comptes, et ces rencontres ne doivent pas être indiquées », explique-t-il.

      Benoît Lutgen (cdH) dit compter aujourd’hui très peu de réunions « avec des lobbys en tant que tels », rien qui ne justifierait d’être publiés. Il assure qu’il en fera état lorsque ce sera le cas.

      Son de cloche semblable chez Assita Kanko (N-VA). Elle invoque le lent démarrage de la législature et le confinement, des débuts de mandat qui ne l’ont pas exposée aux rencontres avec des lobbyistes. Mais si de telles rencontres se présentaient à présent, « je déclarerai bien entendu tout entretien comme prévu » assure-t-elle.

      La Belgique, bientôt plus exemplaire que la Suède ?

      … et entre groupes politiques
      Des différences importantes sont perceptibles aussi entre groupes politiques du Parlement européen.

      Deux familles politiques comptent une majorité de députés actifs sur le registre de transparence, le groupe des verts (Green-EFA avec 91% des députés qui ont publié au moins une réunion) et le groupe des libéraux-centristes Renew Europe (57%).

      Dans tous les autres groupes, une minorité d’élus ont fait la démarche.

      Pourquoi ces réticences ?
      Elles peuvent être liées à plusieurs facteurs : une hésitation à investir du temps dans une démarche administrative qui n’est, la plupart du temps, pas légalement obligatoire. Une culture de la transparence encore faible dans certains Etats.

      Des eurodéputés estiment que c’est une atteinte à leur liberté d’élu, à leur droit de consulter qui ils veulent sans devoir en faire état. Ils peuvent également trouver difficile d’assumer publiquement certaines rencontres avec certains lobbys.

      Mettre cartes sur table
      Daniel Freund est un ancien de transparency International, à présent passé de l’autre côté : il est devenu parlementaire européen. Son cheval de bataille reste la transparence du travail politique européen. Il plaide pour une publication la plus large possible des rencontres avec les lobbys.

      Des rencontres qui, souligne-t-il, sont nécessaires pour un élu.

      « Rencontrer des lobbys, ça fait naturellement partie de la démocratie. Quand je prends une décision sur une certaine loi, comme député européen, il faut que j’aie parlé aux personnes concernées. Aux citoyens, aux entreprises concernées, aux organismes de protections des consommateurs, etc. Et si je fais bien mon travail, j’entends tous les arguments et puis je prends une décision en étant bien informé. »

      Mais ce processus doit être transparent, insiste-t-il, pour percevoir qui pèse sur les décisions de qui. « Je trouve qu’en dehors des périodes électorales, les citoyens ont le droit de savoir comment je vote et avec qui je parle. Et cela m’aide aussi à travailler » dit Daniel Freund. Parce que lister ses entrevues permet d’avoir à l’esprit qui on voit et qui on a tendance à ne pas écouter.

      Un chantier entamé, pas terminé
      Ceux qui regardent le verre à moitié plein souligneront que 37% des eurodéputés, c’est un bon début, d’autant que l’on partait de rien et que cette publication des contacts avec les lobbys n’est pas obligatoire pour la plupart des députés européens.

      Ceux qui regardent le verre à moitié vide relèveront que 63% des eurodéputés ne se livrent pas à un exercice pourtant peu contraignant puisqu’il ne s’agit que de mentionner le lobby, le sujet de discussion et le moment.

      Et ils épingleront d’autres améliorations à apporter.

      Au Parlement européen, « Transparency International » déplore un manque de contrôle des déclarations de députés qui sont contraints à l’exercice. Et une légèreté des sanctions pour ceux – lobbys ou élus — qui franchiraient la ligne rouge : acceptation de cadeaux, rencontres non-déclarées alors qu’elles auraient dû l’être, lobby qui aborderait des élus sans clarté sur son identité, etc. Aujourd’hui un lobby au comportement douteux risque, dans les faits, un retrait temporaire de son badge d’accès aux institutions, rien de plus.

      L’ONG demande que progresse le projet d’une autorité indépendante pour faire respecter les règles sur les rapports lobbys/UE. Une autorité dont l’action serait étendue aux trois institutions : le Parlement mais aussi la Commission européenne et le Conseil.

      #ue #union_européenne #Bruxelles #Députés #Députés_européens #Transparency_International #eurodéputés #Suéde #Croatie #Chypre #Suède, #Danemark, #Finlande #Italie #Allemagne #commission_européenne #conseil_européen #transparence #lobbying #lobby #influence #lobbies #corruption #politique #multinationales

  • Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact

    The European Commission’s long-awaited and long-delayed pact on migration will include new asylum centres along the outer rim of the European Union, EUobserver has been told.

    The idea is part of a German proposal, floated last year, that seeks to rapidly pre-screen asylum seekers before they enter European Union territory.

    Michael Spindelegger, director-general of the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) told EUobserver on Thursday (9 July) that the European Commission had in fact decided to include it into their upcoming migration pact.

    “I got some information that this will be part of these proposals from the European Commission. So this is what I can tell you. I think this really is something that could bring some movement in the whole debate,” he said.

    Spindelegger was Austria’s minister of foreign affairs and finance minister before taking over the ICMPD in 2016, where he has been outspoken in favour of such centres as a means to unblock disagreements among member states on the overhaul of the future EU-wide asylum system.

    The German non-paper published in November 2019 proposed a mandatory initial assessment of asylum applications at the external border.

    The idea is to prevent irregular and economic migrants from adding to the administrative bottlenecks of bona-fide asylum seekers and refugees.

    “Manifestly unfounded or inadmissible applications shall be denied immediately at the external border, and the applicant must not be allowed to enter the EU,” stated the paper.

    EUobserver understands the new pact may also include a three-tiered approach.

    Abusive claims would be immediately dismissed and returned, those clearly in the need for protection would be relocated to an EU state, while the remainder would end up in some sort of facility.

    Spindelegger concedes the idea has its detractors - noting it will be also be tricky to find the legal framework to support it.

    “To give people, within some days, the right expectation is a good thing - so this is more or less a surprise that the European Commission took this initiative, because there are also some people who are totally against this,” he said.
    EU ’hotspots’ in Greece

    Among those is Oxfam International, an NGO that says people may end up in similar circumstances currently found in the so-called hotspots on the Greek islands.

    “We are very concerned that the Greek law and the hotspots on the islands are going to be the blueprint for the new asylum and migration pact and we have seen them failed in every criteria,” said Oxfam International’s Raphael Shilhav, an expert on migration.

    The hotspots were initially touted as a solution by the European Commission to facilitate and expedite asylum claims of people seeking international protection, who had disembarked from Turkey to the Greek islands.

    The zones on the islands quickly turned into overcrowded camps where people, including women and children, are forced to live amid filth and violence.

    Shilvav said some people at the hotspots who deserved asylum ended up falling through the cracks, noting new Greek laws effectively bar many people who do not have legal support from appealing an asylum rejection.

    EUobserver has previously spoken to one asylum seeker from the Congo who had spent almost three years living in a tent with others at the hotspot in Moria on Lesbos island.

    The new pact is a cornerstone policy of the Von der Leyen Commission and follows years of bickering among member states who failed to agree on a previous proposal to overhaul the existing EU-wide asylum rules.

    “Over the past few years, many member states simply refused to find a solution,” Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer said ahead of the current German EU presidency’s first debate on home affairs issues.

    The commission has so far refused to release any specific details of the plan - which has been delayed until September, following the eruption of the pandemic and on-going debates over the EU’s next long-term budget.

    “This proposal will be there to protect and defend the right to asylum and that includes the possibility to apply for asylum, that is a right for everybody to do so,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson told MEPs earlier this week.

    For its part, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the new pact needs to be common and workable.

    “This means establishing fair and fast asylum procedures to quickly determine who needs international protection and who does not,” a UNHCR spokeswoman said, in an emailed statement.

    She also noted that some 85 percent of the world’s refugees are currently hosted in neighbouring and developing countries and that more funds are needed for humanitarian and development support.

    https://euobserver.com/migration/148902
    #migration_pact #pacte_migratoire #Europe #identification #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #pré-identification #centres_d'identification #hotspots #Grèce #contrôles_migratoires #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #EU #UE #frontières_extérieures #relocalisation #renvois #expulsions

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Venezuela : le Parlement européen en appelle à de nouvelles sanctions | Actualité | Parlement européen
    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/fr/press-room/20190712IPR56948/venezuela-le-parlement-europeen-en-appelle-a-de-nouvelles-sanctions

    Pour la troisième fois cette année, le Parlement européen a adopté une résolution sur la situation au Venezuela ; les députés expriment leur vive inquiétude concernant la situation d’urgence.

    Tout comme le dernier rapport du Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme, les députés dénoncent ‘‘la responsabilité directe de Nicolás Maduro, ainsi que des forces armées et des services de renseignement au service de son régime illégitime, dans le recours aveugle à la violence pour réprimer le processus de transition démocratique et la restauration de l’État de droit au Venezuela’’.

    Dans la résolution adoptée par 455 voix pour, 85 contre et 105 abstentions, ils réitèrent leur soutien plein et entier ‘‘au Président par intérim légitime, Juan Guaidó’’.

    De nouvelles sanctions

    Les députés appellent le Conseil à adopter de nouvelles sanctions ciblant les autorités de l’État responsables des violations des droits de l’homme et de la répression. Les autorités de l’UE doivent restreindre les mouvements de ces individus et de leurs proches, geler leurs avoirs et suspendre leurs visas.

    #europe #venezuela #guaido

  • Destructions à Marseille : quelle différence avec l’ancienne municipalité ?
    https://www.latribunedelart.com/destructions-a-marseille-quelle-difference-avec-l-ancienne-municipa

    Il y a trois semaines, nous nous sommes rendu à Marseille afin d’enquêter sur l’effondrement de la rue d’Aubagne et les destructions prévues. Nous avons alors découvert, ce que nous ignorions, l’ampleur du problème qui ne se limite pas à la rue d’Aubagne, mais concerne plusieurs quartiers faisant pourtant partie de sites patrimoniaux remarquables, le nouveau nom des secteurs sauvegardés.

    Finalement, ce changement de nom avait un sens. S’ils sont remarquables, ils ne sont plus sauvegardés. Car entre temps, la loi Elan, voulue par Emmanuel Macron et Édouard Philippe, a été votée et promulguée. Et celle-ci a eu les effets qu’on pouvait redouter : il suffit de décréter en péril des immeubles se trouvant en secteur sauvegardé pour que l’on puisse les détruire, quel que soit l’avis de l’architecte des bâtiments de France. Un exemple saisissant est donné actuellement à Marseille, un exemple que nous avions prévu de citer dans un article plus développé mais qui devenait urgent à écrire puisque la destruction définitive est prévue demain, le 9 juillet 2020.

    Si le maire et la couleur politique ont changé, les pratiques demeurent hélas. La nouvelle municipalité - nous avons contacté en urgence le premier adjoint, Benoît Payan, qui ne nous a pas répondu - est bien dans la ligne marseillaise : de Gaston Defferre à Jean-Claude Gaudin, ses maires n’ont jamais considéré le patrimoine comme une priorité (c’est un euphémisme de le dire).


    2. Les immeubles 4, 6, 8 rue de la Butte, en juin 2020, Photo : Didier Rykner


    3. Les immeubles 4, 6, 8 rue de la Butte, 8 juillet au soir après début des démolitions Photo : S. R.

    Les maisons en question se trouvent à proximité immédiate de la porte d’Aix (ill. 1), ce qui aurait dû les protéger à un double titre. Remarquons que pour nous, qui avons connu ce quartier il y a de nombreuses années, la mairie avait pourtant fait beaucoup pour restaurer, nettoyer et embellir l’endroit qui n’était alors qu’un no man’s land absolument infréquentable (il était pratiquement impossible de s’approcher de l’arc sous lequel était un véritable cloaque). Pourquoi, dans ces conditions, détruire ces immeubles anciens qui ont un véritable intérêt, reconnu comme tel par le Plan de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur ? On se perd en conjecture. Car contrairement à ce que prétend la ville, ces immeubles, fragilisés par des démolitions d’édifices qui les entouraient (et qui n’avaient pas d’intérêt patrimonial), menés dans le cadre du projet Euroméditerranée, sont parfaitement restaurables. Si l’on trouve toujours des experts complaisants pour justifier l’injustifiable, d’autres expertises, notamment celles demandées par la copropriété du n° 6 (le jaune, qui se trouve entre les deux autres) le démontrent. L’une d’entre elle conclut sans ambiguïté : « Nous engageons notre responsabilité à dire que ce bâtiment ne présente aucun risque d’effondrement à ce jour. Tous les éléments analysés ne peuvent démontrer un défaut grave de la structure extérieur. Les façades fissurées ont suscité une présomption de dégradation structurelle qui est malgré tout minime grâce au travaux de renforcement de plancher réaliser les années précédentes. » Il explique ensuite ce qu’il faut faire pour consolider l’immeuble.

    D’ailleurs, le soi-disant risque « imminent » d’effondrement n’était pas si imminent, puisqu’il était constaté il y a presque un an. Les bâtiments étant évacués, et leurs abords sécurisés, rien ne justifie donc leur démolition plutôt que leur restauration. On apprend d’ailleurs, en lisant l’arrêté de « déconstruction », que l’on trouve en ligne (toujours ce terme ridicule employé par des mairies car cela fait sans doute plus joli que « destruction » ou « démolition »), que l’architecte des bâtiments de France s’est opposé à ce vandalisme en préconisant : « la préservation des façades des immeubles sis 4, 6 et 8 rue de la Butte et la conservation et réemplois de tout élément de pierre taille ou de second œuvre récupérable (porte d’entrée par exemple). » Un avis simple désormais, pour lequel la Ville peut passer outre, ce qu’elle ne s’est pas privée de faire. Cela démontre parfaitement qu’une autre solution que la destruction est possible, et que celle-ci n’est rien d’autre qu’un vandalisme municipal, sur une zone d’intérêt patrimonial majeur, qui ne peut être mené que grâce à cette loi Elan. Emmanuel Macron et son ancien Premier ministre Édouard Philippe sont bien les premiers responsables.


    4. 76-80 rue Bernard Du Bois à Marseille, Immeubles menacés de destruction, Juin 2020, Photo : Didier Rykner


    5. 76-80 rue Bernard du Bois à Marseille, Immeuble menacée de destruction, Juin 2020, Photo : Didier Rykner

    Même si la destruction était prévue avant les élections municipales, rien n’interdisait la mairie récemment élue de poser un moratoire sur ce chantier afin d’y substituer une réhabilitation. Rien, d’ailleurs, ne s’y oppose encore, à l’heure où nous écrivons cet article, l’irrémédiable n’étant pas encore accompli (ill. 3). Nous ne sommes d’ailleurs pas seul dans ce combat. L’association Sites & Monuments nous a prévenu (voir son article), et Stéphane Bern, que nous avons joint, est également scandalisé par ces démolitions en cours : « c’est le cœur historique de Marseille qu’on détruit avec ces maisons du XVIIIe siècle. Maintenant, quand on veut détruire, on n’entretient plus et on dit qu’elles vont tomber. » Ceci est d’autant plus vrai que d’autres démolitions sont prévues dans les prochaines semaines ou les prochains mois, ailleurs dans Marseille, mais tout autant dans des secteurs sauvegardés. Aux 76-80 rue Bernard du Bois, pas très loin non plus de la porte d’Aix, mais plus à l’est, plusieurs maisons, des propriétés municipales et à l’abandon depuis plusieurs années, sont également gravement menacées, sans doute de manière « imminente », l’état de péril datant de 2014 (ill. 4 et 5). Comme le dit Stéphane Bern : on n’entretient plus, on décrète un péril, et on démolit. Tout cela est bien pratique.


    7. Plan de sauvegarde et de mise en valeur avec la portion de la rue d’Aubagne concernée (nous avons rajouté les numéros). Les immeubles en orange sont théoriquement « à conserver »

    Et il y a bien sûr aussi la rue d’Aubagne (ill. 6) où, après avoir laissé s’écrouler deux immeubles avec les conséquences humaines que l’on connaît (huit morts), on s’apprête encore à en détruire deux autres, les numéros 69 et 71. Or, une consultation du plan de sauvegarde (ill. 7) et une comparaison avec Google Map pour y situer les numéros montre quelque chose de très curieux [1] : l’arrêté de déconstruction des n° 69 et 71 ne cite à aucun moment l’avis de l’architecte des bâtiments de France, alors que le numéro 71 est à conserver [2]. Or, si celui-ci, en cas de péril, est désormais un avis simple, il reste qu’il doit être demandé. Tel qu’il est rédigé, cet arrêté est donc irrégulier. Mais qu’importe après tout : on est à Marseille, et le maire est Jean-Claude Gaudin. Ah non ? C’est désormais Michèle Rubirola. Aucune différence semble-t’il.

    Didier Rykner

    Notes

    [1] Note parue après la mise en ligne de notre article : nous avions dans un premier temps confondu le 69 avec le 67. Or, le 67 a été détruit juste après l’effondrement.

    [2] Remarquons par parenthèse que la pertinence de certains Plans de sauvegarde n’est pas évidente : pourquoi indiquer comme à conserver le n° 71 et pas le 69 qui est comparable ?

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