#Barcelone et #Valence:
Proposition d’un pont aérien pour évacuer des migrants de Lesbos à Berlin :
#Fourneaux dans la Maurienne, qui est un village plus qu’une ville...
A la suite du démantèlement du campement de Calais... les #CAO (mais aussi d’autres initaitives) :
Le #CART dans le #Trièves
Le rôle de la #Bertelsmann_Stiftung :
–-> et notamment la base de données des #best_practices : ▻http://www.wegweiser-kommune.de/projekte/kommunal?thema=integration-fluechtlinge
Funérailles interdites : le pouvoir à la botte de l’industrie néerlandaise
La sentence est tombée, irrévocable. Les Funérailles de la pêche artisanale, co-organisées par BLOOM, LIFE, la Plateforme de la Petite Pêche et Pleine Mer et qui devaient réunir de nombreux pêcheurs et citoyens pour dénoncer le baptême du chalutier géant SCOMBRUS de 81 mètres, ont été interdites par arrêté préfectoral.
#Covid-19 : un nouveau #modèle scientifique prédit les pics de contamination en #Europe
Leurs simulations, parues mercredi 23 septembre dans la revue Scientific reports de Nature, prévoient que tous les pays européens auront atteint le pic des contaminations du cycle actuel au plus tard en janvier 2021.
Un modèle emprunté à la physique des particules
En France, il ne faudrait pas attendre trop longtemps puisque ce pic serait atteint début octobre. Au Royaume-Uni, le nombre de nouvelles contaminations continuerait à augmenter jusqu’à la mi-novembre.
Enfin, la Pologne et la Suède, qui misent sur l’immunité collective pour combattre le virus, devraient patienter jusqu’au début de l’année prochaine.
Des nouvelles lignes de trains de nuit vont être créées entre la Suisse Amsterdam, Rome et Barcelone - Le Temps
Les CFF et les chemins de fer fédéraux autrichiens, ont indiqué mardi qu’ils s’associaient pour établir de nouvelles lignes de trains de nuit. Le nombre de passagers pour ce genre de transport est en augmentation
Nations sur le papier
À propos de : Morgane Labbé, La Nationalité, une #Histoire de chiffres. Politique et #statistiques en #Europe centrale (1848-1919), Presses de Sciences Po. À partir du milieu du XIXe siècle, la statistique et ses dérivés permettent de renforcer l’État en quantifiant les populations des pays multiculturels comme l’Autriche-Hongrie ou la Russie. Coup de projecteur sur les usages politiques du chiffre.
Giorgos Tsiakalos: “In Europe, a racist policy is being implemented”
EU policy can rightly be called “Black lives don’t matter in the Mediterranean”
In June 2020, recognized refugee families, most of which had just arrived in Athens from the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, were unable to find housing and remained homeless for days, sleeping in Athens’ Victoria Square. June 1, 2020, marked the implementation of the Greek law which terminates the provision of shelter for 11,237 refugees and beneficiaries via the ESTIA housing program.
“They arrived at Victoria Square, as others had come before them about five years ago. Back then we had said we were caught off guard. Now what do we say? I was there today”, wrote George Tsiakalos, Professor of Pedagogy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in a Facebook post dated June 14.
George Tsiakalos, along with his wife, Sigrid Maria Muschik, have been providing support to these families not only in recent months, but continuously − since the early days of what became known as the “refugee crisis”.
L’UE a autorisé l’exportation de plus de 80 000 tonnes de pesticides pourtant interdits au sein de l’Union
Produites en #europe, où leur utilisation est interdite en raison de leur très haute toxicité, quarante et une substances ont pu être vendues à l’étranger en 2018. — Permalien
« Valeurs actuelles », le faux pas des jeunes loups, Ariane Chemin et François Krug
En gros plan, Geoffroy Lejeune, directeur de la rédaction de Valeurs actuelles.En haut, Charlotte d’Ornellas et Laurent Dandrieu, membres de la rédaction.À droite, de haut en bas, les figures historiques François d’Orcival et Raymond Bourgine. Enfin, Charles Villeneuve, conseillé de l’actuel propriétaire du titre. Camille Durand/M Le magazine du Monde à partir de photos de Vincent Isore/IP3, JP Baltel/Sipa, Bruno Levy/Divergence-Images, Didier Goupy / Signatures, Frédéric Reglain/Gamma-Rapho, John Spencer/Sipa [Pas moins]
Un entretien exclusif avec Macron, une présence régulière sur les chaînes d’info… L’arrivée de Louis de Raguenel à Europe 1 aurait pu être une étape de plus dans la course à la respectabilité menée par l’hebdo réactionnaire. Mais la parution d’une fiction mettant en scène Danièle Obono en esclave est venue compliquer ce dessein.
Louis de Raguenel n’a pas de chance. Voilà plusieurs mois que le journaliste de Valeurs actuelles cherchait à rejoindre un « grand » média. Pour la rentrée, on lui proposait la tête du service politique d’Europe 1. Dans une vie précédente, le jeune homme de 33 ans a travaillé au ministère de l’intérieur sous Claude Guéant et fréquenté un cercle préparant la réélection de Nicolas Sarkozy. Il s’y était lié d’« amitié » avec Sylvain Fort, futur proche conseiller d’Emmanuel Macron.
En octobre 2019, lors d’une tournée dans l’Océan indien, le chef de l’État l’avait convié à bord de l’Airbus présidentiel et lui avait accordé une longue interview sur l’immigration et l’islam. Une victoire pour Valeurs actuelles et une ligne de plus à son CV : Raguenel n’est plus seulement spécialiste des questions de défense ou de police, il a accès direct à l’Élysée. Son départ pour la radio était acté, son passé militant ne semblait pas poser problème. Quand, patatras, le voilà rattrapé malgré lui par un de ces scandales qui font l’ADN de son ancien journal, contraignant la direction d’Europe 1 à un bras de fer avec sa rédaction.
L’histoire commence fin août. L’illustrateur Pascal Garnier vient de recevoir un e-mail de Valeurs actuelles. Danièle Obono ? Il n’a jamais entendu parler de cette députée qu’on lui demande de dessiner « enchaînée ». La commande, une dizaine de dessins au total, doit être livrée en quelques jours, juste à temps pour le bouclage du numéro du 27 août. Garnier, 60 ans, est un professionnel reconnu, au trait soigné et réaliste. Il collabore aussi au quotidien économique Les Échos.
Une série d’été
Depuis huit ans, il illustre la série d’été de Valeurs, toujours consacrée à des récits de politique-fiction. Cette année, l’hebdomadaire immerge des personnalités contemporaines dans le passé, Nicolas Hulot au temps de Charlemagne, Éric Zemmour à Waterloo… Comme d’habitude, Garnier sort ses crayons sans avoir lu l’article. Il doit se contenter d’un « brief », comme on dit dans le métier, avec des consignes parfois elliptiques : « Hulot affamé au cachot », ou « Napoléon au chevet de Zemmour sur son lit de douleur ».
Cette fois, il est question d’une députée La France insoumise plongée dans son Afrique natale au XVIIIe siècle. Elle est réduite en esclavage et vendue par d’autres Africains avant d’être sauvée par un missionnaire et des religieuses français. Pour guider le dessinateur, l’auteur de l’article a envoyé par e-mail des photos de l’élue sous tous les angles, face, profil, ainsi que des « suggestions de découpe d’images ».
Garnier nous en lit la liste au téléphone : « Un chef africain ou un conseil de village », « un sultan fumant un narguilé », « des négresses à plateaux » (des bouts de bois fichés dans la bouche chez les femmes de certains peuples). On lui réclame surtout une « Danièle Obono enchaînée à d’autres femmes ». Il traduit ces consignes en images « le plus fidèlement possible ».
Une couverture anodine
Dans la petite bande de trentenaires qui dirige Valeurs actuelles, on se flatte de posséder « un radar à bad buzz ». Pourtant, aucun n’imagine que ce numéro du 27 août va faire un tel scandale. En couverture, une photo d’incidents à Paris après la défaite du PSG en finale de la Ligue des champions, pour illustrer l’« ensauvagement » et recenser les faits divers de l’été : « 60 jours dans la France des nouveaux barbares ».
Une couverture anodine, sur le baromètre de Valeurs actuelles. Une fois le journal en kiosque, les réseaux sociaux s’emparent des dessins de Danièle Obono, en particulier celui la représentant nue, de profil, un collier de fer au cou. Puis ils décortiquent l’article lui-même, « Obono l’Africaine », une histoire de méchants noirs et de gentils blancs signée d’un certain Harpalus, le pseudonyme collectif des auteurs de la série, emprunté à un personnage de l’Antiquité.
C’est par défaut que Danièle Obono a été ciblée. Valeurs actuelles voulait profiter de cet exercice de fiction pour dénoncer une mouvance « racialiste » et, selon lui, dangereuse. « On s’est demandé qui étaient les porte-parole médiatiques de ce mouvement, nous raconte Geoffroy Lejeune, le directeur de la rédaction. On avait pensé à Omar Sy, mais cela aurait été malhonnête intellectuellement : son truc, c’est plutôt les violences policières. » L’équipe songe ensuite à Lilian Thuram, l’ancien footballeur, mais il avait déjà eu droit à une couverture en 2019 sous le titre « Les racistes anti-blancs ». Le choix se porte finalement sur la députée de Paris, une femme, née au Gabon, « moins connue, mais tout de même députée de la nation ».
Un jeune directeur
Geoffroy Lejeune donne rendez-vous, coïncidence, le jour de ses 32 ans. Aux murs de son bureau, ce fils d’un officier de l’armée de terre a accroché le portrait d’un légionnaire et un autre de Zinédine Zidane. Dans les rayonnages de la bibliothèque, les livres d’Éric Zemmour côtoient une statuette de la Vierge. Sorti d’une école de journalisme à la fin des années Sarkozy, Lejeune rêve de travailler au Point. Il atterrit dans un hebdomadaire plus confidentiel et endormi, Valeurs actuelles, qui va se réveiller sous la présidence de François Hollande.
Quatre ans après son arrivée, Lejeune est promu directeur de la rédaction, à 27 ans seulement. « Un des signes du basculement culturel et générationnel en cours », se félicite Alexandre Devecchio, aujourd’hui responsable du site FigaroVox et consultant pour LCI, dans Les Nouveaux Enfants du siècle, un ouvrage-manifeste publié au Cerf.
Changement de statut, et de look. Finis, la coupe de cheveux bien dégagés derrière les oreilles, les chemises et les vestes. Lejeune porte les cheveux mi-longs et des sweats à capuche. « Gamin, on me coupait les cheveux avec une tondeuse qui ne faisait pas dans la dentelle. J’ai fait une crise capillaire un peu tardive », s’amuse-t-il. C’est avec ce nouveau look qu’il intervenait sur les plateaux de LCI, avant que l’article sur Danièle Obono ne conduise la chaîne d’info à le remercier.
De « Valeurs » à « V.A. »
C’est aussi à ses cheveux qu’on le reconnaît depuis la rentrée parmi les chroniqueurs de « Balance ton post ! », une émission du bateleur Cyril Hanouna sur C8. Lejeune se définit lui-même comme « réac », mais sait vivre avec son temps. Les vieux compagnons de route de Valeurs actuelles appelaient affectueusement leur journal « Valeurs », tout court. Lui préfère les initiales « V.A. ». Plus court, plus percutant, plus adapté à la génération hashtag.
La politique-fiction est un genre bien pratique. Il permet de libérer inconscient et obsessions. Derrière la littérature, on y lâche quelques secrets politiques, on pousse certains candidats, on en flingue d’autres.
Le grand public le découvre en 2015 quand il fait la promo d’Une élection ordinaire, un roman publié aux éditions Ring dans lequel il imagine l’arrivée d’Éric Zemmour à la présidence de la République. Une fiction dans laquelle il glisse quelques mots sur son Valeurs actuelles : « Le magazine était coutumier des titres racoleurs. Ses patrons surfaient sur un succès factice et radicalisaient leur ton au gré des ventes qui ne cessaient d’augmenter. La presse tombait systématiquement dans le panneau, reprenant leurs couvertures les plus hardcore pour en faire des scandales. »
La politique-fiction est un genre bien pratique. Il permet de libérer inconscient et obsessions. L’une des plus vieilles rubriques du journal est « La Lettre de M. de Rastignac ». Chaque semaine, un personnage balzacien raconte à un cousin de province la « comédie contemporaine » de la capitale. Derrière la littérature, on y lâche quelques secrets politiques, on pousse certains candidats, on en flingue d’autres.
Ce pseudo a longtemps caché Alexis Brézet, à l’époque journaliste à Valeurs actuelles, aujourd’hui directeur des rédactions du Figaro. Désormais, c’est le directeur adjoint de la rédaction du Figaro, Vincent Trémolet de Villers, qui tient la rubrique sur son temps libre, croquant « M. de Marville » (Emmanuel Macron), « Mme du Halga » (Marine Le Pen) ou « Paul-Mathieu Méricourt », alias Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Des gaullistes, des libéraux, des étatistes, un ami du Likoud…
Geoffroy Lejeune est l’héritier d’une longue histoire. Valeurs actuelles naît en 1966. C’est en réalité la nouvelle formule d’un vieux journal boursier, Aux écoutes de la finance, devenu Finance. Dès son premier numéro, Valeurs actuelles s’ouvre à toutes les droites, même celle qu’on n’entend plus depuis la Libération.
Le fondateur, Raymond Bourgine, a milité pour l’Algérie française, mais finit par rejoindre les héritiers du général de Gaulle et est élu sénateur RPR. Dans les couloirs, on croise des gaullistes, des libéraux, des étatistes, des amis de la haute finance, un ami du Likoud et même un rocardien, mais officiellement, personne d’extrême droite. Seul un petit milieu sait que le critique de cinéma de l’époque, François Vinneuil, est en réalité l’écrivain antisémite et collaborationniste Lucien Rebatet, condamné à mort à la Libération avant d’être gracié.
« C’est un journal de droite et, selon les moments et les auteurs, il l’a été plus ou moins, mais tous les autres qualificatifs sont excessifs », défend l’ancien patron et toujours chroniqueur François d’Orcival, 78 ans, encore un nom de plume. Lui-même a milité, jeune homme, dans l’extrême droite la plus radicale, avant d’évoluer vers un conservatisme bon teint. Dans les locaux du 16e arrondissement de Paris, il est devenu le gardien de la mémoire.
L’émergence de la « droite décomplexée »
Les mécènes de droite se sont succédé au capital, le financier Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, la famille Dassault, puis l’industriel du médicament et de la cosmétique Pierre Fabre, qui s’est lassé de combler les pertes. En 2012, un journaliste du Figaro, Yves de Kerdrel, est chargé de redresser le journal. Il commande une étude de lectorat à la Sofres. Sa conclusion : « Pour les lecteurs, c’était un journal de droite donnant l’impression d’être fait par des gens qui avaient honte d’être de droite. » La nouvelle formule consacre l’émergence en politique du concept de « droite décomplexée ». Chaque semaine, la couverture doit provoquer un électrochoc chez les « bien-pensants ».
En septembre 2013, le ministre de l’intérieur, Manuel Valls, assouplit les naturalisations. En conférence de rédaction, on se creuse la tête. Un journaliste se souvient d’une Marianne voilée sur une couverture du Figaro Magazine, en 1991. Valeurs actuelles pique l’idée pour dénoncer « l’invasion qu’on nous cache ». Il est condamné en première instance et en appel pour « provocation à la discrimination, à la haine ou à la violence » à l’égard des musulmans.
En 2017, la Cour de cassation estime finalement qu’il n’a pas dépassé « les limites admissibles de la liberté d’expression ». Kerdrel ne renie pas cette couverture restée dans les mémoires : « Ce n’est pas ce qu’on a fait de mieux, mais elle ne méritait pas cet excès d’indignité. » Cette même année 2013, le journal publie un dossier « Roms, l’overdose », qui lui vaut cette fois une condamnation définitive.
Kerdrel n’est pourtant pas un excité. Ce libéral s’entend à merveille avec le jeune secrétaire général de l’Élysée, Emmanuel Macron, rencontré à la commission Attali sous le quinquennat précédent. Il affirme avoir été parmi les premiers adhérents secrets d’En marche !, « carte numéro 007 », aime-t-il à raconter. « Je faisais un journal conservateur mais pas extrême », plaide-t-il. La diffusion payée du journal grimpe à plus de 120 000 exemplaires.
De quoi susciter des convoitises lorsque les héritiers de Pierre Fabre le mettent en vente. L’armateur franco-libanais Iskandar Safa l’emporte, conseillé par deux anciennes éminences de TF1, Étienne Mougeotte et Charles Villeneuve. Un an plus tard, en 2016, Geoffroy Lejeune est promu directeur de la rédaction. Sa mission : faire oublier les excès. Sur la forme, au moins. Lejeune était un des auteurs du dossier sur « l’overdose » de Roms, mais il renie cette période.
De l’anticommunisme à la Manif pour tous
Finies, les Marianne voilées. Cela n’empêche pas de titrer en couverture sur « les islamo-gauchistes » ou, variante, « les islamo-collabos », en diffusant auprès du grand public le vocabulaire et les concepts de l’extrême droite. On peut aussi draguer les complotistes et réjouir les antisémites avec une couverture sur le « milliardaire » George Soros, « le financier mondial de l’immigration et de l’islamisme ». On se découvre aussi de nouveaux ennemis, en racontant « comment les féministes sont devenues folles » ou en dénonçant « la terreur vegan ».
À “Valeurs”, on préfère “Marion” à “Marine”, on croyait en Fillon, on suit de près Retailleau. « Nous sommes des orphelins politiques, ce qu’on incarne n’existe pas. » Geoffroy Lejeune, directeur de la rédaction
Lejeune ne s’en cache pas : il est un intime de Marion Maréchal, l’un des espoirs de cette génération qui a trop vu de candidats défendant des idées ultraconservatrices s’user et échouer à la présidentielle. « Je la connais depuis que j’ai 16 ans, raconte-t-il. C’est une de mes amies les plus chères. Mais il y a une frontière étanche, je ne suis pas à son service. Elle fait partie de l’univers dans lequel on évolue, comme Villiers ou Zemmour, mais on ne se positionne pas par rapport à elle. » À Valeurs, on préfère « Marion » à « Marine », on croyait en Fillon, on suit de près Retailleau. « Nous sommes des orphelins politiques, ce qu’on incarne n’existe pas. »
Naguère, c’était l’anticommunisme qui fédérait la rédaction de Valeurs acctuelles. La génération de La Manif pour tous est désormais aux commandes. Raphaël Stainville, rédacteur en chef du service politique après un passage au Figaro Magazine, en a même écrit l’épopée, Et la France se réveilla (Éditions du Toucan, 2013), avec son beau-frère Vincent Trémolet de Villers. Derrière les pancartes « Un papa, une maman » des manifestants émerge selon eux une relève politique.
Valeurs de l’Occident versus islam
Le catholicisme, surtout celui qui défend les valeurs de l’Occident contre l’islam, est un ciment des recrues du journal. Valeurs actuelles entretient d’ailleurs des liens étroits avec SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, une ONG proche de l’extrême droite. Un ancien pigiste signant sous pseudonyme, Pierre-Alexandre Bouclay, autre auteur du fameux dossier sur les Roms, figure dans l’organigramme. Et l’une des nouvelles stars du journal, Charlotte d’Ornellas, 34 ans, siège au conseil d’administration de l’association.
D’Ornellas a débuté sur le site Boulevard Voltaire, créé par Robert Ménard, aujourd’hui maire extrême droite de Béziers. Elle est aussi passée par la chaîne en ligne TV Libertés et le mensuel L’Incorrect, deux autres médias d’extrême droite. Et a fondé un éphémère magazine, France, avec Damien Rieu, ancien porte-parole de Génération identitaire, un groupe si radical que même Marine Le Pen s’en méfie.
D’Ornellas est volontairement absente des réseaux sociaux, mais très présente sur les plateaux des talk-shows, encore un marqueur de la jeune équipe. « Investissez les médias », c’est le conseil que leur avait donné en 2012 le spin doctor de Nicolas Sarkozy, Patrick Buisson, après la défaite de son champion. Depuis la rentrée, sa collègue Solange Bied-Charreton, 38 ans, intervient sur BFM-TV dans l’émission « 22h max ».
Lejeune a recruté comme adjoint à la direction de la rédaction son copain Tugdual Denis, 38 ans, spécialiste de la droite à L’Express puis au Point. « Tu peux nous passer au détecteur de mensonges ou nous faire examiner chez tous les neurologues, on n’a rien de raciste », dit-il. Il vient de publier La Vérité sur le mystère Fillon (Plon), un récit empathique dans lequel il revient sur la campagne présidentielle de l’ancien premier ministre. Il se définit d’ailleurs comme « filloniste ».
Les lecteurs de Valeurs actuelles l’ignorent : le « père Danziec », qui tient depuis peu une chronique religieuse, n’est autre que son jeune frère, le chanoine Alban Denis, membre de la communauté traditionaliste de l’Institut du Christ Roi Souverain Prêtre.
Dans la rédaction, le courant « tradi » est aussi incarné par un aîné, Laurent Dandrieu, 57 ans, chargé de la culture. Un bon connaisseur des arcanes du Vatican. Dans son dernier livre, Église et immigration. Le grand malaise, publié en 2017 aux Presses de la Renaissance, il s’en prend à « l’angélisme » du pape François face aux migrants. Leur « afflux », écrit-il, ne fera « qu’accroître le vivier d’illuminés, de fanatiques ou de déçus de la société occidentale où la barbarie islamiste puisera demain de nouveaux auxiliaires meurtriers ».
Un exercice raté
Dandrieu, Lejeune, Denis, Stainville et d’autres, les piliers de la rédaction se sont partagé les épisodes de la série d’été. Lejeune protège l’anonymat de l’auteur de celui consacré à Danièle Obono, pour garantir sa sécurité. Il présente l’article comme une erreur : selon lui, un texte relu et validé trop rapidement, en pleines vacances, un exercice raté puisque incompris par les lecteurs.
Lejeune ressuscite des arguments rodés depuis 2014. Cette année-là, la polémique portait sur une couverture titrée « L’ayatollah », consacrée à Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, alors ministre socialiste de l’éducation nationale. « Il n’était pas question de parler de ses origines », « je regrette l’interprétation qui en a été faite », explique à l’époque Lejeune. Ou encore : « On est tombés de l’armoire », la même expresssion qu’aujourd’hui.
Le lendemain de la parution de l’article sur Danièle Obono, la députée de Paris reçoit un message de Tugdual Denis, qu’elle a conservé. Il récuse aussi tout racisme : « Si tel nous avait paru le cas, nous n’aurions jamais publié. Libre à chacun d’apprécier ce texte, mais ce texte, de par sa nature fictionnelle, vise justement à décrire l’horreur qu’a pu être l’esclavage en allant loin dans la description, argumente-t-il. Après, là où nous ne serons pas d’accord, c’est que nous pensons qu’une lecture seulement indigéniste de l’esclavage est partiale et partielle. Et c’est cela que ce texte remet en cause. »
Une grave crise
Valeurs actuelles est habitué aux polémiques, mais, cette fois, la crise est grave. Le parquet de Paris a ouvert de lui-même une enquête préliminaire pour « injures à caractère raciste ». Le président Macron a laissé un message vocal à Danièle Obono pour lui exprimer « tout son soutien » et « condamner toute forme de racisme », nous confirme l’élue, qui prépare elle aussi sa plainte. Valeurs actuelles a dû recruter des vigiles, après l’incursion dans ses locaux de militants de la Ligue de défense noire africaine, un de ces petits groupes décrits par le journal comme « racialiste ».
Le propriétaire de Valeurs actuelles, Iskandar Safa, n’a pas réagi officiellement. Contacté par M, il renvoie au PDG, Erik Monjalous, président du directoire de son groupe de presse. Celui-ci nous assure que Lejeune et son équipe gardent sa confiance. Mais, en privé, un proche de l’actionnaire fulmine : « Tout le travail qui avait été fait était de réaffirmer qu’on était un journal de droite conservateur, pas un journal d’extrême droite, et cette connerie nous fait revenir en arrière. » Depuis l’élection d’Emmanuel Macron en mai 2017, la diffusion du journal avait chuté, autour de 90 000 exemplaires, mais elle repartait enfin à la hausse.
Avec cette nouvelle polémique, même certains catholiques engagés comme eux dans les combats sur la famille et la bioéthique lâchent la bande de Valeurs actuelles. Comme le jeune intellectuel Gaultier Bès, militant de la première heure de La Manif pour tous et de son satellite Les Veilleurs, cofondateur de la revue écolo-droitiste Limite. « Quand on dénonce l’ensauvagement, on ferait bien de se comporter soi-même avec civilité : tous les coups ne sont pas permis, lâche-t-il sur Twitter. Il y a des voyous partout, et la racaille de plume ne vaut pas mieux que celle de rue. J’espère que les catholiques qui, pour des raisons que j’ai de plus en plus de mal à comprendre, restent lecteurs de @valeurs, vont commencer à ouvrir les yeux sur cette entreprise. »
De Villiers, Onfray et Zemmour à la rescousse
C’est toutefois la réaction d’Emmanuel Macron qui atteint le plus le directeur de la rédaction de Valeurs actuelles. Entre le président de la République et lui se joue depuis deux ans un étrange pas de deux. La rédaction a toujours reçu un très bon accueil à l’Élysée. Au printemps 2019, Macron avait convié Lejeune et D’Ornellas à la remise de Légion d’honneur de l’ami Michel Houellebecq, une cérémonie en très petit comité. Et à l’automne, donc, il avait accordé un long entretien à Louis de Raguenel, dont l’arrivée sur Europe 1 est aujourd’hui contestée par la quasi-totalité de la rédaction de la station.
Lejeune se console en apprenant sur Twitter que son chroniqueur religieux, le père Danziec, l’a recommandé à Dieu dans sa « prière ». Il sait surtout que, pour le public de Valeurs actuelles, les voix de Philippe de Villiers, de Michel Onfray et d’Éric Zemmour pèsent bien davantage que celle du chef de l’État. Les trois vendeurs de best-sellers viennent de voler publiquement au secours du journal.
En plein procès de l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo, Villiers compare l’article accusé de racisme aux dessins de Mahomet, avançant que « la liberté de penser et de caricaturer est menacée ». Le fondateur du Puy du Fou invite Lejeune à ne rien céder à ceux qui l’attaquent : « Tiens bon, Geoffroy, t’es juste en avance ! »
Vendredi, les journalistes d’Europe 1 ont appris le recrutement de Louis de Raguenel, ancien rédacteur en chef de “Valeurs actuelles” et longtemps engagé à l’UMP, pour diriger leur service politique. Conséquence : levée de boucliers, dans une radio déjà fragilisée par la chute des audiences et les rumeurs de vente à Vincent Bolloré. Elise Racque
« On a reçu plein de messages de confrères choqués par cette décision, et même de la part de certains politiques… raconte un reporter. On en est à se demander si ce recrutement n’est pas une étape vers une future prise de pouvoir de #Vincent_Bolloré sur la station, qui en ferait le pendant radiophonique de #CNews et sa ligne éditoriale de plus en plus marquée à droite, et à l’extrême droite. »
En effet, cette embauche sur les terres de #Valeurs_actuelles, dont les journalistes défilent sur le plateau de CNews, fait écho au cynique feuilleton de l’été : les tractations entre #Arnaud_Lagardère – plombé par ses mauvais résultats financiers –, #Bernard_Arnault et Vincent Bolloré, lequel lorgne sur #Europe_1. « Ces rumeurs, c’est pénible pour nous. On ne va pas se mentir, on en a peur. Il n’y a qu’à écouter nos confrères passés par CNews pour savoir que notre indépendance journalistique ne serait plus vraiment garantie si un tel scénario se réalisait, déplore un journaliste. On se sent un peu comme dans une cage plongée sous l’eau au milieu des requins. Les barreaux sont très fins, et on ne sait pas s’il y a un requin mieux qu’un autre.
Vous en voulez encore ? et bien voici du bourdin
Bourdin face à Danièle Obono : le temps des sommations
En Israël, la deuxième vague de Covid-19 touche surtout les communautés ultraorthodoxes et arabes
Les rabbins se disent prêts à travailler avec l’armée pour repérer les malades et les isoler dans des hôtels. Dimanche, ils ont reçu le ministre de la défense à Bnei Brak. Mais ils refusent de fermer les écoles religieuses, où les étudiants demeurent de toute façon enfermés jusqu’aux fêtes de Rosh Ashana et de Kipour. D’ici une semaine, des centaines de bus doivent converger de tout le pays vers Jérusalem et Bnei Brak, où les religieux s’entasseront à plusieurs dizaines dans des appartements loués pour l’occasion.D’autres comptent venir d’Europe et des Etats-Unis, pour prier à plusieurs milliers, dans les plus grandes synagogues, pendant deux jours. « Ils ne porteront pas de masques ou peu. Et après ils rentreront tous chez eux, malades pour un grand nombre… De quoi auront-ils l’air alors ? Bien sûr qu’ils seront blâmés ! », s’emporte Dov Halbertal, figure critique au sein de la communauté, qui ne voit d’autre solution que d’imposer un retour au confinement à tout le pays durant les fêtes. C’est exactement ce qu’a proposé le ministre ultraorthodoxe Aryeh Deri : ce sera tout le monde ou bien personne.
Majority of asylum seekers in need of international protection, according to Eurostat first instance asylum statistics
More than two thirds of the 29,490 decisions issued by the Asylum Service on asylum applications in the first half of 2020 were positive, according to the latest statistics published by the European Commission’s statistical office, Eurostat. The Office is responsible for the keeping and publication of official consolidated asylum statistics across the European Union (EU).
Asylum seekers in the first half of 2020
Due to the suspension of the asylum procedure by way of emergency decree and the subsequent suspension of Asylum Service operations as part of Greece’s COVID-19 response, registrations of asylum claims went from 2,410 in March, to zero in April, 670 in May and 3,610 in June.
The main countries of origin of asylum seekers registered during the first six months of the year are as follows:
By way of comparison to the data on asylum seekers, during the same period (first half of 2020), the Reception Identification Service (RIS) registered a total of 7.762 new arrivals in reception and identification procedures.
According to Eurostat figures, the number of persons with pending asylum cases at all instances was 84,330 at the end of June 2020.
RSA highlights that, contrary to the data previously published by the Asylum Service, Eurostat statistics count inadmissibility decisions as negative decisions. This includes decisions dismissing applications on grounds such as the “safe third country” concept or subsequent claims without new elements. As a result, the calculation of the rate of positive decisions based on Eurostat figures does not accurately represent the recognition rate of in-merit asylum authorities’ decision-making.
According to statistics released in a Ministry of Migration and Asylum information note, the percentage of “positive decisions” was at 44% in the first six months of 2020. These numbers are contradicted by the official data provided by the Greek government to Eurostat, which point to a substantial rise of the first instance recognition rate to 69%.
Furthermore, the number of positive Asylum Service decisions significantly increased between the first and second quarter of 2020, particularly in relation to refugee status grants:
A number of conclusions may be drawn from the above statistics:
- The majority of people seeking asylum are assessed by the authorities to be in need of international protection, with official data calling into question statements to the contrary.
– Opposite trends in the first and the second instance procedure, bearing in mind the drop of the recognition rate before the Appeals Committee to 2.9% in the second quarter of 2020.
– Steady and significant increase in the population of beneficiaries of international protection in Greece, who face severe obstacles to access to rights due to the absence of a holistic plan to enable their integration in the country.
– Substantial discrepancies between the data presented by the Ministry information notes and reports to international organisations and EU statistics, which render the need to resume publication of detailed Asylum Service statistics all the more pressing.
Et encore... RSA tire sa conclusion (dans le titre : « la majorité des demandeurs d’asile ont besoin d’une protection ») à partir des chiffres d’Eurostat, qui sont issues des statistiques nationales... donc basé sur les décisions de chaque pays européen d’accorder la protection (ou pas). Et on sait que beaucoup de personnes qui sont déboutées de l’asile alors qu’en réalité ielles auraient droit à une protection... Le système de l’asile étant qualifiée souvent d’une loterie...
Voir notamment les cartes de @reka sur la #loterie_de_l'asile. Dernière version celle-ci probablement :
Migrações e Exílios no Mundo Contemporâneo ( 2020 Coimbra University Press)
by Heloisa Paulo (Author), Alberto Pena Rodríguez (Author), Cristina Clímaco (Author), Enrique Coraza de los Santos (Author)
This book deals with the different ways, paths, experiences and cultures of migrations and exiles, mainly from Portugal, to a universe of territories in Europe and America. By means various interdisciplinary models of analysis and methodologies, the authors study this subject from a contemporary and transversal perspective, with an special emphasys in some cases and biographies.
Naissance de la Fédération transnationale des coursiers (FTC)« Transnational Federation of Courriers » (TFC) - Gresea
La Fédération transnationale des coursiers (FTC) est née le vendredi 26 octobre 2018 : un nouveau mouvement social européen initié par les travailleur.e.s de plateformes de livraison de repas chauds telles que Deliveroo, Foodora, Ubereats, Glovo, Stuart. Le bébé pèse tout de même vingt collectifs et syndicats nationaux, tous acteurs de la lutte ! Précoce, son premier cri a été : transparence des données et salaire minimum horaire pour tou.te.s les coursier.e.s[[Ces deux mots d’ordre font partie des nombreuses revendications communes répertoriées dans une charte transnationale pour le secteur, à publier prochainement. Les priorités seront à définir au fur et à mesure !
La toute nouvelle structure est issue de l’Assemblée générale européenne des livreur.e.s intitulée « Riders4rights » organisée par le réseau AlterSummit  les 25 et 26 octobre à Bruxelles. Soixante livreur.e.s, représentants des collectifs nationaux et/ou syndicats issus de treize pays  se sont rassemblés sur ces deux journées ainsi qu’une vingtaine de représentants d’organisations syndicales, ayant statut d’observateurs sur la première session.
Bien qu’atomisés par les plateformes, les collectifs de livreur.e.s ont réussi le tour de force d’unir leurs multiples luttes locales en une lutte à l’échelle européenne. La démarche de l’AlterSummit est simple : puisque les plateformes qui ont créé ces nouvelles formes de sous-emploi et de travail à la demande sont des entreprises multinationales, la seule riposte possible est bien celle d’une mobilisation transnationale. L’assemblée a permis deux moments essentiels : un échange entre les collectifs sur leurs expériences nationales respectives en matière de formes d’organisations, de luttes, et de revendications, suivi d’un passage à une charte de revendications communes. Une première action a eu lieu le 26 octobre en soirée pour fêter la naissance de la FTC : une manifestation à vélo des participants rejoignant la masse critique . La nouvelle née prévoit, pour la suite, une série d’actions nationales simultanées dans plusieurs pays.
La FTC pose ainsi une pierre importante sur le long chemin de la construction d’un mouvement social européen que Pierre Bourdieu appelait déjà de ses vœux il y a 20 ans .
A Refugee’s Journey: Washing Dishes to Practicing Cardiology | The A Refugee’s Journey: Washing Dishes to Practicing Cardiology- The Emory Wheel
As ethnic Kurds, Kelli and his family experienced discrimination and oppression in Syria, which forced them to flee the country in 1996. Despite having to work 40 to 50 hours a week as a dishwasher in Atlanta, Kelli completed his cardiology fellowship at Emory School of Medicine on June 30, 2020. He now plans to use his experience to provide opportunities and mentorship to low-income pre-medical students.
A decade of desperation for refugees across the globe
Refugees and asylum seekers may be displaced by war or threats due to their ethnicity, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Those fleeing their homes often leave family and friends behind, only to face new traumas, including new societies that can often appear unwelcoming.
In 2018, 70 million people were displaced – 26 million were refugees and 84 per cent of those were from underdeveloped countries. Many are still waiting to be resettled.
Recent figures indicate that more than half the world’s refugees live in urban areas, and almost 40 per cent are confined to camps or similar facilities.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect people’s lives all over the world, the violence against migrants and refugees has intensified. This article explores #CoronaCapitalism and the Border Regime in a European context. Corporate Watch uses the term “border regime” as a shorthand to mean all of the many different institutions, people, systems and processes involved in trying to control migrants.
This article only shares the tip-of-the-iceberg of migrant experiences during the coronavirus pandemic and we know there are many other untold stories. If you would like to share your news or experiences, please contact us.
Mass Containment Camps
As the world descended into lockdowns in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, tens of thousands of people have been confined in camps in the Western Balkans and Greece, as well as smaller accommodation centres across Europe. New and existing camps were also essentially locked down and the movement of people in and out of camps began to be heavily controlled by police and/or the military.
The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) has been trying to track what is happening across the Balkans. They write that in Bosnia-Herzegovina, “more than 5,000 people were detained in existing temporary refugee reception centres. They include about 500 unaccompanied minors and several hundred children with families. Persons in need of special care, patients, victims of torture, members of the LGBTQ population, persons diagnosed with mental disorders, and victims of domestic violence have also been locked down into ‘EU-funded’ camps.” Police officers guard the centres and emergency legislation enables them the right to ‘physically force persons trying to leave the centres to return.’
120,000 people are locked down in containment camps across Greece and the Greek Islands. Disturbing accounts of refugee camps are ever-present but the pandemic has worsened already unbearable conditions. 17,000 refugees live at Moira Refugee Camp where there are 210 people per toilet and 630 people per shower. Coronavirus, uncertainty over suspended asylum applications and the terrible living conditions are all contributing to escalating violence.
In detention centres in Drama and Athens in Greece, the BVMN report that, “Respondents describe a lack of basic amenities such as running water, showers, or soap. Cramped and overcrowded conditions, with up to 13 inmates housed in one caravan with one, usually non-functioning, toilet. Requests for better services are met with violence at the hands of officers and riot police. On top of this, there have been complaints that no special precautions for COVID-19 are being taken, residents inside told BVMN reporters that sick individuals are not isolated, and are dismissed as having ‘the flu’.”
While movement restrictions were lifted for Greek residents on 4th May, lockdown is still extended for all camps and centres across Greece and the Islands. This decision triggered thousands of people to protest in Athens. Emergency legislation adopted at the start of March in Greece effectively suspended the registration of asylum applications and implied immediate deportation for those entering the Greek territory, without registration, to their countries of origin or to Turkey.
Detention and the deportation regime
While major country-wide lockdowns are an unusual form of restriction of movement, for decades European states have been locking people seeking safety in detention centres. Immigration Removal Centres are essentially prisons for migrants in which people are locked up without trial or time-limit. In the UK the detention system is mostly run for profit by private companies, as detailed in our UK Border Regime book.
Despite preparing for a pandemic scenario in January 2020, it took public pressure and legal action before the British government released nearly 1000 people from detention centres. As of the end of May, 368 people were still locked up in the profit-making detention centres and many more are living in ‘accommodation centres’ where they have been unable to access coronavirus testing.
During the pandemic, people have been revolting in several detention centres across France and Belgium. Residents at a refugee centre in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany went on a hunger strike in April to protest against a lack of disinfectant. Hunger strikes have also taken place at detention centres in Tunisia, Cyprus and France.
Women in a police holding centre for migrants in Greece went on hunger strike in June. In a statement, they wrote: “We will continue the hunger strike until we are free from this captivity. They will either set us free or we shall die”.
People staged a rooftop protest at a detention centre in Madrid at the start of the outbreak. This was before all the detention centres in Spain were, for the first time in their history, completely emptied. To put this into context, Spain had 6,473 detainees in 2019. Legal challenges have been leveraging the EU Returns Directive which allows detention pending deportation for up to 18 months, but stipulates that if “a reasonable prospect of removal no longer exists…detention ceases to be justified and the person concerned shall be released immediately”.
With a worldwide reduction in flights, deportations became unfeasible, however, many are afraid that the deportation machine will restart as things “return to normal”.
Worsening life in the ‘jungle’
People living in squats and other improvised accommodation have also faced sweeping operations, with people being rounded up and taken to containment camps.
For those that remained on the street, pandemic restrictions took their toll. In Greece, movement amidst the pandemic was permitted via letters and text messages. For people who did not have the right paperwork, they were fined 150 euros, sometimes multiple times.
Similarly, in the French city of Calais, people who did not have the right paperwork were commonly denied access to shops and supermarkets, where they may have previously used the bathrooms or bought food to cook. With many volunteer groups unable to operate due to movement restrictions, the availability of food dramatically reduced overnight. Access to services such as showers, phone charging and healthcare also rapidly reduced.
People in Calais also faced a rise in evictions: 45 evictions were recorded in the first two weeks of lockdown. These expulsions have continued throughout the pandemic. On Friday 10th July 2020, a major police raid in Calais forced more than 500 people onto buses to be taken to ‘reception centres’ across the region.
In Amsterdam in the Netherlands, some migrants were forced to live in night shelters and made to leave during the daytime – facing constant risks of contracting COVID-19 and police harassment in the city. They protested “I would stay at home if I had one”.
Many migrant solidarity groups working on the ground lost huge numbers of volunteers due to travel restrictions and health concerns. Access to material donations such as tents, which are commonly collected at the end of festivals, also reduced. A constant supply of these resources is needed because the police routinely take the migrants’ tents away.https://corporatewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/60125595-42c8-437c-b363-59b5bfecc213-1024x1024.jpg
Militarisation of borders
The pandemic has seen an increase in military forces at borders and camps, persistent police violence and the suspension of ‘rights’ or legal processes. Using ‘State of Emergency’ legislation, the health crisis has been effectively weaponised.
In March at the beginning of the pandemic in Europe, FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency deployed an additional 100 guards at the Greek Land Border. This is in addition to the agency’s core of 10,000 officers working around Europe.
In their 2020 Risk Analysis Report, FRONTEX wrote that “the closing of internal borders is binding border guard personnel, which some border authorities have long stopped planning for”. This illuminates a key complexity in border control. For years, Europe has shifted to policing the wider borders of the Schengen Area. As the virus spread between countries within that area, however, states have tried to shut down their own borders.
Police forces and militaries have become increasingly mobilised to “protect these national borders”. In Slovenia, this meant the military was granted authority to ‘process civilians’ at the border through the government’s activation of Article 37a of the Defence Act. While in Serbia, the army was deployed around border camps to ensure mass containment. 400 new border guards were also dispatched to the Evros land border between Greece and Turkey in addition to an increase in fencing and surveillance technologies.
Escalating Police Violence
Although migrants are no strangers to police brutality, national states of emergency have enabled an escalation in police violence. In mid-April an open letter was published by the Eritrean community of the Calais jungle reporting escalating police brutality. It describes the actions of the CRS police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité); the general guard of the French police, infamous for riot control and repression:
“They don’t see us as human beings. They insult us with names such as monkey, bitch etc. And for the past few weeks, they have started to threaten our lives by beating us as soon as the opportunity arises. When for example they found a group of two or three people walking towards the food distribution, or in our tents, when we were sleeping. They accelerate in their vehicles while driving in our direction, as if they wanted to crush us. They also took people with them to places far from Calais, and beat them until they lost consciousness.”
The statement continues with a chronological list of events whereby people were beaten up, hit, gassed, had their arms broken, and were struck on the head so hard they lost consciousness and were taken to hospital by ambulance.
With fewer people on the streets during the pandemic, police evictions that were not previously possible due to street-level resistance became successful. This was evidenced in the eviction of the Gini occupation at the Polytechnic University in Exarchia, Greece, a location that the police have not dared enter for decades. Dozens of migrant families were rounded up and taken to a detention centre.
Violent pushbacks across borders
There has also been an increase in illegal and violent pushbacks. Pushbacks are the informal expulsion (without due process) of individuals or groups to another country. This commonly involves the violent removal of people across a border.
For example, on April 22nd in North Macedonia, a group of people from Palestine, Morocco and Egypt were pushed back into Greece. Two men were approached by officers in army uniforms and forced onto a bus where officers began to beat them with batons and guns. So much force was used that one man’s arm was fractured. The other members of the small group were later found and abruptly woken by officers. One man was stamped on and kicked across his body and head. Their shoes were removed and they were told to walk the 2km back to the border where they were met with the other group that had been taken there.
A group of 16 people in Serbia (including one minor) were told they were being taken to a new camp for COVID prevention. They were then forced into a van and driven for nine hours with no stops, toilet or water. They were released at a remote area of hills and told to leave and cross the border to North Macedonia by the officers with guns. When found attempting to cross again days later they were told by police officers, “Don’t come again, we will kill you”.
In Croatia, police have also started tagging people that they have pushed back with orange spray paint.
There are also reports that Greek authorities are pushing people back to Turkey. According to the Border Violence Monitoring Network, many people shared experiences of being beaten, robbed and detained before being driven to the border area where military personnel used boats to return them to Turkey across the Evros river. In mid April in Greece, approximately 50 people were taken from Diavata camp in the morning and removed to a nearby police station where they were ordered to lie on the ground – “Sleep here, don’t move”. They were then beaten with batons. Some were also attacked with electric tasers. They were held overnight in a detention space near the border, and beaten further by Greek military officers. The next day they were boated across the river to Turkey by authorities with military uniforms. Another group were taken to the river in the dark and ordered to strip to their underwear.
As pushbacks continue, people are forced to take even more dangerous routes. In Romania in mid-April, a group were found drowning in the Danube River after their boat capsized. One person was found dead and eight are still missing, while the survivors suffered from hypothermia.https://corporatewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/WhatsApp-Image-2020-06-25-at-12.57.11-AM-300x300-1.jpg
Danger at Sea
During the pandemic, increasing numbers of disturbing accounts have been shared by migrants experiencing violence at sea. Between mid March and mid May, Alarm Phone (a hotline for boat people in distress) received 28 emergency calls from the Aegean Sea.
On the 29th April, a boat carrying 48 refugees from Afghanistan, Congo and Iran, including 18 children, tried to reach Lesvos Island in the early hours of the day. They were pushed back to Turkish waters:
“We were very scared. We tried to continue towards Lesvos Island. It was only 20 minutes more driving to reach the Greek coast. The big boat let a highspeed boat down, which hunted us down. There were six masked men in black clothes. They stopped us and made many waves. With a long stick they took away our petrol and they broke our engine. They had guns and knives. Then they threw a rope to us and ordered us to fix it on our boat. Then they started pulling us back towards Turkey. After a while they stopped and cut the rope. They returned to the big boat and took distance from us. It was around 6am.
Then two other boats of the Greek coastguard arrived which were white and grey and drove very fast towards us, starting to make circles around our boat. They created big waves which were pushing us in the direction of Turkish waters. Our boat was taking in water and the kids were screaming. Our boat started breaking from the bottom. We were taking out the water with our boots. We threw all our belongings in the sea to make our boat lighter. Many of us had no life vests. A pregnant lady fainted. The Greeks continued making waves for a long period. A Turkish coastguard boat arrived and stood aside watching and taking photos and videos for more than six hours. Only after 13:30 o’clock the Turkish coastguard boat finally saved us. We were brought to Çanakalle police station and detained for five days.”
During two months of lockdown, civil monitoring ships (volunteers who monitor the Aegean sea for migrants arriving via boat) were not permitted. In Italy, ports were closed to rescue ships, with many feared lost at sea as a result. Allegations have also emerged that Greece has been using inflatable rafts to deport asylum seekers. These are rafts without motors or propellers that cannot be steered.
The Maltese Army also hit the headlines after turning away a boat of migrants by gunpoint and giving them the GPS coordinates for Italy. This is after recent reports of sabotaging migrant vessels, and pushing back migrant boats to Libya resulting in 12 people dying. The Maltese government recently signed a deal with the Libyan government to “to coordinate operations against illegal migration”. This includes training the Libyan coastguards and funding for “reception camps”.
The threat of the virus and worsening conditions have also contributed to a record number of attempts to cross the Channel. The courage and commitment to overcome borders is inspiring, and more successful crossings have taken place during the pandemic. Between March 23rd (when the UK coronavirus lockdown began) and May 11th at least 853 migrants managed to cross the Channel in dinghies and small boats.https://corporatewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/0352f421bcf65330d83de15dab7a15e1-800x-768x259.jpg
State Scapegoating and the empowerment of the far right
Far-right politicians and fascist activists have used the pandemic as an opportunity to push for closed borders.
The election of a new Far Right government in Slovenia in March brought with it the scapegoating of refugees as coronavirus vectors. News conglomerate, NOVA24, heavily publicised a fake news story that the first COVID-19 patient in Italy was a Pakistani person who came via the Balkan route.
Meanwhile, Hungary’s Government led by Vicktor Orbán moved to deport resident Iranians after claiming they were responsible for the country’s first coronavirus outbreak.
In Italy, Matteo Salvini, the populist leader of the opposition Lega party tried to blame the movement of migrants from Africa across the Mediterranean as a “major infection threat” shortly before the country was overwhelmed with the pandemic and its rising death toll.
The racist scapegoating ignores data that proves that initially the virus was transmited predominatnly by tourists’ and business people’s globe-trotting in the service of global capitalism and the fact that those whose movement is restricted, controlled and perilous, who do not have the power and wealth, are the most likely to suffer from the worst effects of both the virus itself and the shut downs.https://corporatewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/radek-homola-iE80BguAEXA-unsplash-1024x678.jpg
The Aftermath of Asylum suspension
Access to asylum has drastically shifted across Europe with the suspension of many face-to-face application processing centres and appeal hearings. This ‘legal limbo’ is having a severe impact on people’s lives.
Many people remain housed in temporary accommodation like hotels while they wait for their claim to be processed. This accommodation is often overcrowded and social-distancing guidelines are impossible to follow there. One asylum seeker in South London even shared to The Guardian how two strangers were made to share his double bed for a week in one room. One of the people was later taken to hospital with coronavirus.
Closed-conditions at Skellig Accomodation Centre, a former hotel in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland enabled the rapid spread of the virus between the 100 people living there. Misha, an asylum seeker confined there, said she watched in horror as people started falling sick around her.
“We were sharing bedrooms with strangers. We were sharing the dining room. We were sharing the salt shakers. We were sharing the lobby. We were sharing everything. And if you looked at the whole situation, you cannot really say that it was fit for purpose.”
People were ordered to stay inside, and meanwhile coronavirus testing was delayed. Protests took place inside and locals demonstrated in solidarity outside.
Asylum seekers in Glasgow have been protesting their accommodation conditions provided by the Mears Group, who Corporate Watch profiled in 2019. Mears Group won a £1.15 billion contract to run the refugee accommodation system in Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of the north of England. Their profiteering, slum landlord conditions and involvement in mass evictions have been met with anger and resistance. The pandemic has only worsened the experiences of people forced to live in Mears’ accommodation through terrible sanitation and medical neglect. Read our 2020 update on the Mears Group here.
In the UK, the Home Office put a hold on evictions of asylum seekers during lockdown. The Red Cross stated this spared 50,000 people from the threat of losing their accommodation. Campaigners and tenants fear what will happen post-corona and how many people will face destitution when the ban on evictions lifts this August.
In addition, a face-to-face screening interview is still needed for new asylum claims. This creates an awful choice for asylum seekers between shielding from the virus (and facing destitution) or going to the interviews in order to access emergency asylum support and begin the formal process. While meagre, the £37.75 per week is essential for survival. One of the reasons the Home Office make face-to-face applications compulsory is because of biometric data harvesting e.g. taking fingerprints of asylum seekers. One asylum seeker with serious health problems has had to make three journeys from Glasgow to Liverpool in the midst of the pandemic to submit paperwork.
Access to food and other support is also very difficult as many centres and support services are closed.
Barriers to Healthcare
It is widely recognised that systemic racism has led to the disproportionate deaths of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people throughout the pandemic. Research has shown Black people are four times more likely to die than white people, and Bangladeshi or Pakistani groups are three times more likely. Many people from these communities are migrants, and many work in the National Health Service and social care sector.
Research by Patients not Passports, Medact, Migrants Organise and the New Economics Foundation has shown that many migrants are avoiding seeking healthcare. 57% of respondents in their research report that they have avoided seeking healthcare because of fears of being charged for NHS care, data sharing and other migration enforcement concerns. Most people are unaware that treatment for coronavirus is exempt from charging. They also often experience additional barriers including the absence of translation and interpretation services, digital exclusions, housing and long distances from care services.
Undocumented migrants are incredibly precarious. A project worker interviewed for the Patients not Passports Report shared that:
“One client lived in a care home where she does live-in care and she has been exposed to Corona but has stated that she will not seek treatment and would rather die there than be detained.”
Elvis, an undocumented migrant from the Philippines, died at home with suspected coronavirus because he was so scared by the hostility of Government policies that he did not seek any help from the NHS.
For those that do try to access healthcare, issues such as not having enough phone credit or mobile data, not having wifi or laptops for video appointments, and simply not being able to navigate automated telephone and online systems because of language barriers and non-existent or poor translation, are having a very real impact on people’s ability to receive support. Fears of poor treatment because of people’s past experiences of discrimination and racism even if they access the services is another barrier.https://corporatewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/john-cameron-08zYLkrNMQc-unsplash-768x1024.jpg
Exploiting Migrant Labour
The exploitation of migrant labour has always been essential to sustaining capitalist economies. The pandemic generated contradictory responses from politicians and capitalists alike. Germany’s agricultural sector lobbied hard for opening the border after they were closed, leading the country to lift its ban and let in over 80,000 seasonal workers from Eastern Europe. Yet dilapidated living conditions and overcrowding are sparking new COVID-19 outbreaks, such as the 200 workers that contracted the virus at a slaughterhouse in western Germany.
In mid May, the Italian government passed a law regularising undocumented migrants, whereby undocumented workers have been encouraged to apply for six-month legal residency permits. There are believed to be about 600,000 undocumented workers in Italy but only people doing ‘essential’ work during the pandemic can apply, mostly in the agricultural sector. Thousands of people live in makeshift encampments near fruit and vegetable farms with no access to running water or electricity.
Working conditions carry risks of violence. On 18 May, five days after Italy’s regularisation law passed, a 33-year old Indian migrant working in a field outside of Rome was fired after asking his employer for a face mask for protection while at work. When the worker requested his daily wage, he was beaten up and thrown in a nearby canal.https://corporatewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-Invisibles.00_31_53_21.Still013-1-scaled-e1593793982715-732x419-1.jpg
The coronavirus crisis has exposed and intensified the brutality required to sustain capitalism – from systemic racism, to violent border controls, to slave labour for industrial agriculture, the list goes on. Despite extremely difficult conditions, undocumented migrants have formed strong movements of solidarity and collective struggle in many European countries. From revolts in detention centres to legal actions to empty them, people are continually resisting the border regime. As people reject a ‘return to normal’ post pandemic, the fall of the border regime must be part of a vision for freedom and liberation in a world beyond capitalism.
#capitalisme #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières #Europe #migrations #violence #asile #réfugiés #camps #camps_de_réfugiés #containment #rétention #campements #technologie #militarisation_des_frontières #Grèce #Turquie #violences_policières #police #refoulements #push-backs #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #santé #accès_aux_soins #travail #exploitation #pandémie #Frontex #confinement #grève_de_la_faim #fermeture_des_frontières
Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU’s push to increase forced removals
Deportation Union provides a critical examination of recently-introduced and forthcoming EU measures designed to increase the number of deportations carried out by national authorities and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. It focuses on three key areas: attempts to reduce or eliminate rights and protections in the law governing deportations; the expansion and interconnection of EU databases and information systems; and the increased budget, powers and personnel awarded to Frontex.
There has long-been coordinated policy, legal and operational action on migration at EU level, and efforts to increase deportations have always been a part of this. However, since the ‘migration crisis’ of 2015 there has been a rapid increase in new initiatives, the overall aim of which is to limit legal protections afforded to ‘deportable’ individuals at the same time as expanding the ability of national and EU authorities to track, detain and remove people with increasing efficiency.
The measures and initiatives being introduced by the EU to scale up deportations will require massive public expenditure on technology, infrastructure and personnel; the strengthening and expansion of state and supranational agencies already-lacking in transparency and democratic accountability; and are likely to further undermine claims that the EU occupies the moral high ground in its treatment of migrants. Anyone wishing to question and challenge these developments will first need to understand them. This report attempts to go some way towards assisting with that task.
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L’inscription à un service offert par un des GAFAM n’est pas obligatoire ; à contrario, la participation au marché de données à caractère personnel pourrait bien être obligatoire pour les citoyens de l’Union européenne.
#privacy #vieprivee #bigdata #SOS #alerteRouge #actu #politique #liberalisme #europe #confidentialite #surveillance #flicage #democrature #profilage #droitsHumains #bigbrother #1984 #pistage #informatique #numerique (...)
’Why can’t I be legal anywhere?’: exploited and left stateless by Sweden
Rahman* arrived as an unaccompanied minor. Abused and deported, his future is uncertain but his European dream intact.
Rahman was out buying food when Spanish police handed him a €500 fine for breaking coronavirus restrictions. “I’ll pay this as soon as I get a residence permit,” he told them. He laughs as he recalls the incident. “Look how thin I’ve become, I weigh only 57 kilos,” he says. The 21-year-old Palestinian shows his skinny 5ft 7in frame over the webcam.
He speaks in Swedish mixed with Norwegian expressions – his capacity in both languages is testament to the nearly five years spent between the countries as an adolescent. They were formative years, where he learned that even apparently kind gestures such as the offer of a place to stay could open the door to unfathomable cruelty.
It was a time when no matter what Rahman suffered, the legal right to remain in Europe eluded him. His lack of status enabled appalling crimes to be committed against him, and it left the criminals unpunished. He has been exploited and deported but his dream of Europe endures. He has found his way back to the continent but the future is uncertain.
In October 2013, 15-year-old Rahman arrived in Sweden alone. Like so many other young refugees, he had heard good things about Sweden: children are protected, they get to attend school and feel safe, their rights are respected and almost all get to stay.
He grew up in Jordan, his Palestinian parents refugees from Gaza. Jordan’s citizenship laws had no place for Rahman, leaving him stateless. When the war in Syria was in its third year, his father wanted to send him across the border to fight the Syrian regime. His mother disagreed and the teenager fled to what she hoped would be a place of safety.
In Sweden, Rahman lived in a refugee shelter, started school and quickly learned the language. He played football in his spare time. But despite his young age and troubles in Jordan, the court of migration in Stockholm rejected his asylum application in the summer of 2014.
With no idea of what to do, Rahman left the youth hostel in Stockholm to avoid being deported, and cut off contact with his state-appointed guardian.
That is when he met Martin: a man in his 30s, with a shaved head and heavy gold chains around his neck. Once Martin understood Rahman’s situation, he invited him to a flat in central Stockholm.
When he got there Rahman was shocked. Some people were sniffing glue, others were using cocaine. He was given a drink – his first taste of alcohol. The night became a haze. Martin took him into a room. Rahman was struck to the ground and felt hands on his body.
The rapes and beatings continued for months. Martin threatened to kill him if he tried to run away. Rahman had seen guns and knives around the flat and did not dare argue or ask questions. “I had nowhere to go. No money. And there was no one to help me,” he says.
A lot of people came to the flat, and it was Rahman’s job to keep it clean. He was given takeaway food and drugs. Martin would call at any hour and send him off with a bag and address to deliver it to. He was sent on drug trips across Europe, for which he was given new clothes, a fake passport and a bag to carry. Rahman, usually on drugs, slept through the flights.
He is among thousands of children who have come to Sweden in recent years only to go missing when their European dreams are shattered. According to the Swedish migration agency, 2,014 unaccompanied minors are missing without trace since 2013 – equivalent to almost 70 school classes. The threat of deportation is often mentioned as a reason for these disappearances, as is human trafficking.
But no one really knows, because no one is searching for them. The police keep records but often do not actively search for the children. Municipalities say children no longer resident in their area are not their responsibility. The migration agency says it cannot examine the cases of missing children. In 2016, the UN human rights committee criticised Sweden for failing to prevent these disappearances.
Many, like Rahman, are vulnerable to abuse and traffickers. According to a 2015 survey by a Swedish government agency, most suspected child trafficking cases involved unaccompanied minors. At that time, no trafficking investigations involving unaccompanied minors had resulted in a prosecution.
To understand where the system was failing, I researched every suspected case of trafficking of minors in Sweden during a four-year period up to 2015. According to police reports and preliminary investigations, more than half of the cases involved sexual slavery, in which nearly half of the victims were boys. The police’s failed response to trafficking was systemic.
Rahman was one of those cases. I tracked him down in Norway. After several months, he had managed to escape Martin. On reaching Norway, he again applied for asylum and reported his experience of trafficking to authorities. Rahman and his lawyer felt the authorities did not take his case seriously. Because the alleged trafficking took place in Sweden, Norwegian police passed the investigation to their Swedish colleagues. Rahman did not trust the investigators in either country. They did not seem to realise how dangerous it would be for him to single out Martin with no witness protection.
Shortly after Rahman turned 18, we spent a few days at a seaside resort. Surrounded by glittering Norwegian fjords, he and his court-appointed guardian sat outside on a mild summer evening. He leaned against her with his big ragged hair and gentle smile. “She’s like a mother to me,” he said.
The Swedish trafficking investigation was eventually dropped. His asylum application in Norway was also rejected. Now 18, he was no longer technically a child. In the summer of 2018, he was deported to Jordan.
After nearly five years in Europe, Rahman struggled with the more socially controlled society in Jordan. He could not return to his strictly religious family: he now smoked, drank alcohol and wore an earring. Without a Jordanian ID, he had no access to medical care or hope of returning to education.
The police seemed to relish harassing him. They would ask: why were you in Europe? Why have you come back? He was even mocked by friends and relatives: where’s the money, the success, the expensive things? For a while he worked 12-hour days at a tourist bazaar for wages that did not cover his rent. After a few weeks he decided to leave again.
First he attempted to sail to Greece via Turkey but the yellow dinghy was stopped by Turkish coastguards. After a month and a half in a Turkish prison, he returned to Jordan. He had a Norwegian girlfriend at the time. As a European, she could come to visit for a few weeks. Rahman has none of these options.
His friends in Norway arranged for him to stay with people they knew in Kosovo and he planned to continue overland further into Europe. But he was arrested in Montenegro and sent back to Kosovo. He became severely ill and returned to Jordan. But he was already making new plans to reach Europe.
“I can’t build a life here,” he said in the summer of 2019. “I want to go to Europe again. I am never giving up.”
This time he went to Morocco. Rahman knew this was his most dangerous journey so far. “But I am going to make it, I am sure of it,” he insisted. Later that summer, he reached the Moroccan border with the Spanish enclave of Melilla.
This gateway to Europe is marked with high razor wire fences and monitored by drones. Migrants and Moroccan boys his age were everywhere, hoping to get through the border at night. Some had been trying for months, even years. Rahman’s plan was to swim around the sea fences, a treacherous feat as border guards sometimes fire plastic bullets at swimmers. His first four attempts failed and he was hurt in a fall before he finally managed to swim into the port of Melilla.
“I am so happy – I am in Europe again!” he said in a message.
Afraid of being forced back to Morocco, he stowed away onboard a cargo ship to mainland Spain. He was given a place in a refugee shelter and €50 a month to live on. But this assistance was cut after six months, just as the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe.
As we kept in touch over the years, I would always ask how he was and he always replied: “Good,” no matter the circumstances. He has to stay positive, he says, to keep going towards what he longs for: an ordinary life, with a home. He would like to study languages and maybe work with tourists as he is so used to meeting new people.
But there is little space to talk about the future right now. Rahman does not even know what tomorrow will bring, where he will sleep or how he will eat. He is considering two unwanted options: start selling drugs again or commit a crime deliberately to get caught. “If I get arrested, I have somewhere to live until corona is over,” he said.
Rahman’s European dream has brought him back. Despite the trials he has gone through, the stateless boy is now a young man but no closer to having papers. The asylum process in Spain is long, up to 18 months, and uncertain – and that was before the pandemic. He thinks of Sweden or Norway but doubts his chances. From Scandinavia to Jordan, he has never been granted the right to belong. “Why is that?” he asks. “Why can’t I be legal anywhere?”
*Rahman’s name has been changed and his photograph in the main image obscured to protect his identity.
Global Trends #2019 – rifugiati e richiedenti asilo: la situazione nell’Unione Europea
Sono 20 milioni i rifugiati nel mondo nel 2019. L’Unione europea accoglie circa 2 milioni e 700 mila persone, che corrisponde al 13% di tutti coloro che sono accolti negli altri paesi e continenti.
Secondo l’ultima edizione dei Global Trends (▻https://www.unhcr.it/news/comunicati-stampa/l1-per-cento-della-popolazione-mondiale-e-in-fuga-secondo-il-rapporto-annuale-) dell’Unhcr vi sono paesi come la Turchia, il Pakistan e l’Uganda che “da soli” riconoscono lo status di rifugiato rispettivamente a 3 milioni e mezzo, 1 milione e 491 mila, 1 milione e 359 mila persone, pari al 31% di tutti coloro che sono accolti negli altri paesi.
La media Ue (Regno Unito compreso) è di 5 rifugiati ogni 1000 abitanti. In Italia la media è di 3 ogni 1000 abitanti.
La sfida europea alla solidarietà
I dati forniti da Unhcr in merito alla situazione dei rifugiati e dei richiedenti asilo nell’Unione europea consentono alcune riflessioni.
La prima è la sostanziale continuità circa la presenza di rifugiati nei paesi dell’Unione europea: ben lontani dall’emergenza, la presenza di rifugiati nei paesi della Ue è stabile, con un incremento complessivo, rispetto al 2018, pari al 4%.
La seconda riflessione chiama in causa l’Italia che, tra i paesi europei, è tra i paesi al di sotto della media europea con la presenza di 3 rifugiati ogni 1.000 abitanti.
La terza riflessione concerne i paesi di provenienza dei rifugiati presenti negli stati europei al 31 dicembre 2019, e le scelte politiche conseguenti tra i paesi cosiddetti di frontiera e quelli di arrivo. Se alcuni paesi come l’Italia, la Grecia, Malta e la Spagna, in quanto paesi di approdo, sono coinvolti per primi nella gestione degli arrivi via mare, vi sono altri stati come la Francia e la Germania che concedono protezione a persone provenienti da una molteplicità di paesi. A questo proposito, colpisce il dato sulla Francia che accoglie rifugiati di 44 nazionalità.
Queste riflessioni chiamano in causa proprio il ruolo dell’Unione europea e la necessità di policy condivise tra gli stati su una questione che coinvolge tutti i paesi, specifica, e costante. Peraltro alcuni paesi come i Paesi Bassi e la Francia, nel 2019, si sono distinti per la naturalizzazione dei rifugiati: oltre 12mila nei Paesi Bassi e 3mila in Francia.
“A volte serve una crisi come quella da Covid19 per ricordarci che abbiamo bisogno di essere uniti. In un momento dove il mondo vive un periodo di grande vulnerabilità la nostra forza è la solidarietà: nessuno è al sicuro se non lo siamo tutti. Ognuno di noi può fare la differenza e contribuire a trovare delle soluzioni per andare avanti”, ha dichiarato la Rappresentante per l’Italia, la Santa Sede e San Marino, Chiara Cardoletti, il 20 giugno scorso, in occasione della celebrazione della Giornata Mondiale del Rifugiato.
A questo proposito, bisogna ricordare che il Portogallo, ha scelto, nella fase di emergenza sanitaria di Covid 19, allo scopo di garantire l’assistenza sanitaria durante la pandemia, di concedere a immigrati e richiedenti asilo con permesso di soggiorno ‘pendente’ l’assistenza sanitaria e l’accesso ai servizi pubblici.
Sul versante opposto, l’Ungheria ha inasprito ulteriormente le politiche di chiusura, utilizzando le misure di blocco per eseguire respingimenti su larga scala dai campi cittadini e dai centri che ospitano i richiedenti asilo.
Una questione cruciale, la protezione sociale e sanitaria, che si sovrappone a un altro dato emerso dal Global Trends 2019. La portavoce di Unchr Italia, Carlotta Sami, in occasione della presentazione dei dati, ci ha ricordato che “la possibilità per Unhcr di organizzare i rientri a casa, che negli anni novanta corrispondeva ad una media di 1 milione e mezzo di persone all’anno, è crollata a 385 mila”e ha ricordato “che solo il 5% dei rifugiati ha potuto usufruire di una soluzione stabile come il reinsediamento”.
Difficoltà a ritornare a casa e necessità di protezione sociale in fasi delicate come quelle della emergenza sanitaria sono due questioni sulle quali l’Unione europea è chiamata a intervenire.
Nell’ormai lontano 1994, Alexander Langer, nel discorso pronunciato in occasione delle elezioni europee, invocò la necessità di una priorità politica nel trattare alcune questioni: “Finora l’Europa comunitaria si è preoccupata molto delle aziende, delle merci, dei capitali, dei tassi di inflazione. Ora si tratta di varare un corpo comune di leggi di cittadinanza e di democrazia europea, a garanzia di eguali diritti e uguale protezione in tutta l’Unione, a garanzia dell’apertura agli altri. La difesa e la promozione dei diritti umani all’interno e all’esterno dell’Unione deve diventare una priorità politica oltre che morale”.
In un contesto come quello attuale, gli stati dell’Unione europea – su una questione cruciale come quella migratoria – dovrebbero raccogliere la sfida di trovare un accordo comune che riesca a superare interessi divergenti.
#statistiques #chiffres #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Europe #UE #EU #visualisation
Sécurité : une proposition de loi contre le chiffrement en cours de gestation au sein de la Commission de l’UE qui va la soumettre au cours de l’année pour lutter contre la pédophilie en ligne | #chiffrement #europe #surveillance
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”. 
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.  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.”  Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. 
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. 
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.  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. 
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. 
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.
#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.
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”. 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
A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”. 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”.
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.
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. 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”.
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”
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. 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”.
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”, 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.” 
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)”. 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. The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.
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”. 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. 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. 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.
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.”  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.  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, 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.
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”. 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. The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.
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.  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”. 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.”
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.
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.
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”.
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, expected by the end of the year. 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. 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.
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.
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”
 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
 Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, ►http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf
 Section 1.1, state of play report
 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
 Section 7.1, state of play report
 EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, ▻https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market
 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
 Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, ▻https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501
 Chapter III, state of play report
 Section 2.5, state of play report
 Chapter III, state of play report
 ‘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
 ‘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
 Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation
 Article 110, 2019 Regulation
 Article 109, 2019 Regulation
 Section 8, state of play report
 Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation
 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
 Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation
 Section 9, state of play report
 Section 3.2, state of play report
 Chapter III, state of play report
 Section 3.2, state of play report
 ‘’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
 State of play report, p. 19
 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
 Section 4, state of play report
 Section 7.2, state of play report
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Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe
#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.  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”. 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”.
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;
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”. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.  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”.
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.
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. 
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’). 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
 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_
 Frontex, ‘Careers’, ►https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment
 Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, ►http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf
 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.
 Frontex, ‘Careers’, ►https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment
 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
 ‘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
 Annex II, 2019 Regulation
 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_
 ‘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
 ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, ▻https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841
 ‘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
 Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, ▻http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor
 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
 Frontex, ‘Careers’, ►https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment
 Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, ▻https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en
 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
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, 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.
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 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 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. 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, 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. 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. 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”.
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, 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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’, 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
 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
 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
 ‘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
 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
 ‘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
 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
 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
 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
 ‘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
 ‘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
 ‘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
 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
 ‘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
 ‘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
 European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, ▻https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en
 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.
 ‘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
 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
 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
 ‘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
 ‘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
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 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.” 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.
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.
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”. 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.”
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, but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.
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.” 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.”
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;
other member states’ national coordination centres;
third countries’ authorities;
ship reporting systems;
other relevant European and international organisations; and
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.
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.
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.” 
This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”. 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.
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.”
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). 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.” 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.”
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.
 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
 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
 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
 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.”
 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
 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
 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”
 Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation
 Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation
 Article 25, 2019 Regulation
 Article 26, 2019 Regulation
 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
 Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation
 ‘’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
 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
 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
 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
 ‘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
 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
#Covid-19 #migrant #migration #francaisdeletranger #expatries #adaptation #retour #europe Le coronavirus recentre les expatriés sur l’Europe - Vivre ailleurs
#Covid-19 #migrant #migration #erasmus #europe #gouvernance #economie Erasmus sacrifié au profit de la relance européenne - Le Point
Coronavirus : des centaines de citoyens mongols toujours bloqués en Europe - Asialyst
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.
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.
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...