• Report to the EU Parliament on #Frontex cooperation with third countries in 2017

    A recent report by Frontex, the EU’s border agency, highlights the ongoing expansion of its activities with non-EU states.

    The report covers the agency’s cooperation with non-EU states (‘third countries’) in 2017, although it was only published this month.

    See: Report to the European Parliament on Frontex cooperation with third countries in 2017: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-report-ep-third-countries-coop-2017.pdf (pdf)

    It notes the adoption by Frontex of an #International_Cooperation_Strategy 2018-2020, ‘an integral part of our multi-annual programme’ which:

    ‘guides the Agency’s interactions with third countries and international organisations… The Strategy identified the following priority regions with which Frontex strives for closer cooperation: the Western Balkans, Turkey, North and West Africa, Sub-Saharan countries and the Horn of Africa.’

    The Strategy can be found in Annex XIII to the 2018-20 Programming Document: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf (pdf).

    The 2017 report on cooperation with third countries further notes that Frontex is in dialogue with Senegal, #Niger and Guinea with the aim of signing Working Agreements at some point in the future.

    The agency deployed three Frontex #Liaison_Officers in 2017 - to Niger, Serbia and Turkey - while there was also a #European_Return_Liaison_Officer deployed to #Ghana in 2018.

    The report boasts of assisting the Commission in implementing informal agreements on return (as opposed to democratically-approved readmission agreements):

    “For instance, we contributed to the development of the Standard Operating Procedures with #Bangladesh and the ‘Good Practices for the Implementation of Return-Related Activities with the Republic of Guinea’, all forming important elements of the EU return policy that was being developed and consolidated throughout 2017.”

    At the same time:

    ‘The implementation of 341 Frontex coordinated and co-financed return operations by charter flights and returning 14 189 third-country nationals meant an increase in the number of return operations by 47% and increase of third-country nationals returned by 33% compared to 2016.’

    Those return operations included Frontex’s:

    ‘first joint return operation to #Afghanistan. The operation was organised by Hungary, with Belgium and Slovenia as participating Member States, and returned a total of 22 third country nationals to Afghanistan. In order to make this operation a success, the participating Member States and Frontex needed a coordinated support of the European Commission as well as the EU Delegation and the European Return Liaison Officers Network in Afghanistan.’

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-report-third-countries.htm
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers
    #Balkans #Turquie #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Afrique_du_Nord #Afrique_sub-saharienne #Corne_de_l'Afrique #Guinée #Sénégal #Serbie #officiers_de_liaison #renvois #expulsions #accords_de_réadmission #machine_à_expulsion #Hongrie #Belgique #Slovénie #réfugiés_afghans

    • EP civil liberties committee against proposal to give Frontex powers to assist non-EU states with deportations

      The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee (LIBE) has agreed its position for negotiations with the Council on the new Frontex Regulation, and amongst other things it hopes to deny the border agency the possibility of assisting non-EU states with deportations.

      The position agreed by the LIBE committee removes Article 54(2) of the Commission’s proposal, which says:

      “The Agency may also launch return interventions in third countries, based on the directions set out in the multiannual strategic policy cycle, where such third country requires additional technical and operational assistance with regard to its return activities. Such intervention may consist of the deployment of return teams for the purpose of providing technical and operational assistance to return activities of the third country.”

      The report was adopted by the committee with 35 votes in favour, nine against and eight abstentions.

      When the Council reaches its position on the proposal, the two institutions will enter into secret ’trilogue’ negotiations, along with the Commission.

      Although the proposal to reinforce Frontex was only published last September, the intention is to agree a text before the European Parliament elections in May.

      The explanatory statement in the LIBE committee’s report (see below) says:

      “The Rapporteur proposes a number of amendments that should enable the Agency to better achieve its enhanced objectives. It is crucial that the Agency has the necessary border guards and equipment at its disposal whenever this is needed and especially that it is able to deploy them within a short timeframe when necessary.”

      European Parliament: Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190211IPR25771/stronger-european-border-and-coast-guard-to-secure-eu-s-borders (Press release, link):

      “- A new standing corps of 10 000 operational staff to be gradually rolled out
      - More efficient return procedures of irregular migrants
      - Strengthened cooperation with non-EU countries

      New measures to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard to better address migratory and security challenges were backed by the Civil Liberties Committee.”

      See: REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action n°98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) n° 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) n° 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/ep-libe-report-frontex.pdf (pdf)

      The Commission’s proposal and its annexes can be found here: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-soteu-jha-proposals.htm

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/ep-new-frontex-libe.htm


  • The Administrative Arrangement between Greece and Germany

    The Administrative Arrangement between Ministry of migration Policy of the Hellenic Republic and the Federal Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Germany has been implemented already to four known cases. It has been the product of bilateral negotiations that occurred after German Chancellor Merkel faced another political crisis at home regarding the handling of the refugee issue.

    The document which has been the product of undisclosed negotiations and has not been made public upon its conclusion is a brief description of the cooperation of Greek and German authorities in cases of refusal of entry to persons seeking protection in the context of temporary checks at the internal German-Austrian border, as defined in its title. It essentially is a fast track implementation of return procedures in cases for which Dublin Regulation already lays down specific rules and procedures. The procedures provided in the ‘Arrangement’ skip all legal safeguards and guarantees of European Legislation.

    RSA and PRO ASYL have decided to publicize the document of the Arrangement for the purpose of serving public interest and transparency. The considerable secrecy that the two member states kept on a document of such importance is a scandal itself. There are two first underlying observations which incur/ result from studying the document. First, the Arrangement has the same institutional (or by institutional) features with the EU-Turkey deal, it is the product of negotiations which intend to regulate EU policy procedures without having been the product of an EU level institutional procedure. It circumvents European law (the Dublin regulation) in order to serve the interests of a group of particular member states. As a result its status within the legal apparatus of the EU and international law is obscure.

    Secondly, the ‘Arrangement’ introduces a grey zone (intentionally if not geographically) where a bilateral deal between two countries gains supremacy over European (Dublin regulation) and international legislation (Geneva convention). It is therefore an important document that should be critically and at length studied by all scholars and experts active in the field of refugee protection as it deprives asylum seekers of their rights and is a clear violation of EU law.

    Last but not least as Article 15-ii of the ‘Arrangement’ notes “This Administrative Arrangement will also discontinue upon entry into force of the revised Common European Asylum System”. Still as everyone in Brussels already admits the CEAS reform has been declared dead. So if nothing occurs to reconstitute the defunct CEAS policy and the arrangement remains as the only channel/form of cooperation between Greece and Germany in order to establish responsibility for asylum seekers arriving in Germany after coming through Greece, then could Greece and Germany, in their irregular bilateral efforts to circumvent the European process, have actually produced one of the first post EU legal arrangements?

    https://rsaegean.org/en/the-administrative-arrangement-between-greece-and-germany

    #accord #Allemagne #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Dublin #Règlement_Dublin #renvois #expulsions #accord_bilatéral #regroupement_familial #liaison_officers #officiers_de_liaison #Eurodac #refus_d'entrée #renvois #expulsions #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Autriche #réadmission #avion #vol

    ping @isskein

    • Germany – Magdeburg Court suspends return of beneficiary of international protection to Greece

      On 13 November 2018, the Administrative Court of Magdeburg granted an interim measure ordering the suspensive effect of the appeal against a deportation order of an international protection beneficiary to Greece.

      The case concerned a Syrian national who applied for international protection in Germany. The Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) rejected the application based on the fact that the applicant had already been granted international protection in Greece and ordered his deportation there.

      The Administrative Court held that there were serious doubts regarding the conformity of the BAMF’s conclusion that there were no obstacles to the deportation of the applicant to Greece with national law, which provides that a foreign national cannot be deported if such deportation would be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court found that there are substantial grounds to believe that the applicant would face a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 ECHR if returned to Greece.

      The Court based this conclusion, inter alia, on the recent reports highlighting that international protection beneficiaries in Greece had no practical access to accommodation, food distribution and sanitary facilities for extended periods of time after arrival. The Court further observed that access of international protection beneficiaries to education, health care, employment, accommodation and social benefits under the same conditions as Greek nationals is provided in domestic law but is not enforced. Consequently, the ensuing living conditions could not be considered adequate for the purposes of Article 3 ECHR.

      Finally, the Court found that the risk of destitution after return could be excluded in cases where individual assurances are given by the receiving authorities, clarifying, however, that any such guarantees should be specific to the individual concerned. In this respect, guarantees given by the Greek authorities that generally refer to the transposition of the Qualification Directive into Greek law, as a proof that recognised refugees enjoy the respective rights, could not be considered sufficient.

      https://mailchi.mp/ecre/elena-weekly-legal-update-08-february-2019#8