#mff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      State-of-play report

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

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

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

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

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

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

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

      Training

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

      Use of force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Privileges and immunities

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

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

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

      Law enforcement

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

      Fundamental rights and data protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Returns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      EUROSUR

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

      Summary

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

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

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

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

      Endnotes

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

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

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

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

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

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

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

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

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

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

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

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

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

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

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

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

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

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

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

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

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

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

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

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

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

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

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

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

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

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

      What is the standing corps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The size of the standing corps

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

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

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

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

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

      What are the profiles?

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

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

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

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

      Recruitment for the profiles

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

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

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

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

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

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

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

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

      Fit for service?

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

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

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

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

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

      [14] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

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

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

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

      Aircraft from arms companies

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

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

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

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

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

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

      New interested parties for drone flights

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

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

      Information to non-EU countries

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

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

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

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

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

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

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

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

      Matthias Monroy

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

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

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #drones

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

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

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

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

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

      From external to internal surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

      Legal provisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Sources of data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Operational activities at the internal borders

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

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

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

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

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

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

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

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

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

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

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

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Greece: Organisations share recommendations for the best use of EU funds for refugees

    Four Civil Society Organisations operating in the field of migration in Greece, published today a policy brief with recommendations addressed to national authorities about the best use of EU funds for the integration of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in the country.

    Despite availability of funds, efforts to integrate refugees and migrants in Greece have been limited and fragmented so far and for the government which came to power a year ago, integration does not seem to be high on its agenda. Complex funding procedures, limited collaboration and coordination between stakeholders and often lack of political will, are some of the barriers to the social inclusion of third country nationals, which when combined with exclusionary policies and heated debates at the political level, frequently lead to racist behaviours and even violence against migrants, refugees and those who assist them.

    The fast-approaching next #Multiannual_Financial_Framework (#MFF) -Europe’s seven-year spending plan- is an opportunity for Greece to improve its social policies for everyone and revisit its integration approach and strategy for third country nationals. It is an opportunity that the country cannot afford to miss, especially following the Covid-19 crisis which will have an extremely negative effect on societies, economies and vulnerable groups, if appropriate responses are not adopted.

    The policy brief by SolidarityNow; Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity; the Greek Forum of Refugees and Terre des hommes Hellas, suggests ways to improve the management of funds and programmes while it also takes a deep look into the three main aspects of integration -education and vocational training; employability and housing- and recommends specific steps and actions for their enhancement. All recommendations are the outcome of discussions among numerous stakeholders in the field of migration, including Greek national and local authorities, EU institutions, civil society actors and international non-governmental organisations, during a conference that took place earlier this year.

    The organisations urge Greek competent authorities to take into account the proposed suggestions when submitting their proposals to the European Commission for the next funding period, and use available EU funds to ensure social cohesion and create a more inclusive society for all.

    Download the policy brief here: https://www.solidaritynow.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/EU-Funding-Integration-brief_GreeceEN-1.pdf
    https://www.solidaritynow.org/en/recommendations
    #fonds #Grèce #EU #UE #asile #migrations #réfugiés #dépenses #contrôle #recommandations #cohésion_sociale #inclusion

  • Dai dati biometrici alle motovedette : ecco il #business della frontiera

    La gestione delle frontiere europee è sempre di più un affare per le aziende private. Dai Fondi per la difesa a quelli per la cooperazione e la ricerca: l’Ue implementa le risorse per fermare i flussi.

    Sono 33 i miliardi che l’Europa ha intenzione di destinare dal 2021 al 2027 alla gestione del fenomeno migratorio e, in particolare, al controllo dei confini. La cifra, inserita nel #Mff, il #Multiannual_Financial_Framework (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2018%3A321%3AFIN), (ed ora in discussione tra Commissione, Parlamento e Consiglio) rappresenta il budget complessivo Ue per la gestione delle frontiere esterne, dei flussi migratori e dei flussi di rifugiati. E viene notevolmente rafforzata rispetto al periodo precedente (2016-2020) quando i miliardi stanziati erano 12,4. Meno della metà.

    A questo capitolo di spesa contribuiscono strumenti finanziari diversi: dal fondo sulla sicurezza interna (che passa da 3,4 a 4,8 miliardi) a tutto il settore della cooperazione militare, che coincide sempre più con quello dell’esternalizzazione, come accade già per le due missioni italiane in Libia e in Niger. Anche una parte dei 23 miliardi del Fondo Europeo alla Difesa e di quello per la Pace saranno devoluti allo sviluppo di nuove tecnologie militari per fermare i flussi in mare e nel deserto. Stessa logica per il più conosciuto Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa che, con fondi proveniente dal budget allo sviluppo, finanzia il progetto di blocco marittimo e terrestre nella rotta del Mediterraneo Centrale.

    Un grande business in cui rientrano anche i Fondi alla ricerca. La connessione tra gestione della migrazione, #lobby della sicurezza e il business delle imprese private è al centro di un’indagine di Arci nell’ambito del progetto #Externalisation_Policies_Watch, curato da Sara Prestianni. “Lo sforzo politico nella chiusura delle frontiere si traduce in un incremento del budget al capitolo della sicurezza, nella messa in produzione di sistemi biometrici di identificazione, nella moltiplicazione di forze di polizia europea ai nostri confini e nell’elaborazione di sistemi di sorveglianza - sottolinea Prestianni -. La dimensione europea della migrazione si allontana sempre più dal concetto di protezione in favore di un sistema volto esclusivamente alla sicurezza, che ha una logica repressiva. Chi ne fa le spese sono i migranti, obbligati a rotte sempre più pericolose e lunghe, a beneficio di imprese nazionali che del mercato della sicurezza hanno fatto un vero e propri o business”. Tra gli aspetti più interessanti c’è l’utilizzo del Fondo alla ricerca Orizon 20-20 per ideare strumenti di controllo. “Qui si entra nel campo della biometria: l’obiettivo è dotare i paesi africani di tutto un sistema di raccolta di dati biometrici per fermare i flussi ma anche per creare un’enorme banca dati che faciliti le politiche di espulsione - continua Prestianni -. Questo ha creato un mercato, ci sono diverse imprese che hanno iniziato ad occuparsi del tema. Tra le aziende europee leader in questi appalti c’è la francese #Civipol, che ha il monopolio in vari paesi di questo processo. Ma l’interconnessione tra politici e lobby della sicurezza è risultata ancor più evidente al #Sre, #Research_on_Security_event, un incontro che si è svolto a Bruxelles a dicembre, su proposta della presidenza austriaca: seduti negli stessi panel c’erano rappresentanti della commissione europea, dell’Agenzia #Frontex, dell’industria e della ricerca del biometrico e della sicurezza. Tutti annuivano sulla necessità di aprire un mercato europeo della frontiera, dove lotta alla sicurezza e controllo della migrazione si intrecciano pericolosamente”.

    In questo contesto, non è marginale il ruolo dell’Italia. “L’idea di combattere i traffici e tutelare i diritti nasce con #Tony_Blair, ma già allora l’obiettivo era impedire alle persone di arrivare in Europa - sottolinea Filippo Miraglia, vicepresidente di Arci -. Ed è quello a cui stiamo assistendo oggi in maniera sempre più sistematica. Un esempio è la vicenda delle #motovedette libiche, finanziate dall’Italia e su cui guadagnano aziende italianissime”. Il tema è anche al centro dell’inchiesta di Altreconomia di Gennaio (https://altreconomia.it/frontiera-buon-affare-inchiesta), curata da Duccio Facchini. “L’idea era dare un nome, un volto, una ragione sociale, al modo in cui il ministero degli Interni traduce le strategie di contrasto e di lotta ai flussi di persone” spiega il giornalista. E così si scopre che della rimessa in efficienza di sei pattugliatori, dati dall’Italia alla Tunisia, per il controllo della frontiera, si occupa in maniera esclusiva un’azienda di Rovigo, i #Cantieri_Navali_Vittoria: “Un soggetto senza concorrenti sul mercato, che riesce a vincere l’appalto anche per la rimessa in sicurezza delle motovedette fornite dal nostro paese alla Libia”, sottolinea Facchini.

    Motovedette fornite dall’Italia attraverso l’utilizzo del Fondo Africa: la questione è al centro di un ricorso al Tar presentato da Asgi (Associazione studi giuridici dell’immigrazione). “Il Fondo Africa di 200 milioni di euro viene istituito nel 2018 e il suo obiettivo è implementare le strategie di cooperazione con i maggiori paesi interessati dal fenomeno migratorio: dal #Niger alla LIbia, dalla Tunisia alla Costa d’Avorio - spiega l’avvocata Giulia Crescini -. Tra le attività finanziate con questo fondo c’è la dotazioni di strumentazioni per il controllo delle frontiere. Come Asgi abbiamo chiesto l’accesso agli atti del ministero degli Esteri per analizzare i provvedimenti e vedere come sono stati spesi questi soldi. In particolare, abbiamo notato l’utilizzo di due milioni di euro per la rimessa in efficienza delle motovedette fornite dall’Italia alla Libia - aggiunge -. Abbiamo quindi strutturato un ricorso, giuridicamente complicato, cercando di interloquire col giudice amministrativo, che deve verificare la legittimità dell’azione della Pubblica amministrazione. Qualche settimana fa abbiamo ricevuto la sentenza di rigetto in primo grado, e ora presenteremo l’appello. Ma studiando la sentenza ci siamo accorti che il giudice amministrativo è andato a verificare esattamente se fossero stati spesi bene o meno quei soldi - aggiunge Crescini -. Ed è andato così in profondità che ha scritto di fatto che non c’erano prove sufficienti che il soggetto destinatario stia facendo tortura e atti degradanti nei confronti dei migranti. Su questo punto lavoreremo per il ricorso. Per noi è chiaro che l’Italia oggi sta dando strumentazioni necessarie alla Libia per non sporcarsi le mani direttamente, ma c’è una responsabilità italiana anche se materialmente non è L’Italia a riportare indietro i migranti. Su questo punto stiamo agendo anche attraverso la Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo”.

    http://www.redattoresociale.it/Notiziario/Articolo/620038/Dai-dati-biometrici-alle-motovedette-ecco-il-business-della-frontie

    #externalisation #frontières #UE #EU #Europe #Libye #Forteresse_européenne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #privatisation #argent #recherche #frontières_extérieures #coopération_militaire #sécurité_intérieure #fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l'Afrique #technologie #militarisation_des_frontières #fonds_fiduciaire #développement #Horizon_2020 #biométrie #données #données_biométriques #base_de_données #database #expulsions #renvois #marché #marché_européen_de_la_frontière #complexe_militaro-industriel #Tunisie #Côte_d'Ivoire #Italie
    ping @isskein @albertocampiphoto

    • Gli affari lungo le frontiere. Inchiesta sugli appalti pubblici per il contrasto all’immigrazione “clandestina”

      In Tunisia, Libia, Niger, Egitto e non solo. Così lo Stato italiano tramite il ministero dell’Interno finanzia imbarcazioni, veicoli, idranti per “ordine pubblico”, formazione delle polizie e sistemi automatizzati di identificazione. Ecco per chi la frontiera rappresenta un buon affare.

      Uno dei luoghi chiave del “contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina” che l’Italia conduce lungo le rotte africane non si trova a Tunisi, Niamey o Tripoli, ma è in un piccolo comune del Veneto, in provincia di Rovigo, affacciato sul Canal Bianco. È ad Adria, poco distante dal Po, che ha sede “Cantiere Navale Vittoria”, un’azienda nata nel 1927 per iniziativa della famiglia Duò -ancora oggi proprietaria- specializzata in cantieristica navale militare e paramilitare. Si tratta di uno dei partner strategici della Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il ministero dell’Interno, per una serie di commesse in Libia e Tunisia.

      La Direzione è il braccio del Viminale in tema di “gestione” dei flussi provenienti da quei Paesi ritenuti di “eccezionale rilevanza nella gestione della rotta del Mediterraneo centrale” (parole della Farnesina). Quella “rotta” conduce alle coste italiane: Libia e Tunisia, appunto, ma anche Niger e non solo. E quel “pezzo” del Viminale si occupa di tradurre in pratica le strategie governative. Come? Appaltando a imprese italiane attività diversissime tra loro per valore, fonti di finanziamento, tipologia e territori coinvolti. Un principio è comune: quello di dar forma al “contrasto”, sul nostro territorio o di frontiera. E per questi affidamenti ricorre più volte una formula: “Il fine che si intende perseguire è quello di collaborare con i Paesi terzi ai fini di contrastare il fenomeno dell’immigrazione clandestina”. Tra gli ultimi appalti aggiudicati a “Cantiere Navale Vittoria” (ottobre 2018) spicca la rimessa in efficienza di sei pattugliatori “P350” da 34 metri, di proprietà della Guardia nazionale della Tunisia. Tramite gli atti della procedura di affidamento si possono ricostruire filiera e calendario.

      Facciamo un salto indietro al giugno 2017, quando i ministeri degli Esteri e dell’Interno italiani sottoscrivono un’“intesa tecnica” per prevedere azioni di “supporto tecnico” del Viminale stesso alle “competenti autorità tunisine”. Obiettivo: “Migliorare la gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione”, inclusi la “lotta al traffico di migranti e le attività di ricerca e soccorso”. La spesa prevista -12 milioni di euro- dovrebbe essere coperta tramite il cosiddetto “Fondo Africa”, istituito sei mesi prima con legge di Stabilità e provvisto di una “dotazione finanziaria” di 200 milioni di euro. L’obiettivo dichiarato del Fondo è quello di “rilanciare il dialogo e la cooperazione con i Paesi africani d’importanza prioritaria per le rotte migratorie”. Le autorità di Tunisi hanno fretta, tanto che un mese dopo l’intesa tra i dicasteri chiedono all’Italia di provvedere subito alla “rimessa in efficienza” dei sei pattugliatori. Chi li ha costruiti, anni prima, è proprio l’azienda di Adria, e da Tunisi giunge la proposta di avvalersi proprio del suo “know how”. La richiesta è accolta. Trascorre poco più di un anno e nell’ottobre 2018 l’appalto viene aggiudicato al Cantiere per 6,3 milioni di euro. L’“attività di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina”, scrive la Direzione immigrazione e frontiere, è di “primaria importanza per la sicurezza nazionale, anche alla luce dei recenti sbarchi sulle coste italiane di migranti provenienti dalle acque territoriali tunisine”. I pattugliatori da “consegnare” risistemati alla Tunisia servono quindi a impedire o limitare gli arrivi via mare nel nostro Paese, che da gennaio a metà dicembre di 2018 sono stati 23.122 (di cui 12.976 dalla Libia), in netto calo rispetto ai 118.019 (105.986 dalla Libia) dello stesso periodo del 2017.


      A quel Paese di frontiera l’Italia non fornisce (o rimette in sesto) solamente navi. Nel luglio 2018, infatti, la Direzione del Viminale ha stipulato un contratto con la #Totani Company Srl (sede a Roma) per la fornitura di 50 veicoli #Mitsubishi 4×4 Pajero da “consegnare presso il porto di Tunisi”. Il percorso è simile a quello dei sei pattugliatori: “Considerata” l’intesa del giugno 2017 tra i ministeri italiani, “visto” il Fondo Africa, “considerata” la richiesta dei 50 mezzi da parte delle autorità nordafricane formulata nel corso di una riunione del “Comitato Italo-Tunisino”, “vista” la necessità di “definire nel più breve tempo possibile le procedure di acquisizione” per “garantire un dispiegamento efficace dei servizi di prevenzione e di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina”, eccetera. E così l’offerta economica di 1,6 milioni di euro della Totani è ritenuta congrua.

      Capita però che alcune gare vadano deserte. È successo per la fornitura di due “autoveicoli allestiti ‘idrante per ordine pubblico’” e per la relativa attività di formazione per 12 operatori della polizia tunisina (352mila euro la base d’asta). “Al fine di poter supportare il governo tunisino nell’ambito delle attività di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina” è il passe-partout utilizzato anche per gli idranti, anche se sfugge l’impiego concreto. Seppur deserta, gli atti di questa gara sono interessanti per i passaggi elencati. Il tutto è partito da un incontro a Roma del febbraio 2018 tra l’allora ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti e l’omologo tunisino. “Sulla base” di questa riunione, la Direzione del Viminale “richiede” di provvedere alla commessa attraverso un “appunto” datato 27 aprile dello stesso anno che viene “decretato favorevolmente” dal “Sig. Capo della Polizia”, Franco Gabrielli. Alla gara (poi non aggiudicata) si presenta un solo concorrente, la “Brescia Antincendi International Srl”, che all’appuntamento con il ministero delega come “collaboratore” un ex militare in pensione, il tenente colonnello Virgilio D’Amata, cavaliere al merito della Repubblica Italiana. Ma è un nulla di fatto.

      A Tunisi vengono quindi consegnati navi, pick-up, (mancati) idranti ma anche motori fuoribordo per quasi 600mila euro. È del settembre 2018, infatti, un nuovo “avviso esplorativo” sottoscritto dal direttore centrale dell’Immigrazione -Massimo Bontempi- per la fornitura di “10 coppie di motori Yamaha 4 tempi da 300 CV di potenza” e altri 25 da 150 CV. Il tutto al dichiarato fine di “garantire un dispiegamento efficace dei servizi di prevenzione e di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina”.

      Come per la Tunisia, anche in Libia il ritmo è scandito da “intese tecniche” tra ministeri “per l’uso dei finanziamenti” previsti nel Fondo Africa. Parlamento non pervenuto

      Poi c’è la Libia, l’altro fronte strategico del “contrasto”. Come per la Tunisia, anche in questo contesto il ritmo è scandito da “intese tecniche” tra ministeri di Esteri e Interno -Parlamento non pervenuto- “per l’uso dei finanziamenti” previsti nel citato Fondo Africa. Una di queste, datata 4 agosto 2017, riguarda il “supporto tecnico del ministero dell’Interno italiano alle competenti autorità libiche per migliorare la gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione, inclusi la lotta al traffico di migranti e le attività di ricerca e soccorso”. L’“eventuale spesa prevista” è di 2,5 milioni di euro. Nel novembre 2017 se n’è aggiunta un’altra, rivolta a “programmi di formazione” dei libici del valore di 615mila euro circa (sempre tratti dal Fondo Africa). Quindi si parte dalle intese e poi si passa ai contratti.

      Scorrendo quelli firmati dalla Direzione immigrazione e polizia delle frontiere del Viminale tra 2017 e 2018, e che riguardano specificamente commesse a beneficio di Tripoli, il “fornitore” è sempre lo stesso: Cantiere Navale Vittoria. È l’azienda di Adria -che non ha risposto alle nostre domande- a occuparsi della rimessa in efficienza di svariate imbarcazioni (tre da 14 metri, due da 35 e una da 22) custodite a Biserta (in Tunisia) e “da restituire allo Stato della Libia”. Ma anche della formazione di 21 “operatori della polizia libica” per la loro “conduzione” o del trasporto di un’altra nave di 18 metri da Tripoli a Biserta. La somma degli appalti sfiora complessivamente i 3 milioni di euro. In alcuni casi, il Viminale dichiara di non avere alternative al cantiere veneto. Lo ha riconosciuto la Direzione in un decreto di affidamento urgente per la formazione di 22 “operatori di polizia libica” e la riconsegna di tre motovedette a fine 2017. Poiché Cantiere Navale Vittoria avrebbe un “patrimonio informativo peculiare”, qualunque ricerca di “soluzioni alternative” sarebbe “irragionevole”. Ecco perché in diverse “riunioni bilaterali di esperti” per la cooperazione tra Italia e Libia “in materia migratoria”, oltre alla delegazione libica (i vertici dell’Amministrazione generale per la sicurezza costiera del ministero dell’Interno) e quella italiana (tra cui l’allora direttore del Servizio immigrazione del Viminale, Vittorio Pisani), c’erano anche i rappresentanti di Cantiere Navale Vittoria.
      Se i concorrenti sono pochi, la fretta è tanta. In più di un appalto verso la Libia, infatti, la Direzione ha argomentato le procedure di “estrema urgenza” segnalando come “ulteriori indugi”, ad esempio “nella riconsegna delle imbarcazioni”, non solo “verrebbero a gravare ingiustificatamente sugli oneri di custodia […] ma potrebbero determinare difficoltà anche di tipo diplomatico con l’interlocutore libico”. È successo nell’estate 2018 anche per l’ultimo “avviso esplorativo” da quasi 1 milione di euro collegato a quattro training (di quattro settimane) destinati a cinque equipaggi “a bordo di due unità navali da 35 metri, un’unità navale da 22 metri e un’unità navale da 28 metri di proprietà libica”, “al fine di aumentare l’efficienza di quel Paese per il contrasto dell’immigrazione illegale”. Lo scopo è fornire una “preparazione adeguata su ogni aspetto delle unità navali”. Della materia “diritti umani” non c’è traccia.

      Questa specifica iniziativa italiana deriva dal Memorandum d’Intesa con la Libia sottoscritto a Roma dal governo Gentiloni (Marco Minniti ministro dell’Interno), il 2 febbraio 2017. Il nostro Paese si era impegnato a “fornire supporto tecnico e tecnologico agli organismi libici incaricati della lotta contro l’immigrazione clandestina”. È da lì che i governi di Italia e Libia decidono di includere tra le attività di cooperazione anche l’erogazione dei corsi di addestramento sulle motovedette ancorate a Biserta.

      Ai primi di maggio del 2018, il Viminale decide di accelerare. C’è l’“urgenza di potenziare, attraverso la rimessa in efficienza delle imbarcazioni e l’erogazione di corsi di conduzione operativa, il capacity building della Guardia Costiera libica, al fine di aumentare l’efficienza di quel Paese per il contrasto dell’immigrazione illegale”. Anche perché, aggiunge il ministero, “alla luce degli ultimi eventi di partenze di migranti dalle coste libiche”, “appare strettamente necessario ed urgente favorire il pieno ripristino dell’efficienza delle competenti Autorità dello Stato della Libia nell’erogazione dei servizi istituzionali”. E così a fine giugno 2018 viene pubblicato il bando: i destinatari sono “operatori della polizia libica” e non invece le guardie costiere. Il ministero ha dovuto però “rimodulare” in corsa l’imposto a base d’asta della gara (da 763mila a 993mila euro). Perché? Il capitolato degli oneri e il verbale di stima relativi al valore complessivo dell’intera procedura sarebbero risultati “non remunerativi” per l’unico operatore interessato: Cantiere Navale Vittoria Spa, che avrebbe comunicato “di non poter sottoscrivere un’offerta adeguata”.

      Le risorse per quest’ultimo appalto non arrivano dal Fondo Africa ma da uno dei sei progetti finanziati in Libia dall’Unione europea tramite il “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa” (EU Trust Fund), istituito a fine 2015 con una dotazione di oltre 4 miliardi di euro. Quello che ci riguarda in particolare s’intitola “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”, del valore di oltre 46 milioni di euro. Mentre l’Ue è il principale finanziatore, chi deve implementarlo in loco, dal luglio 2017, è proprio il nostro ministero dell’Interno. Che è attivo in due aree della Libia: a Nord-Ovest, a Tripoli, a beneficio delle guardie costiere libiche (tramite la costituzione di un centro di coordinamento per le operazioni di ricerca e soccorso in mare e per la dichiarazione di un’area di ricerca e soccorso in mare autonoma), e una a Sud-Ovest, nella regione del Fezzan, nel distretto di Ghat, per incrementare la capacità di sorveglianza, “in particolare nelle aree di frontiera terrestre con il Niger, maggiormente colpita dall’attraversamento illegale”. È previsto inoltre un “progetto pilota” per istituire una sede operativa per circa 300 persone, ripristinando ed equipaggiando le esistenti strutture nella città di Talwawet, non lontano da Ghat, con tre avamposti da 20 persone l’uno.

      A un passo da lì c’è il Niger, l’altra tessera del mosaico. Alla metà di dicembre 2018, non risultano appalti in capo alla Direzione frontiere del Viminale, ma ciò non significa che il nostro Paese non sia attivo per supportare (anche) la gestione dei suoi confini. A metà 2017, infatti, l’Italia ha destinato 50 milioni di euro all’EU Trust Fund per “far fronte alle cause profonde della migrazione in Africa/Finestra Sahel e Lago Ciad”, con un’attenzione particolare al Niger. Si punta alla “creazione di nuove unità specializzate necessarie al controllo delle frontiere, di nuovi posti di frontiera fissa, o all’ammodernamento di quelli esistenti, di un nuovo centro di accoglienza per i migranti a Dirkou, nonché per la riattivazione della locale pista di atterraggio”. In più, dal 2018 è scesa sul campo la “Missione bilaterale di supporto nella Repubblica del Niger” (MISIN) che fa capo al ministero della Difesa e ha tra i suoi obiettivi quello di “concorrere alle attività di sorveglianza delle frontiere”. Il primo corso “per istruttori di ordine pubblico a favore della gendarmeria nigerina” si è concluso a metà ottobre 2018. Pochi mesi prima, a luglio, era stata sottoscritta un’altra “intesa tecnica” tra Esteri e Difesa per rimettere in efficienza e cedere dieci ambulanze e tre autobotti. Finalità? “Il controllo del territorio volto alla prevenzione e al contrasto ai traffici di esseri umani e al traffico di migranti, e per l’assistenza ai migranti nell’ambito delle attività di ricerca e soccorso”: 880mila euro circa. Il Niger è centrale: stando all’ultima programmazione dei Paesi e dei settori in cui sono previsti finanziamenti tramite il “Fondo Africa” (agosto 2018, fonte ministero degli Esteri), il Paese è davanti alla Libia (6 milioni contro 5 di importo massimo preventivato).

      Inabissatosi in Niger, il ministero dell’Interno riemerge in Egitto. Anche lì vigono “accordi internazionali diretti al contrasto dell’immigrazione clandestina” sostenuti dall’Italia. La loro traduzione interessa da vicino la succursale italiana della Hewlett-Packard (HP). Risale infatti a fine 2006 un contratto stipulato tra la multinazionale e la Direzione del Viminale “per la realizzazione di un Sistema automatizzato di identificazione delle impronte (AFIS) per lo Stato dell’Egitto”, finalizzato alle “esigenze di identificazione personale correlate alla immigrazione illegale”: oltre 5,2 milioni di euro per il periodo 2007-2012, cui se ne sono aggiunti ulteriori 1,8 milioni per la manutenzione ininterrotta fino al 2017 e quasi 500mila per l’ultima tranche, 2018-2019. HP non ha avversari -come riporta il Viminale- in forza di un “accordo in esclusiva” tra la Hewlett Packard Enterprise e la multinazionale della sicurezza informatica Gemalto “in relazione ai prodotti AFIS per lo Stato dell’Egitto”. Affari che non si possono discutere: “L’interruzione del citato servizio -sostiene la Direzione- è suscettibile di creare gravi problemi nell’attività di identificazione dei migranti e nel contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina, in un momento in cui tale attività è di primaria importanza per la sicurezza nazionale”. Oltre alla partnership con HP, il ministero dell’Interno si spende direttamente in Egitto. Di fronte alle “esigenze scaturenti dalle gravissimi crisi internazionali in vaste aree dell’Africa e dell’Asia” che avrebbero provocato “massicci esodi di persone e crescenti pressioni migratorie verso l’Europa”, la Direzione centrale immigrazione (i virgolettati sono suoi) si è fatta promotrice di una “proposta progettuale” chiamata “International Training at Egyptian Police Academy” (ITEPA). Questa prevede l’istituzione di un “centro di formazione internazionale” sui temi migratori per 360 funzionari di polizia e ufficiali di frontiera di ben 22 Paesi africani presso l’Accademia della polizia egiziana de Il Cairo. Il “protocollo tecnico” è stato siglato nel settembre 2017 tra il direttore dell’Accademia di polizia egiziana ed il direttore centrale dell’Immigrazione e della polizia delle frontiere. Nel marzo 2018, il capo della Polizia Gabrielli è volato a Il Cairo per il lancio del progetto. “Il rispetto dei diritti umani -ha dichiarato in quella sede- è uno degli asset fondamentali”.

      “La legittimità, la finalità e la consistenza di una parte dei finanziamenti citati con le norme di diritto nazionale e internazionale sono stati studiati e in alcuni casi anche portati davanti alle autorità giudiziarie dai legali dell’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi, asgi.it)”, spiega l’avvocato Giulia Crescini, parte del collegio dell’associazione che si è occupato della vicenda. “Quando abbiamo chiesto lo stato di implementazione dell’accordo internazionale Italia-Libia del febbraio 2017, il ministero dell’Interno ha opposto generiche motivazioni di pericolo alla sicurezza interna e alle relazioni internazionali, pertanto il ricorso dopo essere stato rigettato dal Tar Lazio è ora pendente davanti al Consiglio di Stato”. La trasparenza insegue la frontiera.

      –-----------------------------

      “LEONARDO” (FINMECCANICA) E GLI INTERESSI SULLE FRONTIERE

      In Tunisia, Libia, Egitto e Niger, l’azienda Leonardo (Finmeccanica) avrebbe in corso “attività promozionali per tecnologie di sicurezza e controllo del territorio”. Alla richiesta di dettagli, la società ha risposto di voler “rivitalizzare i progetti in sospeso e proporne altri, fornendo ai Governi sistemi e tecnologie all’avanguardia per la sicurezza dei Paesi”. Leonardo è già autorizzata a esportare materiale d’armamento in quei contesti, ma non a Tripoli. Il Consiglio di Sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite, infatti, ha approvato la Risoluzione 2420 che estende l’embargo sulle armi nel Paese per un altro anno. “Nel prossimo futuro -fa sapere l’azienda di cui il ministero dell’Economia è principale azionista- il governo di accordo nazionale potrà richiedere delle esenzioni all’embargo ONU sulle armi, per combattere il terrorismo”. Alla domanda se Leonardo sia coinvolta o operativa nell’ambito di iniziative collegate al fondo fiduciario per l’Africa dell’Unione europea e in particolare al programma da 46 milioni di euro coordinato dal Viminale, in tema di frontiere libiche, l’azienda ha fatto sapere che “in passato” avrebbe “collaborato con le autorità libiche per lo sviluppo e implementazione di sistemi per il monitoraggio dei confini meridionali, nonché sistemi di sicurezza costiera per il controllo, la ricerca e il salvataggio in mare”. Attualmente la società starebbe “esplorando opportunità in ambito europeo volte allo sviluppo di un progetto per il controllo dei flussi migratori dall’Africa all’Europa, consistente in un sistema di sicurezza e sorveglianza costiero con centri di comando e controllo”.

      Export in Libia. Il “caso” Prodit

      Nei primi sei mesi del 2018, attraverso l’Autorità nazionale UAMA (Unità per le autorizzazioni dei materiali d’armamento), l’Italia ha autorizzato l’esportazione di “materiale d’armamento” verso la Libia per un valore di circa 4,8 milioni di euro. Nel 2017 questa cifra era zero. Si tratta, come impone la normativa in tema di embargo, di materiali “non letali”. L’ammontare è minimo se paragonato al totale delle licenze autorizzate a livello mondiale dall’Italia tra gennaio e giugno 2018 (3,2 miliardi di euro). Chi esporta è una singola azienda, l’unica iscritta al Registro Nazionale delle Imprese presso il Segretariato Generale del ministero della Difesa: Prodit Engineering Srl. In Libia non ha esportato armi ma un veicolo terrestre modificato come fuoristrada e materiali utilizzabili per sminamento.

      https://altreconomia.it/frontiera-buon-affare-inchiesta

      #Leonardo #Finmeccanica #Egypte #Tunisie #identification #P350 #Brescia_Antincendi_International #Virgilio_D’Amata #Massimo_Bontempi #Yamaha #Minniti #Marco_Minniti #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #Missione_bilaterale_di_supporto_nella_Repubblica_del_Niger #MISIN #Hewlett-Packard #AFIS #International_Training_at_Egyptian_Police_Academy #ITEPA

    • "La frontiera è un buon affare": l’inchiesta sul contrasto del Viminale all’immigrazione «clandestina» a suon di appalti pubblici

      Dalla Tunisia alla Libia, dal Niger all’Egitto: così lo Stato italiano finanzia imbarcazioni, veicoli, formazione a suon di appalti pubblici. I documenti presentati a Roma dall’Arci.

      «Quando si parla di esternalizzazione della frontiera e di diritto di asilo bisogna innanzitutto individuare i Paesi maggiormente interessati da queste esternalizzazioni, capire quali sono i meccanismi che si vuole andare ad attaccare, creare un caso e prenderlo tempestivamente. Ma spesso per impugnare un atto ci vogliono 60 giorni, le tempistiche sono precise, e intraprendere azioni giudiziarie per tutelare i migranti diventa spesso molto difficile. Per questo ci appoggiamo all’Arci». A parlare è Giulia Crescini, avvocato dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione, che insieme a Filippo Miraglia, responsabile immigrazione di ARCI, Sara Prestianni, coordinatrice del progetto #externalisationpolicieswatch, e Duccio Facchini, giornalista di Altreconomia, ha fatto il punto sugli appalti della Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il ministero dell’Interno e più in generale dei fondi europei ed italiani stanzianti per implementare le politiche di esternalizzazione del controllo delle frontiere in Africa.

      L’inchiesta. Duccio Facchini, presentando i dati dell’inchiesta di Altreconomia «La frontiera è un buon affare», ha illustrato i meccanismi di una vera e propria strategia che ha uno dei suoi punti d’origine in un piccolo comune del Veneto, in provincia di Rovigo, affacciato sul Canal Bianco - dove ha sede una delle principale aziende specializzate in cantieristica navale militare e paramilitare - e arriva a toccare Tripoli, Niamey o Il Cairo. Il filo rosso che lega gli affidamenti milionari è uno solo: fermare il flusso di persone dirette in Italia e in Europa. Anche utilizzando fondi destinati alla cooperazione e senza alcun vaglio parlamentare.

      Il Fondo Africa, istituito con la legge di bilancio 2017, art. 1 comma 621 per l’anno 2018, è pari a 200 milioni di euro, cifra che serve per attivare forme di collaborazione e cooperazione con i Paesi maggiormente interessati dal fenomeno della migrazione, anche se l’espressione in sé significa tutto e niente. «Questo fondo - ha spiegato Facchini in conferenza nella sede Arci lo scorso 6 febbraio - viene dato al ministero degli Affari esteri internazionali che individua quali sono questi Paesi: nello specifico il ministero ha indicato una sfilza di Paesi africani, dal Niger alla Libia alla Tunisia, passando per l’Egitto la Costa d’Avorio, indicando anche una serie di attività che possono essere finanziate con questi soldi. Tra queste c’è la dotazione di strumentazioni utili per il controllo della frontiera». Gli autori dell’inchiesta hanno chiesto al ministero l’elenco dei provvedimenti che sono stati messi in campo e per attivare questa protezione alla frontiera. «Siamo alla fine del 2017 e notiamo che tra questi ce n’è uno che stanzia 2 milioni e mezzo per la messa in opera di quattro motovedette. Da lì cominciamo a domandarci se in base alla normativa italiana è legittimo dare una strumentazione così specifica a delle autorità così notoriamente coinvolte nella tortura e nella violenza dei migranti. Quindi abbiamo strutturato un ricorso giuridicamente molto complicato per cercare di interloquire con il giudice amministrativo». Notoriamente il giudice amministrativo non è mai coinvolto in questioni relative al diritto di asilo - per capire: è il giudice degli appalti - ed è insomma colui che va a verificare se la pubblica amministrazione ha adempiuto bene al suo compito.

      l punto di partenza. «Il giudice amministrativo e la pubblica amministrazione – ha spiegato Giulia Crescini dell’Asgi - stanno sempre in un rapporto molto delicato fra loro perché la pubblica amministrazione ha un ambito di discrezionalità all’interno del quale il giudice non può mai entrare, quindi la PA ha dei limiti che vengono messi dalla legge e all’interno di quei limiti il ministero può decidere come spendere quei soldi. Secondo noi quei limiti sono superati, perché la legge non autorizza a rafforzare delle autorità che poi commettono crimini contro i migranti, riportando queste persone sulla terra ferma in una condizione di tortura, soprattutto nei centri di detenzione». I legati hanno dunque avviato questo ricorso, ricevendo, qualche settimana fa, la sentenza di rigetto di primo grado. La sentenza è stata pubblicata il 7 gennaio e da quel giorno a oggi i quattro avvocati hanno studiato le parole del giudice, chiedendo alle altre organizzazioni che avevano presentato insieme a loro il ricorso se avessero intenzione o meno di fare appello. «Studiando la sentenza - continua Crescini - ci siamo accorti di come. pur essendo un rigetto, non avesse poi un contenuto così negativo: il giudice amministrativo in realtà è andato a verificare effettivamente se la pubblica amministrazione avesse speso bene o meno questo soldi, cioè se avesse esercitato in modo corretto o scorretto la discrezionalità di cui sopra. Un fatto che non è affatto scontato. Il giudice amministrativo è andato in profondità, segnalando il fatto che non ci sono sufficienti prove di tortura nei confronti dei migranti da parte delle autorità. Dal punto di vista giuridico questo rappresenta una vittoria. Perché il giudice ha ristretto un ambito molto specifico su cui potremo lavorare davanti al Consiglio di Stato».

      La frontiera è un buon affare. L’inchiesta «La frontiera è un buon affare» rivela che lo sforzo politico che vede impegnate Italia e istituzioni europee nella chiusura delle frontiere si traduce direttamente in un incremento del budget al capitolo della sicurezza, nella messa in produzione di sistemi biometrici di identificazione, nella moltiplicazione di forze di polizia europea ai nostri confini e nell’elaborazione di sistemi di sorveglianza.

      La dimensione europea della migrazione - si legge in un comunicato diffuso da Arci - si allontana sempre più dal concetto di protezione a favore di un sistema volto esclusivamente alla sicurezza e alla repressione del fenomeno migratorio. La logica dell’esternalizzazione, diventata pilastro della strategia tanto europea quanto italiana di gestione delle frontiere, assume in questo modo, sempre più, una dimensione tecnologica e militare, assecondando le pressioni della lobby dell’industria della sicurezza per l’implementazione di questo mercato. L’uso dei fondi è guidato da una tendenza alla flessibilità con un conseguente e evidente rischio di opacità, conveniente per il rafforzamento di una politica securitaria della migrazione.

      Nel MFF - Multiannual Financial Framework - che definisce il budget europeo per un periodo di 7 anni e ora in discussione tripartita tra Commissione, Parlamento e Consiglio - si evidenzia l’intento strategico al netto dei proclami e dei comizi della politica: la migrazione è affrontata principalmente dal punto di vista della gestione del fenomeno e del controllo delle frontiere con un incremento di fondi fino a 34 miliardi di euro per questo settore.

      A questo capitolo di spesa - si legge ancora nel comunicato - contribuiscono strumenti finanziari diversi, dal fondo sulla sicurezza interna - che passa dai 3,4 del 2014/20120 ai 4,8 miliardi del 2021/2027 e che può essere speso anche per la gestione esterna delle frontiere - a tutto il settore della cooperazione militare che coincide sempre più con quello dell’esternalizzazione, una tendenza che si palesa con evidenza nelle due missioni militari nostrane in Libia e Niger.

      Dei 23 miliardi del Fondo Europeo alla Difesa e quello per la Pace, una buona parte saranno devoluti allo sviluppo di nuova tecnologia militare, utilizzabili anche per la creazione di muri nel mare e nel deserto. Stessa logica anche per il più conosciuto Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa che, con fondi provenienti dal budget allo sviluppo, finanzia il progetto di blocco marittimo e terrestre nella rotta del Mediterraneo centrale.

      Sulla pelle dei migranti. Chi ne fa le spese, spiegano gli autori dell’inchiesta, sono i migranti, obbligati a rotte sempre più pericolose e lunghe, a beneficio di imprese nazionali che del mercato della sicurezza hanno fatto un vero e proprio business. Questa connessione e interdipendenza tra politici e lobby della sicurezza, che sfiora a tutto gli effetti il conflitto di interessi, è risultata evidente nel corso del SRE «Research on security event» tenutosi a Bruxelles a fine dicembre su proposta della presidenza austriaca. Seduti negli stessi panel rappresentanti della commissione dell’Agenzia Frontex, dell’industria e della ricerca del biometrico e della sicurezza, manifestavano interesse per un obbiettivo comune: la creazione di un mercato europeo della sicurezza dove lotta al terrorismo e controllo della migrazione si intrecciano pericolosamente

      «Il Governo Italiano si iscrive perfettamente nella logica europea, dalle missioni militari con una chiara missione di controllo delle frontiere in Niger e Libia al rinnovo del Fondo Africa, rifinanziato con 80 milioni per il 2018/2019, che condiziona le politiche di sviluppo a quelle d’immigrazione», dichiara ancora Arci. «Molti i dubbi che solleva questa deriva politica direttamente tradotta nell’uso dei fondi europei e nazionali: dalle tragiche conseguenze sulla sistematica violazione delle convenzione internazionali a una riflessione più ampia sull’opacità dell’uso dei fondi e del ruolo sempre più centrale dell’industria della sicurezza per cui la politica repressiva di chiusura sistematica delle frontiere non è altro che l’ennesimo mercato su cui investire, dimenticandosi del costo in termine di vite umane di questa logica».

      https://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/immigrazione/2019/02/07/news/la_frontiera_e_un_buon_affare-218538251

    • Appalti sulle frontiere: 30 mezzi di terra alla Libia dall’Italia per fermare i migranti

      Il ministero dell’Interno italiano si appresta a fornire alle autorità di Tripoli nuovi veicoli fuoristrada per il “contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. Un appalto da 2,1 milioni di euro finanziato tramite il “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa”, nell’ambito del quale l’Italia accresce il proprio ruolo. Il tutto mentre l’immagine ostentata di una “Libia sicura” è offuscata dagli stessi atti di gara del Viminale

      Il ministero dell’Interno italiano si appresta a fornire alle autorità della Libia trenta nuovi veicoli fuoristrada per le “esigenze istituzionali legate al contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. L’avviso esplorativo pubblicato dalla Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il Viminale, risale al 5 marzo 2019 (scadenza per la presentazione della manifestazione d’interesse all’8 aprile di quest’anno).

      La fornitura riguarda 30 mezzi “Toyota Land Cruiser” (15 del modello GRJ76 Petrol e 15 del GRJ79 DC Petrol), in “versione tropicalizzata”, relativamente ai quali le autorità libiche, il 24 dicembre 2018, avrebbero esplicitato alla Direzione di Roma precise “specifiche tecniche”. Il Viminale la definisce una “richiesta di assistenza tecnica” proveniente da Tripoli per le “esigenze istituzionali legate al contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. In forza di questa “strategia”, dunque, il governo italiano -in linea con i precedenti, come abbiamo raccontato a gennaio nell’inchiesta sugli “affari lungo le frontiere”– continua a equipaggiare le autorità del Paese Nord-africano per contrastare i flussi migratori. L’ammontare “massimo” degli ultimi due lotti (da 15 mezzi l’uno) è stimato in 2,1 milioni di euro.

      E così come è stato per la gara d’appalto da oltre 9,3 milioni di euro per la fornitura di 20 imbarcazioni destinate alla polizia libica, indetta dal Viminale a fine dicembre 2018, anche nel caso dei 30 mezzi Toyota le risorse arriveranno dal “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa” (EU Trust Fund), istituito dalla Commissione europea a fine 2015 con una dotazione di oltre 4 miliardi di euro. In particolare, dal progetto implementato dal Viminale e intitolato “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”, dal valore di oltre 46 milioni di euro e il cui “delegation agreement” risale a metà dicembre 2017 (governo Gentiloni, ministro competente Marco Minniti).

      Questo non è l’unico progetto finanziato tramite l’EU Trust Fund che vede il ministero dell’Interno italiano attivo nel continente africano. Alla citata “First Phase”, infatti, se ne sono affiancati nel tempo altri due. Uno è di stanza in Tunisia e Marocco (“Border Management Programme for the Maghreb region”), datato luglio 2018 e dal valore di 55 milioni di euro. L’altro progetto, di nuovo, ricade in Libia. Si tratta del “Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya – Second Phase”, risalente al 13 dicembre 2018, per un ammontare di altri 45 milioni di euro. Le finalità dichiarate nell’”Action Document” della seconda fase in Libia sono -tra le altre- quelle di “intensificare gli sforzi fatti”, “sviluppare nuove aree d’intervento”, “rafforzare le capacità delle autorità competenti che sorvegliano i confini marittimi e terrestri”, “l’acquisto di altre navi”, “l’implementazione della rete di comunicazione del Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre” di Tripoli, “la progettazione specifica di programmi per la neocostituita polizia del deserto”.

      La strategia di contrasto paga, sostiene la Commissione europea. “Gli sforzi dell’Ue e dell’Italia nel sostenere la Guardia costiera libica per migliorare la sua capacità operativa hanno raggiunto risultati significativi e tangibili nel 2018”, afferma nel lancio della “seconda fase”. Di “significativo e tangibile” c’è il crollo degli sbarchi sulle coste italiane, in particolare dalla Libia. Dati del Viminale alla mano, infatti, nel periodo compreso tra l’1 gennaio e il 7 marzo 2017 giunsero 15.843 persone, scese a 5.457 lo scorso anno e arrivate a 335 quest’anno. La frontiera è praticamente sigillata. Un “successo” che nasconde la tragedia dei campi di detenzione e sequestro libici dove migliaia di persone sono costrette a rimanere.

      È in questa cornice che giunge il nuovo “avviso” del Viminale dei 30 veicoli, pubblicato come detto il 5 marzo. Quello stesso giorno il vice-presidente del Consiglio e ministro dell’Interno, Matteo Salvini, ha incontrato a Roma il vicepremier libico Ahmed Maiteeq. Un “cordiale colloquio”, come recita il comunicato ministeriale, che avrebbe visto sul tavolo “i rapporti tra i due Paesi, in particolare su sicurezza, lotta al terrorismo, immigrazione e stabilizzazione politica della Libia”.

      Ma l’immagine ostentata dal governo Conte di una “Libia sicura” è offuscata dagli stessi atti di gara del ministero dell’Interno. Tra i quesiti presentati al Viminale da parte dei potenziali concorrenti al bando dei 20 battelli da destinare alla polizia libica, infatti, si trovano richieste esplicite di “misure atte a garantire la sicurezza dei propri operatori”. “Laddove si rendesse strettamente necessario effettuare interventi di garanzia richiesti in loco (Libia)”, gli operatori di mercato hanno chiesto alla Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere “che tali prestazioni potranno essere organizzate a patto che le imbarcazioni si trovino in città (Tripoli, ndr) per garantire la sicurezza degli operatori inviati per tali prestazioni”. Il ministero dell’Interno conferma il quadro di instabilità del Paese: “Le condizioni di sicurezza in Libia devono essere attentamente valutate in ragione della contingenza al momento dell’esecuzione del contratto”, è la replica al quesito. “Appare di tutto evidenza che la sicurezza degli operatori non dovrà essere compromessa in relazione ai rischi antropici presenti all’interno dello Stato beneficiario della commessa”. Per gli operatori, non per i migranti in fuga.

      https://altreconomia.it/appalti-libia-frontiere-terra
      #Libye