organization:european commission

  • GBC - Gibraltar News - GBC TV and Radio Gibraltar
    https://www.gbc.gi/news/gib-authorities-and-royal-marines-board-and-detain-supertanker-en-route-syria

    Gibraltar Port and Law Enforcement agencies, assisted by a detachmentof Royal Marines, boarded and detained a super tanker carrying crude oil to Syria in the early hours of Thursday morning.

    This followed information giving the Gibraltar Government reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel, the Grace 1, was acting in breach of European Union sanctions against Syria.

    The operation took place overnight as the giant vessel sailed into Gibraltar waters.

    The Government says it has reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria.The refinery is the property of an entity subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.

    #piraterie #gibraltar reste un atout géopolitique

    en arabe : https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/%d8%b3%d9%84%d8%b7%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%ac%d8%a8%d9%84-%d8%b7%d8%a7%d8%b1%d9%8
    où il est précisé que le navire est sous pavillon de Panama et que le pétrole serait iranien.

    • https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1177558/lambassadeur-britannique-en-iran-convoque-apres-la-saisie-dun-petroli

      Dans un communiqué, le gouvernement de Gibraltar, territoire britannique situé à la pointe sud de l’Espagne, dit avoir de bonnes raisons de croire que les cuves du Grace 1 contiennent du pétrole destiné à la raffinerie syrienne de Banyas. Le gouvernement syrien est la cible de sanctions de l’Union européenne depuis mai 2011, date du début de la répression sanglante des manifestations pour la démocratie par le régime de Bachar el-Assad.

      D’après l’outil de données cartographiques Refinitiv Eikon mapping, le Grace 1 a chargé du brut iranien le 17 avril dernier, ce qui constituerait une violation des sanctions américaines sur les exportations de pétrole iranien rétablies l’an dernier après la décision de Donald Trump de retirer les Etats-Unis de l’accord de 2015 sur le nucléaire iranien.

    • https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1128207/Gibraltar-tanker-seizure-triggers-IranUK-diplomatic-row

      (...)

      The incident triggered debate over the lawfulness of the tanker seizure and detention which will be tested in Gibraltar’s Supreme Court in coming days.

      Local maritime and admiralty lawyers have been instructed for the Captain of the Port, financial secretary and the attorney general, Lloyd’s List understands, ahead of what is expected to be protracted legal debate.

      The acting foreign minister of Spain — which claims the waters as its own and does not recognise British sovereignty — said Britain acted at the behest of the US and the country was assessing the detention’s legal implications.

      The US has not shown the same vigilance for Iran-China crude flows, which have been taking place without action. Iranian- and Chinese-owned or controlled ships have been loading cargoes since the May 1 ending of waivers allowing some countries limited imports. About five cargoes have been discharged in Syria.

      Lloyd’s List understands that the owner of the very large crude carrier is Russian Titan Shipping, a subsidiary of Dubai-based oil and energy shipping company TNC Gulf, which has clear Iranian links.

      While Grace 1 has a complex ownership chain that is not unusual for many internationally trading vessels, its executives listed on LinkedIn have Iranian university and technical qualifications, or list their names in Farsi, the Iranian language.

      The ship’s current class and insurance is unknown according to databases. Lloyd’s Register withdrew class in January, 2019, as did former P&I insurers Swedish Club, at the same time as the vessel arrived to spend a month at the Bandar-e Taheri single buoy mooring area in Iranian waters, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence data.

      The ship’s opaque ownership and operating chain is complicated further by company websites linked to the tanker not operating. The European Commission-operated Equasis website lists the shipmanager as Singapore-based Iships Management. However, the website is under construction and its telephone number is not in service. Websites for Russian Titan Shipping and TNC Gulf are also not working. LinkedIn lists Captain Asadpour as the executive managing director, saying he has also been president of the Georgia-based Russian Shipping Lines for 11 years.

  • If mayors ruled migration : Promises and gaps

    On 8th December 2018, two days before the UN Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, some 80 cities around the world convened in Marrakech for the 5th Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development. The cities signed a Mayors’ Declaration, identifying common priorities in the follow up and review process of the Global Compact. On that same occasion, a new initiative called the Mayors Migration Council was launched, to support cities’ engagement in international deliberations and policies concerning refugees and migrants. A couple of months afterwards, on February 9th, 2019, the mayors of the main Spanish and Italian cities launched an alliance to oppose the ‘closed harbours’ policy of the Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini and to denounce the incapacity of the EU to address the situation appropriately.

    These are just two recent examples that show how city policies and mobilisation on migration can resonate well beyond municipal and national walls. Can cities’ international mobilisation rescue states (and the EU) from their failure in dealing with migration issues? Cities’ enthusiasts like Benjamin Barber, founder of the Global Parliament of Mayors, have no doubts about the governance capacity of city networks (CN henceforth): ‘Mayors can rule the world because cities represent a level of governance sufficiently local to demand pragmatism and efficiency in problem solving but sufficiently networked to be able to fashion cooperative solutions to the interdependent challenges they face’. Pragmatism and cooperative interaction are presented as the key assets of mayors, cities and, by extension, city networks’ mode of governing global challenges. On the basis of – the still scarce – existing research on city global mobilisation on migration-related issues and of the preliminary results of the MinMUS Project, we can identify the promises and challenges of transnational city networks for the building of a new multilevel governance of international migration.

    Is local policy more pragmatic?

    The idea that local governments must deal with the situation ‘as it is’, therefore taking distance from abstract – and presumably ineffective – ideological recipes, has underpinned the development of research on local migration policy. However, evidence is contradictory and, especially in the US, studies seem to show that pragmatic attitudes and accommodative solutions are just as likely to occur as decisions aiming at excluding migrants or simply ignoring the issue altogether. What a ‘pragmatic solution’ is cannot be easily established a priori, but will depend on policymakers’ interests, perceptions, and definitions of the situation.

    Data collected by the Cities of Refuge project on 27 transnational city networks in Europe show that the most networked cities are leaning towards the centre-left, progressive-side of the political spectrum. And even if membership usually outlasts political shifts, this might not correspond to active participation, as pointed out by research in the field of climate change mitigation. Furthermore, according to Cities of Refuge, cities that adhere to international networks have an average population of 1.5 million, meaning that they are primarily large cities. However, as noted by OECD, while nearly two-thirds of migrants settle in metropolitan and densely populated regions, asylum seekers are more spread across urban-rural areas.

    Territorial dispersal of asylum seekers reflects evidence on reception policies collected by the CeasEVAL Project. To face the sense of pressure generated by increasing inflows since 2011, national governments in both federal/regional countries (Germany, Italy and Spain) and centralised ones (Finland, Luxemburg, Greece and Bulgaria), have redistributed asylum seekers all over their territory, including small municipalities in rural and mountains areas. Even though the reaction of local populations has not necessarily been negative, CeasEVAL points out a high level of heterogeneity in the type of accommodation and quality of services provided, as well as in opportunities for effective integration. Policy learning and exchange of best practices would probably be of great interest to these ‘new immigrant destinations’; however, they often do not have the financial, human and political resources required to participate in international network activities.

    Hence, the international arena is a highly selective one, which risks excluding those – especially small – cities that might be more in need of accessing knowledge and other – mainly financial – resources in order to deal effectively with the challenges of migration and asylum. Modes of inclusion will also depend on the goals of city networks, which are extremely diverse.

    Cities as key players in the multilevel governance of migration?

    City networks gather together on a voluntary basis local authorities in order to pursue perceived collective interests or purposes. They lack authoritative power, and therefore have to rely upon horizontal coordination and mutual cooperation to carry out and implement their initiatives. As such, city networks are organisations which aim at realising quintessential multilevel governance policy processes: on the vertical dimension, they interact with institutions operating at different – local, regional, national and supra-national – territorial scales; on the horizontal dimension city networks establish new relations between cities and with non-public actors mobilised at a city level.

    To assess these hypotheses, the MInMUS project (website) has carried out an in-depth analysis of four transnational networks on migration, i.e.: the Migration and Integration Working Group of Eurocities, the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR), the Intercultural Cities Programme (ICC) and Welcoming America. Results show that these networks: 1) pursue different agendas and 2) are engaged in different types of policymaking processes.

    Regarding agendas, ECCAR and ICC are focused on the promotion of a specific type of local policy, i.e. anti-discrimination and interculture respectively; Eurocities seeks to represent main cities vis-á-vis the European Commission, being involved primarily in lobbying activities; whereas Welcoming America is concerned with soliciting grassroots participation and community partnerships. As for policymaking processes, Welcoming America prioritizes relations with actors such as NGOs, CSOs and private business, whereas Eurocities is more focused on relations with the European Commission and national governments. A more balanced pattern of multilevel political dynamics can be discerned in the other two cases. In particular ICC, starting from 2016, has adopted an explicit multilevel governance approach aimed at promoting cooperation and coordination both on the vertical, i.e. between different levels of government, and on the horizontal, i.e. with non-public actors, dimensions of policy-making.

    Multilevel governance, far from being the essence of city networking initiatives, is only one possible mode of policymaking interactions and it is not even the most relevant one. City networks may well find it more convenient or appropriate to pursue other types of policy interactions, centred on a vertical dimension as in the case of Eurocities or on the horizontal dimension as in that of Welcoming America. Multilevel governance seems easier to pursue in the case of networks that are already established as multilevel organisations. This is the case of ECCAR, launched by Unesco in 2004, and of ICC, officially started in 2008 as a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Patterns of relations and modes of policymaking seem to reflect to a large extent the genesis of city networks and their distinctive policy agenda.

    Getting back to our initial question: Can cities’ international mobilisation rescue states (and the EU) from their failure in dealing with migration issues? While one cannot deny the key role played by cities in the managing of migration crises as well as in supporting integration and community cohesion more generally, city networks’ skewed membership that consists mainly of larger and politically progressive cities should make us cautious about their impact on improving migrants’ living conditions at a grassroots level. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the initiative of supranational institutions ‘from above’ has played a key role in favouring cities’ collaboration around specific policy issues such as interculture and anti-discrimination. Indeed, cities and their networks represent a new actor in the multilevel political dynamics around migration; yet whether and to what extent they will be effective in promoting collaborative multilevel governance relations and influencing national government and EU agendas on migration remains to be seen.

    https://blogs.eui.eu/migrationpolicycentre/mayors-ruled-migration-promises-gaps
    #municipalisme #migrations #villes #collectivités_locales #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gouvernance

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les #villes-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759145

    ping @karine4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      New agreements

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

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

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

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

      Relevant articles

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

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

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

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

      Right to redress

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

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

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

      Across the board

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

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

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

      It includes a further provision that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa dobrodosli, le 10.06.2019

      L’article original:
      Što Frontex radi u Albaniji?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • From Bosnia and Herzegovina a video showing seven adults and five children detained in cage-like detention cells in #Klobuk near #Trebinje as part of the #International_Border_Crossing (#MGP) was published. It is terrifying to read the official statement of the BiH Border Police, where they state how all is in line with EU standards- we must ask whether inhumane and humiliating treatment of people who migrate is an EU standard?

    #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Monténégro #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_Balkans #Balkans

    –-> signalé par Inicijativa Dobrodosli, via leur mailing-list (29.04.2019)

    Held in a cage?!

    We have received footage and photos displaying two detained families after they were pushed back in the border area between Bosnia and Herzegovina with Montenegro, Klobuk border crossing near Trebinje.


    Video and the photos show people being held in cage-like detention cells, previously also seen and mentioned with the case of the Houssiny family. There were reportedly 7 adults and 5 children among the detained people. The youngest is 3 years old.

    They were detained in this way and stayed over night. However, the authorities claim everything is “by the book” and in accordance with the EU standards.

    They say since the border crossing where people were later taken to is not a firm building, they have no barred rooms to detain people, so they use this — ironically funded by the European Commission — in order to “provide daylight” to the people and they stress the people were not locked inside.

    Either way, the question remains — is this the standard and a collective decision to treat and detain currently the most vulnerable group in the planet, refugees?

    Will anyone finally bring into question and condemn the methods and current human rights breaking detention and push back practice?

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-23-4-19-weekend-of-violent-push-backs-from-croatia-and-bosn

    Lien vers la vidéo:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4YAoBPGBHw


    #cages #cage #vidéo #animalisation #brutalisation

    • In our neighbouring country Bosnia and Herzegovina, the local authorities consider volunteers to disturb public order and peace by helping migrants. As a result, the work of some of them has been banned - you can read more about it in this article: https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/vlasti-bih-smatraju-da-volonteri-remete-javni-red-i-mir-tako-sto-pomazu-mig. This is the last example of the criminalization of solidarity work, yet it’s not the only one: nowadays Europe is becoming more and more a place of repression towards those who are willing to oppose hate speech and intolerance, promoting and everyday practicing solidarity. You can read more about it in this article: http://novilist.hr/Komentari/Kolumne/Pronadena-zemlja-Borisa-Pavelica/BORIS-PAVELIC-Brigade-bespomocnih?meta_refresh=true.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodošli, le 31.05.2019

    • Migrants dying in Bosnia: Red Cross

      Thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded in Bosnia on their way to Western Europe. They are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. The international Red Cross says some have died while trying to find shelter.

      About 6,000 people have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the year, according to the country’s security agencies. But all the transit centers, which can accommodate around 3,500 people, are full, forcing thousands to sleep rough.

      “People are sleeping in parks, in carparks, on the footpath, and in dangerous buildings,” said Indira Kulenovic, operations manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Bosnia.

      “A few weeks ago, three migrants sheltering in an abandoned building burned to death when a candle they were using caused a fire. Soon after, another fell from the top floor of a building he was sheltering in. Psychological stress among migrants is high – just last week one man set himself on fire in desperation,” Kulenovic said.

      ‘Humanitarian crisis’

      Bosnia is on the route of thousands of people from Asia and North Africa who try to enter Europe via neighboring Croatia, an EU member state. Last year, about 25,000 people entered Bosnia from Serbia and Montenegro.

      Mobile teams from the Bosnian Red Cross society have been handing out food, water, clothes, blankets and first aid to the migrants, as well as trying to provide psychological support.

      Red Cross workers are also distributing information about active landmine fields to warn people of the dangers of unexploded bombs. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most landmine-contaminated countries in Europe.

      The Red Cross is working in five migrant centers across the country providing meals for 3,000 people a day, as well as clothing, bedding, tents and first aid. Meanwhile, the UN migration agency, IOM, is providing food supplies.

      Despite their efforts, the head of the Bosnian Red Cross, Rajko Lazic, says living conditions for many people remain inadequate in the centers and worse for those outside. “The situation has reached a critical point. This is a humanitarian crisis,” Lazic said.

      Disease outbreaks

      In migrant reception centers, overcrowding has led to an increase in infectious diseases. The Bosnian health minister, Nermina Cemalovic, said on 15 May there were 800 cases of scabies in transit centers in Bihac, one of the western towns where migrants are concentrated.

      Health workers have also been trying to prevent an outbreak of measles after aid workers were hospitalized with the disease.

      “We are extremely concerned for people on the move in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the IFRC’s Kulenovic said. “They are arriving in poor condition, and many, including children, have walked for weeks. They are hungry, exhausted, sick and cold and traumatized by their journeys. The recent wet weather has just made their journeys worse.”

      Kulenovic added that the local population was also suffering from the pressure that extra numbers had put on services, land and property. The IFRC and the Red Cross Society of Bosnia aim to provide food, first aid and other assistance to 7,600 of the most vulnerable migrants as well as cash grants for 1,500 host families during 2019.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/17218/migrants-dying-in-bosnia-red-cross?ref=tw
      #mourir_en_Bosnie #morts #décès #Kljuc #OIM #IOM #Croix-Route

  • Des anges gardiens de l’Est au service d’une Europe vieillissante
    (anges gardiennes, non, plutôt ?)
    https://www.nouvelobs.com/societe/20190421.AFP5077/des-anges-gardiens-de-l-est-au-service-d-une-europe-vieillissante.html
    https://information.tv5monde.com/info/des-anges-gardiens-de-l-est-au-service-d-une-europe-vieillissa (avec des photos)

    Dans les cas les plus graves, le mal-être des auxiliaires de vie peut tourner à la dépression. En Roumanie, le phénomène est connu sous le nom de « syndrome italien ». Le terme désigne les troubles psychiatriques dont souffrent certaines soignantes ayant travaillé des années à l’étranger, souvent en Italie, laissant leur propre famille derrière elles.

    Durant la seule année dernière, plus de 150 femmes souffrant de ce syndrome ont été admises dans une unité spécialisée de l’hôpital psychiatrique de Iasi, dans le nord de la Roumanie.

    Parmi les anciennes patientes de l’unité, une quinquagénaire ayant travaillé en Italie de 2002 à 2014, décrit la montée d’une angoisse « profonde et sombre » au fil des ans : « C’est avantageux d’un point de vue de financier mais après la tête ne fonctionne plus correctement », confie cette mère de deux enfants sous couvert d’anonymat.

    « J’ai travaillé la plupart du temps auprès de malades d’Alzheimer, coincée entre quatre murs (...) Je leur ai sacrifié mes plus belles années ».

    also in english (article plus long, il semble)

    Care workers cross Europe’s east-west divide
    https://news.yahoo.com/care-workers-cross-europes-east-west-divide-024600024.html
    [AFP]
    Julia ZAPPEI with Ionut IORDACHESCU in Bucharest, AFP•April 21, 2019

    Women from Slovakia and Romania form the backbone of Austria’s domestic care sector (AFP Photo/JOE KLAMAR)

    Leoben (Austria) (AFP) - Every two weeks, Alena Konecna packs her bags to leave her own mother and daughter at home in Slovakia and travel some 400 kilometres (250 miles) across the border into Austria to take care of someone else’s mother.

    As citizens across the continent prepare to vote in May’s European Parliament elections, 40-year-old Konecna is an example of those who regularly take advantage of one of the EU’s most important pillars: the free movement of labour.

    She’s one of more than 65,000 people — mostly women from Slovakia and Romania — who form the backbone of Austria’s domestic care sector.

    For two weeks at a time, Konecna stays with the 89-year-old bedridden woman to cook and care for her.

    “Without care workers from abroad, the 24-hour care system would break down... No one (in Austria) wants to do it,” says Klaus Katzianka, who runs the agency that found Konecna her current job and who himself needs round-the-clock care due to a disability.

    But the arrangement may be coming under strain.

    – Demographic time bomb -

    Austria — along with other countries such as Germany, Greece and Italy — looked to poorer neighbouring states after the fall of communism to meet the need for carers generated by an ageing population and changing family structures.

    But it is “problematic to build a system on this,” says Kai Leichsenring, executive director of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.

    As eastern European nations become richer and their own populations age, workers there may increasingly choose to stay put, he warns.

    Western European nations would then have to look further afield — to Ukraine or China, for example — to meet the ever-growing demand.

    In Konecna’s case, she started to work as a caregiver more than two years ago in the town of Leoben, nestled amid mountains in the Austrian countryside, which reminds her of her home in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.

    Previously the single mother worked in a factory in the car industry.

    Fed up with the long shifts and inspired by her mother’s erstwhile career as a nurse, in 2015 she took a three-month course in first aid and care skills, including some practical experience in nursing homes.

    She also took a one-month German course, allowing her to watch TV with her employer and read newspapers to her.

    Care workers can earn roughly double as much in Austria than in Slovakia, although Konecna says it’s hard to leave behind her daughter, now 19.

    “My daughter was often sick when I was away. And I have missed things like my daughter’s birthday,” she says, adding she would prefer working in Slovakia if wages were better there.

    – ’Italy syndrome’ -

    Besides being separated from their families, there are other problems in how the sector works across Europe.

    A study by the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz found inadequate training, extreme working hours and salaries below the legal minimum wage.

    Up to 300,000 caregivers are estimated to work in private homes in Germany, mostly illegally. They previously hailed mostly from Poland but now increasingly come from poorer EU states such as Romania and Slovakia.

    Konecna was put off going to Germany by the more gruelling cycle which is common there, with workers staying three months at a time.

    For many of those from poorer EU member states working in the West, workplace conditions can leave lasting effects.

    In Romania, more than 150 women were hospitalised at Socola Psychiatric Hospital in the country’s northeast last year alone, their mental health having suffered after caring for the elderly abroad — what has become known as the “Italy syndrome”.

    “I had the misfortune to work all the time for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s so I spent most of my time between four walls, under constant pressure,” says one former hospital patient, a 58-year-old mother of two who worked in Italy from 2002 until 2014.

    “I devoted the most beautiful years of my life to elderly Italians.”

    – ’Big minus’ -

    Added to the stress of such jobs, there are signs that EU migrant workers like Konecna may come under fire from their host governments.

    Last year in Austria for example, the right-wing government decided to cut the amount of child benefit paid to foreigners who work in Austria but whose children live abroad in lower income countries.

    With a monthly salary of about 1,200 euros ($1,400), Konecna says the changes have meant an effective pay cut of 80 euros, a “big minus” for her.

    Katzianka, who fears difficulties to find carers from Slovakia now, has hired a lawyer for Konecna to contest the change.

    Romania has also protested to the European Commission over the change, saying it violates EU principles of equal treatment.

  • Queer Muslim Asylum in Germany

    Queer Muslim Asylum Spaces is a European Commission funded research project under the #H2020 programme. Queer, trans, gay, and intersex asylum seekers belong to the least visible and most vulnerable group within Germany’s asylum system. Based on the experiences of LGBTQI+ Muslim asylum seekers in Germany, this study examines how access to asylum can be influenced by Westernized ideas about sexual orientation and gender identity as well as anti-Muslim sentiments and politics. The findings will be useful to different groups, including community organisations and policymakers. They will be used to support the development of policies and politics that are based on a better understanding of the many different experiences of Muslim LGBTQI+ asylum seekers. The study will also challenge social attitudes about “the Muslim” and “the refugee” through working with artists and photographers and the launch of a podcast series.

    https://www.queerasylum.org
    #LGBT #queer #homosexualité #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Allemagne

  • Forest disaster in Slovakia

    The forests in Slovakian mountains are considered by many to be the landscape least impacted by humans in Central Europe, in the last two decades. This is not true anymore. This part of Slovakian natural heritage is gone.

    Slovakia is facing the worst ecological disaster in its history. The European Commission has given this country two more months before it steps in. Slovakia has one weeks remaining before this ultimatum. If Slovakia does not stop destroying the last remnants of its natural forests in Europe by March of this year, the European Commission will refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union. There is a threat of extraordinary fines.

    The sad news is that the sanctions from the European Commission will not restore the old-growth forests and natural forests that have been lost from the Slovakian Mountains and protected areas. Ongoing logging, approved or ignored by political leaders, is already threatening not only the disappearing capercaillie, but above all it is threatening the people. For example they lose water-quality, natural biodiversity or the old-growth forests inherited from great-grandparents.


    https://wilderness-society.org/forest-disaster-in-slovakia
    #forêt #déforestation #Slovaquie #forêts

  • Poland defies green activists, EU with Baltic canal project | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-environment-vistulaspit-idUSKCN1QL1AN


    A general view of the harvested forest on Vistula Spit near Skowronki, Poland February 20, 2019.
    Agencja Gazeta/Michal Ryniak via REUTERS

    Poland is pressing ahead with plans to dig a waterway across a narrow strip of land that separates its main eastern coastline from the Baltic Sea despite concerns among activists and in the European Union that it could damage the environment.

    The #Vistula_Spit is a heavily wooded sandbank 55 km (34 miles) long but less than 2 km wide which encloses a coastal lagoon. Poland shares both the lagoon and the spit with the neighboring Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

    Currently, the only access to the lagoon from the Baltic Sea is a channel at the Russian end of the spit. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), deeply distrustful of Russia, says a canal is needed for both security and economic reasons.

    Critics say it is a costly vanity project that could become another environment-related flashpoint between Warsaw and Brussels after increased logging in Poland’s Bialowieza Forest led to a ruling by the EU’s top court that it was illegal.

    Defending the project, which is estimated to cost 900 million zlotys ($237 million), Poland’s minister for maritime affairs, Marek Grobarczyk, said: “The first and basic reason for the construction ... is a threat from the east.

    This is the border of the EU, NATO, and above all of Poland, and it cannot really be controlled now because ships can only enter the Vistula Lagoon with Russia’s approval,” he said, adding that work would start in the second half of 2019.

    Russia has deployed advanced nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, while Warsaw is lobbying hard to have more NATO troops on its soil, especially since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

    However an EU official said on Friday Poland should refrain from building the canal before getting the green light from the European Commission.

    As with the Bialowieza Forest, parts of the Vistula Spit are protected under the EU Natura 2000 program.

  • Drone Surveillance Operations in the Mediterranean: The Central Role of the Portuguese Economy and State in EU Border Control

    Much has been written in the past years about the dystopic vision of EU borders increasingly equipped with drone surveillance (see here: http://www.europeanpublicaffairs.eu/high-tech-fortress-europe-frontex-and-the-dronization-of-borde, here: http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-next-phase-of-european-border-and.html, here: https://www.heise.de/tp/features/EU-startet-Langstreckendrohnen-zur-Grenzueberwachung-4038306.html and here: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/11/role-technology). Yet, when the first joint drone surveillance operation of #Frontex, the #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) and Portuguese authorities was launched on 25 September 2018, there was a lack of response both from the media and concerned activists or researchers. Yet, the EMSA offered details about the operation on its website, and Frontex as well. In addition, Frontex mentioned in its press statement parallel operations undertaken in Italy and Greece in the same period.

    These operations were a crucial step for the setup of the joint European information system for border surveillance, #EUROSUR. The drone surveillance program in the context of Frontex operations is a major step in the operational setup of the EUROSUR program that aims to integrate databases and national coordination centres of 24 European countries. EUROSUR was officially introduced with a policy paper in 2008, and the system itself was launched on 1 December 2013 as a mechanism of information exchange among EU member states. But it is not yet fully operational, and drone surveillance is commonly seen as a central component for full operationability. Thus, the cooperation between the EMSA, Frontex and the Portuguese state in the recent operation is a crucial milestone to achieve the aim of EUROSUR to create a unified European border surveillance system.

    This is why the operation launched in Portugal in September 2018 is of higher significance to the ones in Italy and Greece since it includes not only national authorities but also the EMSA, located in Lisbon, as a new key actor for border surveillance. EMSA was founded in 2002 as a response to various shipping disasters that lead to environmental pollution and originally focuses on monitoring the movement of ships, with a focus on the safety of shipping operations, environmental safety at sea and the trading of illegal goods via maritime transport.

    In 2016 the EMSA was allocated 76 million Euros in a bid for the production of drones for the surveillance of the Mediterranenan in the context of Frontex missions. EMSA`s bid foresaw that drones would be hired by EMSA itself. EMSA would run the operation of drones and share real-time data with Frontex. The largest part of this bid, 66 million Euros, went to the Portuguese company #Tekever, while smaller portions went to the Italian defence company #Leonardo and to the Portuguese air force that will operate drones produced by the Portuguese company #UA_Vision. At the same time, the successful bid of Tekever and the integration of Portuguese authorities in surveillance operations catapults Portugal onto the map of the defence and surveillance industry that profits immensely from the recent technological craze around border surveillance (see here, here and here).

    Lisbon-based Tekever set up a factory for the production of drones in the Portuguese mainland in #Ponte_de_Sor, an emerging new hub for the aerospace industry. Together with French #Collecte_Localisation_Service, which specialises in maritime surveillance, Tekever founded the consortium #REACT in order to produce those specific drones. Under the Portuguese operation, ground control, i.e. the technical coordination of the flight of the drones, was located in Portugal under the authority of the Portuguese air force, while the operation was coordinated remotely by Frontex experts and Portuguese authorities in the #Frontex_Situational_Centre in Poland where data were shared in real-time with EMSA. This first operation is a crucial step, testing the technical and administrative cooperation between EMSA and Frontex, and the functionality of the drones that were specifically produced for this purpose. These drones are lighter than the ones used in Greece and Italy, and they are equipped with special cameras and #radars that can detect ship movements and receive emergency calls from the sea. This allows to run data collected by the drones through an algorithm that is programmed to distinguish so-called ´#migrant_vessels´ from other ships and boats.

    The Portuguese government has set up a number of initiatives to foster this industry. For example, a national strategy called #Space_2030 (#Estratégia_Portugal_Espaço_2030) was launched in 2018, and the newly founded #Portuguese_Space_Agency (#Agência_Espacial_Portuguesa) will begin to work in the first months of 2019. The fact that border surveillance is one of the larger European programs boosting the defence and surveillance industry financially has not generated any controversy in Portugal; neither the fact that a center-left government, supported by two radical left parties is propping up surveillance, aerospace and defence industries. The colonial continuities of this industrial strategy are all too visible since narratives like ‘from the discovery of the sea to the technology of space’ are used not only by industry actors, but also, for example, by the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK on its website. In this way, social and political #domination of non-European territories and the control of the movement of racialized bodies are reduced to the fact of technological capability – in the colonial period the navigation of the seas with optical instruments, astronomic knowledge and ships, and today the electronic monitoring of movements on the sea with drones and integrated computer systems. The Portuguese aerospace industry is therefore presented as a cultural heritage that continues earlier technological achievements that became instruments to set up a global empire.

    The lack of any mention about the start of the drone surveillance programme does not only demonstrate that border surveillance goes largely unquestioned in Europe, but also that the sums spent for surveillance and defence by EU agencies create incentives to engage more in the defence and surveillance industry. This goes all the more for countries that have been hit hard by austerity and deindustrialisation, such as Portugal. The recent increase of 9.3 billion Euros for the period 2021 to 2027 for border surveillance funding in the EU with the creation of the #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund focused on border protection, is a telling example of the focus of current EU industrial policies. For the same period, the European Commission has earmarked 2.2 billion Euro for Frontex in order to acquire, operate and maintain surveillance assets like drones, cameras, fences, and the like. In this situation, the political consensus among EU governments to restrict migration reinforces the economic interests of the defence industry and vice versa, and the interest of national governments to attract #high-tech investment adds to this. Those lock-in effects could probably only be dismantled through a public debate about the selective nature of the entrepreneurial state whose funding has decisive influence on which industries prosper.

    While the Portuguese government does not currently have a single helicopter operating in order to control and fight forest fires that have caused more than 100 deaths in the past two years, much EU and national public funding goes into technology aimed at the control of racialized bodies and the observation of earth from space. At the same time, there is considerable concern among experts that surveillance technology used for military means and border security will be rolled out over the entire population in the future for general policing purposes. For this reason, it remains important to keep an eye on which technologies are receiving large public funds and what are its possible uses.


    https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2019/02/drone
    #drones #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #technologie_de_la_surveillance #externalisation #business #algorithme #colonialisme #néo-colonialisme #impérialisme #héritage_culturel #austérité #désindustrialisation

    ping @daphne @marty @albertocampiphoto @fil

    • Des drones en renfort dans l’#opération_Sophia

      Pour renforcer la surveillance aérienne, après le départ des navires, l’opération Sophia déployée en Méditerranée (alias #EUNAVFOR_Med) va bénéficier d’un renfort d’au moins un drone #Predator de l’aeronautica militare.

      L’#Italie a indiqué sa disponibilité à fournir un drone à l’opération Sophia, selon nos informations confirmées à bonne source. Ce pourrait être un #MQ-9A Predator B, la version la plus avancée et la plus récente du drone, d’une longueur de 10,80 m avec une envergure de plus de 20 mètres, qui peut voler à 445 km / heure. De façon alternative, selon les moyens disponibles, un MQ-1C Predator A, plus modeste (longueur de 8,20 m et envergure de 14,80 m), pouvant voler à 160 km/heure, pourrait aussi être déployé.

      http://www.bruxelles2.eu/2019/04/09/des-drones-en-renfort-dans-loperation-sophia
      #operation_Sophia

  • Au #Niger, l’UE mise sur la #police_locale pour traquer les migrants

    Au Niger, l’Union européenne finance le contrôle biométrique des frontières. Avec pour objectif la lutte contre l’immigration, et dans une opacité parfois très grande sur les méthodes utilisées.

    Niger, envoyé spécial.– Deux semaines après une attaque meurtrière attribuée aux groupes armés djihadistes, un silence épais règne autour du poste de la gendarmerie de Makalondi, à la frontière entre le Niger et le Burkina Faso. Ce jour de novembre 2018, un militaire nettoie son fusil avec un torchon, des cartouches scintillantes éparpillées à ses pieds. Des traces de balles sur le mur blanc du petit bâtiment signalent la direction de l’attaque. Sur le pas de la porte, un jeune gendarme montre son bras bandé, pendant que ses collègues creusent une tranchée et empilent des sacs de sable.
    L’assaut, à 100 kilomètres au sud de la capitale Niamey, a convaincu le gouvernement du Niger d’étendre les mesures d’état d’urgence, déjà adoptées dans sept départements frontaliers avec le Mali, à toute la frontière avec le Burkina Faso. La sécurité a également été renforcée sur le poste de police, à moins d’un kilomètre de distance de celui de la gendarmerie, où les agents s’affairent à une autre mission : gérer les flux migratoires.
    « On est les pionniers, au Niger », explique le commissaire Ismaël Soumana, montrant les équipements installés dans un bâtiment en préfabriqué. Des capteurs d’empreintes sont alignés sur un comptoir, accompagnés d’un scanneur de documents, d’une microcaméra et d’un ordinateur. « Ici, on enregistre les données biométriques de tous les passagers qui entrent et sortent du pays, on ajoute des informations personnelles et puis on envoie tout à Niamey, où les données sont centralisées. »
    Makalondi est le premier poste au Niger à avoir installé le Midas, système d’information et d’analyse de données sur la migration, en septembre 2018. C’est la première étape d’un projet de biométrisation des frontières terrestres du pays, financé par l’UE et le #Japon, et réalisé conjointement par l’#OIM, l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations – créatrice et propriétaire du système #Midas –, et #Eucap_Sahel_Niger, la mission de sécurité civile de Bruxelles.


    Au cœur de ce projet, il y a la Direction pour la surveillance du territoire (DST), la police aux frontières nigérienne, dont le rôle s’est accru au même rythme que l’intérêt européen à réduire la migration via le Niger. Dans un quartier central de Niamey, le bureau du directeur Abdourahamane Alpha est un oasis de tranquillité au milieu de la tempête. Tout autour, les agents tourbillonnent, en se mêlant aux travailleurs chinois qui renouvellent leur visa et aux migrants ouest-africains sans papiers, en attente d’expulsion.
    Dessinant une carte sur un morceau de papier, le commissaire Alpha trace la stratégie du Niger « pour contrôler 5 000 kilomètres de frontière avec sept pays ». Il évoque ainsi les opérations antiterrorisme de la force G5 Sahel et le soutien de l’UE à une nouvelle compagnie mobile de gardes-frontières, à lancer au printemps 2019.
    Concernant le Midas, adopté depuis 2009 par 23 pays du monde, « le premier défi est d’équiper tous les postes de frontière terrestre », souligne Alpha. Selon l’OIM, six nouveaux postes devraient être équipés d’ici à mi-2020.

    Un rapport interne réalisé à l’été 2018 et financé par l’UE, obtenu par Mediapart, estime que seulement un poste sur les douze visités, celui de Sabon Birni sur la frontière avec le Nigeria, est apte à une installation rapide du système Midas. Des raisons de sécurité, un flux trop bas et composé surtout de travailleurs frontaliers, ou encore la nécessité de rénover les structures (pour la plupart bâties par la GIZ, la coopération allemande, entre 2015 et 2016), expliquent l’évaluation prudente sur l’adoption du Midas.
    Bien que l’installation de ce système soit balbutiante, Abdourahamane Alpha entrevoit déjà le jour où leurs « bases de données seront connectées avec celles de l’UE ». Pour l’instant, du siège de Niamey, les agents de police peuvent consulter en temps quasi réel les empreintes d’un Ghanéen entrant par le Burkina Faso, sur un bus de ligne.
    À partir de mars 2019, ils pourront aussi les confronter avec les fichiers du Pisces, le système biométrique du département d’État des États-Unis, installé à l’aéroport international de Niamey. Puis aux bases de données d’Interpol et du Wapis, le système d’information pour la police de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, un fichier biométrique financé par le Fonds européen de développement dans seize pays de la région.
    Mais si le raccordement avec des bases de données de Bruxelles, envisagé par le commissaire Alpha, semble une hypothèse encore lointaine, l’UE exerce déjà un droit de regard indirect sur les écrans de la police nigérienne, à travers Frontex, l’agence pour le contrôle des frontières externes.

    Frontex a en effet choisi le Niger comme partenaire privilégié pour le contrôle migratoire sur la route dite de la Méditerranée centrale. En août 2017, l’agence y a déployé son unique officier de liaison en Afrique et a lancé, en novembre 2018, la première cellule d’analyse de risques dans le continent. Un projet financé par la coopération au développement de l’UE : 4 millions d’euros destinés à ouvrir des cellules similaires dans huit pays subsahariens.
    L’agence n’a dévoilé à Mediapart que six documents sur onze relatifs à ses liens avec le Niger, en rappelant la nécessité de « protéger l’intérêt public concernant les relations internationales ». Un des documents envoyés concerne les cellules d’analyse de risques, présentées comme des bureaux équipés et financés par Frontex à l’intérieur des autorités de contrôle des frontières du pays, où des analystes formés par l’agence – mais dépendants de l’administration nationale – auront accès aux bases de données.
    Dans la version intégrale du document, que Mediapart a finalement pu se procurer, et qui avait été expurgée par Frontex, on apprend que « les bases de données du MIDAS, PISCES et Securiport [compagnie privée de Washington qui opère dans le Mali voisin, mais pas au Niger – ndlr] seront prises en considération comme sources dans le plan de collecte de données ».
    En dépit de l’indépendance officielle des cellules par rapport à Frontex, revendiquée par l’agence, on peut y lire aussi que chaque cellule aura une adresse mail sur le serveur de Frontex et que les informations seront échangées sur une plateforme digitale de l’UE. Un graphique, également invisible dans la version expurgée, montre que les données collectées sont destinées à Frontex et aux autres cellules, plutôt qu’aux autorités nationales.
    Selon un fonctionnaire local, la France aurait par ailleurs fait pression pour obtenir les fichiers biométriques des demandeurs d’asile en attente d’être réinstallés à Paris, dans le cadre d’un programme de réinstallation géré par le UNHCR.
    La nouvelle Haute Autorité pour la protection des données personnelles, opérationnelle depuis octobre 2018, ne devrait pas manquer de travail. Outre le Midas, le Pisces et le Wapis, le Haut Commissariat pour les réfugiés a enregistré dans son système Bims les données de presque 250 000 réfugiés et déplacés internes, tandis que la plus grande base biométrique du pays – le fichier électoral – sera bientôt réalisée.
    Pendant ce temps, au poste de frontière de Makalondi, un dimanche de décembre 2018, les préoccupations communes de Niamey et Bruxelles se matérialisent quand les minibus Toyota laissent la place aux bus longue distance, reliant les capitales d’Afrique occidentale à Agadez, au centre du pays, avec escale à Niamey. Des agents fouillent les bagages, tandis que les passagers attendent de se faire enregistrer.
    « Depuis l’intensification des contrôles, en 2016, le passage a chuté brusquement, explique le commissaire Ismaël Soumana. En parallèle, les voies de contournement se sont multipliées : si on ferme ici, les passeurs changent de route, et cela peut continuer à l’infini. »
    Les contrôles terminés, les policiers se préparent à monter la garde. « Car les terroristes, eux, frappent à la nuit, et nous ne sommes pas encore bien équipés », conclut le commissaire, inquiet.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280219/au-niger-l-ue-mise-sur-la-police-locale-pour-traquer-les-migrants
    #migrations #réfugiés #asile #traque #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #EU #UE #Eucap #biométrie #organisation_internationale_contre_les_migrations #IOM

    J’ajoute à la métaliste :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    • Biometrics: The new frontier of EU migration policy in Niger

      The EU’s strategy for controlling irregular West African migration is not just about asking partner countries to help stop the flow of people crossing the Mediterranean – it also includes sharing data on who is trying to make the trip and identifying to which countries they can be returned.

      Take Niger, a key transit country for migrants arriving in Europe via Libya.

      European money and technical assistance have flowed into Niger for several years, funding beefed-up border security and supporting controversial legislation that criminalises “migrant trafficking” and has led to a sharp fall in the registered number of people travelling through the country to reach Libya – down from 298,000 in 2016 to 50,000 in 2018.

      Such cooperation is justified by the “moral duty to tackle the loss of lives in the desert and in the Mediterranean”, according to the EU’s head of foreign policy, Federica Mogherini. It was also a response to the surge in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants to European shores in 2015-16, encouraging the outsourcing of control to African governments in return for development aid.

      In April, as a further deterrent to fresh arrivals, the European Parliament passed a tougher “Regulation” for #Frontex – the EU border guard agency – authorising stepped-up returns of migrants without proper documentation to their countries of origin.

      The regulation is expected to come into force by early December after its formal adoption by the European Council.

      The proposed tougher mandate will rely in part on biometric information stored on linked databases in Africa and Europe. It is a step rights campaigners say not only jeopardises the civil liberties of asylum seekers and others in need of protection, but one that may also fall foul of EU data privacy legislation.

      In reply to a request for comment, Frontex told The New Humanitarian it was “not in the position to discuss details of the draft regulation as it is an ongoing process.”

      Niger on the frontline

      Niger is a key country for Europe’s twin strategic goals of migration control and counter-terrorism – with better data increasingly playing a part in both objectives.

      The #Makalondi police station-cum-immigration post on Niger’s southern border with Burkina Faso is on the front line of this approach – one link in the ever-expanding chain that is the EU’s information-driven response to border management and security.

      When TNH visited in December 2018, the hot Sunday afternoon torpor evaporated when three international buses pulled up and disgorged dozens of travellers into the parking area.

      “In Niger, we are the pioneers.”

      They were mostly Burkinabès and Nigeriens who travelled abroad for work and, as thousands of their fellow citizens do every week, took the 12-hour drive from the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, to the Niger capital, Niamey.

      As policemen searched their bags, the passengers waited to be registered with the new biometric #Migration_Information_and_Data_Analysis_System, or #MIDAS, which captures fingerprints and facial images for transmission to a central #database in Niamey.

      MIDAS has been developed by the International Organisation for Migration (#IOM) as a rugged, low-cost solution to monitor migration flows.

      “In Niger, we are the pioneers,” said Ismael Soumana, the police commissioner of Makalondi. A thin, smiling man, Soumana proudly showed off the eight new machines installed since September at the entry and exit desks of a one-storey prefabricated building. Each workstation was equipped with fingerprint and documents scanners, a small camera, and a PC.
      Data sharing

      The data from Makalondi is stored on the servers of the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DTS), Niger’s border police. After Makalondi and #Gaya, on the Benin-Niger border, IOM has ambitious plans to instal MIDAS in at least eight more border posts by mid-2020 – although deteriorating security conditions due to jihadist-linked attacks could interrupt the rollout.

      IOM provides MIDAS free of charge to at least 20 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Its introduction in Niger was funded by Japan, while the EU paid for an initial assessment study and the electrical units that support the system. In addition to the border posts, two mobile MIDAS-equipped trucks, financed by #Canada, will be deployed along the desert trails to Libya or Algeria in the remote north.

      MIDAS is owned by the Nigerien government, which will be “the only one able to access the data,” IOM told TNH. But it is up to Niamey with whom they share that information.

      MIDAS is already linked to #PISCES (#Personal_Identification_Secure_Comparison_and_Evaluation_System), a biometric registration arm of the US Department of State installed at Niamey international airport and connected to #INTERPOL’s alert lists.

      Niger hosts the first of eight planned “#Risk_Analysis_Cells” in Africa set up by Frontex and based inside its border police directorate. The unit collects data on cross-border crime and security threats and, as such, will rely on systems such as #PISCES and MIDAS – although Frontex insists no “personal data” is collected and used in generating its crime statistics.

      A new office is being built for the Niger border police directorate by the United States to house both systems.

      The #West_African_Police_Information_System, a huge criminal database covering 16 West African countries, funded by the EU and implemented by INTERPOL, could be another digital library of fingerprints linking to MIDAS.

      Frontex programmes intersect with other data initiatives, such as the #Free_Movement_of_Persons_and_Migration_in_West_Africa, an EU-funded project run by the IOM in all 15-member Economic Community of West African States. One of the aims of the scheme is to introduce biometric identity cards for West African citizens.

      Frontex’s potential interest is clear. “If a European country has a migrant suspected to be Ivorian, they can ask the local government to match in their system the biometric data they have. In this way, they should be able to identify people,” IOM programme coordinator Frantz Celestine told TNH.

      The push for returns

      Only 37 percent of non-EU citizens ordered to leave the bloc in 2017 actually did so. In his 2018 State of the Union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged a “stronger and more effective European return policy” – although some migration analysts argue what is needed are more channels for legal migration.

      Part of the problem has been that implementing a returns policy is notoriously hard – due in part to the costs of deportation and the lack of cooperation by countries of origin to identify their citizens. Europe has had difficulty in finalising formal accords with so-called third countries unwilling to lose remittances from those abroad.

      The Commission is shifting to “informal arrangements [that] keep readmission deals largely out of sight” – serving to ease the domestic pressure on governments who cooperate on returns, according to European law researcher, Jonathan Slagter.

      The new Frontex regulation provides a much broader mandate for border surveillance, returns, and cooperation with third countries.

      It contains provisions to “significantly step up the effective and sustainable return of irregular migrants”. Among the mechanisms is the “operation and maintenance of a platform for the exchange of data”, as a tool to reinforce the return system “in cooperation with the authorities of the relevant third countries”. That includes access to MIDAS and PISCES.

      Under the new Frontex policy, in order to better identify those to be deported, the agency will be able “to restrict certain rights of data subjects”, specifically related to the protection and access to personal data granted by EU legislation.

      That, for example, will allow the “transfer of personal data of returnees to third countries” - even in cases where readmission agreements for deportees do not exist.

      Not enough data protection

      The concern is that the expanded mandate on returns is not accompanied by appropriate safeguards on data protection. The #European_Data_Protection_Supervisor – the EU’s independent data protection authority – has faulted the new regulation for not conducting an initial impact study, and has called for its provisions to be reassessed “to ensure consistency with the currently applicable EU legislation”.

      “Given the extent of data sharing, the regulation does not put in place the necessary human rights safeguards."

      Mariana Gkliati, a researcher at the University of Leiden working on Frontex human rights accountability, argues that data on the proposed centralised return management platform – shared with third countries – could prove detrimental for the safety of people seeking protection.

      “Given the extent of data sharing, the regulation does not put in place the necessary human rights safeguards and could be perceived as giving a green light for a blanket sharing with the third country of all information that may be considered relevant for returns,” she told TNH.

      “Frontex is turning into an #information_hub,” Gkliati added. “Its new powers on data processing and sharing can have a major impact on the rights of persons, beyond the protection of personal data.”

      For prospective migrants at the Makalondi border post, their data is likely to travel a lot more freely than they can.

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2019/06/06/biometrics-new-frontier-eu-migration-policy-niger
      #empreintes_digitales #OIM #identification #renvois #expulsions #échange_de_données

      ping @albertocampiphoto @karine4 @daphne @marty @isskein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    At the same time:

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

    Those return operations included Frontex’s:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Children’s smartwatch recalled over data fears
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47130269

    The European Commission has ordered the recall of a children’s smartwatch because it leaves them open to being contacted and located by attackers. In its recall alert, the Commission said the Enox Safe-Kid-One device posed a “serious” risk. Data sent to and from the watch was unencrypted allowing data to be easily taken and changed, it said. Enox said the decision was “excessive” and added that it had appealed against the ruling. The recall is believed to be the first issued because a (...)

    #Enox #montre #jouet #hacking

  • Germany pulls out of Mediterranean migrant mission Sophia

    Germany is suspending participation in Operation Sophia, the EU naval mission targeting human trafficking in the Mediterranean. The decision reportedly relates to Italy’s reluctance to allow rescued people to disembark.
    Germany will not be sending any more ships to take part in the anti-people smuggling operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a senior military officer.

    The decision means frigate Augsburg, currently stationed off the coast of Libya, will not be replaced early next month, Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn told members of the defense and foreign affairs committees in the German parliament.

    The 10 German soldiers currently working at the operation’s headquarters will, however, remain until at least the end of March.

    The European Union launched Operation Sophia in 2015 to capture smugglers and shut down human trafficking operations across the Mediterranean, as well as enforce a weapons embargo on Libya. Sophia currently deploys three ships, three airplanes, and two helicopters, which are permitted to use lethal force if necessary, though its mandate also includes training the North African country’s coast guard. The EU formally extended Operation Sophia by three months at the end of December.

    The Bundeswehr reported that, since its start, the naval operation had led to the arrest of more than 140 suspected human traffickers and destroyed more than 400 smuggling boats.

    But Operation Sophia’s efforts have largely focused on rescuing thousands of refugees from unseaworthy vessels attempting to get to Europe. According to the Bundeswehr, Operation Sophia has rescued some 49,000 people from the sea, while German soldiers had been involved in the rescue of 22,534 people.

    European impasse

    The operation has caused some friction within the EU, particularly with Italy, where the headquarters are located, and whose Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has threatened to close ports to the mission.

    Salvini, chairman of the far-right Lega Nord party, demanded on Wednesday that the mission had to change, arguing that the only reason it existed was that all the rescued refugees were brought to Italy. “If someone wants to withdraw from it, then that’s certainly no problem for us,” he told the Rai1 radio station, but in future he said the mission should only be extended if those rescued were distributed fairly across Europe. This is opposed by other EU member states, particularly Poland and Hungary.

    Italy’s position drew a prickly response from German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who accused Sophia’s Italian commanders of sabotaging the mission by sending the German ship to distant corners of the Mediterranean where there were “no smuggling routes whatsoever” and “no refugee routes.”

    “For us it’s important that it be politically clarified in Brussels what the mission’s task is,” von der Leyen told reporters at the Davos forum in Switzerland.

    Fritz Felgentreu, ombudsman for the Bundestag defense committee, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that Italy’s refusal to let migrants rescued from the sea disembark at its ports meant the operation could no longer fulfill its original mandate.

    The EU played down Germany’s decision. A spokeswoman for the bloc’s diplomatic service, the EEAS, told the DPA news agency that Germany had not ruled out making other ships available for the Sophia Operation in future, a position confirmed by a German Defense Ministry spokesman.

    Decision a ’tragedy’

    The decision sparked instant criticism from various quarters in Germany. Stefan Liebich, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s socialist Left party, called the government’s decision to suspend its involvement a “tragedy.”

    “As long as Sophia is not replaced by a civilian operation, even more people will drown,” he told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    The Green party, for its part, had a more mixed reaction. “We in the Green party have always spoken out against the military operation in the Mediterranean and have consistently rejected the training of the Libyan coast guard,” said the party’s defense spokeswoman, Agnieszka Brugger. But she added that Wednesday’s announcement had happened “for the wrong reasons.”

    Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense policy spokeswoman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), called the decision a sign of the EU’s failure to find a common refugee policy.

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), meanwhile, defended the decision. “The core mission, to fight trafficking crimes, cannot currently be effectively carried out,” the party’s defense policy spokesman, Henning Otte, said in a statement. “If the EU were to agree to common procedure with refugees, this mission could be taken up again.”

    Otte also suggested a “three-stage model” as a “permanent solution for the Mediterranean.” This would include a coast guard from Frontex, the European border patrol agency; military patrols in the Mediterranean; and special facilities on the North African mainland to take in refugees and check asylum applications.

    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-pulls-out-of-mediterranean-migrant-mission-sophia/a-47189097
    #Allemagne #résistance #Operation_Sophia #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retrait #espoir (petit mais quand même)

    • EU: Italy’s choice to end or continue Operation Sophia

      The European Commission says it is up to Italy to decide whether or not to suspend the EU’s naval operation Sophia.

      “If Italy decides, it is the country in command of operation Sophia, to stop it - it is up to Italy to make this decision,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (23 January).

      The Italian-led naval operation was launched in 2015 and is tasked with cracking down on migrant smugglers and traffickers off the Libyan coast.

      It has also saved some 50,000 people since 2015 but appears to have massively scaled back sea rescues, according to statements from Germany’s defence minster.

      German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen was cited by Reuters on Wednesday saying that the Italian command had been sending the Germany navy “to the most remote areas of the Mediterranean where there are no smuggling routes and no migrant flows so that the navy has not had any sensible role for months.”

      Germany had also announced it would not replace its naval asset for the operation, whose mandate is set to expire at the end of March.

      But the commission says that Germany will continue to participate in the operation.

      “There is no indication that it will not make another asset available in the future,” said Avramopoulos.

      A German spokesperson was also cited as confirming Germany wants the mission to continue beyond March.

      The commission statements follow threats from Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini to scrap the naval mission over an on-going dispute on where to disembark rescued migrants.

      Salvini was cited in Italian media complaining that people rescued are only offloaded in Italy.

      The complaint is part of a long-outstanding dispute by Salvini, who last year insisted that people should be disembarked in other EU states.

      The same issue was part of a broader debate in the lead up to a renewal of Sophia’s mandate in late December.

      https://euobserver.com/migration/143997

    • #Operazione_Sophia

      In riferimento alle odierne dichiarazioni relative all’operazione Sophia dell’UE, il Ministro degli Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Enzo Moavero Milanesi ricorda che «L’Italia non ha mai chiesto la chiusura di Sophia. Ha chiesto che siano cambiate, in rigorosa e doverosa coerenza con le conclusioni del Consiglio Europeo di giugno 2018, le regole relative agli sbarchi delle persone salvate in mare». Infatti, gli accordi dell’aprile 2015 prevedono che siano sbarcate sempre in Italia, mentre il Consiglio Europeo del giugno scorso ha esortato gli Stati UE alla piena condivisione di tutti gli oneri relativi ai migranti.

      https://www.esteri.it/mae/it/sala_stampa/archivionotizie/comunicati/operazione-sophia.html

  • The geography of EU discontent - Regional Policy - European Commission

    https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/working-papers/2018/the-geography-of-eu-discontent

    Over the last decade, political parties opposed to EU integration have almost doubled their votes. The general opinion of the EU has also deteriorated, revealing a growing number of people who distrust the Union. To understand this development, this paper focuses on the geography of EU discontent. For the first time, it maps the vote against EU integration in the last national elections across more than 63 000 electoral districts in each of the 28 EU Member States. It assesses whether a range of factors considered to have fostered the surge in populism have had an impact on anti-EU voting. Research into populism often relies on the individual characteristics of anti-system voters: older, working-class, male voters on low incomes and with few qualifications to cope with the challenges of a modern economy. The results show that economic and industrial decline are driving the anti-EU vote. Areas with lower employment rates or with a less-educated workforce are also more likely to vote anti-EU. Once these factors have been taken into account, many of the purported causes of the geography of discontent either matter much less than expected or their impact varies depending on the strength of opposition to the European project.

  • How EU agriculture policy endangers migrants’ lives

    European Union leaders now acknowledge that the ’migration crisis’ has been replaced by a ’political’ one fostered by the far-right.

    Yet the prospects of migration being managed rationally and sustainably in Europe are still dim, as the hysteria over the UN Global Compact on migration, due to be endorsed in Marrakech this week, shows.

    Talk of legal channels for migrant labourers to reach Europe, for instance, is limited and little attention is paid to the demand for exploitable migrant labour.

    In the summer of 2018, the media briefly shone a spotlight on the plight of exploited migrant agricultural workers in Italy when dozens were killed in car crashes.

    The authorities’ response was in line with recommendations the European Commission suggested in its 2017 assessment of migration policies: crack down on abusive employment practices in the hope that the incentives for hiring undocumented workers would go down, thereby reducing the ’pull factors’ for irregular migration.

    This approach, though more helpful than solely focusing on keeping migrants out, is doomed to fail.

    A new report commissioned by the Open Society European Policy Institute, authored by the European University Institute’s Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, and focused on the agriculture sector in Italy, outlines its shortcomings and offers a more constructive way forward.

    First, it is important to acknowledge the broader structural elements of the EU agri-food system, where recourse to exploitable migrant labour is widespread - and is not confined to southern Europe.

    The flagship Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which accounts for the largest chunk of the EU budget, has tended to favour large-scale, high-yield production, pushing prices down and squeezing small farmers.

    And supermarket chains, often acting as cartels, have rolled out practices – like auctions where producers are expected to outbid each other by lowering the price of their goods – which force even well-intentioned farmers to cut labour costs, the only costs they still control.
    Italian example

    Secondly, the research shows how in Italy, where the numbers of migrant farm workers are particularly high, repressive approaches do not work.

    A 2016 law targeting gang masters and the employers using their services, for instance, seems effective on paper.

    However, salaries are still mainly paid under the counter, with labourers hired on fixed-term contracts that only reflect a small part of their actual working hours and days.

    Finally, EU and national laws include protection schemes for victims of trafficking and exploitation to lessen employers’ power over them and to encourage them to report abuse.

    However, implementation is weak and the number of people accessing this type of protection is extremely limited.

    So what can be done to fix the system?

    The OSEPI-EUI report lays out a number of recommendations, from introducing incentives in the CAP subsidy system so that farmers providing their workers with proper contracts and pay are rewarded, to outlawing unfair trading practices in the retail sector.
    Ethical produce

    In much the same way as organic goods are certified by pan-European bodies, labelling schemes which provide information about labour conditions could also be introduced, satisfying a growing demand for ethical produce.

    Data highlighted in the report show how the numbers of migrant workers employed in Italian agriculture have risen over the last decade, while entry permits have been drastically reduced.

    The shortfall in the number of available workers is being increasingly met by mobile EU workers, irregular migrants and asylum seekers, many of whom would not be risking their lives to reach Italy and then applying for international protection if they could arrive legally as migrant workers.

    Undeclared work is not a ’pull factor’ for the vast majority of prospective migrants.

    Most migrants, like most European citizens, would rather have proper contracts, pay taxes and benefit from the social services they are contributing to rather than toil in the fields for up to fifteen hours a day, in dangerous conditions, for meagre pay and under the watchful gaze of gang masters.

    Simply trying to stop employers from hiring irregular migrants without addressing the reasons driving them to do so will do nothing to change a system which is failing farm labourers and owners alike.

    Crucially, it is also failing consumers, who are often unaware of the fact that the tomatoes and clementines they purchase are picked in conditions akin to modern slavery – or that the prices they pay are actually inflated by the many middlemen taking a cut along the chain, who often include organised criminal groups.

    If the EU really wants to tackle irregular migration, it would do well to start addressing the way food is grown, harvested and marketed in Europe.


    https://euobserver.com/opinion/143650
    #agriculture #PAC #migrations #exploitation #asile #migrations #politique_agricole #politique_agricole_commune #Italie #travail #exploitation

  • Europe Should Let Italy Win – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/14/europe-should-let-italy-win


    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini attends a press conference at the Italian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, on Oct. 23.
    Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

    #barbichette

    The current standoff between the Italian government and the European Commission in Brussels—in which Italy is pushing for greater spending resulting in a larger deficit, which the commission claims violates its rules—seems at first glance like a replay of the game of chicken that drove the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Then, like now, debt and politics were intimately intertwined, with an indebted nation trying by any means necessary to gain leverage on the eurozone institutions that have a say over its economy. On the one hand, Italy has been emphasizing its geopolitical importance, arguing that it has a critical role to play in maintaining Libya’s stability. On the other, it is sending a subtle message that, if placed under pressure, it has the power to blow up the eurozone.

    Who will flinch first? The answer will likely turn on two differences that distinguish the current case from that of Greece. […]
    […]
    It is not difficult to see how a compromise might be found in which Italy and Europe could agree on infrastructure investment financed through deficit spending, but the escalation of the political conflict means that as time passes any productive outcome becomes less and less likely. The European Union must find a solution before the politics become completely poisonous.

    On the face of it, the budget dispute, which turns on Italy’s proposal for a 2.4 percent deficit, looks puzzling. Isn’t 2.4 percent less than 3 percent, the (admittedly overly simple) deficit to GDP ratio rule stipulated in the EU’s Maastricht Treaty and its Stability and Growth Pact? In truth, the dispute is fundamentally about the link between fiscal positions and growth.
    […]
    The problem is that everyone knows that Italy’s bootstraps narrative doesn’t fully describe its motives. The importance of the budget for the Italian government goes far beyond its numbers: Its basic purpose is political. The fiscal package represents not only an overall stimulus for the Italian economy but also an attempt to tie together the two quite disparate parties in the government coalition. […]
    There is also a very obvious national, not to say nationalist, element. This is a budget designed to defy Europe and to make the point that in a democracy people should, in voting for their government, have a say over their tax rates and their fiscal regime. The budget also includes some savings, in part from reduced spending on the housing and management of migrants.

  • EU border ’lie detector’ system criticised as pseudoscience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Project details

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • UN experts: concern over EU’s attempts to seal borders, close protection space and disregard human rights and humanitarianism

    In September eight UN working groups, independent experts and special rapporteurs issued a statement highlighting serious concerns over the ongoing attempts to reform the EU’s migration and asylum systems. Their paper was addressed to the informal summit of EU heads of state and government in Salzburg in September, but remains relevant given the ongoing discussions in the EU on the Common European Asylum System and revamping of EU agencies such as Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

    The document was signed by the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity; Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

    See: Joint communication of Special Procedures ahead of the informal summit of EU heads of state or government in Salzburg on 19-20 September 2018 (OL OTH 64/2018, 18 September 2018, pdf): http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/oct/un-joint-communication-eu-migration-asylum-proposals-18-9-18.pdf

    Selected quotes:

    "We would like to comment on three particular proposals elaborated by the European Commission based on the European Council’s conclusions, which are of utmost concern from a human rights perspective, namely: the creation of #regional_disembarkation_platforms, the establishment of controlled centres, and the strengthening of the border police and coast guard.

    ...Outsourcing responsibility of disembarkation to third countries, in particular those with weak protection systems, only increases the risk of #refoulement and other human rights violations. As similar models have shown elsewhere, external disembarkation and processing centres do not provide durable solutions and result in numerous grave human rights violations, including breaches of the non-refoulement obligation, torture and ill-treatment, confinement amounting to arbitrary or indefinite detention, and violations of the right to life. Furthermore, processes should be established to ensure that relevant actors be held to account if they fail to meet international standards.”

    -----

    “We are deeply concerned that in truth, the above-mentioned three proposals which are being discussed in the context of the reform of the common migration and asylum system are aimed at sealing borders, closing the protection space in Europe, and disregarding human rights principles and humanitarian concerns as central aspects at stake. Moreover, we are concerned that these measures are being proposed as a means to leverage political gain in response to the worrying rise of anti-migration and xenophobic hate speeches and stances, as reflected by increased acts and discourses of #violence and racism against migrants in various member States. In this respect, we urge the European Commission to lead efforts to counter negative anti-immigration discourses both at the political and social level in order to facilitate and improve the reception and integration of migrants in Europe.”

    -----

    “The EU and its member States should adopt a more thoughtful approach, and seek constructive, long-term, sustainable solutions, instead of adopting counterproductive and ineffective security policies which result in the criminalization and stigmatization of migrants.”

    -----

    “It is high time for the EU to accept the impossibility of sealing borders and the perverse incentives and paradoxes created by the current system, as well as the inevitability and added benefits of mobility. The EU must invest in the overall development of a coherent and robust migration policy that fully integrates the human rights of migrants as enshrined in both international and regional law. Measures intended to prevent migration, accelerate returns, and seal borders are not the solution, and only respond to misguided security concerns over the protection of migrants.”

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/oct/un-sr-eu-migration.htm
    #ONU #fermeture_des_frontières #EU #UE #droits_humains #humanitarisme #Europe #réfugiés #asile #migrations #plateformes_de_désembarquement #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #push-back #droit_à_la_vie #hate_speech #xénophobie #racisme #mobilité #politique_migratoire
    ping @reka

  • Operation Sophia : new training module in Italy

    A Training “Package 2” module in favour of Libyan Coastguard and Navy started in #La_Maddalena (Italy) on October the 8.

    In the wide framework of Libyan Coastguard and Navy training carried out by SOPHIA operation, a new module, composed by “#Deck_Officer_Course” and “#Maintainer_Course” and in favour of 69 trainees, was launched in the Italian Navy Training Centre in LA MADDALENA (Italy) last 8th of October.

    The end of the course is scheduled for next 30th of November 2018.

    The course, hosted by the Italian Navy, will last 8 weeks, and it will provide knowledge and training in relation to the general activity on board an off shore patrol vessel and lessons focused on Human Rights, Basic First Aid, Gender Policy and Basic English language.

    Additionally, with the positive conclusion of these two courses, the threshold of 305 Libyan Coastguard and Navy personnel trained by EUNAVFOR Med will be reached.

    Moreover, further training modules are planned in Croatia and other EU member states in favour of a huge number of trainees.

    From October 2016, SOPHIA is fully involved in the training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy; the aim of the training is to improve security of the Libyan territorial waters and the Libyan Coastguard and Navy ability to perform the duties in their territorial waters, with a strong focus on respect of human rights, including minors and women’s rights, and the correct handling of migrants in occasion of search and rescue activities to save lives at sea.


    https://www.operationsophia.eu/operation-sophia-new-training-module-in-italy
    #Opération_sophia #Italie #Libye #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #cours #formation

    • EU rift widens on migrants, Sophia Op extended for 3 months

      The EU’s Political and Security Committee has approved a three-month extension for Operation Sophia, the bloc’s mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea whose mandate was set to expire on December 31. But there are still many issues regarding border protection and migration that the 28 EU countries disagree on.

      The decision to extend Operation Sophia came on the second day of the EU summit held in Brussels on December 13 and 14. Though migration was not even the central topic of the summit (Brexit was), it ended up being the cause of friction once again with many losing their patience altogether.

      At the end of the summit, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker criticized what he viewed as the hypocrisy of those calling for more secure borders but who are blocking Frontex reform at the same time.

      He also accused some European leaders of spreading false news, such as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

      Divisions in the EU

      Even Belgium, which on the Global Compact issue has lost part of the government, called for those blocking the reform of the Dublin Rules on asylum to be removed from the Schengen zone. It also asked Brussels for an investigation into misinformation spread on social media on the UN agreement.

      Despite six months of negotiations, the 28-member bloc is still divided on Operation Sophia. The EU mission in the Mediterranean was due to expire at the end of this month, but has received a three-month extension in a last-minute attempt to achieve an agreement at the beginning of the year to review the rules of engagement and the distribution of migrants taken to Italian ports.

      Faced with EU conclusions that are even vaguer than usual, in which there are no expiration dates for the Dublin reform nor for the Frontex one, Juncker said that he was losing his patience.

      He said that though ’’everyone says they want better protection of external borders’’, a proposal on the table for a 10,000-strong EU border guard agency had been refused by those claiming to be the most interested in border control - among them are Hungary and Italy, who oppose the measure for reasons of national sovereignty.
      Juncker rails against governments supporting fake news

      Some heads of state and governments were also spreading fake news on issues ranging from migrants to Brexit, Juncker said, such as ’’when Orban says I am responsible’’ for Brexit or that migrants were.

      The countdown for Visegrad countries - meaning the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - who do not want to accept migrants could come soon, said Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. There is ’’ever more agreement’’ among EU states to remove those blocking Dublin reform from the Schengen zone, he said. Michel asked the European Commission to open an investigation into ’’manipulated information’’ on the Global Compact circulated online with a deliberate desire to destabilize EU democracies.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/13971/eu-rift-widens-on-migrants-sophia-op-extended-for-3-months?ref=tw

    • La fin de la plongée croate pour les #garde-côtes_libyens

      Pour trois gardes-côtes libyens et trois autres marins libyens, ce 29 mars sonne comme la fin des cours de #plongée.

      Durant cinq semaines, ils ont suivi un module de formation au Centre de formation de la marine croate à Split (Croatie), géré par l’opération Sophia d’EUNAVFOR MED. La cérémonie de clôture a eu lieu au centre d’instruction de la marine croate à Split, en présence de son chef, le commandant adjoint de l’opération Sophia EUNAVFOR MED et de son chef du secteur de l’instruction de l’OHQ, ainsi que d’une délégation libyenne d’officiers supérieurs.

      Le cours, organisé par la marine croate, portait sur les procédures et techniques de plongée afin de pouvoir effectuer des opérations de maintenance sous-marine des navires. Le cours comprenait également quelques leçons sur les droits de l’homme, les premiers soins et la politique en matière d’égalité des sexes (un rituel côté européen).

      Avec ce cours, l’opération Sophia indique avoir atteint un niveau de 355 membres du personnel des garde-côtes et de la marine libyens formés.

      http://www.bruxelles2.eu/2019/03/29/la-fin-de-la-plongee-croate

      #Croatie

  • EU steps up planning for refugee exodus if Assad attacks #Idlib

    Thousands to be moved from Greek island camps to make space in case of mass arrivals.

    Children walk past the remains of burned-out tents after an outbreak of violence at the Moria migrant centre on Lesbos. Aid groups say conditions at the camps on Greek islands are ’shameful’ © Reuters

    Michael Peel in Brussels September 14, 2018

    Thousands of migrants will be moved from Greek island camps within weeks to ease chronic overcrowding and make space if Syrians flee from an assault on rebel-held Idlib province, under plans being discussed by Brussels and Athens.

    Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s migration commissioner, is due to meet senior Greek officials next week including Alexis Tsipras, prime minister, to hammer out a plan to move an initial 3,000 people.

    The proposal is primarily aimed at dealing with what 19 non-governmental groups on Thursday branded “shameful” conditions at the island migrant centres. The strategy also dovetails with contingency planning in case Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed regime launches a full-scale offensive to retake Idlib and triggers an exodus of refugees to Greece via Turkey.

    The numbers in the planned first Greek migrant transfer would go only partway to easing the island overcrowding — and they are just a small fraction of the several million people estimated to be gathered in the Syrian opposition enclave on the Turkish border.

    “It’s important to get those numbers down,” said one EU diplomat of the Greek island camps. “If we have mass arrivals in Greece, it’s going to be very tough. There is no spare capacity.”

    Syria’s Idlib awaits major assault The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said this week that 30,000 people had been displaced from their homes by air and ground attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies in the Idlib area, while a full assault could drive out 800,000.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, this week warned that the “impending humanitarian disaster” in Idlib must be a “deep and direct concern to us all”.

    17,000 Number of migrants crammed into camps designed for 6,000 The European Commission wants to help Athens accelerate an existing programme to send migrants to the Greek mainland and provide accommodation there to ease the island overcrowding, EU diplomats say.

    The commission said it was working with the Greeks to move 3,000 “vulnerable” people whom Athens has made eligible for transfer, in many cases because they have already applied for asylum and are awaiting the results of their claims.

    Migrant numbers in the island camps have climbed this year, in part because of the time taken to process asylum cases. More than 17,000 are crammed into facilities with capacity of barely 6,000, the NGOs said on Thursday, adding that Moria camp on the island of Lesbos was awash with raw sewage and reports of sexual violence and abuse.

    “It is nothing short of shameful that people are expected to endure such horrific conditions on European soil,” the NGOs said in a statement.

    Mr Avramopoulos, the EU migration commissioner, told reporters on Thursday he knew there were “problems right now, especially in the camp of Moria”. The commission was doing “everything in our power” to support the Greek authorities operationally and financially, he added.

    Recommended The FT View The editorial board The high price of Syria’s next disaster “Money is not an issue,” he said. “Greece has had and will continue having all the financial support to address the migration challenges.

    ” The Greek government has already transferred some asylum seekers to the mainland. It has urged the EU to give it more funds and support.

    EU diplomats say the effect of the Idlib conflict on the Greek situation is hard to judge. One uncertainty is whether Ankara would open its frontier to allow people to escape. Even if civilians do cross the border, it is not certain that they would try to move on to the EU: Turkey already hosts more than 3.5m Syrian refugees.

    The EU secured a 2016 deal with Turkey under which Brussels agreed to pay €6bn in exchange for Ankara taking back migrants who cross from its territory to the Greek islands. The agreement has helped drive a sharp fall in Mediterranean migrant arrival numbers to a fraction of their 2015-16 highs.

    https://www.ft.com/content/0aada630-b77a-11e8-bbc3-ccd7de085ffe
    #Syrie #réfugiés_syriens #asile #migrations #Grèce #guerre #réfugiés_syriens #Moria #vide #plein #géographie_du_vide #géographie_du_plein (on vide le camp pour être prêt à le remplir au cas où...) #politique_migratoire
    cc @reka

  • A Man Among Female Leaders: ‘The Risk of Mansplaining Is Very High’ - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/world/europe/iceland-gender-equality-women-political-leaders.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=

    “There is no such thing as a glass ceiling,” he said at one point, “just a big fat layer of men.” Of his 35 peers as directorate heads in the European Commission, he noted, only one in five are women.

  • Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions (...
    https://diasp.eu/p/7670988

    Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions

    European Commission special envoy Robert-Jan Smits has spearheaded a plan to make all scientific works free to read. Article word count: 1676

    HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17907506 Posted by sohkamyung (karma: 19454) Post stats: Points: 150 - Comments: 37 - 2018-09-04T08:29:59Z

    #HackerNews #could #end #journal #open-access #plan #radical #spell #subscriptions

    Article content:

    Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commissionʼs special envoy on open access, spearheaded the Plan S initiative.Credit: Nikolay Doychinov/EU2018BG

    Research funders from France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and eight other European nations have [1]unveiled a radical open-access initiative that could change the (...)

  • Primate woes where the oil palm grows | ConservationBytes.com
    https://conservationbytes.com/2018/08/16/primate-woes-where-the-oil-palm-grows

    A new article just published in PNAS reveals how future expansion of the palm-oil industry could have terrible consequences for African primates.

    Researchers from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, CIRAD, Liverpool John Moores University, and ETH Zurich searched for “areas of compromise” combining high oil palm suitability with low primate vulnerability, as possible locations where to accommodate new oil-palm plantations while reducing detrimental effects on primate populations.

    Results show that there is small room for compromise. In fact, potential areas of compromise are rare across the whole African continent, covering a total extent of 0.13 Mha of land highly suited to oil palm cultivation where primate vulnerability is low, rising to just 3.3 Mha if all land with at least minimum suitability to grow oil palm is taken into account.

    Palm oil production is steadily rising, and expected to accelerate in response to growing world’s population, with future demand driven not only by the food industry, but also by the biofuel market.

    #Palmier_à_huile #industrie_palmiste #primates

    • Second time, farceRulers of the world: read Karl Marx!

      On his bicentenary Marx’s diagnosis of capitalism’s flaws is surprisingly relevant

      May 3rd 2018

      A GOOD subtitle for a biography of Karl Marx would be “a study in failure”. Marx claimed that the point of philosophy was not just to understand the world but to improve it. Yet his philosophy changed it largely for the worst: the 40% of humanity who lived under Marxist regimes for much of the 20th century endured famines, gulags and party dictatorships. Marx thought his new dialectical science would allow him to predict the future as well as understand the present. Yet he failed to anticipate two of the biggest developments of the 20th century—the rise of fascism and the welfare state—and wrongly believed communism would take root in the most advanced economies. Today’s only successful self-styled Marxist regime is an enthusiastic practitioner of capitalism (or “socialism with Chinese characteristics”).

      Yet for all his oversights, Marx remains a monumental figure. At the 200th anniversary of his birth, which falls on May 5th, interest in him is as lively as ever. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, is visiting Trier, Marx’s birthplace, where a statue of Marx donated by the Chinese government will be unveiled. The British Library, where he did the research for “Das Kapital”, is putting on a series of exhibitions and talks. And publishers are producing a cascade of books on his life and thought, from “Das Kapital”-sized doorstops (Sven-Eric Liedman’s “A World to Win: The Life and Works of Karl Marx”), to Communist Manifesto-slim pamphlets (a second edition of Peter Singer’s “Marx: A Very Short Introduction”).
      None of these bicentennial books is outstanding. The best short introduction is still Isaiah Berlin’s “Karl Marx”, which was published in 1939. But the sheer volume of commentary is evidence of something important. Why does the world remain fixated on the ideas of a man who helped to produce so much suffering?

      The point of madness

      The obvious reason is the sheer power of those ideas. Marx may not have been the scientist that he thought he was. But he was a brilliant thinker: he developed a theory of society driven forward by economic forces—not just by the means of production but by the relationship between owners and workers—and destined to pass through certain developmental stages. He was also a brilliant writer. Who can forget his observation that history repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce”? His ideas were as much religious as scientific—you might even call them religion repackaged for a secular age. He was a latter-day prophet describing the march of God on Earth. The fall from grace is embodied in capitalism; man is redeemed as the proletariat rises up against its exploiters and creates a communist utopia.

      A second reason is the power of his personality. Marx was in many ways an awful human being. He spent his life sponging off Friedrich Engels. He was such an inveterate racist, including about his own group, the Jews, that even in the 1910s, when tolerance for such prejudices was higher, the editors of his letters felt obliged to censor them. He got his maid pregnant and dispatched the child to foster parents. Mikhail Bakunin described him as “ambitious and vain, quarrelsome, intolerant and absolute…vengeful to the point of madness”.

      But combine egomania with genius and you have a formidable force. He believed absolutely that he was right; that he had discovered a key to history that had eluded earlier philosophers. He insisted on promoting his beliefs whatever obstacles fate (or the authorities) put in his way. His notion of happiness was “to fight”; his concept of misery was “to submit”, a trait he shared with Friedrich Nietzsche.
      The third reason is a paradox: the very failure of his ideas to change the world for the better is ensuring them a new lease of life. After Marx’s death in 1883 his followers—particularly Engels—worked hard to turn his theories into a closed system. The pursuit of purity involved vicious factional fights as “real” Marxists drove out renegades, revisionists and heretics. It eventually led to the monstrosity of Marxism-Leninism, with its pretensions to infallibility (“scientific socialism”), its delight in obfuscation (“dialectical materialism”) and its cult of personality (those giant statues of Marx and Lenin).

      The collapse of this petrified orthodoxy has revealed that Marx was a much more interesting man than his interpreters have implied. His grand certainties were a response to grand doubts. His sweeping theories were the result of endless reversals. Toward the end of his life he questioned many of his central convictions. He worried that he might have been wrong about the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. He puzzled over the fact that, far from immiserating the poor, Victorian England was providing them with growing prosperity.

      The chief reason for the continuing interest in Marx, however, is that his ideas are more relevant than they have been for decades. The post-war consensus that shifted power from capital to labour and produced a “great compression” in living standards is fading. Globalisation and the rise of a virtual economy are producing a version of capitalism that once more seems to be out of control. The backwards flow of power from labour to capital is finally beginning to produce a popular—and often populist—reaction. No wonder the most successful economics book of recent years, Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, echoes the title of Marx’s most important work and his preoccupation with inequality.

      The prophet of Davos

      Marx argued that capitalism is in essence a system of rent-seeking: rather than creating wealth from nothing, as they like to imagine, capitalists are in the business of expropriating the wealth of others. Marx was wrong about capitalism in the raw: great entrepreneurs do amass fortunes by dreaming up new products or new ways of organising production. But he had a point about capitalism in its bureaucratic form. A depressing number of today’s bosses are corporate bureaucrats rather than wealth-creators, who use convenient formulae to make sure their salaries go ever upwards. They work hand in glove with a growing crowd of other rent-seekers, such as management consultants (who dream up new excuses for rent-seeking), professional board members (who get where they are by not rocking the boat) and retired politicians (who spend their twilight years sponging off firms they once regulated).

      Capitalism, Marx maintained, is by its nature a global system: “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.” That is as true today as it was in the Victorian era. The two most striking developments of the past 30 years are the progressive dismantling of barriers to the free movement of the factors of production—goods, capital and to some extent people—and the rise of the emerging world. Global firms plant their flags wherever it is most convenient. Borderless CEOs shuttle from one country to another in pursuit of efficiencies. The World Economic Forum’s annual jamboree in Davos, Switzerland, might well be retitled “Marx was right”.
      He thought capitalism had a tendency towards monopoly, as successful capitalists drive their weaker rivals out of business in a prelude to extracting monopoly rents. Again this seems to be a reasonable description of the commercial world that is being shaped by globalisation and the internet. The world’s biggest companies are not only getting bigger in absolute terms but are also turning huge numbers of smaller companies into mere appendages. New-economy behemoths are exercising a market dominance not seen since America’s robber barons. Facebook and Google suck up two-thirds of America’s online ad revenues. Amazon controls more than 40% of the country’s booming online-shopping market. In some countries Google processes over 90% of web searches. Not only is the medium the message but the platform is also the market.

      In Marx’s view capitalism yielded an army of casual labourers who existed from one job to the other. During the long post-war boom this seemed like a nonsense. Far from having nothing to lose but their chains, the workers of the world—at least the rich world—had secure jobs, houses in the suburbs and a cornucopia of possessions. Marxists such as Herbert Marcuse were forced to denounce capitalism on the grounds that it produced too much wealth for the workers rather than too little.

      Yet once again Marx’s argument is gaining urgency. The gig economy is assembling a reserve force of atomised labourers who wait to be summoned, via electronic foremen, to deliver people’s food, clean their houses or act as their chauffeurs. In Britain house prices are so high that people under 45 have little hope of buying them. Most American workers say they have just a few hundred dollars in the bank. Marx’s proletariat is being reborn as the precariat.
      Still, the rehabilitation ought not to go too far. Marx’s errors far outnumbered his insights. His insistence that capitalism drives workers’ living standards to subsistence level is absurd. The genius of capitalism is that it relentlessly reduces the price of regular consumer items: today’s workers have easy access to goods once considered the luxuries of monarchs. The World Bank calculates that the number of people in “extreme poverty” has declined from 1.85bn in 1990 to 767m in 2013, a figure that puts the regrettable stagnation of living standards for Western workers in perspective. Marx’s vision of a post-capitalist future is both banal and dangerous: banal because it presents a picture of people essentially loafing about (hunting in the morning, fishing in the afternoon, raising cattle in the evening and criticising after dinner); dangerous because it provides a licence for the self-anointed vanguard to impose its vision on the masses.
      Marx’s greatest failure, however, was that he underestimated the power of reform—the ability of people to solve the evident problems of capitalism through rational discussion and compromise. He believed history was a chariot thundering to a predetermined end and that the best that the charioteers can do is hang on. Liberal reformers, including his near contemporary William Gladstone, have repeatedly proved him wrong. They have not only saved capitalism from itself by introducing far-reaching reforms but have done so through the power of persuasion. The “superstructure” has triumphed over the “base”, “parliamentary cretinism” over the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

      Nothing but their chains

      The great theme of history in the advanced world since Marx’s death has been reform rather than revolution. Enlightened politicians extended the franchise so working-class people had a stake in the political system. They renewed the regulatory system so that great economic concentrations were broken up or regulated. They reformed economic management so economic cycles could be smoothed and panics contained. The only countries where Marx’s ideas took hold were backward autocracies such as Russia and China.

      Today’s great question is whether those achievements can be repeated. The backlash against capitalism is mounting—if more often in the form of populist anger than of proletarian solidarity. So far liberal reformers are proving sadly inferior to their predecessors in terms of both their grasp of the crisis and their ability to generate solutions. They should use the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth to reacquaint themselves with the great man—not only to understand the serious faults that he brilliantly identified in the system, but to remind themselves of the disaster that awaits if they fail to confront them.

      This article appeared in the Books and arts section of the print edition under the headline “Second time, farce”

    • Merci !

      The gig economy is assembling a reserve force of atomised labourers who wait to be summoned, via electronic foremen, to deliver people’s food, clean their houses or act as their chauffeurs. In Britain house prices are so high that people under 45 have little hope of buying them. Most American workers say they have just a few hundred dollars in the bank. Marx’s proletariat is being reborn as the precariat.