• HCR - HCR : la lutte contre la surpopulation et la détresse dans les centres d’accueil des îles grecques doit faire partie intégrante de la réponse d’urgence
    https://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/press/2020/9/5f6cbd2aa/hcr-lutte-contre-surpopulation-detresse-centres-daccueil-iles-grecques.html

    Pour soutenir les efforts de décongestion et accélérer les transferts, la capacité d’accueil sur le continent doit être renforcée. Le HCR appelle les autorités grecques à augmenter les places d’hébergement sur le continent, avec le soutien de la Commission européenne. Le HCR appelle également les Etats européens à poursuivre leur soutien envers la Grèce en offrant des places de relocalisation pour les demandeurs d’asile et les personnes ayant obtenu le statut de réfugiés qui sont les plus vulnérables. De même, les politiques et les mesures visant à faciliter l’intégration et l’autonomie à long terme des réfugiés reconnus en Grèce sont une priorité.À Lesbos, les autorités nationales, avec le soutien du HCR et d’autres acteurs humanitaires, s’efforcent d’améliorer les conditions de vie dans le nouveau site d’urgence, en remédiant aux lacunes en matière de soins de santé, d’eau, d’installations sanitaires et d’hygiène. En date du 24 septembre, quelque 250 personnes avaient été testées positives au Covid-19, et le dépistage se poursuit pour tous les nouveaux arrivants sur le site. Selon les autorités sanitaires nationales, toutes ces personnes sont placées en quarantaine avec les membres de leur famille. Des soins médicaux durables et adéquats ainsi que l’accès à l’eau, aux installations sanitaires et à l’hygiène sont donc plus nécessaires que jamais.Pour faire face à l’arrivée de conditions météorologiques moins favorables, le HCR prévoit de fournir des kits d’isolation et des palettes en bois aux familles qui vivent sous tente, à titre de mesure provisoire.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#UE#camp#sante#depistage#HCR

  • En Suisse, une votation sur l’immigration vise les travailleurs européens
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/09/25/en-suisse-une-votation-sur-l-immigration-vise-les-travailleurs-europeens_605

    Depuis deux décennies, la Suisse connaît en effet un boom démographique sans précédent, la population passant de sept à près de neuf millions d’habitants alors que le taux de natalité est en berne. De nombreux ressortissants européens sont venus s’installer et s’ajouter au flux des 300 000 frontaliers. Médecins et dentistes allemands, à Zürich. Ingénieurs en chimie français, à Bâle. Mécaniciens horlogers, français aussi, dans l’arc jurassien. Ouvriers italiens, dans tout le Tessin. Une menace sur l’emploi, vraiment ? Il existe une autre lecture du phénomène. « La prospérité suisse ne vient pas seulement de nos innovations et de notre travail acharné, elle vient également de nos relations avec le reste du monde et de notre marché du travail ouvert. Nous gagnons un franc sur deux grâce à notre accès à l’étranger, tout particulièrement aux Etats de l’Union européenne », observe Daniela Schneeberger, conseillère nationale PLR (Parti libéral-radical, droite modérée) pour le canton de Bâle-Campagne.
    La crise sanitaire due au coronavirus a aussi rappelé que, sans l’apport du personnel soignant étranger, surtout issu des pays de l’Union (Grecs, Espagnols, Italiens, Baltes…), les CHU n’auraient pas eu assez d’infirmiers et d’infirmières dans les étages. Bien souvent, les « héros suisses du Covid-19 » ne l’étaient pas. Au fond, dans son rapport à l’étranger, la Suisse est depuis bien longtemps une contradiction. Celle d’un pays qui aime se penser en forteresse, alors qu’il est ouvert aux quatre vents. L’UDC a su exploiter jusqu’ici cet étrange paradoxe. Mais cela risque bien de ne pas suffire cette fois. Car, à Bruxelles, la Commission européenne a fait savoir qu’en cas de oui à l’initiative, la relation entre Berne et l’UE deviendrait ingérable. Si l’accord bilatéral sur la liberté de circulation devait être dénoncé côté suisse, les six autres accords bilatéraux deviendraient automatiquement caducs, c’est ce que l’on appelle la « clause guillotine ».

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#suisse#politiquemigratoire#sante#personnelsoignant#frontaliers#UE#crisesanitaire

    • lien propre:

      https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Ich-haette-nicht-gedacht-dass-ich-Jean-Claude-Juncker-so-heftig-vermissen-wuer

      [...]

      Frau von der Leyen hat nach ihrem Wehrdienst als Präsidentin der EU-Kommission angeheuert. Wie macht sich die Neue bei Ihnen in Brüssel?

      Martin Sonneborn: Ich hätte nicht gedacht, dass ich Jean-Claude Juncker so heftig vermissen würde. Eine orientierungslose Präsidentin, die sich eigens ein Appartement im Kommissionsgebäude einbauen lässt, um sich mit ihrem z.T. sehr überbezahlten deutschen Beraterstab darin zu verschanzen, die ihre Twitter-Botschaften gegen Zeilengeld von Kai Diekmann, vormals „Bild“, formulieren lässt, und in ihren schlecht choreographierten Reden den Eindruck erweckt, es sei alles bestens bestellt in der EU, sie habe die ultimative Problemlösungskompetenz und befördere die Belange im Sinne der Bürger - das ist schon bizarr.

      Sie planten ursprünglich, den Prozess gegen Julian Assange offiziell für die EU vor Ort in London zu verfolgen. Dessen Haftbedingungen bewertete UN-Sonderberichterstatter Nils Melzer als Folter, was die Bundesregierung hinzunehmen scheint. Machen Sie das jetzt aus dem Homeoffice?

      Martin Sonneborn: Nein, aber mein Büroleiter Dustin Hoffmann ist in London und berichtet täglich umfassend via Twitter aus dem Gerichtssaal. Ich habe eine Rede zu Assange gehalten und finde es schade, dass der skandalöse Schauprozess in der deutschen Öffentlichkeit nicht stärker diskutiert wird. Hier steht nicht nur Trumps übermächtiges Regime gegen einen in jeder Hinsicht isolierten Assange. Hier geht es um uns alle, um Pressefreiheit, Meinungsfreiheit, Menschenrechte. Und bei der antidemokratischen Entwicklung, die Grobbritannien unter dem dämlichen Boris Johnson gerade nimmt - auch hier werden nach dem Vorbild der EU-Diktatur Ungarn Medien und Justiz umgebaut -, habe ich keine große Hoffnung für Assange.

      [...]

      #von_der_Leyen
      #UE #EU #jeu_mort
      #Julian_Assange

      #auf_deutsch #sarkasme #résignation #défaitisme

  • UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan - Arab news

    The UNHCR confirmed three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, near the border with Syria, and two cases in a smaller camp, Azraq
    The infections in the two camps that house a total of around 120,000 refugees were the first confirmed cases since the pandemic was first reported in the kingdom last March

    https://www.arabnews.com/node/1733586/middle-east
    https://www.arabnews.com/sites/default/files/2020/09/12/2268111-1951039456.jpg

    #Covid-19#Jordanie#UE#Réfugiés#santé#contamination#Campe#migrant#migration

  • Athènes maintient sa ligne dure après l’incendie du camp de Moria sur l’île de Lesbos
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/09/11/athenes-maintient-sa-ligne-dure-apres-l-incendie-du-camp-de-moria_6051791_32

    Le chef de l’opposition (Syriza) et ex-chef de gouvernement Alexis Tsipras a, de son côté, accusé l’actuel premier ministre, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, d’être « personnellement responsable du drame ». « La blessure de Moria devait être refermée (…). Nous avions déjà avancé le plan de décongestion [du camp] avec cohérence et respect pour nos semblables. Mais les 5 000 personnes à Moria sont devenues 20 000 en un an, avant que les transferts ne reprennent timidement », a lancé M. Tsipras. En ligne de mire également de l’opposition : le durcissement de la politique du premier ministre de droite arrivé au pouvoir en juillet 2019, qui aurait conduit à l’exaspération et à la révolte des migrants de Moria. A la suite de l’incendie, Kyriakos Mitsotakis a réagi : « Je reconnais les conditions difficiles [à Moria], mais rien ne peut servir d’alibi pour des réactions violentes contre les contrôles sanitaires. » Le journal de gauche Efimerida Ton Syntakton (« le journal des rédacteurs ») l’accusait, jeudi, de poursuivre à tout prix une politique de la « loi et l’ordre » en parlant essentiellement de sécurité nationale et de santé publique sans égard pour la crise humanitaire. Le gouvernement conservateur a voté une nouvelle loi sur le droit d’asile à l’automne 2019, permettant d’augmenter les durées de détention autorisées pour les demandeurs d’asile et de faciliter les renvois en Turquie des candidats déboutés. Depuis des mois, le gouvernement Mitsotakis est accusé de favoriser les refoulements de migrants vers la Turquie à la frontière terrestre mais aussi en mer. Les témoignages recueillis par plusieurs ONG et même le Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) des Nations unies accumulent les preuves contre le gouvernement et les gardes-côtes qui ont toujours démenti et parlent de « fake news » véhiculées par Ankara. L’accès au système de santé a été rendu plus difficile, et plus de 11 000 réfugiés étaient menacés d’être expulsés de leur hébergement depuis le mois de juin après la décision prise de réduire la période pendant laquelle les réfugiés ayant obtenu l’asile peuvent rester dans les appartements attribués par le HCR. Surtout, le gouvernement grec a promis la construction de nouveaux centres d’enregistrement fermés à Lesbos – ce qui n’était pas le cas de Moria – et sur les quatre autres îles de la mer Egée, où s’entassent déjà plus de 24 000 personnes au total. Face à la fronde des insulaires, qui se sont mobilisés à plusieurs reprises, parfois avec violence, avant l’épidémie due au coronavirus, le gouvernement avait reculé. Mais, pour le premier ministre, la destruction de Moria ne remet pas en cause le projet, bien au contraire. « Nous avions averti qu’il fallait fermer Moria et avoir une nouvelle structure plus adaptée », a clamé jeudi sur la chaîne de télévision ANT1 le ministre des migrations, Notis Mitarachi.

    #Covid-19#migration#migrant#grece#moria#camp#demadeurdasile#refugie#sante#politiquemigratoire#UE#crisehumanitaire#crisemigratoire

  • Coronavirus: First cases confirmed at Jordanian camp for Syrian refugees | Middle East Eye

    The UN agency for refugees has confirmed two coronavirus cases in Jordan’s Azraq camp for Syrian refugees, reigniting fears of the potential for a large-scale outbreak at the cramped camps.
    There are more than 100,000 Syrians displaced by war living in refugee camps in Jordan. Azraq camp is home to some 36,000 refugees, while the larger Zaatari camp houses some 76,000.

    In total, Jordan hosts more than 650,000 refugees from Syria and about 100,000 others from various countries.
    In June, the United Nations warned that refugees living in Jordan were suffering from extreme poverty, particularly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-two-syrians-refugee-camp-jordan-test-positive-un-agency-s

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/images-story/Refugee+camp%20Jordan%20UNHRC.jpeg

    #Covid-19#Jordanie#UE#Réfugiés#santé#éducation#Camp#Aide#Économie#migrant#migration

  • Thousands need aid after fire destroys Europe’s largest refugee camp | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/09/thousands-need-aid-after-fire-destroys-europes-largest-refugee-camp
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/2b353f8dc56a66f9907e73f13fefc21ac5c5f9c1/0_0_3543_2126/master/3543.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    “At this moment the reception centre has been completely destroyed,” Greece’s alternate migration minister, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, told reporters, saying it was miraculous there had been no deaths or injuries. “As a result, thousands of people are homeless.”Calling the situation an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis”, the politician said the coronavirus pandemic had created “exceptionally demanding” circumstances on the island, long at the forefront of refugees fleeing war-stricken homelands for the west. Eyewitnesses reported terrified and traumatised residents fleeing the hilltop facility through thick, acrid smoke laced with the stench of burning plastic.At least three dozen people living in the camp had been diagnosed with Covid-19 before the fire erupted. Local islanders’ fears that the virus could spread were exacerbated when authorities admitted that by late afternoon on Wednesday they had only managed to locate eight of them. Echoing other government officials who had alluded to arson, Koumoutsakos said it appeared the blaze broke out “as the result of the discontent” among camp residents over lockdown measures being prolonged following a positive virus test for a Somali asylum seeker.
    Firefighters who rushed to the scene as flames whipped by gale force winds enveloped the camp spoke of the fire bursting into life in at least three places, suggesting it had been deliberately lit.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#lesbos#moria#camp#sante#confinement#depistage#UE#politiquemigratoire

  • « C’est un enfer sans fin » : le plus grand camp de réfugiés d’Europe est parti en fumée
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/09/10/moria-est-mort-le-plus-grand-camp-de-refugies-en-europe-est-parti-en-fumee_6

    Selon le ministre grec des migrations, Notis Mitarachi, plusieurs feux se sont déclenchés en même temps mardi soir, et des demandeurs d’asile qui protestaient contre la quarantaine imposée après la détection de cas de Covid-19 dans le camp seraient à l’origine de la catastrophe. La semaine dernière, un premier cas avait été détecté chez un résident du camp et avait entraîné la mise en quarantaine de celui-ci : les réfugiés n’étaient plus autorisés à sortir, seul le personnel de sécurité – après que leur température a été prise –, pouvait se rendre à l’intérieur de la structure. Quelques jours plus tard, 35 personnes, dont la plupart étaient asymptomatiques, avaient été placées en isolement dans une clinique à l’extérieur du camp. Les autorités sanitaires devaient continuer le dépistage lorsque la révolte a grondé mardi.Depuis mars, les centres d’identification et de réception situés aux frontières de la Grèce avec la Turquie étaient déjà soumis à des mesures restrictives limitant les sorties, les activités et l’intervention des ONG dans les camps. « Après tant d’années, où les violences se multipliaient et les conditions devenaient de plus en plus sordides dans le camp, les autorités grecques auraient dû se douter qu’un jour la situation allait exploser mais les transferts des personnes vulnérables étaient trop lents et les seules décisions prises comme les mesures restrictives liées à l’épidémie due au coronavirus n’ont fait que détériorer les conditions de vie des demandeurs d’asile à Moria qui étaient à bout », estime Salam Aldeen, un volontaire de l’ONG Team Humanity. Depuis l’accord entre l’Union européenne (UE) et la Turquie de 2016, le camp de Moria était conçu pour dissuader les migrants de venir en Europe. Les exilés qui s’y trouvaient devaient rester dans la structure le temps de l’examen de leur demande d’asile puis, ensuite, étaient soit gratifiés du statut de réfugié, soit renvoyés en Turquie ou vers leur pays d’origine.Mais la surcharge de travail des services d’asile et les arrivées qui ne se sont jamais totalement taries, ont finalement conduit à créer un « monstre », qui s’étalait désormais dans les champs environnants. Les services, les sanitaires, les douches, n’étaient plus adaptés pour autant de personnes.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#lesbos#moria#UE#sante#politiquemigratoire#refugie#demandeurdasile

  • En Grèce, un énorme incendie dévaste le camp de migrants de l’île de Lesbos
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/09/09/un-incendie-se-declare-dans-le-camp-de-migrants-de-moria-a-lesbos_6051482_32

    D’après l’agence de presse grecque ANA, les feux auraient été déclenchés à la suite de la révolte de certains demandeurs d’asile qui devaient être placés en isolement, ayant été testés positifs au coronavirus ou proches d’une personne détectée positive.« Il y a 35 cas positifs et ils doivent être isolés (…) pour empêcher la propagation » du virus, a déclaré Selios Petsas à la chaîne publique ERT. Tous les réfugiés du camp ont l’interdiction de quitter l’île, a-t-il ajouté. Selon le site d’information locale Lesvospost, plus de 3 000 tentes, des milliers de conteneurs, des bureaux de l’administration et une clinique au sein du camp ont été brûlés.
    Les pompiers affirment dans leur communiqué avoir « été empêchés d’entrer dans le camp pour intervenir » par certains groupes de réfugiés à leur arrivée, et avoir fait appel aux forces de l’ordre pour pouvoir poursuivre l’opération de sauvetage. Stand by Me Lesvos, une association regroupant locaux et réfugiés, rapporte de son côté certains témoignages selon lesquels « des locaux bloquent le passage [des réfugiés] dans le village voisin ». « Depuis plusieurs heures, des grands feux entourent le centre de réception. Les foyers se multiplient (…) et, avec la force du vent, le feu s’étend rapidement », commente sur sa page Facebook l’association des habitants de Moria et des autres villages environnants.
    « La zone paie le prix de l’indifférence et de l’abandon », poursuit Stand by Lesvos, qui appelle les autorités à agir rapidement pour trouver une solution pour les demandeurs d’asile qui se retrouvent sans abri. La semaine dernière, les autorités ont détecté un premier cas de coronavirus à Moria et ont mis le camp en quarantaine pour quinze jours. Après la réalisation de 2 000 tests de dépistage, 35 personnes ont été détectées positives au Covid-19 à Moria et placées à l’isolement.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#lesbos#moria#isolement#refugie#demandeurdasile#sante#politiquemigratoire#UE

  • « Contre l’épidémie, l’Europe doit cesser de donner à ses citoyens l’image d’un continent désuni »
    https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2020/09/07/contre-l-epidemie-l-europe-doit-cesser-de-donner-a-ses-citoyens-l-image-d-un

    On aura donc assisté tout l’été à un triste barnum aux frontières intérieures de l’Union européenne, avec la multiplication de décisions unilatérales et désordonnées imposant des contrôles ou des restrictions, sur la base de données disparates, de résultats de tests contestés d’un pays à l’autre. On aura vu les Espagnols interdits en République tchèque, les habitants de l’Ile-de-France indésirables en Belgique, les voyageurs en provenance de Slovénie bloqués dans des embouteillages monstres pour des recueils d’identité à la frontière autrichienne…Des touristes européens auront ainsi été ballottés d’un pays à l’autre, entre colère et incompréhension, otages de mesures de protection hétéroclites, parfois divergentes. On ne peut imaginer pire image à donner aux citoyens : celle d’un continent désuni. On ne peut imaginer pire aubaine pour conforter les différents partis populistes au pouvoir, qui alimentent l’image d’une Europe impuissante, alors qu’ils contribuent eux-mêmes largement à cette impuissance. La raison ? Les Etats membres de l’Union européenne n’ont pas su tirer les leçons de la crise en matière de santé. Dans le plan de relance européen, pourtant exemplaire de solidarité et de réactivité, ces Etats traitent les conséquences de la pandémie en oubliant sa cause. Ainsi, le Conseil européen a supprimé la part qui prévoyait, dans ce plan, plusieurs milliards d’euros pour se préparer aux rebonds de l’épidémie de Covid-19, ou à d’autres fléaux sanitaires qui nous menacent.
    L’Europe ne s’est pas non plus donné les moyens de corriger les erreurs du passé. Le décompte des cas (qui permet d’établir les zones à risque, signalées en couleurs) ne se fait toujours pas selon les mêmes critères d’un pays à l’autre, les règles de protection et la façon de proposer les tests ne sont pas concertées entre les Etats, pas plus que les procédures de contrôle aux aéroports. Il ne s’agit pas de nier les différences de circulation du virus selon les pays – ces différences sont d’ailleurs tout aussi présentes d’une région à l’autre au sein d’un même pays –, mais de plaider pour que, face à une même situation, la même mesure soit prise. Car de cette absence de coordination naît forcément la crainte du limitrophe, de l’étranger, le repli sur soi contre un risque de défaillance de l’Autre. De cette défiance réciproque émerge une forme inquiétante de nationalisme sanitaire. Et la libre circulation des personnes au sein de l’esfrontièrepace Schengen, emblématique de cette liberté, est menacée par des fermetures de frontières, comme aux pires temps du début de la pandémie. Illustration récente : la décision unilatérale de fermeture de ses frontières prise par la Hongrie, dirigée précisément par un de ces gouvernements eurosceptiques qui contribuent largement aujourd’hui à bloquer toute tentative de coordination au niveau européen.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#UE#espaceschengen#circulation#nationalismesanitaire#etranger

  • Refugee Covid case sparks ’closed camps’ fears on Lesbos | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/04/refugee-covid-case-sparks-closed-camps-fears-on-lesbos
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a4af1d2e29d3cff56c0e21ba732d14a02e851855/282_744_5467_3280/master/5467.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    The first recorded coronavirus case in Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, where just under 13,000 people are living in a space designed for 3,000, has led to fears that the government will use the pandemic as a pretext to create closed camps. Notis Mitarachi, the minister for migration, told local news that the coronavirus situation demonstrated the need for “closed and controlled” structures. The migration ministry also released a statement on Thursday, which said that plans to create closed structures on the islands of Lesbos and Chios were progressing. On Wednesday, a 40-year-old man, a recognised refugee from Somalia, tested positive for Covid-19. The camp is now under a strict two-week quarantine and police monitor entrances and exits. Since the outbreak of the pandemic there have been calls by NGOs for the evacuation of overcrowded Aegean island camps where social distancing is impossible. In Moria, most people live in cramped conditions outside the official perimeters of the camp often in thin tents or makeshift huts.
    Greece, which had success in flattening the curve at the outbreak of the pandemic, has experienced a rise in cases since the country opened up to tourism in July. Rights groups have drawn distinctions between the differing attitudes shown towards tourist and refugees: as holidaymakers have taken to the country’s beaches, refugees have remained locked down since 23 March. Caroline Willemen, the MSF project coordinator for Covid-19 on Lesbos, said she was concerned not only about the impact of the virus but also the plans for closed centres. “There have been statements that if only Moria was a closed structure, this would never have happened, which is extremely questionable,” she said. “The person who was found to be positive reportedly came back from Athens, but that’s only one of many ways in which sooner or later Covid would have reached Moria. It’s a very cynical approach and it’s really using the pandemic as an excuse to supplement further restrictions that are not justified from a public health point of view.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#camp#hotspot#confinement#moria#chios#lesbos#sante#politiquemigratoire#UE#MSF

  • A Lampedusa, les migrants face au coronavirus
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/08/29/a-lampedusa-les-migrants-face-au-coronavirus_6050269_3210.html

    Un homme est particulièrement occupé depuis le début de l’été, Toto Martello, le maire de l’île. « Ce qui me fait peur, c’est qu’il n’y a aucune conscience de la situation ici, ni de la part du gouvernement ni de l’Europe, se lamente-t-il en tirant sur son cigare. Tout repose sur les épaules de Lampedusa. La situation s’est aggravée avec l’épidémie, aux problèmes du passé se sont ajoutés ceux liés à la crise sanitaire. » A ce sentiment d’abandon s’est greffé le nouveau coronavirus et la peur de la contagion a servi de puissant moteur politique pour les formations politiques antimigrants, la Ligue de Matteo Salvini en tête. Lundi 24 août, lors d’un meeting à Crotone, en Calabre, l’ancien ministre de l’intérieur a juré que certains migrants atteints du Covid-19 « se promenaient parmi les touristes de Lampedusa, qui rapportaient ensuite avec eux le virus en Calabre, à Milan ou à Rome ». A l’approche des élections régionales italiennes des 20 et 21 septembre, cette instrumentalisation de la question migratoire est un refrain revenu à la mode. « Une campagne indigne contre Lampedusa pour faire s’effondrer l’économie de l’île », dénonce Toto Martello. Jusqu’ici, hormis les migrants placés en quarantaine, aucun touriste venu sur l’île n’a été contrôlé positif. (...)
    Les pêcheurs, qui ont fait la fierté de l’endroit, sont de moins en moins nombreux. Dans les années 1960, ils allaient encore jeter leurs filets jusqu’en Tunisie, sur les côtes les plus proches. Aujourd’hui, le mouvement est inverse, ce sont les Tunisiens qui viennent en Italie. « A Sfax, Sousse ou Monastir, des familles sont originaires de Lampedusa, on devrait se souvenir de cette histoire pour éprouver un peu de culpabilité », sourit amèrement Nino Taranto, qui a créé une petite association culturelle permettant de scolariser des migrants, aujourd’hui installés dans d’autres régions italiennes. Cette culpabilité pourrait se résumer dans le « hot spot » (centre d’accueil) de l’île qui s’est trouvé submergé ces dernières semaines. La crise sanitaire semble avoir paralysé les autorités politiques et les migrants se sont progressivement entassés. Avec jusqu’à 1 400 personnes enfermées dans un espace conçu pour 192 personnes, la situation est devenue intenable. Trente-huit cas de Covid-19 y ont été recensés la semaine passée, une bombe à retardement. L’armée a dû être envoyée en renfort pour éviter tout débordement. Face à la situation critique sur place, 850 migrants ont pu être évacués vers la Sicile, le 27 août, mais aucune solution à long terme n’a pour l’heure été proposée

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#italie#tunisie#lampedusa#UE#hotpsot#sante#economie#politiquemigratoire#crisesanitaire

  • Greece has a deadly new migration policy – and all of Europe is to blame | Daniel Trilling | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/27/greece-migration-europe-athens-refugees
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/35b3d2f1b4b923b386c7831a5e351ac9b729ef65/12_159_4086_2453/master/4086.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    But if every country looks only to its own interests, and behaves as if asylum seekers are someone else’s problem, then you very quickly end up with a system that traps people in situations where their lives are at risk. That is the system bequeathed by Europe’s panicked response to the 2015 refugee crisis, and in recent months, partly under cover of the emergency conditions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, it has got worse. The revelation by the New York Times that Greece has secretly expelled more than 1,000 asylum seekers, abandoning many of them on inflatable life rafts in the Aegean Sea, is the latest example of this disturbing trend. Since 2015, Greece has effectively been used by the rest of the EU as a buffer zone against unwanted migration, leaving thousands of refugees in unsanitary camps on islands in the Aegean and on the mainland. At the same time, a hastily arranged EU deal with Turkey saw the latter agree to act as border cop on Europe’s behalf, preventing refugees from crossing to Greece in return for financial aid and other diplomatic concessions.This spring, amid rising geopolitical tensions, Turkey decided to send thousands of migrants towards the Greek border as a way of exerting pressure on Europe. It provoked a nationalist backlash, followed by several hardline and legally questionable border control measures from Greece’s conservative New Democracy government. Earlier this year, the New York Times also reported that Greece was operating a secret detention centre at its land border with Turkey, so that it could carry out summary deportations without giving people the right to claim asylum; the latest revelations about its actions in the Aegean fit the same pattern.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#UE#politiquemigratoire#asile#sante#politique

  • Espagne : les migrants reprennent la dangereuse route maritime des Canaries - InfoMigrants
    http://www.rfi.fr/fr/europe/20200825-espagne-les-migrants-reprennent-la-dangereuse-route-maritime-canaries

    Avec un trafic dix fois moins important, le nombre de morts sur la route atlantique équivaut à la moitié des décès ou disparitions enregistrés en Méditerranée, selon l’OIM. Le flux de migrants est beaucoup moins important qu’en 2006, lorsqu’on dépassait les 30 000 arrivées, mais « la difficulté de la traversée est impressionnante », souligne Txema Santana de la Commission espagnole d’aide aux réfugiés (CEAR) aux Canaries. Les embarcations ne viennent pas seulement du Maroc et de la Mauritanie, les deux pays les plus proches des Canaries, mais aussi du Sénégal, de la Gambie, à plus de 1 000 km au sud. À bord, il y a de plus en plus de femmes et d’enfants, et plus de morts en mer. La majorité des migrants fuit le Sahel et l’Afrique de l’ouest, mais certains viennent de plus loin, du Soudan du Sud ou de l’archipel des Comores dans l’Océan indien, ajoute-t-elle. Pour ces réfugiés, la pandémie de coronavirus n’est pas un frein. Une fois débarqués, ils doivent se soumettre à un test PCR et, si l’un des passagers est positif, s’isoler dans des centres d’accueil qui ne sont pas conçus pour des quarantaines. Txema Santana réclame l’accélération des transferts de l’archipel vers l’Espagne continentale pour éviter la saturation des centres d’accueil, si comme on s’y attend les traversées augmentent en septembre, avec un vent favorable et une mer plus calme.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#UE#afrique#espagne#sante#disparition#centredaccueil#depistage#traversee

  • Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU’s push to increase forced removals

    Deportation Union provides a critical examination of recently-introduced and forthcoming EU measures designed to increase the number of deportations carried out by national authorities and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. It focuses on three key areas: attempts to reduce or eliminate rights and protections in the law governing deportations; the expansion and interconnection of EU databases and information systems; and the increased budget, powers and personnel awarded to Frontex.

    There has long-been coordinated policy, legal and operational action on migration at EU level, and efforts to increase deportations have always been a part of this. However, since the ‘migration crisis’ of 2015 there has been a rapid increase in new initiatives, the overall aim of which is to limit legal protections afforded to ‘deportable’ individuals at the same time as expanding the ability of national and EU authorities to track, detain and remove people with increasing efficiency.

    The measures and initiatives being introduced by the EU to scale up deportations will require massive public expenditure on technology, infrastructure and personnel; the strengthening and expansion of state and supranational agencies already-lacking in transparency and democratic accountability; and are likely to further undermine claims that the EU occupies the moral high ground in its treatment of migrants. Anyone wishing to question and challenge these developments will first need to understand them. This report attempts to go some way towards assisting with that task.


    https://www.statewatch.org/deportation-union-rights-accountability-and-the-eu-s-push-to-increase-fo
    #machine_à_expulser #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #UE #EU #rapport #union_européenne #renvois_forcés #rapport #Statewatch #Frontex #database #base_de_données #données_biométriques #Directive_Retour #return-opticon #Joint_return_operations (#JROs) #Collecting_return_operations #National_return_operations #Afghanistan #réfugiés_afghans #European_Centre_for_Returns #statistiques #chiffres #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_ @etraces

  • Première relocalisation en France de 16 mineurs non accompagnés vivant en Grèce - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26786/premiere-relocalisation-en-france-de-16-mineurs-non-accompagnes-vivant

    Décidé depuis l’année dernière par le gouvernement grec en coopération avec ses partenaires européens, le programme de relocalisation baptisé « No Child Alone » (Aucun Enfant Seul), s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un programme de protection des mineurs non accompagnés victimes de « l’exploitation et de la criminalité ».Toutefois en raison de la pandémie du Covid-19, le programme n’a commencé qu’en avril avec le départ de 12 enfants au Luxembourg, suivi d’un deuxième groupe de 50 mineurs accueillis en Allemagne. Début juillet un groupe de 25 migrants mineurs avait été relocalisé en Finlande ainsi qu’un autre du même nombre au Portugal, un pays qui a promis d’héberger au total 500 enfants. Le programme de relocalisation vise à aider la Grèce à faire face à environ 5 000 enfants non accompagnés, dont la grande majorité vit dans des conditions insalubres ou dans des logements non adaptés aux enfants. De plus, la France doit également héberger environ 400 demandeurs d’asile en provenance de Grèce mais aucun transfert n’a encore été organisé pour ces personnes.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#portugal#allemagne#finlande#luxembourg#UE#sante#relocalisation#asile#mineur#MNA

  • (ಠ益ಠ ╬) reshare from (/posts/47d60790c5d30138c67a3a51e514374b) @jau...
    https://diasp.eu/p/11526220

    (ಠ益ಠ ╬)

    reshare from @[jaune_lola@diaspora-fr.org](/people/fa535f508c930137c7b309e21e57fdab)

    L #UE s’apprête à lancer un marché de #données à caractère personnel au sein duquel les citoyens seront payés pour partager

    L’inscription à un service offert par un des GAFAM n’est pas obligatoire ; à contrario, la participation au marché de données à caractère personnel pourrait bien être obligatoire pour les citoyens de l’Union européenne.

    #privacy #vieprivee #bigdata #SOS #alerteRouge #actu #politique #liberalisme #europe #confidentialite #surveillance #flicage #democrature #profilage #droitsHumains #bigbrother #1984 #pistage #informatique #numerique (...)

  • COVID-19 Lockdown At Refugee Camp In Jordan Is Tough On Young Syrians - NPR

    Teens in an isolated refugee camp for 80,000 Syrians have trouble with remote classes and finding something to do during the coronavirus lockdowns

    https://www.npr.org/2020/08/18/903433811/covid-19-lockdown-at-refugee-camp-in-jordan-is-tough-on-young-syrians

    #Covid-19#Jordanie#UE#Réfugiés#santé#éducation#Camp#Aide#Économie#migrant#migration

  • Global Trends #2019 – rifugiati e richiedenti asilo: la situazione nell’Unione Europea

    Sono 20 milioni i rifugiati nel mondo nel 2019. L’Unione europea accoglie circa 2 milioni e 700 mila persone, che corrisponde al 13% di tutti coloro che sono accolti negli altri paesi e continenti.

    Secondo l’ultima edizione dei Global Trends (https://www.unhcr.it/news/comunicati-stampa/l1-per-cento-della-popolazione-mondiale-e-in-fuga-secondo-il-rapporto-annuale-) dell’Unhcr vi sono paesi come la Turchia, il Pakistan e l’Uganda che “da soli” riconoscono lo status di rifugiato rispettivamente a 3 milioni e mezzo, 1 milione e 491 mila, 1 milione e 359 mila persone, pari al 31% di tutti coloro che sono accolti negli altri paesi.

    La media Ue (Regno Unito compreso) è di 5 rifugiati ogni 1000 abitanti. In Italia la media è di 3 ogni 1000 abitanti.
    La sfida europea alla solidarietà

    I dati forniti da Unhcr in merito alla situazione dei rifugiati e dei richiedenti asilo nell’Unione europea consentono alcune riflessioni.

    La prima è la sostanziale continuità circa la presenza di rifugiati nei paesi dell’Unione europea: ben lontani dall’emergenza, la presenza di rifugiati nei paesi della Ue è stabile, con un incremento complessivo, rispetto al 2018, pari al 4%.

    La seconda riflessione chiama in causa l’Italia che, tra i paesi europei, è tra i paesi al di sotto della media europea con la presenza di 3 rifugiati ogni 1.000 abitanti.

    La terza riflessione concerne i paesi di provenienza dei rifugiati presenti negli stati europei al 31 dicembre 2019, e le scelte politiche conseguenti tra i paesi cosiddetti di frontiera e quelli di arrivo. Se alcuni paesi come l’Italia, la Grecia, Malta e la Spagna, in quanto paesi di approdo, sono coinvolti per primi nella gestione degli arrivi via mare, vi sono altri stati come la Francia e la Germania che concedono protezione a persone provenienti da una molteplicità di paesi. A questo proposito, colpisce il dato sulla Francia che accoglie rifugiati di 44 nazionalità.

    Queste riflessioni chiamano in causa proprio il ruolo dell’Unione europea e la necessità di policy condivise tra gli stati su una questione che coinvolge tutti i paesi, specifica, e costante. Peraltro alcuni paesi come i Paesi Bassi e la Francia, nel 2019, si sono distinti per la naturalizzazione dei rifugiati: oltre 12mila nei Paesi Bassi e 3mila in Francia.

    “A volte serve una crisi come quella da Covid19 per ricordarci che abbiamo bisogno di essere uniti. In un momento dove il mondo vive un periodo di grande vulnerabilità la nostra forza è la solidarietà: nessuno è al sicuro se non lo siamo tutti. Ognuno di noi può fare la differenza e contribuire a trovare delle soluzioni per andare avanti”, ha dichiarato la Rappresentante per l’Italia, la Santa Sede e San Marino, Chiara Cardoletti, il 20 giugno scorso, in occasione della celebrazione della Giornata Mondiale del Rifugiato.

    A questo proposito, bisogna ricordare che il Portogallo, ha scelto, nella fase di emergenza sanitaria di Covid 19, allo scopo di garantire l’assistenza sanitaria durante la pandemia, di concedere a immigrati e richiedenti asilo con permesso di soggiorno ‘pendente’ l’assistenza sanitaria e l’accesso ai servizi pubblici.

    Sul versante opposto, l’Ungheria ha inasprito ulteriormente le politiche di chiusura, utilizzando le misure di blocco per eseguire respingimenti su larga scala dai campi cittadini e dai centri che ospitano i richiedenti asilo.

    Una questione cruciale, la protezione sociale e sanitaria, che si sovrappone a un altro dato emerso dal Global Trends 2019. La portavoce di Unchr Italia, Carlotta Sami, in occasione della presentazione dei dati, ci ha ricordato che “la possibilità per Unhcr di organizzare i rientri a casa, che negli anni novanta corrispondeva ad una media di 1 milione e mezzo di persone all’anno, è crollata a 385 mila”e ha ricordato “che solo il 5% dei rifugiati ha potuto usufruire di una soluzione stabile come il reinsediamento”.

    Difficoltà a ritornare a casa e necessità di protezione sociale in fasi delicate come quelle della emergenza sanitaria sono due questioni sulle quali l’Unione europea è chiamata a intervenire.

    Nell’ormai lontano 1994, Alexander Langer, nel discorso pronunciato in occasione delle elezioni europee, invocò la necessità di una priorità politica nel trattare alcune questioni: “Finora l’Europa comunitaria si è preoccupata molto delle aziende, delle merci, dei capitali, dei tassi di inflazione. Ora si tratta di varare un corpo comune di leggi di cittadinanza e di democrazia europea, a garanzia di eguali diritti e uguale protezione in tutta l’Unione, a garanzia dell’apertura agli altri. La difesa e la promozione dei diritti umani all’interno e all’esterno dell’Unione deve diventare una priorità politica oltre che morale”.

    In un contesto come quello attuale, gli stati dell’Unione europea – su una questione cruciale come quella migratoria – dovrebbero raccogliere la sfida di trovare un accordo comune che riesca a superare interessi divergenti.

    https://www.cartadiroma.org/osservatorio/factchecking/global-trends-2019-rifugiati-e-richiedenti-asilo-la-situazione-nellunione-europea/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
    #statistiques #chiffres #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Europe #UE #EU #visualisation

    ping @karine4 @reka @isskein

  • Crispations entre la Tunisie et l’Italie sur la question migratoire
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2020/08/08/crispations-entre-la-tunisie-et-l-italie-sur-la-question-migratoire_6048468_

    « L’UE clame qu’elle soutient la démocratie tunisienne, en réalité, elle l’étouffe », dénonce Ben Amor. L’économie est le point faible de la Tunisie, « pourtant elle veut imposer des traités injustes et se limiter à l’immigration régulière ». Et pour cause, « ça ne sert que ses intérêts de drainer les ingénieurs et les médecins tunisiens ». Selon lui, la Tunisie est aussi victime de la détérioration de la situation en Libye où les pays européens sont des acteurs du conflit. Pour peser encore plus dans le rapport de forces, l’Italie a décidé d’affréter un ferry pour mettre en quarantaine quelque 700 migrants par peur de la Covid-19 dont la Tunisie a été largement épargnée. Selon M. Ben Amor, ce bateau pourrait se transformer en prison et prendre le large à n’importe quel moment pour une expulsion en masse.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#tunisie#italie#UE#sante#politiquemigratoire#traversée#mediterraner

  • La Grèce débute les « retours volontaires » de « migrants économiques » - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26504/la-grece-debute-les-retours-volontaires-de-migrants-economiques

    Un premier vol transportant des « migrants économiques » retournant « volontairement » dans leur pays d’origine, est parti d’Athènes jeudi, dans le cadre d’un programme de l’Union européenne. Au total, 5 000 personnes se verront proposer des incitations au départ de 2 000 euros. Quelque 134 migrants irakiens ont « volontairement » quitté Athènes jeudi 6 août pour rejoindre leur pays d’origine. Des photos de leur embarquement dans l’avion montrent des hommes aux visages masqués. Certains brandissent fièrement leur passeport et agitent les bras en guise d’adieu. Il s’agit du « plus important retour sur une base volontaire de migrants économiques jamais mis en oeuvre dans notre pays, et le plus important en Europe cette année », a déclaré à la presse le porte-parole du gouvernement Stelios Petsas. Ces retours ont lieu dans le cadre d’un programme mis en place en mars par l’Union européenne dans le but de soulager la Grèce qui abrite 120 000 migrants et réfugiés. Ce programme était jusque-là resté en suspens à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus.

    #Covid-19@migrant#migration#UE#grece#migranteconomique#retour#sante

  • Coronavirus : l’Algérie se dit « surprise » par les restrictions de voyage préconisées par l’UE
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2020/08/03/coronavirus-l-algerie-se-dit-surprise-par-les-restrictions-de-voyage-preconi

    Le Conseil de l’UE a annoncé, jeudi, le retrait de l’Algérie de la liste des pays exemptés de restrictions aux voyages. Cette liste, basée notamment sur des critères épidémiologiques et soumise à une révision tous les quinze jours, précise les pays pour lesquels les restrictions aux frontières extérieures de l’UE « devraient graduellement être levées ». La recommandation européenne n’est pas contraignante : chaque Etat membre reste responsable des voyageurs qu’il laisse entrer sur son territoire. L’UE tente toutefois de se coordonner pour maintenir la liberté de circulation au sein de l’espace Schengen

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#espaceschengen#UE#algérie#frontière#sante#paysarisque

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      State-of-play report

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

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

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

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

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

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

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

      Training

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

      Use of force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Privileges and immunities

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

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

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

      Law enforcement

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

      Fundamental rights and data protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Returns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      EUROSUR

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

      Summary

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

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

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

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

      Endnotes

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

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

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

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

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

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

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

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

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

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

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

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

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

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

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

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

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

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

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

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

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

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

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

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

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

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

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

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

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

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

      What is the standing corps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The size of the standing corps

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

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

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

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

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

      What are the profiles?

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

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

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

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

      Recruitment for the profiles

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

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

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

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

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

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

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

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

      Fit for service?

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

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

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

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

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

      [14] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

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

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

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

      Aircraft from arms companies

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

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

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

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

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

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

      New interested parties for drone flights

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

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

      Information to non-EU countries

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

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

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

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

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

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

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

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

      Matthias Monroy

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

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

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #drones

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

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

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

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

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

      From external to internal surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

      Legal provisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Sources of data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Operational activities at the internal borders

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

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

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

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

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

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

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

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

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

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

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

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Coronavirus : la peur de la deuxième vague de contaminations relance la question des frontières européennes
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/08/01/coronavirus-la-peur-de-la-deuxieme-vague-de-contaminations-relance-la-questi

    En Espagne, les autorités continuent pourtant de clamer haut et fort que le pays reste une destination touristique sûre. Le gouvernement négocie toujours avec Londres la mise en place de « corridors sanitaires » pour les archipels des Baléares et des Canaries, relativement épargnés par la pandémie. Très prisées des Britanniques, ces îles ont « un niveau de contagion bien inférieur aux données épidémiologiques du Royaume-Uni », a déclaré la ministre espagnole des affaires étrangères, Arancha Gonzalez Laya.Le pays n’impose, en tout cas, aucune restriction de voyage vers d’autres pays européens mais il pourrait changer d’avis. Après des avertissements lancés par la France, la quarantaine imposée par le Royaume-Uni et la décision de l’Allemagne, Mme Gonzalez Laya a indiqué, jeudi, que Madrid pourrait changer ses recommandations de voyage « vers les régions d’Europe où il faut être plus prudent ». La Belgique impose, elle, un test et une quarantaine à ses ressortissants qui ont séjourné dans les provinces de Lleida, en Catalogne, et de Huesca, en Aragon. Ce sont avec Leicester, au Royaume-Uni, les seules zones actuellement visées par les autorités du royaume. Les touristes belges rentrant d’autres régions d’Europe – dont les Pays-de-Loire et l’Ile-de-France – se voient conseiller – mais pas obliger – d’effectuer un test et de se mettre en quarantaine.

    #Covid-19#migration#migrant#UE#espaceschengen#corridorsanitaire#tourisme#ressortissant#quarantaine#sante

  • Pourquoi les Algériens sont interdits d’entrée dans Schengen
    https://www.afrik.com/pourquoi-les-algeriens-sont-interdits-d-entree-dans-schengen

    C’est ce jeudi 30 juillet que le Conseil de l’Union Européenne, dans un communiqué, a annoncé retirer l’Algérie de sa liste actualisée des pays sûrs avec les lesquels les voyages sont autorisés. En clair, l’Union Européenne ferme de nouveau ses frontières avec l’Algérie.Pourtant, le 1er juillet dernier, l’Algérie figurait dans la liste des 15 pays établie par l’Union Européenne et avec lesquels les voyages étaient autorisés. Que s’est-il passé ? Cette décision qui fait face à une recrudescence des contaminations au Coronavirus depuis fin juin, avec un pic de nouveaux cas, entre 500 et près de 700 nouveaux cas quotidiens. Il n’y a pas que l’Algérie qui exclue de la liste des pays autorisés à avoir accès à la zone Schengen. Il y a eu en effet la Serbie et le Monténégro qui ont été soustraits de la liste, du fait de la dégradation de la situation sanitaire sur leurs territoires, avec notamment une nouvelle explosion des cas de Covid-19.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#algerie#UE#espaceschengen#frontiere#contamination#sante