Schrems Versus Facebook: is the end of Safe Harbor approaching ?

by Emilio De Capitani

Today Advocate General Yves Bot has presented his long-awaited conclusions on the Case C‑362/14 Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner. This case better described by the press as the “Schrems v Facebook” Case (why not “David V Goliath” ?)  put in question the so called Safe harbor “agreement” which frame the conditions under which personal data of the people under the EU jurisdiction can be transferred or treated by servers of US Companies (such as Facebook, Google, E-Bay) on the US territory.
As the protection of personal data is a fundamental right under EU law (notably after the entry into force of the art.8 of the EU Charter)  art. 25 of Directive 95/46 foresees that the transfer of these data to a third country is legitimate only if the data are “adequately” protected.
The problem is that in the US there is no comprehensive legal protection framework comparable to the one existing in the EU so that in 2000 the Commission negotiated with the US the establishment of a specific voluntary regime (the “Safe Harbor Principles”) which could had been considered granting an “adequate” protection of personal data  having regard to the standard applicable in Europe.

At the time the European Parliament voted against this regime but was unable to obtain stronger safeguards because of the unwillingness of the US authorities and moreover by the Commission which was more interested to the transfer of data than of their protection.

Since then the transatlantic flow of data has grown every day and with them the economic benefices of the US Companies without any real re-assesment of the compliance of the Safe Harbor principles on the US side (by the Federal Trade Commission) or on the EU side (by the Commission) even after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty which changed the legal basis of EU policies linked with the protection of personal data.

However when the Snowden revelations made clear to everybody that all these EU personal data could be massively analyzed without judicial overview by the US Intelligence Services someone in the EU  woke up.

Between the EU Institutions the European Parliament asked the suspension of the Safe Harbor agreement but its initiative was not followed by the Commission (as unfortunately happens more and more frequently); but it is thanks to the obstinacy of Maximilian Schrems, an Austrian law student that the case was finally been brought, first before to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, then before the Irish High Court and now before the Court of Justice.

This case is extremely interesting  not only because it confirms that in a democracy someone has to …watch the watchers be they at national or European level (notably if they are sleeping or hiding behind each other…) but also because it shows that also an “ordinary” Citizen can dare to do in name of the EU law and of his rights what the EU Institutions are less and less willing to do.

Enjoy now the reading the instructive and very detailed Yves BOT arguments drawing him to declare that the Commission initial “adequacy finding” was not adequate at all (as also the EP wrote in its 2000 resolution) and that National Authorities should fully play their role and not hiding behind the Commission “Adequacy decisions”.

Such a strong reasoning if endorsed by the Luxembourg Judges should inspire

  • a re-assessment of other EU-US ‘executive’ agreements dealing with data protection (the draft “Umbrella agreement” included)
  • a revision of the Data Protection package at least as far as the regime of Commission “adequacy finding” is concerned (which due to its large marge of discretion could no more be considered a simple “implementing measure” but at least a “delegated” power …) and a stronger role of the Data Protection Board which should have a direct jurisdiction at least for Data controller “over the top” such as Facebook, Google, E-Bay and so on…

It is only unfortunate that the European Parliament which on these issues was on the right side between 1999 and 2004 is now slowly sliding away notwithstanding a much stronger constitutional framework and a binding Charter …

Anyway many thanks Max!! Hope that 10, 100, 1000 of European citizens could follow your example…



delivered on 23 September 2015 (1Case C‑362/14 Maximillian Schrems Data Protection Commissioner

Continue reading “Schrems Versus Facebook: is the end of Safe Harbor approaching ?”

A quest for accountability? EU and Member State inquiries into the CIA Rendition and Secret Detention Programme


Authors: Prof. Didier Bigo, Dr Sergio Carrera, Prof. Elspeth Guild, and Dr Raluca Radescu.

At the request of the LIBE Committee, this study assesses the extent to which EU Member States have delivered accountability for their complicity in the US CIA-led extraordinary rendition and secret detention programme and its serious human rights violations. It offers a scoreboard of political inquiries and judicial investigations in supranational and national arenas in relation to Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom. The study takes as a starting point two recent and far-reaching developments in delivering accountability and establishing the truth: the publication of the executive summary of the US Senate Intelligence Committee (Feinstein) Report and new European Court of Human Rights judgments regarding EU Member States’ complicity with the CIA. The study identifies significant obstacles to further accountability in the five EU Member States under investigation: notably the lack of independent and effective official investigations and the use of the ‘state secrets doctrine’ to prevent disclosure of the facts, evade responsibility and hinder redress to the victims. The study puts forward a set of policy recommendations for the European Parliament to address these obstacles to effective accountability.


Although much has been done over the last ten years to overcome major obstacles to ensuring democratic and judicial accountability in respect of EU Member States’ complicity in the unlawful US CIA-led extraordinary rendition and secret detention programme, much remains to be done to uncover the truth and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

This study takes as a starting point two recent and highly significant developments that have helped to shed light on, and establish accountability for, the actions of EU Member States engaged in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) rendition and detention programme. The first is the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee “Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program” (also known as the Feinstein Report) published in December 2014, which provided further evidence of the nature of the relationship between the CIA and several European state authorities and their wrongdoing. The second is the collection of recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), particularly in the Al Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah cases, which have helped to provide substantive rule of law standards against which to measure national political inquiries and judicial investigations.

Through the prism of these two important recent developments, this study builds on the 2012 European Parliament study on “The results of inquiries into the CIA’s programme of extraordinary rendition and secret prisons in European states in light of the new legal framework following the Lisbon treaty”. First (section 2), it pinpoints the critical findings of the Feinstein Report and their relevance for EU Member State inquiries, in particular the new revelations that: the CIA was isolated both nationally and internationally; European states that collaborated with the CIA were quick to withdraw assistance when scrutiny increased, leaving the CIA on the run; the UK failed to refute unfounded CIA claims about the intelligence value of information extracted by torture; and the CIA paid large sums of money to cooperative Member States. The study also examines the media controversy provoked by the release of the Feinstein Report and the efforts made by certain actors to undermine its findings.

The study then (section 3) offers an up-to-date account of political inquiries and judicial investigations in five Member States (Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom). It argues that, while political inquiries and domestic judicial investigations have been or are being conducted in all five Member States and there have been ECtHR cases regarding all but the UK, they have all been beset by obstacles to accountability. The response of the EU institutions is also analysed. While it is acknowledged that the European Commission has taken tentative steps to encouraging accountability (notably in sending letters to Member States in 2013 to request information on investigations underway), it is found that neither the Commission nor the Council have properly followed up on the European Parliament’s recommendations.

After providing a detailed analysis of the recent ECtHR judgments in the Al Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah cases (section 4) and detailing the rule of law benchmarks against which the effectiveness of national investigations can be tested, the study then measures the national political inquiries and judicial investigations and finds them wanting, either because of a lack of independence or because national security or state secrets have been invoked to prevent disclosure of the facts (section 5).

Finally, the study examines what has prevented EU institutions from taking effective action in response to the CIA programme (section 6). It finds a general lack of political will exacerbated by an absence of a clear enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with the rule of law as laid down in Article 2 TEU, meaning that the important step taken by the Commission to send letters to Member States is bereft of a clear legal framework.

In light of the above considerations, the Study formulates the following policy recommendations to the European Parliament:

Recommendation 1: The Parliament, particularly the LIBE Committee, should establish regular structured dialogue with relevant counterparts in the U.S. Congress and Senate, which would provide a new framework for sharing information and cooperating more closely on interrelated inquiries in the expanding policy field of Justice and Home Affairs.

Recommendation 2: The Parliament should use the recent LIBE Committee decision to draw up a Legislative Own-Initiative Report on an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights to develop and bring further legal certainty to the activation phases preceding the use of Article 7 TEU. Parliament should also insist that the Commission periodically evaluate Member States’ compliance with fundamental rights and the rule of law under a new ‘Copenhagen Mechanism’ to feed into a new EU Policy Cycle on fundamental rights and rule of law in the Union.

Recommendation 3: The Parliament should adopt a Professional Code for the transnational management and accountability of data in the EU. The Code would outline where ‘national security’ and ‘state secrets’ cannot be invoked (i.e. define what national security is not). It would additionally lay down clear rules aimed at preventing the use and processing of information originating from torture or any related human rights violations.

Recommendation 4: The Parliament should demand that the Commission properly follow up on its resolutions and recommendations.

Recommendation 5: The Parliament should call on the President of the European Council to issue an official statement on the rendition programme to the Plenary, stating clearly the degree of Member States’ complicity and detailing obstacles to proper accountability and justice for the victims.

Recommendation 6: The Parliament should call for effective judicial investigations into the Feinstein Report’s findings that the CIA paid large sums of money to Member States for their complicity in the rendition programme, which amount to allegations of corruption.

The EU-US Umbrella agreement on Data Protection just presented to the European Parliament. All people apparently happy, but….


by Paola Tavola (EU LOGOS Trainee)

“For the first time ever, the EU citizens will be able to know, by looking at one single set of rules, which minimum rights and protection they are entitled to, with regards to data share with the US in the law enforcement sector”. These are the words of P. Michou, chief negotiator in charge of the negotiation process of the so called EU-US “Umbrella Agreement”, who gave a public overview on the lately finalized transatlantic data protection framework in the field of law enforcement cooperation. The speech, delivered during the last meeting of the LIBE committee of the European Parliament, has met a warm welcome by the MEPs. Great congratulations have been expressed by all the political groups, for the work done by the negotiating team of the Commission that, from its side, has thanked the LIBE committee for its strong support and pressures. As Mrs. Michou said, they “helped us to be stronger in our negotiations”. Negotiations that were dealt with a partner that is far from being an easy one. The words of Michou, however, have not completely reassured all the MEPs, who have called for a legal opinion on the text of the agreement to be delivered by the legal department of the European Parliament. Legal certainties about the potential benefits or detrimental effects that this agreement could have on the existing EU data protection rules, as well as on past and future agreements, have been asked by the majority of the deputies, as a necessary precondition for the vote.

Historical context

An EU-US agreement in the field of protection of personal data was already called by the European Parliament in the year 2009. At that time, in a resolution on the state of transatlantic relation, the Parliament underlined the necessity of a “proper legal framework, ensuring adequate protection of civil liberties, including the right to privacy”, to be agreed on the base of a binding international agreement. The Commission then, on the invitation of the European Council, proposed a draft mandate for starting the negotiations with the United States, on a high standard system of data protection. The final mandate, being adopted by the Council in December 2010, opened the negotiation procedure among the two partners, that formally started on March 2011.

The negotiations have been though, mainly because of a great cultural difference existing among the two partners in terms of data protection, but after four years of work, the agreement has been initialed in Luxembourg, last September 8th. The final text, that can be signed only with the authorization of the Council and the consent of the Parliament, represents a huge step forward: “if we look back to some years ago, it was clear that some of the issues that have been now achieved in the text, couldn’t even have been theoretically possible”, Jan Philippe Albrecht (Greens/EFA) said, by opening the debate after Mrs. Michou speech.

The european Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Juorová, by declaring full satisfaction for the conclusion of the discussions, affirmed: “robust cooperation between the EU and the US to fight crime and terrorism is crucial to keep Europeans safe. But all exchanges of personal data, such as criminal records, names or address, need to be governed by strong data protection rules. This is what the Umbrella Agreement will ensure.”

Terrorism or organized crime are phenomena that definitely constitute serious threats to security. However, leaving aside the narrow concept of security, as many theories and authors consider nowadays, a threat to security can be identified as any threat to the “cherished values” of our society: thus also to those values such as the right of privacy and the data protection.

The issue concerns how security and law enforcement are able to positively and constructively interact with new technology, but also to clash with it.

On one side, the information and data sharing is now a fundamental and crucial aspect of policy and judicial inter-state cooperation, since major threats and criminal phenomena have assumed a transnational connotation. On the other side however, it is necessary to ensure the protection and the fair and limited treatment of information, that is transferred as part of the transatlantic cooperation in criminal matters, in order to avoid abuses and the setting up of mass surveillance systems.

The two transatlantic partner, have already settled a substantial framework of data transfer rules. In 2010 they signed an agreement on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the EU to the US, for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP); while in 2012 they concluded a bilateral agreement for the exchange of PNR (Passenger Name Records) data.

“Data protection is a fundamental right of particular importance in the digital age. In addition to swiftly finalizing the legislative work on common data protection rules within the European Union, we also need to uphold this right in our external relations.” This principle was included by Jean-Claude Juncker in the political priorities of the European Commission agenda, presented in July 2014.

A look inside the “Umbrella Agreement” Continue reading “The EU-US Umbrella agreement on Data Protection just presented to the European Parliament. All people apparently happy, but….”

An updated version (2014) of the Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration just published..


A first version of the handbook on the European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration is co-authored by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and by by the European Court of Human Rights was published (in four languages) in June 2013. This second edition incorporates the changes to the EU asylum acquis published in the summer of 2013. Future updates of this handbook will become available on the FRA webpage at: and on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) webpage at: under “Publications”.

This handbook provides an overview of the law applicable to asylum, border man-agement and immigration in relation to European Union (EU) law and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It looks at the situation of those foreigners whom the EU usually refers to as third-country nationals, although such distinction is not relevant for cited ECHR law.

The handbook does not cover the rights of EU citizens, or those of citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who, under EU law, can enter the territory of the EU freely and move freely within it. Reference to such categories of citizens will be made only where necessary in order to understand the situation of family members who are third-country nationals.

There are, under EU law, some 20 different categories of third-country nationals, each with different rights that vary according to the links they have with EU Member States or that result from their need for special protection.

For some, such as asylum seekers, EU law provides a comprehensive set of rules, whereas for others, such as students, it only regulates some aspects while leaving other rights to EU Member States’ discretion. In general, third-country nationals who are allowed to settle in the EU are typically granted more comprehensive rights than those who stay only temporarily. (…)

This handbook is designed to assist legal practitioners who are not specialised in the field of asylum, borders and immigration law; it is intended for lawyers, judges, prosecutors, border guards, immigration officials and others working with national authorities, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other bodies that may be confronted with legal questions relating to these subjects.

It is a first point of reference on both EU and ECHR law related to these subject areas, and explains how each issue is regulated under EU law as well as under the ECHR, the European Social Charter (ESC) and other instruments of the Council of Europe. Each chapter first presents a single table of the applicable legal provisions under the two separate European legal systems. Then the relevant laws of these two European orders are presented one after the other as they may apply to each topic. This allows the reader to see where the two legal systems converge and where they differ.

Practitioners in non-EU states that are member states of the Council of Europe and thereby parties to the ECHR can access the information relevant to their own country  by going straight to the ECHR sections.

Practitioners in EU Member States will need to use both sections as those states are bound by both legal orders. For those who need more information on a particular issue, a list of references to more specialised material can be found in the ‘Further reading’ section of the handbook.

ECHR law is presented through short references to selected European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) cases related to the handbook topic being covered. These have been chosen from the large number of ECtHR judgments and decisions on migration issues that exist.

EU law is found in legislative measures that have been adopted, in relevant provisions of the Treaties and in particular in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as interpreted in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU, otherwise referred to, until 2009, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ)).

The case law described or cited in this handbook provides examples of an important body of both ECtHR and CJEU case law. The guidelines at the end of this handbook are intended to assist the reader in searching for case law online.

Not all EU Member States are bound by all the different pieces of EU legislation in the field of asylum, border management and immigration. Annex 1 on the ‘Applicability of EU regulations and directives cited in this handbook’ provides an overview of which states are bound by which provisions.

It also shows that Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom have most frequently opted out of the instruments listed in this handbook. Many EU instruments concerning borders, including the Schengen acquis – meaning all EU law adopted in this field – and certain other EU law instruments, also apply to some non-EU Member States, namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and/or Switzerland.

While all Council of Europe member states are party to the ECHR, not all of them have ratified or acceded to all of the ECHR Protocols or are State Party to the other Council of Europe conventions mentioned in this handbook. Annex 2 provides an overview of the applicability of selected Council of Europe instruments, including the relevant Protocols to the ECHR. Substantial differences also exist among the states which are party to the ESC. States joining the ESC system are allowed to decide whether to sign up to individual articles, although subject to certain minimum requirements. Annex 3 provides an overview of the acceptance of ESC provisions.

EU Anti-Money Laundering legal framework: the race has started again…

by Dalila DELORENZI (FREE Group Trainee)

After two years, the revision of the new EU Anti-Money Laundering (AML) framework has finally come to an end. The 20th May the European Parliament at its second reading has adopted the Fourth Directive AML  (Directive (EU) 2015/849) along with the new Regulation on information on the payer accompanying transfers of funds (Regulation (EU) 2015/847).

The revision was triggered by the necessity to adapt the legal framework to counter new threats of money laundering and terrorist financing and to reflect recent changes due to revised Financial Actiont Task Force (FATF)  Recommendations. In the following lines the new legal framework is presented by including some crucial measures which could represent a real step-up in the fight against money laundering, financing terrorism and tax evasion.

  1. Introduction of an European register of beneficial ownership

The creation of an European register of beneficial ownership has been one of the sticking point and the reason why the text has attracted much more political attention than the latest directives and the negotiations have taken much longer than it was expected.

1.1 Definition of beneficial ownership and the problems caused by “phantom firms”

A beneficial owner  is a natural person – a real, live human being and not another company or trust – who stands behind a company (or trust) as the ultimate owner and controller, directly or indirectly exercising substantial control over the company or receiving substantial economic benefits (such as receipt of income) from the company. If the true owner’s name is disguised, we deal with “anonymous companies”. In a majority of countries, keeping unknown the true owner’s name is perfectly legal and there is typically no requirement to disclose that the names listed are merely front-people.

Such anonymous companies can be created by using “nominees”, people who front the company in place of the true owner, or by incorporating one or more of the companies in a country which does not make details of the beneficial owners publicly available. Also called “phantom firms”, they exist only on paper, with no real employees or office.

Now, it’s certainly true that such entities can also have legitimate uses, but the untraceable company can also be a vehicle of choice for crimes such as money laundering, tax evaders and financier of terrorism.

1.2 The role of anonymous companies in money laundering

Although there are countless ways to launder money, money laundering can be broken down into three stages:

  • Placement: the initial entry of illicit money into the financial system. This might be done by breaking up large amounts of cash into less conspicuous smaller sums that are then deposited directly into a bank account.
  • Layering: the second step consists in the process of separating the funds from their source. This purpose is often followed by using anonymous shell companies: for instance, wiring money to account owned by anonymous shell company.
  • Integration: money re-enter the legitimate economy. For instance, by investing the funds into real estate and luxury assets.
  • That being said, it is clear that these secretive “shell” companies and trusts play a central role in laundering and channelling funds, concealing behind a veil of secrecy the identity of corrupt individuals and irresponsible businesses involved in activities, including tax evasion, terrorist financing, and the trafficking of drugs and people. More precisely, it is impossible for law enforcement officials go back to the real individuals ultimately responsible for the company’s actions and to track the origin of illicit funds.
  • 1.3 The importance of central registers

Continue reading “EU Anti-Money Laundering legal framework: the race has started again…”

La politique européenne d’asile : Strange fruit ? (III, fin)


 par Henri Labayle

III – Sortie de crise ?

Le discours de Jean Claude Juncker sur l’état de l’Union, le 9 septembre, a eu le mérite courageux d’investir le terrain dégagé par la République fédérale d’Allemagne, suivie par la France. De haute tenue et sans donner de leçon à quiconque, le président de la Commission a rappelé à chacun dans l’Union son passé autant que son héritage pour relancer l’adoption de son programme législatif.

Si la réglementation d’un programme de relocalisation de réfugiés revue à la hausse a focalisé l’attention parce qu’elle place chacun devant ses responsabilités, les autres éléments de son discours méritent l’attention et l’on y reviendra ultérieurement ici.

1. La confirmation d’un mécanisme de relocalisation d’urgence 

A l’évidence et au vu des évènements en cours à la fin de l’été, le thème de la relocalisation des personnes pénétrées dans l’Union demeurait prioritaire, à la fois pour purger le dossier ouvert en juillet mais aussi pour faire face à l’avenir.

Répondre dans l’urgence à une situation humanitaire devenue intenable au centre et au sud de l’Union européenne était un impératif, infligeant la preuve de la quasi-impossibilité de s’opposer démocratiquement de façon policière à une telle vague.

Si l’itinéraire de la proposition de la Commission visant à soulager l’Italie et la Grèce n’a pas été de tout repos et si le président de la Commission a justement été déçu du sort fait à son initiative, le thème de la délocalisation a eu, au moins, le mérite d’ouvrir un double débat, celui de l’intangibilité du système de Dublin et celui des « quotas » de demandeurs d’asile.

L’idée de « quotas » de demandeurs d’asile a fait difficilement son chemin, suscitant soit une opposition de principe à l’idée, comme pour les autorités françaises, soit un refus de toute contrainte pour une part non négligeable d’Etats, notamment à l’Est.

Il est vrai qu’une autre possibilité existait. Elle était passée sous silence, au point de laisser croire à un ancien Président de la République qu’il était possible de créer un statut de « réfugié de guerre », donnant ainsi au ministre de l’Intérieur et au premier ministre l’occasion politicienne de prétendre que cela était impossible, en raison du « caractère indivisible » du droit d’asile. Cette triple ignorance de la directive 2001/55 du 20 juillet 2001, transposée en 2003, aurait pu être évitée par une simple lecture de son intitulé : effectivement, elle est «  relative à des normes minimales pour l’octroi d’une protection temporaire en cas d’afflux massif de personnes déplacées et à des mesures tendant à assurer un équilibre entre les efforts consentis par les États membres pour accueillir ces personnes et supporter les conséquences de cet accueil ». C’est dire qu’elle pouvait s’appliquer ici.

Inspirée par la crise des Balkans en 1992 qui vit près de 200 000 personnes se réfugier en Allemagne, elle fut utilisée vis-à-vis des 100 000 kosovars qu’elle protégea. En l’espèce, l’intérêt d’y avoir recours pouvait ne pas être négligeable, avec en particulier celui d’affirmer aux opinions publiques réticentes que cette protection était « temporaire », de 1 à 3 ans, même si les droits conférés à ses bénéficiaires sont inférieurs à ceux du statut normal de l’asile et s’il était délicat au sein du mouvement actuel de distinguer le cas syrien des autres nationalités couvertes par la relocalisation.

De fait, on peut penser que la difficulté de convaincre les Etats membres autant que leur refus de constater publiquement la disparité de leurs réponses à l’égard des réfugiés syriens ainsi que l’absence de mécanisme de solidarité à proprement parler expliquent la préférence de la Commission pour une autre voie.

Déposée le 27 mai 2015 dans les conditions déjà décrites par ailleurs, la proposition de décision du Conseil COM (2015) 286 et ses annexes ont pris la forme d’une proposition de décision approuvée par une résolution des représentants des gouvernements des Etats membres. Cette mesure constitue une dérogation temporaire à l’article 13 §1 du règlement n° 604/2013, selon lequel l’Italie 
et la Grèce auraient autrement été responsables de l’examen d’une demande de protection internationale. C’est son second intérêt.

L’incapacité du système de Dublin à répondre à une vague de demandeurs de cette importance posait incontestablement une question de principe, celle de la survie d’une règle qui veut que le pays de premier accueil soit responsable du demandeur de protection. De façon structurelle et ancienne, la Grèce s’est avérée incapable d’assumer cette responsabilité depuis longtemps, au point d’en être stigmatisée par la CEDH. En vain. De façon conjoncturelle mais répétée, du printemps arabe aux différents drames de Lampedusa, l’Italie ne s’est pas davantage acquittée de ses obligations. Dès lors que la pression s’est faite irrépressible, la Hongrie et ses voisins ont fait la preuve des mêmes carences.

Puisque les Etats de l’Union de la « ligne de front » n’étaient plus en capacité de faire fonctionner les règles de Dublin, il fallait en tirer les conséquences et le refus des autres Etats de considérer les choses en face n’était plus tenable, en fait comme en droit.

En fait, l’Allemagne comme l’Autriche ou d’autres ont tiré le constat de l’impuissance commune, concrètement, en ouvrant leurs frontières aux demandeurs. Mais il ne faut pas se méprendre, cette compréhension n’est pas une négation de Dublin : la clause de souveraineté de Dublin autorise tout Etat membre à se comporter ainsi et rien dans le droit des réfugiés n’autorise un demandeur à choisir librement sa destination. Preuve en est donnée par la décision allemande de rétablir, le 13 septembre, des contrôles à ses frontières.

En droit donc, l’ensemble des mécanismes d’accueil enclenchés depuis juillet, relocalisation comme réinstallation, se présentent comme étant en conformité avec le régime de Dublin, la dérogation qu’ils proposent étant motivée par l’urgence de la situation. Le tout est accompagné, et l’on y reviendra plus tard, d’une proposition de modification du règlement Dublin COM (2015) 450 établissant un mécanisme permanent de relocalisation en cas de crise.

2. Le contenu du mécanisme de relocalisation d’urgence 

Continue reading “La politique européenne d’asile : Strange fruit ? (III, fin)”

Passenger Name Records, data mining & data protection: the need for strong safeguards


by Douwe KORFF and Marie GEORGES (FREE-Group Members)


Much has been said and written about Passenger Name Records (PNR) in the last decade and a half. When we were asked to write a short report for the Consultative Committee about PNR, “in the wider contexts”, we therefore thought we could confine ourselves to a relatively straightforward overview of the literature and arguments.

However, the task turned out to be more complex than anticipated. In particular, the context has changed as a result of the Snowden revelations. Much of what was said and written about PNR before his exposés had looked at the issues narrowly, as only related to the “identification” of “known or [clearly ‘identified’] suspected terrorists” (and perhaps other major international criminals). However, the most recent details of what US and European authorities are doing, or plan to do, with PNR data show that they are part of the global surveillance operations we now know about.

More specifically, it became clear to us that there is a (partly deliberate?) semantic confusion about this “identification”; that the whole surveillance schemes are not only to do with finding previously-identified individuals, but also (and perhaps even mainly) with “mining” the vast amounts of disparate data to create “profiles” that are used to single out from the vast data stores people “identified” as statistically more likely to be (or even to become?) a terrorist (or other serious criminal), or to be “involved” in some way in terrorism or major crime. That is a different kind of “identification” from the previous one, as we discuss in this report.

We show this relatively recent (although predicted) development with reference to the most recent developments in the USA, which we believe provide the model for what is being planned (or perhaps already begun to be implemented) also in Europe. In the USA, PNR data are now expressly permitted to be added to and combined with other data, to create the kinds of profiles just mentioned – and our analysis of Article 4 of the proposed EU PNR Directive shows that, on a close reading, exactly the same will be allowed in the EU if the proposal is adopted.

Snowden has revealed much. But it is clear that his knowledge about what the “intelligence” agencies of the USA and the UK (and their allies) are really up to was and is still limited. He clearly had an astonishing amount of access to the data collection side of their operations, especially in relation to Internet and e-communications data (much more than any sensible secret service should ever have allowed a relatively junior contractor, although we must all be grateful for that “error”). However, it would appear that he had and has very little knowledge of what was and is being done with the vast data collections he exposed.

Yet it is obvious (indeed, even from the information about PNR use that we describe) that these are used not only to “identify” known terrorists or people identified as suspects in the traditional sense, but that these data mountains are also being “mined” to label people as “suspected terrorist” on the basis of profiles and algorithms. We believe that that in fact is the more insidious aspect of the operations.

This is why this report has become much longer than we had planned, and why it focusses on this wider issue rather than on the narrower concerns about PNR data expressed in most previous reports and studies.

The report is structured as follows. After preliminary remarks about the main topic of the report, PNR data (and related data) (further specified in the Attachment), Part I discusses the wider contexts within which we have analyzed the use of PNR data. We look at both the widest context: the change, over the last fifteen years or so, from reactive to “proactive” and “preventive” law enforcement, and the blurring of the lines between law enforcement and “national security” activities (and between the agencies involved), in particular in relation to terrorism (section I.i); and at the historical (immediately post-“9/11”) and more recent developments relating to the use of PNR data in data mining/profiling operations the USA, in the “CAPPS” and (now) the “Secure Flight” programmes (section I.ii).

In section I.iii, we discuss the limitations and dangers inherent in such data mining and “profiling”.

Only then do we turn to PNR and Europe by describing, in Part II. both the links between the EU and the US systems (section II.1), and then the question of “strategic surveillance” in Europe (II.ii).

In Part III, we discuss the law, i.e., the general ECHR standards (I); the ECHR standards applied to surveillance in practice (II, with a chart with an overview of the ECtHR considerations); other summaries of the law by the Venice Commission and the FRA (III); and further relevant case-law (IV).

In Part IV, we first apply the standards to EU-third country PNR agreements (IV.i), with reference to the by-passing of the existing agreements by the USA (IV.ii) and to the spreading of demands for PNR to other countries (IV.iii). We then look at the human rights and data protection-legal issues raised by the proposal for an EU PNR scheme. We conclude that part with a summary of the four core issues identified: purpose-specification and –limitation; the problem with remedies; “respect for human identity”; and the question of whether the processing we identify as our main concern – “dynamic”-algorithm-based data mining and profiling – actually works.

Part V contains a Summary of our findings; our Conclusions (with our overall conclusions set out in a box on p. 109); and tentative, draft Recommendations. (…)

Conclusions Continue reading “Passenger Name Records, data mining & data protection: the need for strong safeguards”

Les lourdes chaînes de Prométhée, réflexions critiques sur la Stratégie européenne de sécurité intérieure 2015 – 2020


par Pierre Berthelet, CDRE

Le Professeur Panayotis Soldatos comparait il y a peu l’Union européenne à Prométhée enchaîné par les Etats membres. Ces réflexions mettant en évidence une construction européenne dépendante des États, « dont les élites politiques, écrit-il, se refusent à admettre la réalité de l’obsolescence de la souveraineté nationale », s’illustrent parfaitement avec l’adoption par le Conseil de la stratégie européenne de sécurité intérieure pour la période 2015-2020.

À première vue, la sécurité intérieure vient de franchir un pas supplémentaire dans l’intégration avec l’approbation par le Conseil le 16 juin 2015, de conclusions renouvelant et modernisant pour cinq années à venir la stratégie 2010-2014. Pour autant, il semble bien que les chaînes soient pesantes, car les États conservent la main, et de main ferme pourrait-on dire, le processus d’intégration dans ce domaine.

Ces conclusions entraînent une série de réflexions critiques quant aux conséquences institutionnelles et quant à la manière dont les États décident d’œuvrer dans la construction européenne en matière de sécurité intérieure.

Elles suscitent d’emblée des interrogations concernant l’inclusion du Parlement européen dans le processus décisionnel lié au déroulement du cycle, ainsi que sur la préservation accrue des droits fondamentaux (1).
Continue reading “Les lourdes chaînes de Prométhée, réflexions critiques sur la Stratégie européenne de sécurité intérieure 2015 – 2020”

STATEWATCH : the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean

Published on Statewatch 

Key Analysis and Documents

1.   Statewatch Special Report: “War” to be declared on migrants: “Structured border zones”
2.   EU: Letter from Commissioner Avramopolous to Ministers with Annex
3.   EU: MED-CRISIS: Official statement on the launch of EUNAVFOR
4.   Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants
5.   Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s Planned War on Smugglers
6.   Council: Secret plan for a war on smugglers – document (PSC)
7.   Council Press Release: 18 May 2015
8.   European Commission: A  European Agenda on Migration
9.   Mission in the Med: financial support under the ATHENA Decision
10. European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (EUBAM)
11. Ongoing EU external operations (European External Action service)


1.   EU: German-Italian-French non-paper on EU migration policy
2.   EU: European External Action Service (EEAS): European Union Naval Force
3.   EU: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU prepares to go to “war” in the Med
4.   EU: No agreement on sharing “relocation” of migrants
5.   EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Migration – Policy debate
6 .  Liquid Traces – The Left-to-Die Boat Case (Vimeo, link)
7.   EU:  Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme
8.   EU:  The new EU Migration Agenda takes shape: analysis of the first new measures
9.   EU:   MED CRISIS: Press coverage
10. EU: ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration
11. EU: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs debate EU response.”

Key Analysis and Documents

1. Statewatch Special Report: “War” to be declared on migrants who – fleeing from war, persecution and poverty – have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in “Structured border zones” to be set up to “ ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (“hotspots”)”

This is set out in the Draft Conclusions of the European Council [the EU Heads of State] meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015: Draft conclusions (pdf)

Section 5.c says: “the setting up of structured border zones and facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States’ experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (“hotspots”);” [emphasis added]
Will the “swift fingerprinting” of those described here as “illegal” migrants involve coercive measures? See: Statewatch Briefing on a “Working Document” issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the “proportionate use of coercion” may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..”

Statewatch Director, Tony Bunyan comments: “Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.”

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments on the Draft Conclusions: “It is remarkable that Member States (if this draft is accepted) are indeed willing to accept the relocation of 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, and 20,000 resettled refugees.
It is also notable that all Member States will participate in the latter decision – with even the UK agreeing recently to resettle a few hundred more Syrians. This is a very modest amount of the numbers needing protection however.
The European Asylum Support Office does not seem to have the powers to participate in fingerprinting asylum-seekers, and the reference to ‘bringing together’ rules on fast-tracking asylum applications is very vague. Is the intention to lower standards, and if so, how exactly? Any moves to negotiate more readmission agreements and to expel more people who supposedly have no need for protection will have to comply fully with EU, ECHR and all national and international human rights standards.
Equally if Frontex is to gain more powers over expulsion it must be made more fully accountable, including as regards individual complaints against it.”

See: UN says one million refugees should be no problem for EU (euractiv, link): “The UN rights chief yesterday (15 June) called for the European Union to take bolder steps to address its swelling migrant crisis, insisting the bloc could easily take in one million refugees”

2.  EU: Jailing migrant families together with convicted criminals: A desperate EU policy to deter irregular migration by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
Taken together, the loss of these protections will mean that irregular migrants, including irregular migrant families, will not only be detained in ordinary prisons, but mixed in with the ordinary prison population of convicted criminals and those awaiting trial for serious crimes. Moreover, their capacity to challenge their detention by means of judiicial review will be severely curtailed.
Coupled with the recent Commission paper offering guidelines for using force, including against pregnant women, on migrants who refuse to be fingerprinted, this represents a significant turn in EU policy – turning toward direct and indirect threats of physical violence to control their behaviour and induce them to leave.
To say the least, this is hard to square with the EU’s frequent professions of support for the human rights and decent treatment of migrants.”
See: Letter from Commissioner Avramopolous to Ministers with Annex (Statewatch version, 75KB) orlink to Council’s 10.5 MB version (pdf)

3. EU: MED-CRISIS: Official statement on the launch of EUNAVFOR: Council launches EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean (Council of the European Union, pdf):
“The first phase focuses on surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean…. The Council will assess when to move beyond this first step, taking into account a UN mandate and the consent of the coastal states concerned..” [emphasis added]
It is by no means certain that a UN mandate will be forthcoming as this requires the consent of the affected states, in this case Libya. The EU’s own mission in Libya, EUBAM, withdrew from from the country last autumn, has been slimmed down and is now based in Tunisia because of the highly unstable security situation in Libya where two separate governments are vying for power in addition to a number of warring groups:.See:

EU and political situation in Libya: Interim Strategic Review of EUBAM Libya (LIMITE doc no: 7886-15, 13 April 2015, pdf): “a number of additional considerations have arisen as a result of the mission’s relocation to Tunis. The mission’s legal status in Tunis is still unclear, with the Tunisian authorities unofficially indicating that they would prefer not to explore the issue….its presence in Tunis will make it difficult for mission staff to assess conditions and operate in Libya [emphasis added]

4. Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):
New guidelines released by the European Commission allow Member States to use physical and mental coercive measures to take fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers entering Europe, including minors and pregnant women. If they refuse, they face detention, expulsion and a potential five year EU-wide ban.
“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the proportionate use of coercion may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..” [emphasis added]

5. Statewatch Analysis: The EUs Planned War on Smugglers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
“it is clear from the documents discussed in the EUs Political and Security Committee last week that (unless plans have changed radically in the meantime) the High Representative is being economical with the truth. The EU action clearly contemplates action by ground forces. Moreover, it anticipates the possible loss of life not only of smugglers but also of Member States forces and refugees. In effect, the EU is planning to declare war on migrant smugglers without thinking through the consequences.”

6. Secret EU plan for a war on smugglers – document (PSC, pdf)

7. Press Release: Council establishes EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean (pdf) and Comparison between Draft and Final Statements (pdf)

8. European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf)

9. Mission in the Med could call for financial support under the: ATHENA Council Decision (pdf)

10. European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf)

11. Ongoing EU external operations (European External Action service, pdf)


1. EU: German-Italian-French non-paper on EU migration policy (pdf) and Letter (pdf). Includes:
– Dialogue with source/transit countries: At upcoming EU-Africa summit in Malta “we should also discuss the relationship between migration and mobility and their impact on development, the promotion of fair trade and the strengthening of security cooperation as well as return and readmission issues”
– Proposal for EU CSDP civilian mission in Niger: EUCAP Sahel Niger to become permanent and “work even more closely with Nigerien authorities in the fight against smuggling and trafficking in human beings”
– Adequate funding for continued “engagement” with countries in the Horn of Africa, to deal with migration from/through those countries (in the recent ISF-Police work programme some money was put aside for this, see: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund – Police cooperation and crime prevention (pdf)
– “We must increase the effectiveness of return and readmission programmes”
And: “Our migration policy goals should relate to other relevant horizontal foreign policies such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, water and climate policy and a reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy which also considers the neighbours of our neighbours.”

2. EU: MED-CRISIS: European External Action Service (EEAS): European Union Naval Force – Mediterranean (Press statement, pdf): Contributing States: Currently 14 Member States (BE, DE, EL, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, LT, LU, NL, SE, SI, UK):
The Council shall assess whether the conditions for transition beyond the first phase have been met, taking into account any applicable UN Security Council Resolution and consent by the Coastal States concerned.”
Consent is needed for the EU to act within the territorial waters of another state (eg: Libya) and see: Comments below on this position.

See also: EU foreign ministers to agree on Mediterranean intelligence operations (euractiv, link): “EU foreign affairs ministers will today (22 June) agree on an intelligence gathering operation, the first phase of the bloc’s response to the burgeoning migration crisis in the Mediterranean, but military action against people smugglers will depend on the support of Libya’s National Unity Government and the United Nations.” and Naval bid to tackle migrants in Med (Yahoo News, link): “With GCHQ – Britain’s listening post in Cheltenham – said to be tracking the activities of smuggling gangs moving people to the Libyan coast, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon indicated that he wanted to see more intelligence-sharing.” also:Exclusive: France backs Italy-UK Plan for Sicily Intel Cell (Migrant Report, link)

See: EU agrees to launch military operation against people smugglers (FT, link): “EU officials have warned that casualties were possible after deciding to launch military action against people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Ministers of the 28-country bloc meeting in Luxembourg on Monday gave the go-ahead for a c controversial intelligence gathering operation, which will precede full-blown military action this year … “The use of firepower will be done in such a way that we do all we can to prevent any casualties to anyone,” said one EU official. “There is a difference between smugglers and migrants. If they are migrants, we will be even more cautious.” Asked whether the military operation created the risk of collateral casualties, the official replied: “Of course it would.”” and: EU navies take up position in Mediterranean(euobserver, link)
3. EU: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU prepares to go to “war” in the Med: Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the Council for a Council Decision launching the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (pdf);
“The Operation Plan and the Rules of Engagement concerning the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) are approved…. EUNAVFOR MED shall be launched on xxx 2015.”
See: EU naval mission for Med gets green light (Politico, link)
See also: Draft Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (LIMITE doc no: 8921-15, pdf) and Proposal for for a Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) (LIMITE doc no: 8731-15, pdf): This contains details on:
Mission: “The Union shall conduct a military crisis management operation contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling networkssystematic efforts to dispose of vessels and assets before they are used by smugglers”
Mandate: includes: “boarding search, seize and diversion of smuggling ships”
“The Operation Headquarters of EUNAVFOR MED shall be located in Rome, Italy”
“PSC shall exercise the political control and strategic direction of EUNAVFOR MED”
[Political Security Committee]
“The EUMC shall monitor the proper execution of EUNAVFOR MED conducted under the responsibility of the EU Operation Commander” [EU Military Committee]
The Council hereby authorises the PSC to invite third States to offer contributions”

4. EU: No agreement on sharing “relocation” of migrants: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 15-16 June 2015, Luxembourg: Final press release (pdf):
“As regards the concrete proposal on relocation, Ministers stressed that on the basis of the principle of solidarity they are all ready to make an effort to help member states under a particular migratory pressure. Several delegations stressed the necessity to strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility.. Ministers invited the Council’s preparatory bodies to continue these discussions with the aim of achieving full implementation as soon as possible.”
See also; Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Claude Moraes, regrets EU minister’s failure to reach agreement on the migration package (EP Press release, pdf)

5. EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Migration – Policy debate & European Council draft Conclusions
European Agenda on Migration – Policy debate (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 11 June 2015, pdf) Many areas of disagreement between Member States on how to respond to the crisis in the Mediterranean:
“”Immediate Action” but also builds on four pillars as a basis for a comprehensive European migration policy: – Reducing incentives for irregular migration; – Border management; – Strong common asylum policy; – New policy on legal migration….
There is wide consensus with regard to the need to further cooperate with third countries since both the root causes of and solutions to migration related issues can be sought there. In order to ensure a genuinely comprehensive approach, some Member States have suggested to strengthen the links with the Internal Security Strategy and measures proposed therein….
Member States’ views differ on the proposed concept of relocation in order to respond to high volumes of arrivals that includes temporary scheme for persons in need of international national protection.. The total number of persons to be relocated, the available funding, and the capacity of the Member States’ structures to deal with relocation were equally questioned…”
[emphasis added]
and: Update: COR -1 (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 12 June 2015, pdf)

European Council (25 and 26 June 2015) – Draft guidelines for the conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 8392-15, 10 June 2015, pdf): Covers Mediterranean crisis response, security challenges, economic issues, the Digital Agenda and the UK:
Position on “1. “Relocation / resettlement p.m.” is blank as is Position: “IV. UK p.m” and “Return policy:Mobilise all tools to promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin and transit….” [emphasis added]
read the restraint manual.

6. Liquid Traces – The Left-to-Die Boat Case Vimeo, link): “Liquid Traces offers a synthetic reconstruction of the events concerning what is known as the “left-to-die boat” case, in which 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat were left to drift for 14 days in NATO’s maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions, including at least one military helicopter visit and an encounter with a military ship. As a result, only 9 people survived.” See also: Left ot die – report (link)

7. EU: MED-CRISIS: Germany and France urge Commission to revise immigration plan (euractiv, link): “Germany and France on Monday (1 June) urged the EU to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers, as their leaders met the European Commission chief in Berlin….. France and Germany said in the joint statement that they currently were among five member states, along with Sweden, Italy and Hungary, that “are in charge of 75% of the asylum seekers”. “This situation is not fair and no longer sustainable,” they said.”
See European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf) and Annexes (pdf)

8. EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf): It was going to be 5,000 people, then 40,000 now:
“The Commission recommends that Member State resettle 20 000 people in need of international protection”
and Annexes (pdf)

8.  The new EU Migration Agenda takes shape: analysis of the first new measures (EU Law Analysis, link)

9. EU: MED CRISIS: Press coverage:
EU’s refugee plans need a reality check: The EU this week outlined plans to resettle and relocate refugees, but one expert taking a closer look at the proposals argues they put the rights of migrants and asylum seekers at risk. (The Local, link) Good critique of EU plans

EU border chief wants protection from armed smugglers: The EU’s border agency Frontex wants military protection from armed migrant smugglers as it expands operations in the Mediterranean and closer to the Libyan coast (euobserver, link)

British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays ‘awkward’ in Kos(Independent, link)

Mediterranean migrant crisis: Hundreds rescued off Sicily (BBC News, link) and Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before? (BBC, link) with map

Italy Hands Smuggler Unprecedented Life Sentence as Europe Prepares for Migrant Deluge (BB, link)

Tunisian – and Top E.U. Generals – Fear Mission Creep Madness in Libya (The Daily Beast, link): “A newly revealed classified document and a history of grave misjudgments warn against the dangers of the new EU plan to stop migrants…. Europe’s defense chiefs are warning their political superiors that the planned military mission to stop migrant-smuggling boats crossing the Mediterranean can lead to land operations in Libya and possible clashes with the Islamic State’s affiliate in that failing North African state, a turn of events bound to threaten neighboring Tunisia’s fragile equilibrium still further.”

Tunisian PM Speaks Against EU Military Action to Stop Refugee Smugglers (Sputnik News, link):
“Tunisia opposes any military effort by the EU to tackle refugee smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea, Prime Minister Habib Essid said Thursday. “Tunisia’s position was always clear… We are originally against all military action, both to regulate political conflict and to regulate the problem with illegal smugglers,”  Essid said in the European Parliament.”

Migrants en Méditerranée : la Tunisie contre toute intervention militaire [Migrants in the Mediterranean: Tunisia against all military intervention] (, link):
“Habib Essid said that his country is “against any military intervention to solve this problem. This problem must be resolved upstream and downstream. These people take risks, sell everything they have around them to come to Europe, for more freedom, for better economic opportunities for work. I know the problems this poses for all countries of the European Union, but the solution is to look other than make occasional military interventions.”
The European Parliament press release does not mention these comments: Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid on security and migration challenges (pdf)

Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey (MPI, link): “Deep, sophisticated insight into the decision-making process of those who undertake these journeys is necessary; without this information and a wider understanding of the political economy of migrant smuggling, policymakers essentially are making decisions in the dark.”

10. EU: MED-CRISIS: ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration (euractiv, link): “The Secretary-General of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of states said yesterday (21 May) that his organisation was against the EU’s idea of destroying the boats of human traffickers, who make fortunes by luring prospective immigrants into risky journeys across the Mediterranean.”

And see: Twisting the ‘lessons of history’ to authorise unjustifiable violence: the Mediterranean crisis (Open Democracy, link): “More than 300 slavery and migration scholars respond to those advocating for military force against migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This is no slave trade. Where is the moral justification for actions that cost lives?”

Also: “The War on migrants and refugees: has the ‘never again’ imperative been forgotten?” (Franck Duvell, link): “This imperative derived from the lessons learned from the Holocaust and the failure to rescue the European Jews has now been relinquished it seems. Are we now back at the moral state of the 1930s were unwanted populations are removed from the ‘realm of moral subjects’ (Bauman 1996) and killed or left to die and the needy are turned away and refused shelter?”

11. EU: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs debate EU response (pdf): “MEPs discussed on 20 May European Commission plans to tackle the large numbers of migrants seeking to reach the European Union, often risking their lives at sea. Commission vice president Frans Timmermans and migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures, including an emergency mechanism for relocating migrants, a resettlement scheme to take in migrants from countries outside the EU and more funds for securing borders.”

See also: MEPs angry at member states over immigration (euractiv, link): “EU lawmakers on Wednesday accused some member states of passing the buck by rejecting a Brussels plan for binding quotas for refugees making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing.”

Les lourdes chaînes de Prométhée, réflexions critiques sur la Stratégie européenne de sécurité intérieure 2015 – 2020


par Pierre Berthelet, CDRE

Le Professeur Panayotis Soldatos comparait il y a peu l’Union européenne à Prométhée enchaîné par les Etats membres. Ces réflexions mettant en évidence une construction européenne dépendante des États, « dont les élites politiques, écrit-il, se refusent à admettre la réalité de l’obsolescence de la souveraineté nationale », s’illustrent parfaitement avec l’adoption par le Conseil de la stratégie européenne de sécurité intérieure pour la période 2015-2020.

À première vue, la sécurité intérieure vient de franchir un pas supplémentaire dans l’intégration avec l’approbation par le Conseil le 16 juin 2015, de conclusions renouvelant et modernisant pour cinq années à venir la stratégie 2010-2014. Pour autant, il semble bien que les chaînes soient pesantes, car les États conservent la main, et de main ferme pourrait-on dire, le processus d’intégration dans ce domaine.

Ces conclusions entraînent une série de réflexions critiques quant aux conséquences institutionnelles et quant à la manière dont les États décident d’œuvrer dans la construction européenne en matière de sécurité intérieure.

Elles suscitent d’emblée des interrogations concernant l’inclusion du Parlement européen dans le processus décisionnel lié au déroulement du cycle, ainsi que sur la préservation accrue des droits fondamentaux (1). La stratégie ne fait pas véritablement l’impasse sur ces deux questions, car elle les mentionne en soulignant l’importance de ces problématiques. Cependant, l’observateur ne peut que demeurer sur sa faim quant aux modes d’inclusion du Parlement européen, et à la manière dont les droits fondamentaux ont vocation à être davantage pris en compte, alors que le Conseil semble précisément se focaliser davantage sur la sécurité que sur la liberté. Cette stratégie pour la période 2015-2020, justifiée par la permanence des menaces, voire leur accroissement, en premier lieu, le terrorisme et la grande criminalité organisée (p. 2 des conclusions du Conseil du 16 juin), est qualifiée par le Conseil de « globale et réaliste » (p. 5). Son adoption mérite d’être saluée à ce titre, car elle confère une certaine cohérence à une action qui dépasse les frontières de l’espace de liberté, de sécurité et de justice, pour comprendre des thématiques telles que la gestion de crise, la protection des infrastructures critiques et la cybersécurité. Pour autant, en l’examinant de plus près, cette stratégie pour la période 2015-2020 n’apparaît pas exempte de toutes critiques. Il est vrai qu’elle est bien plus précise concernant les priorités fixées par la stratégie précédente qui avait, par exemple, érigé la « lutte contre la violence en elle-même » en un objectif de sécurité de l’Union.

En revanche, elle l’est moins que le plan d’action venant compléter cette stratégie de 2010 et ce, en raison de l’ambiguïté des objectifs fixés par la stratégie européenne pour la période 2015-2020 (2). Il est même possible de considérer que la stratégie de 2015 est de moins bonne facture que la précédente, car il s’agit à la fois d’un document opérationnel, mais qui n’en est pas réellement un, et d’un document stratégique, mais qui n’en est pas réellement un non plus. De prime abord, elle se positionne à mi-chemin entre d’une part, des conclusions des 4 et 5 décembre 2014 qui énoncent les grands principes, et d’autre part, un plan d’action destiné à lister des mesures concrètes. Néanmoins, sa portée se révèle être bien plus opérationnelle que stratégique, car le plan d’action à venir, visant à mettre en œuvre cette stratégie censée, comme son nom le laisse supposer, être un document de nature stratégique, est réduit à la portion congrue (3).

Si le positionnement de la stratégie est complexe sur le plan normatif, il l’est beaucoup moins sur le plan conceptuel dans la mesure où la stratégie de 2015 demeure, comme celle de 2010, très empreinte d’une idéologie de la sécurité globale (4). Elle révèle certes, le peu d’audace de la part du Conseil concernant les avancées en matière de sécurité, reflétant le double discours habituel des États, très volontaires dans les déclarations d’intention, mais beaucoup moins dans la concrétisation de celles-ci. En revanche, elle suscite des interrogations quant aux relations qu’entretiennent la sécurité intérieure et l’espace pénal européen et ce, en raison de la place faite à la doctrine relative à la sécurité globale (5). L’un et l’autre se construisent de manière séparée et même dans l’ignorance mutuelle. La stratégie révèleà ce propos un monde de la sécurité (police, douane, garde-frontières) dont l’horizon d’action est davantage marqué par une collaboration avec celui de la sécurité et de la défense, qu’avec celui de la justice.

1. Une impasse sur le Parlement européen et sur les droits fondamentaux ?

Continue reading “Les lourdes chaînes de Prométhée, réflexions critiques sur la Stratégie européenne de sécurité intérieure 2015 – 2020”