Tag Archives: CEAS

JHA Council 8 Nov. Meeting Results

The Justice and Home Affairs Council met on 8 November.  A Council press release containing the “provisional version” of the main results of the meeting includes the following summaries relating to the CEAS and FRONTEX:

“Common European Asylum System (CEAS) – Ministers continued work on the establishment of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) on the basis of a discussion paper (15561/10). The CEAS includes a package of six legislative proposals which EU member states have committed to adopt by 2012.

The main focus of the debate was on the developments since the October Council, in particular as regards the four proposals that have been identified as priority instruments on the legislative side of the CEAS: the Directives on Qualification and on Long Term Residents and the Regulations on Dublin II and Eurodac. Furthermore, the Presidency identified a number of possible priority objectives, reflecting the discussion at the discussion at the Ministerial Conference on Asylum in September 2010, for the new European Asylum Support Office (EASO) . The EASO will soon be operational and is designed to become an important tool for practical cooperation and solidarity in the asylum area. …

FRONTEX regulation –  The [Mixed Committee (the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland)] discussed the state-of-play concerning revised rules for the external borders agency FRONTEX. Some of the issues outstanding include the development of a common integrated risk analysis model, the processing of personal data and the creation of a European system of border guards.

Council preparatory bodies will continue to discuss the text. Negotiations with the European Parliament have not yet started.

On 24 February 2010 the Commission submitted a proposal to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 (6898/10)….

Click here for Council press release.

Click here for Background paper for the JHA Council meeting.

Click here for the CEAS discussion paper.

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ECRE’s Recommendations to the Belgian EU Presidency

ECRE issued last week a letter and memorandum setting forth its recommendations to the Belgian EU Presidency in regard to the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and other related legislative files that will be considered during the Belgian Presidency.

Among the several important recommendations made by ECRE are the following:

“Access to protection – … [C]ooperation between the EASO, FRA and FRONTEX provide opportunities to develop mechanisms at EU level to guarantee that border control mechanisms are protection-sensitive in practice. The recently adopted guidelines for joint sea operations coordinated by FRONTEX restate the international human rights framework governing interception at sea and reaffirm the obligation of Member States to ensure that “no person shall be disembarked in, or otherwise handed over to the authorities of a country in contravention of the principle of non-refoulement, or from which there is a risk of expulsion or return to another country in contravention of that principle.”  They also explicitly require that “the person intercepted or rescued shall be informed in an appropriate way so that they can express any reasons for believing that disembarkation in the proposed place would be in breach of the principle of non-refoulement”. Whereas the guidelines merely restate these principles, they need to be implemented in practice. Given that the actual disembarkation of persons intercepted or rescued in the context of FRONTEX operations is dealt with in the non-binding part of the guidelines, it remains to be seen how effective this tool will be in order to ensure effective access to protection.

Recently the Commission proposed the third substantive revision of FRONTEX’ mandate. The Commission proposal unambiguously asserts that relevant EU standards, as well as international human rights and refugee law, are applicable to all border operations carried out by Member States under the auspices of Frontex and to all other activities entrusted to the Agency, which ECRE welcomes.

At the same time, while the intention of the Commission is to further clarify the role and responsibilities of FRONTEX vis-à-vis the Member States, the fundamental ambiguities about accountability for possible human rights violations during border control operations coordinated by FRONTEX are not resolved. ECRE believes that the respective roles and responsibilities of Member States’ guest officers, host Member State border officers, observers from third countries and FRONTEX personnel in those operations must be clearly established to avoid “accountability shifting” between the various actors involved. The enhanced role of FRONTEX in coordinating joint operations necessarily adds to FRONTEX’ responsibility and therefore further amendments to the Commission proposal are required to reinforce the Agency’s accountability.

Moreover, the proposed expansion of the role of FRONTEX in cooperating with third countries in border management, including through the posting of Immigration Liaison Officers, raises a number of concerns from a fundamental rights perspective, in particular regarding the ability of individuals to flee and find protection from persecution. Consequently, ECRE believes that additional safeguards are needed to ensure that FRONTEX activities will indeed not “prevent access to protection systems by persons in need of international protection” as required by the Stockholm Programme.

ECRE calls upon the Council and the European Parliament in particular to:

  • Support the proposed amendments to the FRONTEX Regulation reasserting the obligations under EU law and fundamental rights which are incumbent upon Member States when taking part in the Agency’s operations.
  • Establish mechanisms to reinforce FRONTEX accountability in view of the increasing responsibilities placed on the Agency.
  • Introduce the necessary safeguards to ensure that FRONTEX enhanced capacity to cooperate with third countries does not prevent access to protection systems by persons in need of international protection.”

Click here for the ECRE Memorandum.

Click here for the ECRE Letter to the Belgian EU Presidency.

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