Thematic focus: European state powers against migration

From the “refugee crisis” back to “normality“
by Heiner Busch
Since 19 April 2015, when around 900 people drowned during a shipwreck off Libya, EU migration politics are in overdrive. In May, the Commission tabled its European Agenda on Migration. Since September several EU Member States attempt stopping refugees on the “Balkans route” by closing their borders. Now, the EU is trying to return to “normality” – a normality which means that refugees and migrants are kept out of the EU or are at best treated as problem of the states at the external borders.

„A real war against migrants“
Interview with Tresor
„At the borders they treat you like a criminal“, says Tresor. The activist from Cameroon is co-founder of „Voix des Migrants“, the Network in Germany for the International Coalition of Sans-Papiers Migrants and Refugees (CISPM Berlin) and „Watch The Med – Alarmphone“. Talking to Matthias Monroy, he analyses the externalization of border controls and the policing of migrants in Europe as well as in buffer states like Morocco.

EU naval operation in the Mediterranean
by Christoph Marischka
After the tragic wreck of a boat with 900 refugees in April 2015, the EU launched its naval operation EU NAVFOR Med with remarkable speed. Its official aim is to “disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean”. In practice, the military mission turns out to be a mixture of search and rescue, intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism operation.

EU Action Plan against “migrant smuggling”
by Matthias Monroy
Europol, Frontex and Eurojust team up to combat networks of “migrant smugglers”. In their Joint Operation Team Mare, the three EU agencies support the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean. Moreover, the Internet Referral Unit, set up within Europol in July, has also the task to search and order the deletion of online postings by alleged “smugglers” especially in social media. In September, 30,000 persons were registered as suspected migrants’ smugglers in Europol’s data analysis project “Checkpoint”.

The trinity of digital borders: Eurodac, SIS II and VIS
by Eric Töpfer
The three large-scale IT systems of the EU were originally established as instruments to implement the Dublin regime and the Schengen Convention. However, despite the Common European Asylum System and the Schengen area of open borders being seemingly dead, the EU is persisting in using its “digital borders”. It is now even planned to intensify the use of the systems for purposes of aggravated deportation of migrants and counter-terrorism.

Frontex: bright future for the EU border agency
by Maria Winker and Matthias Monroy
In the face of increasing migration via the Western Balkan route and the central Mediterranean the mandate of Frontex is going to be expanded. New powers in the areas of collecting information and sharing intelligence, Rapid Border Intervention Teams and facilitating deportations are under discussion.

Migration control by the police
by Friederike Wegner
Since its very beginning the abolishment of border controls in the Schengen area is foiled again and again. The “temporary” re-introduction of national border controls, dragnet controls in the hinterland, and joint police operations and patrols – all these measures usually target migrants, not only since the beginning of the current “refugee crisis”.

Non-thematic contributions

European area of security without freedom or justice
by Dirk Burczyk
After the expiry of the Stockholm Programme (2009-2014) there will be no further five years plan for EU justice and home affairs. However, the Internal Security Strategy which stood in the centre of attention during the Stockholm period, will be renewed. The focus of the new strategy will be on the consequent use of existing information exchange instruments and operational co-operation.

Fatal police shootings 2014
by Otto Diederichs
According to the statistics for 2014 published by the Conference of German Interior Ministers, seven persons were killed and 31 injured as a result of police use of firearms.

Red-green police politics in Zurich
By Heiner Busch
Since 1990, the Police Department of the Zurich City Council is in the hands of the left. The political colour of the Councellour, however, did not have much influence in the development of the police. The left in the executive could not prevent the introduction of big information systems with many data even on non suspects. The police still uses tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrations and has wide ranging powers of stop and search. The actual power is exercised by the police commander.