Thursday

21st Feb 2019

Pilot project blurs military and police lines on migration

  • Migrants rescued by the EU's naval operation may have their details sent to the police (Photo: EEAS)

Migrants rescued at sea under an EU naval military operation will have their information expedited to the EU's police agency Europol.

The plan is part of a pilot project set for launch in the coming weeks, marking a further shift towards the blurring of lines between law enforcement and the military.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

EU interior ministers in Brussels on Thursday (8 March) "expressed support for the principle" of the project amid broader questions of the legal implications of shuffling data collected by the navy directly to the police.

The military is generally meant to fight the enemies of the state, while police protect the people of that state. The blurring of the two raises important legal and ethical questions.

To get around it, a small team of agents, plucked from the EU agencies like Frontex and Europol, will be dispatched onto the EU's naval flagship Operation Sophia.

"The pilot project crime information cell will be a hub within operation Sophia to optimise the use of information collected by Sophia for crime prevention, investigation, and prosecution," EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters.

He said one of the key objectives is to ease two-way information exchange for both analytical and operational use by both Europol and Frontex.

The team will start off small, with only one or two agents from the agencies and another from Sophia, before expanding to around 10.

The cell will not have the legal authority to transmit data on any terrorist related intelligence given restrictions in Operation Sophia's mandate.

Instead, it will tackle migrant smuggling, trafficking of firearms, and oil smuggling from Libya.

Under the current system, any information collected by Sophia is said to take at least a week to get into the hands of Europol due to legal wrangles and data protection rules.

The crime information cell is tasked to make such transfers much more immediate.

Analysis

Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?

The past 18 months have seen the EU's border agency Frontex morph into a law enforcement as it steps up efforts to crack down on crime and terrorism.

Opinion

Europe's solution to migration is to outsource it to Africa

Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker says the EU has almost solved the migration issue - but a large part of this 'solution' has been a deliberate strategy to push the problems out of sight, outsourcing stopping migration to African states.

News in Brief

  1. Tusk to back pro-EU candidates in Polish EP vote
  2. Germany rejects UK appeal on Saudi arms sales
  3. French senators decry 'dysfunction' on Macron security aide affair
  4. France to ban far-right groups over antisemitism
  5. Swedish climate activist to face Juncker in Brussels
  6. Swedish MEP calls for discussion on Orban in EPP
  7. EU countries back copyright reform
  8. Germany keeps EU commission in dark on Dieselgate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  2. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  3. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  4. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  5. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  6. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  7. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  8. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us