Saturday 25 October 2014

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The EU has a future only as a competitive, knowledge-based society, the leaders of its then 15 member states found in 2000 in Lisbon. Will the strategy that they then decided hold for a Union with almost twice as many member states? Can the boom of information technologies make up for the evanescence of manufacturing? And are we doing enough to prepare our children for a potentially much more competitive future?

 

Les droits fondamentaux sont niés dans les prisons grecques

Posted by on 23/10/14

La situation en Grèce n’est pas un cas isolé, la situation des prisons dans l’UE est « alarmant », comme l’a signalé le Parlement européen dans une résolution de décembre 2011(Cf. Pour en savoir plus). Le Conseil de l’Europe a publié, jeudi 16 octobre, un rapport mené par le Comité pour la 2011 prévention de la torture et des peines ou traitements inhumains ou dégradants (CPT) concernant sa visite en Grèce pendant le mois d’avril 2013. Dans le rapport il dénonce les conditions des détenus dans les prisons et auprès des commissariats de police grecs et condamne la dégradation dans lesquelles les demandeurs d’asile immigrés sont obligés à vivre.

Le CPT a, en outre, demandé aux autorités de la Grèce de lui fournir dans les six mois une réponse donnant un compte rendu complet des mesures prises pour mettre en oeuvre les recommandations du Comité.

La délégation du mois d’avril 2013 a eu un accès rapide aux lieux de détention visités et a été en mesure de parler en privé avec les personnes qui voulaient raconter spontanément leur condition, en ayant accès aux informations nécessaires pour l’accomplissement de sa mission.

À cet égard, le CPT a apprécié la volonté des autorités grecques à mener un dialogue avec le Comité et à lui fournir des mises à jour régulières sur la situation dans le pays depuis sa précédente visite en Janvier 2011.

Dans le rapport sur la visite 2011, le CPT avait déjà exprimé sa grave préoccupation devant une forte pénurie de mesures efficaces pour faire face aux carences identifiés par le Comité, notamment en ce qui concerne les conditions de détention des migrants en situation irrégulière et la situation dans les prisons. Il avait également souligné le problème des mauvais traitements par les forces de l’ordre et l’absence apparente de dispositions efficaces lorsque des allégations de mauvais traitements ont été portées à l’attention des autorités, qui ont conduit à un climat d’impunité au sein des organismes d’application de la loi.

Malheureusement, le Comité a noté que, malgré les promesses faites par les autorités, la situation n’a pas changé par rapport au 2011 et pour le traitement des migrants irréguliers et pour les conditions inhumaines dans lesquelles les détenus, condamnés ou en attente de jugement, sont obligés à vivre .

Lors de la visite, le comité a visité 25 commissariats et postes de police des frontières, huit centres de détention des migrants irréguliers de l’autorité maritime garde-côtes grecque et sept établissements pénitentiaires où on a tenu compte des programmes de santé, d’éducation et d’activité physique pour les détenus.

Les résultats de la dernière délégation démontrent clairement que la situation demeure « inacceptable ». Les migrants irréguliers continuent d’être détenues auprès des commissariats de police pendant des longues périodes dans des conditions inamissibles; les prisons sont humides, surpeuplées et sans lumière; de nombreux établissements sont réduits à un rôle d’entreposage et il y a peu de preuves que les allégations sont vérifiées rapidement et minutieusement. Dans certains cas les prisons sont à 300% au-dessus de leur capacité d’accueil.

Le CPT reconnaît les défis importants auxquels la Grèce doit faire face avec un grand nombre de migrants irréguliers et que sa capacité est aggravée par la crise économique actuelle, mais la lutte contre ce phénomène nécessite une approche européenne coordonnée et ne peut pas compter sur une politique de détention à long terme.

Au cours de la visite de 2013, la délégation du CPT a recueilli un grand nombre d’allégations détaillées, cohérentes et homogènes sur les mauvais traitements physiques de personnes détenues dans les postes de police et des gardes-frontières par des agents de la Police hellénique. Les allégations concernent principalement gifles, coups de pied, coups de poing, coups de bâton et autres objets en particulier lors des interrogatoires par des agents appartenant aux départements de sécurité.

En outre, il faut noter qu’en Grèce, une enquête sur les allégations de mauvais traitements policiers implique une procédure complexe et il est difficile de recourir à des services de conseil et d’interprétation juridique. Pourtant, la plupart des victimes alléguées, en particulier étrangers, ont été incapables de se payer un avocat pour les aider lors de l’enquête. Souvent sont les mêmes avocats qui déconseillent aux détenus de signaler les abus pour la crainte que les plaintes peuvent conduire à une augmentation des abus.

Le Comité a demandé aux autorités grecques de prendre des mesures afin que toutes les personnes détenues par la police soient pleinement informées de leurs droits et de commencer à introduire l’enregistrement électronique des interrogatoires de police. Même si le CPT est entré en contact avec des agents qui ont exprimé leur volonté d’améliorer les conditions de l’interrogatoire, il invite les autorités grecques à traiter de manière très spéciale le recrutement et la formation des gardiens de prison et des officiers de police au service des prisons.

En plus, le Comité a demandé aux autorités grecques de prendre les mesures nécessaires dans les plus brefs délais pour déplacer les migrants dans des centres spécialement désignés et ne pas garder les prisonniers dans les commissariats de police ou dans les centres de détention des principaux ports grecs.

Fortement critiqué est le centre de Igumenitza, le centre de détention des migrants, où les conditions des migrants ont été considérées très précaires : cellules et toilettes dans des conditions d’hygiène déplorables ; mauvaise ventilation et pas d’accès à l’extérieur pour éviter les fuites. De nombreux cas d’automutilation par les migrants désespérés ont été constatés. Un garçon de 13 ans non accompagné a été trouvé dans les cellules de Igumenitza et la commission a demandé le transfert immédiat dans une structure appropriée. La demande a été satisfaite par les autorités.

En effet, un chapitre spécial est consacré aux conditions de mineurs non accompagnés souvent obligés à partager une cellule avec des adultes et traités comme des détenus dans tous les sens du terme, sans aucune possibilité de sortir dehors ou de participer à des activités éducatives ou culturelles. La pénurie de personnel de garde laisse impunis des épisodes d’intimidation et d’harcèlement de jeunes par les aînés. Dans le centre de détention Avlona le phénomène s’est prolongé depuis longtemps, mais après les plaintes du Conseil européen les autorités ont décidé de déplacer les plus jeunes dans un autre établissement.

La délégation du Conseil de l’Europe a rencontré aussi de nombreux réfugiés syriens détenus auprès des commissariats de police et auprès des centres de rapatriement. L’impossibilité de les rapatrier pour des raisons politiques a eu comme résultat le prolongement de la période de détention.

Le rapport souligne que les demandeurs d’asile ne devraient pas être traités comme des migrants illégaux. Ils ne doivent pas être privés de leur liberté en attendant une décision sur leur demande d’asile.

La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a, à plusieurs reprises, condamné les autorités pour ne pas entreprendre les investigations nécessaires sur les allégations de mauvais traitement des détenus. Mais jusqu’à maintenant, les autorités grecques refusent de reconnaître que la violence est un problème grave dans le pays et donc elles n’ont pas encore pris des mesures nécessaires pour le résoudre.

Dans leur réponse, les autorités grecques ont fourni des informations sur les mesures prises pour répondre aux conclusions du Comité du Conseil de l’Europe et ont réaffirmé que la détention dans les commissariats de police n’est que de courte durée. Mais le rapport montre le contraire.

Les autorités grecques ont également réagi avec un nouveau plan d’action pour la gestion des demandeurs d’asile et des migrants, et de nouvelles mesures pour améliorer les conditions dans les centres de renvoi des migrants. Pour le centre pour mineurs non accompagnés Amygdaleza la réponse des autorités grecques indique que des efforts ont été faits pour améliorer les conditions d’habitabilité, même avec l’offre d’activités pour les jeunes détenus.

 

(Irene Capuozzo)

  

Pour en savoir plus :

 

     -. Report to the Greek Government on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) – Council of Europe – 16/10/2014 (EN) – http://www.cpt.coe.int/documents/grc/2014-26-inf-eng.pdf

      -. Response of the Greek Government to the report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on its visit to Greece – Council of Europe – 16/10/2014 (EN) – http://www.cpt.coe.int/documents/grc/2014-27-inf-eng.pdf

      -. Résolution du Parlement européen sur les prisons dans l’Union européenne http://www.eu-logos.org/eu-logos_nea-say.php?idr=4&idnl=2329&nea=116&lang=fra&lst=0

      -. Dossier prisons de Nea Say http://www.eu-logos.org/eu-logos_nea-say.php?idr=4&idnl=2329&nea=116&lang=fra&lst=0

 


Classé dans:DIGNITE HUMAINE, DROITS FONDAMENTAUX

Unpaid intern work is on the way out

Posted by on 22/10/14

Whitehouse Associate Director Alex Singleton urges students not to take up unpaid work.

To read Alex’s article, please click here.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

Frage: “Sollten die Deutschen mit dem Sparen aufhören?”

Posted by on 16/10/14

Frage:…Sollten die Deutschen mit dem Sparen aufhören?

Antwort:… Tatsache ist, dass die Politik langsam keine Optionen mehr hat, dass dieser Einbruch hier vielleicht viel gefährlicher ist als der, den wir 2008 hatten. Das haben wir durch billiges Geld wieder rausgerissen. Aber die Politik der Notenbanken kommt jetzt an ihre Grenzen, und deswegen ist diese Diskussion über neue Konjunkturprogramme jetzt im Umlauf.

Frage: Stehen wir wirklich vor einem Abschwung – oder schlimmer noch vor einem Kollaps?

Antwort: Ein Abschwung oder auch eine Deflationsspirale ist nicht auszuschließen… Wir haben nach 2008 mit sehr viel fast schon staatswirtschaftlichen Maßnahmen, also der Politik des billigen Geldes, die Zinsen gedrückt in der Hoffnung, dass damit die Wirtschaft angekurbelt werden sollte. Das funktionierte auch einigermaßen…

Aber die Politik der Notenbank ist jetzt am Ende. Wir sind schon fast bei null Zinsen, wir haben Strafzinsen. Das erinnert ein bisschen an die Spätzeit der DDR, wo auch solche potemkinschen Dörfer aufgebaut wurden.

Frage: Der Untergang für die Europäische Union… oder für Deutschland?

Antwort: Wenn es uns jetzt trifft, dann wird es wahrscheinlich eine Abwärtsspirale in der gesamten Weltwirtschaft. Wir haben diese unsäglichen Sanktionen viel zu früh und viel zu stark gegen Russland beschlossen, die natürlich vor allem Deutschland und Österreich treffen. Andere können sich da eigentlich bequem zurücklehnen. Wir haben jetzt den Abschwung ansonsten. Da kann ich schon verstehen, dass Rufe laut werden, dass man sich dem entgegenstemmen muss und die Sparpolitik aufgeben muss.

Frage: Dafür würden Sie votieren, einen Abschied von der schwarzen Null in Deutschland zum Beispiel?

Antwort: Ja. Man muss ja sehen, dass Amerika und England und viele andere, Japan seit Jahren eine hemmungslose Schuldenpolitik betreiben, damit ihre Aktienmärkte stützen und oben halten, während wir in der Europäischen Union eine doch relativ schizophrene Politik haben. Wir haben zwar auch die Politik des billigen Geldes der Notenbanken, das ist das Gaspedal, und gleichzeitig ziehen wir dann die Handbremse mit dem Stabilitätspakt.

Wenn schon es Richtung unbegrenztes Geld geht, dann müssen wir da unter Umständen mithalten, denn sonst haben die anderen nachher eine wachsende Wirtschaft, sie haben dann zwar Schulden, aber wir haben dann keine Schulden und keine wachsende Wirtschaft. Und wenn dann die Bereinigung kommt, wenn Schuldenschnitte erfolgen, dann stehen die anderen besser da.

Frage: Das heißt, Schäuble muss nachgeben, oder er macht eine Politik zum Niedergang der deutschen Wirtschaft?

Antwort: Das ist überspitzt… Der Mann hat sich ja auf das Sparen fixiert und er kann sich ja ganz gut fixieren, wenn er mal eine Idee hat, und das ist dann seine Linie, die will er durchhalten. Aber in der Tat wäre eine Auflockerung der Sparpolitik im Moment durchaus diskussionswürdig.

Frage: Und wenn wir das machen, wofür geben wir das Geld dann am sinnvollsten aus?

Antwort: Ja, das ist schon das nächste Problem. Das ganze viele Geld, was wir jetzt gedruckt haben, das ist an die Banken geflossen, das ist zum Teil in spekulative Bereiche geflossen und es ist nicht wirklich dahin geflossen, wo es hinfließen müsste, nämlich in den Süden, dort in den Mittelstand in Deutschland, dort wo Investitionen sinnvoll sind.

Von daher ist die Idee, die Schäuble da gebracht hat, dass die Europäische Zentralbank zunächst eine Kapitalerhöhung benötigt, an der sich dann ja alle beteiligen, dass dann die Europäische Zentralbank mehr Kredite gibt, gar nicht schlecht. Aber das ist natürlich weit weg von den 300 Milliarden, die Jean-Claude Juncker gefordert hat.

Frage: Und wofür sollte das Geld ausgegeben werden? Was kurbelt die Konjunktur an? Was hilft?

Antwort: Wir haben in Europa schon natürlich Rückstände in der Infrastruktur, auch in Deutschland. Infrastruktur ist eines, Bildung, Wissenschaft, Hightech. Aber wenn wir unseren Hightech-Sektor wirklich hochbringen wollen in Europa, dann müssen wir uns erst mal aus der totalen Abhängigkeit von Amerika lösen. Das sehe ich noch nicht. China ist da etwas eigenständiger, während im Hightech-Bereich die Europäer im Prinzip ein Anhängsel der USA sind und Territorium von Google, Amazon und Microsoft. Das wird nicht einfach, da was dagegenzusetzen.

Frage: Nun sagt ja Wolfgang Schäuble, mehr Investitionen seien schon okay, aber die sollten am besten durch Strukturreformen erreicht werden. Heißt das im Klartext, Deutschland wird wieder Sozialleistungen kürzen…?

Antwort: Leider wird es das in der Konsequenz heißen, wenn es so umgesetzt wird. Aber Strukturreformen sind ja mehr. Die EU ist im Prinzip in vielen Bereich zu einer Standortwettbewerbsmaschine im Hinblick auf Kürzungen von Sozialleistungen und sonstigen Gesetzen geworden. Aber man kann ja auch positiv was machen. Man kann Fördergesetze machen zum Beispiel für den Hightech-Sektor. Leider reicht dazu die politische Kraft der EU im Moment nicht.

Frage: Die Regierung in Deutschland gibt ja auch viel neues Geld aus, aber möglicherweise für die falschen Dinge. Sollte die Große Koalition so etwas wie die Rente mit 63, den Mindestlohn und das Betreuungsgeld wieder kassieren?

Antwort: Ja, das waren Wahlgeschenke. Die sind natürlich unsinnig…, kosten viel Geld, und sie entziehen dem Arbeitsmarkt produktive Kräfte. Es ist doch viel wichtiger, dass wir Arbeitsplätze schaffen. Mindestlohn habe ich ein gewisses Verständnis für. Da gibt es auch Untersuchungen, dass der nicht auf die Arbeitsplatzanzahl drückt, dass er nicht schädlich ist. Aber eine Rente mit 63 war ein ganz klares Geschenk.

Insofern brauchen wir tatsächlich Strukturreformen, die neue Arbeitsplätze schaffen. Das wird aber auch nicht ohne Geld gehen, und es geht nicht nur, indem man einen Dumping-Wettbewerb um Billiglöhne und um die günstigsten Standortvorteile im Hinblick auf Steuern und so weiter macht, sondern da muss man sich was Intelligentes einfallen lassen, zum Beispiel ein Förderprogramm für Hightech.

Frage: Sie haben kürzlich gesagt…, Sie hätten noch nie so viel Angst ums Geld gehabt wie angesichts der Krisen in der Ukraine oder in Syrien… Was raten Sie den Bürgern in dieser Situation?

Antwort:… Die Lage ist diesmal so ernst wie seit mehreren Jahrzehnten nicht, denn wir haben wirklich viele Krisen, und die Notenbanken sind mit ihrer Politik am Ende. Man kann nicht alles auf dem Sparkonto lassen, man kann nicht alles in der Lebensversicherung lassen. Geldforderungen sind tatsächlich irgendwann bedroht. Es muss eine Mischung her zwischen Sparkonto und dann vielleicht langfristigen Aktienfonds, globale einfache Aktienfonds, vielleicht auch ein kleines bisschen Edelmetall, sodass man wenigstens eine gewisse Streuung im Vermögen hat.

Frage: Wie schätzen Sie die Chance ein, dass die Weltwirtschaft noch einmal davonkommt?

Antwort: Mit Prozentzahlen tue ich mich immer schwer, aber die Gefahr, dass sie nicht davonkommt, die ist wie gesagt sehr real und so hoch wie lange nicht mehr. Zahlen sind wirklich schwer, Fifty-fifty vielleicht das davon kommen, vielleicht auch ein bisschen mehr. Aber die Gefahr ist absolut gegeben.

Frage: Und wie schnell wird sich das erweisen?

Antwort: Das ist wieder schwer zu sagen. Im Jahr 2008 hatten wir den Kollaps und da gab es Panik, und wenn da die Notenbanken nicht eingegriffen hätten, dann wäre es damals so weit gewesen. Diesmal ist es eher ein schleichender Prozess… Diesmal kann sich das wie eine schleichende Krankheit etwas länger hinziehen. Aber ich denke, in ein bis zwei Jahren haben wir Klarheit.

Four solutions to economic inequality

Posted by on 16/10/14

By Àngela Corbalán & Paul Creeney

Economic inequality is on the rise. Half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one per cent of the world’s population. In Europe, austerity policies across the continent designed to cut debt and stimulate growth could instead push the number of Europeans at risk of poverty up to 146 million by 2025 – over a quarter of the population.

The problems are severe, but we want to focus on the solutions. As part of Blog Action Day 2014 on the topic of inequality, we look at how to redress the balance in favour of the many instead of the few.

1. CRACKING DOWN ON TAX DODGING

At least $18.5 trillion is hidden by wealthy individuals in tax havens worldwide, representing a loss of more than $156 billion in tax revenue. Amazingly, more than two-thirds of this amount is stashed away in territories within EU boundaries, such as Luxembourg or Malta. This is just a fraction of the total tax loss, as it only reflects the amount of tax that individuals are neglecting to pay. It doesn’t include the tax dodged by companies, whose dodgy-dealings and negotiated tax breaks could cost Africa alone an estimated $100 billion a year.

At Oxfam, we want to see individuals and companies paying their fair share of taxes. For example, we’re calling for an EU blacklist of tax havens and an agreement from EU governments to impose sanctions against them and those using them. Governments should also compel multinational companies to reveal where they really make their profits and where they pay their taxes. In Europe and across the world, this extra tax revenue could be key to financing public services, like health and education.

2. MORE MONEY FOR HEALTH CARE

Investing in health and education is one of the most powerful ways of fighting global inequality. Spending on these services has the same inequality-busting potential in rich and poor countries alike, reducing income inequality by between 10 to 20 per cent. This is why cuts in these services around the world are so catastrophic.

While public services can mitigate rising trends in inequality, user fees and funding cuts in both the North and South have the opposite effect. Healthcare fees push 150 million people into ruin every year around the world.

3. MORE MONEY FOR EDUCATION


Despite all this evidence, between 2008 and 2012, more than half of all developing countries cut their education spending and two-thirds cut spending on healthcare. These cuts focus the pain of austerity directly at those who can least stand it.

Governments must value the impact of free public services and not introduce fees, budget cuts or other privatization of services that hit the poorest hardest, when inequality is already stacking the deck against them.

4. WORKING FOR THE MANY

Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy and hindering economic growth and poverty reduction.

Economic inequality can lead to “opportunity capture”, which means that the best education, the best health care and the lowest tax rates will be claimed by the children of the rich.

If inequality is not addressed quickly, we will soon live in a world where equal opportunity is just a dream. Rather than leaving the rest of us to fight over scraps from the top table, the investments and policies needed to put right the imbalance of inequality must be addressed if the global poverty currently affecting over a billion people is to be truly made a thing of the past.

Àngela Corbalán is Oxfam’s Head of EU Communications and Paul Creeney is Oxfam’s EU Communications Assistant.

A new Belgian government: Will Brussels control Brussels?

Posted by on 13/10/14
N-VA leader Bart De Wever and new PM Charles Michel
After less than five months, a relatively short period by local standards, a new federal Belgian government has been agreed.  In the light of our analysis in May, "Scenario 2" has materialised: a federal government which includes the Flemish nationalist N-VA, which hopes their centre-right policies may drive the Francophone socialists to return to their historic demands for more decentralisation.

The new coalition is led by 38 year-old Charles Michel, a Francophone liberal and the son of former EU Development Aid Commissioner Louis Michel, and its centre-right programme has just been revealed. Interestingly, there are a few changes on EU policy in the country which probably is the most inclined to EU-federalism. This is clearly the result of the presence of the N-VA, a party which
has described itself "euro-realist" since 2011, but is part of a broader shift whereby the Francophone socialists have also dared to criticise EU policies.

Here are some excerpts from the programme which show that Belgium is now fully supporting the drive to empower national Parliaments and subscribes to the philosophy of incoming European Commissioner for 'Subsidiarity' Frans Timmermans that "the EU should do what can only be done by the EU and should leave to member states what can be better done by them":

  • "To continue European integration, more legitimacy and transparency are needed. In that respect, the Federal Parliament should play its role with regards to proportionality and subsidiarity".
  • "The government wants a smaller and more effective European Commission".
  •  It stresses that with regards to eurozone solidarity, "this should be objective, transparent and efficient and should not encroach upon the competence of member states for social security provision".
  • "The government wants the integrity of the internal market, to which all EU member states take part, to be respected" (Something the UK government can see as support for insistence that the single market shouldn't fragment as a result of Eurozone integration). 
  • "In its EU policy, the government will fight over regulation and unnecessary meddling which contribute to undermining support for European integration". 
  • "In order to boost democratic responsibility and to strengthen public support for the project of European integration, the Prime Minister is prepared to discuss with Parliament both ahead and after every European Council Summit in order to inform it about the positions of the government and the results of the European Council and to debate these topics. In order to support this debate, the government will as soon as possible contribute to the Advisory Committee for European Affairs" (This sees Belgium follows in the footsteps of amongst others Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, which have similar systems, from the duty of governments to obtain a mandate and an obligation to inform MPs).
There is even a whole chapter devoted to "Introducing the principle of subsidiarity":

  • "We believe strongly in the principle of subsidiarity whereby the EU focuses on domains and actions where it adds value. Policies should be efficient and at the level closest to the citizen. The Union should also be made aware of the sometimes heavy administrative burdens of regulation it imposes on member states, its citizens and companies. All of that is necessary to repair the credibility of Europe among citizens."
Of course, EU-federalist elements remain: the new Belgian government wants to scrap veto powers in foreign policy (while simultaneously supporting a "strong NATO alliance" as well) and wants more harmonisation of EU asylum and migration policy. Still, anyone supporting reform of the EU - and Belgium, which hosts the EU, seems to understand that this is in its interest, as we have made clear - can take heart.

Roma integration: when civil society is active, good things happen

Posted by on 13/10/14

Roma inclusion is of major concern for EU and it represents a great challenge in the area of fundamental rights. The EU has made great efforts in this field and demanded to Member States to tackle the poor living conditions of Roma and social exclusion within their societies. Good results are to be reached only if there is a multi-level cooperation between the EU, Member States, local authorities and civil society. Roma people are also present in the enlargement countries and their living conditions are not better that those experienced in the EU countries, therefore the European Commission decided to award NGOs from Western Balkans and Turkey for their programs which support Roma inclusion.

 The awarding ceremony took place the 1st October in Brussels and the aim of this competition was that of raising visibility over the problems faced by Roma people in the enlargement countries. During the ceremony Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, pointed out how important the work of civil society is and how the inclusion of Roma people is not only a matter of equality, but also represents an “investment to the benefit of society”.

The projects awarded are primarily addressed to women and children and the aim is that of building bridges between Roma and civil society. The means used are different but they all offer training to Roma women and education to children, since the lack of these represent two of the major obstacles for their inclusion in the relative societies and into the job market. Without education and training it is impossible to improve their working conditions and also their access to health care and housing.

But how are structured these projects and what makes them more successful than others? Here there is a short description of the selected projects by the Commission:

- Albania: Roma Active Albania with the project “Empowerment Campaign for Roma Women”. This project is addressed to Roma women and it has the aim to empower them to advocate for their own problems and also to build the capacity of dealing with decision-making authorities, by articulating their concerns in an effective matter.

- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Citizens Association for the Promotion of Education of Roma-Otharian with the project “Enhacing Basic Education for Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The project promotes education of Roma children by addressing Roma parents and institutions on the importance of education and promoting directly formal and informal education for these children. Their Roma Youth and Culture Centre represents a place where Roma and non-Roma children can meet and interact with the result of developing social skills. They also have a Mobile Intervention Team formed by an outreach officer, a municipal representative, teachers and social workers which makes home visits to Roma children who experience difficulties at school.

-Kossovo: The Ideas Partnership with the project “From Handouts to Hands-up through Handicrafts: the former beggar-women of Fushe Kosove who’ve now got their kids to school and taken their place in the labour market”. In those communities Roma children work as beggars and rubbish-pickers and do not go to school normally. This association offered Roma women training and work opportunities but they were asked to send their children to school. There are also other benefits for those involved in this project, such as: literacy and parenting classes, medical care, including contraception and antenatal care and advice. This association created also asocial enterprise “SaPune” which sells the handicrafts made by these women.

-Macedonia: Centre for Integration Ambrela with the project “A Good Start- Increased Participation in Early Childhood Development In Suto Orizari”. The activities of this project have the aim of informing Romani parents on the importance of health-care check-ups and of education for their children, starting from kindergarten. They also help them to obtain personal documents and have access to these services to preschool services and Early Child Development Services. The project was implemented by a team consisting of community mediators regarding education, healthcare, IDs mediation, special educators and also a speech therapist.

-Montenegro: Center for Roma Initiatives with the project “Action Against Forced and Early Marriages in Roma and Egyptian Community”. Early marriages are still a widespread practice among Roma in Montenegro. This project denounced cases of abuse and also raised awareness in these communities by encouraging women to tell their stories and by using a Travelling Caravan to tell real stories to the several communities. The result was that of other women who reported cases of abuse. In order to raise awareness, they organised street protests, advocacy and lobbying activities. This organization also implemented Forum Theatre shows which allowed the audience to participate and find solutions to the problems presented.

-Serbia: Hands of Friendship with the project “Mother-Child Educational Project”. This project also was focused on improving access to early childhood education for Roma children. They used a multi-level approach to the issue which consists in lobbying local authorities for a higher level of inclusion and by encouraging and supporting Roma parents to enroll their children. They also created an alternative early childhood program in the form of Toy Library and they addressed mothers in order to empower them to decide what is best for them and for their children.

-Turkey: Sulukule Roma Culture Development and Solidarity Association with the project “Sulukule Childrens Art Atelier”. This Atelier is based in a Roma neighbourhood and wants to help children to be proud of their identity and culture, it provides them with education, music and art classes and also organises culture workshops for the communities. They have a Roma Youth Orchestra and a hip hop theatre group. The hip hop band Tahribad-ɪ Ysian, well-known in Turkey, emerged from that Atelier and their children also perform in international concerts and TV series.

These are all projects which could be implemented also elsewhere, with small variations in order to take into consideration different contexts, and they really can make the difference for Roma communities and build a bridge between them and the rest of the society.

(Ana Daniela Sanda)

To know more:

Štefan Füle’s speech at the Conference http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-14-649_en.htm?locale=en

Report on the implementation of the EU framework for National Roma Integration Strategies http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/files/roma_implement_strategies2014_en.pdf


Classé dans:DROITS FONDAMENTAUX, Non discrimination, Protection des minorités

Maternity leave directive, a cultural revolution

Posted by on 05/10/14
By Alessandra Flora Some 22 years after its entry into force the maternity leave directive seems outdated. The Parliament voted in October 2010 to extend maternity leave to at least 20 fully-paid weeks, but four years later this is still being blocked by governments in the EU Council. The European Commission now wants to withdraw the proposal.

David Cameron and his Ministers continue to tread fine line on EU migration reform

Posted by on 04/10/14
UPDATE: The Prime Minister has now given his conference speech. This is the passage on EU migration:
"Immediate access to our welfare system, paying benefits to families back home, employment agencies signing up people from overseas, not recruiting here, numbers that have increased faster than we in this country wanted and at a level that was too much for our communities and for our labour markets. All of this has to change and it will be at the very heart of my renegotiation strategy for Europe. Britain: I know you want this sorted, so I will go to Brussels, I will not take no for an answer and when it comes to free movement I will get what Britain needs."
So, no new policy announcement today. However, David Cameron's reference to the "numbers that have increased" and "at a level that was too much for our communities" leaves the question we posed below hanging. He could argue that tackling migrants' access to benefits (particularly in-work benefits) will help with the numbers, as it could reduce the incentive for some to migrate, particularly those at the lower end of the job market. Will he be prepared (or be allowed) to stop there?

Original post: The Times and the Mail today both feature stories on the increasing pressure on David Cameron to take a stronger stance on migration from the EU.

The Times suggests that senior figures within his party are calling on him to use his renegotiation to explore the introduction of quotas on migrants from existing EU member states. It quotes London Mayor Boris Johnson saying that
“We all want change, we all want a renegotiation. We want sensible control of the numbers of people coming in. I think you would agree that it is the right and duty of every state to have some idea of how many people want to settle in its boundaries, what jobs they propose to do there, and how much they cost the local authorities. Isn’t that fair enough?”
As we have noted before, the free movement debate is about fairness and volume. So far, David Cameron and his Ministers have concentrated on the former - rules on migrants' access to benefits can be changed through secondary EU legislation via QMV and co-decision with MEPs and there is widespread support for addressing the issue among like-minded countries in Northern Europe. David Cameron is also on the record saying that he wants new conditions placed on migrants from countries that join the EU in future. However, the latter issue, addressing the numbers of migrants coming from existing EU member states is much tougher - it means addressing what is seen as a fundamental tenet of the EU and altering it would require unanimous agreement, almost certainly via treaty change.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have both been quoted on the subject today, but both have stuck to line that an 'emergency brake' or measures to tackle the numbers of migrants would apply to new members of the EU, not existing ones.

May said:
"This is an area where David Cameron and I have said we need to look to the future to talk about the rules, particularly for countries coming into the EU in the future, and putting some sort of brake on their access to full free movement. For example, one idea we’ve suggested is they shouldn’t have full free movement rights until their GDP, their economy, is at a certain level compared to other economies within the EU."
Similarly, Hammond told an Open Europe fringe event that:
“It isn’t going to be enough just to look at benefit abuse...We are going to have to look at how we accommodate future new member states with the implementation of free movement, future new member states and how we restrict them. We are going to have to look at how we deal with destabilising flows."
There has been speculation that Cameron will address the issue in some way in his conference speech today, it will be interesting to see how he treads what is an increasingly fine line.

Reforming Dutch occupational pension schemes

Posted by on 28/09/14

In many countries occupational plans are being reformed from Defined-Benefit (DB) to Defined-Contribution (DC) designs. In a Netspar discussion paper Lans Bovenberg and I explore the case of the Netherlands, which features a particularly high ratio of occupational pension assets to GDP. Most occupational schemes are DB-funded and the value of assets in these schemes amounted to about 170% of GDP in 2013. This implies that unanticipated shocks in financial markets and longevity require large changes in pension contributions in order to shield pension rights in DB-plans from these shocks. Therefore, Dutch occupational defined-benefit plans suffer from a number of serious weaknesses, including ambiguous ownership of assets, back-loading of benefits, and lack of tailor-made risk management. In particular, an intergenerational conflict may emerge about not only the ownership of capital in the fund but also the investment profile. These potential intergenerational conflicts are especially serious in the Netherlands due to the large stocks of wealth that have been accumulated. We will therefore focus on Dutch occupational pension plans and the need for reform. Our discussion may be of interest also to other countries who are transforming their DB-plans into DC-plans.

To address these weaknesses, we propose collective individual defined-contribution plans that are actuarially fair. These schemes maintain important strengths of collective schemes, such as mandatory saving, collective procurement and pooling biometric risks. At the same time, they eliminate intergenerational conflicts about risk management and distribution through transparent individual property rights and tailor-made risk profiles. Our proposal also eliminates the implicit pay-as-you-go elements through back-loading and thus creates the familiar transitional problem associated with a move from pay-as-you-go financing to funding. Therefore, our proposals address this issue head on by grandfathering some of the implicit pension rights in the old system in order to protect the transitional generations. In the paper, we show that this transition burden can be dealt without a substantial temporary increase in contributions, if the transition is accompanied by lower administrative and investment costs.

Greece’s economic comeback is marred by uncertainties

Posted by on 22/09/14

Petros Christodoulou, a Greek investment banker, once quipped “most of the bad news about America’s subprime-mortgage market will be out by the end of August.” It was the beginning of August 2007, just a few weeks before the financial whirlwind that almost sucked in the global economic system unleashed. At the time, Greece was still a successful and prosperous European country, buoyed by the lowest borrowing costs in history. But its comeuppance was soon to follow, as a series of rapid revelations over faulty accounting methods wiped out more than 25% of its GDP and pushed 30% of Greeks below the poverty threshold.

In addition to “accounting errors” a number of financial deals allowed Greece to cut its deficit, in return for repayments over time. Using cross-currency swaps, Goldman Sachs channelled $1 billion of funding to Athens in 2002. On the receiving end of the deal, working at the time in the National Bank of Greece, was the aforementioned Christodoulou, himself a former Goldman alumnus. Such shady dealings were made possible by the integrated capital markets that came with the EU, superimposed over a climate of seething corruption.

Indeed, corruption and tax evasion are at the heart of the Greek tragedy. Otherwise how can one explain the audacity of multiple governments to hide a rapidly rising budget deficit? When the truth came out in December 2009, it became evident to everyone that Greece was not only cash-strapped but outright bankrupt. With Europe’s economy hanging over the edge, and the future of the Euro in doubt, the country was forced to contract two successive IMF-backed loans worth €240 billion, raising its debt from 115% in 2009 to an eye-watering 174% of GDP in 2014. Seven consecutive years of economic decline ensued.

Painful structural reforms were passed, as the government scrambled to overhaul as much as it could, from the pension system to private universities, in hopes of bringing to light Greece’s shadow economy, estimated at 25% of GDP. After street protests, intense rioting and political hand wringing, it seems that good news has finally come to the Greek peninsula.

According to the IMF and the European Commission, the country is set to see its first year “in the green” since 2008, with an expected 0.6% expansion. Moreover, Standard & Poor acknowledged this prediction by upgrading its debt rating, from B-minus to B. Although still five notches into junk territory, the embattled country has finally managed to make a successful return to financial markets. On September 12th, the Greek Finance Ministry hailed its sale of some 1 billion euros worth of three-month and six-month treasury bills, noting that strong demand exceeded initial targets of the bond sale.

With the economy showing timid signs of improvement, can one assume that corruption has been stifled? Unfortunately, not so much, as recent evidence shows that the government’s efforts simply “gave Greeks more official protocol to manoeuvre around”. Transparency International still rates Greece as Europe’s most corrupt country, tied with China for the 80th place in the world.

 

Source: Zerohedge.comsource: Zerohedge.com

Although petty corruption is still common, it pales in comparison to what happens at the governmental level. From fraudulent privatizations to businessmen in cahoots with politicians, a foray into Greek corruption reads more like a “How-to” manual. When Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was told that a leading Greek bureaucrat accepted a big bribe from an Italian company, which wanted to build a hydroelectric dam, he jokingly said that there’s no problem if an official “makes a little gift to himself”. This phrase “became the official green light for generalized corruption at all levels in the 1980s”.

Perhaps one of the most interesting, yet underreport cases in recent memory, involves the Greek shipping magnate and football fanatic Evangelos Marinakis, owner of Olympiacos FC and head of the Greek Super League. Despite being associated with a criminal organization officially charged with match fixing, bribery of officials, politicians and judges, the “untouchable” Marinakis has recently been elected as local councillor in Greece’s third largest city of Piraeus. He will be serving at the pleasure of the city’s mayor, Ioannis Moralis, a former Olympiacos Vice President, whose campaign was largely reliant on the financial support of Marinakis.

Drawing comparisons with Italy’s Berlusconi, Reuters dryly stated that “rarely has big business mingled so openly with politics in a country where contacts between the two are usually conducted behind the scenes“. This is no doubt a worrying development. With the election of the Marinakis/Moralis ticket, Greeks have shown that the same double-dealing spirit that had almost bankrupted the country is still alive and well. Not even an almost total collapse of the country managed to shake up the public consciousness into realizing that it is neither Brussels nor Germany at fault here; it is their own inertia.

As for Petros Christodoulou, after having served for two years as the general manager of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, the main government body tasked with restructuring the country’s burdensome debt levels, he was appointed earlier this September as CEO for Marinakis’ shipping company. Indeed, as long as the powerful grow more powerful and inequalities rise with the populace’s consent, the Greek taxpayer will always get the short end of the stick.

 

Constant dying in the Mediterranean

Posted by on 22/09/14
By Bernhard Schinwald Two tragedies in which hundreds of boat refugees died on their way to European shores, caught the headlines of international media outlets. What has less attracted their attention are fatalities of comparably minor incidents. Between the beginning of 2014 and the end of August 2’000 people did not survive the passage to Europe.

Survival in a Greek detention centre for immigrants

Posted by on 22/09/14

I had never been in a detention centre for irregularly residing migrants before trespassing, a few days ago, into Amygdaleza. Amygdaleza is in the outskirts of Athens, a few kilometres north of what is widely referred to as the cradle of democracy. Along with the members of FEANTSA migration working group, I have access to Amygdaleza thanks to a social worker hired by the Greek police and paid by the EU in order to assist around 40 unaccompanied minors, between 10 and 17 years old, who are detained in a part of the centre.

We first visit the service where unaccompanied minors are kept. After a short presentation made by a psychologist, who is also policeman and the responsible for the service, they open us the gate and let us in where the young people live. In the dark corridor we are surrounded by teenagers and we glimpse at the rooms where the young guys sleep in small beds one next to the other. They show us a room where they dispose of two computers and from a TV screen a journalist from the BBC is talking about the Scottish referendum on independence.

We talk to the young guys who look disappointed when they realise we are not there to take them away nor will we actually be of any immediate help. Some tell us they have been there for three months, some say six, other eight, other even more. They are supposed to stay in detention for a maximum of six months and then moved to tailored services. Actually, what is most painful does not seem to be the length of their detention but rather the lack of information regarding what will happen to them. They come from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh. A guy from Guinea has been living in detention centres for about two years – he first was in Mytilene and then was moved to Amygdaleza. With his parents dead, a brother in Belgium and a sister in Germany with whom he lost contact, he wishes – to my surprise – to stay in Greece. He seems a smiley guy and now is happy he can speak French with me. He does not feel very comfortable with his English and is now asking the social worker, struggling with the few words he knows in Greek, a specific product for his dreadlocks. A young Bangladeshi was with him in Mytilene and had a similar path to Amygdaleza but, unlike the Guinean, he looks depressed and hopeless. He is afraid to be sent back to Bangladesh and he is frightened not to know for how long he will have to be detained here.

They show us where they play football. It is a 35-40 square metres pitch with bars all around its perimeter and with a concrete roof that does not allow any view of the sky. On the pitch a ping pong table – they guys tell us – was brought by two policemen right the day before our visit, probably to make the place look more entertaining. Therefore, today there is no chance to see the skills of a Syrian guy who is introduced to us as the strongest player among the young inmates. I told him he looks like Ibrahimovic. He seems flattered and amused by the comparison and laughingly points out that Ibrahimovic was born to refugees escaping from war-ravaged Bosnia.

Most of them asked for asylum but still have not received any update about their requests.   They want us to know their stories and they are aware that what has been happening to them is unfair and infringes the law. They know more than I expected, they are 15 – 16 years old but their eyes are older. One loves to draw, another makes handcraft, they want to learn Greek and some wish to play football for Olympiakos. But all their energies and hopes are wasted in an endless detention with no access to education nor to vocational training, to sport or any other kind of activity. A few of them will be moved to a shelter but most of them will just stay there until they are sent back to the country they wish to flee. Today the guard is a policeman who constantly makes jokes; he is loved by the guys who tell me that not all are that kind. Other policemen are insensible, even cruel. I hear stories about guys mistreated, beaten up in a few cases.

Later on, we move to one of the camps for adults. Overall, 4 000 irregularly residing immigrants are detained. A few days earlier a riot had to be placated. I am told the riot burst because a few policemen wanted a few inmates to stop praying and when they refused they were beaten up. We are not visiting the camp where this recently happened though we enter into another where a riot occurred one year ago. We can still spot a few containers that were burnt and are still not fixed since that happened. While we trespass into the camp, a notice reminds me that what I am about to see was funded for 75% by the European Union, through the European Return Fund. How can a place where EU legislation is so clearly infringed be funded by the EU is a mystery to me.

As soon as we are in, tens of people approach the grids that separate us from them. They all come out from containers, each of which hosts eight of them. Under the eyes of policemen, we get close to the grids and start listening to their stories. Those who can speak English voluntarily translate for their mates. Contrary to what the policemen told us about the decent conditions in which the inmates live, they say the water at their disposal is smelly, they tell us that when they have health problems only one out of five is actually examined. Some have been there for much longer than 18 months, an Afghani on his twenties tell me he has been there for almost three years, another points out that in 12 months he has been detained in this camp he has never been interviewed.

I feel useless – I should be here to answer questions rather than ask them. I was told that in Greece there are worse camps than this one. I was told that in other detention sites, people are squashed in small jail cells so much that they have to stand and struggle to get the chance to at least lean against the wall for some comfort. The fact is that it does not need to be worse than this to hurt. I was somehow prepared to witness these living conditions but that awareness does not prevent me from feeling guilty. Because Primo Levi is whispering in my ear that I, who live safe in my warm house and who find, returning in the evening, hot food and friendly faces, I must consider if this is a man.

 

Roma health conditions in Europe: a worrisome picture emerged from the new report

Posted by on 22/09/14

On the 4th of September 2014 the European Commission published a report on the state of health of Roma populations in Europe which points out that discrimination towards Roma has direct consequences on their accession to housing, health care and education. The outcome of the report is that Roma manifest some worrying characteristics when it comes to health, such as shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality and higher risks of infectious diseases than the non-Roma people.

Data were collected in the 28 EU countries plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland by Matrix Knowledge in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Democracy, the European Public Health Alliance and individual national researchers on behalf of the Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency (Chafea) and DG SANCO. The main obstacles to this huge research, which covers the period 2008-2013, were the non-homogeneity of Roma populations and the insufficient data at the national level on their health situation. Notwithstanding the obstacles, common patterns among Member States and among different Roma groups emerged. Unfortunately they disclose a worrisome picture which asks for a more integrated approach among Member States in order to deal with this problem.

The life expectancy of Roma is 10 to 20 years less than the rest of the population. In Croatia the difference is around 10 years (66,6 years compared to 77), in Hungary is also 10 years less for men but around 18 years less for women. In Belgium, the Brussels municipal Social Services estimate that Roma have a life expectancy of 55 years and their health is even poorer than that of refugees. Roma populations also present higher rates of infant mortality observed in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic. In addition, they are also more vulnerable to outbreaks of measles and hepatitis A, B and C. The 2009 outbreak of measles occurred in Bulgaria concerned primarily Roma, since the 89,3 of the infected people were of Roma origin.

All these problems derive from difficulties they face in accessing health care systems in the Member States. The existing barriers are of several nature and they all need to be addressed in an efficient way.

One problem is administrative in nature and regards the lack of registration of these people in national population registers, which prevents them to have access to primary care services in many States. This is aggravated by social exclusion and lack of health care education of Roma. In many cases they are not aware of the possibilities available or they simply do not understand the information given. Linguistic and literacy barriers play an important role in the reduced use of the available services. Therefore States need to address these issues by providing interprets for appointments and simply written and translated material regarding health problems.

What contributes to the existing situation is also a discriminating attitude of the health care professionals combined with a lack of trust by Roma towards them. There is also a cultural element which plays against prevention. The report discovered a high level of use of acute hospital services, but very little use of preventive care, such as vaccination, adopting of healthy diet or doing physical activity. A first solution to this would be that of using health mediation programmes and providing training for health care professionals and reading material on Roma culture and, in particular, on relations between men and women inside this culture.

A special attention regarding gender issues is necessary since the report pointed out the severe condition of Roma women who are more disadvantaged than Roma men and other women because of traditional gender roles. They receive a more limited education than men, which leads to even less employment opportunities, and experiment physical and social isolation and poorer living conditions if compared to Roma men. All these factors lead to maternal health risks such as early and late pregnancies and poor access to antenatal care. They are also subjected to higher risk of domestic violence and mental health risks due to the subordinate role in Roma communities.

What can be done?

        In the end, the report calls both for a coordination among Member States, and also for tailored responses to the particular needs of each Roma group, or population, present on the territory of every State.

The EU has made considerable efforts to better Roma populations’ conditions. Among those we remember the organization, in 2008, of European Roma Summit on Roma Inclusion with the aim of discussing these issues at the highest decision-making levels, including national and regional authorities and involving civil society. This Summit was followed by the creation of the European Platform for Roma Inclusion. In 2011 the European Commission adopted the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) up to 2020. Member States were asked to prepare NRIS in order to deal with the challenges of Roma integration. Again, in 2013, the Commission made a proposal for a Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in Member states with the aim of improving the effectiveness of their measures to achieve Roma integration and to coordinate the NRIS. Also the European Parliament deals with Roma issues, in particular LIBE Commission is responsible for EU strategy on Roma inclusion. In addition there are some EU agencies, such as European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and CHAFEA which are working on the same issues.

The point is that all the instruments adopted at EU level are non-binding, so it is up to Member States to implement these recommendations. The idea is that national governments should make efforts in order to improve the literacy and skills of Roma people and combat the discrimination they are exposed to through campaigns which bring together civil society and Roma populations. The critiques made to the Member States were that of lack of political will for real commitment in this field, manifested by the retards in using the available European funds allocated to Roma inclusion.

(Ana Daniela Sanda)

To know more:

Roma Health Report: Health status of the Roma population. Data collection in the Member States of the European Union: http://ec.europa.eu/health/social_determinants/docs/2014_roma_health_report_en.pdf

The situation of Roma women: FRA data analysis: http://fra.europa.eu/en/news/2013/situation-roma-women-fra-data-analysis

Report on the implementation of the EU framework for National Roma Integration Strategies: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/files/roma_implement_strategies2014_en.pdf

Nea say files: http://www.eu-logos.org/eu-logos_nea-say.php?idr=4&idnl=3222&nea=148&lang=fra&arch=0&term=0

 


Classé dans:NON-DISCRIMINATION, Protection des minorité

Rapport annuel ECRE: 435,385 demandeurs d’asile dans l’UE

Posted by on 21/09/14

ECRE, réseau paneuropéen consacré aux émigrés et réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile, a tenu une conférence, le 9 septembre dernier pour présenter son deuxième rapport annuel 2013/2014 (AIDA):" Mind the Gap: An NGO Perspective on Challenges Challenges to Accessing Protection in the Common European Asylum System". Il s’agit d’une analyse comparée des systèmes d’asile des 15 EM. Il dénonce les limites du ‘Common’ European Asylum System et les violations graves des droits fondamentaux. L’Union saura-t-elle faire preuve d’imagination pour faire évoluer l’approche actuelle ?

 Contexte.

 Lors des discussions européennes sur le future de l’Espace de Liberté Sécurité et Justice, les institutions de l’Union, et les acteurs consultés, ont lancé un message fort et partagé par tous: le moment est venu de mettre en œuvre les instruments politiques et normatifs en vigueur. Les Conclusions du Conseil Européen du juin 2014 le confirment : la priorité est d’ « assurer la transposition cohérente, la mise en œuvre effective et la consolidation des instruments juridiques et des mesures existants ». En particulier, le CEAS (Common European Asylum System) est considéré comme une des meilleures réalisations au cours de l’année 2013, comme le constate la Commission européenne dans son Vème rapport sur l’immigration et l’asile. Désormais , il est temps que toutes ces mesures deviennent effectives.

 En conséquence, la dimension concrète de la politique d’asile et l’impact réel sur la vie des individus concernés, deviennent extrêmement importants. Les décisions prises à Bruxelles doivent se rapprocher des défis et des nécessités rencontrés sur base nationale où les gouvernements locaux interviennent dans la pratique avec le soutien des nombreuses ONG. Elles offrent un point de contact direct avec la situation sur le terrain, c’est pourquoi leur voix a acquis une crédibilité croissante auprès des institutions de l’UE.

Le rapport ECRE-AIDA 2013-2014

Afin d’accroître leur pouvoir d’influence auprès des institutions européennes, the European Council of Refugees and Exiles a créé un réseau qui ressemble 82 ONG d’Europe, engagées dans la protection et la promotion des droits des réfugiés, demandeurs d’asile et des personnes déplacées. Leur mission principale est de surveiller la mise en œuvre des politiques européennes d’asile, dans le plein respect des droits fondamentaux ; en particulier ECRE en collaboration avec ses membres, dénonce leurs violations, tout en proposant des solutions plus efficaces et durables.

 En vue de réaliser cet objectif, ECRE a créé la base des données Asylum Information DAtabase (AIDA), qui permet un échange d’informations et un échange des pratiques entre les acteurs concernés, notamment sur l’application des procédures d’asile, les conditions d’accueil et de détention. Le 9 septembre dernier, ECRE a lancé son deuxième rapport AIDA ‘Mind the Gap’ 2013-2014 qui offre une analyse comparée des systèmes nationales d’asile de 15 pays d’Europe (Autriche, Belgique, Bulgarie, Chypre, Germany, France, Grèce, Hongrie, Ireland, Italie, Malta, Pays Bas, Pologne, Suède et Royaume Uni).

 Tout d’abord, il présente la situation actuelle et les défis majeurs, sur la base des statistiques alarmantes sur le nombre des migrants, les demandes de protection internationale introduites, les délais de réponse ainsi que les conditions d’accueil qui devraient être garanties sur la base des engagements de états.

 Selon les données Eurostat, reprises par le rapport, en 2013 le nombre des demandeurs d’asile dans l’Union Européenne était de 435,385 personnes. Il a été enregistrée une augmentation constante, 30% par rapport à l’année précédente; toutefois il représente un chiffre minimale, si on le compare avec celui des réfugiés qui sont accueillis dans les pays tiers (86% de la population des bénéficiaires de protection internationale). Le déséquilibre est présent aussi au sein de l’Union même, où cinq états (Allemagne, France, Suède, Royaume-Uni et Italie) reçoivent 70% des demandes. La plupart de ces dernier sont d’origine Syrienne à cause du conflit qui perdure dans le pays : la prévisibilité du phénomène requiert une solution systématique et durable.

 Pour faire face à ces défis, au fil des années, l’Union Européenne a développé une politique commune en matière d’asile. En particulier, elle a finalement mis en place le Common European Asylum System : le système qui « offrira un meilleur accès à la procédure d’asile pour ceux qui recherchent une protection, des décisions sur les demandes d’asile plus équitables, plus rapides et de meilleure qualité, et des conditions dignes et décentes tant pour ceux qui demandent l’asile que pour ceux auxquels est accordée une protection internationale dans l’UE ».

 Par contre, ECRE, dans la deuxième section du rapport AIDA, s’interroge sur l’effectivité du système ‘commun’ d’asile et présente de manière critique les choix politiques et opérationnelles de l’Union.

 La décevante réponse européenne

La tragédie de Lampedusa en octobre 2013, (ledrame de la mi-septembre n’était pas encore connu) comme souligné par Kris Pollet, Senior Legal et Policy Officer ECRE, a mis à l’épreuve la capacité de réaction de l’Union Européenne, notamment sur le plan opérationnel. Cependant, dénonce Pollet reprenant le contenu du rapport, la Task Force pour la Méditerranée , qui a été lancé en réponse immédiate, présente l’ensemble des mesures et instruments déjà en vigueur, comme le système Dublin III, très critiqué pour ses inefficacités. De plus, les éléments plus innovants ont été fixées de manière très générale : en particulier, le rôle de l’agence EASO, ou encore, la prévision concernant les voies d’immigration légale alternatives.

 La Commission a privilégié la coopération avec les pays tiers et l’action de l’agence FRONTEX. A ce propos ECRE soulève de nombreuses critiques contre l’externalisation de l’examen des demandes d’asile et la sécurisation des frontières extérieures, qui ne seraient pas cohérentes par rapport à une approche respectueuse des droits fondamentaux, centrée sur les individus.

 Malgré ces critiques, le rapport AIDA, reconnaît les progrès accomplis par l’Union Européenne dans la dernière année. Un parmi les plus importants est l’accélération du processus d’approbation des règles   pour la surveillance des frontières maritimes extérieures dans le cadre des opérations Frontex (Règlement UE 656/2014) qui consacre plus d’attention au respect des droits fondamentaux. Notamment l’art. 4, lié au respect du principe de non-refoulement, spécifie les comportements à suivre avant un débarquement éventuel dans un pays tiers, avec une considération particulaire des individus plus vulnérables, comme les mineurs non accompagnés, les femmes enceintes ou avec des enfants en bas âge.

On a fait remarquer que la mission Frontex TRITON, qui sera lancé dans les prochains mois, laisse ouvert le dilemme sur le sauvetage des vies en mer. Cela ne semble pas être la priorité, au contraire de Mare Nostrum qui est intervenu dans la même zone maritime. Le rapport, toutefois, rappelle que l’action de sauvetage en mer intervient après que les migrants, et parmi eux, ceux qui ont droit à la protection internationale, aient pris le risque du trajet dangereux vers l’Europe. Pour cette raison, il propose le renforcement et la multiplication des voie d’accès légales à l’Union (comme les programmes de réinstallation (resettlement) ou le mécanisme d’entrée protégée).

 Un autre point critique, soulevé par le rapport ECRE, porte sur les dysfonctionnements du système d’asile Dublin III qui règle l’attribution de la responsabilité de l’examen des demandes reçues, entre les états membres. Pour ECRE, il y a une dichotomie entre accès au territoire et accès à la protection elle-même : le demandeur d’asile est lié au territoire de premier accès. Par contre, la reconnaissance mutuelle du statut du réfugié serait plus favorable aux intérêts des individus : une fois délivré dans un des états membres, le bénéficiaire serait libre de choisir le pays où s’installer.

Cependant, le rapport constate le contenu décevant des lignes directrices du Conseil de fin Juin 2014 et des derniers documents publiés par la Commission : l’Union et ses membres démontrent la complète absence d’une volonté politique réelle qui vise à réaliser les solutions suggérées.

…et les états ?

Encore plus insatisfaisant est le cadre qui résulte des analyses approfondies sur les 15 états concernés par le rapport (Autriche, Belgique, Bulgarie, Chypre, Germany, France, Grèce, Hongrie, Ireland, Italie, Malta, Pays Bas, Pologne, Suède et Royaume Uni). En effet, les Directives européennes, Accueil (Directive 2013/33/EU), Qualification (Directive 2011/95/EU) et Procédures (Directive 2003/32/EU), ainsi que la Directive ‘Retour’ (Directive 2008/115/EC) qui, même si elle rentre dans la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière, a un impact sur les demandeurs d’asile, fournissent des normes minimales qui ne sont pas toujours correctement transposées par les Etats. La marge de manœuvre qui leur est réservée, est parfois assez large, d’où des garanties procédurales, des conditions d’accueil et d’intégration, divergent de pays à pays.

Plus précisément : les procédures d’examen de la demande, administratives ou judiciaires, la présence d’un traducteur, le temps d’attente d’une réponse ; la disponibilité des places dans les centres d’accueil et les conditions de détention ; la qualité de l’assistance judiciaire, le droit à un recours effectif, dans le cas d’un rejet de la demande, sont mieux garanties dans certains pays (Suède, Allemagne) par rapport à d’autres, notamment ceux qui ont subi les coups les plus fort de la crise économique actuelle (Bulgarie, Grèce).

Les dispositions européennes, en outre, permettent aux états membres de renvoyer le demandeur d’asile vers un pays ‘sûr’, selon une liste prévue par la loi nationale (Directive 2003/32/EU art. 36-39). Comme le dénonce ECRE dans son rapport, il est évident que le concept du pays ‘sûr’ se prête à des interprétations subjectives par les états membres.

Des conséquences encore plus graves résultent du traitement des individus plus vulnérables, notamment les mineurs, qui souvent sont soumis aux mêmes traitements que les adultes.

Le rapport consacre Une large partie du rapport est consacrée aux effets négatifs des pratiques divergentes, qui peuvent entraîner de graves violations des droits fondamentaux à l’égard des individus (et en premier lieu le droit d’asile à l’art. 18 de la Charte des Droits Fondamentaux de l’UE), sans qu’il y ait des garanties suffisantes, ni un système efficace de sanction. (pour une vision plus approfondie je vous invite à lire le rapport :voir « pour en savoir plus »).

Recommandations

En conclusion, le rapport démontre que les systèmes d’asile sont très différents entre les Etats membres de l’UE, ce qui remet en cause le caractère ‘Commun’ du CEAS. De plus, il dénonce les graves violations des Droits Fondamentaux des migrants demandeurs d’asile. A la lumière de ce cadre très critique, malgré certaines exceptions, la politique d’asile de l’Union a échoué sur plusieurs aspects. Cependant, compte tenu des Conclusions du Juin 2014 et des réponses opérationnelles sur le terrain, l’UE n’a pas été capable de relancer une stratégie plus effective, cohérente et adéquate aux besoins des individus, notamment une stratégie centrée sur le respect des droits fondamentaux, comme demandent ECRE et ses partenaires.

 Pour appuyer l’ensemble de ces considérations, lors de la conférence, Iliana Savova, Directrice du Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a témoigné de la situation en Bulgarie, où, en réponse à la demande de soutiens européens face aux pressions migratoires aux frontières turques, l’Union a envoyé une opération Frontex, dont le but principale est le contrôle des frontières. C’est seulement dans un deuxième temps, que l’Union a envoyé une mission EASO chargée de la formation et du soutien financier : deux mécanismes qui n’ont pas d’impact direct et immédiat sur la situation d’urgence des individus. De plus, a dénoncé Savova, les fonds ont été investis dans la construction d’un mur qui a bloqué physiquement les entrées, construction à laquelle l’UE n’est pas favorable et a refusé de donner des fonds..

 Malgré l’approche sécuritaire qui semble être privilégiée, Christopher Hein, représentant du Conseil Italien pour les Réfugiés, a voulu démontrer la compatibilité possible avec des objectifs humanitaires. Lors de la conférence ECRE, a souligné la nature militaire de La mission Mare Nostrum, chargé du sauvetage des vies en mer. L’opération italienne a été capable de relancer l’importance du débat politique sur les droits fondamentaux, ce qui pourra avoir une influence sur les prochaines actions de Frontex.

 De surcroît, l’Union Européenne doit tenir compte de la diversité des s différents éléments afin de développer une stratégie plus adéquate et, donc, efficace. En effet, comme démontre le cas chypriote, présenté par Corina Drousiotou du Future Worlds Centre, les exigences du contexte actuel et des éléments historico-politiques spécifiques du pays ne peuvent être négligés.

 Enfin, le rapport AIDA, élément repris lors de la conférence, dénonce le gap entre la valeur déclaratoire des intentions générales et les pratiques réelles des Etats membres de l’Union Européenne. En conséquence, si l’Union veut tenir sa parole et développer une approche véritablement orientée vers le respect des droits fondamentaux, elle devra prendre en compte le résultat de ce rapport : le point de départ des évolutions stratégiques futures résident dans la prise en compte des différents contextes et des situations des Etats membres, ainsi que des limites de la politique d’asile européenne en vigueur.

 

(Elena Sbarai)

 

Pour en savoir plus :

  • Eurostat Statistiques 46/2014 – 24 March 2014 (EN) epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu             Aida Report 2013-2014 (EN) www.asylumineurope.org

 Commission Européenne 5ème Rapport annuel sur l’immigration et l’asile (2013) EN http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/immigration/general/docs/5th_annual_report_on_immigration_and_asylum_en.pdf FR http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/immigration/general/docs/5th_annual_report_on_immigration_and_asylum_fr.pdf

- Site de ECRE http://www.ecre.org/

 

 

 


Classé dans:Conditions d'accueil des réfugiés, IMMIGRATION, Politique d'intégration

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