I wrote a book about asylum policy. A conversation about pull factors, the line between activism and politics, and what he'd bet a case of beer on. You can read the interview here read.
In this episode Moritz Neumeier and Till Reiners invited me as a guest in their podcast „Talk ohne Gast“. I still don't quite understand the principle, but I was very happy about the relaxed conversation, in which you also learn why I once drove through Bavaria dressed as a giant joint. You can watch the video here on Youtube Watch.
Press release on new revelations about breaches of the law by the European Border Agency.
Frontex sends information on sea rescue cases in the Mediterranean via WhatsApp groups and emails directly to the Libyan coast guard. Until now, Frontex also claimed to the European Parliament that they only inform sea rescue control centres about sea rescue cases. This was their justification for not giving coordinates to surrounding ships that could ensure the fastest possible rescue. Research by Lighthouse Report, Libération, Spiegel, ARD Monitor, Domani and Trouw now proves a clear violation of international law by Frontex.
Analysis of 94 incidents in the Mediterranean shows that the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted fugitives at least 56 times, with evidence of Frontex aircraft flying in close proximity in 20 cases. In 12 cases, Frontex spotted the fugitives' boats first. At least 91 people have already died as a result of the Libyan Coast Guard's delayed arrival due to this practice.
During a meeting of the LIBE Committee on 12 September 2019, Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri had still said in response to MEP Erik Marquardt's question on coordination between Frontex and the Libyan Coast Guard:
"However, according to maritime law, we also have the obligation to exchange information with the regional coordination centres, which means that we cannot directly exchange information with other ships, NGO ships and others, because maritime law and international law state that sea rescue operations must be coordinated. For various reasons, otherwise human lives could also be put at risk."
With direct contact to the Libyan Coast Guard, the Agency exercises effective control over sea rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean and itself coordinates what the ECtHR considers illegal returns to Libya.(Fabrice Leggeri on September 12, 2019, at the European Parliament's Home Affairs Committee starting at 3:09 p.m..)
"The research proves: Frontex is breaking international law. Once again, Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has lied to the EU Parliament. Frontex is directly responsible for returning people to inhumane camps in Libya, including accepting deadly operations by the Libyan coast guard. Only last week 130 people on the Mediterranean Sea after two days of neither Libyan nor EU states sending ships to the rescue.
At the moment, we are witnessing an unprecedented complicity between militias, Frontex and the EU states, in which the harshest crimes go unpunished. The Commission pays, Frontex coordinates and Libya drowns and imprisons. Our governments apparently prefer people to die than to reach Europe alive. They could fund a sea rescue mission tomorrow and start infringement proceedings against Frontex. It does not need a new pact on asylum and migration to protect human rights. It needs a European Union that no longer tramples on its own values and rules."
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my press officer Krsto Lazarević.
The Tagesschau reports on the Frontex audit group set up by the European Parliament's Committee on Home Affairs. I am a member of this group and, together with the Members from the other groups, I will be questioning witnesses and experts. I said to the Tagesschau: „It really has been an absurd situation that, in recent months, we have learned more from the newspapers about what is happening at the EU's external borders than from the Frontex border surveillance agency.“
In the ZDF programme Frontal21, a federal police officer who was himself on a mission with Frontex has come clean. He says that illegal refoulement is taking place and that those responsible are aware of this. I also speak in the contribution and demand clarification and, above all, that the border police prevent crimes and do not commit them themselves.
You can watch the show here.
Accusations of fraud, secret lobby meetings, armament and systematic turning a blind eye to human rights violations: I spoke to Zeit Online about the accusations against Frontex.
You can read the interview here.
In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "We can do it." Today, the right to asylum has almost been abolished in the EU. How could this happen? And why couldn't the political left prevent this development? That's what I talked about with the Krautreporters.
You can read the full interview here.
Whether in Bosnia or Greece, the refugee camps often lack the most basic necessities. In NDR's "Redezeit" I talk about how refugees and migrants have to live in deliberately miserable conditions. You can listen to the podcast here, among other places.
20/01 January in the European Parliament
Herewith you get my monthly review, with the following categories: The "News from the Borders" give you an update on the situation at the external borders, "Asylum and migration in Parliament" gives an insight into what is happening in my focus area in Parliament, and "What else is important" takes a look at other topics that are important to me. In addition, there is at the end "Good News".
News from the Borders
Situation in Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina worsens
The situation in the camps at the Greek external borders is getting worse and worse. Repeatedly the new Moria was flooded due to heavy rains, it is cold and strong winds made life in the tents even more difficult. Meanwhile, in Bosnia, thousands of people are trying not to freeze to death in the snow and sub-zero temperatures. The burned down Lipa camp is considered uninhabitable despite new tents.
How the current situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina could come about and what needs to be done now, I have explained in a Post on my homepage and in the current episode of my podcast "Thick Board" discussed.
At least 127 people died trying to reach Europe in January
105 people drowned in the Mediterranean, 22 while trying to reach the Canary Islands from the African mainland. Despite the many deaths, civilian sea rescuers continue to be prevented from doing their work.
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Asylum and migration in Parliament
A Frontex working group of the European Parliament will investigate the scandals surrounding the European border management agency Frontex. As we have been calling for months, the working group will look into the allegations of illegal "pushbacks" against refugees. This is an important step on the road to the rule of law at the European external borders. The serious allegations of human rights violations at the EU's external borders must be clarified. Furthermore Frontex ceases its activities in Hungary. The reason for this is that Hungary continues to illegally deport people to Serbia despite the ECJ ruling and Frontex would thus be complicit in breaking EU law.
Plenary debate on the humanitarian situation at the external borders
In my speech, I drew attention to the EU's complicity in the untenable conditions for refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, having discussed this issue time and time again in the European Parliament, we must now see action. The full plenary debate on the humanitarian situation of refugees can be found here in the European Parliament Media Centre. For the theme you must enter below on the time display between 11:45 and 13:01.
My report on asylum procedures at the EU's external borders
At the first meeting of the Home Affairs Committee this year, a broad majority my own-initiative report on the implementation of asylum procedures at the EU's external borders adopted. This ability to compromise on the part of Parliament leads me to look forward to good cooperation in future negotiations on the dossiers. of the Asylum and Migration Pact hope.
What else is important
European Parliament calls for immediate halt to construction of Nord Stream 2
Following the arrest of the Russian opposition activist Nawalny, the EU Parliament has joined with a large majority in our call for a halt to the construction of Nord Stream 2. The German MEPs in our group voted unanimously against the Baltic Sea pipeline. That Russian natural gas is simply no longer needed in Europe, shows, among other things, this study by the DIW.
European immunisation strategy
Together with other Members, I have co-signed a letter to the Commission and the Council calling for a solidarity-based distribution of vaccines worldwide and, in this context, also pointing out the EU's responsibility towards economically less strong regions. For we can only overcome this pandemic if we combat the virus globally.. You can find the letter on the homepage of my group colleague Reinhard Bütikofer.
Good News of the month
A French baker successfully defends himself against the deportation of his apprentice
With a hunger strike and a wave of solidarity, the French Stéphane Ravacley prevents the deportation of his apprentice to Guinea. Newspapers in this country are also reporting on the case, which is making waves in France.
From now on you can get’s monthly review as a newsletter directly in your mailbox. For this you can subscribe register here.
I have been to the Greek mass camps many times in recent years. In an interview with DIE ZEIT, I talk about why the misery there, as well as the failure of the authorities, is politically deliberate.
You can read the interview here.