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Keeping up with the tradition, please submit banner pictures here.

I look forward to your submissions 😊

The Rules

  • Picture must be made on the European continent;
  • You must adhere to the local laws in your country and the German ones as well (since Feddit.de is hosted there);
  • Only real photos, no AI generated pictures;
  • You must have took the picture and have all rights to it, or it needs to have a licence where usage is possible (e.g. Creative Commons), please indicate it accordingly;
  • No personal identifiable data in the picture. Please blur any licence plates or faces (except when it’s a mass gathering of people e.g. a Christmas market, and the picture shows the Christmas market and not singles out a single person);
  • Please provide a short description where the image was taken and what it shows.
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Hello!

Unfortunately, the previous moderator of c/europe has deleted their account a while ago, leaving c/europe largely unmoderated. We are now looking for someone to take over as moderator for this community.

As c/europe is one of the largest and most active communities on feddit.de, we would like to finde someone who is interested in ensuring that it is properly moderated. If you are interested in taking on this role, please let us know! The purpose of this role is to oversee discussions and prevent the spread of spam and misinformation (though I can assure you that the users in this community are generally polite). You can count on receiving support in resolving reports from the instance admins too, so you are not left alone with this task.

Ideally we are looking for users that are already active in this community, have a calm mind and follow "European values".

If you're interested, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send a direct message.


Finally, we would like to thank the previous moderator of this community, albert180, for your efforts and wish you all the best!


EDIT: @[email protected] will take over the role of lead mod, please respond to their comment if you are interested in supporting them.

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Radosław Sikorski also says he favours deepest possible inclusion of UK in EU defence structures

  • Radosław Sikorski also called for majority voting for EU sanctions as some of them [EU sanctions] "have been delayed by one member state blocking them"

  • Sikorski said Poland backed the right of Ukraine to strike at military targets inside Russia, arguing that the west had to stop constantly limiting itself in what it does to support Ukraine. He said:

“The Russians are hitting the Ukrainian’s electricity grid and their grain terminals and gas storage capacity, civilian infrastructure. The Russian operation is conducted from the HQ at Rostov-on-Don. Apart from not using nuclear weapons, Russia does not limit itself much."

"Always declaring what our own [the EU's] red line is only invites Moscow to tailor its hostile actions to our constantly changing self-imposed limitations.”

  • Poland is spending 4% of its GDP on defence and Sikorski said other countries had catching up to do

  • Sikorski admitted European defence manufacturers still did not feel that the process of rearmament was permanent, and said Vladimir Putin was spending 40% of GDP on defence and would eventually bankrupt his country by making the military so resource hungry

  • Sikorski said that it should be an EU crime to breach EU sanctions and therefore prosecutable by the European prosecution service

  • Sikorski was sceptical about Russian threats to use nuclear weapons, saying:

"The Americans have told the Russians that if you explode a nuke, even if it doesn’t kill anybody, we will hit all your targets [positions] in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we’ll destroy all of them." Adding:

“I think that’s a credible threat. Also, the Chinese and the Indians have read Russia the riot act. And it’s no child’s play because if that taboo were also to be breached, like the taboo of not changing borders by force, China knows that Japan and Korea would go nuclear, and presumably they don’t want that.”

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Romanian prosecutors announced Friday that they had ordered the arrest of a man suspected of spying for Moscow, while the government declared a Russian diplomat persona non grata.

The arrest of a person suspected of spying marks the first of its kind in Romania since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago.

Prosecutors said the arrested man, a Romanian citizen, had "since 2022, been monitoring Romanian or NATO military objectives located near the municipality of Tulcea," a town near the border with Ukraine.

He is suspected of "collecting military information and taking photographs of military combat equipment and the movement of personnel in the border area with Ukraine, which he transmitted to diplomats from the Russian embassy in Bucharest," prosecutors added.

Authorities did not disclose the man's age or identity.

Romania's Foreign Ministry later said a diplomat from the Russian embassy had been declared "persona non grata on the territory of Romania" for activities in breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The ministry said it had summoned the Russian charge d'affaires to notify the latter of the decision.

[Edit typo.]

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Regional countries have agreed to create a “drone wall” to protect their external borders using unmanned aerial vehicles, Lithuanian Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė has said.

She made the remarks after a meeting on Friday in Latvia with her counterparts from the other two Baltic states, Poland, Finland, and Norway.

“This is a completely new thing – a drone wall stretching from Norway to Poland – and the goal is to use drones and other technologies to protect our borders [...] against provocations from unfriendly countries and to prevent smuggling,” Bilotaitė told BNS.

To create such a “drone wall”, countries would use UAVs to monitor their border area, as well as anti-drone systems to stop drones from hostile countries being used for smuggling and provocations.

According to Bilotaitė, Lithuania has already made plans to step up the protection of its border with the help of drones. Lithuania’s State Border Guard Service has recently established a UAV unit and is in the process of acquiring additional drones and anti-drone systems, she stressed.

Now, the countries will assess what “homework” they need to do and then, with the help of experts, national authorities will draw up a plan to implement the “drone wall”.

The Lithuanian minister could not say when the idea would be implemented but noted that the “drone wall” could be created using EU funds.

The ministers also agreed to organise joint evacuation drills in the countries involved, Bilotaitė said.

“We agreed to hold regional drills to ensure the evacuation of the population, to see how our institutions are prepared to work, to interact with each other, what our capacity is to accommodate people, what the capacity of other countries is, whether they are ready to receive a certain number of our people,” the interior minister said.

“We still have a lot of questions; we need to look at all those algorithms. Drills would be very valuable as we would look at things, evaluate them and we would strengthen our preparedness,” she added.

Lithuania’s preparedness is currently being assessed by an EU evacuation mission, which is expected to make its recommendations in June.

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Corbyn, who led Labour between 2015 and 2019, was initially expelled from the party and had the whip withdrawn in April 2020, under the leadership of his erstwhile ally Keir Starmer.

The expulsion came after Corbyn said that claims of antisemitism during his time as a leader had been "overstated" for political reasons, in response to an investigation into his handling of the issue.

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- Chinese dissidents living in the EU fear that the People's Republic of China may abuse this agreement - Use of Chinese technology companies could complicate Hungary's relations with NATO

The investigative portal VSquare reports that in accordance with the agreement between China and Hungary, surveillance cameras with facial recognition software will be installed in the European country. The website claims that using this technology could complicate Hungary's relations with NATO allies.

At the beginning of March, the media reported on the agreement between the ministries of interior affairs Hungarian and China, which allows Chinese police patrols in Hungary. The government in Budapest then announced that the aim of the cooperation was to improve safety in places visited by tourists from the People's Republic of China.

On Thursday, the VSquare portal reported that during the visit of the leader of communist China, Xi Jinping, to Budapest in early May, an agreement was also to be reached on the deployment of cameras with advanced artificial intelligence functions, including facial recognition, in Hungary.

Use of technology 'may complicate Hungary's relations with NATO allies'

“Even if the equipment is allegedly intended to monitor Chinese investments, institutions and personnel, the potential involvement of Chinese technology companies, some of which have ties to the People's Liberation Army or Chinese intelligence and are subject to Western sanctions, could complicate Hungary's relations with NATO allies.” writes VSquare.

“Chinese dissidents living in the EU fear that the People's Republic of China may abuse this agreement,” the portal adds. According to the German daily “Die Welt”, which reported in March about possible Chinese police patrols in Hungary, Beijing wants to control its citizens around the world, now gaining access to dissidents in one of the EU countries.

Hungary has the best relations with China among all EU countries; these were tightened during Xi's last visit. China is investing billions of euros in the electric car sector in Hungary and also expects the country to influence other EU countries in terms of policy towards the People's Republic of China.

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cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ml/post/15968878

‘Let yourself be monitored’: EU governments to agree on Chat Control with user “consent” [updated]

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The Bulgarian prosecutor’s office has filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down two pro-Russian paramilitary groups that have been particularly active on social media, with calls to change the country’s constitutional order.

The two groups are working against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the nation and towards the incitement of ethnic or religious enmity,” the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

Both the Bulgarian National Movement “Shipka” and the Bulgarian Military Union “Vasil Levski” are registered in Varna, Bulgaria’s largest city on the Black Sea coast, just 300 kilometres from Ukraine.

The Bulgarian media first raised the alarm about the activities of both organisations in their investigations, as did the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. So far, the prosecutor’s office has ignored calls to intervene and demand the banning of the paramilitary groups, which openly boasted of preparing armed self-defence units and threatened to revise the country’s constitutional structure.

Now, however, investigating authorities have found that the leaders of the two associations had contacts with representatives of groups in Germany known for their far-right views, prosecutors said, without naming the German extremists.

Euractiv Bulgaria requested additional information from the prosecutor’s office about the German links of the Bulgarian paramilitary groups, but no response had been provided by the time of publication.

Pro-Russian organisations registered in Bulgaria have used calls for religious and ethnic hatred in their propaganda, as well as calls for action against foreign citizens and representatives of different ethnicities and religions.

“The investigation has gathered evidence that the associations have organised training sessions for their sympathisers to acquire certain combat skills. It was also found that organised visits were made to the border with Turkey in order to catch illegal migrants,” the prosecutor’s office said.

These groups attracted the attention of some independent Bulgarian media in the spring of 2016, when they announced the launch of Operation Liberation of Bulgaria and presented themselves as the “transitional common Bulgarian people’s government”.

Even then, the organisations’ websites publicly announced that they were discussing the creation of paramilitary structures, including their own “detachments, platoons, companies and battalions”.

Vladimir Rusev led Operation Liberation and introduced himself as Walther Kalashnikov, a combination of the German Walther pistol and the Russian AK-47 (Kalashnikov).

Rusev claimed to be a lieutenant colonel, but he only reached the rank of sergeant major in the Bulgarian army.

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“There are certain sectors and areas where we could do a bit better,” Vilmantas Vitkauskas, head of Lithuania’s National Crisis Management Centre (NKVC), told LRT Radio.

Officials analysed the crisis preparedness of 14 hospitals in Lithuania’s ten largest cities and towns a few months ago. Half of them were rated positively in terms of emergency preparedness, and the other half as satisfactory, according to Vitkauskas.

“There is no negative assessment, and we can be pleased that the minimum requirement to ensure the institution’s operation for up to 30 days is met,” he said.

The NKVC head noted, however, that ideally, hospitals should be ready to operate for up to 90 days in emergency situations, which is where the inspected establishments faced issues.

The official said the problems were related not only to shortages of medication or personal protective equipment but also, for example, to ensuring food supply.

“Certain establishments have decentralised food supply, so there is a very high dependence on food supply chains,” he said.

The inspections revealed inconsistencies in the hospitals’ preparedness for autonomous electricity supply.

“Every hospital I mentioned has generators, but some have only one and some have twelve. So, this difference exists,” Vitkauskas said.

According to him, the Health Ministry has shared the inspection findings with each hospital and plans have been made to remedy the shortcomings.

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The EU prides itself on its worldwide norm-setting influence in the fields of data protection and artificial intelligence regulation. Still, it is not always for the best when it comes to digital state surveillance, write Chloé Berthélémy and Viktoria Tomova from European Digital Rights (EDRi), an association of civil and human rights organisations from across Europe.

Privacy is safety, they argue. "As we approach the European elections in June, it’s time to discuss the EU's role in shaping how technologies are developed and used."

In March, highly sensitive military information was leaked on Russian TV. The German Air Force had used poorly secured communication software, which resulted in Russia’s interception of their top-secret conversations.

This was the German Taurus leak — a real-life drama that underscored the importance of encrypted, secure communications for everyone’s safety, including governments.

But here’s the kicker: while we’re still reeling from security fiascoes like this one or the recent Pegasus spyware scandal, police chiefs in the European Union are pushing a policing agenda that puts us all in the cross-hairs.

Privacy is safety. As we approach the European elections in June, it’s time to discuss the EU’s role in shaping how technologies are developed and used.

The EU prides itself on its worldwide norm-setting influence in the fields of data protection and artificial intelligence regulation. Still, it is not always for the best when it comes to digital state surveillance.

Over the past five years, we’ve seen a concerning trend in the EU’s digital policy playground. Some EU bodies have been pushing for tech solutions that enable some very worrying policing practices, like monitoring all private communications or criminalising the use of encryption, as part of a wider objective of increasing prosecution and imprisonment to silence activists and NGOs.

For example, on 21 April, 32 European police chiefs issued a statement under the aegis of Europol (the EU’s police agency), calling upon the technology industry to stop rolling out end-to-end encryption and to build backdoors in their systems so that companies and law enforcement can gain access to data and monitor communications.

This technosolutionist trend is like a bad dance partner, stepping on the toes of people’s fundamental rights. But these are not the only dodgy dance moves we have seen.

The EU has implemented this tech-powered security agenda in ways that limit civil society participation, favour the surveillance industry and jeopardise digital safety.

DG HOME’s very selective listening

One of the main characters in this story is the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, or DG HOME.

DG HOME has a worrying track record of pushing an agenda that suggests the only way to achieve security is through surveillance and control. In their quest to tackle the big bad wolves of cybercrime, cross-border crime, and terrorism, DG HOME has thrown caution to the wind. Transparency, accountability, and democratic participation? Sacrificed for a facade of security. The proof is in the pudding, as shown by their handling of the Child Sexual Abuse Regulation (CSAR).

Our hands-on experience on the chat control proposal has revealed evidence of how DG HOME has wrongly framed tech policing as the ultimate solution to complex societal issues such as children’s safety.

In attempting to legalise mass surveillance and expand policing powers in the EU, DG HOME trampled many of the EU’s primary democratic standards. As the directorate general tasked with the CSAR proposal, DG HOME was responsible for conducting a transparent and inclusive consultation process to ensure all stakeholders’ views and concerns were heard.

Evidence shows that DG HOME prioritised meetings with Big Tech companies instead, notably Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple, Meta/WhatsApp, TikTok, and Snap.

And tech surveillance industry actors like Thorn, a US company specialising in AI tools for online child sexual abuse image detection. This close collaboration continued for months after the CSAR proposal’s publication. For example, DG HOME repeatedly facilitated Thorn’s access to crucial decision-making venues attended by ministers of EU member states.

Ill-suited proposals and a lack of real solutions

While making space for the industry, not once in this period did DG HOME respond to calls from digital rights organisations located meters away from their offices in Brussels, asking to explore social and human interventions as part of a holistic rather than tech-centric approach to the issue of child sexual abuse online.

DG HOME and the European Commissioner in charge of home affairs and leading on the chat control proposal, Ylva Johansson, not only refused to meet with data protection organisations but also openly misled the public about having consulted these groups in an attempt to legitimise their actions.

This is alarming, as DG HOME’s actions have skewed the debate around the CSAR into a one-sided discussion, sidelining organisations critical of the proposal. By excluding dissent from the political space, DG HOME disregards essential human rights like privacy. It fails to account for the complex societal nature of child sexual abuse, resulting in an ill-suited and likely unlawful proposal that does not offer a real solution.

An accompanying journalistic investigation revealed that Europol sought unrestricted access to data from the CSAR’s mass scanning system, with no objections or privacy concerns raised by DG HOME. The EU Ombudsman is now investigating this clear conflict of interest, which involves former Europol officials lobbying for Thorn and its potential risk to civil rights.

Why is the door repeatedly slammed in our faces?

DG HOME’s choice to exclude civil society voices advocating for sustainable measures over blanket surveillance of children and adults alike and to prioritise the interests of the surveillance tech industry and law enforcement is a telling indicator of the directorate’s policing-driven agenda.

Considering that digitalisation and tech innovation are on the high priority list for the June 2024 EU elections agenda, policymakers must engage in a transparent and democratically-run debate on what security means, for whom, and how it can be achieved.

We need stricter rules on corporate lobbying, particularly for groups like Thorn, who abuse the NGO arm of their organisation to obfuscate their for-profit work. We also need a fair and transparent participation process in the legislative cycle on digital policy that ensures a formal seat for civil society groups at the table.

EU countries’ governments must also ensure that the next European Commissioner for Home Affairs has an understanding of human rights and the rule of law. When proposing technological solutions, the European Commission must ensure that the lead staff has expertise in data protection, privacy, technology and internet regulation.

The EU must end its shadowy games with the industry, engage in meaningful transparency and respect our fundamental rights.

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The European Uyghur Institute (IODE) said that acts of intimidation stepped up during the visit to France earlier this month of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing is behind “acts of intimidation, harassment and repeated threats towards members of the Uyghur diaspora in France, as well as towards people backing the Uyghurs’ cause,” it said in a statement.

Such acts are “multiplying and growing more systematic at a worrying speed,” it added.

The IODE said that “international repression intensified at the time of President Xi Jinping’s official visit to France” in early May.

Xi’s trip to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations with Paris saw him welcomed by President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace and treated to a traditional meal in the Pyrennées mountains.

Macron and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen sought to talk Xi down from his close partnership with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, knitted tighter since Moscow’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The IODE cited specific allegations of Chinese harassment, including disruption of a theatre performance it staged on 5 May as Xi was in Paris.

“Organisers were intimidated by different groups suspected of being orchestrated by Chinese security services,” it said.

It added that on 8 May, Gulbahar Jalilova, a “refugee in Paris since October 2020” was targeted for intimidation or even kidnapping “by Chinese agents” outside her apartment building.

The IODE included photographs of the incident involving Jalilova, a former inmate of a Chinese detention camp.

There are “enormous impacts of these practices on the physical and mental health of members of the Uyghur community in France,” it said.

Newspaper Le Monde reported this week that France’s DGSI internal security service and the Paris police had identified “Chinese state agents belonging to the security services in… a failed ‘intimidation action’ on 8 May against a political refugee of Uyghur background”.

China’s Paris embassy on Wednesday blasted the report as “fake news”, “riddled with errors” and “obvious falsifications” in a post on its website.

The largely Sunni Muslim Uyghurs make up the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang province in northwest China.

Bloody attacks blamed on Islamists and separatists have long plagued the region.

Since 2017, more than one million Uyghurs and members of other mostly Muslim ethnic groups have been held in “reeducation camps” inflicting widespread human rights violations, according to investigations and Western aid groups.

China describes some of the camps as “vocational training centres”.

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It didn't take Russia's misinformation machine long to settle on who was to blame for the first assassination attempt on a European national leader in more than two decades.

When Slovakia's prime minister was shot five times on May 15, pro-Kremlin propaganda blamed Ukraine even before the authorities released any details about the gunman.

At first glance the attack seemed to be a setback for the Kremlin. Robert Fico, who remains hospitalized, is one of a handful of pro-Russian European Union leaders, and he opposed military aid to Ukraine.

But in the through-the-looking-glass world of disinformation, no news is bad news. That’s why pro-Russian social media channels, influencers and state media have seized on the shooting, suggesting that Fico was a victim because of his sympathies toward the Kremlin.

The Cyber Army of Russia Reborn, a hacking and disinformation group that frequently pushes Kremlin narratives, has circulated messages on the Telegram social media app suggesting that the 71-year-old suspect was a member of Progressive Slovakia, a pro-EU party that supports Ukraine. Local authorities have debunked the allegation.

Even so, the misinformation quickly spread on posts on X and Reddit, where anonymous accounts flooded Fico-themed discussions with speculation that the shooter was somehow affiliated with pro-Ukrainian forces. There’s no evidence of a such a link. Slovakian officials have called the shooting politically motivated and are investigating whether the attacker was part of a larger group.

One Telegram post compared the failed assassination to the 1914 killing of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand that sparked World War I, the kind of veiled rhetoric that alludes to an imminent global conflict.

“Their main objective is to weaken support by creating so many domestic problems that we divide ourselves,” says Bilyana Lilly, cyber chair at the Warsaw Security Forum and the author of the book Russian Information Warfare. “We’ve removed all the levers to stop them from doing this in any way.”

The Cyber Army of Russia Reborn, which has more than 49,000 followers on Telegram, tries to boost its believability by circulating articles from websites that impersonate legitimate news outlets. It took credit for targeting water facilities in the US this year and may have ties to Russian military intelligence, Madiant Intelligence said in April.

The Cyber Army of Russia Reborn couldn’t be reached for comment.

In one example, it linked to a site that mimicked Britain's Telegraph, using a URL only slightly different from the newspaper’s website. Masquerading as local news websites fits within a history of propagandists trying to capitalize on the credibility of legitimate media organizations. Earlier this year, Russian media promoted a deepfake in which a journalist from France 24 seemed to announce that Emmanuel Macron postponed a trip to Ukraine because of an assassination attempt.

The Cyber Army of Russia Reborn also publicized posts from a pro-Russian hacking group, NoName, that called for cyberattacks against Slovakia’s pro-European parties.

Russian state media, meanwhile, have taken a complementary approach. A Sputnik Media article billed as an investigation said Western media, foreign non-governmental organizations and the US Agency for International Development were responsible for “turning up the political temperature” in Slovakia prior to the shooting.

That rhetoric matches that of some of Fico’s political allies, who have blamed the opposition and liberal media. Andrej Danko, the leader of the Slovak National Party that governs in coalition with Fico, last week vowed “to start a political war.”

As with any misinformation or political propaganda, the material effects of Russia’s Fico rhetoric are impossible to measure. Instead, the messaging points to the Kremlin’s commitment to creating even small cracks in international public opinion in a way that could weaken resolve to support Ukraine as a new offensive by President Vladimir Putin’s troops is gaining ground.

Kevin Mandia, founder of the threat intelligence firm Mandiant, announced that he’s stepping down as chief executive officer of the company nearly two years after it was acquired by Google.

Mandia, a former member of the US Air Force, built Mandiant into a leading cyber firm that’s helped clean up breaches at companies including Sony Pictures after North Korea hacked it in 2014. Mandiant researchers also have led the effort among security vendors to report on foreign nation-state cyber-espionage that target US firms. In its latest installment, the company published new details on Wednesday about pro-Chinese hacking.

Mandia has also been active in the cybersecurity venture capital market as the co-founder of Ballistic Ventures. He’ll transition to an advisory role at Google in the coming weeks, he said in an internal memo.

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Europe supports, finances and is directly involved in these clandestine operations in North African countries to dump tens of thousands of Black people in the desert or remote areas each year to prevent them from coming to the EU.

An investigation reveals that in Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia, refugees and migrant workers, some of whom were on their way towards Europe, as well as people who had legal status and established livelihoods in these countries, are apprehended based on the colour of their skin, loaded onto buses and driven to the middle of nowhere, often arid desert areas.

There, they are left without any assistance, water or food, leaving them at risk of kidnapping, extortion, torture, sexual violence, and, in the worst instances, death. Others are taken to border areas where they are reportedly sold by the authorities to human traffickers and gangs who torture them for ransom.

Funds for these desert dumps have been paid under the guise of “migration management” with the EU claiming that the money doesn’t support human rights abuses against sub-Saharan African communities in North Africa. Brussels claims publicly that it closely monitors how this money is spent. But the reality is different.

In a year-long investigation with the Washington Post, Enass, Der Spiegel, El Pais, IrpiMedia, ARD, Inkyfada and Le Monde, we reveal that Europe knowingly funds, and in some instances is directly involved in systematic racial profiling detention and expulsion of Black communities across at least three North African countries.

Our findings show that in Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia, refugees and migrant workers, some of whom were on their way towards Europe, as well as people who had legal status and established livelihoods in these countries, are apprehended based on the colour of their skin, loaded onto buses and driven to the middle of nowhere, often arid desert areas.

There, they are left without any assistance, water or food, leaving them at risk of kidnapping, extortion, torture, sexual violence, and, in the worst instances, death. Others are taken to border areas where they are reportedly sold by the authorities to human traffickers and gangs who torture them for ransom.

This investigation amounts to the most comprehensive attempt yet to document European knowledge and involvement with anti-migrant, racially motivated operations in North Africa. It exposes how not only has this system of mass displacement and abuse been known about in Brussels for years, but that it is run thanks to money, vehicles, equipment, intelligence and security forces provided by the EU and European countries.

Methods

The team interviewed more than 50 survivors of these expulsions across Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – all of whom were from Sub-Saharan or West African countries – which helped us to recognise the systematic and racially-motivated nature of the practices. Some survivors supplied visual material and/or location data from their journey, which we were able to geolocate to support their accounts and map out what happened.

The team interviewed more than 50 survivors of these expulsions across Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – all of whom were from Sub-Saharan or West African countries – which helped us to recognise the systematic and racially-motivated nature of the practices. Some survivors supplied visual material and/or location data from their journey, which we were able to geolocate to support their accounts and map out what happened.

As well as visual material supplied by survivors, we used open source methods to find videos posted on social media purporting to show dumps taking place. We sought to geolocate and verify these cases. In the case of Tunisia, we were able to verify 13 incidents that occurred between July 2023 and May 2024 in which groups of Black people were rounded up in cities or at ports and driven many miles away, usually close to the Libyan or Algerian borders, and dumped, as well as one incident of a group being handed over to Libyan security forces and then incarcerated in a detention centre.

Where visual evidence of the operations wasn’t available online, we documented it through ground reporting. In Morocco we followed the paramilitaries of the Auxiliary Forces and filmed them picking up Black people from the streets three times over three days in the capital, Rabat. We also filmed people being detained in local government buildings before being loaded onto unmarked buses and taken to remote areas.

In Mauritania we used similar techniques by observing a detention centre in the capital Nouakchott. We witnessed and filmed refugees and migrants being brought to the centre in a large truck and Spanish police officers entering the detention centre on a regular basis. We filmed a white bus with migrants in it leaving the detention centre towards the border with Mali, an active warzone.

By speaking with current and former EU staff members, as well as sources within national police forces and international organisations with a presence in the countries where the dumps are taking place, we established that the EU is well aware of the dump operations and sometimes directly involved.

European officials have expressed concern over escalating operations in the region against sub-Saharan African migrants, and consistently denied that funds are being used to violate basic rights. But two senior EU sources said it was “impossible” to fully account for the way in which European funding was ultimately used.

One consultant who worked on projects funded by the EU Trust Fund, under which the EU has given Tunisia, Mauritania and Morocco more than €400m for migration management in recent years, said of the aims of the fund: “You have to make migrants’ lives difficult. Complicate their lives. If you leave a migrant from Guinea in the Sahara [in Morocco] twice, the third time he will ask you to voluntarily bring him back home.”

Using freedom of information laws, we were able to obtain a number of internal documents, including one from the EU’s border agency Frontex from earlier this year stating that Morocco was racially profiling and forcibly relocating mainly Black migrants. We also unearthed hard-to-find publicly available documents showing that EU officials have held internal discussions on some of the abusive practices since at least 2019. They also revealed that the EU is directly funding the Moroccan paramilitary auxiliary forces, who we filmed rounding up people with black skin in the capital.

Crucially, we were able to match vehicles used during the round-up and expulsions to vehicles provided by European countries by identifying tenders and carrying out visual analyses. For example in Tunisia, the Nissan vehicles we observed being used by the National Police in raids to arrest migrants before they are driven to desert areas match in make and model with those donated to Tunisia by Italy and Germany.

We also spoke with analysts and academics who told us the European funding links make the EU accountable for these abuses. “The fact is that European countries do not want to get their hands dirty,” said Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche, a law professor at the University of Lyon and a specialist in human rights and migration. “They don’t want to be held responsible for human rights violations and outsource them to others. I believe that, under international law, they are indeed responsible.”

Storylines

Timothy Hucks, a 33-year-old US citizen, was arrested by plainclothes officers a few metres from his home in Rabat in 2019. He recalls how he showed his American driver’s licence and offered to get his passport from his flat, but the officer handcuffed him and shoved him into the back of a white van.

Hucks, who now lives in Spain, recalls being taken to a police station where around 40 Black men were crammed together in a dirty room with broken toilets. The security forces took his fingerprints and a photo of him. They asked questions that sounded like accusations: was he a terrorist? A member of Boko Haram? “It’s difficult to describe how angry I was at that moment,” says Hucks. He was then transported along with the other men to a town about 200km south of Rabat, and abandoned. Eventually, he found a bus to take him back to Rabat.

In another case, Idiatou, a Guinea woman in her twenties, told how she was intercepted at sea while trying to reach the Canary Islands from Mauritania. She was taken to a detention centre in the capital Nouakchott, where Spanish police officers took her photograph before she was forced in a white bus towards the border with Mali. There, in the middle of nowhere, she and 29 other people were sent away. “The Mauritanians chased us like animals,” she recalls. “I was afraid that someone would rape me.” After four days of walking she managed to reach a village and found a driver who took her to a relative in Senegal.

Further east in Tunisia, François, a 38-year-old Cameroonian national, describes how he was intercepted at sea by the Tunisian National Maritime Guard while trying to reach Italy on an overcrowded boat. He was then boarded onto buses with dozens of other sub-Saharan Africans and taken to the desert area near the Algerian border. He was able to hide his phone so it wasn’t confiscated by the police, and he provided us with GPS data and photographs from the journey, enabling us to verify his account.

At the Algerian border, François and the group of around 30 people were abandoned by the Tunisian security forces and ordered to walk towards Algeria. Facing warning shots from the Algerian side, they decided to head back to Tunisia. “There were two pregnant women in the group and a child with a heel infection […] We were thirsty. We began to suffer hallucinations,” he recalls. They walked for nine days, more than 40 kilometres, before finally finding transport to take them back to the Tunisian city of Sfax.

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