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Statewatch Observatory (January-September 2015)
EU refugee crisis - a humanitarian emergency
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This Observatory covers the arrival of refugee and migrants, the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities) Edited by Tony Bunyan. See: "We are ashamed" Statement on Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully"
September 2015

EU: "SAFE" COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (LIMITE doc no: 12414 , pdf):

EU common list of safe countries of origin referred to in Article 2:

Albania,
Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Kosovo**,
Montenegro,
Serbia,
Turkey.

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, comments on the inclusion of Turkey and necessary safeguards::

"It would be designated 'safe' for Kurdish people who have Turkish citizenship; obviously there are Kurdish people from other countries, including those with Syrian and Iraqi citizenship some of whom would be refugees (but not recognised as such in Turkey). Those who do not have Turkish citizenship would not be covered by the Regulation, since it only designates a country as a safe country of origin, ie for nationals of that state. The presumption is rebuttable but as points out in the blog post " ‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know", it can be very hard to rebut.

In my view the proposal, to be acceptable at all: cannot apply to Turkey; must include strict safeguards to ensure that those who have a genuine claim have an effective chance to rebut the presumption of safety; and should prevent Member States from abusing the notion of a 'safe country of origin', or other forms of 'safe country' concepts, in their national law. (See blog post: "Safe countries of origin': Assessing the new proposal)"

EU: European Parliament study: The European legal framework on hate speech, blasphemy and its interaction with freedom of expression (446 pages, pdf):

"this study provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime on the one hand and to blasphemy and religious insult on the other hand. It also evaluates the effectiveness of existing legislation in selected Member States and explores opportunities to strengthen the current EU legal framework, whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The study also provides the European Parliament with guidelines on dealing with hate speech within the EU institutions."

Eastern Mediterranean - Western Balkans route conference, 08/10/2015:

"This conference will focus on the increased migratory flows coming from the Middle East and on the importance of the Western Balkan route.

Ministers for home affairs and ministers for foreign affairs will meet with their counterparts from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo). The associated countries, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are also invited.

Representatives from UNHCR, International Organisation for Migration, World Food Program, and EU agencies Frontex and EASO will present the situation on the ground."

News (30.9.15)

Italy: Migrant camp cleared at Ventimiglia - No border protestor camp also targeted in dawn operation (ANSA, link): " Genoa, September 30 - Police cleared a migrant camp in a pine wood at the city of Ventimiglia on the French border in a dawn operation on Wednesday. They also dismantled a camp put up by no border protestors. The camps with be knocked down with bulldozers"

Czech Republic: Opposition: gov't should keep fighting refugee quotas (Prague Monitor, link): "he Czech centre-left government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) should keep fighting the refugee quotas, the opposition Communist Party (KSCM) and Civic Democratic Party (ODS) told journalists before a lower house session yesterday."

The Latest: Overcrowding in refugee housing now an issue (AP, story, link): "Authorities in some parts of Germany have waived housing standards to cope with an unprecedented influx of migrants this year."

Polish extreme right bares its teeth (euractiv, link): "Polish far-right organized demonstrations on Saturday (26 September), against the background of the refugee crisis. They succeeded in holding demonstrations in several big cities, but turnout was low."

Germany: Different origin means different chance of success for asylum seekers in Germany - The chance of getting political asylum in Germany also depends on the country you're from. For the authorities, asylum seekers come from three types of countries. (DW, link)

Surprising Greens stance on the refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "The German Greens have added their voice to the debate on the refugee crisis. Some unexpected approaches have been discussed. EurActiv's partner Tagesspiegel reports.."

Migrant tent city springs up at Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Relief agencies have set up a tent city at Greece's border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to cope with the growing number of migrants and refugees trying to reach central Europe."

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: At the Weekly meeting of the Commission on 23 September 2015: Management of the refugee crisis: Commission shows the way forward (link) it was agreed that:

- "Restore the normal situation and reinstate Dublin transfers to Greece within six months
- Establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard and extension of the Frontex mandate (December 2015)
-  Legal migration package including revision of Blue Card (March 2016)
- Further reform of the Dublin Regulation (March 2016)
-  Proposal for a structured system on resettlement (March 2016)"

EU Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med: EU agrees to start the active phase of the operation against human smugglers and to rename it "Operation Sophia" (pdf):

"The EU naval operation against human smugglers in the Mediterranean will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.

The Political and Security Committee also agreed that EUNAVFOR Med should be renamed "Sophia" after the name given to the baby born on the ship of the operation which rescued her mother on 22 August 2015 off the coast of Libya."

22 member states are involved in the Sophia operation - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

See also: European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean: Update: September 2015 (pdf)

HUNGARY: The right of asylum has practically vanished in Hungary – Pardavi (budapestbeacon.com, link):

"The right of asylum in Hungary has practically vanished because the refugees do not receive adequate care, applications for asylum are not fairly evaluated and very few receive refugee status, Hungarian Helsinki Committee co-chair Márta Pardavi says in her assessment of the status of refugees in Hungary. By continuously taking alarming political steps, Hungary will soon find itself in the same role as Greece, with one European court after another ruling that it is not a safe place to which to return refugees, says Pardavi, adding that if Hungary continues to visibly withdraw from every common European Union initiative to handle the refugee crisis, it will dig itself deeper in this game of denial."

And see Helsinki Committee: NO COUNTRY FOR REFUGEES – New asylum rules deny protection to refugees and lead to unprecedented human rights violations in Hungary (pdf) and The Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s opinion on the Governments amendments to criminal law related to the sealed border (pdf)

REFUGEE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Spreading Anti-Migrant Sentiment is Endangering Lives, IOM’s Swing Warns World Leaders (IOM link):

"United Nations – At the opening of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing warned that growing anti-migration sentiment in Europe is unnecessarily endangering the lives of migrants, while ignoring the overall benefits that migration has historically provided to the world..... Swing called on them to ensure that migration is governed in a responsible and humane fashion. One in seven people on the planet is a migrant – one billion in total – and billions more are impacted by migration daily. “Migrants cannot remain just a number to be counted,” said IOM’s Director General. “Governments must ensure that migrants’ rights are truly protected once and for all. This General Assembly, in its historic 70th year, presents world leaders with the opportunity to acknowledge that migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable.”

‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) by Frances Webber:

"Through the mechanisms it is setting up for the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece, the EU is trying to regain control of refugee movement in the EU. The tough screening process it is setting up at points of entry into the EU seems designed as a crude instrument to separate out a minority of ‘good’ refugees from what EU ministers want to convince us are a majority of ‘bad’ economic migrants, and to dispatch the latter rapidly and efficiently. But life is not that simple, and the hotspots’ screening procedures could result in large numbers of people being returned to unsafe or unviable situations without proper consideration of their claims....

Frontex’s removal remit covers not just those whose claims are exhausted and so have no claim to remain on the territory, but also those who have not claimed protection. Does this mean that Frontex officials have a roaming mandate to go around Italy and Greece rounding up all those who have not registered a claim for asylum? The opportunity to claim international protection should be available at any time, up to the point of removal; but how will this right be guaranteed?

Without clear and robust safeguards in place, the EU's relocation package could turn out to be a figleaf for a quiet but massive removal operation against, rather than a protection operation for, those arriving on Europe's shores."

News (29.9.15)

Lesvos Refugee Project - donate via Paypal (link): "Our Mission: Provide needed goods for refugees arriving on the island of Lesvos, particularly in the area of Molyvos and Sykaminia and Make the challenge lighter for those helping during this time of humanitarian crisis."

Greece: Island coast guards, port authorities to meet with minister over refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "epresentative of the coast guard and port authorities of the Greek islands on the country’s eastern sea border that are struggling with a dramatic spike in the number of migrants and refugees trying to get into the European Union from Turkey, are expected to meet on Tuesday with Shipping and Island Policy Minister Theodoros Dritsas.... Speaking to AMNA, officers were critical of a decision in 2012 to construct a fence on Greece’s northern land border with Turkey, saying that the barricade diverted inflows to the islands, putting the lives of migrants at risk"

Bulgaria grateful to Turkey for stopping the migrants from entering the EU (standartnews.com, link): "President Plevneliev said that the two countries are preparing jointly special mechanisms for control at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. A case in point is an agreement for the setting up of a police and custom cooperation centre between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece."

Refugee crisis fears 'helped Freedom Party' (The Local.at, link): "After state elections in Upper Austria resulted in huge gains for the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and major losses for the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), regional governor Josef Pühringer has said he will be holding talks with all parties to discuss the options before forming a new coalition.The ÖVP and the Greens have lost their majority, and an ÖVP/FPÖ or ÖVP/SPÖ coalition look most likely."

Mediterranean Western Balkans Update - New Numbers from Italy, Greece, the FYROM (IOM, link): "IOM estimates that some 522,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea since the beginning of the year. Of those, 388,324 have landed in Greece and 130,891 have reached Italian shores after being rescued on the high seas in the Channel of Sicily, including 2,349 rescued since IOM’s last report released Friday, 25 September.".[emphasais added].

Migrants face growing numbers of challenges (euronews, link) and Migrants-face-growing-numbers-of-challenges (Newsweek, link)

Balkan migrant returnees face tough times (DW, link): "Serbian migrants who have tried to apply for asylum in Germany are being sent back following Berlin's decision to declare Serbia a country of safe origin. Lidija Tomic visited a collective center for returnees in Sabac."

Slovenia, Hungary to Patrol Borders Together to Tackle Refugee Influx (laht.com, link): "Slovenia and Hungary agreed on Monday to form joint patrols along the border between the two countries and follow the rules of the Schengen area of free movement to tackle the arrival of thousands of refugees trying to reach wealthy countries in Europe. The agreement and future cooperation on migration and refugees were discussed at a meeting of interior ministers Vesna Gyorkos Znidar of Slovenia, and Sandor Pinter of Hungary in the Slovenian border town of Dolga Vas, according to the news agency STA. The Slovenian minister said the fact that Hungary has removed the barbed wire placed on the border proves that “both countries advocate the respect of the Schengen rules and the EU.”"

MISSING MIGRANTS PROJECT: Half a Million Migrants Cross Mediterranean, While Almost 3,000 Die So Far in 2015 (link): " record half a million migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far in 2015, many of them women and children fleeing war in Syria and seeking asylum in the European Union, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today. Tragically almost 3,000 migrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty perished in these journeys, most from drowning after their flimsy craft succumbed to the waves."

Lesvos: Report: (Facebok link: philippa.kempson, link) "We have been surrounded by the worlds press all summer and the majority have been very special people, many have become friends and while they were here also became valued help and even part of the group. They still took amazing photos but they had a huge amount of humanity. In the last week it has become horrible!! And sadly the Greek photo journalists that are here now should be ashamed of them selves. They are behaving like vultures!! the volunteers can not reach the children in the boats without being barged out of the way by this scum. When confronted they become aggressive and threatening to the extent that today we had to call the police. We have had many wonderful journalist here from Greece and the world but this "disaster paparazzi" should be ashamed!!!!"

Dispatches: As Flows in Aegean Sea Increase, So Do Deaths (HRW, link): "As the number of people crossing the Aegean Sea has increased dramatically, so too have the deaths. Last Friday, the International Organization for Migration said 227 women, men, and children have died in the Aegean Sea since the beginning of the year, a significant jump from 73 people missing or dead recorded last year. Europe has focused for too long on securing borders and limiting arrivals instead of establishing more safe and legal channels for people to seek asylum or find refuge in the EU without resorting to dangerous routes and unscrupulous smugglers."

How Spain halted the flow of migrants from Mauritania to the Canary Islands - Economic aid, diplomacy and joint police action have helped stop the people traffickers (El Pais, link): "In 2008, 108 rickety boats reached the Canaries from Mauritania; so far this year, not one has arrived .The sea crossing is dangerous, but that hasn’t stopped more than 31,500 people succeeding in making the journey to the Canary Islands in recent years. But as suddenly as the exodus started, it has stopped."

EU: TURKEY: TURKEY will be required to take tough measures to stop the flow of migrants to Europe under a deal (Sundayn Times, link):"that could allow its own 75m people to move freely within Europe. Britain and Germany are among countries backing proposals to make Ankara responsible for holding back refugees, hundreds of thousands of whom have crossed from Turkey into Greece and Bulgaria in the past months. In return, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive not only billions in European funds but also political concessions that could include the right for Turks to enter the EU’s borderless Schengen area without a visa."

EU: 499,826 refugees have arrived: See UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response (detailed information, link): 2,962 dead/missing. 129,000 people have arrived in Italy and 368,394 in Greece: Map: arrivals on Greek Islands (pdf)

MOAS Launches New Mission in Southeast Asia (migrantreport.org, link): "The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will launch a rescue operation in Southeast Asia during the winter months, when thousands of Rohingya are expected to embark on the dangerous sea crossing out of Myanmar.... “MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone. “Our job in the Mediterranean is not over, but we now feel it is our responsibility to use the Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis, he said." and:

Mediterranean crisis: MSF ceases operations on Phoenix rescue ship (link): "Harrowing time in Libya: In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats. Fleeing places like Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya. They have been treated by MSF for a range of conditions ranging from mild dehydration and hypothermia to kidney failure and gunshot wounds. MSF on the Mediterranean: Since operations began on 2 May, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea."

Press Release: Extreme Poverty during the refugees’ journey (Greek Forum of Refugees, link):

"The Greek Forum of Refugees strongly feels the need to present and denounce the conditions that the refugees are dealing with, as soon as they arrive, in the European continent. The continent, that started values such as Democracy and Solidarity, proves being unable to apply them practically. Europe can do and offer, much more than what has been done until today. The GFR receives every day messages from European citizens that would like to offer help. Unfortunately, the leaders' policies, worldwide, do not keep up with this movement and the least that we can do is to denounce it."

Press release: Greek (pdf) and English (pdf)

Lesvos Volunteers: How to help refugees in Lesvos, Greece? (link): "Several amazing teams are working on the north coast of Lesvos. They provide the refugees arriving by boat with dry clothes and shoes, rain ponchos, sleeping bags, food, medical help, information, buses, etc."

News (26-27.9.15)

Train of Hope helps refugee arrivals (The Local.at, link): "One of several groups that formed to help refugees arriving in Austria from Syria and other countries is the Train of Hope. The Local spoke to Katrin Bernreiter, to learn what motivated the group."

Calais crisis: Migrants are living in appalling conditions, say doctors - Scabies is spreading like wildfire (Independent, link)

'Far-right stoking fears of 'invasion' by migrants' (The Local.fr, link): "The far right in Europe is making capital from the hundreds of thousands of migrants pushing into the continent and hopes to turn fears it has helped to fuel talk of an "invasion" into electoral success, according to a French expert."

Libya: People smuggler who 'transferred thousands to Europe killed in shootout' - Man referred to as Maskhout and eight others reportedly killed in shootout in Libya after allegedly masterminding key route for refugees from Africa and the Middle East (Observer, link): "Media reports say several men were killed in the attack, and bullets recovered by a pathologist are Hydra-Shok, a specialised round providing deeper penetration, used by western special forces units but not commonly available elsewhere."

Greece: Amygdaleza detention camp to be reused for holding migrants (ekathimerini.com, link): "Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas confirmed on Saturday that the government will use the controversial Amydgaleza detention center to hold migrants who have entered Greece without permission. Speaking on Mega TV on Saturday, Mouzalas stressed that “different laws” apply to migrants than to the refugees that have been coming to Greece in great numbers over the past few months."

Migrant crisis: Colder weather hits refugees on the move (BBC News, link); "Migrants and refugees on the move through Europe are facing growing hardship as temperatures drop, aid agencies have warned. Many, including pregnant woman, children and the elderly, are spending nights in the open." and Refugees find journey imperiled as cold weather, divisions hit Balkans (aljazeera.com, link): "With Hungary expediting border fences with Croatia and Slovenia, chilly autumn temperatures have further reduced options"

Austria changes constitution to accept more refugees (The Local.at, link): "Austria's upper house changed the constitution Friday to force local authorities to accept a quota of migrants equal to 1.5 percent of their population despite opposition from the resurgent far-right.... The far-right Freedom Party, which wants to restrict the number of migrants entering and which is currently topping national opinion polls with around 30 percent of the vote, opposed the move."

Attacks on Muslims rising in Czech Republic (praguepost.com, link): "Women with headscarves have become targets of abuse: The number of incidents provoked by hatred of Muslims has been rising in Czech Republic, In Iustitia organization director Klára Kalibová has told the Czech News Agency. Last year, the organization registered 10 such incidents, this year it has been 23 already, which is more than a 100-percent rise, while most of them have occurred sine June, that is roughly since the beginning of the refugee crisis, she added. The assaulters have been motivated by racism rather than by their fear of Islam, Kalibová said."

London: SOAS, University of London today announced the creation of seven new scholarships for refugee students wishing to study at SOAS.(link) "These are in addition to the Cultures of Resistance scholarships that have been offered by the School since 2013 to MA students from countries affected by war and extreme poverty. The new scholarships are available for four undergraduate and three postgraduate students starting in 2016/17. SOAS Development Team will be seeking philanthropic donations to cover scholarship students' living expenses."

Hellenic Red Cross lists items needed to help refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Hellenic Red Cross on Friday issued an announcement detailing the kinds of goods and products its volunteers need to help thousands of refugees and migrants crossing through Greece on their way to Northern Europe. The organization called for personal hygiene products, weatherproof clothing for adults and children, sleeping bags, clothing and footwear, bottled water, dried food and particularly baby care products, the announcement said. It stressed that clothing and bedding should be new and not used."

EU refugee crisis 'tip of the iceberg', says UN agency - UNHCR coordinator says Europe must prepare for millions more migrants unless there is an end to the civil war in Syria (Guardian, link)

Italy: Taking refugee issue to the UN says Renzi - Premier leaves for UN General Assembly on Saturday (ANSA, link): " "Others have changed their opinion on the migrants, unlike us. Yes to reception, with rules, and the human right to save people comes first"."

Greece: Amygdaleza detention camp to be reused for holding migrants (ekathimerini.com, link): "Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas confirmed on Saturday that the government will use the controversial Amydgaleza detention center to hold migrants who have entered Greece without permission. Speaking on Mega TV on Saturday, Mouzalas stressed that “different laws” apply to migrants than to the refugees that have been coming to Greece in great numbers over the past few months." [emphasis added]

EUNAVFOR: Meijers Committee: Military action against human smugglers: legal questions concerning the EUNAVFOR Med operation (pdf):

I. There are no indications that combating migrant smuggling contributes to the restoration of international peace and security or to ending the ongoing humanitarian crises;
II. Without express consent from third states or authorization from the UN Security Council, the EU lacks jurisdiction over vessels or assets in third-country territorial waters;
III. Without express consent from third-country coastal states or authorization from the UN Security Council, there is no clear legal basis for coercive measures against vessels or assets on the high seas

Don't blame the smugglers: the real migration industry (heindehaas.blogspot.fr, link):

"The billions spent on the militarisation of border controls over the past years have been a waste of taxpayers' money. As we are able to witness during the current 'refugee crisis', increasing border controls have not stopped asylum seekers and other migrants from crossing borders. As experience and research has made abundantly clear, they have mainly (1) diverted migration to other crossing points, (2) made migrants more dependent on smuggling, and (3) increased the costs and risks of crossing borders. The fact is that 25 years of militarising border controls in Europe have only worsened the problems they proclaim to prevent....

Europe's immigration policies have created a huge market for the private companies implementing these policies as well as smugglers... a multi-billion industry, which has huge commercial interest in making the public believe that migration is an essential threat and that border controls will somehow solve this threat."

News (25.9.15)

Loss of hope and deepening poverty driving Syrians to seek refuge in Europe (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency today identified loss of hope and appalling living conditions as major factors behind the recent spike in the number of Syrian refugees from the region seeking asylum in Europe. Around four million Syrian refugees are currently living in neighbouring countries, but recent months have seen a marked increase in the number of those seeking refuge further afield, notably in Europe. Amin Awad, Director UNHCR Bureau for Middle East and North Africa, said this was primarily because of a loss of hope of being able to return home and deteriorating living conditions in the countries where Syrian refugees are currently living. "Refugees face horrible living conditions, and restrictions in the legal regimes for refugees in the countries where they live … When people don't have proper shelter and are living on 45 cents a day of course they want to move," he told a press briefing in Geneva, adding: "Syrians are checking out from the neighbouring countries.""

Six EU states slash food aid for Syria refugees (euobserver, link):"Every member state, except the Netherlands, has slashed contributions to the World Food Progamme (WFP) in 2015.... Austria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Slovakia made the most drastic cuts. All sliced their contributions by 100 percent this year, compared to last year. Sweden’s contribution dropped by 95 percent, followed by Lithuania at 69.5 percent, and Belgium at 54.7 percent. The UK also dropped by 29.5 percent. Others like Croatia, Latvia, Poland, and Romania gave nothing in the past two years. The Netherlands stands alone as the only member state, at plus 5.8 percent, which has increased contributions."

EU navies to start capturing smugglers from 7 October (euobserver, link): "EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Thursday (24 September) the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea is to start capturing smugglers from 7 October. "The political decision has been taken, the assets are ready", she said, according to the AFP news agency. "We'll be able to board, search, seize vessels in international waters, [and] suspected smugglers and traffickers apprehended will be transferred to the Italian judicial authorities."... EUnavfor Med is to operate primarily on the Libya route" [emphasis added]

Finland split over biggest refugee influx since Russian Revolution (Yahoo News, link): "Finland is experiencing its biggest influx of refugees since the Russian Revolution with hundreds of migrants arriving each day via Sweden, but their presence is angering some in the recession-hit country. Finland, whose Lapland steppe forms the European Union's northernmost border, expects to receive 25,000 to 30,000 asylum applications this year, compared to 3,600 in 2014. Most of those arriving are from Iraq, Somalia or Afghanistan."

Refugees raise far-right threat: Norway intel (The Local.no, link): "The biggest risk posed to Norway's national security by the influx of migrants is a possible violent reaction from the far-right, and not the infiltration of Islamists, Norway's intelligence service said Thursday."

EU refugees deal barely scratches surface of a crisis still in its infancy - The European commission thinks its quotas scheme has set a precedent, but will it be repeated when the numbers are higher next time? (Guardian, link): "The aim is to make the frontier much less porous. But the borders concerned are essentially territorial waters. How do you turn back people at sea, many of whom have a legitimate claim on asylum status?"

Die EU-Partner wollen Griechenland und Italien beim Aufbau der "Hotspots" unterstützen. (tagesspiegel.de, link) [Relocate and deport: The EU partners want to support Greece and Italy build the "hotspots"."

Group of 115 refugees to be moved from Alonissos to Volos (ekathimerini.com, link): "A total of 115 Syrian refugees who were abandoned on Thursday on an uninhabited islet north of Alonissos, one of the islands in the Sporades group, were recovering in a gymnasium on the island on Friday."

Tensions between Croatia and Serbia rise over refugees (aljazeera.com, link): "Serbia bans Croatian imports after Zagreb's decision to close shared border in attempt to halt entry of refugees" and Serbia and Croatia Maintain Border Blockade (BalkanInsight, link): "After the dispute over the flow of the refugees escalated into a border dispute between the two countries, Croatia on Friday continued to block freight and some passenger traffic from Serbia while Belgrade still did not allow freight transport from Croatia to enter. Both countries said they were ready to compromise but there were no signs that the blockades on the border crossings would end soon."

Austria returns 5000 migrants to EU countries (The Local.at, link): "Speaking to journalists at a meeting in Germany with the Bavarian Christian Social Union party, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said: “If I remember rightly, we have sent more than 5,000 or 5,500 back from Austria, especially to Bulgaria and Romania amongst others.”"

Hungary working against human rights – Hammar (Budapest Beacon, link)"“Hungary is working against the human rights that are the foundation of the European Union.” “Without immigrants we wouldn’t have the social system we have today. We need differences, complexities, and one another to build society for the future.” - Karl Gustav Hilding Hammar, former Archbishop of Sweden

Sweden to 'urgently review' asylum policies (The Local.se, link): "Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has called for an "urgent review" to help tackle a sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers arriving in the Nordic country."

PM: Prague to support formation of EU guard to protect Schengen (Prague Monitor, link): "Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, Sept 24 (CTK) - The Czech Republic is prepared to participate in the formation of a possible joint European guard to protect the outer Schengen border, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told reporters Thursday."

Bulgaria Calls on Croatia to Reopen Checkpoint at Border with Serbia (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria pleaded with Croatia on Friday to immediately open the Bajakovo crossing at the border with Serbia to Bulgarian-registered motor vehicles or redirect them to other operating checkpoints. During a meeting with Croatia’s Ambassador Ljerka Alajbeg, the Bulgarian side expressed its serious concern over the closure of border crossings between Croatia and Serbia, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said in a statement."

Prague abandons plans to sue EU over refugee quotas (euractiv, link): "Having considered taking the EU to court over the decision to distribute 120,000 refugees across the bloc, the Czech Republic finally decided to de-escalate tensions with Brussels"

Migrants feared missing off Greece's Kos island (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Greek coastguard on Friday said it was looking for seven migrants feared missing near the Aegean island of Kos, after rescuing 115 Syrians in a separate incident. The search began after a migrant plucked from the Aegean Sea by a fishing boat told rescuers there had been another seven people on a boat that overturned."

Ireland: MIgrant crisis: Solid backing for Coalition offer - Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll indicates minority believe number of 4,000 is too high (Irish Times, link)

News (24.9.15)

Migrant crisis: EU leaders avoid punch-up but fail refugee test (BBC News, link): "In the anxiousness to avoid a punch-up there was also one screaming omission from the leaders' debate: what to do with the spiralling number of refugees and other migrants already in Europe? The avoidance of the topic was all the more glaring as the summit came hot on the heels of EU interior ministers forcing through a quota system for 120,000 asylum seekers, despite angry protests from Central and Eastern European countries. Its idea of a permanent quota system, with numbers automatically divided more equally across the continent, remains deeply unpopular in many countries. But Europe cannot hide from the issue. Unaddressed, it will test relations between EU countries to breaking point." [emphasis added]

Migrant crisis: Serbia compares Croatia to 'fascist-era regime' (BBC News, link): "Serbia has compared Croatian border restrictions to racial laws enforced by a Nazi puppet state during World War Two, in a deepening row over migrants. Croatian border police are stopping all Serbian vehicles from entering the country in protest at Serbia's decision to transport migrants to the border. But Croatia's interior minister said the ban did not apply to Serbian people. The Serbian authorities have responded by banning cargo traffic from Croatia. Amid escalating tension, Serbia's foreign ministry said the measures were "discriminatory" and "can only be compared with measures taken in the past, during the fascist Independent Croatia", referring to the Nazi puppet state proclaimed in Croatia in 1941, which sided with Berlin."

EU to start new phase of anti-trafficking op (The Local.it, link): "The second phase of an EU operation against migrant traffickers, allowing for arrests in international waters, will begin on October 7th, the bloc's foreign affairs chief said Thursday. "The political decision has been taken, the assets are ready," Federica Mogherini said at the Rome headquarters of the EU military operation, dubbed EUNAVFOR MED. The EU recently approved the use of military force against migrant traffickers, including the seizure of vessels used to ship people across the Mediterranean, many of which set off from the coast of Libya. Under the new phase, European warships will be used against traffickers but on the condition they remain within international waters and do not stray into Libyan territory, Mogherini said.

Relocation of Asylum-Seekers in the EU: Law and Policy (EU Law Anakysis, link): "I last looked at the legal issues surrounding the refugee crisis two weeks ago, focussing on the international law dimension of the issue. But I left out the issue of relocation of asylum-seekers, pending further developments. Subsequently the EU has adopted a second, more controversial Decision on relocation of asylum-seekers within the EU this week (against the opposition of several Member States), following soon after the first Decision on this issue earlier in September. These measures are both provisional, in force for a total of two years, but there’s also a proposal for a permanent system of provisional measures."

Europe ‘must close its doors or risk far-right backlash’ (The Times, link): "The European Union must close its “open door” to prevent millions of migrants entering Europe unchecked or there will be a backlash leading to a surge in support for extremist and far-right parties, a senior Brussels official has warned. "

Timmermans: Central Europe has ‘no experience with diversity’ (politico, link): "Central European countries have “no experience with diversity,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said Thursday, making them susceptible to fears about Muslim refugees. If no sustainable solution is found “you will see a surge of the extreme right across the European continent,” Timmermans said on BBC Radio 4, following a summit Wednesday where EU leaders agreed a range of measures to tackle the migrant crisis." Statewatch comment: The rise of nationlaist, racist and fascist parties and groups is not limited to Central European countries.

Bulgarian PM Clarifies Position on Hosting Hotspot Reception Centre for Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Borisov clarified that he had rather requested for Bulgaria to be viewed as a hot spot as it as an external border of the EU which is also subject to a migratory pressure, similarly to Italy, Greece and the other member states experiencing serious migratory pressure."

UNHCR welcomes more EU support to refugees, urges fast implementation (UNHCR, link) and UN refugee chief disappointed in EU refugee plan (ekathimerini.com, link): "His office called the EU program "limited" compared to current needs and urged a "substantial and rapid increase in legal opportunities for refugees to access the EU.""

UNHCR 'disappointed' at EU migrants summit - Didn't establish safe routes for refugees into Europe (ANSA, link): ""It is an important step toward stabilizing the crisis, but much more needs to be done. The plan can only work if, at entry points in Europe, robust facilities are created to receive, assist, register and screen people. These facilities must have a capacity that could handle the current average 5,000 people arriving every day by boat." Guterres reiterated UNHCR's position that countries must also offer those in need of international protection a credible alternative to the present chaotic journeys across "border after border at the mercy of criminal smugglers"."

'Safe countries of origin': Assessing the new proposal (EU Law Analysis, link) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex

Leaders decide to strengthen EU's external borders (euractiv, link):"The emergency summit on the refugee crisis ended last night (24 September) with agreement that the EU's borders needed to be better protected, and that “hotspots” must be set up where the asylum seekers’ requests can be processed.... A major advance seems to be the agreement to set up “hotspots”, an idea which appeared until very recently as controversial. This time, leaders agreed that hotspots would be set up by the end of November."

EU to fortify external borders to stem migrant flow (euobserver, link): "The EU is forging ahead with plans to restore control of its external borders amid a refugee crisis unlike anything seen in recent history. Among the ideas announced in the early morning of Thursday (24 September), is the establishment of EU-run quarantine centres for new asylum arrivals by the end of November and a proposal for an EU border and coast guard system by December...The quarantine centres – also known as hotspots – will separate legitimate asylum seekers from others not entitled to international protection. People will be finger printed and registered. Rejected applicants will be returned back to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Agence Europe reports: "The hotspots (or "migration management support teams", as the Commission now calls them), were the subject of an in-depth discussion at the summit. According to the European leaders, these teams will ensure the welcome, identification and digital finger-printing of migrants arriving in Europe, and will use the procedures for returning the migrants or relocating them to other member states... The European leaders also spoke about the usefulness of moving towards a European coastguard system, a source stated. Although the summit statement does not mention this, the Commission will propose such a system at the end of 2015.."

Croatia-Serbia border row escalates (DW, link): "Croatia has reportedly banned Serbian cars from entering the country after Belgrade imposed an embargo on cargo and goods. Both nations are struggling to cope with refugees trying to move across Europe."

Bulgaria Demands Access to Schengen Database amid Migrant Crisis (novinite.com/, link)

Juncker talks of welcoming refugees, while turning Europe into a fortress (Guardian, link): "The European commission is spending millions making external borders harder to cross. The migration crisis doesn’t appear to have altered its priorities... Instead of questioning the priorities of the commission, local media repeated the mantra that €475m had been made available to help Greece deal with immigration. But what exactly is the money for? The British whistleblower Statewatch gave us an answer when it uploaded the Internal Security Fund’s spending programme for Greece.."

The boat is full (thestatesman.com, link): "In the 1990s, the catchy slogan - “the boat is full” - coined by the far-Right Republikaner Party in Germany had influenced most of the mainstream parties... In 1991, Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, first warned that behind the formal institutions of what was then the European Community (EC) lay a shadowy parallel state - “largely undemocratic and unaccountable”."

SERBIA/CROATIA: Your help is still needed at Croatian/Serbian border at Bapske, near Šid. This is the crossing point for refugees at this moment – They are being transported here from the south of Serbia (For Refugees in Hungary, link)

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Press release (pdf):

"ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015"

REFUGEE CRISIS: European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf)

"Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (see Annex II). The Support Teams will have an instant impact on the most critical point in the chain – where the most affected Member States are finding the sheer number of arrivals too great to manage effectively. Staff deployed by EU agencies and other EU Member States will help identify, screen and register migrants on entry to the EU. This is the first step to a secure future for those in need, and an early opportunity to identify those who should be returned to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Comment: This appears to beg the question about refugees's right to ask for asylum - especially as the Council Decision has prioritised refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea - when they are many refugees from Afghanistan and Somali amongst others?

Commission Press release (pdf)

Annex 1: Priority Actions under the European Agenda for Migration to deliver within six months (pdf)
Annex 2: Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (pdf)
Annex III The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf)
Annex IV Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund (link)
Annex V Member State and Commission Contributions to the World Food Programme (link)
Annex VI The EU Regional Trust Fund ("MADAD Trust Fund") in response to the Syrian Crisis (link)
Annex VII Implementing the Common European Asylum System (link)
Link to: Annexes to Communication (link)

Further Background

European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (Statewatch) and Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) plus Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU at "war" in the Med: European Parliament: Refugee crisis: present and future EU military operations in the Mediterranean (Press release, pdf):

"The EU military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean is about to enter its next phase. After gathering intelligence and setting up the structure, the operation will now focus on arresting traffickers and disabling smugglers vessel. The details of the operation were discussed by MEPs during a meeting of the security and defence subcommittee on 22 September....

At the hearing, Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) asked what would happen if traffickers were found on "suspicious" ships. Would these ships then be confiscated and sunk to avoid them being used to transport refugees? Answering to Gahler, Wosolsobe said the idea was to put smuggler vessels out of use, but not necessarily destroy them. They could be brought back to European shores.""

European Commission: More Responsibility in managing the refugee crisis: European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work (pdf)

40 EU migrant procedures against 19 countries (ANSA, link): "The European Commission on Wednesday opened 40 infraction procedures on migrants against 19 countries. They are accused of not fully implementing the rules of the common European asylum system, especially in regard to registration and repatriation. Italy was not among the 19.".

EU: European Commission: Refugee Crisis – Q&A on Emergency Relocation (pdf)

News (23.9.15)

This Network of Merchants Is Helping Refugees Flee the Horrors of Yemen (VICE, link): "like those of thousands of other Yemenis or Somalis living in Yemen, was organized through a network of merchants, refugees, and businessmen that spans the Gulf of Aden. As a Saudi-led naval blockade has slowed the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen to a trickle, this network is one of the few remaining ways out of the country, ferrying desperate people packed aboard cattle boats in their hundreds to Somalia."

Commission launches legal broadside on asylum rules before summit (euractiv, link): "The European Commission today (23 September) launched a broadside of legal action against EU countries for not putting the bloc’s asylum laws into practice, bringing to 75 the total number of such cases open against member states."

EU Provisional measures of Refugees Relocation: some progresses but still on a bumpy road… (ASFJ, link): "the Decision as adopted yesterday is different from the one voted by the European Parliament some days ago so that, under a constant CJEU Jurisprudence the Council is under the obligation to re-consult the European Parliament on the latest modifications (such as the exclusion of Hungary from the mechanism….

Greece: Huge increase in migrant arrivals on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 2,500 people, mainly Afghan refugees, arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos on Wednesday morning in the space of three hours, a Reuters photographer said, with more on the way. About 40 rubber dinghies each carrying 60 to 70 people arrived in the rain on one beach on the island, which was covered in life jackets and rubber tubes. Some were suffering from hypothermia. Nine more boats could be seen in the distance, he said."

UNHCR says EU must go beyond relocating 120,000 refugees (Daily Star, Lebanon, link): "A European Union proposal to find spaces for 120,000 refugees will not work unless reception facilities are provided for tens of thousands at any time, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday. "A relocation program alone, at this stage in the crisis, will not be enough to stabilize the situation," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said."

Militants not seen using refugee routes to reach Europe - Danish intelligence (Reuters, link)

Minister's 'troubling' citizenship plan slammed (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government wants to make it harder to become a Danish citizen and if Inger Støjberg gets her way, the tougher requirements will not only apply to future applicants but to all of those who have applied to become a Dane over the past 14 months, Information newspaper reported on Wednesday."

Crisis, what Crisis? Some Views from Spain on the Recent Refugee Crisis in Europe (verfassungsblog.de, link)

Hamburg clinics 'denied surgery to migrant' (The Local.de, link): "A 55-year-old man from Ghana died from multiple organ failure in Hamburg earlier this month after five different hospitals refused him surgery."

Austria probed for EU asylum violations (The Local.at, link): " The EU authority criticized Austria's inadequate operation of the EU directive on reception conditions for asylum. In August, Amnesty International complained of inhumane conditions at Austria's reception centre for asylum seekers in Traiskirchen, which has been severely overcrowded.

Brussels launches investigation into asylum law violations by Spain (The Local.es,link): "The European Commission has opened an investigation into 19 countries for violations of asylum laws, including Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Spain."

Bulgaria PM Skeptical of EU Approach to Migrant Crisis (novinite.com, link): "Only with the cooperation of both the United States and Russia can the conflict in Syria be solved, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said. Speaking in front of reporters in Parliament, where he arrived to urge support for constitutional changes, he also commented on the migrant crisis and the roots it has in the Syrian conflict."

EU splits further due to inability to decide about 120,000 migrants (standartnews.com, link): "Splits within the EU on the relocation of 120,000 migrants have been further exposed as leaders gather for an emergency meeting in Brussels. Slovakia is launching a legal challenge to mandatory quotas that were passed in a majority vote on Tuesday. Hungary's PM defended its "democratic rights" and proposed a radical budgetary revamp to raise funds. The summit will focus on tightening EU borders and aiding neighbours of Syria, from where many migrants come."

EU should condemn inhumane refugee camp in Croatia (/groenlinks.n, link): "“EU leaders meeting in Brussels today must condemn and propose solutions to tackle the inadmissible practices in refugee camps in the EU.” Commenting after watching a preview of a video of a refugee camp in Croatia, shot by Danny Ghosen for the Dutch television programme 3onderzoekt, Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament for GroenLinks, stated: “This situation is inhumane. Europe should be ashamed.” "

Over 480,000 Undocumented Migrants Arrive in Europe by Sea in 2015 – IOM (sputniknews, link): "The number of undocumented migrants who have entered Europe by sea since the beginning of 2015 is estimated at 481,612, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement Tuesday."

UNHCR: 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate .(ekathimerini.com, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf):

The decision is for the resettlement of 120,000 people over two years from Greece and Italy> Hungary no longer part of mechanism. In the first year, 66,000 people from Italy and Greece will be resettled and Hungary will also have to take some of these asylum seekers (its 'quota' has been set at 1,294 people over the two years). The 54,000 people who were to be resettled from Hungary will theoretically be allocated to Greece and Italy in the second year.

Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

JHA Council enforce migration plan by majority voting: Migrant crisis: EU ministers approve disputed quota plan (BBC News, link):

"EU interior ministers have approved a controversial plan to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent over the next two years. It will see migrants moved from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU countries. Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against accepting mandatory quotas. After the vote, Slovakia's prime minister said he would not accept the new quotas. Finland abstained from the vote. Poland, which had opposed the proposal, voted for it.

The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris said it was highly unusual for an issue like this - which involves national sovereignty - to be decided by majority vote rather than unanimous decision."

Comment: So far the EU has agreed to relocate 40,000 refugees who arrived on or after 15 August 2105 over a 1 year period and now 120,000 over 2 years. But the UNHCR says that : "477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year" . The European Commission states that "Syrians, Eritreans, Iraqis" are to be prioritised - which leaves out the tens of thousands who have fled from Afghanistan. The Commission also states that: "Initial screening of asylum applicants [to be] carried out in Greece, Hungary and Italy" - where does this leave the tens of thousands of refugees who already passed through Greece and Italy since March this year?

EU backs refugee plan in teeth of east European opposition (euractiv, link): The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday (22 September) to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations... The Czech minister tweeted that he had voted against, along with colleagues from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, with Finland abstaining" and EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania vote against the decision to impose quotas, as lack of consensus threatens to feed resentment (Guardian, link) Of the 120,000: A little more than half are to be moved to the rest of the EU from Greece and Italy. The remaining 54,000, initially planned to relieve Hungary, whose government takes the hardest anti-immigration line in the EU and refuses to accept the help, will be reserved for other needy countries on the Balkan migratory route, such as Croatia and Slovenia. If the 54,000 are not resettled within 18 months, more refugees can be moved from Greece and Italy."

EU: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, Tuesday 22 September 2015, Brussels: Background Note (pdf) and Main Agenda (pdf): Only one item on relocation.

UN Secretary-General statement: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary- General on the situation facing refugees and migrants in Europe (pdf): "He calls on all European States to ensure that they abide by their international obligations, including the right to seek asylum, and the prohibition of refoulement. All persons must be received with dignity and their human rights must be respected. The Secretary-General has followed with increasing concern the closing of some borders in Europe, as well as the lack of proper reception facilities as well as the increased use of detention and criminalization of irregular migrants and asylum seekers."

UNHCR says EU must go beyond relocating 120,000 refugees (euractiv, link): "A European Union proposal to find spaces for 120,000 refugees will not work unless reception facilities are provided for tens of thousands at any time, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday (22 September)."

Visegrad countries trigger crisis ahead of EU refugee summit (euractiv, link): "Meeting in Prague on Monday (21 September) the so-called Visegrad group – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – have once again rejected plans to redistribute asylum-seekers under a quota system proposed by the European Commission."

EU refugee plan under fire as ministers try to break deadlock (ekathimerini.com, link)

"The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said the 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share out were equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate.

“A relocation programme alone, at this stage in the crisis, will not be enough to stabilise the situation,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said, calling on the EU to set up reception facilities for tens of thousands of refugees at any one time.

Amid bitter recriminations between member states, EU leaders want to focus at an emergency summit on Wednesday on ramping up aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey and the rest of the Middle East and tightening control on the bloc's frontiers."

Hungary approves new anti-migrant powers despite outcry (France 24, link): "Hungary on Monday gave the army drastic new powers to protect its borders, as the UN chief said he was “extremely concerned” about the treatment of migrants and refugees in overstretched Europe. On the eve of two key European Union meetings, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to leaders across the 28-nation bloc, urging them to “show leadership and compassion” as the continent grapples with it worst migration crisis since World War II. “The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation facing refugees and migrants arriving across Europe,” said a statement in which he expressed concern about European borders being closed, the lack of proper facilities to receive newcomers and the increased use of detention against them.

It also gave troops the right to use rubber bullets, tear gas and net guns at the border "in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided"." [emphasis added]

EU: Council of the European Union: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - Preparation of the Council meeting (Justice Ministers (LIMITE doc no:11898-15, pdf):

"Hotspots

Eurojust supports the frontline Member States by participating in the “Hotspots” and coordinates its efforts with relevant EU agencies. Currently, Eurojust participates in the Hotspots in Italy (Catania) and Greece (Piraeus) and its further participation in other Hotspots should be strengthened by helping prosecutors on the ground. In this framework, Eurojust should further support host Member States by providing for coordination with other Member States and by assisting, where appropriate, in the setting up of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)."

EU: Council of the European Union: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12139-15, pdf):

"the new “Hot spot approach” developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants."

News (22.9.15)

UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (link)

All 120,000 migrant relocations from Italy, Greece (ANSA, link)

Number of refugees waiting at Lesvos' port increases again, food stops in reception (amna.gr, link): "The number of refugees crowding the port of Mytilene in Lesvos has risen dramatically again, as food delivery has stopped at the first reception center in Moria with refugees moving to the port to secure a meal, according to local authorities on Tuesday. "

Dispatches: A Make-or-Break Week for the Refugee Crisis (HRW, link): "Blocked borders, hand-washing governments, muddy camps, risky sea crossings, uncertainty, and fear. As decision-makers meet in Brussels in two high-level meetings this week to address the refugee crisis, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Will they finally decide to act in concert to tackle the situation, or as with last week’s meeting, agree to little more than patching Band-Aids over a gaping wound? "

Open Letter to the peoples of Europe, the European Union, EU Member-States and their representatives on the Justice and Home Affairs Council (link): "We, the undersigned international lawyers, gathered at the European Society of International Law 11th Annual Meeting in Oslo on 12th September 2015, and other international law scholars and experts, condemn the failure to offer protection to people seeking refuge in Europe, and the lack of respect for the human rights of those seeking refuge."

Counter-terrorism police ratcheted up violence at Röszke says photographer (Budapest Beacon, link) and What really happened at Röszke? (link)

EU governments must break the impasse (Green/EFA, link)

How will EU enforce its refugee relocation plan? (ft.blog, link): "The main one is pretty fundamental: how do you make sure a refugee stays in the country where he or she is sent when systematic border checks no longer exist? The proposals being debated this weekend, and seen by Brussels blog, touched on this. In short, member states have few tools to keep refugees in one country beyond cutting their benefits, making them repeatedly check-in with authorities and, well, asking them nicely not to leave."

All 120,000 migrant relocations from Italy, Greece - Ministers set to meet on quotas (ANSA, link): United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday that the European Union's plans to redistribute asylum seekers among member States was not enough to address the current refugee crisis on its own. The agency added that Wednesday's meeting of EU leaders in Brussels could be the last opportunity to provide a "coherent response". It said that 477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year, an average of 6,000 a day."

Eastern European leaders defy EU effort to set refugee quotas (Guardian, link): "Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia reject efforts by Brussels to form common policy on just 66,000 migrants, calling it illegal... But the numbers are not the real issue. The row is about power and sovereignty. In the end it seems that all countries will join in sharing refugees, with the exception of Britain, which has opted out of the scheme. The other two countries with opt-outs – Ireland and Denmark – have agreed to take part, leaving the UK isolated." [emphasis added]

Theresa May maintains tough stance on 'economic migrants' (Guardian, link): "UK home secretary emphasises need for wider European measures to ‘return those people who have no right to be here’"

Eastern EU states want common stance on asylum (euobserver, link): "Ministers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on Monday (21 September) said they want to reach "a common stance" with their counterparts on asylum. The four oppose a binding quota system to distribute some 120,000 migrants from Italy, Greece, and Hungary across European member states.But others like Germany are backing a compulsory system."

Frontex to get budget hike after refugee failures (euobserver, link): "Frontex, the EU's external border agency, is being given a 54 percent budget rise next year as part of a new European Commission package of initiatives to tackle the continent's refugee and migrant crisis."

UK-EU: Think leaving the EU would strengthen Britain’s borders? Take a closer look (Guardian, link) "Eurosceptics take note – Britain is far better placed to help solve the refugee crisis if it stays in Europe"

Refugees or migrants? The EU grapples with definitions (euractiv, link): "As EU leaders prepare to meet Wednesday (23 September) for an extraordinary summit, one question will haunt them: How to distinquish economic migrants from asylum seekers."

Hungary beefs up border with army, warns migrants to stay away (Reuters, link): "Hungary's parliament authorized the government on Monday to deploy the army to help handle a wave of migrants, granting the military the right to use non-lethal force. It passed a law saying the army could use rubber bullets, pyrotechnical devices, tear gas grenades or net guns, according to the text posted on parliament's website." and Hungary takes out ads to prevent more refugees from coming (New Europe, link): "Hungary is warning it will take “the strongest possible action” against those who try to enter the country illegally, according to a full-page ad posted by the government in Lebanese and Jordanian newspapers.The ad says that would-be refugees entering Hungary illegally will be imprisoned." and Hungary posts ads in Lebanon, Jordan media warning migrants (AP, link)

Deutsche Bahn suspends trains to Austria (The Local.at, link): "German rail operator Deutsche Bahn is suspending key services to Austria and Hungary until October 4th, citing border controls introduced to manage a record influx of refugees."

Resources stretched as 20,000 refugees arrive (The Local.at, link): "More than 20,000 refugees entered Austria aboard crowded buses and trains over the weekend, with the Red Cross warning of shortages as temporary accommodation is becoming overcrowded."

Are mandatory refugee quotas dead? (Brussels blog.ft, link): "United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday that the European Union's plans to redistribute asylum seekers among member States was not enough to address the current refugee crisis on its own. The agency added that Wednesday's meeting of EU leaders in Brussels could be the last opportunity to provide a "coherent response".

and: Anti-migrant quota EU states meet in Prague (euobserver, link): "Foreign ministers from the main opponents of migrant quotas are meeting in Prague on Monday ( 21 September), as refugees continue to criss-cross EU borders. The Prague event - involving the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, as well as the Luxembourg EU presidency, which supports the quota scheme - comes ahead of two days of talks on the crisis in Brussels..... For their part, EU ambassadors in Brussels spent the weekend working on draft conclusions for Tuesday’s meeting. An EU contact familiar with the draft text told EUobserver it no longer contains the Commission’s mathematical "key" on redistribution based on GDP and population size, among other factors. The EU source said this means the mandatory idea is "dead".

Human migration will be a defining issue of this century. How best to cope? (Guardian, link) by Alexander Betts: "Whether they are fleeing armed conflict or economic deprivation – or both – people will continue trying to cross borders in search of a decent life, and the global community needs to address this"

News (21.9.15)

Merkel Coalition at Odds Over Proposal to Cap EU Asylum Places (Bloomberg, link): "German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said he doesn’t “understand” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s proposal for the European Union to set an upper limit to the number of people it accepts as asylum seekers."

Poland: Seal EU borders (Politico.eu, , link): "The first priority must be to seal EU borders. Only by doing so will we be able to avoid further chaos and brutal skirmishes on the frontiers. Even countries that have until recently expressed a very open attitude towards taking in refugees now realize they have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. That is why we must become better and more effective in working with our EU neighbors. We must make sure that extradition agreements are enforced. "

UNHCR: Another weekend of tragedy marks the Mediterranean, with up to 40 refugees dead (link): "LESVOS, Greece, Sept. 20 (UNHCR) -- UNHCR staff on Sunday were caring for survivors of two separate weekend incidents involving boats carrying refugees and migrants between Turkey and Greece that left some 40 people dead or missing."

Germany: Football fans show anger at Bild over refugees (The Local.de, link): "Newspaper Bild scored an own goal with Germany's football fans over its "we're helping" refugee campaign."

Report: Croatia would let refugees sneak into Hungary (Budapest Business Journal, link): "If Hungary decides to close the Hungarian-Croatian border, the government of Croatia will send refugees to Hungary without escorting them to border crossings and without helping them organize their routes"

Resources stretched as 20,000 refugees arrive (The Local.at, link): "More than 20,000 refugees entered Austria aboard crowded buses and trains over the weekend, with the Red Cross warning of shortages as temporary accommodation is becoming overcrowded."

No European country 'can be exempt' from taking in refugees: Hollande (Yahoo News, link): "No European country can get out of taking in refugees who have the right to asylum, French President Francois Hollande said Sunday, amid a growing row over how to fairly distribute a massive influx of migrants across the continent.The re-distribution "must involve all European countries -- no one can be exempt or we would no longer belong to the same union built on values and principles,"

Planned German refugee shelter hit by suspected arson attack (DW, link): "German police say there has been a fire at planned refugee accommodation in the southwest of the country. Meanwhile, a Syrian refugee is reportedly being questioned over alleged links to the jihadist group 'IS.' "

Czech Republic: Obligatory migration quotas may be unlawful (Prague Post, link): " The Czech Interior Ministry has worked out an analysis according to which the obligatory quotas for accepting refugees are probably unlawful, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) wrote on Twitter today. He added that he would get the EU acquainted with the analysis on Monday."

German interior minister calls for limits on migrants to EU (euractiv, link): "Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior said on Saturday (19 September) that in the future, the European Union should take in a finite number of migrants, while sending the rest back to a safe country in their home regions."

EU: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council (pdf) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday 23 September 2015. This will follow the extra Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015. See also: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf)

AFGHANISTAN: Europe's Refugee Crisis Isn't Only About Syria - Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help (HRW, link):

"Although international interest in Afghanistan has waned and most foreign troops are long gone, the war there is only getting worse. The first six months of 2015 saw the highest number of casualties among women and children since the U.N. started keeping track in 2009. Many Afghans leaving now are fleeing violence, insecurity, or threats from the Taliban or government militia forces. They are just as entitled to refugee status or other protection."

TURKEY: Rescued boat refugees held in Turkey 'threatened with deportation to Syria' - Survivors among hundreds rescued from sinking boat and detained in Turkish camp claim those without air fare have been told they will be sent back to border (Guardian, link): "Hundreds of refugees fear they are to be deported back to Syria after their boat was intercepted by the Turkish coastguard. Some 22 people are believed to have drowned as the boat sank on Tuesday, while hundreds more were ferried to Turkey, where they claim to have been threatened with deportation. The Turkish government denies the claim. Attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos, the wooden boat of around 250 Syrians and Iraqis was intercepted a few miles from the coast of Turkey by Turkish coastguards, who circled it and fired warning shots. The boat subsequently sank after water started seeping into the hold, and the 211 survivors were taken to a detention centre in Düziçi, southern Turkey."

News (20.9.15)

GREECE: Just one day after the terrible incident where a 5-year old girl lost her life near Lesvos, "another boat sank south-east of the island. 46 refugees were on board, including 9 children under 12 years old and 11/12 women. According to testimonies, the boat sank due to waves caused by a commercial ship passing nearby. A FRONTEX helicopter detected and saved 24 refugees, however a 6-year old girl was found dead. The Greek authorities continue their search with helicopters and boats, since a lot of women and children are still missing. All saved persons were transferred for first aid to the Reception Centre at the ex-military camp of Moria."

Record numbers seek asylum in Sweden (The Local.se, link): "According to the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) 6,400 refugees have sought asylum in Sweden in the last week, a record number of applicants."

At least 13 dead in migrant boat collision with ferry off Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "At least 13 migrants died off the coast of Turkey Sunday after the inflatable dinghy carrying them to Greece collided with a ferry, Turkish media reported. Four children were among the victims of the accident involving a boat carrying 46 migrants from the northwestern Turkish port of Canakkale to the Greek island of Lesvos, Dogan news agency reported. Twenty people were rescued and 13 people were still missing, the report added." and At least 13 dead in migrant boat collision with ferry off Turkey (khaleejtimes.com, link)

UN warns European unity at risk as borders close to refugees - Central European neighbours turn ugly as thousands fleeing war are shunted between Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary (Guardian, link)

Refugees blocked near Turkey-Greece border disperse (ekathimerini.com, link): "Many of the Syrians pouring into Europe have been living in Turkey for months, sometimes years. They complain that Turkey's failure to grant them full refugee status has made it a struggle to access basic services and jobs." and see: Bulgaria, Greece 'Not Letting in Syria Refugees from Edirne Turkey says': Turkey Says (novinite.com, link): "Turkey is keeping hundreds of refugees in because of resistance from Bulgaria and Greece, Trade Minister Cenap Asçi has announced. His comments come as Syrian refugees held on Saturday a demonstration in the southwestern city of Edirne, demanding that authorities let them leave for either Bulgaria or Greece. "If neighboring countries let them in, Turkey would let them pass [through] the country.""

Migrants missing in new boat sinking off Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "Nearly 30 migrants were feared missing off the Greek island of Lesbos, the coastguard said Sunday, in the latest boat sinking in an ongoing Aegean Sea tragedy that has cost hundreds of lives. The coastguard said it had rescued 20 people spotted in the water by a helicopter from EU border agency Frontex, but the survivors said another 26 people had been in the boat."

"Welcome 2 Europe" (tag, link): Orientation in a foreign country - for refugees is important. You have an arduous journey. The "Welcome 2 Europe" initiative will give them assistance. January Lukas Strozyk interviewed for tagesschau.de cofounder nevroz Duman

Bilanz eines Tages: Fast 5000 Menschen aus dem Mittelmeer gerettet (Spiegel, link): 5, 000 boatpeople have been rescued yesterday in central med, another record day.

The refugee crisis is waking old fears in central Europe (Guardian, link) "Muslim migrants are finding little welcome in countries such as Hungary and Croatia"

Refugee crisis intensifies as thousands pour into Austria - Around 13,000 people entered Austria on Saturday, according to the Red Cross, after being forced away from to crosCroatia, Hungary and Slovenia (Guardian, Sunday, link)

News(19.9.15)

PM Borisov Assures Bulgaria’s Borders Are Closed to Illegal Immigrants (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has assured that the authorities have taken all possible measures to close the border to illegal immigrants."

UN warns European unity at risk as borders close to refugees - Central European neighbours turn ugly as thousands fleeing war are shunted between Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary (Guardian, link)

Today (Saturday) another boat had damage and water got in. This took place 5 km north of Mytilini. One 5-year old girl lost her life, while the Coast Guards saved 13 refugees. Overall, it is estimated that 22 refugees were onboard. There is ongoing search to find any survivors.

Greet every volunteer (klamer-staal.n, link): "Somebody really cared about us refugees: Oh yes, sure! I remember the longhaired man on Lesvos. I remember all those volunteers. There were many others on our way trough Europe: they helped us a lot. The volunteers were very important to us: we were exhausted when we arrived in Greece and the volunteers brought us food and water. They also showed us how to get to the camp and spent that entire day with us. We felt that somebody really cared about us refugees."

One migrant child dead, 13 missing in sea off Greek island (ekathimerini.com, link): "A girl believed to be five years old died and as many as 13 migrants may be missing at sea off the Greek island of Lesvos on Saturday, the Greek coastguard said.Nikos Lagkadianos, a coastguard spokesman, said 11 people were rescued from the sea between Lesvos and Turkey and one swam ashore in the early hours. The survivors said they thought 13 of their number were missing. The girl was found unconscious and was declared dead later at hospital, Lagkadianos said."

Refugee Crisis Sees Tensions Rise Between Hungary And Croatia Over 'Human Smuggling' (Huffington Post, link): "Tensions are rising over the current refugee crisis after Hungary accused Croatia of “human smuggling”. Hungary said that its neighbour had committed a “major violation of international law" by attempting to transport 1,000 people across its border by train."

An appeal from Central Europe on the refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "Unlike the former colonial powers, Central European states have little experience of co-existing with people of different cultures. But in refusing to help, they undermine the solidarity that other nations have shown towards them, write politicians, artists and intellectuals from Central Europe. This open letter was sent to EurActiv by the Stefan Batory Foundation, an independent private Polish foundation established in 1988 by American philanthropist George Soros and a group of Polish democratic opposition leaders of the 1980s."

Refugees at Edirne heading for Bulgarian border, no move toward Greece yet (amna.gr, link): "The Turkish Gendarmerie have stopped barring the way to the mostly Syrian refugees in the region of Edirne and hundreds are now making their way to the Bulgarian border, a Turkish Gendarmerie official told the ANA-MPA on Friday. According to Turkish customs authorities, there was no sign that they were heading toward Greece as yet." and Turkey stops migrants to Bulgaria (standartnews.com, link)

Confusion and contradiction as migrants cross into Hungary from Croatia (euronews, link)

Croatia Border Closure Alarms Balkan Neighbours (balkaninsight.com, link): "Countries across the Western Balkans are drawing up their contingency plans after Croatia shut its border, claiming its capacity to receive people had been exceeded."

Denmark's anti-refugee ads under investigation (The Local.dk, link): "Denmark's parliamentary ombudsman has started an official inquiry into whether the Danish government's controversial advertising campaign about asylum rules were in fact misleading."

The wave of children reaching Swedish shores (The Local.se, link): "10,000 unaccompanied children have sought asylum in Sweden since the beginning of the year — a sharp rise from previous years — making it the EU nation with the highest number by far."

Asylum claims soar by 80% in Norway (The Local.no, link): "The number of people applying for asylum for the first time in Norway shot up by 81 percent between April and June, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority Eurostat showed on Friday."

Austria sees 79 percent jump in asylum claims (The Local.at, link): " Applications for refugee status from asylum seekers increased by 79 percent in Austria in the second quarter of 2015, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority showed on Friday."

Refugees blocked in Turkey inch towards Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Several hundred migrants who were blocked by police in northwest Turkey from crossing a land border to Greece this week drew a few kilometres closer to their destination Friday after the authorities briefly opened the route."

Police, military to test border protection (praguepost.com, link): "One-day anti-migrant exercise will have hundreds of participants. The Czech police and military will test border protection in case of a stepped-up migration wave in a one-day exercise by the end of September, in which 300 soldiers and a few hundreds of police will take part, leading politicians said at a press conference today." and Refugee camp in Breclav to be closed down - Very few people have asked for asylum in the Czech Republic (link)

Boat sank off yesterday east of Farmakonisi. 34 refugees have been found drown, including 4 babies and 11 children. The Greek authorities found 8 dead refugees inside the boat (in the hold). There is ongoing research in the area.

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn: "the Western Balkans must not become a parking lot or "no man's land" for stranded refugees": Press release (pdf) This turn of phrase quickly hit headlines: Hahn: Western Balkans no parking lot for refugees (Inserbia, link) and EXTRA EU official warns against Balkans becoming refugee «parking lot» (Europe Online, link) also Western Balkans 'not a parking lot for refugees' (EUbusiness, link)

The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (YouTube, link):"Eric Kempson and his family live on the Greek island of Lesbos. For months they have struggled to give the most basic of humanitarian assistance to thousands of desperate people arriving in boats from Turkey. This is their story."

Multinational border protection teams to be rolled out (euractiv, link): "Given the continuing refugee crisis, the European Commission wants to secure the EU's external borders with a European border surveillance system. Until it can be implemented, Frontex will commit extra personnel.... EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told Die Welt on Thursday (17 September), "The Commission will, by the end of the year, put forward a proposal for a European Border Guard System. "The aim is that multinational border guard teams monitor the external borders of the EU...."

the Commissioner added that, "Frontex will shortly be sending additional emergency personnel, in the form of Rapid Border Intervention teams, to secure the critical points of the external borders." The Rapid Border Intervention teams are multinational emergency response units"

News (18.9.15)

Hungary dismisses asylum requests within minutes, say refugees - People must now knock on a door in the fence to claim asylum – and then, applicants say, officials do not properly assess applications (Guardian, link)

Athens complains to Hungary over handling of migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Foreign Ministry Thursday issued an official complaint to the Hungarian Embassy in Athens, rejecting criticism by Hungarian officials of Greece’s handling of a burgeoning migration crisis and accusing officials in Budapest of “brutal cynicism.” “We find it difficult to witness either the wave of statements from Hungarian officials against our country or, and mainly, what the UN secretary-general characterizes as the ‘unacceptable’ conduct of Hungary’s forces of order against the refugees, including infants, who are living through the drama and misery of war,” ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras said in a statement... Greek government officials have heralded plans to build two new migrant reception facilities – one in Lavrio, eastern Attica, and one in Thessaloniki."

IOM: Latest Data on Europe Migrant Emergency (link): "Through two and a half weeks of September, IOM teams have recorded total arrivals to Europe by sea in 2015 at 473,887 men, women and children. At least 182,000 of those migrants have arrived from Syria—making Syrians just under 40 per cent of this year’s total." and Map (link)

Very strong words: UNHCR warns that time is running out for Europe to resolve refugee emergency (link): "Yesterday's mayhem on the Serbian border with Croatia, which has since closed some entry points, and Wednesday's dramatic situation on the Hungarian border demonstrate the chaos and confusion being caused by the absence of a coherent and united response to Europe's refugee situation. With more than 442,440 refugees and migrants having arrived via the Mediterranean so far this year, some 2,921 deaths, and 4000 people arriving on the Greek islands daily, the crisis is growing and being pushed from one country to another without solution."

Germany says majority decision may be needed on refugees - Steinmeier says will be necessary if things don't work otherwise (ANSA, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Friday proposed putting the issue of quotas to redistribute refugees to a majority vote among EU member States to break through the current impasse."

Croatia moves refugees to Hungarian border (Guardian, link):" Croatia PM says country can no longer accept refugee burden | Hungary starts a new fence overnight on Croatia border | Germany threatens qualified majority vote on quota system

PM Orbán: Migrants’ Tuesday Attack On Hungarian Border Took Place With “Organised Media Background” (hungarytoday.hu, link): "Speaking on Kossuth Rádió, he said that the event was controlled from loud speakers in Arabic and English with an “organised media background”. Commenting on the Tuesday events, the Prime Minister claimed that Hungary and Hungarian policemen were subjected to an armed attack from Serbia, which the country did not even attempt to prevent."

Croatia shuts border points with Serbia (euobserver, link): "Croatian authorities on Thursday (17 September) closed down half a dozen road crossing points with Serbia. The move follows the arrival of some 13,300 asylum seekers in the country in recent days, according to the Croatian government. The Croat army has also been put on alert and is ready to be deployed." and Croatia Closes 7 of 8 Border Crossing Points with Serbia (novinite.com, link): "Croatia has closed seven of its eight border crossing points at the Serbian border. The largest border crossing point, Bajakovo-Batrovci, is still open. The temporary closure of the border crossing points is aimed at reducing the influx of refugees arriving in the country from Serbian territory, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio."

Slovenia offers shelter for 5,000 refugees - Ambassador says country will try to ensure all those arriving from Croatia are cared for, but police threaten to return 150 who crossed border by train (Guardian, link)

Germany: Social groups attack asylum law draft (DW, link): "Drastic social welfare cuts in draft German asylum law have been condemned by welfare groups and opposition parties. The interior ministry's bill would accelerate migrant expulsions and declare Balkan nations to be safe."

'Bulgaria Refugee Struggle Underlines Elusive European Dream' (novinite.com, link)"Most refugees and migrants quickly find out they don't want to stay in Bulgaria and this adds to Europe's problem of controlling mass migration, Al Jazeera America has noted. "The EU's poorest country has accepted an asylum seeker quota, but few want to live with so few social services," it goes on. A special report published Wednesday tells the story of Noel Kouaho's "epic, two-year journey from Côte d’Ivoire to refuge" in Bulgaria - one that "cost him seven of his toes"."

Czech PM says principle of immigrant allocation system main issue (Radio, Praha, link): "Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has given a cool reception to comments from the Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Jirí Dienstbier saying that the Czech Republic could take up to 15,000 immigrants."

Switzerland prepares to take its share of refugees (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is expected to offer to accept 4,000 to 5,000 refugees who have entered the European Union largely from the wartorn regions of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."

Geldof slams Norway refugee 'nonsense' (The Local.no, link): "Musician and political activist Bob Geldof has laid into Norway for taking too few refugees from Syria, calling it a 'nonsense' that one of the world's richest countries was doing so little."

Germany takes 1/3 of EU asylum applications (The Local.de, link): "More than one in three asylum seekers across the European Union applied for refugee status in Germany in the second quarter of 2015, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority showed on Friday."

Refugee electrocuted at Channel Tunnel site (The Local.fr, link): "A refugee was electrocuted late Thursday near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in France as he tried to climb on to the roof of a train to make his way to England, police said."

Austria sends refugees to Slovakia (The Local.at, link): "Just 18 of an agreed 500 Syrian asylum-seekers arrived in Slovakia on Thursday under a deal with EU neighbour Austria that has sparked protest in the village where they will stay temporarily."

Bulgaria accepts up to 1,200 refugees with no troops at its borders - at least for now (standartnews.com, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: "President Tusk decided to convene an extraordinary, informal meeting of the heads of state or government on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 18:00 to discuss how to deal with the refugee crisis." (link) This will follow the extra meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.

Will the Council invoke QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) to push through relocation plans? Tusk calls new EU summit on refugees - Countries still deadlocked over plan to relocate asylum-seekers (politico, link)

EU: Refugee Crisis: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):

"An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.... Parliament backed the Commission's proposal (without amending it) by 370 votes to 134, with 52 abstentions. It then approved a legislative resolution by 372 votes to 124, with 54 abstentions, informing the Council that this approval is without prejudice to the position it will subsequently take on the proposal establishing a permanent crisis relocation mechanism, on which Parliament will co-decide on an equal footing with the member states."

"Under the Commission proposal, additional 120,000 asylum seekers would be relocated from Italy (15,600), Greece (50,400) and Hungary (54,000). [but] Luxembourg's Minister for Immigration and Asylum,Jean Asselborn, speaking on behalf of the Council's presidency, informed Parliament that "there will be an important change to the initial proposal: Hungary does not consider itself to be a frontline country and it does not want to benefit from the relocation scheme. "

How this plan will be implemented (eg: which refugees/asylum-seekers will qualify) will be decided by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015.

Migrant crisis: UN 'shocked' over clashes in Hungary (BBC News, link):

"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is "shocked" after Hungarian police fired tear gas and water cannon to force migrants back from its border.Mr Ban said such treatment of asylum seekers was "unacceptable". Hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on Wednesday, trying to breach a razor-wire fence."

News (17.9.15)

Commission ready to drop mandatory quotas for refugees (euractiv, link): "European authorities are prepared to drop the idea of a mandatory scheme to redistribute 120,000 asylum seekers around the bloc, in favour of a voluntary system favoured by Eastern European states, officials said on Wednesday (16 September)."

Report from Lesvos (3) by Fiona O'Malley: "Before going to Lesvos, I assumed the worst things I would see would be a direct result of general apathy and a lack of resources: stuff like people being forced to walk huge distances, people sleeping in the streets, people going without food, water, clothes, and so on. I didn’t expect to see much deliberate abuse, and certainly did not expect to personally witness abuse perpetrated by state actors. However, on a number of occasions I witnessed abuse carried out by the Turkish coastguard and spoke to refugees, journalists and volunteers who had been subjected to or witnessed abuse carried out by both the Turkish and Greek coastguards."

Greece: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (Crowd funding, link)

Electronic tagging may await rejected asylum seekers (euobserver, link): "Rejected asylum applicants who refuse to leave the EU may end up being electronically tagged before being sent back home. The plans are part of a larger effort by the European Commission to quickly dispatch those not entitled to EU residency.... The details are outlined in a 13-page draft internal commission communication paper, seen by this website.... If no other solution is found, “returns must be enforced”, with “electronic surveillance” and “semi-closed facilities” as alternative measures to just locking people up, the paper adds. " [emphasis added]

Europe's refugee crisis: Is Frontex bordering on chaos? The Bureau investigates the EU's frontline border agency (BIJ, link): "Later today as Frontex director, Fabrice Leggeri is questioned in front of MEPs, the Bureau is publishing the results of a three-month investigation into this little understood, and rarely scrutinised European agency. We have examined its €143m a year accounts and other open source material such as contracts, tenders, speeches, technical reports, as well as interviewing senior officials, politicians and analysts."

CoE Secretary General questions Hungary over human rights (link): "Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland will write to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about new legislation adopted in the context of the migration crisis. “I am concerned about a series of recent amendments to legislation in Hungary which will, among other things, allow the Government to declare a ‘state of crisis’ caused by mass immigration."

France 'won't hesitate' to install border controls (The Local.fr, link): "France will "not hesitate" to follow Germany in bringing back border controls over the refugee crisis if it becomes necessary in the coming weeks, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday."

Austria: Spielfeld prepares for thousands of refugees (The Local.at, link): "Spielfeld in Styria looks set to become the new entrance point for thousands of refugees crossing the border from Slovenia, after Hungary closed its entire border with Serbia and made it illegal for migrants to enter the country."

Germany: Refugee numbers back up despite border checks (The Local.de, link): "The migrant influx into Germany has risen sharply again, days after the introduction of border controls, with police counting 9,100 irregular entries Wednesday, up from about 6,000 the previous day. Federal police said Thursday that "almost all came from Austria", with about 2,000 arriving on trains Wednesday and the rest by road or on foot, three days after Germany introduced passport checks on borders Sunday."

Bulgaria sends troops to guard border with Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "Bulgaria is sending more soldiers to strengthen controls along its border with Turkey and avoid a refugee influx that has overwhelmed its neighbours, Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said on Wednesday." and Bulgaria Ready to Deploy 1000 Troops to Turkey Border over Migrant Pressure (novinite.com. link) also: Thousands of Migrants Entered Croatia from Serbia in 24 Hours (novinite.com. link)

800 migrants are walking to Bulgaria from Istanbul (standartnews.com, link): "The migrants want to reach the borders with Bulgaria and Greece and then being transferred to Europe, but the Turkish security forces did not allow them to travel by bus from the bus station. So they decided to go on foot."

Czech military bracing itself for border control (Prague Post, link): "APCs and other equipment may be deployed to Czech-Austrian border"

Hungary behaviour 'unacceptable' says Gentiloni - 'Unsustainable in the long run' says Italy FM (ANSA, link): ""If I have to make a prediction I don't think the current Hungarian position is sustainable in the long term because, as I repeat, you can't choose what you like from Europe and refuse the rest". Hungary said Thursday it might accept migrant quotas if a new EU force was set up to control borders, reinforcing Frontex."

Walls and violence will not solve migrant crisis: EU Commissioner (Reuters, link): "Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto lashed out at those criticizing Hungary’s handling of the clashes.... Szijjarto said the European Union's common refugee policy had failed to tackle the crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people fleeing poverty, war and persecution in the Middle East, Asia and Africa pour into the continent... He said the EU should establish a common force without delay to protect Greece's borders, to which Hungary would provide a "massive national contribution" in the form of police, money and soldiers." [emphasis added]

Bulgarian public figures launch open letter to govt over refugees (focus-fen.net. link): "Big group of Bulgarian artists releases an open letter to the Bulgarian government in connection with the refugee wave:. 100 signatories, is backed by prominent Bulgarian intellectuals and artists.... It says that the European Christian civilisation is facing new difficult challenges and threats with unpredictable consequences because of the millions of refugees heading at Europe and it is naïve to calm ourselves down that the matter in point concerns only refugee waves inspired by humanitarian reasons. In connection with the tragic events and catastrophic threats, the declaration calls the ruling power to come out with clear and explicit position defending the national interests"

Denmark to voluntarily take 1,000 EU refugees (The Local.dk, link): "Ahead of Thursday's EU top meeting in Brussels, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that the country will voluntarily offer to take in an additional 1,000 refugees."

Hungary has been shamed by Viktor Orbán’s government by George Szirtes (Gaurdain, link): "As a 1956 refugee I deplore Orbán’s policy of fear. He doesn’t represent the thousands who care about those crowded at the Hungarian-Serbian border"

New migrant restrictions on France, Austria borders (DW, link): "Traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and Germany has been halted on the orders of the German authorities, according to Austrian state rail. Germany has also boosted controls on part of its border with France."

EU Fundamental Rights Agency: FRA steps up migration work in response to ongoing tragedies (link): "FRA is conducting a large-scale research project on the fundamental rights impact of the collecting, storing and using the biometrics data collected in the three large-scale IT systems (Eurodac, the Schengen Information System and Visa Information System) established to exchange personal data in the area of asylum and borders." and On 3 September FRA will publish its latest report, The cost of exclusion from healthcare – the case of migrants in an irregular situation.

EU: Refugee crisis: Turning point for Europe: humanity remembered by Monish Bhatia and Ann Singleton (Open Democracy, link):

"Both governments and ordinary people should respond to the humanitarian crisis with a renewed sense of humanity... Last week the public and media became aware, through one image across Europe (and the world) of the plight of people fleeing for their lives. Within the UK this image produced an awakening after months and years of warnings about the consequences of policy failures, wars and discrimination against migrants. Evidence of the catastrophic failures of UK and EU migration policies, which are based solely on immigration control, borders and ‘security’, have been disbelieved or treated with scepticism by policy makers, officials and many academics."

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 22/09/2015 (link): "The Council will start at 14:30. Ministers will continue discussions on migration. They will focus on the Commission proposal for the emergency relocation of 120 000 persons in need of international protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows to other EU member states." and Parliament fast-tracks vote on 120,000 refugee relocation plan (pdf)

News (16.9.15)

New reception centers in works but officials fear impact of border closures (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities are concerned that thousands of refugees and migrants could end up trapped in Greece as a number of European countries have essentially closed their borders to keep a flood of desperate people at bay.Greek officials indicate that the situation is under control for now but there are fears that a failure to reach a solution at the European level could lead to chaotic scenes in Greece."

UNHCR urges Europe to change course on refugee crisis (link): "UNHCR reiterates its deep conviction that only a united European emergency response can address the present refugee and migration crisis. Individual measures by individual countries will not solve the problem but will make an already chaotic situation worse, further the suffering of people and increase tension amongst states at a time when Europe needs more solidarity and trust. UNHCR is particularly concerned about a series of restrictive measures recently introduced by Hungary and the way they are being implemented, resulting in extremely limited access for refugees at the border. New legislation includes deterrence measures, some contrary to international law and European jurisprudence when applied to asylum-seekers and refugees."

Hungary opens fire on refugees with tear gas as it steps up border operation (The Independent, link): "Hungary has dramatically escalated its anti-refugee border controls, firing upon asylum-seekers with tear gas and water cannon and bringing in more personnel with armoured vehicles." and see Video on ITN News, link) and
Hungary uses water cannon and tear gas against migrants (Channel 4 News, link) also: Refugees arrested under strict new Hungarian border laws (Channel 4 News, link): "Police have detained nine Syrian and seven Afghan refugees for illegally crossing the razor wire fence at the border town of Roszke. Police spokeswoman Viktoria Csiszer-Kovacs said the refugees were suspected of lifting the fence to get into Hungary, which is now a crime under the strict laws that came into effect from midnight."

Germany piles on the pressure in refugee talks (euobserver, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Austria's Werner Faymann, called for an emergency summit of EU leaders next week to address the crisis at the highest level, a few hours after her interior minister hinted at cuts in EU funding for countries opposed to sharing refugees." and: EU interior ministers will meet again on 22 September, the Luxembourg presidency of the EU Council announced. The aim will be "a decision on a provisional mechanism for the relocation of 120,000 people in need of international protection", it said in a statement, after ministers failed to agree on Monday.

EU leaders must take more responsibility in migration crisis (EP: GUE press release,link): "Italian GUE/NGL MEP Barbara Spinelli called the Council conclusions "indecent". She said: "A majority of member states backs the Commission proposal* to relocate 120,000 refugees from Hungary, Greece and Italy but is letting some countries throw a spanner in the works. Relocation has only been agreed in principle and is not binding or permanent in nature. Europe talks about values, but forgets that we are talking about rights and laws." For Greek GUE/NGL MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis: "We have a humanitarian crisis of refugees and we need an EU-wide humanitarian response. We need real leaders and for these leaders to stop hiding behind their ministers. It is inhumane for Europe to be absent and to build walls when a handful of right-wing and extreme right-wing governments are blocking the necessary decisions. The EU needs to be a trailblazer."

Syrian father and son tripped up by camerawoman find home in Madrid (The Local.es, link) "The Syrian father and son who made headlines around the world after being tripped by a Hungarian journalist are on their way to a new life in Spain... and it is all thanks to football.... Now the father and son are heading to Madrid thanks to Spain’s Football Coach Training Centre (Cenafe), which has offered the Syrian refugee a job and accommodation after learning that he worked as a football coach back in Syria."

Bulgaria Extends Additional BGN 5M to State Agency for Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria’s government has approved additional spending of BGN 5M (EUR 2.5M) to back activities of the State Agency for Refugees stemming from increased migratory pressure. The additional expenditure under the Interior Ministry budget will be used to provide food to asylum seekers, maintain security at reception centers as well as cover the cost of operations of the agency’s branches in the country."

Sweden gets 5200 asylum claims in a week (The Local.se, link)

Denmark sticks to hardline refugee stance (The Local.dk, link): "Denmark's government, which depends on the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DF) to pass legislation, is sticking to a hardline stance on refugees despite growing public support for a more open approach. "Denmark has become the Hungary of the Nordic region, a transit country to a place that will welcome a refugee," the liberal Politiken daily wrote recently."

EU says hotspots starting to work in Italy (ANSA, link) and Italy told to set up refugee 'hotspot' centres (The Local.it, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded that both Italy and Greece set up ‘hotspot’ centres to swiftly process asylum requests, arguing that a deal on the redistribution of refugees across the EU depended on it."

Migrants leave Salzburg on foot as trains stop (The Local.au, link): "Hundreds of refugees who had massed at the main train station in the city of Salzburg left on foot on Wednesday in the hope of reaching Germany, a city spokesman said."

New migrant restrictions on France, Austria borders (DW, link): "Traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and Germany has been halted on the orders of the German authorities, according to Austrian state rail. Germany has also boosted controls on part of its border with France." and Germany soldiers 'to chase' smugglers in EU Mediterranean mission (DW, link): "Germany's cabinet has approved measures allowing Germany's military to chase traffickers' boats in the Mediterranean. Previously, the mission was strictly search and rescue, with suspected traffickers allowed to sail by. "

Police and migrants in stand-off near Turkey's Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link) "Hundreds of mainly Syrian migrants spent the night out in the open near Turkey's Greek border after police halted their bid to reach the frontier and cross into the European Union." and After refugee drownings, focus shifts to Greek-Turkish land border (ekathimerini.com, link)

Višegrad group blocks EU agreement on redistribution of migrants (Praha, limk)

Frontex: More than 500 000 migrants detected at EU external borders so far this year (link): "More than 500 000 migrants were detected at EU external borders in the first eight months of this year after a fifth consecutive monthly record was registered in August when 156 000 crossed the EU borders. However, a large number of the persons detected at the Hungarian border with Serbia had already been counted when they arrived in Greece from Turkey a few weeks earlier. By comparison, in the entire 2014, there were 280 000 detections at EU borders." and "Since the beginning of the year, 106 000 migrants were rescued in the Central Mediterranean, 6 percent fewer than in the same period of last year. It is important to note that most of the rescues took place closer to the Libyan coast than to the EU sea borders."

Hungary, Austria seal their borders as refugee crisis escalates (euractiv, link): "Hungary's right-wing government shut the main land route for migrants into the European Union on Tuesday (15 September), aiming to halt a massive influx of refugees. Austria did the same, closing its borders with neighbours Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia, dealing a further blow to Europe's vaunted Schengen area of free travel. Under new rules that took effect beginning at midnight (16 September), Hungary said anyone seeking asylum on its southern border with Serbia, the EU's external frontier, would automatically be turned back, and anyone trying to sneak through would face jail. Hungary's conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also announced plans for a similar barrier on its frontier with Romania."

Migrants head to Croatia as Hungary shuts borders (France 24, link): "Croatia found itself dragged into the migrant crisis on Wednesday as migrants crossed into Serbia's western neighbour after Hungary locked down its frontier."

French Interior Minister Calls Border Controls 'Stupid' (Huffington Post, link): "n the wake of Berlin's recent decision to temporarily reintroduce controls at Germany's border with Austria, president of the French far right National Front, Marine Le Pen, has urged France to do the same. Le Pen’s suggestion was met with immediate, and strong, opposition from interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve. He criticized her suggestion to reinstate checks at France's border with Germany, calling it a “stupid” idea,"

PM: Europe's outer border must be secured (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The measures Germany and Austria have taken on their borders do not resolve the migration issue, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after a government meeting yesterday and added that the outer border of the Schengen area must be secured."

Muslims become number one victims of hate crimes in Spain (el pais, link)  "At least 57 cases of hate crime have been reported throughout Spain so far this year, says the Interior Ministry. And most of those complaints, which are now investigated in all their forms under the new penal code, are the result of Islamophobia, representing 40 percent of the total, according to police reports."

IOM fears EU indecision will lead to more refugee deaths (Reuters, link): "Political indecision among European Union member states may lead to more refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday, calling for agreement and "responsibility-sharing". "As dangers increase we fear that the indecisions in Europe will lead to more deaths in the Aegean (sea)," Leonard Doyle, chief IOM spokesman, told a news briefing in Geneva. "Decisions made by various (European) governments to put border controls will have a very damaging effect.""

Migration creates a deepening gulf between East and West - Political tensions across central Europe are rising as solutions prove elusive (The Economist, link)

EU: Deflecting Responsibility to Protect Refugees (HRW, link)" Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU... Faced with Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the collapse of Yugoslavia, EU governments can only agree to push responsibility to countries outside the Union,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU is supposed to have a Common European Asylum System, yet EU governments can’t even agree on how to share responsibility for those in need of refuge.”"

Report on: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe Update (16.9.15):

The Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees is effective only for those who:

"have arrived or are arriving on the territory of those Member States [Greece and Italy"] as from 15 August 2015 until 16 September 2017"

Both the European Commission and the European Parliament wanted the relocation programme to run from April 2015. The Council Decision to only start tjhe programme from 15 August 2015 excludes hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived before this date. It would appear that the Council only wants to include those who will be caught by the new "hotspots" being set up in Greece and Italy where all new arrivals will be fingerprinted and registered. (Press release, 14.9.15: Relocation of 40 000 refugees from Greece and ltaly agreed by CounciI pdf)

There are a plethora of documents and statements from the Council of the European Union on the refugee crisis - the clearest guide to the their coercive thinking on creating "hotspots" for registration and fingerprinting, accelerated asylum procedures, "returns" and more see: Migration: EU action, state of play and next steps (Doc no: 11782-1-15, 11 September 2015, pdf)

News (15.9.15): EU: MED CRISIS: Germany reintroduces border controls; latest news updates from across Europe

Germany has reintroduced border controls in response to the number of migrants and refugees travelling to the country. The border with Austria is the main focus, and all train travel between Austria and Germany has been halted. The European Commission has said that Germany's decision "underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis."

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 14 September 2015 called to discuss Mediterranean crisis: See Background Note (pdf)

"B Points" for discussion: Agenda (pdf) which includes: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:

(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.

(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:

"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking"

Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.:

and "A" Points Agenda (non-legislative, nodded through without discussion, pdf) - contains the following two documents:

- Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf)
- Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (pdf) encouraging Member States to use more entry bans

Background: European Commission proposals on refugee crisis

News (12-13.9.15)

EU aid arrives and so does fingerprinting: Report from Lesvos: Meeting with the Mayor: "A new center in a football pitch with 40 computers that can take fingerprints checked via Interpol and register the migrant/refugees. This center will operate for a week on a 24/7 basis. They will take people to the centre by bus then get on the ship to Athens. The second part of the plan is to organise 3 new centres, one in Mytilene, one in Kapi Lesvos (NE of Lesbos) and one in Petra where they will register the refugees and also they will also use as departing harbour Sigri which is nearer to the mainland and the trips could be faster."

Pro-refugee barefoot protests sweep Italy (ANSA, link): "More barefoot marches took place in several Italian cities on Friday calling for refugees to be welcomed in Europe. Thousands of people attended barefoot protests in Venice, Rome, Mantua and Naples Friday after similar demonstrations on other parts of the country in recent days."

‘Refugees welcome here’: UK marchers take to streets with message of support (The Observer, link): "Senior UN official warns that, if the war in Syria continues, a million more of its people may be displaced by the end of the year."

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1 (The Local.de, link): "Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts."

'Don't throw refugees off Sweden's trains' (The Local.se, link): "Refugees who board a train and have do not have enough money for the entire journey will not be thrown off the train, according to to an internal e-mail from Sweden’s state-owned train operator, SJ."

Bulgaria's Sofia Joins #RefugeesWelcome Initiative (.novinite.com, link): "Bulgarians on Saturday took to the streets of the capital Sofia to show solidarity with the hardship of migrants fleeing the war in Syria and seeking a better life in Europe...Saturday's demonstration ended in front of the EU Commission office building in downtown Sofia. Participants held placards reading "Europe Says Welcome", "Europe Is Not a Fortress", "Stop Killing Refugees", or "Xenophobia Is Illegal, People Are Not"."

German pro-refugee politician defies neo-Nazis (DW, link): "A senior German politician whose district council is enlarging hostels for refugees says he won't be deterred by a neo-Nazi murder threat. Erich Pipa says "99 percent" of residents support his stand to provide shelter." and Five injured when refugee shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt catches fire (DW, link): "Five people have been injured in a fire in a migrant shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt. Police are investigating whether this may be the latest in a series of arson attacks on refugee homes across Germany."

Thessaloniki makes preparations to receive refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "Preparations are under way in Thessaloniki so the northern city will be in a position to house refugees who will find it more difficult to cross Greece’s northern borders while heading to Central Europe in the winter. Kathimerini understands that around 120 prefabricated structures, similar to those used to house refugees at the Elaionas camp in Athens, have been moved to the city and are to be installed on land belonging to the Hellenic Railways Organization."

Trafficking of Refugees Reportedly Takes New Route Across Bulgarian-Greek Border (novinite, link)

Beyond Hungary: how the Czech Republic and Slovakia are responding to refugees (The Conversation, link): "After Hungarian authorities finally allowed trains to leave Budapest’s main railway station on August 31, about 200 refugees arrived on the territory of the Czech Republic. They were taken off the train by Czech police in the town of Breclav on the Austrian-Czech border and placed in detention."

Pro-refugee rallies due as Europe squabbles (The Local.es, link): "Tens of thousands were due to rally in European capitals on Saturday in support of refugees as Hungary's populist prime minister called for a giant aid package for countries around war-ravaged Syria to stem mass migration to Europe. The Europe-wide "day of action" includes dozens of events across several nations with the biggest demonstration expected in London. There are also rival anti-migrant events due to take place, notably in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia."

UNHCR urges full and swift implementation of European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (link): ""Given the urgency of the situation, these proposals need to be implemented fully and swiftly," UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva."

'Difficult for Sweden to register refugees' (The Local.no, link): "Norway on Friday pulled back from criticising Sweden after the country’s migration authorities admitted that they could not force refugees to register if they wanted to move onwards to Norway."

Denmark says no to EU's 160,000 refugee plan (The Local.dk, link): "Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said on Friday that with the nation's opt-out on EU asylum policies, there is "simply no reason" that Denmark should participate in the EU's plan to resettle asylum seekers."

Ministers hammer out plan for refugee influx (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian government is holding talks on Friday on how to deal more effectively with the large numbers of refugees entering the country from Hungary, some of whom are claiming asylum in Austria. They will discuss integration, housing and employment opportunities. "

France takes in refugees but abandons 'migrants' (The Local.fr,link)

Two horrific videos: Refugees forced to scramble for food by police in Hungary (Guardian, link): "PM says Hungary facing ‘a rebellion by illegal migrants’ as officers filmed throwing sandwiches towards desperate crowds at centre in Röszke" and see Packed In A Dinghy With Syria's Refugees (Sky News, link): Remarkable video on the crossing from Assos in Turkey to Lesvos, including attempted interception by Turkish coastguard boat and shots were fired into the air - but the dinghy crosses into Greek waters.

HUNGARY: Refugees encounter prisoners building Hungary's border fence – video Guardian, link): "Refugees entering Hungary witness the building of the country’s new border fence with Serbia. Hungary has pressed on with the fence, which is due to be finished in October, as authorities move to restrict illegal entry next week. The fence is being built by prisoners along the 109 mile border with Hungary’s former Yugoslavian neighbour"

News (11.9.15)

Borderland Europe and the challenge of migration (Open Democracy, link) by Etienne Balibar:

" We tend to think that the external limits of the European Union define the 'real' borders of Europe, which is a mistake..... part of the solution is within reach: this minimum would be achieved by 1) an official declaration on the 'state of humanitarian urgency' on the entire 'territory' under the auspices of the European Commission, 2) the binding commitment of all EU member states to treat refugees with dignity and equity from each according to their objectively measurable ability."

Bulgaria: Interior Minister Says Bulgaria Will Fulfill Its Commitment to Accept Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova assured that Bulgaria will fulfill its commitment to accept the refugees, who will be distributed from Greece, Italy and Hungary according to the new quota system unveiled by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday."

Denmark says it already has 'fair share' of refugees (euobserver, link): "Denmark will not take part in a mandatory distribution of asylum seekers, as suggested by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Danish integration minister Inger Stoejberg said. She told told Danish news agency Ritzau on Friday (11 September) that an informal distribution of refugees is already taking place across Europe and that Denmark has granted asylum to 'a fair share' of them."

German politician goes public with racist abuse on Facebook (DW, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians have called on Facebook to do more against racist comments on the site. Now an opposition politician has gone public with the abuse she has taken on her Facebook page."

Germany: The Breaking Point? Germany's Asylum System Struggles to Cope (Der Spiegel Online, link): "As the migrant influx continues, the 'Refugees Welcome' high is beginning to wear off. People are beginning to wonder if Germany will really be able to cope with all the newcomers. And the system is already completely overwhelmed." and Countering the Hate: 'People Are Getting Involved in Tremendous Ways' (DEr Spiegel Online, link): "Around 800,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany this year, with the number of Syrians growing rapidly. Manfred Schmidt, Germany's top migration official, discusses how the country is coping with the massive influx."

New Defense Minister: Hungary Can Protect Its Schengen Border (Hungary Today, link): "Hungary can protect its own and the European Union’s Schengen borders and will prove that ability, István Simicskó, the new Hungarian defense minister, told public television M1. He said that Hungary’s defence system can and must be used to prevent a “new type of migration” across the country, compromising the security of its residents. Asked how the military would be used along the border, the new defense minister said soldiers would assist the police. “Each army has a basic task, a task in protecting the country, a task to deter, to coerce, or to demonstrate power.” The military will need to convey the message that those who enter legally, will receive fair treatment, while illegal immigrants will be prosecuted, he said. The minister also said that early completion of the fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia was of key importance."

Immigration: Hungarian Government Considers Declaring State Of Crisis (Hungary Today, link): "The interior ministry has proposed that the Hungarian government declare a state of crisis in light of the massive influx of migrants, which will be discussed at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, government office chief János Lázár told a press conference. Lázár said that findings by the national security cabinet indicate that organised crime and the threat of terrorism are on the rise in Hungary. In response to a question, Lázár said that the deadline for completing construction on the border fence at the Röszke border station, including the railroad tracks, is September 15."

Hungary: Abysmal Conditions in Border Detention - Ensure Adequate Access to Food, Water, Medical Care (HRW, link): "Migrants and asylum seekers are being held in abysmal conditions in the two Roszke migrant detention centers on the Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today after obtaining footage from inside the camp and interviewing persons currently and formerly detained there. Hungarian police intercept asylum seekers and migrants entering via Serbia and detain them for days for registration and processing in conditions that fall short of Hungary’s international obligations."

Refugee Air (link): "Swedish entrepreneurs and humanitarians are taking migration matters into their own hands, and are working to airlift Syrian refugees into the EU. The effort is led by Susanne Najafi and Emad Zand. “As entrepreneurs we find solutions, and if we can fly people to the moon, why shouldn’t we be able to fly refugees safely to Europe?” says Najafi"

Why Europe is conflicted over immigration (kuve, link)

CoE: The Dublin system has collapsed and must be reformed as a matter of urgency, says Migration Committee (Parlimentary Assembly, link)

Why do so many refugees avoid Bulgaria? (DW, link) "In an Arabic language "Refugee Handbook," Bulgaria ranks first among countries asylum seekers should avoid. Refugees say xenophobia and Islamophobia are widespread and that they try to skirt around the country."

Migrant crisis: People treated 'like animals' in Hungary camp (BBC News, link) with video: "Footage has emerged of migrants being thrown bags of food at a Hungarian camp near the border with Serbia.An Austrian woman who shot the video said the migrants were being treated like "animals" and called for European states to open their borders. The emergency director of Human Rights Watch said the migrants were being held like "cattle in pens""

Serbia happy to help EU, ambivalent about refugee hub status (euractiv, link): "The EU has praised Serbia for coping with the refugee crisis. However, this contributed to widespread speculation inside the country that it will host a large refugee camp."

Polish prime minister says accepting refugees is Poland's duty (Reuters, link): "Poland cannot afford to accept economic migrants, but it is the biggest central European economy's duty to accept refugees fleeing wars, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said on Thursday "Accepting migrants escaping to save their lives is our duty," Kopacz, speaking ahead of an election in October."

Czech political spectrum united in opposition to EU migrant quotas (Praha Radio, link): "Politicians from across the Czech political spectrum have reaffirmed their opposition to a revised plan unveiled by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday that would see member states dividing-up 160,000 asylum seekers. Instead, Czech elected officials are maintaining that assistance to refugees should be a voluntary matter."

Hungary's Orban faces off against refugees (The Local.at, link): " Prime Minister Viktor Orban was never much of a liberal. A former US ambassador recently quoted him as saying: "All this talk about democracy is bullshit" after one too many lectures regarding his authoritarian ways. Yet even by his own reactionary standards, the building of a heavily fortified fence along the country's southern border, patrolled by sniffer dogs and possibly the army, looks like an extreme step -- particularly in a country with vivid memories of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain.The UN's refugee agency said new laws due to come into force next week, threatening three years in jail for anyone breaking through the barrier, "could lead to chaos", while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the fence a breach of "Europe's common values"." [emphasis added]

Italian van driver stopped with 33 Syrians aboard in Hungary - Says 'saw them shivering in cold' (ANSA, link): "Rome, September 11 - An Italian van driver was stopped with 33 Syrians aboard heading for Germany near Budapest Friday, police said. The man, 55, driving a red Fiat Ducato, was stopped near Lake Balaton. There were two women among the refugees in the back. The Italian embassy is investigating the matter. The man reportedly said he had picked up the refugees after he saw them shivering in the cold. He has been accused of human trafficking."

‘Transit’ countries get tough on refugees (euractiv, link): "While Germany has surprised the world with its welcome of refugees, Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Denmark are growing hostile towards them, despite the fact that asylum seekers show no interest in settling there."

CSU denounces Merkel's refugee policy as a 'mistake' (DW, link): "Members of the CSU - sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU - have dubbed the German Chancellor's handling of the refugee crisis a "mistake." Germany saw the arrival of more than 15,000 asylum seekers last weekend alone."

European Commission: Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf):

"The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."

Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link): So far in 2015:

- Arrivals in the EU: 381,412
- Dead/Missing: 2,850
- Arrivals in Greece: 258,365
- Arrivals in Italy: 121,000


See: Greek islands: Map (pdf)

Cities of refuge: EUROCITIES members take leadership (link):

"Johanna Rolland, EUROCITIES president and mayor of Nantes, explains how cities are taking leadership when it comes to welcoming refugees. Under the increasing pressure from European Institutions and the impact of tragic current events, Member states are stepping up their response to one of the greatest humanitarian crisis ever faced by the European Union....

Throughout the summer, our cities have continued to provide emergency assistance, housing, healthcare and social services where asylum seekers and migrants were stranded, transiting, or have reached their final destination. We have also challenged extremist discourses, such as in Leipzig and Dresden. We have called for open and welcoming societies. We have taken leadership and chosen to support movements emerging at local level to welcome refugees."

CLOSING THE BORDERS? Record number of refugees enter Hungary amid border crackdown fears - Hungarian police say 3,221 people entered country from Serbia on Wednesday in advance of new border controls expected next week (Guardian, link): "Orbán has also ordered the speeding up of the construction of a 3.5-metre high fence along Hungary’s southern frontier with Serbia. He has also vowed to cut to zero the number of migrants entering from next Tuesday. Explaining the new system, the justice minister László Trócsányi said an area similar to an “airport transit zone” would be set up at the border. “While it is located in the territory of the given state, the entry into the transit zone does not qualify, in immigration terms, as an entry into that state,” he said. Activists fear this will strand people in a legal limbo and lead to the vast majority of asylum seekers being turned back "

and see: Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the country’s borders."

VERY Important info for Serbia-Hungary-Border-crossing-refugees (Refugee Relief Action Forum: TwitLonger, link): ""As of next Tuesday, the authorities in Hungary will adopt a completely different approach to the refugees.Those who enter illegally, will be captured, jailed and quickly expelled from the country. Those who submit an application for asylum legally, can not even enter the territory of Hungary and will be returned to Serbia within few hours. The government in the coming weeks is preparing for crowd dispensing scenes, but Orbán said that this is the only way to have relative calm by Christmas.".

Refugees face chaos and harsh conditions at Serbia-Hungary border (AI, link): "“While Europe rejoiced in happy images from Austria and Germany yesterday, refugees crossing into Hungary right now see a very different picture: riot police and a cold hard ground to sleep on,”

Macedonian guards filmed threatening refugees with batons on border with Greece - Guards attempt to control influx of 4,000 people, the largest single wave of refugees and migrants the Greek border police has seen so far (Guardian, link)

MACEDONIA-GREECE: FYROM mulls fencing off border against migrants, says foreign minister ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is considering building a Hungarian-style border fence to stem a rising influx of migrants from the south, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki was quoted as saying on Thursday."

News (10.9.15)

Refugee Children: Hungarian Orphanages Overwhelmed With Minors Who Make Journey To Europe Alone (IBT, link)


Refugee crisis: the fifth boat to land on Lesvos this morning alone (Channel 4 News with short video, link): "The boats pop into view as if from nowhere, frighteningly low in the water, snaking from left to right looking for a place to land on the northern shore of Lesbos. Why here? Because it’s 6km across the Mytilini Strait from Turkey to Greece.... A window of flat calm water with no wind has prompted a mad dash of boats. There were twenty seven yesterday. The one we filmed was the fifth this morning."

Ireland to take 4,000 refugees in new programme - Burton says total will be ‘signficantly higher’ as family members join under reunification rules (Irish Times, link)

As refugees crowd onto Lesbos, the IRC is providing vital information and registration service (IRC link): "“People overwhelmingly just want to move on,” says Emily David, the IRC’s emergency protection coordinator. “They want to continue their journey at whatever the cost. They’re determined to reach their friends, family and find safety in Europe. We’re here to make sure that journey is as safe and dignified as possible.""

Szijjártó on high moral ground as chaos worsens (Budapest Times, link)

Ács mayor quits Fidesz over PM's remarks on Roma (Budapest Busines Journal, link)

MACEDONIA-SERBIA: 5,000 refugees arrive in Serbian town in one day: A record number of refugees - as many as 5,000 - arrived to the reception center in Kanjiza, northern Serbia, in a single day, RTS said on Thursday morning. (b92, link)

Worsening conditions inside Syria and the region fuel despair, driving thousands towards Europe (UNHCR, link): "Deteriorating conditions in Syria and neighbouring countries are driving thousands of Syrians to risk everything on perilous journeys to Europe, the UN refugee agency cautioned on Tuesday. As the crisis digs deeper into its fifth year with no sign of a political solution in sight, despair is on the rise and hope is in short supply."

Thousands of refugees, migrants at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Thousands of people, including many families with young children, are braving torrential downpours to cross Greece's northern border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), after Greek authorities managed to register about 17,000 people on the island of Lesvos in the space of a few days, allowing them to continue their journey north into Europe.... About 7,000 people waited in the mud of an open field near the northern village of Idomeni to cross the FYROM border early Thursday, with more arriving in trains, buses and taxis."

Common asylum system at a turning point: - Refugees caught in Europe’s solidarity crisis (AIDA, link)

European Parliament: MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "Ms Keller also stressed the need for a "permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states." The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system. The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions."

Dreaming of Europe, Syrians in Turkey undeterred by Aegean tragedy (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Ali, 31, a Syrian seeking to move to Europe, sits in a cafe in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, impatient and angry. Undeterred by a succession of fatal accidents, he wants to cross the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece in the hope of making it to Britain, or Germany as Berlin takes in more Syrian refugees."

Danish police: Refugees can travel on to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish National Police said on Thursday that arriving refugees and migrants will now be allowed to pass through Denmark on the way to Sweden."

Denmark-Germany trains resume amid influx (The Local.de, link): "Denmark's train operator said early Thursday it expected rail traffic across the German border to resume later in the day, after police ordered services to be suspended due to an influx of migrants. "

New spike in refugees entering Austria (The Local.at, link): "Austria witnessed a new spike in migrant numbers overnight with more than 3,000 people crossing unimpeded from Hungary, authorities said on Thursday." and The expats working overtime for refugees (The Local.at, link): "As exhausted and destitute refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, continue to arrive in Vienna one group of expats has been working overtime to gather and distribute donations."

Polish PM says EU summit on migrants may take place earlier than planned (Reuters, link)

Grybauskaite - Lithuania should accept over 1,000 refugees (Baltic Times, link)

Refugee crisis: how does Europe solve a problem like Viktor Orbán? Anti-immigrant stance of Hungary’s prime minister is discomforting other European leaders but there seems little they can do to change his ways (Guardian, link)

Refugee crisis: Europe's leading newspapers urge governments to act now in open letter - Europe must show that it is built on the principles of solidarity, equality and liberty (Independent, link):"Our leaders must show courage and insight if they are not to fail this test of our shared European civilization. We need to act, and we need to act now:

Bernd Ulrich, Die Zeit, Germany, Ezio Mauro, La Repubblica, Italy, Antonio Caño, El Paìs, Spain, Johan Hufnagel and Laurent Joffrin Libération, France, Amol Rajan, The Independent, UK, Oliver Duff, i, UK, Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday, UK, Christian Broughton, independent.co.uk, Andreas Paraschos, Kathimerini, Cypres, András Murányi, Népszabadság, Hungary, Matúš Kostolný, Denník N, Slovakia, , Adam Michnik, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, Jan Helin, Aftonbladet, Sweden
Christian Jensen, Information, Denmark, Anna B. Jenssen, Morgenbladet, Norway
"

EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Council of the European Union encouraging MS to use more entry bans (dated 8 September 2015): Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (doc no: 11648-15, pdf). The document notes:

"At its meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015, the European Council concluded that "Member States will fully implement the Return Directive, making full use of all measures it provides to ensure the swift return of irregular migrants; return decisions issued by the Member States will be introduced in the Schengen Information System" [emphasis added]

The Council wants a "new legislative package" but in "short-term" want to use a "soft law" (non-binding, but enabling) set of Council "Conclusions" and:

"The Permanent Representatives Committee is invited to confirm agreement on the draft Council Conclusions as set out in the Annex and to submit them to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) on 14 September 2015 for adoption as an A point."

Statewatch notes that: "A Points" are nodded through without debate.

EU: Council of the European Union: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:

(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.

(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:

"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human
smuggling or trafficking"

Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Deputy PM calls for ‘Mediterranean Shield’ to sink empty smugglers’ ships (Prague Post, link):

"NATO should start a naval operation in the Mediterranean that should sink people smugglers’ ships and protect the Turkish border, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said today. Babiš said he wanted to discuss the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who will come for a two-day visit to the Czech Republic this afternoon. “I want to call on Stoltenberg to start the operation. With its joint forces, NATO should protect the Turkish border and the Mediterranean. It should sink the smugglers’ empty ships and help in further operations against the dangerous criminals and murderers whose business is threatening both the refugees and Europe,” Babiš wrote in a press release."

Statewatch comment: The Czech Minister seems to be unaware that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.

As Lesvos gets tense, leader seeks summit (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions build on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where some 20,000 migrants and refugees are awaiting the documents that will let them continue their journeys into Europe, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked European Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency summit of European Union leaders to address a growing migration crisis.... On Lesvos, many locals have joined efforts to help migrants, providing food and clothing for instance. Others are less accepting, however. And there are fears that tensions on the island will peak as the influx shows no signs of abating."

(9.9.15) European Commission proposals on refugee-migrant crisis

• Press release: Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action (pdf): "the European Commission is today putting forward a comprehensive package of proposals which will help address the refugee crisis."

Commission Recommendation of XXX establishing a common "Return Handbook" to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out return related tasks (3 pages, pdf)

EU Action Plan on return (15 pages, COM 453-15, pdf)

Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (JOIN 40-15, pdf)

 Communication: Public Procurement rules in connection with the current asylum crisis (COM 454-15, pdf)

Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy, Greece and Hungary (28 pages, pdf)

Annexes: accompanying the Proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy, Greece and Hungary (22 pages, COM(2015) 451 - ANNEXES 1 to 4, pdf)

Proposal for a establishing a crisis relocation mechanism (23 pages, COM 450-15, pdf)

Annex: Regulation to establishing a crisis relocation mechanism and amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national or a stateless person (Annex to: COM 450-15, pdf)

Proposal for a establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 452-15, pdf) " the European Commission has come to the conclusion that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo* , Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are safe countries of origin within the meaning of Directive 2013/32/EU and should be included in the EU common list of safe countries of origin." [emphasis added]

Annex to: common list of safe countries of origin: above (COM 452-15 Annex 1, pdf)

Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action - Questions and answers (pdf)

Dated:: 9.9.15: EU: Humanitarian emergency: European Parliament: JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: on migration and refugees in Europe: on behalf of the EPP Group; on behalf of the S&D Group; on behalf of the ALDE Group; Judith Sargentini, Ska Keller, Jean Lambert, Ulrike Lunacek, Bodil; Valero, Philippe Lamberts, Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes, Margrete Auken; on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group (pdf):

"not to sanction those who voluntarily help migrants on humanitarian grounds, including carriers by asking the Commission to consider revising Council Directive 2001/51/EC; takes note of the EUNAVFOR Med operation against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean;

Regrets that the leaders of some Member States and the far right parties are using the current situation to fuel anti-migration sentiments while blaming the EU for the crisis, leads to growing numbers of violent actions against migrants."

See also: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Annotated draft agenda (pdf): "Further to the Commission proposals and to the intensive work undertaken at the JHA Council on 14 September and 8/9 October, the European Council will hold a substantial discussion on migration in all its aspects. In this context, it will also take stock of the preparations for the Valletta Summit and the follow-up to the June European Council conclusions on a high-level conference on the Western Balkans route."

GREECE: EXCLUSIVE: Migrants claim rogue Greek coastguard are ROBBING them at gunpoint and puncturing their dinghies in the Mediterranean (Mail Online, link):

- Migrants claim that they have have been robbed of their life possessions while on the perilous crossing to Greece by pirates

- They claim that the masked, armed men may be a rogue element of the Greek coastguard and claim their descriptions fit

- The UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children are told MailOnline they are looking into the claims

- Greek coastguard deny the claim, adding pirates are 'posing as authorities'... but admitted last month that one was a government employee

See also: The writing was on the wall (Statewatch)

News reports (9.9.15)

Anti-Islam rhetoric mars French refugee response (The Local.fr, link): "The arrival of the first group of an eventual total of 24,000 refugees in France has been tainted by the ongoing refusal of some mayors to accept Muslims, with one town claiming they “cut off boss’s heads”. Muslim leaders have blasted their "dangerous" words."

Refugees step up push to Sweden via Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police closed roads and stopped rail traffic in Denmark on Wednesday, as hundreds more refugees attempted to make their way to Sweden."

'Turkish spies' hunted govt critics in Germany (The Local.de, link): "Three men believed to have gathered information on critics of the Turkish government in Germany were hauled before a court in Koblenz on Wednesday to face spying allegations."

Oslo Muslims not allowed to help refugees (The Local.no, link): "One of Oslo's leading mosques has been banned from accommodating refugees after the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) ruled that organisation's providing emergency help should be "neutral"."

Frustrated refugees and migrants at Serbia-Hungary border seek to escape poor reception conditions (UNHCR, link): "They had been held at a 'collection point' after crossing into Hungary. The collection point was in fact a field, empty except for bedding and some small tents they had brought with them. A bigger tent held fruit and water which volunteers had brought and were distributing."

The Refugee Crisis: What should the EU do next? (EU Law Analysis, link): "How should the EU address this issue next? Should it abolish or reform the Schengen and/or Dublin rules? Are Member States complying with EU and international law in their response? "

EU: Humanitarian emergency: EU refugeee crisis: The time has come to act (pdf) Statement of the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly

"In recent days we have seen several Member States, many ordinary citizens, and civil society groups demonstrating remarkable and humbling leadership as they welcome refugees to their communities.

EU institutions and all Member States must now take their cues from those citizens and act to alleviate the immediate suffering. The EU must use its immense diplomatic, economic and moral capacity to find ways to tackle the wider issues of Middle Eastern security."

"We are ashamed" Statement on the desperate situation in the Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully": It is time for the European Parliament to act: for circulation and joining in support

"In August four of us, from Statewatch and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, visited Lesvos where we were horrified to see the situation for refugees deteriorate day by day, with no sign of effective intervention 'on the ground' from International Organisations or the governments of the European Union.

The trip made us ashamed of the EU's response, but applies equally to the whole situation caused by EU member states and EU policies, in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Middle East and Africa:

The MEPs should show leadership in this crisis by insisting that the other EU institutions develop an effective humanitarian protection policy on arrival for refugees , and create EU-wide legal channels to be open to migrants (the initiatives are so far limited to the highly skilled and seasonal migrants), by the end of the year. If they do not do so, then the EP should censure the Commission (ejecting it from office) and shut down the Council and European Council, by blocking all funding for their administration. If the parliament does not act now it will be meaningless to hold further elections."

To sign the
Statement (pdf) please send an email with Support "We are ashamed" statement in the subject line to: office@statewatch.org Please sign up as: an organisation/group or your name (group) or as an individual


EU: MED: Humanitarian emergency: Council of the European Union discusses response in run-up to the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November 2015: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

and see: Non-paper from the European External Action Service: Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015) - Possible elements for the outcome document (LIMITE doc no: 10908-15, pdf)

Also: Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS: Brussels, 01 06. 2015 Ares(2015) 2397724: Letter to Ministers (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "These documents offer little that has not been agreed before. They speak of "tackling the root causes of "irregular" migration" which are clear to all as being war, persecution and poverty. They call for increasing efforts to get African countries to sign up to readmission agreements to support a forced returns policy to the country of origin or transit state - and there seems to be an unbelievable reluctance to accept that most people do not want to be returned from the countries they have fled which could, in many cases, to be deemed refoulement.

The absolute need at this time is for an effective humanitarian aid and civil protection programme, not the creation of so-called "hotspots" charged with the rapid processing of asylum applications in order to effect a quick "returns" policy - under the watchful eyes of Frontex and Europol."

Report from Lesvos by Fiona O'Malley (7.9.15):" The beach near Eftalou, Lesvos...Groups of around 50 or 60, packed into black rubber dinghies, have been making the trip from Turkey to Lesvos every day for the last eight months or so."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (8.9.15)

EU's refugee plan: how does it work? (ekathimerini.com) EU plans with figures

Migrants in Lesbos: volunteers stand alone against the humanitarian crisis (Youtube, link): "Under Juncker's plan for emergency relocation to deal with an escalating crisis, Germany, France and Spain would together relocate nearly 60 percent of 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary, under mandatory quotas. Germany would take 31,443 refugees (26.2 percent), France would take 24,031 (20 percent) and Spain 14,931 (12.4 percent over the next two years. The next biggest intakes would be Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium and Sweden. Member states that refuse the quotas are expected to be asked to offer financial compensation instead

Migrant crisis: Greece acts over Lesbos 'explosion' fears (BBC News, link): "he Greek government and the UN refugee agency have brought in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 stranded migrants on the island of Lesbos. A processing centre has been also set up on an abandoned football ground to help the migrants to get to Athens. A Greek minister said on Monday Lesbos was "on the verge of an explosion". Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants broke through police lines on Hungary's border with Serbia and started walking towards the capital, Budapest. The migrants faced down pepper spray used by police as they broke out of a holding centre in a cornfield and marched down a motorway towards Budapest. They later agreed to be taken by bus to another reception centre."

IOM Monitors Migrant Arrivals, Deaths in Italy, Greece and Spain 8.9.15 (link)

SPAIN: It's time Spain learnt some lessons from its own Civil War refugees (The Local.es, link): "When Alberto Letona sees images of Syrian refugees he can't help think of his own family, who 80 years ago fled the Spanish civil war and sought refuge with strangers.... My mother was only a little Basque girl of seven when General Franco and his troops rebelled against the democratically elected government of the Spanish Republic. It was 1936 and the Spanish Civil War would go on for almost three years with a death toll of half million and further 450,000 fleeing into exile.

SWEDEN: Stockholmers gather to welcome refugees (The Local.se, link): "Volunteers headed to Stockholm's central train station on Tuesday to welcome refugees with clothes, food, and coffee. One told The Local that some Swedes don't realize how lucky they are to live in such a safe place."

Syrian refugees bypass Switzerland for EU states (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is not a "preferred destination" of Syrian refugees, says its migration office, with new figures showing just 401 Syrians applied for asylum in the Alpine country in August. "

'Change of pace' on migrants Renzi tells Merkel (ANSA, link) with EU relocation list..

Hundreds of refugees 'disappear' in Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police cannot account for hundreds of refugees who arrived in Denmark during the course of Monday."

Czech relations with West may worsen over migration (Prague Post, link): "Czech relations with West European countries threaten to worsen due to the migration crisis since the West promotes mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across the European Union, while the Czech Republic rejects the quotas, senior Czech diplomats have told the Czech News Agency."

AUSTRIA: EU quotas 'only way to solve refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that European Union asylum quotas are the only way to solve the ongoing refugee crisis, adding that Austria will consider withholding funds from the EU if other member states continue to oppose quotas. "

Romania and Cyprus impose migrant relocation conditions (euobserve, link): "Romania and Cyprus are demanding EU concessions in exchange for allowing in a set number of relocated asylum seekers. On Monday (7 September), Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta said he won’t accept relocated asylum seekers unless Romania is allowed to join the Schengen passport-free zone."

German budget debate in shadow of refugee influx (DW, link): "Germany's provisional budget for 2016, currently under debate in parliament, is two months old - and already out of date. A further 6 billion euros must be penciled in to help incoming refugees, if that's enough."

German participation in anti-trafficking mission advocated (euractiv, link): "In October, the EU will start using military resources to hunt down human traffickers. Germany's foreign affairs minister has called upon Berlin to participate in the effort."

LESVOS-GREECE: New migrant clashes on Lesvos as EU chief warns ‘exodus’ could last years (ekathimerini.com, link): "Fresh clashes erupted between police and migrants on the Greek island of Lesvos Tuesday, the latest flashpoint of the crisis shaking Europe as EU President Donald Tusk warned the refugee “exodus” could last for years. With authorities warning Lesvos was “on the verge of explosion,” a dozen or so coastguards and riot police armed with batons struggled overnight to control some 2,500 migrants in the island's main port, screaming “keep back” as the crowds surged towards a government-chartered ferry bound for Athens."

Europe needs 'guaranteed relocation system' for Syrian refugees, says UNHCR (ekathimerini.com, link): "UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva. She welcomed separate offers announced by Britain and France on Monday to take in Syrian refugees, but said reception centers must be set up in countries including Hungary and Greece. "Those can only work if there is a guaranteed relocation system whereby European countries saying yes will take X number. We believe it should be 200,000 -- that's the number we believe need relocation in Europe countries," Fleming said."

EU plans to spend €1bn on relocating refugees across bloc (FT, link): "Germany, France and Spain will provide more than half of all the places on the scheme, according to a draft proposal seen by the Financial Times and confirmed by European officials."

Refugee crisis: European leaders preparing EU-wide protection force to deal with unfolding humanitarian catastrophe (Independent, link): "European leaders are preparing to create a powerful EU-wide border protection force to deal with the refugee crisis engulfing the continent, The Independent understands. Under plans being discussed by officials in Brussels, legal responsibility for deporting people deemed to be economic migrants would pass from the member states to the European Union. The proposal – which would have legal force – will be discussed at the meeting of EU interior and justice ministers later this month. "

Comment: Romania and the E.U.’s new Schengen policy (romanian-insider, link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Greece asks EU for humanitarian aid to cope with migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link)

"Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called "a volatile situation" following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.

It requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc's crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said."

See: EU Civil Protection Mechanism (link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (7.9.15)

UNHCR saddened by man's death in Bicske, Hungary (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency is saddened at the death of a 50 year old man, on Friday, near a refugee reception centre in the Hungarian town of Bicske. UNHCR staff on the ground were gathering exact details about the circumstance of the death. However, initial reports suggested the man falling down and hitting his head against train tracks, while trying to run away from the police at the train station. An ambulance was called which tried to provide medical assistance on the spot, but the man reportedly died after 50 minutes of the incident."

AUSTRIA: Emergency migrant measures 'phased out' (The Local.at, link): "Up to 20,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary into Austria over the weekend after an agreement with Austria and Hungary to relax asylum rules. However, Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann has said the emergency measures will now be phased out."

Refugee crisis: Why France won't open borders like Germany (The Local.fr, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy."

Spain warns of jihadist infiltration threat with 'avalanche' of refugees (The Local.es, link): "Spain's interior minister on Monday called for tighter controls to prevent members of the armed jihadist group Isis from infiltrating the "avalanche" of refugees arriving in Europe from Syria."

Danish police stop refugee march to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "Up to 150 refugees who began marching towards the border with Sweden, known for its more generous asylum policies, have finally agreed to be taken to police stations to register, as required under EU rules."

Refugee crisis: national newspapers start to rattle the sabres (Guardian, link): "Amid public sentiment and support for the people fleeing oppression, some titles call on David Cameron to launch air strikes in Syria "

Migration and refugee crisis: Europe cannot bury “head and humanity” in the sand (CoE Parliamentary Asembly, link): "Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur has urged Europe not to “bury its head and humanity,” in the sand, as it confronts the region’s migration crisis.“Europe is in the centre of a migration and asylum cauldron,” she said in New York after the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Each day more and more ingredients are being added to this melting pot of human suffering, and Europe can no longer bury its head and humanity in the sand. “In New York during my meetings I was met with polite incredulity at the lack of an organised European response to the 300,000 refugees arriving and travelling through Europe. Yes, this is a significant number, but no, this is not an insurmountable figure for a continent as large and wealthy as Europe."

EU sets new quotas for states to take asylum-seekers, source says  (ekathimerini.com, link): "The EU executive has drawn up a new set of national quotas under which Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday.... The source said the Commission also planned to put Turkey and all the non-EU states of the Western Balkans on a new list of "safe" countries, whose citizens would face accelerated reviews of asylum claims to speed deportation for most of them."

Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants (euractiv, link): "A Hungarian official indirectly admitted that the poster campaign ordered by the government last summer to discourage immigrants from coming into the country was aimed at generating hate towards them."

France reluctant to host large numbers of refugees (euobserver, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy.

UN agencies 'broke and failing' in face of ever-growing refugee crisis - Damage will be impossible to reverse, warns head of UNHCR, after 10% fall in funding forces cuts to food rations and closure of clinics (Guardian, link)

Cyprus says it could take up to 300 preferably Christian refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Union member Cyprus said on Monday it would be willing to take in up to 300 migrants fleeing upheaval in the Middle East under new EU quotas, but would prefer them to be Christians."

Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR.Youtube, link)

Refugee crisis: Hollande says France will take 24,000 refugees and 'begin Syria air missions' (Independent, link)

The Syrian refugee crisis, in 4 maps and charts (VOX, link)

Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe (Independent, link): "As European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees and migrants from settling in the continent, more and more people are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety. Here are some of the ways you can help at home."

V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague Friday."

GERMANY: Five injured in refugee housing fire in Rottenburg - At least five people have been injured after a fire broke out at refugee accomodation in the southwestern German town of Rottenburg. It was not immediately clear if the blaze was a result of arson. (DW, link)

Migrants to lesbos: volunteers only in the face of the humanitarian crisis (France24, link)

Slow crossing causes tension at FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Scuffles broke out early Monday between FYROM police and thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to head north toward Europe. About 2,000 people had gathered at the Greek border near the village of Idomeni just after dawn, attempting to cross into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But FYROM authorities were allowing only small groups to cross every half hour, leading to tension. The situation later calmed after more were allowed to cross, with about 1,000 having passed the border by mid-day.

At least 10,000 migrants to be ferried to mainland in next five days, minister says (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece's migration minister has said at least two-thirds of the estimated 15,000-18,000 refugees and economic migrants stranded in "miserable" conditions on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be ferried to the mainland in the next five days. ... Lesvos bears the brunt of the refugee influx, with more than 1,000 arriving daily on frail boats from nearby Turkey. Most remain stuck there for days, sleeping outdoors until they can be identified, and then find berths on crowded ferries to the mainland.

LESVOS-GREECE: Two arrested for hurling homemade bombs at refugee tents on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions rise on Lesvos, police on Sunday arrested two teenagers for hurling homemade petrol bombs at tents set up by refugees near the port of the eastern Aegean island, injuring a 30-year-old Syrian man.

Also on Sunday, police using riot batons clashed with refugees beating one unconscious and leaving several others injured, reports said. One person was taken away in ambulance, according to the same reports."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Hungarian Parliament toughens laws on border crossing (Budapest Business Journal, link):

"In a parliamentary session begun this morning [Friday], MPs voted on a package of laws early this afternoon that would include stronger penalties for “illegal crossings” of the Hungarian border, with 140 voting in favor and 33 voting against...detailing the role of the army and police in safeguarding Hungary's borders in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.

The amendments passed in Parliament today includes revisions to the Penal Code that will treat “illegal” border crossings, the damage, or the obstruction of the construction of the border fence punishable as a separate crime. The law will also expedite the asylum procedure of refugees and make it more efficient, broaden the defense of the country’s borders, establish provisions for setting up transit zones on the country's borders, and tighten penalties leveled at people smugglers." and Refugee crisis: Hungary may deploy military to southern border, says PM Viktor Orban (Independent, link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (6.9.15)

Danish tourists helping refugees in Greece (The Local,dk, link): "Large numbers of Danes are heading to Greece with bags of unwanted clothes and other goods to help newly-arrived refugees. Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have reported that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists. The scheme allows all customers flying out of Copenhagen Airport and Stockholm's Arlanda Airport and Copenhagen Airport in Denmark to Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have taken advantage of the offer. "

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann called Sunday for an emergency EU summit to resolve the migrant crisis, saying his country's admittance of thousands of refugees crossing from Hungary was just a "temporary" measure (The Local.at, link)

ITALY: How to help refugees if you live in Italy (The Local.it, link).

UK: Oxford City of Sanctuary (link)

EU: Five Steps to Tackle Refugee Crisis - How to Save Lives and Protect People (HRW, link)

GERMANY: Far-right demo disrupts arrival of migrants in Dortmund (DW, link) "Far-right extremists tried to disrupt the arrival of nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Dortmund in western Germany last night. The police made several arrests."

Key dates in Europe's escalating migrant crisis (FR24, link)

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, 2-6-15, link) by Seamus Milne: "What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus."

Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR Youtube, link)

To Be European Among Whites (liberties.eu, link): "European identity is much more than race or ethnicity, but you wouldn’t know it from the actions of many EU members, typified by Hungary’s hate-filled campaign against migrants."

IRELAND: Coveney hits back at critics of migrant aid (independent.ie, link): "Defence Minister Simon Coveney has lashed out at critics of plans for Ireland to take a "very generous" approach to the worst migrant crisis to hit Europe since World War II..... the Government will ask the European Union to relax strict budget spending rules to allow Ireland take in more refugees." and Our leaders defend a monochrome culture - Timid politicians resist helping in this great humanitarian crisis because they think we're racist, writes Willie Kealy (link)

PMs: V4 ready to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The Visegrád Group (V4) countries are ready to provide experts and equipment for the protection of the Schengen Area external borders, to intensify the fight against people smugglers and support the fight against Islamic State, the four prime ministers said in a joint statement today."

ITALY: Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)

Refugee crisis: east and west split as leaders resent Germany for waiving rules - Central European nations pin blame on the EU – but their unilateral actions are a hindrance to a solution (Observer, link): "The European parliament, as ever, has plenty to say about immigration, but absolutely nothing to do because it has no remit over policymaking, which remains overwhelmingly national. The countries of Europe prefer it that way, while blaming Brussels for the ever-worsening state of the union."

GREECE: Baby migrant boy found dead on coast of Agathonisi, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link): "A newborn migrant boy was found dead early on Saturday after his parents reached the steep shores of the Greek island of Agathonisi in a boat from Turkey, the Greek coastguard service said. The baby boy was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Samos, where he was pronounced dead."

Czech police release Syrians who applied for Hungarian asylum (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

Real Madrid join drive to help Spain-based refugees (The Local, es.link)

Thousands to rally for refugees in Stockholm (The Local.se, Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriork)

More migrants march as refugees arrive in Austria (The Local, at,link): "Thousands of migrants streamed into Austria from Hungary on Saturday, with another column of refugees setting out on foot as Budapest ruled out bussing any more the 175 kilometres (110 miles) to the border."

Migrant Children’s Drawings From Hungary Train Station (WSJ, link)

UNHCR applauds Austria and Germany as refugees march across Hungary (link): " It was a remarkable and unexpected display of refugee power – the power of the powerless. It began at noon on September 4 with a spontaneous march out of Budapest down the highway towards the Austrian border by more than 1,000 frustrated refugees. They were marching in protest at the Hungarian government's blanket refusal to let them take trains to Austria and Germany."

This refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its institutions are broken by Paul Mason (Guardian, link): "The EU needs a new asylum system based on reality. But without an influx of migrants, it faces a future of economic stagnation"

Bono warns refugee crisis solution must be found (AOL, link): ""As Nelson Mandela said: 'It always seems impossible until it is done" Bono asked the crowd: "What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe with its heart open?"

EU-ISF:GREECE: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Closing the borders, identifying all migrants/refguees and dealing with "potential radical or extremism groups": The EU Internal Security Fund plan for Greek border control under the EU external borders fund - Greece: National programme (49 pages, pdf)

"Indicatively EBF has funded the purchase of land and sea patrol means and equipment such as thermal cameras and fingerprint scanners.... the procurement of special smart devices equipped with face identification, contemporary surveillance devices for digital recording, transmission of information and fingerprint scanners, could transform any kind of simple patrol to smart patrol policing." and

"in order to ensure effective management of the external maritime borders, in particular at critical area of Eastern Aegean. An investment plan, assisted with adequate technology, is scheduled to step up the surveillance capacity in that region. Investments will integrate with the Frontex sea border operations... The maintenance of high level of security in both Greece and European Union as well as the effective prevention and suppression of radicalization towards terrorism and violent extremism could be addressed through the coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and other national authorities in Greece, including Europol.." and:

"The newly established Intelligence Management and Analysis Division aims at implementing an intelligence-led policing model so as to enhance the coordination between the concerned agencies and the detection of internal security threats at local and national level. Another action which could address the gaps mentioned in baseline, is to identify and register all places of gatherings of potential radical or extremism groups such as worship areas, cultural and artistic heritage places in the Greek territory and depict them in a GIS platform, giving the ability for further process of these large amount of data, providing demographic information with specific patterns. One of the latest techniques to do so is to use Visualization Tools, since one can recognize patterns in a graphic display at just a glance. The confidential content of collected data and the output of analysis, require high level of protection on behalf of Hellenic Police, in order to minimize the possibilities of potential leak." [epmphasis added]

HASTA CUANDO TOLERAREMOS LAS GUERRAS DESATADAS POR LA CRUEL EUROPA CONTRA LOS PUEBLOS DEL TERCER MUNDO, CONTRAS SUS MUJERES, SUS HOMBRES, SUS NIÑOS Y NIÑAS…! WHEN TO TOLERATE THE WARS unleashed by EUROPE AGAINST CRUEL Third World peoples, against their wives, MEN, THEIR CHILDREN ...! (link) with telling images and.

EJK - Lost Souls (YouTube, link) Song and images from Mytilene, Greece: "Lost Souls Intro: Help these lost souls Help hem find there way Help these lost souls Help them get to bay Chorus: Help these lost souls Help hem find there..."

Covering Migration: Why ‘Refugees and Migrants’ are People Who Go Together (EJN, link) by Aidan White:

"Put simply, the term migrant refers to someone who moves, temporarily or permanently, from one place or country to another. A migrant is someone who moves freely.A refugee on the other hand is forced to move because of persecution, or they are displaced by war or humanitarian disaster or some other external and compelling factor. States are obliged to provide them with protection under international law. Asylum seekers are people seeking protection from persecution who are awaiting a decision on an application for refugee status under international and national laws.

Responsible media reporting on people crossing borders – whether on boats, at railway terminals or simply walking into another country – will focus on the human story, that those concerned are all people in need who deserve support and respect, but they will also recognise that this is not just one single stream of humanity.

Some people may be fleeing war in Iraq or Syria, others may on the run from poverty in Somalia or elsewhere and most will be signing up for asylum, so applying a single term and using it in a negative manner can be unethical – at best it lacks precision and accuracy and at worst it distorts the story, feeds hate and resentment and undermines the rights of those most in need of help.

The responsible journalist will use an inclusive term such as 'refugees and migrants' or 'people in need' when referring to movements of people where it’s likely that both groups may be present. "

See IOM Glossary (link)

LONDON: Refugees Welcome Here - National Day Of Action, Saturday 12 September: Marble Arch 12.00 then Rally at Downing Street 2pm (link)

EU: CRISIS: Letter from Hollande and Merkel to Monsieur Donald TUSK President du Conseil europeen, Monsieur Jean-Claude JUNCKER President de la Commission europeenne and Monsieur Xavier BETTEL Premier ministre du Luxembourg (3 September. pdf):

"the creation of Home dtspositifs ("hotspots") in Italy and Greece should be accelerated to ensure as soon as possible (identification, recording, notes the fingerprint of migrants, the determination of the need for protection International and, if necessary, return to the country of origin. This should be fully operational at the latest before the end of the taxation year. The Commission and the European Union of competent agencies will formulate all the necessary support. Germany and France are willing to contribute their expertise in this context, the Commission should be ready to study the creation of new reception facilities in other Member States....

European Union should continue and expand its efforts to dismantle the criminal networks trafficking in human beings. In this context, cooperation with key partners, in particular Turkey, but also I'Egypte, Tunisia and Niger, should be reinforced in order to improve the management of the borders and to implement effective measures to control and curb irregular migration."

Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter (bordercriminologies, link): "The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (5.9.13)

Here's how you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe (http://mashable.com): "From learning the real issues to supporting both large organizations and grassroots efforts alike, here are six concrete ways you can help during the refugee crisis."

2,200 Austrian drivers join campaign to pick up refugees in Budapest (Yahoo News, link)

V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas (Prague Post, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague."

EU-UK: Cameron limits UK's Syrian refugee intake 'to discourage risky journeys' - Prime minister also rejects obligatory EU quota as aid groups criticise his response to refugee crisis as inadequate (Guardian, link) "David Cameron has set limits on his plan to accept thousands of extra refugees from Syria after he rejected any involvement in an EU scheme for compulsory quotas, saying they would encourage “dangerous” journeys across the Mediterranean. As aid groups said the prime minister’s change of heart fell a long way short of refugees’ needs, Cameron insisted Britain’s main focus would continue to be on providing aid for camps in Syria’s neighbouring countries" and 'Completely inundated': Britons take refugees' aid into their own hands - Moved by coverage of Europe’s migration crisis, people across the UK are collecting donations and organising relief runs (Guardian, link) also: Germany prepares for up to 10,000 refugee arrivals - live updates (Guardian, link)

Hot spots working this year say Hollande-Merkel (ANSA, link) Comment: "Hotspots" are camps where people will be fingerprinted and their asylum claims made and where some will be "returned" from.

Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)

Thousands of migrants leave Hungary as Austria and Germany open borders - Up to 10,000, many refugees from Syria, expected to arrive in Germany on Saturday (Irish Times, link)

GERMANY: Rock for refugees: Bands against right-wing violence (DW, link): "Continued right-wing violence against refugees has spurred artists to help. In a written appeal, 24 German rock bands have called for improved protection for refugees and their accommodations."

Czech asylum facilities are 90% full (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Police vows to stop marking refugees by pens (link): "he method was criticised by some foreign Jewish organisations and Czech NGOs."

KOS: Refugees attacked 'with bats', stun grenades in Greece (The Turkish Weekly, link): "Authorities in Greece have used stun grenades on refugees in Mytilene port, while in Kos island, reports of attacks on asylum seekers by a group calling them to “go home” have emerged, local media and a human rights organization said Friday. On Friday morning, Greek Coast Guard and police used stun grenades to control thousands of refugees, mostly Afghans, in the port of Mytilene, local media said. Around 1,000 Afghans had allegedly tried to occupy Blue Star 1 ferry at the port, shouting "Athens- Athens". After the use of force on the refugees, the ferry eventually managed to sail away from the port, Greek media said."

Europe’s fear of Muslim refugees echoes rhetoric of 1930s anti-Semitism (Wahington Post, link)

Timmermans: Refugee crisis is here to stay (euractiv, link): "First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said what everyone suspected on Friday (4 September): that the refugee crisis overwhelming the EU will last a long time, and that “every single European” will feel its consequences."

Expats in Switzerland mobilize for refugees (The Local, ch, link)

Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece (The Local.se, link) :" Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have told The Local that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists....Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have so far taken advantage of the offer. "

Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake (The Local.se, link): "Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister, has warned that the EU's global credibility is at stake if it does not act now to tackle the refugee crisis."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Agreed text of Council decision on relocation of refugees from Italy & Greece, to be adopted officially on 14 September 2105: Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf): and see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (4.9.13)

Health Commissioner accused of snubbing invitation to Greek islands (euractiv, link): "Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in Alexis Tsipras' government, has accused EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of damaging the bloc’s image by ignoring his invitation to visit Greek islands."

New EU proposal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers (euobserver, link)

GREECE: Police clash with migrants seeking to board Piraeus-bound ferry (.ekathimerini.com, link)

Visegrad states meet on refusal of refugee quotas (euobserver, link)

Migrant crisis: Hungary train stand-off enters second day (BBC News, link)

Migration crisis: Hungary PM says Europe in grip of madness - Viktor Orbán attacks EU policy, saying the influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europe’s Christian identity (Guardian, link)

EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Migrants refuse to leave train near Hungary camp (BBC News, link) Migrants thinking they were going to Germany refuse to get off train and go to a "camp" to be "registered"- recalling historical parallels

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS the "military" operation enters 2 phase: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, following the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf):

"Now the operation has fulfilled all the military objectives of Phase one, that were related to the collection of information and intelligence. That is why I have proposed to EU Defence ministers today to discuss the transition to Phase two of the operation - that would mean going to the capture and disposal of vessels, including those escorting the migrants and refugees." [emphasis added]

Comment: The operations described would appear to relate to those traveling from north Africa to Italy, especially Libya. The small motorised-rubber dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are destroyed after the journey and all the occupants are migrants/refugees.

Special: EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:Joint Letter from Germany, France and Italy to High Representative (pdf) and Non-Paper: Common external migration policy (pdf)

The suggestions regarding Africa mainly focus on immigration control, and offer little concrete as regards Eritreans in particular. The ministers ought to examine whether EU trade and fisheries meaures have exacerbated the problems of the countries concerned. As regards the Western Balkans, the numbers of Albanians and Kosovars who obtain refugee status is not negligible, and so the decision to apply 'safe country of origin' status is questionable.

As for those reaching or heading for the EU, the non-paper offers little concrete, failing to mention relocation, resettlement, search and rescue, or human rights breaches by Member States as regards the reception and transit of migrants.

There is no mention of the plans to destroy smugglers boats, but it is clear that this will still be discussed. This seems like an ever-more pointless diversion at a time of great humanitarian tragedy.

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS::EU goes to "war": to authorise stage 2 in the planned military operation: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Defence Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf): "I will put forward a proposal to Defence Ministers to pass from phase 1 of the operation, which was information gathering and sharing, to phase 2, which is the fight against smugglers and traffickers in the high seas."

See: See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf): "INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees - Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece (Guardian, link): "Warning: this article contains images that readers may find distressing."

and see: Drowned Kurdish boy on beach: the hypocrisy and the truth of what happened (undercoverifo, link): "First, that child… He had a name – Aylan Kurdi. He had a home: it was in Kobani. He had a brother: he was 5 years old and his name was Galip – he too drowned. They died with their mother, Rehan, and eight other refugees when their boat overturned not long after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. The father, Abdullah, survived heartbroken."

Lonndon refugee rally: Tens of thousands plan to join demonstration and call for action to tackle crisis (Evening Standard, link) and Solidarity with Refugees (Facebok)

UK: Petition Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK (Uk.gov, link): There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help. Sign Up; 411,363 signatures so far Already over the 100,000 threshold.

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (3.9.15)

France and Germany call for permanent EU response to migrant crisis (France 24, link)

"The (migrant) problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." (BBC News, link): "Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go". PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering." and "European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU countries should accept at least 100,000 asylum seekers between them, a sharp increase on a previous European Commission target of 40,000. EU states instead so far committed to sharing some 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece."

Member states want to be less attractive to migrants (euractiv, link): "A flurry of ideas about how countries could reduce their attractiveness to asylum seekers have been voiced in various European countries, providing a preview of the discussion at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg tomorrow (4 September)."

Lest we forget, this humanitarian crisis was wating to happen: EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)

European Parliament Question: Commission response: FINGERPRINTING: COERCIVE MEASURES MUST BE "PROPORTIONATE": Question to the European Commission: Subject: Unlawful use of force at Pozzallo and Lampedusa reception centres, Italy, to collect migrants' fingerprints — including those of minors — for identification purposes from MEPs:Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Laura Ferrara (EFDD) , Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) and Answer from Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission (links) "Any coercive measures used by Member States must be proportionate, justified and respect the dignity and physical integrity of the individual concerned. Moreover, children under the age of 14 should not be fingerprinted." and see: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

LESVOS-GREECE: Unnberable conditions in Refugee Camp around the Detention Center of Moria (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "Yesterday, 09/01/15, one somalien refugee died because of insuficient medical care in the madeshift refugee Camp outside the Detention Cemtet of Moria. Another one was bitten by snake." and Action on arrivals pledged as Lesvos claims emergency (ekathimerini.com, link): "The caretaker government pledged on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the refugee crisis as the mayor of Lesvos called for the island to be declared in a state of emergency due to the high number of people arriving from Turkish shores.... The caretaker administration is also considering simplifying the registration process for the next few weeks. This would allow refugees to be fast-tracked so they immediately receive their laissez-passer document allowing them to travel on from Greece."

DENMARK: 'Significantly harder to get Danish citizenship' (The Local.dk, link): "The government will attempt to make obtaining Danish citizenship more difficult with four specific changes to current policy, the integration minister has announced."

AUSTRIA: Ski star joins campaign in support of refugees (The Local.au, link) "Austrian alpine skiing champion Marcel Hirscher has joined a new social media campaign using the hashtag #showyourfacechallenge - speaking out in support of refugees and against xenophobia."

France joins call for reform of asylum rules (The Local.fr, link) and Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly (The Local.fr, link) also Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum (The Local.it, link)

Sweden sees summer rise in asylum seekers (The LOcal.se, link): "More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August – the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as the scope of the crisis grows."

German media: Covering the refugee crisis from all sides (DW, link): "TV magazines, websites and newspapers are filled with all sorts of stories about refugees making their way to Germany. The media outlets, including tabloids, have found sensible ways to cover the touchy subject." and Map of arson attacks on refugee centres (link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister signals possibility of allowing refugees to cross Czech territory to Germany (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Speaking in Belgrade, the Czech interior minister also said he was considering a plan under which asylum seekers would be allowed to travel through Czech territory to Germany rather than being returned to Hungary."

Czech Railways ‘obliged’ to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The national rail operator Czech Railways (CD) will be ready to dispatch a special train for migrants from South Moravia"

Germany gets more Italian border controls at Brenner (ANSA, link)

EU Ministers to Discuss Naval Mission Against Migrant-Trafficking (Prensa Latina, link):

"Brussels, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) will discuss this weekend in Luxembourg the expansion of a naval mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean, EU sources confirmed today. During preliminary meetings scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, representatives of the 28 member states will discuss the possibility of starting the second phase of the military operation, strongly criticized by humanitarian organizations. According to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the analysis will begin because mission commander, Enrico Credendino, pointed out the need to advance in the mission's implementation."

See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks

Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):

"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

ITALY: Report by ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione): The readmission of foreign citizens in Ventimigla (June 2015): UNLAWFUL ASPECTS (pdf):

Since 11 June 2015, the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia has been the scene of a considerable number of readmissions of migrants, citizens of states which do not belong to the EU, who were first blocked in French territory or upon entry into French territory and then readmitted into Italian territory, presumably on the basis of the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the French Republic on cross-border police and customs cooperation signed in Chambery on 3.10.1997. On 24/25 June, our organisation carried out a fact-finding visit

EU: MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (2.9.15)

Czech police arrests 200 refugees and marks them with numbers on their forearms (http://blisty.cz, link):" Czech police continues, nonsensically, arresting refugees which are trying to reach Germany across the territory of the Czech Republic. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in southern Moravia, the Czech police removed some 200 refugees from trains arriving from Austria and Hungary which continued their journey to Germany. The Czech police wrote registration numbers on the refugees' forearms with felt tips (a practice reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps). The refugees are now in detention on police premises in several Moravian towns. The police said it will interrogate them and "then they will decide what to do with them". The refugees were travelling from Budapest and said that they had purchased valid train tickets and that Hungary had allowed them to board the trains." and Just awful: Czech police take 200 #refugees off trains & mark them with numbers on their forearms (link)

EU Commission aims to ease asylum rules for frontier, report says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Commission is drafting a proposal to change the so-called Dublin rule that obliges migrants to request asylum in the country they first arrive in, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Tuesday."

Italy ready to impose Austria border controls (The Local.it, link): "Italy is ready to impose identification checks at Brennero on the border with Austria after receiving a request from Germany for help in easing the flow of migrants into Bavaria, the northern province of Bolzano said on Wednesday. Rome was ready to "reactivate" controls just as it did for the G7 in June, as "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency", a statement from the province said."

Hungary ‘to return economic migrants where they came from’ (France 24, link) and Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens - Emergency meeting, action plan set (Budapest Times, link): "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has convened a session of the national security cabinet by next Tuesday evening to address the challenges of illegal migration. Meanwhile the situation is becoming direr in the capital as designated transit zones are filling up quicker than expected." and Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest (euobserver, link)

BBC Trending - Demand to open doors to Syrians spreading online (BBC, link): "From the UK to Saudi Arabia, the demand that Syrians and other refugees be accepted is being spread by vocal online campaigns. The public reaction to Europe's migrant crisis has been deeply polarised. Many in Europe are dismayed by the news of migrant deaths, and there have been several mass protests demanding stricter controls on the influx. But over recent days there's been a pattern of internet activism with a different set of demands: that it's now time to relax the rules and let refugees in, particularly Syrians fleeing the war there."

Amidst the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War 2, one German couple founds a 'Airbnb-style' non profit to provide affordable housing to refugees (.neurope, link)

Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands - Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other (Guardian, link): "Europe’s fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response."

MOLYVOS- LESVOS: Car park closed to migrants - video (link). The car park is used to bring people from the beaches and from where buses can be called to take them ti the recption centre in Moria - 40 kilometres away

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals, Deaths at Sea Soar (IOM, link)

Europe’s migrant acceptance rates (The Economist, link)

Opinion: Europe can't be a fortress - Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. To keep them out, Hungary has built a fence along the border with Serbia. That's the wrong move, says DW's Zoran Arbutina. (DW, link)

Inability to unite on major challenges may pull the EU apart, say politicians (euractiv, link): "French Socialist Party leaders have warned that the multitude of crises currently buffeting the European Union could deal a death blow to the European project."

Human rights court slows rushed migrant repatriation (euractiv, link): "Fast-tracking the repatriation of migrants who did not qualify as asylum seekers is likely to contravene EU rules, according to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights." See: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger's name exposed (The Local.se, link)

GERMANY: Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees (THe Local.de, link)

AUSTRIA: Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants (The Local.at, link)

DENMARK: Another Muslim cemetery vandalized in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Migration wave is yet to culminate, interior minister says (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Poll: Most Czechs angry at government over its handling immigrants (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

GREECE: Refugee arrivals in Athens prompt new discussions (.ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 4,200 refugees were due to arrive in Piraeus on two ships from Lesvos Tuesday, only temporarily easing the pressure on scant resources on the island but at the same time increasing concern in Athens about the fate of those who would disembark. Authorities on Lesvos have registered some 17,500 refugees and migrants over the past week but the transfer to Athens of many of those people would only provide brief respite as hundreds more are arriving each day." and Caretaker gov't to introduce measures for refugees on islands (link)

GREECE: LESVOS: Kara Tepe! Well Done International Rescue! (Youtube, link) and see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf) also: Greek island of Lesbos overwhelmed by 13,000 refugees says the IRC (IRC, link)

EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment

EU: MED-CRISIS: (1.9.15)

More than 1,000 refugees rescued in a single day, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link)

HUNGARY: Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis (INYT, link) and Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees - Move follows chaotic scenes when thousands of people were allowed on to trains bound for Austria and Germany without visa checks (Guardian, link)

Berlin Couple Launches Website Matching Refugees With Roommates in Germany, Austria (.haaretz.com, link): "More than 400 refugees currently based in Germany have applied to 'Refugees Welcome' website, which aims to combat housing refugees en masse in makeshift locations."

V4 government heads to discuss migration crisis (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet on Friday or Sunday to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, Slovak PM Robert Fico announced yesterday.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said later yesterday that the V4 meeting will be held in Prague on Friday afternoon."

Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal (BBC News, link): "Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU."

Europe’s response to migrant crisis is not working, warns UN rights expert (UN News Centre, link): " The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said. "

LESVOS: GREECE: Authorities on Lesvos stretched to the limit as refugee number climbs to about 12,000 (ANA-MPA, link)

Merkel urges migrant help for Italy (ANSA, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged the European Union to help Italy on its migrant crisis just as the EU called for common rules rather than walls to address the emergency that has come into sharp focus with a string of deadly incidents. The UN said the vast majority of people trying to cross the Mediterranean were refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."

NORWAY: Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum (The Local.no, link): "Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe."

       UNHCR: Crossings of Mediterranean Sea exceed 300,000, including 200,000 to Greece (link)

GREECE: Constant flow of refugees proves overwhelming for Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ferry carrying some 2,500 refugees at a time to Piraeus almost around the clock, thousands of people remain stuck on the Greek islands, often in squalid or dangerous conditions. Authorities on Lesvos estimate that there are 12,000 refugees on the island, which has a total population of around 85,000."

Solidarity not one way street says Faymann (The Local.at, link): "Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday."

Trainloads of migrants reach Austria, Germany, as EU asylum system collapses (euractiv, link): "Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary yesterday (31 August) as European Union asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU."

Our treatment of today's refugees harks back to Europe's darkest hour (New Statesman, link): "We mustn't forget the lessons of the Second World War in the face of today's refugee crisis... in the 1930s, thousands of persecuted people fled Europe. Our own press ignominiously reported these as "Stateless Jews pouring into this country" and various records exist from that time of public officials reassuring readers that no such thing would be allowed under their watch."

EU struggles to reconcile values with barbed wire fences (euractiv, link): "European politicians gathered in Calais on Monday (31 August) to make assurances that the EU will not abandon those who need protection. But they also reaffirmed the need to protect the bloc's external borders."

Trains packed with migrants arrive in Vienna (euobserver, link): "Hundreds of people seeking refuge arrived at Vienna’s Westbahnhof station from the Hungarian capital Budapest on Monday (31 August), with most seeking to head on to Germany."

Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave - Posthumous publication of Nobel prize-winning writer’s last book attacks rising vitriol towards refugees in Germany (Guardian, link) and Germany urges other EU countries to take in more refugees - Angela Merkel says it isn’t right that some nations are refusing to accept more refugees as France announces new Calais camp (Guardian, link)

GERMANY-EU: Opinion: Merkel steps up: Germany's position on the refugee crisis facing Europe is clear and without "ifs" and "maybes," writes DW's Dagmar Engel.(DW, link)

August 2015

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September 2015 (pdf): There is no mention of the need to provide humanitarian aid and civil protection:

"After a presentation of migration flows by the European agencies Frontex and EASO (European Asylum Support Office), the meeting should discuss the programming of future work, in particular the return policy, international cooperation, and investigation and measures to prevent trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]

Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall:

A compilation of key articles and documents setting out the history of the migrant crisis in Lesvos, Greece which is not new - it dates from at least 2002. They show the development of reception centres, detention centres and "open camps" and the deadly role of the Greek Coastguards (which continues this summer). and include:

- Migration and state crimes: A critical criminological approach and case study of Greece (pdf) by Stratos Georgoulas (University of the Aegean). Examines the history of the Pagani detention centre and see p101 on the activities of the Coast Guard. - Map "Pagani" in the middle of nowhere (link) and "Images" (link)

Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link)

- Pro Asyl and Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants: »The truth may be bitter, but it must be told«: The practices of the Greek coast guard (2007, pdf): "We were able to glean the following patterns of serious human rights violations committed by the Greek coast guard from our interviews with refugees from a wide variety of countries of origin in and outside the detention centres in Chios, Samos and Lesbos."

- Statewatch coverage: Statewatch visit to the Pikpa Centre for asylum-seekers in Mytilene (April 2013) and GREECE: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up - FRONTEX claim that families were not expelled from their rooms refuted (September 2013) and Welcome to the European Union Visit to Moria First Reception Centre , Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf). Also Search for "Lesvos" in the Statewatch database.

EU: MED-CRISIS (31.8.15)

Dutch plan tougher asylum policy as migrants flock to Europe (Reuters, link): "Failed asylum seekers would be limited to "a few weeks'" shelter after being turned down, if they do not agree to return home. They would then either be deported or sent away to fend for themselves. From November, the centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which competes for votes with the popular, anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders, wants to close 30 regional "bed, bath and bread" shelters where asylum seekers have been able till now to get help on the basis of need. Under the plan, six national centres applying the stricter guidelines would provide only to people who agree to leave."

Train with migrants allowed into Austria after lengthy border checks (Rueters, link) with video

HUNGARY: Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens (Budapoest Times, link)

'Why did you annoy them?' Coastguard officials acquitted of torture convictions - Moroccan says he was subjected to waterboarding in 2007 (enetenglish.gr, link)

Germans unite against xenophobia (euractiv, link): "After the recent spate of violence against asylum seekers, a wave of solidarity with refugees has swept through Germany. In many cities around the country, people have taken part in demonstrations and protests against hate speech."

The Migrants Files (link): including "Counting the Dead": "Over 30,000 refugees and migrants have died attempting to reach /stay in Europe since 2000 - and that was 18 mths ago" and "The Migrants’ Files is a project by data journalism agencies Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm and Dataninja; media outlets Neue Zürcher Zeitung, El Confidencial, Sydsvenskan and Radiobubble as well as freelance journalists Alice Kohli, Jean-Marc Manach and Jacopo Ottaviani. The project is partially financed by Journalismfund.eu."

France: Hungary refugee fence not even fit for animals (aljazeera.com, link):"Paris slams Hungary, gateway to EU from Eastern Europe, for erecting 175km fence to stop refugees as new talks called."

GREECE: Frontex requests more information on Symi incident (Frontex, link): "On early Saturday afternoon, a Latvian patrol vessel deployed in operation Poseidon Sea detected a yacht with more than 90 migrants aboard in Symi Island’s Marathounta Bay. None of the officers from the Latvian vessel involved in the incident used any weapons."

Greek coast guard picks up nearly 2,500 migrants in 3 days (ekathimerini.com, link): "The coast guard said Monday it had rescued 2,492 people in 70 operations off the eastern islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Farmakonissi, Kos and Symi from Friday morning until Monday morning." and Ferry carrying 2,500 refugees and migrants docks at Piraeus (link): "A ferry carrying about 2,500 migrants and refugees who had arrived on Samos and Lesvos from the nearby Turkish coast docked early Monday in Greece's main port of Piraeus near Athens.The Eleftherios Venizelos left Samos Sunday with 988 migrants and picked up 1,512 from Lesvos. On Sunday the Cypriot-flagged Tera Jet catamaran arrived in Piraeus carrying 1,745 migrants from Lesvos. Authorities said about 11,000 migrants and refugees are currently on the island."

AUSTRIA: Dubious headlline: Migrant roundup intercepts 200 suspected refugees (The Local.at, link): " Huge traffic jams stretching back 50 kilometres (30 miles) built up along the Austro-Hungarian border on Monday as Austrian police stepped up security checks in the hunt for people smugglers. The measure was put in place on Sunday, three days after an abandoned lorry containing 71 dead migrants, four of them children, was discovered on a motorway near the Hungarian border. Since the operation began at 1830 GMT, more than 200 migrants have been picked up, and another five people have detained on suspicion of smuggling, officials said." and Austria steps up police checks for refugees (link)

DENMARK: Hundreds support vandalized asylum centre (The Local.dk, link): "As many as 2,000 people turned out on Sunday to create a human 'joy ring' around an eastern Jutland asylum centre that was vandalized earlier in the week." and Man jailed for Danish asylum centre arson (link): East Jutland Police said on Friday that a 26-year-old local man has been arrested and will be held on remand for allegedly setting fire to an asylum centre minibus and vandalizing its garage with a swastika and a message telling the centre that this was its “first warning”."

France to build new camp for 1,500 migrants (The Local.fr,link): "France is to build a new humanitarian camp in Calais for 1,500 migrants with construction to begin in 2016, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on Monday. The EU will stump up the money for the new camp."

GERMANY: 'No limit to refugees Germany can take in' (The Local.de, link)

Zeman: Refugees should be promptly returned, not accommodated (Prague Daily Monitor, link). Most immigrants are in Czech Republic illegally, and as they violated law, they should be promptly returned, not placed into various accommodation facilities, President Milos Zeman said in an interview for Radio Frekvence 1 yesterday. Zeman said there were three risks concerning Muslim immigrants. First, it is the creation of socially excluded zones, ghettos, as these people would not be able to assimilate due to their cultural differences, he said. He said there is the risk of spreading infectious diseases, though he would not overestimate it. The third risk are sleeper cells sent by Islamic State that would develop into terrorist organisations, Zeman said."

Eastern Germany 'more susceptible' to 'xenophobic radicalization' (DW, link): "Recent violent protests against a refugees' shelter have sparked a debate about right-wing extremism in Germany. A prominent politician from the west of the country has said the problem is worse in the east." and "We are all Germany" - celebrities support refugees How can you promote tolerance and diversity in Germany? DW talked to celebrities at the German government's annual open house weekend. (link)

Eritrean translators 'intimidating refugees' in Germany (DW, link): "Eritrean translators are deliberately mistranslating the testimonies of refugees during their hearings, according to dissidents' groups in Germany. Some are even intimidating them into hiding human rights abuses."

Refugees are human. This simple fact seems to have been forgotten (Guardian, link): "It is horrific that people are drowning and suffocating to reach safety. These stories should be a reminder that migrants are not just statistics"

Fabius calls Eastern Europe's reluctance to receive migrants ‘scandalous’ (euractiv, link):"French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said it was "scandalous" some Eastern European countries were refusing to accept more migrants and said Hungary's construction of a barrier to stop new arrivals "did not respect Europe's common values" -- drawing an angry response from Budapest."

The missing women of the Mediterranean refugee crisis (Women Under Siege, link): Dirty white gates fronted the detention center on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a tiny speck between Sicily and Tunisia, where 71 women were being held. Beyond the bars, I could just make out laundry hanging from the building in which they were housed—maybe 100 yards away—a yellow scarf, a hot-pink piece of cloth. Sometimes I could even see the women walking in or out of the house, some with hijabs, others with brightly patterned African skirts. But beyond that, the women were invisible, locked illegally for weeks inside a “first reception” center meant for 300 but now housing 771 refugees and migrants from all over sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East."

The battle over the words used to describe migrants (BBC News, link)

Storming the castle: Calais, or the failure of the EU’s migration policies (CER, link)

European Commission looks at possible reforms and future of the Dublin rules. (New Europe, link)

EU:Med-CRISIS: (Sunday) Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting - Call for action comes as UK home secretary Theresa May says only Europeans with a job lined up should be allowed to come to Britain (Guardian, link)

"Germany, France and Britain have issued a joint call for an urgent meeting of EU ministers to find concrete measures to cope with the escalating migration crisis. A statement from the home affairs ministers of the three countries said they had “asked the Luxembourg presidency to organise a special meeting of justice and interior ministers within the next two weeks, so as to find concrete steps” to deal with the situation. The three “underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx”.

The French, British and German statement specifically called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of “safe countries of origin” to be established." [emphasis added] and

Paris, Berlin, London call for urgent meeting on EU refugee policy (DW, link) "The EU needs immediate action to deal with the influx of immigrants, the interior ministers of Germany, France and Britain have said in a statement. The three countries urged new "hot spots" for registration of refugees." [emphasis added]

EU: UK House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper: Migration pressures in Europe: (22 pages, pdf): Good summary:

"While there are some involuntary migrants, subject to people trafficking rather than smuggling, this is the exception...."

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is warning that the world is in the midst of a forced migration crisis, and it expects the situation to get worse still. European leaders are struggling to agree on how to respond to the challenges posed by large movements of irregular migrants across their borders.

Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The recipient countries in the EU are struggling to deal with the large numbers reaching their destination, and securing agreement within the EU on a coordinated response to the challenges posed by the migration flows is proving difficult."
[emphasis added]

EU: West Balkans Summit in Vienna: Final Declaration by the Chair of the Vienna Western Balkans Summit 27 August 2015 (pdf): "the participating States take note with appreciation of the various ongoing efforts undertaken by European Union institutions and agencies as well as individual EU Member States and regional fora such as the Forum Salzburg, which aim at stepping up the Western Balkan countries’ capacities in the areas of border management, in particular the fight against trafficking in human beings, and asylum through strengthened cooperation and additional support."

EU: MED-CRISIS: La photo poignante qui symbolise la tragédie des migrants (mais qui n'est pas de Banksy) (SLATE, link) [Photo poignantly symbolizes the tragedy of migrants (but not Banksy)]

EU: MED-CRISIS: (28-30-8-15)

GREECE: EU to help gov’t register and relocate refugees (ekathimerini.com): Comment from "European Asykum Support Office": "EASO Executive Director Robert Visser stressed that Greece also had to do more to ensure that the refugees are properly registered. “Member states are required to know the identity of everyone who enters their territory,” he said. “Greece is no exception.

ShelterBox Helps In Greek Crisis (piratefm.co.uk, link): "A Cornish charity is warning that the crisis is worsening on a Greek island. A second team from UK charity ShelterBox has arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos... Disaster relief charity ShelterBox is providing 100 large UN-style tents to ease the pressure, with 40 planned for construction at Kara Tepe camp in the coming days. But more assistance is needed, on Lesbos and elsewhere."

Nato ready to help EU navies on sea migrants, if asked (euobserver, link)

Solidarity in German stadiums (link)

Hungary completes anti-refugee fence on Serbian border (DW, link): "Hungary has erected a razor-wire barrier along its border to Serbia that is designed to keep out refugees and migrants, the defense ministry says. The move has drawn international criticism."

Let them board the trains! (MIGZOL Hungary, link): "Thursday, 27th August, 20-50 people were found dead in a lorry that was parked in Austria, near the Hungarian border. It is highly likely that these people were not allowed to board the trains to Austria after diligent ethnic profiling by the Hungarian police. The profiling, of course, focuses on who looks like a “migrant”, or a “refugee”."

GREECE: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (link) "I’m Natasha. I’ve worked for refugee organisations in the UK and overseas for the past 9 years. I’m now living in Greece and am heartbroken to see that refugees who have escaped war arrive in Europe and do not even have their basic human rights met."

Europe's migration paralysis (New Europe, link): "As European populations age and shrink, the continent urgently needs immigration. Yet many in Europe strongly oppose immigration, because it also means social change... For many centuries, Europe was a continent plagued by wars, famines, and poverty. Millions of Europeans were driven to emigrate by economic and social deprivation. They sailed across the Atlantic to North and South America, and to places as far away as Australia, to escape misery and seek a better life for themselves and their children. All of them were, in the parlance of the current immigration and refugee debate, “economic migrants.” During the twentieth century, racial persecution, political oppression, and the ravages of two world wars became the predominant causes of flight.""

Islamic State smuggling terrorists among the migrants? Unlikely, say experts (euractive, link): "The risk that groups like Islamic State could smuggle militants into Europe under cover of a huge wave of migrants is much smaller than some politicians suggest, according to security specialists with close ties to governments and intelligence agencies."

Shame on Europe (Save the Children, link): "Children are dying on our doorstep. It’s sickening to see the deaths of so many refugees trying to find safety in Europe. Enough is enough. Pledge your support for those fleeing war and persecution now."

Pope Francis 'deeply concerned for migrant plight' - 'Open your hearts to poor families' pontiff tweets (ANSA, link)

Czech NGO sends aid to refugees in Serbia, Macedonia (Prague Post, link): "People in Need, a Czech humanitarian organization, will send 1.7 million Kc for immediate aid to refugees in Macedonia and Serbia, the organization’s spokesman Petr Stefan told CTK today."

AUSTRIA: Truck death toll 71 including 4 children (The Local.at, link): "The death toll in Thursday's horrific migrant tragedy in Austria is now understood to be 71 people, including eight women and four children."

Migrant children rescued from Austria minivan 'recovering' (BBC News, link): "Three children are recovering in hospital in Austria after being rescued from a minivan containing 26 migrants. Police said the severely dehydrated children would not have lasted much longer in the cramped vehicle. The minivan was stopped in Braunau district on Friday and the Romanian driver was arrested after a chase."

Greece edges closer to EU migration funds (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Government Gazette on Friday published a decision – signed by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and alternate minister for immigration policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou – establishing an agency to manage EU asylum, reception and integration programs.Launching the agency has been a condition for the release of 470 million euros over a five-year period until 2020. The bureau, which will be headquartered on Vouliagmenis Avenue, south of central Athens, is expected to be fully operational by September 15."

GERMANY: Three arrested in Germany over arson attack on refugee home (DW, link): "Three people have been arrested after an arson attack on a refugee shelter in the German state of Lower Saxony. A woman and her three children were lucky to escape with their lives." and Cake and politicians at 'Refugees Welcome' party in Heidenau. The party took place in Heidenau after all, despite a police ban that was lifted following a political outcry"

GERMANY: Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden (The Local.de, link): "Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region."

EU free movement put into question at Vienna summit (euobserver, link): "EU politicians are threatening to dismantle the bloc’s free-movement rights amid calls to revamp asylum rules, due to the surge in the number of people seeking refuge in Europe. On Thursday (27 August), the bodies of up to 50 people, who had suffocated, were found in the back of a refrigerated food truck on the outskirts of Vienna. News of the tragedy came the same day EU and Western Balkan leaders and ministers met in the Austrian capital for a summit on migration issues."

Libyans protest against smugglers after up to 200 drown off coast - Residents of one of Libya’s most notorious people-smuggling hubs take to the streets after bodies found by Libyan coastguard (Guardian, link)

UK deports 52 Syrian refugees (Sunday Times, link): "The Home Office said 52 Syrian nationals were forcibly removed in the year ending in June, but claimed none was sent back to Syria. They were returned instead to other “safe” countries through which they had travelled before arriving in the UK."

Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall: Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link) and Greece's infrastructure struggles to cope with mixed migration flow (UNHCR, 2009, link) and UNHCR alarmed by detention of unaccompanied children in Lesvos, Greece (2009, link) and UNHCR delegation visits detention centre on Greek island, urges closure (2009, link): "PAGANI DETENTION CENTRE, Greece, October 23 (UNHCR) – A UNHCR delegation has called for a crowded migrant detention centre on the Greek island of Lesvos to be closed after visiting the facility with a senior government officia." See: Map "Pagani" (link) and "Images" (link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: AFRICANS TO BE ON "SAFE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN" LIST?

The European Commissioner says list of "safe countries of origin" likely to include African countries, which means people cannot claim asylum and will be returned. This despite reports that migrants arriving in Greece have come from, for example, Eritrea and Somalia:

"On the idea of a safe list, Timmermans was confident of convincing Balkan countries to accept the return of their citizens, but said that it would be “much more difficult” with African countries." (politico, link) and as to putting countries on a "save country of origin" list

"A list of ‘safe countries’ to which their citizens can be fast-tracked home following rejected asylum applications is being drawn up by the European Commission. The step is being taken in order to deal with the migrant crisis currently threatening to overwhelm government authorities in several EU countries.

[First Vice-President] Timmermans explained that for countries to be added to the list the EU will “need agreement” from those countries, adding “with those in the Balkans it is not difficult, but with African countries it is.” (plus link to video interview: breitbart.com, link)

EU: When solidarity fails (IRR, link); In observations made at a side-meeting of the 87th session of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the IRR’s director warned that Europe’s mishandling of the refugee crisis is fuelling racism:

"hough there has been a huge drive by ordinary European citizens to welcome refugees, to take a stand for human dignity, another trend is undermining it. The truth is that we face the possibility of a perfect storm unless those in power take cognisance of their positive duty to combat racism, rather than fuel it."

EU: MED-CRISIS: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs call for more EU solidarity on visit to reception centres in Sicily (Press release, pdf):

"Countries such as Italy and Greece dealing with an influx of asylum seekers should receive more support from other member states, MEPs said on a delegation visit to the Italian island of Sicily from 22 to 24 July. “Italy spends over €1 billion every year just to take care of those who make it across the Mediterranean. Italy’s borders are the EU's borders and a better management of the migratory flows is our common responsibility,” said French ALDE member Jean Arthuis, co-chair of the delegation."

And see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)

EU: MED-CRISIS: (27.8.15)

Treat refugees humanely, work together, says UNHCR, as thousands continue heading into the Western Balkans from Greece (UNHCR, link)

Viewpoint: Treat refugees as a development issue (BBC News, link): "Europe is facing a mass influx of refugees from outside the region for the first time in its history, as people flee persecution and conflict in countries such as Syria and Iraq. And its politicians are struggling to find a coherent response.... Only a tiny proportion of the world's 20 million refugees come to Europe: 95% are in the countries that neighbour conflict and crisis, mainly in developing regions. About 3.5 million Syrians are in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. More than 500,000 Somalis are in Kenya. More than two million Afghans are in Pakistan and Iran."

Refugees face death threats at Italian hotel (The Local.it, link): "Italian police are investigating claims that dozens of immigrants have received death threats in a xenophobic letter sent to the hotel which is hosting them in Lombardy's Valtellina valley."

Migrant crisis: Grim find of bodies in Austria lorry (BBC News, link): "At least 20 migrants have been found dead in a lorry abandoned in a motorway lay-by near the eastern border with Hungary, the Austrian authorities say. The number of dead could be as high as 50, police say. Their bodies had started to decompose." and Migrant tragedy leaves dozens dead in Austria (The Local.at, link)

European Commission: Funding to main migration-related activities in the Western Balkans and Turkey (pdf):

Migrants crisis: Austria and Balkans call for EU answer (BBC News, link): "Serbia and Macedonia have told a summit in Vienna the EU must come up with an action plan to respond to the influx of migrants into Europe."

Hungary scrambles to confront migrant influx, Merkel heckled (Reuters, link): "The chief commissioner of Hungarian police, Karoly Papp, said police were readying six special border patrol units of an initial 2,106 officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs, to be sent in depending on the situation on the Serbian border. "

More than 50 migrants found dead on boats near Libya coast (euractiv, link): "Rescuers saved about 3,000 migrants, but found more than 50 dead on boats near the coast of Libya yesterday (26 August), the Italian coast guard said."

Migration hijacks EU-Balkan summit in Vienna (euobserver, link)

Desperate migrants find holes in Hungary's razor-wire fence strategy - Viktor Orbán’s populist government hoped to deter new arrivals, but instead, his country is the new focal point of Europe’s migration crisis (Guardian, link)

GREECE: Refugee life at makeshift detention centre in Lesbos - shadow economy has sprung up in a refugee detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos.(BBC News, link-video): There are thousands of people living in the facility, and now makeshift shops have opened up inside the camp. And see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)

GREECE: Minister chides mayors calling for migration action (ekathimerini.com)

German employers 'should hire more refugees' (DW, link): "The Federal Employment Agency has urged German businesses to hire more refugees and harness their potential. Their ability to speak several languages is among the qualities it says would be an asset to firms."

GERMANY: Rostock riots revealed 'the dark side of humanity' (DW, link): "Heidenau, Solingen, Rostock-Lichtenhagen: Germany has a long history of attacks on asylum seekers. One former Rostock city official has spent his career thinking of ways to combat xenophobia."

Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicyles (The Local.no,link) "More than 100 Syrian refugees have crossed the Arctic border from Norway to Russia on bicycles, exploiting a loophole in the country's border regulations."

Norway gives €5m to Greece for refugees (The Local.no, link): "Norway has given Greece €5m in emergency funding to help it provide for a sudden influx of refugees at a time when it is facing its own protracted economic crisis."

AUSTRIA: Kurz threatens tighter border controls (The Local.at, link): "Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has threatened to introduce stricter border controls in Austria if a European solution cannot be found for the asylum crisis."

EU: MED-CRISIS: GREECE & ITALY: Commission close to disbursing 30 mln euros to Greece as refugee aid (Athens News Agency, link):

"The European Commission is very close to disbursing financial aid totaling 30 million euros to Greece to help the country deal with the refugee and migrant influx of recent months, Natasha Bertaud, spokesperson for the European Commission, said on Tuesday.... The spokeswoman also noted that the European Commission has identified two “hotspots” of migration one in Sicily and one in Piraeus. In the coming days, visiting staff from Europol, Frontex and the European Support Office (EASO) are expected to travel to these two towns to help authorities’ fast track actions which record, fingerprint and authenticate incoming migrants.

Asylum seekers will immediately go through an asylum procedure with support groups from EASO helping in the processing of asylum cases as fast as possible, she added. " [emphasis added]

Note: All the boats from the Greek islands bring migrants to Pireaus, the designated "hotspot".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "In Greece for at least six months this year what has been needed is humanitarian aid and the EU has been conspicuously absent and, until very recently, so to have been the international agencies. Help for those arriving has been dependent on NGOs, local and visiting volunteers. Now when 30 million euros of "aid" does arrive it is to be used for creating "hotspots", Europol and Frontex, fingerprinting and the "immediate processing of asylum cases as fast as possible."

EU: MED-CRISIS: (26.8.15)

UNHCR: Greater support in countries of first asylum needed to stem refugee outflows (link): "According to recent figures, the 4,089,023 Syrian refugees in host countries neighbouring Syria includes 1,113,941 in Lebanon, 629,245 in Jordan, 250,408 in Iraq, 132,375 in Egypt, and 1,938,999 in Turkey where registration is carried out by Turkish authorities. In addition, some 24,000 Syrian refugees are registered in other countries in North Africa."

Italy hits back at Merkel in migrants row (The Local.it, link): "Italy's Foreign Minister has scathingly dismissed criticism from France and Germany over its handling of the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on its southern shores. "Italy is doing what it has to do ... and even much more by saving thousands of lives and by taking in refugees," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in an interview published in Wednesday's Corriere della Sera, describing his country as a "a positive model on the international stage." and see: Italy saves lives even if it costs votes says Renzi (ANSA, link): "Commenting on the migrant emergency in the Mediterranean, where Italy is in the front line along with Greece, the premier said: "First we'll save human lives even at the cost of losing votes. "It's a question of civilisation." "

Czech finance minister: NATO should be engaged in guarding EU against migrants (FOX News, link): "The Czech Republic's finance minister has called for NATO to get involved in helping protect the European Union's external border against the influx of migrants. Andrej Babis says "we have to defend the Schengen (borderless) zone. We have to engage NATO." Talking on Czech public television on Tuesday, Babis called the migrants, most of whom are fleeing bloody conflicts, "the biggest threat to Europe."" and Czech Republic advocates use of army to protect borders (euobserver, link): "The EU could better protect itself from migrants if it had a common army, Czech president Milos Zeman said Tuesday (25 August), while the Czech finance minister, Andrej Babis, called for the closure of the Schengen area's external borders and for Nato help."

Hours of Waiting in No Man's Land as Greek-Macedonian Borders Open (demotix.com, link): "As the Greek-Macedonian borders have re-opened, refugees are allowed in. Yet hundreds have to wait for hours in the Greek side till the moment they are allowed to cross. The Macedonian military and Greek organisations co-ordinate the flow."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Charles University opens doors to asylum seekers (Radio Praha, link): "“Charles University is aware of the humanitarian tragedy of immigrants seeking asylum in European countries. And in this situation, where a number of political forces are trying to misuse the situation, Charles University wants to show some positive action to help people in need. We are trying to help by what we are best in, which is education.” "

WATCH THE MED: Alarm Phone in contact with 6 vessels in distress in the Central Med, 4400 people rescued in total in one day (link)

Germany suspends Dublin agreement for Syrian refugees (euractiv, link): No returns to state of first entry to EU: "Germany has ceased applying the rules of the Dublin system to Syrian refugees. All deportations to other EU countries have been halted."

Balkan states snub Greece in talks on immigation (ekathimerini.com): "Greece has been left out of an unfolding campaign by Balkan countries to forge a coordinated response to a torrent of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, Kathimerini understands.... Thinly disguised criticism of Athens came from FYROM Foreign Minister Mitko Cavkov, too, who noted it was “absurd that the problem is caused by an EU member-state.” Cavkov said that interior ministers from FYROM, Austria, Hungary and Serbia will soon meet in Skopje to decide further action."

Macedonia to face thousands of EU-bound migrants (euobserver, link): "Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia on a daily basis throughout the next several months, as the European Commission eyes court action against over a dozen member states for violating asylum rules..... Hungary, along with 17 other member states is on the European Commission’s hit-list for committing various violations against EU asylum laws.[link].. The Common European Asylum System is composed of the Dublin regulation, the asylum procedures directive, the reception conditions directive, the qualification directive, and the long-term residence directive. Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden are all under scrutiny."

Everyday People Put Solidarity Into Action Helping Refugees in Greece (Global Voices, link): "Almost 1,000 lives reach Greek shores every day, of which 60% are from Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The Eastern and North Aegean Islands of Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Chios and Lesbos have become temporary shelter for thousands arriving in dinghies from the sea..... Nevertheless, the deus ex machina in this case is not the government, but local residents and activists from near and far who are gathering food, medicine, clothes, toys and other equipment for the refugees."

Europe's migrant crisis will not slow and EU nations must share duties, says UN (Guardian, link): "The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said all EU member states should share the burden of Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the second world war, with an “equitable redistribution” of families seeking asylum.":and UN predicts 3,000 refugees a day will pass through Balkans - Refugee agency says Europe can handle numbers if correct measures taken (Irish Times, link)

GERMANY: Nauen refugee shelter fire 'an attack on everyone' (DW, link): "It may have joined the list of German towns to witness violence aimed at refugees. This time, though, the suspected arson of a sports hall is being felt as an attack on the whole community."

Dispatches: Volunteer Lifeline for Asylum Seekers in Hungary (HRW, link): "Tuesday, 8:07 p.m. at the Nyugati train station in Budapest, the latest train arrives from the Hungarian border town of Szeged carrying migrants and asylum seekers who came via Serbia. Volunteers from the nongovernmental group Migration Aid are standing by to greet them and offer food, clothing, and advice.... it’s shameful that Hungary and other European governments have failed to ensure proper reception conditions for people fleeing war and persecution, as European Union rules require. In Hungary, the government has instead spent millions building an anti-migrant fence."

EU: MED-CRISIS: First step in coercive response to migrants crisis: Italy, Greece must act now on migrants says Merkel 'Set up registration centres by year's end' (ANSA, link):

" Italy and Greece must act as soon as possible to open migrant registration centres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday. "We have established with the heads of government that there should be registration centres in the countries particularly hit by the first arrivals, like Greece and Italy," she said after a summit with French President Francois Hollande. "This must happen quickly, by the end of the year, we cannot accept delays," she said."

and Italy and Greece must act now on migrants: Merkel (The Local.it, link): "Italy and Greece – two countries which have borne the brunt of the migrant crisis - must set up registration centres to help identify asylum-seekers and illegal migrants as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday... Merkel stressed that the centres must be set up at the first ports of call to be administered and staffed by the EU as a whole by the end of the year. "We cannot tolerate a delay," she said."

This will almost certainly involve: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU: MED-CRISIS (25.8.15)

LESVOS/Mytilene: A Good Samaritan in Greece: Papa Stratis needs oxygen pumped to his lungs but that's not stopping him from joining the ranks of Greeks helping refugees arriving in Europe (UNHCR Tracks, link): "Papa Stratis, along with other local volunteers in the village of Kalloni, has been helping refugees since 2007 through the NGO ‘Agkalia‘. In all these years he reckons that he has helped some ten thousand people, including a few locals fallen on hard times. But never before has he seen so many refugees looking for help.... “Every day between one and two hundred people come to Kalloni,” the 57-year old Orthodox priest says. “The local people tell them to come to us for help. We give them food, water, milk for the babies, shoes, clothes. They can stay here too: we have blankets, mattresses on the floor.”... With local authorities overwhelmed by the 64,000 refugee arrivals to Greece since the beginning of the year, local activists like Papa Stratis and the network of volunteers “Village All Together”, are often taking on the sole responsibility of caring for the refugees on the Greek islands. “We have no external funding,” he explains with a smile. “We depend completely on the generosity of the local people.”"

ITALY: Asylum-seekers protest over living conditions (The Local.it, link)

GREECE: One dead, six missing after refugee boat capsizes off Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link) and and see: 2 Refugee Boats Capsize Off Greece, Turkey; 5 Dead (INYT, link)

GERMANY-EU: A ten-point plan for a European refugee policy response (diplo.de, link) and 10 Point Plan (pdf)

GERMANY: Fire destroys another refugee home in Germany (DW, link): "A refugee home has caught fire in Germany, raising concerns over anti-migrant attacks. Meanwhile Chancellor Merkel faces tough questions during her visit to a problematic immigrant neighborhood in the country's west."

AUSTRIA: Austria draws on army in migrant crisis (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian army is to deploy more than 500 troops to help overstretched authorities deal with the large number of migrants arriving from Hungary and Italy, the defence minister said on Tuesday."

GREECE: Efforts continue to locate migrants from capsized boat (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek coast guard patrols and volunteer fishermen on Tuesday were continuing the search for a group of migrants believed missing after their boat capsized off the coast of the island of Lesvos on Monday, killing two of the passengers on board.... Reports on Monday suggested that there were four or five passengers still missing from the rubber dinghy that capsized in choppy waters between the coast of Turkey and the eastern Aegean island.... The Greek government has come under fire from its European Union partners and international organizations for failing to speed up the process of registering incoming migrants and identifying those with legitimate asylum claims."

Migrant crisis: “Let’s not pretend Europe’s response is working” – UN rights expert warns (UNHR, link): "United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. “It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants,” he said. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe.” "

Search and Rescue in Central Mediterranean Sea (migreurop, link): "Report of an observation mission in Sicily carried out, between the 1st of February and the 8th of June 2015, by Sabine Llewellyn, volunteering for the network Migreurop within the NGO ARCI to support the activities of Watch the Med, in the frame of the programmes of Echanges et Partenariats." and see: Report (pdf) and Report - French (link)

Greece: Mytilene (Lesvos): Chaos and squalid conditions face record number of refugees on Lesvos (AI, link): "Overloaded, under-resourced authorities are failing to cope with the dramatic increase in the number of people arriving on the island (33,000 since 1 August) and must rely on local volunteers, NGO activists, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and tourists to step into the massive breach. The vast majority are fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria - 90% of those arriving in 2015 according to UNHCR."

GREECE: Help Refugees Arriving in Mytilene, Greece This list is for: Eric & Philippa Kempson: Dispatch to: Eric Kempson, Eftalou (Amazon, link): "All donations go directly to refugees arriving on the north coast of Mytilene. If you have other ideas (specific medical stuff, baby gear, toys, etc), feel free to add them to your shipment! People have access to food through other means, but other supplies for camping, long walks, general sun exposure all appreciated."

Destination Europe: Migrant Stories (WSJ, link)

Europe's migrant surge: How to cope with record numbers? (France 24, link): "Europe's record wave of would-be asylum seekers and migrants continues unabated and the scramble is on to cope with the crisis" with Marie Martin, Migration and Asylum Officer, Euromed Rights and Nic Conner, Senior Research Fellow, The Bow Group.

The European Union’s migrant ‘emergency’ is entirely of its own making (Guardian, link): "We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era....The emergency is not inevitable: we could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era. The choice is political. We can keep militarising the borders or bank on mobility. We can opt for ferries, visas and aeroplane tickets instead of sinking rubber boats, squalid detention centres and makeshift camps."

Hungary’s migrant fence is simply a pointless PR exercise (Guardian, link): "Short-term measures like walls and fences in Europe won’t solve a migration crisis of this size. People who have risked so much will just find another way."

UNHCR assists refugees at Greece-FYR Macedonia border, where calm is returning (link): "The UN refugee agency has been helping refugees and migrants amid chaotic scenes in the past few days at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as thousands of people tried to cross into FYR Macedonia. The situation was noticeably calmer and more orderly on Sunday, when almost 2,000 people crossed into FYR Macedonia, and Monday. The majority told UNHCR staff that they had fled the war in Syria, passed through Turkey and crossed by boat to Greece. Among them were many young families with small children."

The vital difference between human trafficking and migrant smuggling (Open Democracy, link): "Human smuggling is a crime in as much as it constitutes an illegal border crossing. But it is not innately a crime against people or an abridgement of their human rights. This can never be said of human trafficking."

Germany and France want unified asylum response (euobserver, link): "France and Germany are pushing for a more unified asylum system, as Berlin opens its doors to Syrians. Hollande said in a statement that “a unified system for the right to asylum” is needed." and: Influx grows as Germany, France eye unified response (ekathimerini.com): "According to police estimates, between 8,500 and 9,000 refugees on the island of Lesvos were Monday awaiting transfer to the Greek mainland. A ferry charted by the Greek government – the Eleftherios Venizelos – was expected to pick up another 2,500 Syrians from the island at 2.30 this morning and bring them to Athens. “The foreigners that leave the island every day are replaced by the same number of people arriving from the Turkish coast,” Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Kathimerini."

Germany challenges EU to agree on refugee plan (The Local.se, link): ""Never before have so many people fled political persecution and war as today, many of whom seek refuge here with us in Europe," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an opinion piece, identify a 10 point plan for a European refugee policy response."

UK: Asylum seekers fight deportation to Afghanistan - Lawyers challenge Home Office’s proposed charter flight, thought to be departing Stansted on Tuesday, following court victory for Afghans last week (Guardian, link): "Lord Justice Clarke rejected home secretary Theresa May’s application to overturn the order on the basis that a significant number of people due to board the flight could be affected by an ongoing case about the dangers of forcibly returning failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan."

Denmark considers citizenship rule changes (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government is considering changes to the nation’s citizenship laws that may make it harder to get citizenship in the future and pull the rug out from under 1,950 foreigners who have already satisfied the current requirements.

Germany suspends Dublin III transfers for Syrians (freemovement.org.uk, link): "Germany has taken the extremely welcome step of suspending the transfer of Syrian asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. As long ago as November 2013 UNHCR called for countries not to return Syrian nationals to their first point of entry in the EU. As the war has worsened and more people have fled, the situation has continued to deteriorate both for the people fleeing and in the countries on the periphery of Europe, such as the Balkan states and Greece and Italy, that are struggling to provide adequate reception conditions."

EU: Overstayers: Government reply to questions in the Bundestag at point 16 gives Statewatch as the "public" source::

"With regard to the information from other Member States of the EU is in particular the evaluation regularly published Products made by FRONTEX, which also illicit Include stay. Furthermore, Latvia has under its Presidency in the first half 2015, an EU-Polizeioperation called "Amber Light" initiated, focusing on the theme over-stayer moved. The results are also available to the public
(
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/jul/eu-council-lithuania- presidency-Amberlight-final-report.pdf)" [emphasis added]

And see: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents

Germany: Halt on Dublin procedures for Syrians (AIDA, link):

"The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has issued internal instructions suspending the Dublin procedure in respect of Syrian nationals. According to the instructions, dated 21 August 2015, Dublin procedures that have already been initiated in relation to Syrians are to be cancelled, in order for Germany to become the Member State responsible for processing their claims."

EU: PUTTING IN PLACE A RETURNS POLICY: Juncker: "In September, the Commission will thus submit a common list of safe countries of origin to the Member States." New Europe inteview, link) and see: Press release of Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 July 2015 (pdf):

"STRONGLY RECOMMENDS therefore that, without delay, Member States assess which third countries could be designated at national level as safe countries of origin."

And see: No need for new EU summit on immigration, says Juncker (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker dismissed calls for a new EU summit on immigration, saying member states should stop dragging their heels and implement existing agreements on the matter..... Juncker added that the European Union should draw up a uniform list of "safe countries" to which migrants could be returned." [Comment: All the evidence is that most migrants are coming from Syria and Afghanistan together with Eritrea, Somalia]

EU: MED-CRISIS (24.8.15)

Welcome to EU - Greece (link)

Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean 'migrants', but we should (Migrants Rights Network, link): "By rejecting the term and using ‘refugee’ instead as a means of arousing the empathy and compassion we should be feeling towards these people, Al Jazeera gives credence to the illiberal voices telling us that migrants are not worthy of our compassion."

UK-EU: The Observer view on Britain’s shameful response to refugees (link)

and see: German ministers call for joint EU policy to cope with refugee crisis (DW, link): "Two leading Social Democrat members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet have called for an EU-wide asylum policy as a way of coping with an unprecedented influx of refugees. "

Swedish tolerance questioned as attacks on migrants rise (euractiv, link):"A series of attacks on beggars and Roma has highlighted a dark side to a country considered a bastion of tolerance, but where the far right has been gaining support by claiming society is under threat from immigrants.... Since most come from Romania and Bulgaria, they are free to travel to Sweden as EU citizens, but their presence has fuelled claims by the Sweden Democrats the country is a soft-touch for migrants and is being swamped."

New one-day peak for Italy migrant rescues (The Local, it, link): "Italy's coastguard picked up another 300 migrants from stricken boats in the Mediterranean on Sunday, a day after overseeing the rescue of 4,400 people in one 24-hour period with help from British, Irish and Norwegian ships."

GERMANY: Gabriel visits Saxony after weekend of violence (The Local.de, link): "Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is to visit the Saxon town of Heidenau on Monday after far right demonstrators clashed with police outside a refugee home in the town over the weekend."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Number of lone underage refugees rising in Czech Republic (Prgaue Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Education Ministry must deal with a rising number of lone underage refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan aged from 15 to 18 years, who fled their countries alone or lost contact with their families during their long journey, daily Pravo writes Saturday.Under Czech law, people under 18 are considered underage and such refugees cannot be sent to detention facilities for adults."

Hollande to meet Merkel on migration, Ukraine (euobserver, link): "French president Francois Hollande is travelling to Berlin on Monday (24 August) to discuss the growing migrant crisis with German chancellor Angela Merkel. The visit, originally planned to cover the Ukraine conflict, comes as thousands of people - many of them fleeing the war in Syria - keep trying to enter the European Union."

Macedonian army allows migrants to cross border - Migrants head towards EU border in southern Hungary after being penned for days in Macedonia (Guardian, link): "“There is a human catastrophe here, and all the EU, the European countries, are to be blamed for this,” said German politician Annette Groth while on a visit to the “neutral” zone between Greece and Macedonia. “The refugees are not leaving their homes for fun.”"

HUNGARY: Volunteers step in as Hungary tries to shut out illegal migrants - ‘Strange and random’ happenings await the recent arrivals in an ill-prepared Europe (Irish Times, link)

IRELAND: Criminalising asylum-seeking in Ireland: the case of Walli Ullah Safi (opendemocracy,link): "The harsh institutional approach to asylum seeking in Ireland is indicative of a mentality that places a severe and punitive burden of proof upon the asylum seeker."

EU: MED-CRISIS (22-23.8.15)

GREECE-EU: Greek president wants EU summit on refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has proposed that a European Union leaders’ summit be called to discuss a mounting migrant and refugee crisis and called for a closer cooperation with the United Nations."

Migrants crisis: More than 2,000 people rescued near Libya coast (BBC News, link): "More than 2,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued from boats off the coast of Libya in one of the biggest single-day operations mounted, Italy's coastguards have said. Distress calls came from more than 20 vessels, AFP reported."

GREECE: Overcrowded and bad conditions at Greek Refugee Centre in Lesbos (YouTube, Molyvos for Refugees, link): "Endless waiting hours on the queue for the refugees from Afghanistan, in order to obtain a portion of food, during August at the Moria First Reception Centre in Mytilene, Lesvos island, Greece . Mohammed who is 24 years old from Kunduz Afghanistan and describes his bad experience during his staying there. The drinking water from the tap was hot and of low quality. So mainly for the children, they had to daily buy bottled water, at an expensive price from the one and only canteen on the area."

GREECE: MYTILENE: Refugees Welcome Party in Pikpa (lesvos.w2eu, link): "Last night w2eu and JOG hosted a welcome party in the selforganized space PIKPA to welcome and exchange with the refugees staying there. Over the last three year this became a PIKPA – w2eu – JOG Tradition." Historical Note: 2013: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up (Statewatch report)

SWEDEN: 'Nazi-inspired' anti-immigration group becomes Sweden's most popular party (Independent, link)

GREECE: FYROM loosens border as migrants get restless (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Friday relaxed a crackdown along the country’s border with Greece as crowds of desperate migrants and refugees seeking to enter the Balkan nation grew larger and more restless..... On Friday afternoon, another ferry docked at Piraeus with around 2,300 refugees from the islands of the eastern Aegean. Lesvos, Kos and other islands are under increasing pressure as the influx from Turkey is relentless. Authorities on Lesvos said there were some 11,000 migrants on the island on Friday."

Germany condemns violent anti-refugee protest in Heidenau (DW, link): "The German government has condemned the violence that broke out ahead of the arrival of asylum seekers at a temporary shelter in the east of the country. Several people were injured in scuffles with police." and: Police clash with far-right over refugees (The Local.de, link): "Several hundred people turned up in Heidenau, near Dresden, to demonstrate against the expected arrival of hundreds of refugees in a protest called by the far-right National Democratic Party." and Fresh clashes in Heidenau as de Maiziere condemns anti-refugee violence - German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has condemned violent protests against a refugee shelter in the eastern town of Heidenau. At the same time, he highlighted a spirit of giving demonstrated by other Germans. (DW, link) nd German neo-Nazi protesters clash with police at new migrant shelter - Two consecutive nights of violence force police to seal off shelter near Dresden as Germany prepares for biggest influx of asylum seekers since second world war (Guardian, link)

Greece ferries thousands of refugees from islands to the mainland (Macedonian Information Agency, link)

GERMANY: Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out' (Independent, link): "Peaceful demonstrations began after news spread that the town was welcoming a large number of refugees who are set to be housed in an empty building. The protest was hijacked by a group of far-right radicals, many belonging to the militant National Democratic Party (NPD), considered a neo-Nazi organisation."

Mediterranean migrant crisis: Irish naval vessel LÉ Niamh rescues 225 people (BBC News, link): "The migrants, including 12 children, were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea on two inflatable vessels."

AI: MACEDONIA: Macedonia: Calm at the border but uncertain fate for refugees and asylum-seekers’ onward journey (link) and Macedonia: Stop Police Violence Against Migrants (HRW, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: (21.8.15)

UNHCR-MACEDONIA: Concern about developments at border with Greece (pdf): UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres spoke with FYR Macedonia Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki about the situation, and received assurances that the border will not be closed in the future. "UNHCR is particularly worried about the thousands of vulnerable refugees and migrants, especially women and children, now massed on the Greek side of the border amid deteriorating conditions," UNHCR said in a statement." and Macedonia allows migrants entry from Greece (Channel 4 News, link): "Macedonia allows a limited number of migrants to enter from Greece, hours after police drove back crowds by firing tear gas.... The United Nations refugee agency has urged Macedonia to allocate more space for migrants in its side of the border"

MACEDONIA: GREECE: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Macedonia: Thousands trapped and at risk of violence as border sealed (link): "A witness on the Greek side of the border told Amnesty International that Macedonia’s Rapid Reaction Unit, an anti-terrorist police unit, had been beating refugees and asylum-seekers who were trying to enter Macedonia, and firing over their heads. A local NGO confirmed the use of rubber bullets.... "Every country has the power to patrol its own borders, but this kind of para-military response is an unacceptable push-back in violation of international law. Macedonian authorities are responding as if they were dealing with rioters rather than refugees who have fled conflict and persecution."" And see: AI: Europe’s Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary (link) and see: Report: Europe's Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary (pdf)

Macedonian riot police fire teargas to disperse thousands of migrants - video (Guardian, link) and Macedonian police fire tear gas to drive back migrants, refugees on border (Reuters, link): "Riot police behind barbed wire fired tear gas to drive back an angry crowd demanding passage into Macedonia and north to Hungary and the European Union's borderless Schengen zone, the Reuters reporter said." also: Macedonian Riot Police Use Teargas to Hold Off Migrants at Border With Greece. (Slate, link) and Irish Times Video (link): Macedonia declares emergency on border over refugee crisis - Police fire tear gas in effort to disperse refugees as authorities attempt to seal border: "“We expect the involvement of the army will bring two desired effects - it will increase security among our citizens in the two regions and will allow for a more comprehensive approach toward people expressing their interest in applying for asylum,” Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski was quoted as saying." and Migrants try to charge Macedonian police lines at Greek border - Medical workers race to treat injured amid reports of people fainting as hundreds try to break through to the north (Guardian, link)

And see: FYROM: Macedonia declares state-of-emergency (euronews, link): "A state of emergency has been declared in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as crowds of migrants continue to gather on its southern border. The Army has been brought in to maintain security as thousands wait,hoping to travel on to Serbia and Western Europe."

Update on airlines offering free luggage with items for refugees (Help for refugees in Molyvos, link)

Peter Sutherland critical of Europe on migrant crisis - UN special envoy on migration tells Knock faithful of EU shortcomings on response (Irish Times, link)

FRANCE-GERMANY: Merkel and Hollande to press EU to move faster on asylum policy (euractiv, link): "Germany and France will press the European Union to move faster and with more unity to deal with the worsening refugee crisis, amid complaints from Germany that it is shouldering too big a burden." and see: Germany 'can't cope' with 800,000 refugees per year - Germany cannot continue accepting refugees at its current pace of 800,000 per year, its interior minister warns. The country could reinstate border controls if other EU states fail to pull their weight (DW, link)

EU ministers to hold migrant talks: France (The Local.fr, link) and see: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):

CZECH REPUBLIC: Integration expert says migration issue should not be reduced to security (Radio Praha, link)

GREECE: Refugees head for the north despite border crackdown (ekathimerini.com, link)L "KTEL intercity bus services linking the capital to the northern port of Thessaloniki were inadequate so additional vehicles were added to the route. Instead of the 11 usual daily connections linking Athens and Thessaloniki, there are now 42, with a bus leaving the capital for the northern port city every half-hour...... Train services linking FYROM and Serbia were also suspended as large numbers of migrants camped out in the no-man’s land between the two countries." and Car ferry arrives for second time in Piraeus to disembark Syrian refugees (ANA, link)

HUNGARY: Socialists criticize border police units (BBJ, link): "Socialist immigration expert Richárd Barabás told the press that plans to set up border police units to guard the fence being built along the Serbian border show a "complete lack of goodwill" and may go against the Geneva convention, according to reports today, while deputy leader Bertalan."

Fences in Calais protect ministers – not refugees (The Conversation, link) by Heaven Crawley

Refugee Chaos in Macedonia: 'Life-Threateningly Dangerous for Women and Children' (spiegel.de, link): "A dangerous bottleneck has formed in the Macedonian border town of Gevgelija, an important hub for refugees traveling to Western Europe. Those trying to reach the trains here face extreme heat, dangerous crowds and police bullying."

“To quota” or “not to quota”? The EU facing effective solidarity in its Asylum Policy (EASFJ, link)

Why are NGOs so reluctant to help Greece? (New Internationalist, July 2015, link): "nternational observers are left wondering: how bad do conditions in Lesvos need to be before refugee aid agencies stop hiding behind the EU and start rolling up their sleeves?"

UK-FRANCE: CALAIS: Managing migratory flows in Calais: Joint Ministerial Declaration on UK/French Co-operation (pdf) and see: Commission: Joint statement by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Avramopoulos on Calais and European migration priorities (pdf)

And: 'Fences won't put anyone off': migrants dismiss new Calais security crackdown - People in New Jungle camp say Theresa May’s attempts to tackle crisis at French port will not deter those fleeing war from trying to reach UK (Guardian, link) and Motorway blocked! – The jungle’s answer to Theresa May’s visit to Calais (Calais Migrant Solidarity, link)

UK-EU: Compulsory fingerprinting of migrants: Government Explanatory Memorandum: EM: Commission Staff Working Document (SWD, 150-15) (pdf). The UK is not bound by this proposal but totally backs the compulsory fingerprinting of all, and observes that when faced with "non-compliance" there will be consequences:

"including the use of detention or coercion to obtain fingerprints. In our experience the appropriate use of detention... can have the effect of bringing behavioral change" [emphasis added]

See: European Commission: Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”(pdf)

And: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU: European Parliament Study: Enhancing the Commom European Asylum System and alternatives to Dublin (pdf):

"It argues that as long as it is based on the use of coercion against asylum seekers, it cannot serve as an effective tool to address existing imbalances in the allocation of responsibilities among Member States.".

FINLAND: Report to the Finnish Government on the visit to Finland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf)

"During the visit, the CPT’s delegation examined the situation and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in police establishments, immigration detention, prisons and in a psychiatric hospital. Despite on-going efforts in a number of areas, the CPT was concerned by the lack of sufficient progress in the implementation of many of its long-standing recommendations, for example those regarding the practice of holding remand prisoners in police establishments and the practice of “slopping out” in prisons, on the regime for prisoners segregated in high-security and closed units, and on the legal safeguards in the context of involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation."

EU: MED: CRISIS: 20.8.15

UK in talks with Holland and Belgium to close off new migrant routes to Britain (Guardian, link): "Speaking during a visit to the Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles – which is now surrounded by two razor-wire fences after a £7m cash injection from the UK – May said other northern French ports such as Dunkirk were being assessed amid fears smugglers could shift their efforts elsewhere."

SLOVAKIA: Migrants crisis: Slovakia 'will only accept Christians' (BBC News, link): "Slovakia says it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under a EU relocation scheme. The country is due to receive 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under the EU plan to resettle 40,000 new arrivals. Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik said Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home."

Council of Europe: Without papers but not without rights: the basic social rights of irregular migrants (link): ""Those who think that irregular migrants have no rights because they have no papers are wrong. Everyone is a holder of human rights regardless of their status. It is easy to understand that the prohibition of torture protects all people but we should also be aware of the fact that basic social rights are also universal, because their enjoyment constitutes a prerequisite for human dignity. Therefore, member states of the Council of Europe should stand by their obligations to protect the basic social rights of everyone under their jurisdiction,
and this includes irregular migrants."

Calais migrant crisis: Theresa May in Calais as 'command centre' announced (BBC News, link)

Serbia says migrants in Macedonia should go to Bulgaria, Croatia (euractiv,link): "Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia will not put fences on its border with Macedonia, and that Hungary's new fence along its border with Serbia would redirect refugees to Croatia and Bulgaria, the Belgrade press reported "

GREECE: More than a third of migrants not fingerprinted, officials say (ekathimerini.com, link): "As part of efforts to decongest overburdened islands, Greek authorities have been registering the personal details of thousands of migrants arriving on Lesvos, Kos and other islands. But they lack the equipment to fingerprint the migrants, who are issued with documents and instructed to visit the Aliens Bureau in Athens on their arrival.More than a third issued with papers on the islands fail to visit the bureau, however, Greek Police (ELAS) sources told Kathimerini. It is thought the majority continue their journeys further into Europe."

ITALY: Response to migrants is mercy says pope (ANSA, link)

GERMANY: Germany refugee riot injures 15 after Koran defaced (DW, link) "A brawl among asylum seekers in a German town injured 15 after an Afghan tore pages from the Koran. Around 100 refugees took part in the riot at the shelter in Thüringen, which was previously criticised for overcrowding." and Germany's media blitz to discourage Balkan migrants (DW, link): "Germany's migration agency is taking out newspaper and online ads warning would-be refugees - especially from the Balkans - against seeking asylum in Germany. Experts say the approach will likely have little effect."

NORWAY: UN: Norway doing too little to fight racism (The Local, link): "Norway's authorities are doing too little to combat the threat of racism and far-right extremist violence, a damning new report from the UN has concluded."

UN: Sweden is bearing brunt of migrant crisis (The Local.se, link): "Sweden and Germany cannot continue to take in the majority of refugees seeking new lives in the EU, a top UN official has said... Antonio Guterres, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees called on Tuesday for other EU nations to play a greater role in helping asylum seekers who travel to Europe."

DENMARK: Danes publish pro-refugee advertisement (The Local.dk, link): "The initiative, which has over 18,000 followers on Facebook, ends the ad by saying that the group wants refugees to hear “another voice in Denmark - a voice representing peace, solidarity and human decency”. In response to:Denmark to run anti-refugee advertisements (link)

AUSTRIA: Ministers pay surprise visit to refugee camp (The Local.at, link)l "he severely overcrowded refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria, received a surprise visit ... He [said] that conditions at the camp are “unacceptable” and appealed to Austria’s states “to provide decent accommodation as soon as possible so that conditions like those at Traiskirchen are a thing of the past""

GERMANY: Asylum 'could cost Germany €10bn' in 2015 (The Local.de, link): "Based on new projections for the number of asylum seekers expected to arrive in Germany this year, the country may have to find €10 billion to fund its already creaking system."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Hysteria over asylum seekers completely exaggerated, says minister (Radio Praha, link): "The minister for human rights, Jirí Dientsbier, says hysteria surrounding asylum seekers in the Czech Republic is completely exaggerated and not based on any rational risks." and New parties profit from Islamophobia (Prague Post, link)

GREECE: Update: 19.8.15: "The situation is getting worse. Lot of the refugees have no tents, some have no shoes/clothes. There is not enough food and no soap. People have to stay here longer as there are no seats free on the ferry to Athens and some have waited for 7 days for papers."

Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)

"While going from tent to tent, interacting directly with refugees in their shelters and listening to their stories, we have observed in detail the living conditions of refugees in Kara Tepe camp and noticed that the humanitarian situation there is catastrophic.

Depending on the boats coming every day from Turkey, Kara Tepe camp houses an average of 1,000 to 2,000 mainly Syrian refugees (and from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea). The stay in this transit camp is supposed to last until 2 or 3 days. Our findings on site, however, reveal that some refugees (in July) would have waited their papers up to 11 days.

Thanks to numerous discussions with refugees, volunteers, NGOs and the UNHCR, we have drawn up this paper and hope the recommendations presented here will be found worthy of consideration."

EU-MED-CRISIS: Hungary Plans to Impose Prison Terms for Border Fence Violators (bloomberg.com, link):

" Hungary’s government wants to impose prison terms of as long as four years on those who damage a fence that’s being built along the Serb border to repel hundreds of thousands of migrants, a senior minister said.

The government is calling for an extraordinary session of parliament to pass the legislation, which would also tighten penalties for smuggling people, Janos Lazar, the minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s office, told reporters on Tuesday. The cabinet will send thousands of police to patrol a barbed-wire fence, that’s being built along the 175-kilometer (109-mile) border shared by Hungary and Serbia."

UK-EU: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Commission Communication: European Agenda on Migration and associated documents (72 pages, pdf) including European Agenda on Migration, European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, Relocation of migrants in need of international protection. On EUNAVFOR MED the report comments:

"unlike piracy, migration does not pose the sort of threat envisaged in chapter 7 of the UN Charter, and that there is thus a difficulty in finding an appropriate legal base; — successful anti-illegal migration operations in the Caribbean and Australasia are based on repatriation, which is not envisaged in the EU plan;
— the EU plan addresses symptoms, not causes; — there is no internationally-recognised and domestically-accepted government in Libya"

See also: Five Reasons Why Militarising the EU Migration Plan Will Not Work (RUSI, link): "With news of regular tragedies involving migrants awash on Europe’s shores, the European Union is promising to respond to these through military means. But the political will just does not exist in Europe; neither can the hurdles be overcome easily." and Militarising the EU Migration Plan: A Flawed Approach (RUSI, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: (19.8.15)

EU: Massive arrival of refugees in Greece dwarfs EU’s relocation initiative (euractiv, link): "Greece appealed to its European Union partners yesterday (18 August) to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with a growing migrant crisis as new data showed 21,000 refugees landed on Greek shores last week alone.... Greek officials said they needed better coordination within the European Union. "This problem cannot be solved by imposing stringent legal processes in Greece, and, certainly, not by overturning the boats," said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili."

Uk-FRANCE: Theresa May set to sign new deal with French government to tackle migrant crisis (Independent, link)

GERMANY: Where racism and xenophobia are manifest in Germany - Official statistics show that most racist crimes in Germany last year occurred in the country's eastern-most states and Berlin. A civil society expert says that's no surprise. (DW, link)

GREECE: Europe struggles to respond as migrants numbers rise threefold (ekathimerini.com, link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Zeman's spokesman against scientists' solidarity with refugees (Prague Monitor, link): "President Milos Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek criticised yesterday a call by hundreds of Czech scientists for toleration of immigrants, saying it deepens the gap between Czech society and the elites.
Researcher Pavel Jungwirth told CTK in reaction to Ovcacek's words that the call should bridge the gaps, on the contrary. The call "Scientists against Fear and Indifference" has been signed by more than 1500 personalities, the authors say on their web page."

CYPRUS: 75 million from the EC into a bottomless pit (KISA, link): "the management of the European funds granted to Cyprus for the 2007-2013 programming period raises questions as to whether the available funds for the 2014-2020 period will be used in a way that will improve the integration of migrants into Cypriot society * while making the asylum system fairer and more efficient..... "KISA considers that for the strengthening of the process of migrants’ integration and the improvement of the asylum system, Cypriot state, must first of all change the current migration model and contribute towards combating the racism and discrimination which prevail in Cypriot society." see aslo: EU allocates €74.9 million to Cyprus for migration (Cyprus Mail, link):: "Cyprus will continue the recently established voluntary return programme and will also support forced return.... n relation to border management, Cyprus continues the development of EUROSUR and plans to introduce Automated Border Control gates."

The Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) 5 Point Test For Hate Speech (link): "How can journalists determine what is hate speech? The EJN gives five points which media professionals should review before they publish."

EU-MED-CRISIS: (18.8.15): Frontex, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Greece

FRONTEX: Number of migrants in one month above 100 000 for first time (link): "In the month of July, the number of migrants detected at EU’s borders more than tripled to 107,500 compared to the same month of last year, surpassing the 100,000 mark in a single month for the first time since Frontex began keeping records in 2008.... Syrians and Afghans accounted for a lion’s share of the record number of migrants entering the EU illegally. Most of them, fleeing instability in their home countries, initially entered Greece from Turkey... the most detections were reported in the Aegean Sea (nearly 50 000), mainly on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos. "

Germany unnerved by scores of xenophobic attacks against refugees (Washington Post, link): "On a cool night six weeks ago, suspected right-wing arsonists struck the building, scorching its interior and rendering it uninhabitable days before the ­asylum-seekers were to move in. The attack added Meissen, a gothic castle town of 30,000 on the Elbe River, to a string of German cities caught up in an escalating rash of violence against refugees..... The incidents in Germany include at least six cases of arson and the beating of a 23-year-old African refu­gee by five Germans that left him with serious injuries."

GERMANY: Smartphone app launched to help asylum seekers in Dresden - App offers practical assistance to refugees arriving in the eastern German city and comes in response to recent anti-immigrant hostility (Guardian, link): "A smartphone app has been launched to help asylum seekers find their feet in Dresden, which became the epicentre of anti-immigrant hostility in Germany earlier this year. The Welcome to Dresden app, developed by two IT companies based in the eastern German city, gives refugees information on how to register with the authorities, get health insurance and find their way around."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Academics warning of growing xenophobia (Prague Monitor, link): "Over 740 Czech academics and other staff of scientific and research institutions have signed a petition Academics against Fear and Indifference to face the increasingly xenophobic atmosphere in Czech society that was posted online yesterday. They feel alarmed at the activities of extremist groups that are not contained enough, the petition said. Radicalisation of society by fear is one of the biggest dangers threatening Czechs in connection with the immigration crisis, it added."

Austria set to force towns to take refugees (euractiv, link): "Austrian towns that balk at taking in refugees can be forced to accept migrants under draft legislation agreed by the two ruling parties and the opposition Greens on Monday (17 August)."

SWITZERLAND: Steinmeier urges EU-Swiss talks on planned immigration quotas (euractiv, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier yesterday (17 August) urged the European Union to negotiate with Switzerland on Bern's plans for new quotas on immigration from the bloc.... Switzerland has been scrambling to find a way to implement the wishes of the people - who narrowly voted in February, 2014 to dramatically rein in immigration from the EU - without ripping up a range of decade-old treaties governing Switzerland's ties with the bloc."

AUSTRIA: Europe migrant crisis: 80,000 will seek asylum in Austria in 2015 - and for many, this former barracks in Traiskirchen is the end of the road (Independent, link): "Ahmed has his face up against the iron bars of the asylum reception centre in the village of Traiskirchen in Austria. He fled Iraq when Isis told his family to leave. They were fishmongers, and had sold their wares to Americans, among others. “They told us that we were sinners, that we had to leave,” says Ahmed. “It gave my father a stroke and now he is dead. My sister is in Greece. My brother is in Serbia. I am here.”

GREECE: More ferries to help take migrants from Aegean islands ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities are planning to add more ferries to the route linking the islands of the eastern Aegean to the port of Piraeus and elsewhere on the mainland in a bid to ease pressure on the islands which are on the front line of an influx of migrants....The situation remained particularly difficult on two islands which are busy tourist resorts: Kos and Lesvos. Around 3,000 migrants were unable to leave Lesvos on Monday, despite having undergone police identification procedures, as there are no places on ferries." and: Park refugees moved to center at Elaionas (ekathimerini.com, link): "A new reception center for migrants in Elaionas, near central Athens, was fully operational on Monday after more than 200 refugees left a makeshift settlement at Pedion tou Areos park for the air-conditioned containers of the Elaionas plot."

Germany expecting 650,000 refugees this year: report: Germany is to raise its prognosis for the number of refugees expected to come to the country this year drastically, a paper says. The UN has called on all European states to do their share in looking after the migrants (DW, link).

ITALY: UN must address migrant 'human tragedy' - Bagnasco (ANSA, link): " Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) chief Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said after meeting 50 refugees in Genoa Monday he wondered whether "these international organs like the UN in particular that gathers political and financial power have ever seriously addressed this human tragedy".

EU: MED-CRISIS: (17.8.15): Greece, Germany, UK. Italy and Czech Republic

GREECE: MYTILENE/LESVOS: Masked 'Commandos' Are Attacking Refugee Boats Off This Idyllic Greek Island (Huffington Post, link):

"out of nowhere came a nightmare -- a speedboat with four masked men charging toward them as they bobbed in international waters. Clad in all black and armed with guns and whips, the men bellowed at terrified passengers to stop the motor, Mohamed recalled.

"They shot at the boat with three bullets," Mohamed later recounted as he stood in a crowded parking lot in the beach town of Molyvos hours after arriving, against all odds, at the island. Hundreds of refugees sat around him, exhausted and caked in sea salt and sweat, as tourists slowed their pace to stare. "They hit us with six-meter-long sticks," he said, a few men sitting with him nodding in agreement. "They circled around us trying to flip our boat." "

KOS: Body of Syrian boy, 16, found at base of Greek island cliff (News Republic, link)

Greece sees risk of ‘bloodshed’ in migrant-crowded island (euractiv, link): "Greece dispatched extra police on the island of Kos after its mayor warned of bloodshed if the tensions created by the massive arrival of immigrants worsen, the Greek press reported. Meanwhile, human rights groups denounced the ‘disgraceful’ conditions in other EU countries trying to cope with the surge in refugees."

EC, Greece have 'game plan' for migrant influx (ekathimerini.com, link): "As thousands of undocumented migrants continue to arrive on the islands of the eastern Aegean, the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos has indicated that Greek and European authorities have a “game plan” to tackle the mounting crisis. Avramopoulos, who met with several ministers during a visit to Athens last week, told reporters in Brussels on Friday that they have drafted “a game plan... a plan for how we can work together to address a problem that is not Greek, a problem that is European.”"

Greek authorities begin to move refugees out of Athens park (ekathimerini.com, link)

Europe’s Front Door: The Refugee Crisis on Lesvos Island (fletcherforum.org)

GERMANY: Opinion: Feed asylum applicants - don't give them money (DW, link)

EU: At least 2,300 Mediterranean deaths in 2015 - IOM - Over 250,000 asylum seekers have landed in Europe (ANSA, link)

UK: The exploitation of migrants has become our way of life (Guardian, link)

ITALY: Migrants' 49 bodies, 416 survivors reach Catania (ANSA, link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: National Democracy protests against accepting refugees (Prague Monitor, link): "More than 200 demonstrators protested against the accepting of refugees and criticised the Czech government's migration policy at a rally convoked by the extremist National Democracy organisation at Prague-Vysehrad Saturday."

GERMANY: Journalist stops blogging after threats from right-wing extremists (XIndex, link): "Blogger Heinrich Schmitz will stop blogging about right-wing extremism after receiving violent threats, he wrote in a column for the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel. Schmitz is a blogger for the website "The European" and recently wrote a column condemning right-wing extremist protests in front of refugee homes. Schmitz declared he received threats and that police entered his home in the western German town of Euskirchen after someone called a police station pretending to be Schmitz and claimed to have murdered his wife.

EU: MED-CRISIS: "La Guardia costiera greca affonda un gommone di migranti": la video denuncia di un pescatore turco (Source R.it, link)

"The Greek Coast Guard sank a boat of migrants": the video report of a fisherman turkish:

A raft of migrants from Turkey sinking after being pierced with a spear voluntarily by a patrol boat of the Greek Coast Guard and then left without providing relief. This complaint accompanying the video, taken by many Turkish media, shot by a fisherman off the coast of Kos. The author of the video would lend him the first aid shipwrecked and then called the Turkish coast guard them have recovered. The dynamics of events has not been confirmed nor denied by the Coast Guard Island." [automated translation]

EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR warns of deepening refugee crisis in Greece and calls for urgent and bold action (link): The UNHCR Directors of the Bureau for Europe and of Emergency, Security and Supply, visited Greece last week to assess the refugee crisis in the country, where some 124,000 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea this year – as of 31 July" and: EU leaders will use military against refugees, warns leading MEP (euractiv, link)

Emergency funds sprout up to temper storm of refugee crises (euractiv, link) See also Statement by Commissioner (pdf)

And: Europe shouldn’t worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism - The greatest threat to our “way of life” is not migration. It is that we will swallow the lie that some human lives matter less than others. (New Statesman, link): "The behaviour of the British and wider European elite towards migrants is not simple inhumanity. It is strategic inhumanity. It is weaponised inhumanity designed to convince populations fracturing under hammer-blows of austerity and economic chaos that the enemy is out there, that there is an “us” that must be protected from “them”"

Kos migrants: 'They said they'd give us papers, then locked us in like a prison' - After being held in a stadium on the Greek island, refugees tell of their ordeal – as immigration officials bemoan Kos mayor’s alleged lack of cooperation (Guardian , link)

Media should speak out against hate speech (European Fegeration of Journalists (link): "The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined the Italian organisation on Carta di Roma welcoming the new initiative launched by the Italy newspaper La Stampa to counter hate speech. The EFJ has called on media professionals to be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by the media through hate speech following recent debates and media coverage on “migrant crisis” in Europe."

EU: MED CRISIS: New report addresses "dangerous and misleading simplifications" over migration to Europe; plus latest news reports

A new report by Medici per i dirriti humani (Doctors for Human Rights) is based on information and testimonies collected by doctors working on a project to stop the torture of refugees travelling from sub-Saharan to northern Africa.

See also: PRESS RELEASE: Doctors for Human Rights (Italy)

UK: Yarl's Wood: Migrant detention centre condemned again

A recently-published report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons on the Yarl's Wood detention centre says that "in some important areas the treatment and conditions of those held at the centre had deteriorated significantly, the main concerns we had in 2013 had not been resolved and there was greater evidence of the distress caused to vulnerable women by their detention."

EU: MED CRISIS: Billion-euro budgets to be distributed to Member States; plus latest news reports

The European Commission has announced the approval of 23 more national programmes for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, paving the way for the release of up to €2.4 billion to Member States to "improve migration management, foster cooperation and make Europe safer".

UK: Government continues work on "hostile environment" for migrants

In 2013 it was revealed that the UK government had drawn up plans to create a "hostile environment" for irregular migrants. Two recent developments - a reduction of financial support for asylum-seeking families and the targeting of specific nationalities for deportation - show that the government is continuing its efforts.

EU: MED CRISIS: Greece calls for help, the Commission does too

The "humanitarian crisis within a crisis" for migrants and refugees in Greece has led Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call for more help from the EU institutions and EU Member States: "These dimensions exceed our country’s capabilities, they are European dimensions.”

The European Commission has said "more planes and 'technical assistance' including personnel and patrol cars are needed for Greece and Hungary," and has called for "a new, more European approach. The European Agenda on Migration we presented in May sets out this European response."

EU: Visas and law enforcement

The Council of the EU will continue its work on revised EU visa rules in September, when its Visa Working Party discusses a draft text put together by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council.

Meanwhile the Council is moving towards adopting a new legal basis for access by law enforcement agencies to the Visa Information System, which contains the personal details (including biometrics) of all visa-holders. This will meet the requirements of an April 2015 court judgment that required the drafting of a new legal text.

European Court of Human Rights demands explanations from Spanish government on "hot returns" in Melilla

The European Court of Human Rights has called on the Spanish government to explain itself in the case of two "hot returns" conducted at the border between Spain and Morocco in Melilla. At the end of July, the Court issued a decision demanding a response from the Spanish government to two applicants' claims that their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were violated.

EU: MED-CRISIS: Latest coverage of the migration crisis in the Mediterannean and its impact within Europe

Almost 400 refugees saved after crammed fishing boat sank off Libya (UNHCR, link)

AUSTRIA: Austria: overwhelmed refugee centre closes to new arrivals (euronews, link)

EU: Record numbers of migrants enter Europe in 2015 (France 24, link)

FRANCE-UK: Women in Calais camps: 'I have to focus on how I can stay alive' (The Guardian, link)

GREECE-TURKEY: Distress at sea and endangered lives due to coastguard actions? Evidence shows attacks on migrant boats in the Aegean Sea where engines were removed and boats punctured by coastguards (Watch the Med, link)

IRELAND: Up to 12 additional direct provision centres to open (Irish Times, link)

EU: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents

AMBERLIGHT, an EU-wide Joint Police Operation aimed at detecting visa "overstayers" and in particular those "travelling with forged documents", led to the detection of 1,344 people staying beyond the time permitted by their visa. However, just 10 were using forged documents.

EU: MED-CRISIS

London - Calais Migrant Support Convoy (link)

EU: Give me your tired, your poor … the Europeans embracing migrants - Away from the xenophobic hysteria aimed at desperate immigrants are people taking steps to help newcomers and promote the good things they bring (Guardian, link): "Judging from the headlines, it sometimes seems no one in Europe wants to help refugees..... But on a local level, there are thousands of people across the continent who are braving the vitriol of their peers, and filling the void left by the politicians. Many Europeans back their governments’ stance but their xenophobia masks another phenomenon – that of a huge drive by ordinary citizens to welcome refugees, rather than reject them."

Italy counts 90,000 sea migrant arrivals so far this year (euractiv, link) and More migrants land in Italy, adding to EU-wide crisis (ANSA, link)

Slovakian town votes 'No' to asylum seekers (euobserver, link)

EU offers aid to France for migrants, shows little sympathy for UK (euobserver, link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Unrest at asylum facility sparks fresh concerns over migrant crisis (Radio Praha, link)

Landlords' Visa Checks Responsibility Would Create 'Two-Tier State', Government Was Warned (Huffington Post, link)

EU-MED-CRISIS:

UK: Illegal immigrants to UK face eviction without court order under new plans - Landlords who fail to check tenants’ immigration status face five-year jail terms as part of government crackdown to reduce UK’s appeal as a migrant destination (Guardian, link)

Immigration bill will mean public sector workers 'must speak fluent English' (Independent, link)

Italian coastguard rescues 1,800 migrants as five found dead - Almost 2,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far this year, on top of 3,500 last year (Guardian, link)

4 vessels in distress, 2-3 intercepted, 1-2 rescued by Spain (Watch the Med, link)

Zeman: Refugees should respect Czech rules or leave (Prague Monitor, link): "No one has invited refugees to the Czech Republic, but once they are here, they should respect the rules of this country or leave, President Milos Zeman said in an interview,,, "If you do not like it, just go away," he called on refugees."

Cuatro subsaharianos ahogados al intentar llegar a nado a Ceuta ["Four sub-Saharan drowned while trying to swim to reach Ceuta"] (elpais, link)

Calais migrant crisis: French riot police use chemical spray on migrants trying to enter Channel Tunnel (Independent, link), New developments at troubled refugee center (Prague Posat, link), UK: Church attacks David Cameron’s lack of compassion over asylum crisis - Bishop of Dover pleads for PM to ‘rediscover what it is to be human’ as No 10 reveals a joint plan with France to boost security around Eurotunnel (Observer, link), Is it time for some facts about those migrants? Perhaps you'll think I'm naïve, but I still believe that when you have a debate, it's a good idea to have some facts readily to hand. (Lustig's Letter, link)

July 2015

EU-MED-CRISIS:

Asylum seeker death toll rising (IRR, link): "In the last two months, at least thirteen people, two of whom were teenagers, have died trying to reach the UK, and countless others have been injured."

The Calais crisis: which Member State is responsible? (EU Law Analysis, link)

UK-FRANCE: JOINT ACTION: ARRANGEMENT ADMINISTRATIF (pdf) [The Joint Action: Government of France and the UK to secure the common border and combate illegal immigration, 2009]

UK: House of Commons: Letter from Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration, to the Committee Chair, 21 July 2015 (pdf)

GREECE: Two groups in distress in the Aegean Sea near Lesvos, rescued by Turkey, one boat punctured by Greek coastguard! (Watch the Med, link): " person contacted us and reported that he had knowledge of a vessel that sought to reach Lesvos but was intercepted by the Greek police. He said that the police boarded their vessel and took away their engine. They then punctured the vessel and left them behind at sea. They were now, of course, in a situation of distress."

What the Calais ‘crisis’ reveals about racism - The deaths we have seen in Calais are not the first, and until Britain can come to terms with race and racism, they won’t be the last (Red Pepper, link)

SERBIA: Fears of humanitarian crisis in Serbia as refugees stream in (euractiv, link): "At the crack of dawn hundreds of refugees, most of them Syrians, stream into Serbia's southern valley of Presevo after a perilous journey they hope will lead to a new life in the European Union."

The Hungary PM made a ‘rivers of blood’ speech … and no one cares - All the attention has been on Europe’s neo-Nazi fringe groups, when it’s those in national governments who should be scrutinised (Guardian, link)

EU: Statewatch Briefing: Preparing the ground for “smart borders”: EU action on “overstayers” (pdf) by Zakeera Suffee:

"Quiet preparations for the EU’s ambitious “smart borders” proposals are ongoing. This will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU residents entering the Schengen area, and is made up proposals for an Entry/Exit System intended to detect visa “overstayers”; a Registered Traveller Programme for the vetting of selected individuals before they arrive at EU borders; and proposals for relevant legal amendments to the Schengen Borders Code....

The multiple efforts to ensure ever-greater capture, storage and sharing of information suggest that people on the move are increasingly seen as a threat that needs to be regulated and managed through high-tech surveillance combined with “on-the-ground” information-gathering and police operations. All of these initiatives pose significant challenges to fundamental rights, in different ways. The fact that they are, for the most part, discussed and prepared in secret only adds to the concerns that they raise."

EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps

The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea.

A proposed new database known as the Entry/Exit System (EES) would require the fingerprinting of all non-residents entering the Schengen area, with the aim of making it easier to calculate and detect who has "overstayed" their visa entitlement. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), for the vetting of certain travellers before they reach EU borders, would also be introduced, along with amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.

However, the Commission's plan has raised concerns amongst the Member States. Documents obtained by Statewatch show that a majority of Member States consider passport stamps to be the most effective way of detecting overstayers

EU: MED-CRISIS: Morocco: The forgotten frontline of the migrant crisis (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):

"It's late afternoon on the forested slopes of Mount Selouane. In single file or knots of friends, young West African men are trudging down the hillside to the dusty, dishevelled outskirts of the Moroccan village of Shadia.

Nearly everyone is carrying an empty water bottle, part of their daily routine to fill them for free from standpipes outside the few general stores. They come as well to get a better network connection, to check their Facebook, make calls home, or catch up on friends who have made it to Europe."

- Four reasons Syrian ‘safe zone’ unlikely to work ( (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link)

- The only 'migrant madness' is the tabloid pretence about events in Calais - Analysis: It is time to end the lie that a few hundred migrants trying to enter the UK via the Channel tunnel amount to a mass invasion (Guardian, link) and Calais migrant crisis: David Cameron branded 'disgraceful' for Mediterranean 'swarm' remark (IBT, link): "“Cameron calling Calais migrants a 'swarm' is nothing short of disgraceful. [It] confirms there's no dog-whistle these Bullingdon Boys won't blow.” - Andy Burnham"

- Germany eases access to job market for refugees - German government has removed a legal obstacle for certain groups of young refugees who want to work as interns. German companies, opposition parties and local officials are pushing for even more reform of the system. (DW, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS:: WHERE IS THE EU GOING?: Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter (BBC News, link): "Some 2,000 migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais on Monday night in an attempt to reach the UK, operator Eurotunnel has said."

Emergency measures on Kent roads to combat Channel tunnel gridlock - Police reintroduce Operation Stack and close the M20 between junctions eight and nine to non-freight traffic after ‘continued disruption’ in Calais (Guardian, link) and HMS Bulwark's replacement yet to rescue any migrants in Mediterranean - HMS Enterprise was sent out in place of much larger vessel that saved nearly 5,000, as David Cameron insisted UK would continue to play full role (link).

GERMANY: Amid attacks on refugee homes, explosion destroys Left politician's car near Dresden - A local politician who supported a plan to house refugees in the town of Freital outside Dresden has been the victim of an arson attack. The Left party said that Michael Richter was the target of right-wing threats. (DW, link) and Refugees: German state of Baden-Württemberg sets up refugee task force - To deal with an influx of refugees, the wealthy south-western state of Baden-Württemberg plans to set up a task force and build more shelters. It also wants to speed up the deportation of migrants from "safe" countries. (DW, link)

GREECE: Seven children from makeshift refugee camp in Athens receive treatment (.ekathimerini.com, link)

Czech Republic and Austria to re-enforce border patrols in view of growing number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Adopted text: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece - General approach (pdf): "Delegations will find attached a document on the above issue as agreed by the JHA Council on 20 July 2015." and see:

Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders (pdf)

GREECE: Coast guards aided more than 1,500 migrants in Aegean since Friday (ekathimerini.com, link)

LESVOS-GREECE: These are refugees, not migrants, arriving in their thousands on Greek shores - As Europe turns its back, the compassionate crisis response of local Greek volunteers, despite harsh austerity, puts the international community to shame (Guardian, link)

GREECE: Official calls for crisis talks over Athens park migrant camp (ekathimerini.com)

EU-MED-CRISIS:

GREECE: PRESS RELEASE: Alarming humanitarian crisis at Pedion tou Areos’ park: The Greek Forum of Refugees, following the Press Release from Afghan Community in Greece, seeks to raise awareness concerning the situation of hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers. Fleeing the war in Afghanistan and seeking for protection and safety in Europe, they arrived in Lesvos Island and ended up in Athens. and see:

- GERMANY: Attacks against Germany's refugee homes on the rise - The rate of violence perpetrated against refugee homes in Germany in 2015 has already outstripped the whole of 2014. The Interior Ministry has warned that right-wing violence is on the rise in the west of the country. (DW, link)

- Calais crisis: Teenage migrant found dead on top of Eurotunnel train (Independent, link)

- Bavaria’s tough asylum policy gains support across Germany (euractiv, link): "Horst Seehofer’s confrontational policy against asylum seekers from Balkan states sparked protest in Berlin. But now a growing number of Germany states and municipalities are calling for a tougher approach."

- The Latest: NYC mayor denounces EU over immigration (Yahoo News, link): "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the European Union for leaving Italy to deal with waves of immigrants coming from North Africa, saying the EU must come up with a Europe-wide immigration policy."

- For them, there is no Schengen - In Europe, freedom of movement is suspended — for those who look like migrants" (Politico, link)

- ITALY: Amnesty stages flash mob for migrants in central Rome - Group hands over petition to prime minister's office (ANSA, link)

- GREECE: Minister mulling ‘open’ facility for migrants in city (ekathimerini.com, link)

- CZECH REPUBLIC: Foreigner police detain 20 to 50 illegal migrants daily (Prague Monitor, link)

ECHR rules Cyprus must pay Syrian deportees (Cyprus Mail, link): "The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ordered Cyprus to pay three Syrian Kurds deported from the island almost €17,000 in total for violating their human rights. Filed in 2010, the cases concerned a total of 17 Syrian Kurds who applied for asylum on the island saying they were at risk of persecution and torture in their home country as they are a small minority. Cyprus deported them all in 2012."

Slovakian extradition case raises questions of state cooperation (Fair Trials, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: COMPULSORY FINGER PRINTING OF MIGRANTS including: "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" AGREED WITHOUT DISCUSSION at: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels:

Not released until 21.7.15: "A" Points agenda: Non-legislative activities - Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints 11013/15 ASIM 60 EURODAC 8 (adopted without discussion, pdf)

See: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (EU doc no: 11013-15, pdf) agreed at the Council::

"On 16 June 2015, the Commission held an ad-hoc technical meeting with Member States and Associated Countries. The main focus of the meeting was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges Member States face when taking fingerprints and to agree on a common best practice approach to taking fingerprints in circumstances where the migrant refuses to cooperate. At that meeting, participating Member States reiterated their different practices when fingerprinting asylum seekers and irregular migrants and talked about different ways to deal with non-cooperation and damaged fingertips. The meeting concluded with the unanimous agreement of all Member States present that the best practices put forward in the above Commission document should be followed...

All delegations welcomed the [Commission] document, which, based on existing EU law, provides useful guidance to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints in full respect of fundamental rights and more specifically of the right to data protection... Coreper is therefore requested to recommend that the Council, at its meeting on 20 July 2015, invite the Member States to follow the mentioned 10-step approach." [emphasis added]

There is no reference to the "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" in the Commission proposal (below)

See: European Commission: Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”(pdf) and List of designated authorities which have access to data recorded in the Central System of Eurodac pursuant to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, for the purpose laid down in Article 1(1) of the same Regulation (pdf)

See: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU states fall short on asylum targets (euobserver, link): "Interior ministers in Brussels on Monday (20 July) fell short of a European Commission-proposed target to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years. Instead they agreed to relocate 32,356 with Austria and Hungary refusing to take any asylum-seekers, despite the plan being billed by EU leaders last month as a demonstration of European solidarity."

UPDATED 21-7-15: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels: Asylum, Agreements on relocation, resettlement and safe countries of origin: Final press release (pdf)

- Background Note (pdf) The "non-legislative": Agenda (pdf) is sole concerned with:

Resettling 20 000 displaced persons from outside the EU in clear need of international protection
Relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection
Provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece
Designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin

See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:

Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)

Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)

Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)

See also Working Documents from the European Parliament: Developing safe and lawful routes for asylum seekers and refugees into the EU, including the Union resettlement policy and corresponding integration policies (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf) and On Article 80 TFEU – Solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including search and rescue obligations (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf)

'Migration is not a security issue,' study says (euractiv, link): "The Federal Republic should apply new thinking to its development aid and asylum policy, says a new study from the University of Osnabrück, calling on decision-makers to see migration as an opportunity rather than a threat."

Spain causing concern on EU migrant relocation (euobserver, link)

FRANCE: Report on detention centres for 2014 - Increased use of detention, including of children and EU nationals

The fifth report on French detention centres, published jointly by the associations ASSFAM, Forum Réfugiés - Cosi, France terre d'asile, La Cimade and Ordre de Malta France, provides a wealth of official data, statistics and critical analysis concerning detention centres and places of detention for migrants on the French mainland and overseas territories for 2014.... [and] a practice initially introduced to target third-country nationals was later extended to Romanians and Bulgarians, and is now being used to deal with citizens of several EU member states..

EU: MED-CRISIS: IRELAND: State will take 600 extra migrants in EU initiative - Government agrees to relocation scheme as part of bid to tackle crisis in Mediterranean (Irish Times, link) and Czech Republic expects about 400 asylum seekers to be accepted by end of year (Prague Post, link)

Google pulls controversial map showing German refugee homes - The US search giant deleted an online map that showed the location of homes for asylum seekers and planned shelters across Germany. Activists had urged Google to get rid of the map amid fears it could fuel violence. (DW, link): "Activists fear an online map apparently created by a neo-Nazi group and which shows the locations of refugee homes and planned shelters across Germany could lead to more attacks against asylum seekers."

ITALY: Anti-immigrant protests break out in Rome, Treviso - Fourteen cops injured in clashes in the capital (ANSA, link)

UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: The United Kingdom opt-in to the proposed Council Decision on the relocation of migrants within the EU (pdf): "We understand that the Government is minded not to opt into the proposed Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece. Nevertheless, we believe that it is in the United Kingdom’s interest to take part in the negotiation of this proposal, and that, should an amended or a new proposal be brought forward giving effect to the European Council’s Conclusions in April and June 2015, the Government should reconsider its position and opt in."

CoE: Convention on Cybercrime Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism: Explanatory Reports and Guidance Notes (pdf)

Teenage asylum seeker who confronted Merkel allowed to stay in Germany - German chancellor had said ‘Politics is sometimes hard’ after Palestinian teenager burst into tears over deportation fears during televised debate (Guardian, link). This followed: Angela Merkel attacked over crying refugee girl (BBC News, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission's positions: "safe countries of origin", "Hotspot pre-removal centres" & Frontex as a "removal Agency

- Information note on “safe countries of origin” (18 pages, pdf): Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments:

"The CJEU ruled back in 2006 that the Council could not give itself special power to adopt a common list of supposed safe countries of origin, but had to follow the full EU legislative process. When EU law on asylum procedure was revised in 2013, the power to adopt such a common list was deliberately left out. But the Council now plans to draw up a de facto common list, with no democratic accountability whatsoever, in clear contempt for the rule of law."

- Explanatory note on the “Hotspot” approach (pdf): "structured border zones" are now referred to as "first reception facilities".or "pre-removal centres"

- Support to be provided by Frontex to frontline Member States on the return of irregular migrants (pdf) emphasises Frontex's role as a "returns" Agency rather that a Border Agency: "The Commission has announced its intention to propose to amend the Frontex Regulation to strengthen the role of Frontex, notably so that it can initiate return missions." [emphasis added]

- Letter from Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS to Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (pdf):

"The aim of the "Hotspot" approach is to provide comprehensive and targeted support by the EU Agencies to frontline Member States which are faced with disproportionate migratory pressures at the external borders.... Frontex will provide prompt support for the identification of irregular migrants, the acquisition of travel document for their return, as well as carrying out return operations to bring them back to their home countries... . establishment of a common EU list of "safe countries of origin" [emphasis added]

See below documents on the Council's positions

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015: Background Note (pdf) This will be a Mixed Committee (with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland attending) meeting discussing:

"Home affairs ministers will discuss the implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration as regards the resettlement and relocation of 60 000 persons in clear need of protection in the member states. Ministers are also expected to adopt conclusions on the designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin within the meaning of the Asylum Procedures directive."

Statement from Informal JHA meeting on 9 July (pdf)

See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:

Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)

Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)

Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)

Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (euractiv, link):

"The German Institute for Human Rights has criticised the repurposing of the EU's fingerprint database, Eurodac, for registering asylum seekers. Tagesspiegel reports. Biometric information, to which the police will soon be given access, will be stored there for ten years, just because an individual has fled their country, activists have warned.

The German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR) has come out strongly against the biometric registration of asylum seekers at Europe's external borders. The new regulation on Eurodac, scheduled to take effect on 20 July, is a misuse of the EU database and allows for "considerable interference into fundamental rights", said Eric Töpfer, a research associate at the institute."

and see: ECRE expresses concern over the European Commission's guidance on Eurodac fingerprinting (aida, link): "ECRE has published comments on the European Commission’s Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”, issued on 27 May 2015 as part of the first round of implementing measures announced by the European Agenda on Migration. These comments point to some alarming elements in the Commission’s guidance that challenges several underlying principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."

Also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU-MED CRISIS: European Parliament: MEPs want a binding and permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "A binding emergency mechanism to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states was backed by civil liberties MEPs on Thursday. An upcoming permanent scheme, on which Parliament will decide jointly with the Council, must be based "on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states", MEPs say."

Refugees face harsh plight in Greece (euractiv, link)

Arson attack on Bavarian building due to house asylum seekers - Police in Bavaria are investigating an arson attack on a building in the town of Reichertshofen, north of Munich, scheduled to house asylum seekers from September. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control. (DW, link)

Police clash with anti-refugee protestors in Rome - Police on Friday clashed with a group of protestors who had set up a road block against the arrival of a group of refugees in a northern suburb of Rome as they broke through the cordon.(ANSA, link):"Four police officers were hurt in scuffles with residents in the northern Rome suburb of Casale San Nicola who were trying to stop 19 migrants being moved into a centre in the area Friday, the Rome police HQ said."

UK: Detained Fast Track: how to reform structural injustice? (IRR News, link): "Asylum rights campaigners and human rights lawyers are celebrating the suspension of the detained fast track – and gearing up to resume battle over a ‘reformed’ version."

EU: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean 15 July 2015 (pdf): 14 new key documents and 21 news stories

EU: FRONTEX: Latest statistics and analysis from EU border agency Frontex

The publication is divided into two sections.

1. A "situational overview" covering risk analysis indicators; surveillance; border checks; "situation in the EU"; and fraudulent documents.
2. A series of "featured risk analyses" on: South-Eastern Europe: Migrants from Kosovo ranked first in Q1; Eastern Mediterranean route: Increasing flow of migrants arriving in the Eastern Aegean Sea; Central Mediterranean route: Winter low followed by spring increase; and Effective returns: Comparison with other indicators shows different patterns.

The annex contains statistical tables.

See: Frontex Risk Analysis Network Quarterly: Quarter 1, January-March 2015 (pdf)

MED CRISIS: House of Commons Library: Briefing paper: Mediterranean boat people (pdf): "Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The numbers safely reaching their destination are creating problems for the recipient countries... The EU has also launched a military operation called EUNAVFOR MED, to disrupt the smuggling business that would include destroying boats used by the smugglers. The UK has contributed HMS Enterprise to the operation. There are, however, significant legal and practical problems with this approach."

Belgium exposed vulnerable Serbian asylum seekers to extreme poverty in breach of ECHR

ECRE's weekly bulletin reports that: "In a judgment delivered this week, the European Court of Human Rights held that the conditions of extreme poverty faced by a Serbian family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre in Belgium amounted to degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)."

EU: Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (EurActiv, link)

Hungary builds fence, Commission watches and waits (Politico, link)

EU: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes

Today the JHA Counsellors, a secretive working party of the Council of the EU, is discussing draft agreements between the Member States that concern the ongoing migration crisis. On the agenda are a set of conclusions on "designating certain third countries as safe countries of origin", and recommendations on resettlement programmes for 40,000 people currently in Italy and Greece and 20,000 people outside of the EU.

GERMANY: Authorities abandon comprehensive fingerprinting due to refugee numbers

Deutsche Welle reports that: "Border authorities in Bavaria have given up trying to take the fingerprints of all the refugees entering the country, reported "Der Spiegel" on Monday."

UK Home Affairs Committee begins inquiry into the situation in Calais

The first evidence session will be held today (14 July). Evidence is to be provided by Alan Pughsley QPM, Chief Constable, Kent Police; Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association; James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association; John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel; Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration.

See: Immigration: the situation in Calais

CZECH REPUBLIC: Police detain record number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: French and British back closing EU's borders (The Local.fr, link) and West Europeans want end to open borders - French and other Europeans want to ditch Schengen Agreement, ending free movement of people across borders as the migrant crisis grows, a new poll shows" (Daily Telegraph, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR says Greece faces 'unprecedented' migrant emergency (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greece is facing an "unprecedented" emergency as migrants fleeing war and poverty stream into the country's islands in huge numbers, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The UNHCR said 77,100 people have arrived in Greece by sea this year, an average of 1,000 per day, overwhelming local authorities. The country's precarious economic situation is putting severe strain on small islands that are unable to cope, the agency said.

"Greece is part of the European Union and this is happening in Europe," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in Geneva. "We would like the European Union to have a much more active role in responding to the situation in Greece.""

And see: 7 videos guaranteed to change the way you see refugees (UNHCR, link)

Gateway to freedom: Migrants walk thousands of km for haven of Western Europe (Globe and Mail, link)

Macedonia's uniformed border thugs wait for war-weary Arab migrants arriving at Europe's doorstep (Independent, link)

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 9-10 July 2015:

Background: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf): There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)

CoE: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech: annual report from Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission (link):

"Strasbourg, 9 July 2015 – With conflicts in the Middle East, acts of Islamist violence in Europe and incidents of unprecedented mass arrivals of migrants, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published today, identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014."

And see: Annual Report (pdf)

UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere (pdf): "Racial and ethnic profiling, defined as a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity, has been a persistent and pervasive issue in law enforcement, and its use has often arisen in connection with policies on national security and immigration."

See: UN Racism Rapporteur Presents Road Map to End Ethnic Profiling (Liberties.eu, link).

EU:The Missing Piece in the European Agenda on Migration: the Temporary Protection Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "The EU’s Temporary Protection Directive entered in force in 2001 and was the first EU directive on international protection adopted after the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force in 1999.... Lack of implementation of the Directive in the past 14 years" and see:

Greek island refugee crisis: local people and tourists rally round migrants - Residents and even holidaymakers on Lesbos are exposing themselves to threats and possible legal action by helping newly arrived refugees (Guardian, link)

PM: Czechs have reservations about southern Schengen border (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Lower house extends powers of intelligence services (link): "Agents will be able to ask telecommunication operators for data on their clients in fulfilling a specific task. They would be able to identify the owner of the telephone station or the telephone number of the phone from which the phone call is made. Now, the secret services have access to the call content and the number of the called person when applying wiretapping."

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf)

There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble.

and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Migrant dies on UK-bound freight train near Calais - Death is second in two weeks amid migration crisis at French port, causing delayed passenger services and freight traffic (Guardian, link)

Greek island of Lesbos struggles to cope with migrant influx (BBC News, link): "Record-breaking numbers of migrants are arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, overwhelming local authorities, local police say. About 1,600 landed on the island on Saturday alone, the island's chief of police said."

Hungary MPs approve border fence and anti-migrant law (BBC News, link): "Hungary's parliament has passed new legislation tightening asylum rules, and backed plans to erect a border fence to keep out migrants. The new law allows the detention of migrants in temporary camps, the speeding up of asylum assessments and limiting the possibility for appeal. The move was criticised by the UN and human rights groups."

Balkans: Refugees and migrants beaten by police, left in legal limbo and failed by EU (AI, link): "Thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants – including children – making dangerous journeys across the Balkans are suffering violent abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs and being shamefully let down by a failing European Union (EU) asylum and migration system which leaves them trapped without protection in Serbia and Macedonia, said Amnesty International in a new report."

GERMANY: Right-wing extremist attacks in Germany on the rise, says new report - The number of attacks motivated by right-wing extremism in Germany has gone up, according to the country's 2014 Constitutional Protection Report. Refugee shelters were a frequent target. (DW, link)

- Combating racism - state of play of work in the Council (EU: doc no: 9499-15, pdf). The Council adopted a Framework Decision in 2008 (pdf) and Report on the Framework Decision (2014, pdf). Historical reminder: European Parliament: Report drawn up on behalf of the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry (Rapporteur: Glyn Ford: 1991, pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Commission Recommendation of 8.6.2015 on a European resettlement scheme - Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece = Main outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no 10524-15, pdf)

And see: Draft Report on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf): Rapporteur: Ska Keller MEP

The discussion paper for Coreper (Member States' representatives to the EU) confirms that the Council is still intending to adopt the Commission's proposal to relocate 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece. There seems no prospect of increasing the numbers to 50,000, to take account of the increased numbers coming to the EU, as the draft Keller report suggests. Nor is it clear yet what the Council will do if Member States do not offer voluntarily the full 40,000 places, given that the Commission's idea of mandatory quotas will be dropped.

However, the Council is considering amending the rules on which nationalities are covered by the rules. This would mean that not only Syrians and Eritreans would be covered by the Decision; nationalities could be added or removed depending on refugee recognition rates (for instance, Afghans and Somalians also have a fairly high rate of successful claims).

The draft Council document shows great concern to avoid 'secondary movements', ie refugees or asylum-seekers moving between Member States. However, it says nothing about the part of the draft Keller report which would most obviously address this issue: allowing refugees to express a preference over which country they go to, and giving them a veto over their relocation. If refugees are only sent to countries which they prefer to and/or agree to be in, they are much less likely to move to another Member State.

See also: EU Naval Force EUNAVFOR MED sets sail in troubled waters (CEPS, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):

"Delegations will find enclosed at annex a note issued under the responsibility of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the European External Action Service and the Commission services....

The Summit will bring together the leaders of the most concerned countries of origin, transit and destination as well as regional organisations to identify, agree and launch actions to jointly address immediate and long term migration challenges as well as to reinforce the current mechanisms to implement and follow up high level political decisions on migration. Therefore, the aim is to invite the Heads of State and Government of the European Union Member States and of the countries parties to the Khartoum Process and the Rabat Process, as well as the African Union Commission and the ECOWAS Commission.

Libya is central to irregular migration to Europe but its participation to the summit will depend on the evolution of its internal political situation....

Making progress on return and readmission agreements (actions for both the EU and the countries of origin to facilitate returns of irregular migrants, with particular attention to assisted voluntary return and integration and the establishing of readmission agreements with countries of origin)"

EU: MED-CRISIS: Update from Boukhalef: large-scale evictions and mass deportations (No Borders Morocco, link):

"For several years already, migrants, mainly subsaharans, have found refuge in Boukhalef, a district in the periphery of Tangier. Some just live their lives, others have been regularized or are being hosted by their respective community while trying to cross to Europe. Subsaharans get harassed in the quarter or beyond on a regular basis, sometimes violently, by Moroccans reproducing racist ideologies. Regularly, the authorities decide to evict migrants violently, which has provoked several tragedies. On 1st of July 2015 more than 200 police officers and soldiers were deployed to the district Boukhalef in order to evacuate all the “blacks”....

Hundreds of people were deported further South, others are now on the streets, hiding in the Tangier medina, and need urgent support. A delegation of migrants' NGOS from Tangier and Rabat is calling for funds to support the evicted inhabitants of Boukhalef. The priority would be to provide at least some shelter for the most vulnerable people for the coming days, as they have lost all their possessions and are just staying in the streets! Please let us know if you can donate any sum of money to buy some blankets, plastic sheets, some cooking utensils, food and medicine. Please email to nobordersmorocco@riseup.net and we will give you the account details. Any sum is welcome!"

Serbia receives assistance to stem illegal migrant flows (euractiv, link): "Police chiefs from Germany, Austria and Hungary have agreed to help Serbia crack down on waves of illegal migrants transiting its territory heading for the European Union. Meanwhile, Budapest said it will forge ahead with plans to erect a fence at its border with Serbia."

AUSTRIA: 'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis (The Local.at, link): "Tent cities for 400 asylum seekers are being set up in Carinthia and Burgenland - with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner saying that she sees no end in sight for the refugee crisis."

Hungary government condemned over anti-immigration drive - Activists accuse Fidesz party of stoking xenophobia to divert attention from escalating poverty and corruption scandals (Guardian, link)

GERMANY: Germany revises law on residency, expulsion - Up to 30,000 migrants living in Germany for years on suspended deportation orders are to be granted residency under a law amendment. Another parliament move to expel those unwanted has been slammed by asylum advocates. (DW, link)

France Moves to Stop Treating Its Traveller Citizens Like Foreigners (OSF, link): "France is home to more than 350,000 Travellers, people who live their
lives on the road a few months of the year... France is also the only country that requires these residents to carry special papers."

EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR: "A large majority of the thousands of people who made dangerous sea journeys across the Mediterranean into Europe in the first six months of 2015 were fleeing war, conflict or persecution": UNHCR Tracks: The Sea Route to Europe People risking their lives to reach Europe are often called migrants, but the current Mediterranean crisis is primarily a refugee crisis (llink)

See: ITALY: Renzi says suspending Schengen won't stop migrants (ANSA, link) and EU: MED-CRISIS: Seeking Refuge: Central Europe balks at refugees. But then there's Ukraine.- Central Europe, and Poland in particular, could be key to easing the EU's migrant crisis. The region has been cold to the idea of taking in refugees – but Ukraine conflict could force the issue.(Yahoo News, link): "The most deadly and pressing elements of the current migration crisis are focused on the southern Mediterranean. But pressure is coming from the east, too. And Poland could emerge as a key powerbroker for the region ­ not just if a refugee crisis takes shape in Ukraine, butt also by setting the example in the region as the EU scrambles to get all 28 members of the bloc to see the refugee problem as their concern."

UK: More than 100 asylum seekers to walk free after detention system quashed - About 800 cases to be reviewed after immigration minister orders system to be put on hold following court of appeal decision it was ‘structurally unfair’ (Guardian, link)

UK and Spain granted most EU citizenships (euobserver, link): "Spain and the UK issued almost half of all new EU citizenships in 2013. The figures, released on Wednesday (1 July) by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, show Spain accounted for around 23 percent (225,800) of all citizenships granted in the EU, while the UK accounted for 21 percent (207,500). In relative terms compared to population size, Ireland and Sweden come out top."

EU-GREECE: Syriza can’t just cave in. Europe’s elites want regime change in Greece - Greece’s confrontation with the euro overlords will shape resistance to austerity – and the future of the whole European Union (Guardian, Seumas Milne, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS:

GREECE: Migrants 'attacked' at sea between Greece and Turkey (France 24, link): "Migrants trying to sail from Turkey to Greece are increasingly reporting being attacked by gunmen trying to prevent them from reaching Europe, according to multiple sources.... Nawal Soufi, and Italian activist who has handled numerous distress calls from Syrian refugees at sea, said she had heard of around 20 boats whose passengers had been attacked in recent months. "The migrants speak of commandos -- some say they (were confronted by EU border agency) Frontex, others by the Turkish or Greek coastguard -- others by militias or pirates," Soufi told journalists, adding that such cases have rocketed in recent months."

HUNGARY: Letter from Hungarian PM Orban to Commission President Juncker (pdf) stating that Dublin provisions will be adhered to but "technically temporarily not capable of receiving people sent back from the Western direction"

EU: MED CRISIS: HUNGARY: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after his visit to Budapest (pdf) He:

"offered the possibility to deploy ''hotspot teams'' to help in the swift processing of asylum requests and help with the return of irregular migrants. These teams will include experts from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Frontex and Europol in order to improve the capacity of fingerprinting, identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."

See: European Council Conclusions: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) – Conclusions (pdf). For "hot spots" the term "structured border zones" is now referred to as "first reception facilities".

It is not all clear what the legal powers the Commissioner is referring to for Europol, Frontex or EASO [European Asylum Support Office] to ensure the "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting" of migrants or for EASO and Europol to: "identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."

See also: Denmark to impose controls on border, risking EU ire (Reuters, link): "Denmark will impose controls on its border to stop smugglers and illegal migrants, its new foreign minister said on Tuesday, in a move likely to worry the European Union but please a right-wing party on whose support the government now depends. More police, machines screening number plates and other measures would increase security without breaking EU rules guaranteeing freedom of movement through the bloc, Kristian Jensen told Reuters."

GERMANY: MASSIVE RISE IN RECORDED RACIST ATTACKS: 2014 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution Facts and Trends (pdf):

"Two aspects should be noted:

• a rise in the number of violent offences motivated by right-wing extremism (the largest number since 2008) and xenophobia (highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001); and
• an enormous increase in the number of crimes and violent offences in the category of politically motivated crime by foreigners."

'Euphoria' among jihadists in Europe, says German security agency (euractiv, link):

"The number of violent acts committed by right-wing extremists increased by 24% last year. A total of 990 violent crimes were recorded. De Maizière said now one in two right-wing extremists is considered to be violence-oriented, indicating that the 512 attacks against foreigners are troubling.

Attacks on refugee camps motivated by right-wing extremism also increased from 55 recorded in 2013 to 170 last year. This year, the number could be even higher. In the first half of 2015, there were already 150 crimes of this kind, according to de Maizière. There should be “no silent understanding and especially no silent consent” for this, he said."

June 2015

EU: MED CRISIS: TURKEY: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update and the outcome of discussion on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 9491, pdf):

"The visa regime in Turkey was a source of concern for many delegations. Both Egypt and Algeria have introduced visa requirements for Syrian nationals. Turkey maintained visa-free travel, which has been identified as a source of concern. Turkey had the capacity to act as a significant transit point for migrants from the wider Middle East-North Africa region: migrants may legally enter Turkey but then illegally enter the EU. Along with Syrians, Moroccan, Tunisian, Libyan, Georgian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iranian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Turkey."

See also: The hidden frontline of Europe's migration crisis - As a gateway to both the EU and the Schengen passport-free zone, Hungary has seen more than 50,000 migrants trying to cross its border this year. Now it is planning a 100-mile wall to keep them out (Daily Telegraph, link) and Top French court approves border controls with Italy (France 24, link): "France's top administrative court said Monday that border controls on migrants at the Italian frontier were legal and did not violate the Schengen agreement that created Europe's passport-free zone. The court dismissed a complaint by three organisations in support of scores of migrants stranded at the border between France and Italy since mid-June."

EU migration policy: comments on the results of the latest European Council (EU Law Analyses, link)

EU Council: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) – Conclusions (pdf). Some change in terminology but same intent: For example, "structured border zones" now referred to as "first reception facilities"... and it not at all clear what the legal powers of Europol, Frontex or EASO are to ensure "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting":

"the setting up of reception and first reception facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States' experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots").

Background:: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")" and Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

Mediterranean migrants: EU leaders agree voluntary intake after heated talks - Long, fractious meeting finally reaches deal on resettling 60,000 asylum seekers, but exempts Hungary and Bulgaria, while UK opts out (Guardian, link):

"The national leaders of Europe have engaged in one of their most bitter rows in years over how to respond to the influx of refugees from across the Mediterranean after they scrapped plans for a quota system to share out the resettlement. The meeting descended into name-calling and recrimination as the leaders fought over a modest scheme to share the intake of 60,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers between their countries over two years...

Italy and Lithuania traded barbed insults, while two EU presidents – Donald Tusk, chairing the summit, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European commission – fought for hours over the wording of the summit statement, which could not be agreed."

EU: MIGRATION POLICY: Council of the European Union: Incoming Luxembourg Council Presidency: Strategic coordination of the work of the Council preparatory bodies in the area of migration (LIMITE doc no: 10249-15, dated 25 June 2015, pdf):

The Council Presidency seem to have forgotten that migration policy is subject to co-responsibility with the European Parliament: How can a legislative body fully play its role if it is not associated when strategies are defined and when legislation is implemented?

"the Luxembourg Presidency proposes to start working on a short and concise paper on the Strategic Coordination of the work of the Council preparatory bodies in
the area of migration, in order to better integrate the work on the internal and external aspects of migration and to improve the efficiency and coherence of the Council preparatory bodies in this area.

The paper would define, under the responsibility of the Trio of Presidencies, the Strategic Coordination in the area of migration. It should be used to mainstream these priorities into the work of the Council preparatory bodies dealing with migration, in particular SCIFA and HLWG, but also other relevant thematic and geographical groups (CODEV, COHOM, etc.)."

Special Report: European Summit (meeting of Prime Ministers) Conclusions: European Council (25 and 26 June 2015) - Draft conclusions (dated 24 June 2015, LIIMITE doc no: 8395-15,pdf).

These Conclusions, drafted yesterday, still contain the same, worrying, and far-reaching measures on migration as the earlier draft and are based on:Letter from Commissioner Avramopolous to Ministers with Annex (pdf) which spells out in more detail where the EU is going:

See: Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")" and Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

And Agenda of Summit (pdf) The UK issues are no 6 on Agenda. The Conclusions state: "IV. UK: 14. The UK Prime Minister set out his plans for an (in/out) referendum in the UK. The European Council agreed to revert to the matter in December."

Hungary and allies reject EU migrant quotas (euobserver, link): "Four Central European countries have declared they are willing to block mandatory quotas on relocation of asylum seekers from northern Africa at this week’s EU summit. In a joint statement issued in Bratislava on Tuesday (23 June), Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – the so-called Visegrad countries - confirmed that “any point of reference in terms of mandatory quotas is unacceptable”."

EU: MED-CRISIS: EU to create new quarantine system for Mediterranean migrants - Italian PM accuses EU of betraying basic values as draft summit papers reveal plans to give police and border agencies enhanced powers of coercion (Guardiun, link)::"“Where is the EU going?” asked Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring civil liberties in the EU. “Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly fingerprinted or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.” 

EU: German-Italian-French non-paper on EU migration policy (pdf) and Letter (pdf). Includes:

- Dialogue with source/transit countries: At upcoming EU-Africa summit in Malta "we should also discuss the relationship between migration and mobility and their impact on development, the promotion of fair trade and the strengthening of security cooperation as well as return and readmission issues"

- Proposal for EU CSDP civilian mission in Niger: EUCAP Sahel Niger to become permanent and "work even more closely with Nigerien authorities in the fight against smuggling and trafficking in human beings"

- Adequate funding for continued "engagement" with countries in the Horn of Africa, to deal with migration from/through those countries (in the recent ISF-Police work programme some money was put aside for this, see: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund
– Police cooperation and crime prevention
(pdf)

- "We must increase the effectiveness of return and readmission programmes"

And: "Our migration policy goals should relate to other relevant horizontal foreign policies such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, water and climate policy and a reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy which also considers the neighbours of our neighbours."

Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")"

This is set out in the Draft Conclusions of the European Council [the EU Heads of State] meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015: Draft conclusions (pdf)

Section 5.c says: "the setting up of structured border zones and facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States' experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots");" [emphasis added]

Will the "swift fingerprinting" of those described here as "illegal" migrants involve coercive measures? See: Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the "proportionate use of coercion" may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..”

Statewatch Director, Tony Bunyan comments: “Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.”

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments on the Draft Conclusions:

"It is remarkable that Member States (if this draft is accepted) are indeed willing to accept the relocation of 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, and 20,000 resettled refugees.

It is also notable that all Member States will participate in the latter decision - with even the UK agreeing recently to resettle a few hundred more Syrians. This is a very modest amount of the numbers needing protection however.

The European Asylum Support Office does not seem to have the powers to participate in fingerprinting asylum-seekers, and the reference to 'bringing together' rules on fast-tracking asylum applications is very vague. Is the intention to lower standards, and if so, how exactly? Any moves to negotiate more readmission agreements and to expel more people who supposedly have no need for protection will have to comply fully with EU, ECHR and all national and international human rights standards.

Equally if Frontex is to gain more powers over expulsion it must be made more fully accountable, including as regards individual complaints against it."

See: UN says one million refugees should be no problem for EU (euractiv, link): "The UN rights chief yesterday (15 June) called for the European Union to take bolder steps to address its swelling migrant crisis, insisting the bloc could easily take in one million refugees"

EU: MED-CRISIS: European External Action Service (EEAS): European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean (Press statement, pdf): Contributing States: Currently 14 Member States (BE, DE, EL, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, LT, LU, NL, SE, SI, UK):

"The Council shall assess whether the conditions for transition beyond the first phase have been met, taking into account any applicable UN Security Council Resolution and consent by the Coastal States concerned."

Consent is needed for the EU to act within the territorial waters of another state (eg: Libya) and see: Comments below on this position.

EU: MED-CRISIS: Official statement on the launch of EUNAVFOR: Council launches EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean (Council of the European Union, pdf):

"The first phase focuses on surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.... The Council will assess when to move beyond this first step, taking into account a UN mandate and the consent of the coastal states concerned.." [emphasis added]

It is by no means certain that a UN mandate will be forthcoming as this requires the consent of the affected states, in this case Libya. The EU's own mission in Libya, EUBAM, withdrew from from the country last autumn, has been slimmed down and is now based in Tunisia because of the highly unstable security situation in Libya where two separate governments are vying for power in addition to a number of warring groups:.See:

EU and political situation in Libya: Interim Strategic Review of EUBAM Libya (LIMITE doc no: 7886-15, 13 April 2015, pdf): "a number of additional considerations have arisen as a result of the mission's relocation to Tunis. The mission's legal status in Tunis is still unclear, with the Tunisian authorities unofficially indicating that they would prefer not to explore the issue....its presence in Tunis will make it difficult for mission staff to assess conditions and operate in Libya" [emphasis added]

See also: EU foreign ministers to agree on Mediterranean intelligence operations (euractiv, link): "EU foreign affairs ministers will today (22 June) agree on an intelligence gathering operation, the first phase of the bloc’s response to the burgeoning migration crisis in the Mediterranean, but military action against people smugglers will depend on the support of Libya’s National Unity Government and the United Nations." and Naval bid to tackle migrants in Med (Yahoo News, link): "With GCHQ - Britain's listening post in Cheltenham - said to be tracking the activities of smuggling gangs moving people to the Libyan coast, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon indicated that he wanted to see more intelligence-sharing." also: Exclusive: France backs Italy-UK Plan for Sicily Intel Cell (Migrant Report, link)

See: EU agrees to launch military operation against people smugglers (FT, link): "EU officials have warned that casualties were possible after deciding to launch military action against people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Ministers of the 28-country bloc meeting in Luxembourg on Monday gave the go-ahead for a c controversial intelligence gathering operation, which will precede full-blown military action this year ... “The use of firepower will be done in such a way that we do all we can to prevent any casualties to anyone,” said one EU official. “There is a difference between smugglers and migrants. If they are migrants, we will be even more cautious.” Asked whether the military operation created the risk of collateral casualties, the official replied: “Of course it would.”" and: EU navies take up position in Mediterranean (euobserver, link)

EU: European Parliament study: Towards more effective global humanitarian action: How the EU can contribute (pdf):

"the EU and member states must commit to placing protection at the centre of humanitarian action and ensure that the EU´s humanitarian aid is not regarded as a crisis management tool, and allowed to become an instrument of its foreign policy."

EU: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU prepares to go to "war" in the Med: Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the Council for a Council Decision launching the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (pdf);

"The Operation Plan and the Rules of Engagement concerning the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) are approved.... EUNAVFOR MED shall be launched on xxx 2015."

See: EU naval mission for Med gets green light (Politico, link)

See also: Draft Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (LIMITE doc no: 8921-15, pdf) and Proposal for for a Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) (LIMITE doc no: 8731-15, pdf): This contains details on:

Mission: "The Union shall conduct a military crisis management operation contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling networks... systematic efforts to dispose of vessels and assets before they are used by smugglers"

Mandate: includes: "boarding search, seize and diversion of smuggling ships"

"The Operation Headquarters of EUNAVFOR MED shall be located in Rome, Italy"
"PSC shall exercise the political control and strategic direction of EUNAVFOR MED"
[Political Security Committee]
"The EUMC shall monitor the proper execution of EUNAVFOR MED conducted under the responsibility of the EU Operation Commander" [EU Military Committee]
"The Council hereby authorises the PSC to invite third States to offer contributions"

EU: No agreement on sharing "relocation" of migrants: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 15-16 June 2015, Luxembourg: Final press release (pdf):

"As regards the concrete proposal on relocation, Ministers stressed that on the basis of the principle of solidarity they are all ready to make an effort to help member states under a particular migratory pressure. Several delegations stressed the necessity to strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility.. Ministers invited the Council’s preparatory bodies to continue these discussions with the aim of achieving full implementation as soon as possible."

See also; Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Claude Moraes, regrets EU minister's failure to reach agreement on the migration package (EP Press release, pdf)

Online book: Integrating Immigrants in Europe: Research-Policy Dialogues: Editors: Peter Scholten, Han Entzinger, Rinus Penninx, Stijn Verbeek (link). Download book (pdf) includes the following Chapter: Speaking Truth to Power? Why Civil Society, Beyond Academia, Remains Marginal in EU Migration Policy (pdf) by Ann Singleton:

"Many migrants are excluded from much of society, let alone the migration debates, by citizenship laws, poverty, gendered social and economic injustice and institutional racism. They are structurally excluded and their lives are hidden from the priorities and gaze of the academic-policy nexus (notwithstanding some excellent qualitative research, social media and ‘on the ground’ campaigns). Those whose lives are directly affected by migration policy and practice, namely recent migrants, migrant groups, as well as the wider civil society, remain largely marginalised and their voices unheard in the policy discussions. It begs the question, what is academic research on migration for?"

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Migration - Policy debate & European Council draft Conclusions

- European Agenda on Migration - Policy debate (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 11 June 2015, pdf) Many areas of disagreement between Member States on how to respond to the crisis in the Mediterranean:

""Immediate Action" but also builds on four pillars as a basis for a comprehensive European migration policy: - Reducing incentives for irregular migration; - Border management; - Strong common asylum policy; - New policy on legal migration....

There is wide consensus with regard to the need to further cooperate with third countries since both the root causes of and solutions to migration related issues can be sought there. In order to ensure a genuinely comprehensive approach, some Member States have suggested to strengthen the links with the Internal Security Strategy and measures proposed therein....

Member States’ views differ on the proposed concept of relocation in order to respond to high volumes of arrivals that includes temporary scheme for persons in need of international national protection.. The total number of persons to be relocated, the available funding, and the capacity of the Member
States' structures to deal with relocation were equally questioned..."
[emphasis added]

and: Update: COR -1 (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 12 June 2015, pdf)

EU: Jump before you’re pushed: the CJEU rules on the voluntary departure of irregular migrants (EU Law Analysis, link): "For the first time, the CJEU ruled yesterday (in its judgment in Zh and O) on the provisions of the EU’s Returns Directive (the main set of rules governing the expulsion of irregular non-EU migrants) concerning ‘voluntary departure’. The word ‘voluntary’ is a euphemism here, of course..."

See: Full-text of Judgment (pdf)

EU: ECRI reports RACISM: HUNGARY and POLAND: ECRI report on Hungary (pdf),ECRI report on Poland and Albania (pdf)

See: Council of Europe criticises racism in Hungary, Poland (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europe’s expert group on racism and intolerance today (9 June) called for action to fight prejudice in Hungary and Poland, after publishing damning reports on the two countries."

UNHCR: OPTIONS PAPER 1: Options for governments on care arrangements and alternatives to detention for children and families and OPTIONS PAPER 2: Options for governments on open reception and alternatives to detention (links)

UK: Immigration: battening down the hatches (IRR News, link) by Frances Webber:

"The second of a post-election three-part series on civil liberties in the UK observes how the Queen’s Speech immigration proposals contain more of the same old deterrence policies, creating more desperation, in the face of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II."

EU: MED-CRISIS: UN Security Council resolution on migrant trafficking halted (Ansa, link): "Preparation of a draft UN Security Council resolution to authorize an European mission against migrant traffickers in the Mediterranean "has been suspended until the issue of the consent of the Libyan authorities has been resolved," a diplomat of the UN Security Council told ANSA on Wednesday..... the same source said that "regarding implementation, cooperation is necessary from all parties in the country"; and the Libyan government can not give authorization because it does not control the whole territory."

EU: Council of the European Union: Preparation of maritime operation EUNAVFOR MED (Press release, pdf)

And see: Efforts to Secure Security Council Resolution on EU Migrant Plan “Paused” (MIgrants at Sea, link)

Also: Juncker: Commission won’t change its migration agenda (euractiv, link): "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday (3 June) that in spite of opposition from some member states, the EU executive would not change its mind on the proposals it recently made in its attempt to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers in the EU."

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Preventing and combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance should be a priority for member States (link) and see adopted Report (pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Germany and France urge Commission to revise immigration plan (euractiv, link): "Germany and France on Monday (1 June) urged the EU to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers, as their leaders met the European Commission chief in Berlin..... France and Germany said in the joint statement that they currently were among five member states, along with Sweden, Italy and Hungary, that "are in charge of 75% of the asylum seekers". "This situation is not fair and no longer sustainable," they said."

See European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf) and Annexes (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents:

Including SMART BORDERS: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee: Outcomes:Smart Borders Package, Biometric data in large IT databases in the area of borders, visa and asylum, Foreign Terrorist Fighters (LIMITE doc no: 8964-15, pdf)

EEAS: Migration in development cooperation - Issues Paper (LIMITE doc no: 9118-15, pdf)

"The answer to many of the challenges in the field of migration lies in the relations with third countries. Partnership with countries of origin and transit is thus crucial and the EU has established dedicated bilateral and regional migration dialogues with all of the most important regions concerned....

EU efforts on fostering diaspora engagement is continuing, in particular on capacity building for government authorities and diaspora associations in developing
appropriate policies and programmes to maximise the development contribution of their diaspora."

May 2015

EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf): It was going to be 5,000 people, then 40,000 now:

"The Commission recommends that Member State resettle 20 000 people in need of international protection"

and Annexes (pdf)

Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):

New guidelines released by the European Commission allow Member States to use physical and mental coercive measures to take fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers entering Europe, including minors and pregnant women. If they refuse, they face detention, expulsion and a potential five year EU-wide ban.

“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the proportionate use of coercion may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..” [emphasis added]

See also: The new EU Migration Agenda takes shape: analysis of the first new measures (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: Press coverage:

EU's refugee plans need a reality check: The EU this week outlined plans to resettle and relocate refugees, but one expert taking a closer look at the proposals argues they put the rights of migrants and asylum seekers at risk. (The Local, link) Good critique of EU plans

EU border chief wants protection from armed smugglers: The EU’s border agency Frontex wants military protection from armed migrant smugglers as it expands operations in the Mediterranean and closer to the Libyan coast (euobserver, link)

British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos (Independent, link)

Mediterranean migrant crisis: Hundreds rescued off Sicily (BBC News, link) and Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before? (BBC, link) with map

Italy Hands Smuggler Unprecedented Life Sentence as Europe Prepares for Migrant Deluge (BB, link)

Tunisian - and Top E.U. Generals - Fear Mission Creep Madness in Libya (The Daily Beast, link): "A newly revealed classified document and a history of grave misjudgments warn against the dangers of the new EU plan to stop migrants.... Europe’s defense chiefs are warning their political superiors that the planned military mission to stop migrant-smuggling boats crossing the Mediterranean can lead to land operations in Libya and possible clashes with the Islamic State’s affiliate in that failing North African state, a turn of events bound to threaten neighboring Tunisia’s fragile equilibrium still further."

Tunisian PM Speaks Against EU Military Action to Stop Refugee Smugglers (Sputnik News, link):

"Tunisia opposes any military effort by the EU to tackle refugee smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea, Prime Minister Habib Essid said Thursday. “Tunisia’s position was always clear… We are originally against all military action, both to regulate political conflict and to regulate the problem with illegal smugglers,”  Essid said in the European Parliament."

Migrants en Méditerranée : la Tunisie contre toute intervention militaire [Migrants in the Mediterranean: Tunisia against all military intervention] (rtbf.be, link):

"Habib Essid said that his country is "against any military intervention to solve this problem. This problem must be resolved upstream and downstream. These people take risks, sell everything they have around them to come to Europe, for more freedom, for better economic opportunities for work. I know the problems this poses for all countries of the European Union, but the solution is to look other than make occasional military interventions."

The European Parliament press release does not mention these comments: Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid on security and migration challenges (pdf)

Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey (MPI, link): "Deep, sophisticated insight into the decision-making process of those who undertake these journeys is necessary; without this information and a wider understanding of the political economy of migrant smuggling, policymakers essentially are making decisions in the dark."

EU: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 8161-15, pdf) See detailed ANNEX pp6-15. And: "Reports indicate that the surge of migration flows towards the EU from Turkey is partly due to Egypt and Algeria (since January 2015, also Lebanon) implementing visa requirements for Syrian nationals, who enjoy a visa-free entry to Turkey."

EU: FORCIBLE FINGERPRINTING, DETENTION, EXPULSION & ENTRY BAN of MIGRANTS including pregnant women and minors: European Commission: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or expelled & banned from entry. To add insult to injury the Commission deliberately withheld publication of the Guidelines yesterday to control news reporting when announcing its new migration plans."

See also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers (Statewatch News, March 2015)

EU: European Commission Migration Action Plan: The following documents were released:

- Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (COM 286-15, pdf)
- Communication: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015 - 2020) (COM 285-15, pdf)
- European Commission makes progress on Agenda on Migration (Press release, pdf)

- Questions and Answers (pdf)

But if you search for the following you get a PR statement/News management (as of 11.30 - 20.00: 27 May)

- Guidelines on the implementation of EU rules on the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)
- Recommendation on a European Resettlement Scheme (pdf) see: Initial Draft (pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Interview | Bridget Anderson on Europe’s ‘violent humanitarianism’ in the Mediterranean (Ceasefire, link):

"Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration at the University of Oxford, speaks to Ceasefire's Luke De Noronha about Europe's response to the Mediterranean crisis and how borders are 'a dystopian project whose enforcement exposes the horrific violence of the state..... But it is the nation state that is ultimately what needs to be challenged. Of course the nation state is not going to quietly legislate itself out of existence. And while bordering has intensified, resistance has too.'

EUROSUR: European Day for Border Guards (2013): Panel Discussion III - Eurosur and the Future of Border Management (pdf):

"The European Commission’s Oliver Siefffarth, who acts as policy officer for Eurosur.... he [said] that not everything is expected to be up and running from day one: “On the contrary, Eurosur is conceived as a process which will never stop, which will always be further improved,”"

EU: MED-CRISIS: Statewatch Analysis: Manufacturing consent, EU style: The EU’s anti-smuggling military operation (pdf) Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

A EU military planning document reiterates that the EU’s new anti-smuggling operation could result in a ground conflict in Libya that leads to the loss of life of soldiers, refugees and smugglers, and destabilise Libya in the process. The document makes clear that most of the key details of the plan have not been worked out yet, and there is no political end point. But this is all fine, because the document plans a media strategy designed to brush these problems under the carpet.

EU: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks

Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):

"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

And see: Boat-sinking operation poses 'risk' to EU image (euobserver, link) and EU military ‘mission’ against Libya: further details/docs… (UndercoverInfo, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration (euractiv, link): "The Secretary-General of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of states said yesterday (21 May) that his organisation was against the EU’s idea of destroying the boats of human traffickers, who make fortunes by luring prospective immigrants into risky journeys across the Mediterranean."

And see: Twisting the 'lessons of history' to authorise unjustifiable violence: the Mediterranean crisis (Open Democracy, link): "More than 300 slavery and migration scholars respond to those advocating for military force against migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This is no slave trade. Where is the moral justification for actions that cost lives?"

Also: "The War on migrants and refugees: has the ‘never again’ imperative been forgotten?" (Franck Duvell, link): "This imperative derived from the lessons learned from the Holocaust and the failure to rescue the European Jews has now been relinquished it seems. Are we now back at the moral state of the 1930s were unwanted populations are removed from the ‘realm of moral subjects’ (Bauman 1996) and killed or left to die and the needy are turned away and refused shelter?"

  EU: EUROPEAN SYSTEM OF BORDER GUARDS?: 21 May 2015: Speech by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the Frontex Conference on the European Day for Border Guards, Warsaw Poland (pdf):

"The ongoing evaluation of Frontex activities should also identify the limitations and shortcomings that will have to be addressed in the medium and long term development of the Agency. When speaking about the future of border management, one of the issues that we will explore is the possible creation of a European System of Border Guards."

And see: Commissioner backs EU 'border guard corps' (euobserver, link):

"Avramopoulos, a Greek former defence minister, used strident terms to praise the EU’s new military operation, EUnavfor Med, which is to start sinking migrant-smugglers’ boats in July if it gets UN and Libyan permission. “Europe has declared a war against smugglers”, he said. He noted that Frontex will create “profiles” of the type of vessels being used “in order to improve their detection”. He also said Frontex' “mandate must be reinforced” so it can physically help EU countries deport failed asylum claimants."

EU: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs debate EU response (pdf): "MEPs discussed on 20 May European Commission plans to tackle the large
numbers of migrants seeking to reach the European Union, often risking their lives at sea. Commission vice president Frans Timmermans and migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures, including an emergency mechanism for relocating migrants, a resettlement scheme to take in migrants from countries outside the EU and more funds for securing borders."

See also: MEPs angry at member states over immigration (euractiv, link): "EU lawmakers on Wednesday accused some member states of passing the buck by rejecting a Brussels plan for binding quotas for refugees making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing."

EU: MORE MONEY for MED CRISIS: New budget: Responding to migratory pressures (pdf):

"additional appropriations – EUR 75,8 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 69,7 million in payment appropriations – to provide the additional funding to be authorised in the 2015 budget for the migration measures. These reinforcements are distributed across five budget lines" [see p7]

EU: MED-CRISIS: The Guardian view on Mediterranean migrants: a rescue plan with many flaws - Editorial (Guardian, link):

"Britain has taken the lead in trampling the solidarity principle on asylum. The EU migration plan is long on rhetoric but short on substance. The causes of African migration must be addressed ...

The military aspect of the plans is also problematic. Yes, force may be required to combat trafficking networks, particularly to take control of empty boats and put them beyond use. But talk of possible onshore, commando-type operations, or infringement of Libyan sovereignty, has opened up a Pandora’s box of uncertainties. Although Ms Mogherini is ruling out “boots on the ground”, mission creep is an obvious worry. Russia will not be inclined to cooperate in the UN with anything suggesting the use of force in Libya, given the 2011 Nato precedent. The military option sounds tough, but who knows how EU forces, once deployed, could react if attacked in the context of the Libyan tinderbox?"

HUNGARY: European Parliament: Views on Hungary, fundamental rights and EU values (Press release, pdf): "The situation in Hungary, following Prime Minister Viktor Orban's remarks on the possibility of reinstating the death penalty there and the government's public "consultation" on immigration, were debated by MEPs, Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Latvian State Secretary for European Affairs Zanda Kalni.Lukaevica for the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers and Mr Orban himself on Tuesday afternoon.... Sophie In 't Veld (ALDE, NL), said that the Council's "non-statement" signalled its "moral bankruptcy". There is "no place" for the death penalty in Europe or "anywhere in the world", she stressed, asking the Commission to check the legality of the Hungarian migration questionnaire. Parliament must elaborate proposals for enforcing fundamental rights, she added.

And see: Hungary's Orbán angers EU over death penalty, migrants (euractiv, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: European Agenda on Migration Missed Opportunity to Protect Rights and Save Lives (EMHRN, link): "As the European Parliament is set to look at the Commission’s ‘bold’ Agenda on Migration, the European Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) warns of its many pitfalls and shortcomings....By focusing on the consequences rather than the real root causes of irregular migration, the Commission has missed an opportunity for a meaningful alternative the EU can and should embrace." And see: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf)

GREEN/EFA Group: Beyond Dublin: Rethinking Europe's Asylum System, Public conference: 3 June 2015 (link) from 15:00 to 18:30: European Parliament - Room ASP A1G3 60 rue Wiertz - 1047 Brussels

EU ministers back Mediterranean naval mission, reject migrant quotas (euractiv, link): "European Union foreign and defence ministers agreed on a naval mission on Monday (18 May) to target gangs smuggling migrants from Libya. But parts of a broader plan to deal with the influx began to unravel in a row over national quotas for housing asylum seekers."

And see: Italian coastguards: military action will not solve Mediterranean migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The Italian coastguards leading migrant rescue missions in the southern Mediterranean have voiced concern about the EU’s migration strategy, arguing that military operations will not stop migration to Europe and calling instead for European navies to prioritise search-and-rescue missions. Speaking on Monday before EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to launch military operations against Libyan smugglers, coastguard captain Paolo Cafaro said a military campaign would not eradicate the root causes of the Mediterranean crisis....

Cafaro also questioned whether European navies would be able to target smugglers’ boats before they are used for migration missions, due to both the absence of a blessing from Libya’s official government and the UN, as well the complexities of the smuggling process. Smuggling boats are often simply fishing boats bought in the days prior to a trip, and kept in civilian harbours until the night of their departure."

EU: MED CRISIS RESPONSE: Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s Planned War on Smugglers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"it is clear from the documents discussed in the EU’s Political and Security Committee last week that (unless plans have changed radically in the meantime) the High Representative is being “economical with the truth”. The EU action clearly contemplates action by ground forces. Moreover, it anticipates the possible loss of life not only of smugglers but also of Member States’ forces and refugees. In effect, the EU is planning to declare war on migrant smugglers – without thinking through the consequences."

See: Secret EU plan for a war on smugglers - document (pdf)

DEVELOPING STORY (18.5.15): Council of the European Union: Press Release: Council establishes EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean (pdf) See:Mediterranean migrants crisis: Is military force the solution? (BBC News, link) and EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The mission’s rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as “the next step in terms of operational details”. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said." [emphasis added]

EU RESPONSE TO MED CRISIS: BOARDING AND DESTROYING BOATS-"BOOTS ON THE GROUND"- "COLLATERAL" EFFECTS? Today EU Defence and Foreign Affairs Council is meeting in Brussels - on Tuesday there will be a meeting of EU Defence Chiefs (with NATO in attendance). The EU is still waiting for UN approval of its Libya plan, which being drafted by the UK to legitimate EU military operations in Libyan waters and coast. See: Remarks by HR/Vice-President at the start of the meeting (Council press release, pdf)

UK to offer drones to help combat people-smugglers in Libya - Britain set to take leading role in Mediterranean military operation by supplying intelligence in response to migrant boat crisis (Guardian, link), Nato 'ready to help' EU anti-migrant smuggler operation (euobserver, link) and EU: boat-sinking Yes, migrant quotas No (euobserver, link)

Among the responses will be the report to the Political and Security Committee of the Council last Tuesday (12 May 2015) which includes:

"Non-compliant boarding operations against smugglers in the presence of migrants has a high risk of collateral damage including the loss of life [page 8] ...Collateral effects of EU kinetic actions will need to be avoided but the risk remains. Any casualties as a result of EU action could trigger a negative response from the local population and the wider region, jeopardising support and follow-up." [page 16]

"The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include:
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance;
- Boarding teams;
- Patrol units (air and maritime);
- Amphibious assets;
- Destruction air, land and sea, including Special Forces units"
[p18, emphasis added]

EU: European boots on Libyan ground - That's just one of the questions facing EU foreign and defense ministers as they consider migration crisis options (Politico, link)

"European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday to consider proposed military action against human traffickers in Libya find themselves faced with a series of questions on just how far they can take the fight.

At the same time, the EU is seeking approval from the United Nations for its plan, which would allow it to go after smugglers in Libyan waters — and possibly even on land. The meeting will also address logistical concerns. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said she expects the group to decide on the headquarters and command of the mission. In a joint session, EU foreign and defense ministers will discuss strategy and tactics.

EU: Naval Force tipped to begin work in Mediterranean as soon as mid-June

As a result of the tragic events unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea over the last few months, with over 1000 lives lost this year alone[1], the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) is said to be preparing for operations in European waters. According to news website Bruxelles2 [2], the details of a Mediterranean operation have been tentatively planned, with some Member States providing 'means and resources'.

EU: Joint Communication: European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Capacity building in support of security and development - Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises (pdf) Details EU external policies and begins with the statement that:

"Events in Africa, in Europe's neighbourhood and beyond point to a dramatic and deteriorating global security situation, with more than 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict affected regions worldwide. On current trends, this number is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2030."

EU-MED-CRISIS: Libya to Europe: Please Don’t Come to Our Rescue (FP, link): "Libya's U.N. envoy expresses skepticism over European plans to fight migrant smugglers in Libyan territory, saying it will cause more trouble than it's worth."

And see: Des « Boots on the ground » en Libye, le grand phantasme? (Bruxelles2, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf):

"The criminal networks which exploit vulnerable migrants must be targeted. The High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) has already presented options for possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations to systematically identify, capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers. Such action under international law will be a powerful demonstration of the EU's determination to act." [emphasis in original]

The Commission "Agenda" will thus be supplemented by a plan for a military-intelligence operation "on the ground" in Libya being prepared by the High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) through the European External Action Service (EEAS) - see Guardian story below. See: Current: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) and European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf)

See: Military action underpins EU migration plan (euobserver, link): "Foreign and defence ministers, in Brussels on Monday will discuss a 19-page blueprint prepared by Mogherini’s staff and leaked to British daily The Guardian... It notes that “a [military] presence ashore might be envisaged if agreement was reached with relevant authorities”. But it warns that “the terrorist presence in the region constitutes a security threat. Action taken ashore could be undertaken in a hostile environment.” and National concerns erode European migration strategy (euractiv, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: Migrant crisis: EU plan to strike Libya networks could include ground forces - Exclusive: Strategy paper for the mission focuses on air and naval campaign, but adds that ‘presence ashore’ might be needed to destroy smugglers’ assets (Guardian, link)

"European plans for a military campaign to smash the migrant smuggling networks operating out of Libya include options for ground forces on Libyan territory.

The 19-page strategy paper for the mission, obtained by the Guardian, focuses on an air and naval campaign in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters, subject to United Nations blessing. But it adds that ground operations in Libya may also be needed to destroy the smugglers’ vessels and assets, such as fuel dumps...

“The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea, including special forces units.”

UN-MED: EU mission could endanger refugees, UN warns (euobserver, link): "A senior UN official has warned the EU that “innocent refugees”, including children, will be “in the line of fire” of any operation to sink migrant smugglers’ boats. Peter Sutherland, the UN special envoy on migration and a former EU commissioner, issued the warning at a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York on Monday (11 May).

And see: Mediterranean crisis demands ‘intensive dialogue’ among UN and regional actors, Security Council told (UN News Centre, link)

EU-MED: Human Costs of Border Control - Deaths at the Borders of Southern Europe (link)

"The Deaths at the Borders Database is the first collection of official, state-produced evidence on people who died while attempting to reach southern EU countries from the Balkans, the Middle East, and North & West Africa, and whose bodies were found in or brought to Europe."

EU:UN-EU RESOLUTION ON MED: Questions and answers: High Representative/Vice President (pdf):

"I'm afraid that what I can say now might not convince them to stop. Especially because the people that are leaving are coming from crisis areas, from conflict areas. And I'm afraid that there is nothing I can say to someone leaving from Syria, or from areas of conflict nowadays. What I can say to them is we, as Europeans, I add personally, finally, understood that we have to take this seriously, and together as Europeans. On different elements - preventing and managing conflicts - the main point is Syria there, but not only. Majority of the people come from the Horn of Africa."

See also: Commission: Strategy Note on "Legal Migration" (pdf)

EU: European Commission: EU Migration Agenda (pdf)

A leaked draft of the Commission communication on the EU migration agenda which is due to be published on Wednesday 13th May. It might be changed before publication and may also be missing some text.(First published on EU Law Analysis)

EU moves ahead with military response to migration; pushes for Europe-wide migrant "quotas"

The EU's proposal to try and deal with the crisis in the Mediterranean by destroying boats used to transport migrants is moving ahead, with foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini making the EU's case for military action to the UN Security Council today. The proposed military effort will feature in the Commission's forthcoming 'Agenda on Migration', to be published on Wednesday (pdf), which will revolve around four themes: "a strong common asylum policy, the fight against trafficking and the prevention of irregular migration, managing external borders, and a new policy on legal migration."

Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones

"On the basis of the Commission's communication and ongoing political and legal developments, it is doubtful - to say the least - whether the proposed "full compliance with fundamental rights" will be achieved. Instead, the Agenda looks likely to legitimise more repressive laws and policies at EU and national level."

See also: European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf) published 28 April 2015

EU Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants’ fundamental rights during "forced returns" (pdf) and Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (link)

EU: Tripling Triton's budget: how fast will the EU move?

One of the European Council's recent proposals for dealing with the migration crisis in the Mediterranean was to "rapidly reinforce" the Triton border control mission, operated by EU agency Frontex. However, the speed of the decision-making process in the EU suggests that this reinforcement is not likely to be particularly rapid.

GREECE-UK-IRELAND: Treatment of vulnerable people: Greece: Police Abusing Marginalized People (HRW, link), Family demand answers after inmate dies of asthma attack in prison... (ITV, link) and Cabinet to discuss concerns on imprisoning people for non payment of debt (Irish Examiner, link)

SPAIN: Deportation flights violating migrants’ rights, says Ombudswoman - Procedures regarding onboard medical and language assistance are not being followed (El Pais, link)

"Becerril’s report notes that Frontex did not order the presence of a physician on several deportation flights that it monitored. On others, there was no interpreter. The migrants were sometimes not informed about the possibility of filing a complaint against violations of their fundamental rights... On all monitored deportation flights, there was no video recording as stipulated in the code, especially for difficult cases,” adds the study."

As usual: "Frontex has rejected any responsibility for the conditions on deportation flights, underscoring that this falls to the member states."

And see: VÍDEO. Policías golpean a un inmigrante en un avión durante su deportación (link)

Global Detention Project (GDP): The Detention of Asylum Seekers in the Mediterranean Region: April 2015 (pdf): IThis Global Detention Project background paper is intended to highlight some of the vulnerabilities that people seeking international protection face when they are taken into custody in Mediterranean countries and to underscore the way that European Union-driven policies have impacted the migratory phenomenon in the region."

EU-UK: Royal Navy migrant rescue mission delayed by diplomatic wrangle - HMS Bulwark awaiting deployment 10 days after David Cameron first offered it for use in Mediterranean search operations (Guardian, link):

"The Royal Navy’s flagship has been temporarily prevented from joining Mediterranean rescue operations while the British and Italian governments wrangle over whether migrants can disembark at Italian ports.... Britain wants guarantees that migrants rescued by HMS Bulwark can be taken to Italian ports."

EU: ERITREA: EU plans to provide Eritrea’s oppressive regime with new funding ( Reporters Without Borders, link): "Reporters Without Borders calls on the European Union to condition additional aid to Eritrea via the European Development Fund (EDF) on a significant improvement in fundamental freedoms, including freedom of information."

And see: Human Rights Concern - Eritrea (HRCE): Letter to European Commission: EU's Development aid to the Eritrean Government (link) and Quand l’UE finance la dictature de l’Érythrée pour stopper les migrants (When the EU finances the Eritrean dictatorship to stop migrants) (France 24, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Thousands of migrants rescued in Mediterranean (euobserver, link):

"Thousands of people in rickety boats and rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean were rescued over the weekend in one of the largest life-saving operations to date led by Italy’s coastguard. Italian officials say some 5,800 were plucked from the sea on Sunday (3 May) and Saturday. Around 10 were found dead off the Libyan coast with more 2,150 of them rescued on Sunday alone. The migrants were taken to southern Italian ports."

And see: Italy says 10 migrants die, 4,500 rescued in ongoing mission | Reuters (F.Politics, link)

Europe Weighs Bombing Migrant Boats (Defense News, link):

" Europe's leaders are carefully weighing the chances of pulling off an unusual military operation: Bombing small boats before they're loaded up with fishermen or illegal migrants. What sounds like a hypothetical war college exercise has instead become a pressing political problem..."

EU: MED-CRISIS: With details of exactly what the EU is going to do and on what legal basis still undecided it is perhaps useful to be reminded of similar ongoing operations the EU is undertaking: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) This is full of acronyms, this is what they stand for:

EUAM (EU Administration of Mostar)
EUMM (EU Monitoring mission)
EUPOL (EU Police Mission)
EUMAM (Military Advisory Mission in the Central African Republic)
EUCAP ((EU capacity-building) NESTOR in the Horn of Africa, EUCAP SAHEL Niger EUAVSEC (aviation security) in South Sudan
EUTM (Mali)
EUFOR ALTHEA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
EUBAM (EU Border Assistance Mission)
EUNAVFOR (EU Naval Force)

Background: A EU Mission in the Med could call for financial support under the: ATHENA Council Decision (pdf). As to the legal basis it could be under Article 44 of the TEU and this was discussed in the Council's Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on Article 44 TEU (LIMITE doc no 6108-15, pdf) which notes that "The Council Legal Service advised that use of an Article 44 mission must be in accordance with: Article 42(1) and Article 43(1)" for a military-civil operation.

The Council Legal Service also concluded: that i) A Article 44 Mission has to be established by a Council Decision, adopted by unaminity ii) the actual implementation can be undertaken by a group of Member States and iii) A Third State can take part.

EU: RETURNS POLICY: Council of the European Union: From Council Presidency: Return and readmission policy - Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no 7156-15, pdf):

"In its March 2014 Communication on EU Return Policy, the Commission reported that "there is a considerable gap between the persons issued with a return decision (approximately 484 000 persons in 2012, 491 000 in 2011 and 540 000 in 2010) and those who, as a consequence, have left the EU (approximately 178 000 in 2012, 167 000 in 2011 and 199 000 in 2010). There are multiple reasons for this gap, including in particular lack of cooperation from the non-EU country of origin or transit (e.g. problems in obtaining the necessary documentation from non-EU consular authorities) and lack of cooperation from the individual concerned (i.e. he/she conceals his/her identity or absconds).".....

Quite frequently, the third countries concerned appear reluctant to accept the “third country national clause” or even oppose its inclusion in the agreement.... It would probably be useful to further reflect on the need to review this strategy on readmission, adopted by the Council in 2011, and to look for more powerful incentives for third countries of origin to cooperate on readmission.

It might be useful to establish a linkage between the currently negotiated amendment of the Visa Code and the cooperation of third countries in the return/readmission of their nationals. The currently negotiated amendment of the Visa Code provides for a number of visa facilitations to third country nationals who are subject to the visa requirement. The applicability of these facilitations is currently exclusively linked to individual circumstances of third-country nationals. This approach might be reviewed, and visa facilitation only be granted to nationals of third countries who cooperate on readmission."
[emphasis in original]

April 2015

EU: Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM): PICUM Position Paper on EU Returns Directive (pdf):

"Based on the impacts on undocumented migrants of the provisions established within the Return Directive as identified by PICUM members, this position paper
aims at informing the debate on possible further development of the EU return policy by providing concrete policy recommendations concerning the situation faced by undocumented migrants within the return process."

EU: Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2015 (pdf)

See also: Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2014 (pdf), Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2013 (pdf) and Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2012 (pdf)

European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Joint Communication: Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) "Keeping human rights at the heart of the EU agenda" (JOIN 15-15, pdf)

European Parliament: Migration: Parliament calls for urgent measures to save lives (pdf):

"The EU should do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea, e.g. by expanding the mandate of “Triton” operation in the Mediterranean to include "search and rescue operations at EU level", says a resolution voted by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs also call for a binding quota for distributing asylum seekers
among all EU countries, bigger contributions to resettlement programmes, better cooperation with third countries and tougher measures against people smugglers.

Parliament urges the EU and its member states to establish a clear mandate for Triton, "so as to expand its area of operation and increase its mandate for search and rescue operations at EU level" (Triton is coordinated by the EU border agency Frontex and currently extends only 30 nautical miles from the Italian coastline).

The EU and its member states should ensure that "search and rescue obligations are effectively fulfilled", stresses the resolution, which was approved by 449 votes to 130, with 93 abstentions."

UN Security Council President on Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: It’s Not About Protecting Europe; It’s About Protecting the Refugees. (Migrants at Sea, link) "“diplomats are warning that United Nations backing for any European Union plan to address the growing Mediterranean migration crisis could take longer than anyone wants.” Ambassador Kawar said “I don’t think we’re anywhere close to having [support] now” and that the effort is “not about protecting Europe. It’s about protecting the refugees."

SECURITY AGENDA: European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf) published 28 April 2015

EU: MED CRISIS: Agence Europe reports that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said: ""To be able to take action, we have to have a United Nations mandate. That will not be easy, just as it will not be easy to get the agreement of the Libyan authorities which do not yet have a government of national unity, Mogherini said on Sunday in an interview with Italian media."

CJEU: Advocate-General: "Is it a crime to be a foreigner?" A-G: All custodial criminal penalties for irregular migrants breach EU law

See: AG Opinion (pdf)

Statewatch News Online: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (08/15) (pdf) and News Online, 27 April 2015 (09/15) (pdf): 18 stories with documentation and 26 News reports from In the News Digest (129 news links from across the EU, so far in April, updated daily)

EU: MED CRISIS: Reportage:

" Royal Navy to send drones to the Mediterranean to save migrants - Unarmed surveillance drones could be sent to search for dangerously overloaded boats packed with people making the perilous crossing from Libya to Europe (Daily Telegraph, link)

" If the EU Attacks Migrant Boats in Zuwara, Libya, How Will It Select from Among the 100s of Boats? (Migrants at Sea, link): "There is no effective and safe (or legal) means by which a particular smuggling boat can be identified and destroyed without destroying multiple other boats."

" EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans (Reuters, link): ""Yet hours after European Union leaders agreed in Brussels on Thursday to treble funding for EU maritime missions and pledged more ships and aircraft, 14 clandestine migrants were killed when a train ploughed into dozens of Somalis and Afghans making their way in darkness along a rail track in a Macedonian gorge."

" Italian judge keeps migrant disaster ship skipper behind bars (SUNdaily, link): "The Tunisian captain of a migrant boat in which at least 700 people
drowned is to remain behind bars as an Italian judge continues his inquiry into the deadly disaster."

" 'Africa's gendarme' France to seek UN approval for new military battlefront - this time in the sea (Mail & Guardian Africa, link): ""FRANCE and Britain agreed Thursday to seek United Nations approval for an EU military operation against people smugglers, in a bid to curb the soaring number of migrants dying as they seek a better life in Europe."

" UN Security Council Working on Migrant Resolution (ABC News, link): "France's ambassador to the U.N. says Security Council members are already working on a council resolution to address the spiraling migrant crisis."

" The EUs disappointing response to the migration crisis (IRIN, link): "A closer look at the list of commitments from Europes leaders after their hastily-arranged migrant crisis summit in Brussels reveals no substantial change in response and few measures likely to have any major impact on the flows of migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe" and Europe must stop exporting its migration fears or face the consequences (link):

""Thirty years ago we knew that there was a demographic and economic crisis on the horizon. We knew, because the International Labour Organization and the UN Fund for Population Activities had done their homework and told us so. We knew just how many young people would be entering the work force in the developing world; we knew how many jobs would be required; we knew that regular migration to the developed world could provide only a small percentage of solutions, at best; and we knew, too, that conflict, turmoil, upheaval and displacement would likely still be with us.

"And what did we do? Essentially, we did nothing. We put our heads in the sand, crossed our fingers, and hoped that the inevitable would never happen. Well, it did, as the inevitable generally does. And the price is being paid today, in lives lost in flight and in transit from situations of utter desperation which we saw coming, and in the floundering ineffectiveness of regional and national policies."

EU: MED CRISIS: Draft list of Member State "pledges" of military and other "assets" (pdf) Note so far Germany has only given 2 ships and UK warships are not included.

EU: MED CRISIS: Dont Rock the Boat: EU leaders do as little as possible to address the migrant crisis (EU Law Analysis, link)

"Yesterday the EU leaders, in the European Council, adopted a policy for addressing the recent crisis of large-scale migrant death tolls crossing the Mediterranean. It builds upon the recent 10-point plan adopted by ministers (discussed here), but builds upon it in some respects. There were also some interesting last-minute changes to the earlier draft of the text (all of which are shown in the annex below), indicating leaders real priorities...

there is a specific commitment to triple the funds for search and rescue as regards existing EU operations. However, this is only within the mandate of Frontex and the head of the EU border agency has stated that this agency does not really have a search and rescue role.

It should be noted that since these operations are coordinated by Frontex, detailed rules of EU law will apply (discussed here) will apply. These rules do allow, in some cases, for returns of migrants directly from their rescue to non-EU countries as long as those countries are safe. It is unlikely that in the current situation, Libya would qualify as safe."

See: Comparison between Draft and Final Statements (pdf)

Although the statement limits fingerprinting to those who apply for asylum see Statewatch on EU plan for ""systematic identification": Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers

EU MED CRISIS: Press coverage:

- European Parliament: European Council: Civil Liberties Committee Chair regrets lack of commitment by EU leaders on the number of refugees to resettle (pdf): "Reacting to the final statement of the European Council held yesterday in Brussels, the Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee responsible for dealing with migration, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), welcomed the setting up of a voluntary resettlement scheme to those qualifying for protection, but regretted the lack of commitment by EU leaders on the number of refugees to resettle. "Bolder pledges should have been made" at the summit, he said."

- Open letter to David Cameron: Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results - In this open letter, a coalition of 19 charities calls on the UK to ensure that a fully resourced search-and-rescue mission is re-established (Independent, link)

- EU to target migrant smugglers (euobserver, link): "EU leaders on Thursday (23 April) declared war on migrant smugglers and promised to triple the monthly budget of the EUs sea surveillance mission, Triton.But broader efforts to address politically sensitive issues on a better distribution of asylum seekers and refugees largely fell to the wayside as leaders instead placed emphasis on giving the EU's surveillance mission Triton more cash, more boats, and more planes.

- NGOs: Migration summit fell short of expectations (euractiv, link): "EU leaders have missed a real opportunity to make a serious difference in the lives and deaths of the people suffering daily in the Mediterranean, say NGOs."

- EU leaders will use military against refugees, warns leading MEP (euractiv, link)

- Coffin-carrying migrants march on European Council (euractiv, link)

EU MED CRISIS: European Council: Press release (pdf): Final text does not even commit to tiny number of 5,000 resettlement places

EU: MED CRISIS: MEPs condemn EU leaders shameful response to migration crisis in Mediterranean (GUE/NGL, link):

"GUE/NGL MEPS have condemned EU leaders in the strongest possible terms for not responding to the spiralling death toll in the Mediterranean with a much-needed robust search and rescue operation as well as proposals for safe and legal access to the EU.

Draft conclusions from today's emergency summit in Brussels show that instead EU governments want to prevent migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores and return swiftly those who arrive in Europe."

Euromedrights: OPEN LETTER TO THE EU HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENTS: No More Excuses for Deaths at Sea: Reform Policies, Save Lives! (link):

"Ahead of the EUs extraordinary summit of 23 April 2015, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is calling on the 28 Heads of States and Governments to urgently reconsider the proposed package of measures to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The EMHRN exhorts EU leaders to shift their focus away from surveillance, intelligence gathering and border controls towards a genuine human rights perspective with the protection of migrants and refugees at the heart of their concerns."

See also: A deadly crossing: Hasans story (AI, link) And: Amnesty Internationals Blueprint for Action to end refugee and migrant deaths in the Med (link)

EU: MED CRISIS: EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING 23 APRIL 2015, Brussels: Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf)

See also: Questions and Answers: Facts and Figures on cooperation with Africa How does the EU cooperate with Africa on migration? (pdf) and An employment office in Bamako: the European Unions transformation of Mali into a migration control laboratory, by Stephan Dünnwald (Statewatch database) and see story below

See also; Special EU summit on the Mediterranean crisis: euractiv tracker (link)

EU: MED CRISIS: Most migrants crossing Mediterranean will be sent back, EU leaders to agree - Exclusive: Confidential draft from summit reveals that only 5,000 migrants will be allowed to resettle in Europe with at least 150,000 likely to be repatriated (Guardian link):

"EUs Frontex border agency, the head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, said on the eve of the summit that saving migrants lives should not be the priority for his maritime patrols despite the clamour for a more humane response after the deaths of 800 refugees and migrants at the weekend."

See: Statewatch EU Council Draft Conclusions document: Draft European Council Conclusions (pdf)

EU-MED-CRISIS RESPONSE: Draft European Council Statement for 25 April 2015 Summit of Prime Ministers and Heads of State (pdf). includes:

- "to increase the search and rescue possibilities within the mandate of FRONTEX; [p.m.: welcome pledges]

But asks for "volunteer" Member States to join search and rescue - no commitment by all governments

and:

- increased intelligence and police-cooperation with third countries

- systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers. The High Representative is invited to immediately begin
preparations for a possible CSDP operation to this effect, in accordance with international law

- increase support to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger among others, to monitor and control the land borders and routes in order to prevent potential
migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores,

- promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin

- new return programme for the rapid return of irregular migrants

- voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering at least 5,000 places to persons qualifying for protection

- registration and finger-printing" [emphasis added]

EU-MED CRISIS: EU borders chief says saving migrants' lives 'shouldn't be priority' for patrols - Coastal fleet missions off Italy not mandated or resourced for full search and rescue operations, and nor is EU, says head of Frontex agency (Guardian, link)

"Triton cannot be a search-and-rescue operation. I mean, in our operational plan, we cannot have provisions for proactive search-and-rescue action. This is not in Frontexs mandate, and this is in my understanding not in the mandate of the European Union, Leggeri told the Guardian."

And see today: Falling into line - but will Frontex's mandate be changed? Frontex ready to implement European Council conclusions - Executive Director (link): "My proposal is to increase as an immediate step air surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy and Malta in addition to the vessels currently deployed, which is aimed at enhancing search and rescue capacities in the area, Leggeri said."

And see: EU leaders to consider military crackdown on Libya human traffickers (euractiv, link) and EU to 'capture and destroy' migrant traffickers' boats (euobserver, link): "the text [of the Draft Conclusions] does not mention changing Frontex's mandate, with human rights organisations regularly criticising the EU for focusing on protecting its borders rather than dealing with the humanitarian aspect."

EU: CJEU JUDGMENT: !mmigration law: Member States cannot just fine irregular migrants, they have to expel them (full text)

Frontex and eu-LISA Sign Cooperation Plan for 2015 (Frontex link), LISA Press release (pdf) and Annual Cooperation Plan 2015 of eu-LISA and Frontex (pdf)

CRISIS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN: German Marshall Fund: The United States and the Future of Mediterranean Security: Reflections from GMFs Mediterranean Strategy Group (GMF, link) This article in on the "Reading List" of the Background briefing on the Special European Council of 23 April 2015:

"Mediterranean security is set to pose key tests for both NATO and EU strategy in the years ahead. U.S. political and military engagement will be important elements in regional stability. But the relatively diffuse nature of Mediterranean security risks, a substantially reduced permanent military presence, and some marked differences in the European and U.S. approach to the region will complicate policy looking south."

See: GMF Reflections (pdf)

The EU response to migrant deaths: protection and prevention or policy laundering? (EU Law Analysis, link): "Overall, this is a very disappointing document. Its not only vague on crucial details but more importantly focusses less on the situation of the migrants (addressing the root causes which cause them to move, and protection from drowning and persecution) and more on border control and repression."

and see: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which does not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" and African Union Commission and European Commission meet to bring new impetus to the EU-Africa partnership (pdf): "In the context of the ongoing crisis in Libya and the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean, we have to enhance cooperation with North African and Sub Saharan African countries to build migration and border management capacities."

ITALY: Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) statement:
Italy and Europe must react immediately to stop the tragedy of the deaths in the Mediterranean:

"Inactivity makes them accomplices of a slaughter: A failure to immediately adopt the measures listed above would entail a serious responsibility on Europe's part as, by forgetting its founding values, it remains objectively indifferent to the tragedies that are taking place at our borders."

MED: SEARCH & RESCUE: Mediterranean migrant deaths: UK sends just five workers to assist EU - Government boosts contribution from one immigration officer to five, as Labour condemns immoral UK approach to search and rescue missions (Guardian, link)

EU: LIBYA & SEARCH & RESCUE: European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf):"three possible scenarios for the near future; a stalemate, with no clear winner; an escalation of violence, in which one side might overcome the other following a full-scale civil war; or a cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the political process. What these scenarios demonstrate is that the possibility for the EU to define its strategy and programme its activities depends highly on the outcome. The first 2 scenarios are clearly not conducive to any major EU footprint and/or support programme. Only a ceasefire agreement could eventually allow for a resumption of EU support" [emphasis in original]

Mass drowning prompts talk of EU search-and-rescue operation (euobserver, link):

"The EU is mulling options to launch a fully-fledged search and rescue operation following the reported drowning of some 700 EU-bound migrants over the weekend. Speaking on the behalf of Latvias EU presidency, interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis on Monday (20 April) said options should be explored for setting up a full-fledged search and rescue operation of the EU.

But Kozlovskis call for a EU-wide rescue mission is likely to meet resistance from national governments like the UK, which insist aid efforts are a pull factor for more people to make the perilous journey. The deaths and boating tragedies have historically been met with emotional statements from the EU and most governments but little in terms of action. How many more people will have to drown until we finally act in Europe? said European parliament president Martin Schulz in a statement."

And: EU to launch military operations against migrant-smugglers in Libya (Guardian, link): "The European Union is to launch military operations against the networks of smugglers in Libya deemed culpable of sending thousands of people to their deaths in the Mediterranean.... Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration issues, said the operation would be civil-military modelled on previous military action in the Horn of Africa to combat Somali piracy. The military action would require a UN mandate." [emphasis added]

EU: "FORTRESS EUROPE" RE-BORN: SEARCH & RESCUE CRISIS IN MED: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which does not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" but which includes:

- "A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers" which would require a "civil-military" operation to be authorised by the Council

- "Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants"

- "Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States" and "Consider options for an emergency relocation"

See: Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU sets out measures (BBC News, link)

Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean: What can the EU do? (EU Law Analysis, link): "There is a moral imperative for the EU to act swiftly and effectively to address the issue."

and also Watch the Med (link): "Watch the Mediterranean Sea is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants' rights at the maritime borders of the EU"

And see: EU ministers meet for crisis talks after hundreds of migrants drown in Mediterranean - Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi says EU action must be a priority as death toll of drownings this year now stands at 1,500 50 times more than at same point in 2014 (Guardian, link)

EU: Response to deaths in the Mediterranean (19.4.15): Press release (pdf):

"the Foreign Affairs Council that will meet tomorrow in Luxembourg, will [discuss] the next steps the EU is going to take to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in an effective and truly European way."

EU: Search and rescue: The Observer view on the human tragedy in the Mediterranean (link) Editorial: "Europe cant afford to sit back and do nothing when thousands of migrants are dying every week in search of a new life in Italy and Greece... The fundamental causes of this crisis will take years to address. An urgent first step is to reinstitute EU-underwritten search and rescue operations" and see:

Trivialising migrant deaths: why words matter (EU Law Analysis, link): "The escalating tragedy of thousands of migrants lives being lost every year during attempted Mediterranean crossings is one of the most difficult issues facing the EUs immigration policy."

EU response: European Commission: European Commission Statement on developments in the Mediterranean (19-4-15,pdf): "as long as countries of origin and transit do not take action to prevent these desperate trips, people will continue to put their lives at risk" [emphasis added]

And see: Statement of High Representative on capsizing of a migrants' boat in the Mediterranean Sea (19-4-15, pdf): "Every single day, we have the duty to save human lives, sharing among all the 28 this duty and a responsibility that for too long has been left only to the southern countries.... I've decided to put the issue of migration as a formal point on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council I convened tomorrow in Luxembourg, where I'll present a set of proposals for Libya, one of the main routes of illegal trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"Migrants are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty which require long-term solutions. The underlying causes are wars and conflicts, persecution by oppressive and authoritarian regimes or "broken" states, poverty stemming from global inequality and exploitation and the long-term implications of climate change. And the political will to meaningfully address these issues is manifestly absent.

The response to the immediate and continuing tragedies should be obvious. The EU needs to launch an unequivocal and permanent search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean matched by a commitment by all EU governments to share responsibility for migrants' welfare." .

And: UNHCR - New Mediterranean boat tragedy may be biggest ever, urgent action is needed now (link)

EU: Rights groups: EU leaders dont care about drowning immigrants (euractiv, link): "Rights groups lashed out at the EU on Wednesday for scrapping rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying it had endangered the lives of thousands of desperate migrants making perilous journeys across the sea."

And see: CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mediterranean migrant tragedy: PACE rapporteur calls for a co-ordinated European response (link): "The humanitarian plight of these people has become unbearable, said the rapporteur. The human rights of refugees, on the one hand, as well as the fight against unscrupulous traffickers, on the other, should be addressed at a European level as a matter of priority.

See: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the situation in the Mediterranean at the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament
Brussels, 14 April 2015
(pdf): Makes no mention or commitment to search and rescue.

Lampedusa: why are so many migrants dying at sea? (Channel 4 News, link): "The UNHCR says that at least 500 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2015 - 30 times higher than in the same period last year. Channel 4 News asks if European policy is to blame."

See: EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes: "effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."

And: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, link)

"British policy was quietly spelled out in a recent House of Lords written answer by the new Foreign Office minister, Lady Anelay: We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, she said, adding that the government believed there was an unintended pull factor, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths. [emphasis added]

EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes:

"effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."

BELGIUM: CIRÉ statement on two suicides:A dark day for migrants and for Belgian migration policy - press statement of 3 April

"Thursday 2 April 2015 will remain etched as a dark day. Two people who were refused the right of residence by Belgium killed themselves. Acting as spokespersons for many others, they send out a message to our humanity and recall - if it still needs to be demonstrated - the true cost of our migration policies."

EU: Shipowners, Unions Urge EU Address Migrant Crisis (Maritime Executive, link):

"European and global operators of merchant ships have joined forces with seafarers unions in a letter urging EU Member States to take immediate collective action in addressing the growing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.....

In a joint letter to leaders of all 28 EU Members States dated March 31, the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA), the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have warned that the crisis is spiralling out of control. They warn there is a serious risk of further catastrophic loss of life unless EU Member States respond with greater urgency."

See: Letter from shipping industry to EU Heads of State/Heads of Government of EU/EEA Member States: Humanitarian crisis in Mediterranean sea (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE document:

" European External Action Service: Interim EUCAP Nestor Strategic Review (LIMITE doc no: 1192192-15, 42 pages, pdf): CMPD Crisis Management and Planning Directorate: Working document of the European External Action Service: "EUCAP Nestor is deployed, to strengthen maritime security capacity in order to enable these countries to fight piracy more effectively, with a primary focus on Somalia and a secondary on Djibouti, Seychelles and Tanzania..... However, it is assessed that current bilateral activities should be phased out, preferably by the end of 2015, and transition strategies elaborated to enable the Mission to fully concentrate on Somalia where piracy originated."

African Union opposes outsourcing migrants (euobserver, link):

"The African Union is opposed to any EU-level plan to outsource asylum processing centres to countries in Africa. "From the African perspective, this would be a dangerous approach, said African Union ambassador to the EU, Ajay K Bramdeo, on Wednesday. Niger, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey may host such centres."

And: African envoy expresses concern over EU migrant center plans (New Europe, link)

See also Statewatch: Plan to set up "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms" between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts" - to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to north African states

UNHCR concerned by border practices after deaths of two Iraqis at the Bulgaria-Turkey border (link to press release):

"GENEVA, 31 March (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday expressed increasing concern that people needing international protection were being blocked from entering the European Union, citing the deaths of two Iraqi men who were in a group of 12 Yazidi people allegedly beaten by Bulgarian border guards....

The statement followed a recent incident in which UNHCR was told 12 Iraqis belonging to the Yazidi minority were stopped by Bulgarian border guards as they tried to enter from Turkey. The Iraqis had their belongings seized and were badly beaten.

The group scattered and two of the men, suffering from severe injuries, died later of hypothermia on the Turkish side of the border. According to the reports, a third person was taken in a critical condition to a hospital in Edirne after Turkish authorities were alerted."

March 2015

CEUTA-MELILLA: Against a state of exception for human rights in Ceuta and Melilla (pdf):

"The 150 undersigned social associations have looked into the eyes of these migrants and seen their injuries, traumas and persecutions often, very often. This is why we wont look away and allow our shame for this illegal practice through which our name is being soiled to discourage us. We wont allow the existence in our country of zones of exception for human rights regardless of how hard they try to legalise them."

HUNGARY: Helsinki Committee: Refugees and migrants: Information note on Hungarian government plans to breach EU asylum law and to subject asylum-seekers to massive detention and immediate deportation (link) and see: Media information note (pdf, link):

"Hungarian Helsinki Committee aimed at providing background information and key facts about migration to *Hungary*, conditions for migrants in the country and recent developments in the government's migration policy. With 42,777 asylum claims registered last year, the number of asylum-seekers in Hungary saw a twentyfold increase from 2012 to 2014. The already problematic situation of migrants and asylum-seekers in the country risks to deteriorate following the *anti-migrant communication campaign* initiated by the Prime Minister last February.

Planned amendments to asylum and immigration laws are going, for example, in the direction of *systematic detention* of asylum-seekers and migrants irregularly entering the territory, *undermining the protection of their fundamental rights."

Deaths of Europes unwanted and unnoticed migrants exposed (Institute of Race Relations, link): "The deaths over the last five years, in the detention and reception centres, the streets and the squats of Europe, are a product of the rightlessness and the lack of human dignity European governments accord to migrants and asylum seekers. They are also the tip of the iceberg; the true figures are unknown, as in many countries migrants deaths are not recorded or investigated. But of the deaths whose circumstances are known, the largest number, sixty, were suicides; 26 were caused by untreated illness or illness exacerbated by detention, while sixteen were caused by destitution.

"Liz Fekete, Director of the IRR, said, Some lives simply dont matter. These deaths reflect exactly the same indifference to human life that we see at the border & this suffering, these deaths need to be accounted for."

Full report: Unwanted, Unnoticed: an audit of 160-asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe (link to pdf)

EU: European Neighbourhood Policy evaluation for 2014 published

"In 2014 the EU maintained a high level of engagement with partners, in which the instruments offered by the ENP played a central part. The new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), adopted in 2014, provides EUR 15.4 billion for the period 2014-20. Financial assistance is more focused than before; civil society organisations (CSOs) and local authorities are better and more closely involved in preparing, implementing and monitoring EU support."

Full report: European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014 (pdf) and for an overview: Commission publishes neighbourhood reports for 'test year 2014' (EurActiv, link)

The document notes that: "The terrible loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea during 2014 showed that coordinated policy formulation of the EU with its partner countries in the South and beyond is indispensable.

"As ENP partner countries are mostly transit countries for irregular migration, the EU includes the neighbours of neighbours in relevant discussions, e.g. authorities from West and Central Africa in the framework of the 'Rabat Process'. Similarly, a regional dialogue process was launched in November with countries along the East African migratory route ('Khartoum Process'). Most of the EUs southern partner countries lack a comprehensive, sustainable legal and administrative system to deal with this issue. Libya, in particular, was very vulnerable to flows of asylum-seekers, irregular migration and human trafficking following the deteriorating security situation and the conflict in the country. "

On this issue, see also: Plan to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North African states

A document was published at the beginning of March outlining the "clear need to review the assumptions on which the policy is based, as well as its scope, and how instruments should be used..." See: Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy (pdf)

EU: Billions of euros for internal security and migration policy

22 EU Member States' plans for internal security and migration were approved by the European Commission yesterday, opening the door to billions of euros in funding from the EU's current seven year budget, which runs from 2014 until 2020. The new budgets follow the EU's previous internal security and migration budgets, which ran from 2007 until 2013 and paid for transnational databases and police operations, surveillance equipment, and detention centres, amongst other things.

European Commission press release: Investing in an open and secure Europe: ¬1.8 billion to fund Asylum, Migration, Integration and Security (pdf)

UPDATE: 24.3.15
Smart borders? Operation AMBERLIGHT: "Overstaying" in the EU: a problem for internal security and the need for "harmonised" laws which are enforceable - like in JPO Mos Maiorum people will be "apprehended" and sanctioned

" "Overstayers" to be checked at external borders in Joint Police Operation (JPO) in April
" "Overstayers" refers to visitors, students and others on visas and undocumented migrants
" Member States to report on: "Further procedure in Member States, and sanctions imposed" - law enforcement agencies will "apprehend" and sanction people

The document says that: "No personal data will be collected within the activity" - the same claim was made by the Italian Council Presidency during: Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum": Council's explanation is "economical with the truth" which argued that was only a data collection operation when in fact nearly 20,000 people were "apprehended": The Mos Maiorum JPO: Final report (LIMITE doc no: 5474/15).

"Overstayers" to be checked at external borders: Joint Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 5195-15, pdf) It is planned to take place in the period from 1-14 April 2015 or from 18 to 30 April 2015)

Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Dying for Justice (pdf link):

"509 people from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated.....the wronged will not rest the families movement, in particular, will not go away. Their cry goes up from the streets: there must be an end to dying for justice."

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the Immigration Directorates: Calais (pdf):

"The French and UK Governments should ensure that the migrants in Calais have access to advice on asylum, and understand that a successful claim is a legal path to secure rights in the EU. Every effort must be made to ensure someone who is fleeing war or persecution, who could apply for asylum either in France or the UK, does not decline the opportunity through a lack of information, or the provision of misinformation by fellow migrants, traffickers or others"

EU: MEDITERREAN PLAN TO SET UP "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms" between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts" - to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North African states

See: Non Paper on Possible Involvement of Third Countries in Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue from the Italian delegation (Confidential Note discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 12 March 2015, pdf)

The proposal involves the "direct involvement of reliable third countries", namely Egypt and Tunisia, as "Libya is unable to patrol their coasts" and to "take them [the migrants] to their own ports [ie: to Egypt and Tunisia]" where "competent authorities" will carry out "international protection procedures, provide assistance to vulnerable people and return irregular migrants to their country of origin".

See: EU considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue missions (Guardian, link)

and Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications - European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before migrants reach Europe (Guardian, link): "The interior ministries have also been discussing plans to establish and finance refugee camps or reception centres for migrants in North Africa and the Middle East to try to keep them from coming to Europe as well as out of the hands of the traffickers, and to set up European asylum-processing offices outside the EU in the same region."

EU considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue missions (Guardian, link):

"The EU is considering plans to outsource its patrols of the Mediterranean to countries such as Egypt and Tunisia in order to try to reduce the high numbers of desperate illegal migrants risking their lives to reach European shores.

Under the proposals tabled confidentially by the Italian government, the EU would cut deals with North African countries to fund and train their navies in search-and-rescue missions for the tens of thousands of people being trafficked from Libya to Italy. Once rescued, the migrants would be taken to the ports of the country saving them or sent back to their countries of origin."

EU: Council of the European Union: Handbook on trafficking in human beings - indicators for investigating police forces, (LIMITE doc no: 14630-rev-2-15, pdf): The term "search and rescue" is not referred to. It includes the use of "Special Investigative tools":

"investigations into human trafficking envisage the use of investigative techniques and tools to combat organised crime and serious crimes, as well as special operations and undercover activities. The latter, however, are not adopted in Malta, Slovakia and Sweden....

Not all Member States use wire-tapping and communication interception. According to the results of the questionnaire, they are not used in Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Malta, while Cyprus reports the strict conditions that must be met to apply these investigative tools, which are not commonly used.... Only Slovakia, Spain and Germany stressed the presence of "joint investigative teams" [emphasis added]

Background: Europol: Joint operational team launched to combat irregular migration in the Mediterranean (pdf) announcing the launch of Joint Operational Teams (JOT) Mare.Intelligence Centre

The JOT Mare intelligence Centre will work Frontex agency and with the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR). It monitors third-country ports and targeted ships. Thirteen member states: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom - are taking part in JOT Mare.

GREECE: European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): Whats in a name? The reality of First Reception at Evros: AIDA fact-finding visit to Greece (pdf) and see: Press summary (link): "The ECRE delegation visited Evros between 1 and 5 December 2014. The visit was organised in close collaboration with the Greek Council for Refugees and as part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA) project"

"The conditions in the Fylakio Detention Centre are extremely bad, in particular as migrants may be detained for prolonged periods of time up to 18 months. The dormitories in Fylakio Detention Centre are large cells, behind bars, containing between 50 to 60 bunk beds, access to the courtyard of the detention centre is limited to 3 hours a day, weather permitting. The ECRE delegation found the place to be cold and damp. There is no doctor present in the detention centre and detainees only receive paracetamol, irrespective of any medical complaint they have.

Although women with small children and babies are regularly detained there, including at the time of the ECRE visit, the detention centre neither provides baby food nor baby milk. Access to free legal assistance is very limited as there is only one lawyer, deployed by the Greek Council for Refugees, which is clearly insufficient to meet the needs of the persons wishing to challenge either their detention or a negative decision relating to their asylum application."

EUROPOL: Joint operational team launched to combat irregular migration in the Mediterranean (pdf): "The intelligence-led, European response to this problem is the establishment of the Joint Operational Team (JOT) Mare, which launches today. Hosted at Europol headquarters in The Hague, JOT Mare will tackle the organised criminal groups who are facilitating the journeys of migrants by ship across the Mediterranean Sea to the EU."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Terrorism, migration, data protection and legal aid

"Home affairs ministers will exchange their views on the implementation of measures regarding the fight against terrorism" - reinforcing border controls, enhancing internet monitoring and content control, increasing cooperation on firearms trafficking and "stepping up information sharing, including through Europol and Eurojust." Also on the home affairs agenda are migratory pressures and the Greek Road Map on Asylum for 2015. Justice ministers will discuss the data protection regulation, legal aid for suspects in European Arrest Warrant proceedings, Eurojust, the acceptance of public documents and the European Public Prosecutor's Office.

See: Background note (pdf)

EU: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers

The European Commission and Member States are discussing, in secret, a set of "best practices for Member States to follow in order to ensure that their obligations under the Eurodac Regulation are fulfilled". The guidelines ultimately address "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women". The aim is to "uphold the integrity of the Dublin Regulation" - the legal basis for Europe's asylum system, which many consider to be fundamentally flawed.

And: Press release (pdf)

EU: New report on alternatives to immigration detention

"This report... constitutes a significant pooling of knowledge on the law and practice on detention decision-making and alternatives to detention in 6 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom). In addition, it includes legal research on the scope of Member States obligations to implement alternatives to immigration detention under international, European (i.e. Council of Europe) and EU law."

EU: European and national parliamentarians divided on the EU Smart Borders Package? (European Area of Freedom Security & Justice, link): "On February 23 the LIBE Committee has organized a interparliamentary meeting focused on the Smart Borders Package... The meeting served as a forum for the exchange of views between European and national parliamentarians, as well as the Commission and European agency representatives, in an aim to debate the possible future alternatives at technological and legal level of the smart border package."

See also: videos of meetings on 23 February and 24 February (links) and speakers' contributions (pdfs):

EU: Council of the European Union: Use of the VIS with a view to handling asylum cases (LIMITE doc no 6747-15, pdf):

"SE [Sweden] raised a point on the link between Schengen visas issued by Member States and the flows of asylum seekers. SE expressed concerns over the use of Schengen visas in order to access EU territory in view of lodging applications for international protection. SE noted the link between the identification of asylum seekers in the VIS database and implications for the Dublin system, and deplored the lack of harmonization between MS in the application of the Visa Code, which may result in costly procedures for other MS where asylum seekers end up applying for protection."

And: Council Directive on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries - Revised Presidency compromise (LIMITE doc no 6065-15, pdf) The Council developing its position.

EU Commissioner: Avramopoulos: We cooperate with dictatorial regimes to fight migration (euractiv, link): "The EU's migration chief insisted yesterday (4 March) that the bloc must work with dictatorships in order to fight smugglers who traffic migrants to Europe, often using dangerous sea routes across the Mediterranean."

and: EU defends working with dictatorships to stop migrants (The Daily Star, link): "The EU's migration chief insisted Wednesday that the bloc must work with dictatorships in order to fight smugglers who traffic migrants to Europe, often using dangerous sea routes across the Mediterranean."

And see: Commission statement: Commission makes progress on a European Agenda on Migration (pdf): "First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said; "In May we will present a new migration agenda with an improved governance to strengthen our asylum system, set a sound course on legal migration, act more vigorously against irregular migration and ensure more secure borders." (and "Factsheet", pdf) and see: European Migration Network Conference 2015: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Europe (link)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, notes: "This Commission announcement makes no mention of the EU's humanitarian responsibility for search and rescue, emphasising instead the need for "legal migration" which is based on bringing in skilled labour from the South to maintain the EU standards of living."

February 2015

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Court of Justice clarifies the conditions in which a third-country national who has deserted may be granted asylum in the EU (Press release, pdf): clarifies if USA soldier opposed to Iraq war can get asylum in EU

"In August 2008, an American soldier, Andre Shepherd, sought asylum in Germany. He had left his unit, which had been stationed in Germany since April 2007, after receiving an order to return to Iraq. Mr Shepherd believed that he should no longer participate in a war he considered unlawful and in the war crimes that were, in his view, committed in Iraq.

See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)

EU: Frontex, poison or antidote to the tragedies in the Mediterranean? (Migreurop, link):

"As Malta receives millions of Euros to fund maritime border control operations in collaboration with Frontex, members of the FRONTEXIT campaign denounce the security obsession blinding Europe and leading to increasing numbers of deaths."

Update III on detentions and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco (No Borders Morocco, link):

""As part of the so-called European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the EU and its member states fund surrounding countries to control their borders and effectively prevent migrants from reaching European territory. As an "Advanced Partner" in the ENP, Morocco is complicit in creating a buffer zone externalising the EUâ¬"s inhumane border regime to Northern Africa. To gain advanced status, Morocco signed a so-called "Mobility Partnership" including readmission negotiations, and receives "assistance in implementing the strategy to combat illegal migration" (EU/Morocco Action Plan, para 48) from the EU. The large-scale detention and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco show what this combat looks like in practice."

See: EU/Morocco Action Plan (pdf)

Greek Authorities Start Evacuating Amygdaleza Migrant Detention Center (Greek Reporter, link)

"Greek authorities have started evacuating the Amygdaleza migrant detention center last Friday, saying they have released 100 migrants by Tuesday, while 980 remain in the premises. Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis had pledged to close down the Amygdaleza facility within 100 days, citing inhumane living conditions, following the suicide of a Pakistani national."

European police neglecting right-wing extremism

An online platform set up so that Europe's police forces can exchange information on right-wing extremism is "not being used much", says a recent report by the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC). This is despite the rise to prominence of far-right parties and movements across Europe - in Greece, Hungary, France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere.

Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosts a 'Europol Platform for Experts' on right-wing extremism which is supposed to be used by police officers to "to share knowledge, best practices and non-personal data on crime." The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's Report, published at the end of November 2014 and covering the period from December 2012 to mid-October 2014, says: "The EPE facilitates contact and exchange of best practice between Member States' experts. The platform meets as required. For the time being it is not being used much by Member States and Europol."

Europol failed to provide any further details on the use of the platform - for example, how many meetings it has held and how many messages have been exchanged through it - despite repeated requests from Statewatch.

CYPRUS: Racist attack and violence against migrant by the police (KISA, link)

"KISA publicly denounces a new incident of racist violence, inhuman and humiliating treatment against a migrant by members of the police. More specifically, according to a Cypriot citizen that witnessed the incident, two policemen called a migrant walking in front of them to stop and when the migrant turned towards them one of the two policemen hit him so hard on the face that the migrant fell to the ground. Then the policemen handcuffed and arrested him without any resistance or action from the migrants side."

Serbia: Asylum seekers and migrants left in cold (Medecins Sans Frontieres, link): "Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have risked their lives to reach Europe are being left stranded in forests and abandoned buildings in Serbia in harsh winter temperatures without sufficient food or shelter, according to international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF teams are providing them with essential relief items and urgently needed medical care. At the same time, MSF is calling on the Serbian authorities and European Union member states to provide the asylum seekers with aid and protection."

See also the MSF photo collection: Gallery: Transit denied: stranded in cold Serbia (link). One response to the increasing number of migrants and refugees attempting to reach central and northern Europe via Hungary has simply been to try to stop them. See: Serbia Border Crisis: Germany Sends Police To Stem Kosovo Refugees Seeking Asylum In European Union (International Business Times)

EU: UNICEF report: Childrens rights in return policy and practice in Europe (pdf): "A discussion paper on the return of unaccompanied and separated children to institutional reception or family"

EU: "FORCED RETURNS": Frontex quarterly report (FRAN: Frontex Risk Analysis Network): statistics on irregular migration (2MB, pdf) shows there were 74,262 "forced returns" in the last recorded year (p61).

EU: CJEU: Advocate General (AG) Sharpston: Opinion: 12 February 2015, Case C.554/13 (pdf): The AG says that if an undocumented person is suspected of a criminal offence then the authorities do not need to wait for the legal process to be completed in order to deport the person

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them (pdf): "FRA research has highlighted the risk that domestic EU Member State legislation on the facilitation of entry and stay may lead to the punishment of those who provide humanitarian assistance..."

High price paid by asylum seekers on reaching Europes affluent nations - Institute of Race Relations questions commitment to human rights after analysis of people who died in detention (Guardian, link): "Analysis by the London-based Institute of Race Relations thinktank found that the highest numbers of deaths of asylum seekers and migrants were in some of the most affluent countries, with the UK having the third largest death toll, during a period mostly governed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition."

GREECE: Joint statement by Amnesty International and Greek Council for Refugees: New government's announcement of ending the policy of indefinite detention a step in the right direction (pdf):

"The Greek Council for Refugees and Amnesty International welcome the announcement by Giannis Panousis, the Deputy Minister for Public Order that the authorities will cease to detain third country nationals held under return orders indefinitely. The Deputy Minister for Public Order made the announcement two days ago in his first policy speech before the Greek Parliament."

EU leaders want tighter border controls (euobserver, link):

"Tighter border control checks on travel and ID documents of EU nationals leaving or entering the EU are also on the cards as leaders called for the European commission to revise the so-called Schengen border code....

The EUs counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, at a European Parliament civil liberties committee in late January, told MEPs to "never let a serious crisis go to waste.... But civil liberty defenders warn of a power grab by governments and law authorities for the sake of creating a perception of greater security. The point was driven by one EU-funded study that found that out of the 88 legally binding rules in the EU counter-terrorism portfolio, 50 had yet or are not fully transposed into national law as of 2013."

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Lampedusa: another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means (link):

"I am appalled by the news of over 300 migrants feared dead in the Mediterranean. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. This is another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means. These deaths, which follow those of 29 migrants who died of hypothermia, put into question the decision to end the full-scale search-and-rescue mission Mare Nostrum in 2014, said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).... It is a question of life or death and all European states must stand in solidarity with countries of origins, Southern Mediterranean countries, and all those who are forced to flee conflict and persecution, Ms Brasseur declared."

EU burying heads in the sand as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy (AI, link) and Watch - Up to 300 migrants die in tragedy off Lampedusa; Amnesty International hits out (Independent.mt, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says as many as 300 people are now unaccounted-for in the latest tragedy among migrants crossing the frigid Mediterranean.

The spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Carlotta Sami, says survivors have confirmed the existence of a fourth rubber boat that left Libya on Sunday. In a statement, the UNHCR says that means some 300 people are missing. Earlier, the agency cited survivors as saying 203 people had died in the crossing."

Strage di migranti a Lampedusa, i testimoni: oltre trecento morti. "Costretti a partire sotto la minaccia delle armi" (Massacre of migrants in Lampedusa, witnesses: three hundred dead. "Forced to leave under the threat of arms") (R.it, link):

"Found two other rafts on which there were only nine refugees: the other occupants may have been swept away by the waves. The survivors say they were forced to embark by the smugglers with weapons in hand. The bodies will arrive in Porto Empedocle. UNHCR: the victims are 232. Then one of the survivors said: was fourth boat with a hundred other people. Gentiloni: Triton's mission "is not enough" [translation]

Joint call: No to the wall of shame in Calais! (Migreurop, link): "Is France going to have its very own Ceuta and Melilla in Calais, 12 years after the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp? The growing number of migrants who have been in the Calais area for a few months is leading our rulers to take a dangerous step that contravenes migrant freedom and respect for their rights." and in French (link)

Mission plage pour EUBAM Libya (Bruxelles2, link): EUBAM operation turns into an expensive holiday camp?: An article by Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

Highlights that the expensive EUBAM mission to Libya to improve border controls in the north African country is ineffective due to the security situation which forced its personnel to retreat to Tunisia and Malta last July. Gros-Verheyde notes that 26m euros were allocated for the mission's first year of operation (ending in May 2015), and that around 12m euros would be made available for subsequent years (between 12m and 14m euros) in spite of lower numbers of staff involved. The mission is supposedly continuing from abroad, to keep contacts with its counterparts with a view to returning to Libya when it will be possible through "telework"

He cites EU diplomats as ironically referring to the mission as "the beach in Tunis". The mission's goals are to improve border controls at its northern (sea), western and southern borders, with fighting terrorism and crime listed as further purposes. The article also notes the considerable funds allocated to this mission in relation to the overall budget for PESC (external and security policy) which is 16 m euros and that OLAF (the EU's anti-fraud office) has opened an investigation into the
EUBAM mission.

UK: Detention of mentally ill people in police cells needs to end, say MPs - These people are not criminals, says home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz of the more than 6,000 detained last year (Guardian, link).

See Home Affairs Select Committee report: Policing and mental health (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE document: Overstayers in the EU: methodology of gathering statistics; preventive measures; penalties (LIMITE dco no: 5194-15, pdf): The Council Presidency is looking at the harmoinsation of laws on dealing with people who overstay their visitors permint and who may enter the EU through one Member State and exit through another "without an appropriate sanction" . In 2013 there: "were 344,888 detections of illegal stay in the EU....The overstayers detected in the EU are third-country nationals who have exceeded the authorised period of stay, most of them being short-stay visa holders"

NETHERLANDS: FORCED RETURNS: CoE: CPT report: Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit to the Netherlands carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 16 to 18 October 2013 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

See: Press release: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on forced return flight from the Netherlands (link)

EU: SYSTEMATIC SCHENGEN CHECKS & RISK PROFILING: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting: Riga: Joint Statement following the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 and 30 January (pdf):

"We consider that beyond the current efforts to make full use of existing Schengen framework, a targeted proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code is a necessary step to reinforce external borders by making it possible to proceed to systematic checks on individuals enjoying the right of free movement against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism based on the common risk indicators"

See: Commission Decision: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of XXX replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf)

January 2015

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Is readmission linked to development? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"In recent years, the EU has been negotiating Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with a number of Asian countries. These agreements replace the previous development policy agreements which the EU had with the countries concerned. Compared to the previous agreements, the PCAs include go into greater
detail about the EU's cooperation with the countries concerned, including the addition of further topics for cooperation."

Mediterranean: Spain, France, Italy and Portugal: Papers from 'C4' defence and security conferences

The 'C4 Coloquim' is an "annual academic collaboration" that that discusses papers from the military studies academies of France (CHEM), Spain (CESEDEN), Italy (CASD) and Portugal (IDN) on the theme of "mutual trust and stability" in the Mediterannean, described as "the ultimate objective of the C4."

2012's theme was "The consequences of the Arab spring", with papers covering:

EU: FRONTEX: Work Programme for 2015 (138 pages, pdf) and EUROPOL: Work Programme for 2015 (65 pages, pdf)

Storming Spain's Razor-Wire Fence: Europe Or Die (VICE News, link): "Since 2000, more than 27,000 migrants and refugees have died attempting the perilous journey to Europe. With an unprecedented number of people breaking through its heavily barricaded borders in 2014, the EU continues to fortify its frontiers. VICE News presents Europe or Die, a new four-part series that documents the efforts of those risking their lives to reach Europe, and the forces tasked to keep them out."

See: Watch: :"The Human Cost of War in the Central African Republic" (link), Read: "Asylum Seekers in Australia Could Soon Be Headed to Cambodia" (link) and Read "Guards Break Barricades and Jail Dozens as Refugees Continue Mass Hunger Strike Against Australia" (link)

And see: Spanish official lauds Moroccos exemplary immigration policy (Morocco World News, link): ""Ybanez noted that Morocco has adopted a new policy which takes account of the new challenges of immigration regarding the respect of human rights of immigrants and refugees, and the need to promote regional cooperation to counter this phenomenon."

EU: Holocaust denial and hate crime: Can the EU and its Member States do more? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The European Commission has chosen today, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to release its first report on Member States' implementation of the EU Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law....The Commission cannot be criticised for holding off on bringing infringement proceedings, since it cannot do so until the end of this year. After that point, this legislation will be another EU measure which the Commission ought to enforce vigorously by means of infringement proceedings if it is, as it claims, committed to ensuring the full implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in practice."

See also: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (pdf)

EU: "A huge number of migrants": over 19,000 people apprehended during joint police operation Mos Maiorum

More than 19,000 people were apprehended during 'Mos Maiorum', the Europe-wide joint police and border guard operation that took place over two weeks in October 2014. More than a quarter of the people who encountered the authorities were Syrian, according to a leaked copy of the final report.

"Syrian nationals (5088 people) were the most detected irregular migrants, followed by Afghans (1466 people), K-Serbians [Kosovars] (1196), Eritreans (1116), Somalis (641) and Albanians (587)," says the report, authored by Italian officials. 11,046 people requested asylum "during or after their interception".

And see: Mos Maiorum: MEPs "deplore" Council's "buck passing of responsibilities": Two MEPs from the GUE/NGL group of MEPs have written an open letter to critcise the "buck passing of responsibilities" over Joint Operation Mos Maiorum, after being told by the Council of the EU that they should submit questions to the Italian government.

European Parliament: NGOs, media freedom and EU role at the heart of Hungary human rights debate (press release, link)

" The recent clampdown on an NGO, media freedom and the potential for the EU to monitor the fundamental rights situation in member states were among the main issues raised at a public hearing on human rights in Hungary. The hearing took place on 22 January in the Parliament's justice committee with representatives of NGOs, international organisations and the Hungarian government in attendance."

And see: Hungary Wants Strict EU Policy on Immigration (ABC News, link)

EU: Police chiefs want non-EU countries to "prevent irregular migration from happening"

Europol and police forces from EU Member States and beyond have called for "more funds [for] enhanced border control, preventive measures in countries of origin, and joint investigative and analysis teams" to deal with irregular migration, according to a leaked Europol report summarising the proceedings of the 2014 European Police Chiefs Convention. The Convention took place at the end of September 2014, and the report puts particular emphasis on the need for 'buffer states' that take on border control roles for the EU:

"Above all, pre-entry measures such as effective bilateral agreements are key to reducing illegal/irregular migration because once third-country nationals are in an irregular situation in the EU, it becomes more difficult and costly to locate them and address the irregularity. Therefore, it is a policy priority to invest in the country of origin to prevent the irregular migration from happening."

EU: Council of the European Union: HLWG Asylum & Migration, Foreign fighters and Schengen Code: random checks

" The future of the High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) - Contribution to the evaluation by COREPER (LIMITE doc no:16926-14, pdf) Created back in 1998 its remits has continually been renewed and is allowed to hold "ad hoc" meetings".

" Report on measures with regard to foreign fighters (EU doc no: 16915-14, pdf): Letter of the Italian Presidency to the President of the European Council

" Foreign Fighters: Application of the Schengen Border Code Follow-up (LIMITE doc no: 16880-14, pdf):

"Non-systematic checks on persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law can be carried out on the basis of risk assessment or on a random basis....the Commission recommends to the Member States to: Move towards an intensified consultation of the relevant databases (notably the documents
section of SIS and Interpol's Lost and Stolen Document database), based, where considered necessary, on a risk assessment. [and] Instruct their border guards, in case such consultation reveals a SIS alert on the need to seize a document, to do so immediately and to contact the SIRENE Bureau for further information without any delay."
[emphasis added]

GERMANY: Police investigate death of Eritrean man in Dresden - Murder investigation launched after mans body found in German city where there have been anti-immigrant Pegida marches (Guardian, link):

""Dresden police have launched a murder investigation following the death of an Eritrean man whose blood-soaked body was found outside his home in the east German city. (...) "Police initially said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, saying on Tuesday: 'Up to now there are no indications of foul play.'

"But after a flurry of activity on social network sites and inquiries by a local journalist from the newspaper MOPO24 as well as from members of the 35,000-strong Eritrean community in Germany as to how it could be ruled out so quickly that the man had been the victim of assault, police said a murder investigation had been launched."

See Letter from NGO Human Rights Concern Eritrea to Heiko Maas, Germany's Justice Minister (pdf)

PAGE Festival 2014: Surveillance,Snowden and the Emerging EU State (video link) Leeds Beckett University: Lecture by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director

IXMKANDER (Humanity Defense and Brotherhood Association): REPORT OF REFUGEES' DEATH CASES on Boat Disasters Befallen by Immigrants and Refugees (pdf): "Refugees flock to Europe and to the Continent of America (United States of America and Canada) primarily from the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia because of the warfare and violation of human rights by the hand of governments in power in these countries...

This report incorporates results of accidents emerging from deliberate sinking or ordinary sinking during illegal human trafficking, as well as the refugees' death cases. Loss, death and injury cases reported in January and December 2014 are examined in this report."

EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: " Managing migratory flows: follow-up to Council conclusions "Taking action to better manage migratory flows" of 10 October 2014 - Implementation of the actions under the Task Force Mediterranean and the Justice and Home Affairs Council conclusions of October (LIMITE doc no: 16222-14, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) - Action Plan (19 December 2014, pdf) and European Union Maritime Security Strategy (adopted 24 June 2014, (pdf) The former includes reference to search and rescue at sea - though not all Member States agree and this UK statement was not disowned by other Member States: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, link).

And: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU Military Rapid Response Concept (pdf): "This document describes the EU's approach to Military Rapid Response and how it could be delivered. This EU Military RR action may either involve EU BGs (Joint Land Centric RR), Single Service RR elements (Land, Maritime or Air), Joint RR (combining EU BG and Single Services RR elements, or combining Single Service RR elements) or any other RR elements offered by volunteered MSs."



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