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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
12-13.12.15


UPDATE: EU border force plan faces resistance from governments (Reuters, link): "A proposal to give the EU's executive the power to send forces unbidden into member states to defend the common European frontier will face resistance from some countries when it is published this week.... European Union officials call it a largely theoretical "nuclear option" and stress that any infringement of national sovereignty would be balanced by the power of a majority of member states to block Commission intervention - similar to checks agreed during the euro debt crisis."

See document: European Commission: Communication: A European Border and Coast Guard and effective management of Europe's external borders (COM 673-15, pdf), Proposals to come.

First Greek ‘hotspot’ struggles to manage migrant flow to Europe (apokoronasnews.gr, link): "On Wednesday, UNHCR transferred 17 busloads of soaked and exhausted people to the hotspot after they had survived the three-hour boat journey from Turkey and arrived on beaches south of the island between midnight and 10 a.m. That was a fraction of the numbers arriving on days in the summer."

IOM: (link): 924,147 arrivals in EU: 771,508 to Greece and 148,419 to Italy. 3,671 dead/missing.

Coalition of the Unwilling: Merkel's Plan B Could Mean End of Schengen (Spiegel Online, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to find a resolution to the refugee crisis with the help of Turkey is encountering significant resistance. Berlin and Brussels are already considering alternatives, but it could mean the end of border-free travel in large parts of Europe."

Banksy uses Steve Jobs artwork to highlight refugee crisis (Guardian, link): "Graffiti on wall of ‘the Jungle’ camp in Calais depicts late Apple founder’s background as son of Syrian migrant"

News (12-13.12.15)

Greece’s refugee children: Amina is ill. Her bed is a blanket on the concrete floor (Observer, link): "A stadium in Athens is full of the displaced – and a team of doctors is working flat out to ease their plight."

Denmark sets stage for border controls (The Local.de, link): "Parliament on Friday approved a measure that would force transport operators to check ID papers of all people entering Denmark despite protests from rail operator DSB and complaints from Germany."

Greece: Gov’t seeks help with migrants as tensions rise (ekathimerini.com): : "As tensions peaked at temporary reception facilities for migrants, Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said over the weekend that Greece was doing all it can to tackle a relentless migration crisis which he described as “a massive problem, stretching the limits of our country and of Europe.... Concern has been mounting that thousands of migrants arriving in Greece by boat from neighboring Turkey will become trapped in the country as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has tightened controls at Greece’s northern border. Thousands of migrants who had been in a makeshift camp near the FYROM border were bused to Athens last week."

Macedonia: Asylum certificates issued to 5,255 migrants (MIA, link)

German ambassador in Greece: Schengen will not last if the outer borders collapse (Press Project, link): "If the outer borders of the E.U. fail to withstand the pressure, the Schengen agreement will seize existing". The statement was made by the German ambassador to Greece, Peter Schoof who spoke at a journalists? meeting of the "Centre for Democracy and Friendship in Southeastern Europe"

German Mission in UK::New proof of arrival for refugees (link): "A standard ID will be issued for incoming refugees and asylum-seekers in Germany in future. The new 'Proof of Arrival' identification serves as a certificate of registration as an asylum-seeker and will make the organisation of the refugee situation in Germany easier."

Two charged for Norway asylum centre fire (The Local.no, link): "Two people have been charged with arson for setting fire to a hotel scheduled to house asylum seekers in southwest Norway."

Brussels plans to strip Schengen nations of authority over borders (Guardian, link): European commission set to propose new border guards force that could be deployed without a country’s approval"

Greece: Shut off from the Balkan route, asylum seekers flood into Athens (DW, link): "After getting evicted from the Greek border, thousands of refugees and migrants were relocated to former Olympic stadiums-turned-shelters in the capital. As Diego Cupolo found out, they have no idea what to expect next. "

Migrants don't make extremists, says top human right official (ekathimerini.com, link): "Any link between extremism and the thousands of people fleeing violence in Syria and elsewhere is false, a top European human rights official said Friday, noting that those who have perpetrated recent attacks in Europe were citizens of European countries.... “Higher fences and the militarization of borders is not the solution,” he said. “I don't think that's the kind of Europe that we want to live in.”"

Tsipras links refugees to terrorist checks: Govt: Yes to Euro coast guard, no to joint Greek-Turkish patrols (AMNA.gr, link): ""We must all understand that our international obligation regarding the Schengen treaty is to effectively contribute to the battle against terrorism, which means immediate identification and recording of the migrants that enter into the country; the identification should be held at the time they set foot on the Greek territory," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras clarified on Friday, speaking in Parliament in reply to a tabled question by the opposition on the refugee crisis." and Greek Gov’t: ‘Yes to Euro Coast Guard, No to Joint Greek-Turkish Patrols’(Greek Reporter, link)

Austria: Vineyard owners 'sabotage' border fence (The Local.at, link): "The fence which is currently being constructed at a crossing point used by refugees on Austria’s border with Slovenia could end up having an 800 metre gap after vineyard owners refused to let the government build on their land. The 3.7 kilometre wire fence, which is a first in Europe's Schengen zone, should be completed before the end of the year."

Turkey yet to address refugee flows, says PM (ekathimerini.com): "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday that he will try to hold Turkey to account over its pledges to stem the flow of refugees and migrants toward Greece, which he argues has not been reduced. “There was an agreement between the EU and Turkey, which was in my view necessary,” he told Parliament. “We are waiting to the see the results from this agreement because it was supposedly made so the flow would be reduced. Until now, we have not seen anything like that. “We have created a permanent inter-ministerial committee and I will ask shortly for it to hold an emergency meeting so that we can establish what is going on with the flows from the Turkish side,” he added."

Commission to unveil new border force as flow eases (ekathimerini.com): "Frontex said on Friday that the number of irregular migrants reaching Greece in November dropped by 50 percent compared to the previous month. The agency said it recorded 100,000 people compared to more than 200,000 in October."

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