Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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Lesvos, Greece: International Rescue Committee: A warm, safe welcome for refugees landing on Lesbos (link) says: "The International Rescue Committee is preparing to open a reception center in northern Lesbos, often the first stop for thousands of exhausted refugees seeking safety in Europe. Built along the islands coast, the site Windy Ridge is just steps from the beach where thousands of refugees from warring countries arrived this year. " [emphasis added]
This is not the view of local civil society volunteers who have been helping refugees the whole year long in Lesvos and who question the building of a camp in "a valley in the middle of nowhere": See: Eric Kempson (link)
and Eric Kempson - Again (link): It is alleged that employees of the International Rescue Committee are telling civil society volunteers - who have been working for months welcoming refugees as they arrive in the EU - to "get off the beach" because they are now in charge.
Flow of migrants to islands continues over Christmas (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Some 6,000 people arrived at the port of Piraeus on Christmas Day and Boxing Day on ferries from Lesvos, Chios and Samos. Nevertheless, thousands of refugees and migrants remained on the islands, Lesvos in particular.
According to authorities, there were some 6,000 people at the Moria registration camp and another 1,500 at the Kara Tepe camp"
Peter Sutherland: Special representative to the United Nations secretary general for migration: Selfishness on refugees has brought EU to its knees - Paralysis and ambivalence threatening Europes future (Irish Times, link):
"Mr Sutherland accused some heads of government of stoking up prejudice by speaking of barring Muslim migrants and said the absence of EU agreement on a refugee-sharing scheme meant a Europe of internal borders was increasingly likely to become a reality across the continent.
This is a tragedy. Tension between member states is inevitably going to grow because of the great differences among them in their attitudes towards refugees, he said.
It is hardly surprising that Germans, who will take about a million refugees this year, and who have promised to take 500,000 annually for the next few years, should be outraged by, for example, the United Kingdoms paltry offer of 20,000 places over five years - and this by a country that has only resettled 252 Syrian refugees since the conflict began."
EU: Frontex Return flights up to 22.12.15 (Statewatch document, pdf)
- Since September 2015, 683 people have been deported in joint Frontex flights from 18 Member States. This consisted of 16 flights to six destinations: Albania, Armenia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kosovo and Georgia.
- According to the total number of people returned by Member State, Germany and Italy ranked highest for returning the most between September and December 2015. This is followed by Greece, Austria and Spain.
German finance minister critical of Greece over refugee policy ((ekathimerini.com, link):: "Germanys Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble criticized Greece on Sunday over the way it deals with refugees, saying Athens has ignored for years the European Unions Dublin rules that oblige migrants to file for asylum in the first European Union (EU) country they arrive in.... The biggest migration crisis in Europe since World War Two also means that European countries will have to increase spending on the military, he said."We will have to spend a lot more funds for joint European defence initiatives," Mr Schaeuble said. "Ultimately our aim must be a joint European army. The funds that we spend on our 28 national armies could be used far more effectively together," he said."
Protesters attack Corsica Muslim prayer hall (DW, link): "Demonstrators ransacked the building and set fire to copies of the Quran, hours after hooded youths clashed with police in the capital Ajaccio. The French government has condemned the attacks."
Greece: Changes in a treaty cannot hide behind changes in rules, says Kotzias on Frontex operation (ANAmpa, link): "A change in a treaty cannot be hidden behind a change of rules, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in an interview to Greek paper Agora, commenting the rules that will govern the operation of Frontex."
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