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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe

Greece starts removing stranded migrants at FYROM border (, link):

"Greek police started removing hundreds of migrants stranded on the Greek border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and blocking rail traffic on Wednesday, a police official and a Reuters eyewitness said.

Some 1,200 people mostly from Pakistan, Morocco and Iran, were stuck near the northern Greek town of Idomeni, demanding to cross into FYROM to reach northern Europe after non-EU Balkan states began filtering migrants by nationality.

The police official said the migrants would be taken to Athens on buses and will be accommodated in migration centers before being sent back to their home countries." and

Impasse on border to be overcome ‘in the next few days,’ minister says (link): "Greek authorities on Tuesday pledged that problems at Idomeni, on Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), caused by a buildup of thousands of migrants and refugees due to stricter restrictions, will be overcome in the coming days... Meanwhile, migrants and asylum seekers keep pouring into the country. A total 20,325 people are estimated to have arrived on Greece’s islands in the first six days of December."

EU plans in a mess:

Turkey fund: EU states want Commission to pay more (euobserver, link): "The EU Commission is under pressure to give more money for the €3 billion destined for Turkey to help stem the flow of migrants and refugees, while some member states are reluctant to send money to Ankara for political reasons."

EU refugee relocation grinds to near halt (euobserver, link): "The slow pace of registering and relocating asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other member states is frustrating EU-led efforts to get a grip on broader migration issues. Launched in September, the two-year plan to relocate 160,000 people in need of international protection remains mired in administrative, technical, and political delays....Despite bad weather and the EU's €3 billion deal with Turkey, up to 3,500 continue to arrive daily on rubber boats from Turkey, with some Syrian refugees being intercepted at sea and set adrift by men in black masks."

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

Dispatches: Masked Men Continue to Attack Migrant Boats on the Aegean (HRW, link):

"He told me that on December 3, he and his family joined 30 other people on a rubber boat in their attempt to reach the Greek islands. About halfway there, they were blinded by a strong light shining on them from a big boat. The migrant piloting their boat tried to evade the larger boat and a small boat when three masked men came at them at such fast speed that he said he thought the boat they were in would capsize.

Mahmoud and other passengers held their babies up so the masked men would take pity on them. But one of the assailants hit the pilot of the boat twice on the head with a truncheon and they disabled the motor by cutting the wires, leaving it to drift. Mahmoud said that some of the passengers tried to communicate in Turkish with the attackers, but that the only language they could understand was the English command to “Stop, stop.” After drifting for three hours, a Turkish coast guard boat. rescued them... We are not alone in raising the alarm about vigilante attacks on migrants and asylum seekers; news media have also reported – and
CBS news filmed – unidentified speedboats allegedly interdicting and disabling migrant boats..

News (9.12.15)

Italy: thank us for refugee help - don't sue (The, link): "Italy is being sued by the EU for not doing enough to identify migrants arriving on its shores. But now the country has hit back hard, saying Europe should show it some gratitude."

UNHCR, IOM expect refugees to Europe to reach 1 mn in 2015 (link)

Greece: At least 12 dead as migrant boat sinks off Farmakonissi (, link): Greek authorities say at least 12 people – including six children – have died and 12 are missing after a wooden boat carrying about 50 migrants sank near the islet of Farmakonissi, in the eastern Aegean Sea, early Wednesday. The coast guard said 26 people have been rescued so far.... and Number of victims of migrants boat tragedy increases (ANAmpa, link)

New Year border checks confirmed for Sweden (The, link): "Plans for tougher ID checks on the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark to stem the influx of refugees are set to come into force on January 4th, the government has said."

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