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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
12.10.15


EU: European Commission: Letter to Hungary: and detailed Annex: Comments and preliminary concerns on recent legislative changes related to the migration crisis (pdf)

"This preliminary assessment reveals a number of concerns and questions on substance and implementation relating inter alia to:

- a possible quasi-systematic dismissal of applications for international protection submitted at the border with Serbia

- a possible lack of sufficient safeguards in the asylum procedure implemented at the border, including as regards the existence of effective remedies to challenge a decision on the admissibility of an asylum application

- the criminal sanctions introduced relating to the crossing of the border and a possible lack of adequate safeguards ensuring respect of the rights of defence and effective remedies in the criminal proceedings

- the closing of border crossing points

- the powers granted to the military forces in border management and questions as to the existence of adequate safeguards and remedies

- a possible general lack of specific procedures or safeguards for children"

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: VALLETTA CONFERENCE: 11-12 November 2015: Council of the European Union: Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)

EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf): "achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration... See earlier version: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

UK: REFUGEE CRISIS: Call from the Legal Community for Urgent Action:This statement calls for an urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis. Its signatories include retired judges, Queen’s Counsel, barristers, solicitors and law professors (Letter in Guardian and Times, link):

"Like many others, we consider that the UK Government’s offer to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East, spread over 5 years, is too low, too slow and too narrow."

Greek minister says EU refugee relocation program undermined by racism (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Union must stop countries picking and choosing which refugees they accept in its relocation program, otherwise it will turn into a shameful "human market", Greece's new migration minister said....Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said in an interview that Greece was having trouble finding refugees to send to certain countries because the receiving nations had set what he called "racist criteria". He declined to name the states concerned....

"Views such as 'we want 10 Christians', or '75 Muslims', or 'we want them tall, blonde, with blue eyes and three children,' are insulting to the personality and freedom of refugees," Mouzalas told Reuters. "Europe must be categorically against that." ...

several thousand, mostly Afghans, have ended up trapped in Greece for lack of money. European authorities are reluctant to treat Afghans systematically as refugees, and a result, they are shut out of the relocation process. "It's absurd to think that Afghans are coming to find better work. There is a long-lasting war, you aren't safe anywhere, that's the reality," Mouzalas said."

EU: Council of the European Union: Council conclusions on Migration Foreign Affairs Council, 12 October 2015 (pdf):

"The Council recalls the importance to engage in a comprehensive dialogue with African countries of origin and transit in order to jointly manage migration and asylum flows in the spirit of partnership, ownership and shared responsibility. In this regard, the Council welcomes the efforts by the Presidents of the European Council, the Commission and the Presidency of the Council of the EU, in close cooperation with the HRVP, in preparation of the Valletta Summit on 11 and 12 November and encourages all those involved to find comprehensive and balanced solutions and make substantial progress on all priority domains of the draft Action Plan."

News (12.10.15)

EU's refugee relocation scheme 'not enough,' says UNHCR chief (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Union's current relocation scheme for refugees is “not enough” to address the scope of the problem, the head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Monday.... “You cannot have a technocratic approach to relocation,” he told a news conference in Athens. “Without a human approach to relocation, this process could fail,” he warned."

Catastrophic moral failure as rich countries leave millions of refugees to cruel and uncertain fates (AI, link): "Eight-point plan to respond to global refugee crisis - Only a tenth of 1.15 million most vulnerable refugees being resettled - 86% of refugees now hosted in developing countries - UN refugee appeals chronically and severely underfunded"

Praise and concern for migrant, refugee facilities on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link): "The head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres has praised the efforts made by authorities on Greek islands to deal with the influx of migrants and refugees... “After months with huge numbers of people arriving in Lesbos, the authorities still don’t have an effective system for registering people so that they can travel onward,” said Eva Cossé, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch."

Austria's far-right makes gains but fails to topple Social Democrats in Vienna election (DW, link)

Czech Republic: Senate to select refugees to be accepted (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Senate should again reject EU mandatory refugee redistribution quotas, its European committee has said, adding that the upper house of parliament should also ask the government to maximally influence the selection of asylum applicants to be placed in the Czech Republic.... According to the committee, the government should also thoroughly check whether the migrants to be selected in Italy and Greece for relocation to the Czech Republic may pose a threat to national security and the public peace."

12,220 refugees enter Austria in 36 hours (The Local,.at, link): "A total of 12,220 people entered eastern Austria in the previous 36 hours as the flow of refugees from the Balkans to northern Europe continued, police said on Monday."

I'm not scared of polls or my own party: Merkel (The Local.de, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that she would not be turned from her course in the refugee crisis by headwinds in the polls or rumours of rebellion in her own party, repeating her insistence that Germany can weather the storm."

Migrants in Sicily befriend elderly Italians (The Local.it, link): "It's a win-win relationship: asylum seekers battling boredom in Sicily as they wait for their applications to be processed volunteer to keep elderly and lonely Italians company."

Sweden sees highest asylum levels in history (The Local.se, link): "More refugees have sought asylum in Sweden so far in 2015 than in any other year in the Nordic nation's history, new figures released by the country's Migration Agency have revealed."

MEP Ska Keller: Bulgaria Has Important Role in EU's Plans on Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Being an external border of the EU, Bulgaria has an important role in the plans of the Union on addressing the refugee crisis. This was stated by Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Ska Keller, in Plovdiv on Sunday, private bTV station informs"

Dublin is over: the rise of Europe's new migrant prisons (Open Democracy, link) "By getting the UNHCR and Frontex to more directly intervene in the first moments of arrival with identification and fingerprinting, the EU is attempting to retake control of movement throughout Europe."

V4 to jointly protect Hungary's border, Croatia really upset (portfolio.hu, link): "The Visegrad Four countries can start border authority co-operation from next week, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, told public television M1 late on Thursday. Croatia’s Interior Minister is not overly fond of the idea."

EU to open first refugee reception 'hotspot' in Greece (DW, link):"Greece is setting up its first refugee hotspot to receive migrants coming into Europe from the Middle East and Africa. The center, on Lesbos, is the first of five designed to register and screen all incoming migrants."

Alternatives to detention for asylum seekers and people in return procedures (FRA, link)

Ireland may help EU in expelling refugees (Irish Examiner, link): "Ireland is considering contributing personnel to help cope with the mammoth task of sorting and relocating asylum-seekers from camps in Greece and Italy to other member states.... While Ireland has opted-out of the EU Directive on Returns introduced in 2008, it has joined with other countries and Frontex in sharing flights to return refugees whose request to remain in the country has been rejected."

Trilateral centre for police cooperation at Bulgaria’s Kapitan Andreevo border crossing held up as example (focus-fen.net, link)

Greece: Chaos, Insecurity in Registration Center - Information, Attention to Vulnerable Groups Urgently Needed (HRW, link): "Poor organization and a lack of personnel is creating chaos and insecurity at a police registration center and surrounding informal camp for asylum seekers and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos, Human Rights Watch said today."

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