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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
15-16.10.15


EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Text of "Revised": EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan (dated 16.10.15, pdf)

EU COUNCIL: RESPONSE TO REFUGE CRISIS: SUMMIT CONCLUSIONS (16.10.15, pdf):

"welcomes the joint Action Plan with Turkey as part of a comprehensive cooperation agenda based on shared responsibility, mutual commitments and delivery. Successful implementation will contribute to accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap towards all participating Member States and the full implementation of the readmission agreement. Progress will be assessed in spring 2016."

See: Turkey’s Erdogan calls the shots at EU summit (euractiv, link): "Faced with a refugee crisis they seem unable to control, EU leaders last night (15 October) tried to accommodate ambitious demands by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, just two weeks before crucial elections in Turkey.... Yesterday morning in Ankara, Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans had agreed with his Turkish counterparts a "package" in exchange for Turkey's help in stemming the flow of refugees to the EU." and: Merkel backs multibillion-euro refugee package for Turkey (FT, link) also: EU bid to stem refugee influx stalls on how much to give Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "European leaders failed to reach a final agreement on recruiting Turkey to help stem the flow of refugees from the Middle East, with some eastern member states dragging their heels over how much aid to grant their neighbor.... While the member states agreed to send hundreds more border guards to help Frontex and other joint agencies patrolling the bloc’s borders, leaders made little progress on how to redesign the system of distributing immigrants, forming an EU border guard corps or on how to ensure arrivals are properly processed. “These are all divisive issues and the goal today was to have the first serious exchange,” Tusk said"

EU migrant crisis: Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban pushes for Greek border to be sealed (IBT, link): "The country's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: "We have urged Greece and the European Council to put together a joint European force to protect the external Schengen border. Unfortunately this decision has not been made. "If this decision is not made during the European Council meeting today and tomorrow, we really have to put into serious consideration to protect the Schengen zone at the Croatian-Hungarian border," he added. Hungary has already built a fence along its border with Croatia in a bid to keep Middle Eastern migrants out.

EU-TURKEY: READMISSION AGREEMENT: Full-text: AGREEMENT between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation pdf) This is not yet operative and it part of the "deal" to stop refugees arriving that the EU wants - including the return of people from Syria.

Turkey demands €3 billion on EU asylum crisis (euobserver, link): ""We were able to reach an agreement this evening as regards the shape this action plan will take", European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters on Thursday (15 October). It requires Syrian and other refugees in Turkey to remain in the country and prevent them from transiting into the EU. EU Council chief Donald Tusk said an agreement with Turkey only "makes sense only if it effectively contains the flow of refugees... Turkey, for its part, wants to speed up membership to the European Union and have visa restrictions removed next year. The official deadline for removing the visas has already been set to October 2017 and is unlikely to change". [emphasis added]

Afghan Migrant Shot Dead in Bulgaria near Border with Turkey, (novinite.com, link):

"An Afghan man died in Bulgaria after being indirectly hit by a bullet of border police on Thursday, authorities say. The incident took place around 22:00 local time (EEST), the Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary, Georgi Kostov, has announced. Pretrial proceedings have been launched.

It happened as border police detected the movement of 54 people trying to enter Bulgaria near the town of Sredets, in the country's south-east, not far from the border with Turkey. After shooting in the air as a warning sign, a bullet "rebounded" hitting one of them in the back of the neck by mistake, Kostov has explained, without elaborating." [emphasis added]

Seven people die off Lesvos as tensions flare at crowded reception facility (UNHCR, link):

"Authorities in Greece have reported up to seven people were killed – four of them children – in a collision between a smuggling boat and a Greek Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Lesvos, the UN refugee agency said today.... The collision between the Coast Guard patrol vessel and a wooden fishing boat carrying 38 people occurred off the island's north-western coastal town of Molyvos, the Greek Coast Guard said on Thursday (October 15). Seven bodies, including those of the four children, were subsequently recovered. Thirty-one people were rescued following the incident. The Greek authorities have announced that they are investigating the matter, UNHCR said." and see:

Seven migrants killed when their boat, reportedly fleeing, collides with Greek coast guard vessel (japantimes.co.jp, link): "LESBOS, GREECE – A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coast guard vessel, leaving at least seven people dead, including four children, rescuers said. The boat sank within minutes of the crash with a 30-meter (100-foot) patrol vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being investigated.... An AFP photographer who witnessed the crash from the shores of Lesbos said the boat went down just two or three minutes after the collision, which took place some 2 km (1.2 miles) from land."

EU: GERMANY BORDER CONTROL LETTER TO EU: Prolongation of the temporary reintroduction of border controls at the German internal borders in accordance with Article 25 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf)

News (15-16.10.15)

Frontex: Seeing double? How the EU miscounts migrants arriving at its borders (The Conversation, link)

Turkey pours cold water on EU migrant plan (ekathimerini.com, link):: "Just hours after the European Union announced the accord with great fanfare at a leaders’ summit, Ankara said the plan to cope with a crisis that has seen some 600,000 mostly Syrian migrants enter the EU this year was just a draft....

Temporary Protection: EU had plan for migrant influx (eoobersver, link): "EU Ministers struggling with mandatory quotas to address a migration and refugee crisis over which they have little control, seem to have forgotten or overlooked the fact that fourteen years ago their predecessors created a tool ready for use in just such a crisis. The 2001 Directive on Temporary Protection is designed for mass influx situations. On paper, it is the perfect tool to deal with the Syrian arrivals."

Hungary to seal border with Croatia to stem flow of immigrants (ekathimerini.com, link):: "Hungary will seal its border with Croatia from midnight on Friday to stem the influx of refugees, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Budapest after a meeting of the national security council. "This is the second best option," Szijjarto told reporters. "The best option, setting up an EU force to defend Greece’s external borders, was rejected in Brussels yesterday.""

Claims that Greek police officers robbed, pushed back Syrian refugees to be probed (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities in Greece are investigating a series of allegations that Syrian refugees who entered the country by land from Turkey were robbed and forced back across the border by Greek police. A judicial official said Friday that Thessaloniki prosecutor Lefteris Michailidis has ordered the police internal affairs squad to investigate more than 20 complaints forwarded by human rights groups. The official spoke on condition of anonymity."

Surge in migrant arrivals in Greece (IOM, link): Number of arrivals: 613,179, of whom 472,754 arrived in Greece, 3,117 dead or missing this year: "Greece - Since the beginning of October, IOM reports that over 68,000 migrants have now crossed into Greece, with the majority arriving on the island of Lesvos (41,954). Smaller numbers have arrived on the islands of Samos (10,283) and Chios (6,393). Despite deteriorating weather conditions, the flow of migrants and refugees arriving at the main entry points continues to average over 4,500 a day."

Migrants may give Europe's economy a new lease of life (Reuters, link)

Greece: PM Tsipras after EU Summit on migration: "EU on right path, but going as slow as a turtle" (amna.gr, link)

Denmark: Tech whizzes create apps to help refugees (The Local.dk, link): "A group of Vienna-based software developers have created four new apps for smartphones, designed to make life easier for refugees fleeing from war and poverty - and to put them directly in touch with aid workers.... The software was programmed last weekend, as part of a ‘Refugee Hack Vienna’ event which saw 25 volunteers get together to see what they could create. “It’s amazing what people who have never met each other before can make in a short space of time,” one of the organisers, Helene Pattermann said."

How many refugee children can Sweden take? (UNHCR, link)

'Women put their babies into our arms begging us to keep them safe' (The Local.es, link): "As more and more refugees crowd into rubber dinghies to reach Europe, a Spanish volunteer lifeguard tells The Local how he's swapped the tourist packed beaches of Catalonia to go on patrol in Lesbos."

Norway to send some Syrians back to Russia (The Local.no, link): "Norway plans to send back hundreds of Syrian refugees who have crossed its northern border back to Russia, arguing that many had been living in its northern neighbour for a long time prior to applying for asylum. "

Refugees not 'invading' France, Hollande blasts (The Local, fr, link): "French President Francois Hollande has tried to put the record straight insisting that France is not being "invaded" by refugees as the far right would have people believe."

Germany passes controversial asylum seekers bill (DW, link): "Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, has passed a new asylum seekers policy. The government's opposition and various refugee organizations have harshly criticized the reforms."

Eastern EU states agree joint border patrols (euobserver, link): "The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have agreed to send dozens of police and military officers to Hungary’s frontier with Serbia to reinforce border controls in a joint effort they say could serve as model for the rest of the EU. "

Angela Merkel at the European Parliament: from words to action? (eumigrationlawblog.eu, link)

MEPs caution against using our neighbours as border guards and challenge EU (GUE, link):"to deal with root causes of migration through coordinated international efforts"

Why was the EU not prepared for the refugee crisis and what to expect next? (epc.link)

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