EU
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
2.10.15


EU: Austria and Slovenia prolong border controls

Border controls reintroduced in central Europe in response to the refugee crisis are set to continue until at least the middle of October. Austria has announced its intention to "continue to temporarily position adequate police forces at the border crossings initially with Hungary and Slovenia," and "if necessary... with other neighbouring states." Slovenia is also prolonging controls on its border with Hungary.

FRONTEX & FORCED RETURNS: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (May 2015)

and see: Closing Summary: Proposals to improve the monitoring of Frontex Joint Return Operations (link):"Frontex needs to enhance the transparency of its JRO work, amend its Code of Conduct in areas such as medical examinations and the use of force, and engage more with the Member States. Frontex must do all in its power to promote independent and effective monitoring of JROs." and Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants’ fundamental rights during "forced returns" (link):: "She calls on the agency to ensure that families with children and pregnant women are seated separately from other returnees. Frontex should also promote common rules on the use of restraint, publish more information on JROs, including monitors' reports, and require the Member States to improve complaints procedures. The Ombudsman continues to be unhappy with the refusal of Frontex to establish its own complaints mechanism."

News (2.10.15)

Italy: Sicily ‘hotspot’ to be prison-like centre (euractiv, link): "It will be one of Italy's brand new hotspots for identifying newly-arrived migrants -- but as the Pozzallo reception centre in Sicily prepares its fingerprinting kits, the EU-led plan for these facilities is still plagued with unresolved issues... When Pozzallo becomes an official hotspot at the end of November, new arrivals will instead be obliged to provide their fingerprints as part of an asylum request, or be taken to a detention centre to await expulsion from Italy. The hotspots will be closed-door centres, sharply reducing the chance that people can flee and head north off their own backs. Those very likely to win refugee status -- Syrians, Eritreans and Iraqis -- will be fast-tracked and taken to a separate centre, where they will be divided up and distributed to other countries within the European Union.... What will happen if Syrian or Eritrean nationals refuse to give their fingerprints, seeing as they cannot be expelled? Would they be kept in a detention centre until they change their minds?." See also: Centro accoglienza Pozzallo primo hotspot in Italia (corrierediragusa.it, link). And: Italy's migrant 'hotspots' face tough tests (The Local.it, link): "It will be one of Italy's brand new "hotspots" for identifying newly-arrived migrants - but as the Pozzallo reception centre in Sicily prepares its fingerprinting kits, the EU-led plan for these facilities is still plagued with unresolved issues."

Italy to relocate asylum seekers 'in coming days' (euobserver, link): "“Hopefully the plan is to start with the relocation process in the coming days”, a spokesperson from the European support asylum office (EASO) told this website on Wednesday (30 September).. The Malta-based agency says the receiving member states have already been identified but would not disclose which because the process “is ongoing.”

40 years a refugee: From Western Sahara to CPH (The Local.dk, link): "November will mark forty years since Morocco invaded and colonized Western Sahara, today Africa’s last colony. Abba Malainin was only a child when he had to flee the war by foot through the desert to Algeria, to refugee camps where his family and thousands of other refugees still live today."

UNHCR says weather causes lull in refugee arrivals in Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has fallen this week due to poor weather but the flow will pick up again if the weather improves, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday."

CDRE Crise des réfugiés : les propositions de la Commission concernant la politique de retour de l’UE [CDRE Refugee Crisis: the Commission's proposals for the EU return policy] (EASFJ, link)

EU: Commission wants member states to criminalise hate speech (euractiv, link)

Austria: Tensions in government as refugee crisis bites (The Local.at, link): "Tensions within Austria's government, stoked by the refugee crisis, burst into the open on Thursday as the head of the conservative People's Party threatened to scupper the ruling coalition after less than two years in office."

Commission: Most Muslims not a threat to Europe (euobserver, link)

Norway child champion calls for refugee camps (The Local.no, link): "Norway's children's ombudsman has called for the country to set up refugee camps, as the present poor level of refugee reception is actively harming child asylum seekers."

Swiss bunkers 'could house 50,000 refugees' (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland's network of nuclear bunkers could house up to 50,000 refugees in an emergency situation, the country’s defence minister said on Thursday. Around one third of the capacity of the country’s emergency public bunkers is fully operational, meaning 50,000 asylum seekers could be given temporary shelter, defence minister Ueli Maurer said."

Czech Republic: MPs reject idea of permanent refugee relocation quotas (Prague Monitor, link): "The Czech Chamber of Deputies rejected yesterday the idea of a permanent mechanism of refugee relocation among the EU states and backed measures aimed to improve the protection of the EU's outer border, the readmission of migrants without the right to asylum and crackdowns on people smugglers."

Don't let Muslim migrants in, says Bulgaria's Orthodox Church (standartnews.com, link): "Bulgaria's Orthodox Church has called on its government not to let any more Muslim refugees into the country to prevent an "invasion"."

Bulgarian MPs to Vote on Migration Law Amendments (novinite.com, link): "Lawmakers in Bulgaria's Parliament are due to hold a final vote on amendments to current legislation on migrants. The move will introduce the notion of "international protection" which adds the terms of "refugee status" and "humanitarian status" in a way conforming Bulgarian legislation to common EU rules."

Germany Urges International Community To Solve Refugee Crisis - "The world has become smaller but the crises are no fewer" (Huffington Post, link): ". UNITED NATIONS -- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country has spearheaded Europe's response to its ongoing refugee crisis, demanded in a speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that the international community "crawl out of [its] diplomatic trenches" to provide help for those seeking refuge."

Convicted foreigners may lose residence permit (Prague Post, link): "Lower house passes tougher rules, NGOs urge Senate not to follow suit - Foreigners who will be sentenced to more than three years in prison over a deliberate crime or who were repeatedly convicted will have their residence permit cancelled, the Czech Chamber of Deputies decided today.However, the lower house has refused to order the courts to expel the repeat criminals from the ranks of foreigners directly. The legislation is yet to be passed by the Senate and signed by President Miloš Zeman. The NGOs helping migrants have criticized the toughened rules and asked the lawmakers not to back them. “The proposals are to avoid the evaluation of the adequacy and to cancel the stays and expel automatically,” Pavel Cižinský, from the consortium of NGOs working with migrants, said recently."

"WORDS MATTER": Patrick Stewart and other celebs point out 2 words people keep confusing about the refugee crisis. (upworthy.com, link): "Bottom line: It's important that when we're talking about refugees, we say "refugees" and when we're talking about migrants, we say "migrants." Their needs are different and helping them requires different approaches."

Asylum seekers to leave Italy 'within days' (The Local.it, link): "A plan to move 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to elsewhere in the EU, including Estonia, Luxembourg and Sweden, will get underway “within days”, Ansa reported on Friday.... Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Wednesday that 130,000 migrants had arrived in Italy since the start of the year, 8,000 less than during the same period last year. Most of the people had arrived by boat from Libya, with the majority being from Eritrea. Some 98,000 are currently housed in state-run refugee centres."

Italy's migrant 'hotspots' face tough tests (The Local.it, link): "When Pozzallo becomes an official "hotspot" at the end of November, new arrivals will instead be obliged to provide their fingerprints as part of an asylum request, or be taken to a detention centre to await expulsion from Italy. The hotspots will be closed-door centres, sharply reducing the chance that people can flee and head north off their own backs. Those very likely to win refugee status - Syrians, Eritreans and Iraqis - will be fast-tracked and taken to a separate centre, where they will be divided up and distributed to other countries within the European Union.."

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