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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
8.10.15


Greece’s Tsipras in Lesvos: Hiding the refugee crisis under the carpet (link):

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Lesvos on Tuesday, Oct. 6, accompanied by Austrian chancellor Werner Feymann, to ostensibly appraise the refugee crisis on the islands firsthand, but what they saw there did not correspond to the everyday reality. Journalist Sofia Christoforidou was at the Mytilene harbor and tweeted updates on the preparations there while waiting for the PM’s visit....

“Tsipras and Faymann came from the back entrance, saw few refugees, everything in order at port, and they departed.”...

Boat arrivals in Lesvos’ northern beaches, which usually number in the dozens daily, practically stopped for the duration of the two leaders’ visit....

Hours after Tsipras’ visit, the boats came back, and the arrivals of refugees continued."

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: "B" Points agenda (for discussion, including some non-legislative items), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points -non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and see: Background Note (9 pages, pdf)

Agreed: Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf)

See: Director of IOM: Swing Asks EU to Respect Rights of Vulnerable Migrants Arriving on its Shores (to be delivered later today at a high level EU conference in Luxembourg on refugees and migration flows through the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans, link):

"Mr Swing underscored that care needed to be taken when dealing with asylum seekers who do not neatly fit into the category of refugees. “Many of those on the move defy easy categorization. Many will be covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention and many others will not. But it is too simplistic to conclude that all of them fall into a single broad category of “economic migrants,” he said.

“I am speaking of a wide range of vulnerable migrants - families with children; persons seeking to re-unite with their families already in Europe; unaccompanied and separated children; victims of trafficking; single and pregnant women, the elderly, the sick and the injured. The majority are coming from countries facing great strife, abject poverty or simply, hopelessness,” he noted."

and Migrant crisis: EU considers faster deportations (BBC News, link) also: EU to step up deportation of economic migrants (euractiv, link): "European Union governments are set to agree today (8 October) to accelerate the repatriation of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum, as they try to cope with a surge in refugees from war-torn Syria. Diplomats say interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg should agree, among other things, to back the detention of those who may abscond before expulsion and exert more pressure on African and other poor states, including via aid budgets, to make them accept the return of citizens refused entry to Europe."

News (8.10.15)

EU ministers to discuss 'smart borders' (euobserver, link): "Among the ideas is the future roll-out of a €1 billion digital dragnet known as 'smart borders'. Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals – the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES) The European Commission had presented the package in 2013 but it was temporarily shelved following concerns over projected costs and possible law enforcement access.An EU diplomat on Wednesday (7 October) said the Commission is set to make new smart border proposals before the end of year."

The refugee crisis: Four steps to be taken (euractiv, link) View of Bulgarian PM

EU to step up deportation of economic migrants (euractiv, link): "European Union governments are set to agree today (8 October) to accelerate the repatriation of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum, as they try to cope with a surge in refugees from war-torn Syria. Diplomats say interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg should agree, among other things, to back the detention of those who may abscond before expulsion and exert more pressure on African and other poor states, including via aid budgets, to make them accept the return of citizens refused entry to Europe."

The Latest: UN rights chief: EU should ensure migrant 'hotspots' aren't detention centers (USNews, link)

Merkel rules out freeze on refugee intake (DW, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out any freeze on migrants entering Germany, claiming that it would be impractical. In a television interview, the chancellor said she was "convinced" that the country would cope. "

Merkel and Hollande short of ideas on refugee crisis (euobserver, link): ""Pretending that Schengen, in its current operations, makes it possible to resist the pressure would be a mistake," Hollande said, calling for the creation of a European corps of border guards and coast guards. Merkel said the EU’s so-called Dublin system to mange asylum requests is "obsolete”."

Merkel, Hollande call for unity against nationalism (euractiv, link): "In a rare address to the European Parliament on Wednesday (7 October), French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, acknowledged that the refugee crisis was a “test of historic proportions” that was putting the EU at risk, and warned against the destructive power of nationalism."

UN council eyes vote on EU action against migrant smugglers (ekathimerini.com, link): "The UN Security Council is expected to vote, possibly as early as Thursday, on a draft resolution authorizing European military action against migrant smugglers in the high seas off Libya’s coast, diplomats said"

Do they want to abolish the Geneva Convention? GUE/NGL MEPs denounce draft Council conclusions on return as unacceptable and dangerous (Press release, link)

EU migration policy ‘will fail’ without comprehensive, human rights focus – UN rights chief (link): "“These ‘hotspots’ seem to be conceived not simply as a means of registering new arrivals, but also as a way of preventing them from moving further until it is decided whether they are in need of international protection or should be returned,” Mr. Zeid said.W"

EU ministers to step up deportations in bid to deter refugees (Guardian, link): "Draft documents for meeting of EU interior ministers says member states must do more to return refused asylum seekers.. The scale of the current emergency is complicating the response, say the officials. “The logistical problems in returning 200,000 people are immense,” said one." [emphasis added] and useful breakdown of where refu'gees are coming from and why: Refugee crisis: apart from Syrians, who is travelling to Europe? (Guardian, link) "Half of the 380,000 crossing the Mediterranean are from Syria, but refugees from other countries are also tackling tortuous routes to flee conflict"

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