EU
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
16.09.2015


U.N. chief 'shocked' by treatment of migrants on Hungary-Serbia border (Yahoo Newes, link):

""I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated, it's not acceptable," Ban told a news conference. "All the countries have their domestic problems, but since they are the people fleeing the wars and persecutions, then we must show our compassionate leadership," he said. "First and foremost we have to provide life-saving assistance and shelter and ... sanitation, then we can discuss how they should be treated, accommodated," Ban said."

UNHCR urges Europe to change course on refugee crisis (link): "UNHCR reiterates its deep conviction that only a united European emergency response can address the present refugee and migration crisis. Individual measures by individual countries will not solve the problem but will make an already chaotic situation worse, further the suffering of people and increase tension amongst states at a time when Europe needs more solidarity and trust. UNHCR is particularly concerned about a series of restrictive measures recently introduced by Hungary and the way they are being implemented, resulting in extremely limited access for refugees at the border. New legislation includes deterrence measures, some contrary to international law and European jurisprudence when applied to asylum-seekers and refugees."

Hungary opens fire on refugees with tear gas as it steps up border operation (The Independent, link): "Hungary has dramatically escalated its anti-refugee border controls, firing upon asylum-seekers with tear gas and water cannon and bringing in more personnel with armoured vehicles." and see Video on ITN News, link) and Hungary uses water cannon and tear gas against migrants (Channel 4 News, link) also: Refugees arrested under strict new Hungarian border laws (Channel 4 News, link): "Police have detained nine Syrian and seven Afghan refugees for illegally crossing the razor wire fence at the border town of Roszke. Police spokeswoman Viktoria Csiszer-Kovacs said the refugees were suspected of lifting the fence to get into Hungary, which is now a crime under the strict laws that came into effect from midnight."

New reception centers in works but officials fear impact of border closures (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities are concerned that thousands of refugees and migrants could end up trapped in Greece as a number of European countries have essentially closed their borders to keep a flood of desperate people at bay.Greek officials indicate that the situation is under control for now but there are fears that a failure to reach a solution at the European level could lead to chaotic scenes in Greece."

EU leaders must take more responsibility in migration crisis (EP: GUE press release,link): "Italian GUE/NGL MEP Barbara Spinelli called the Council conclusions "indecent". She said: "A majority of member states backs the Commission proposal* to relocate 120,000 refugees from Hungary, Greece and Italy but is letting some countries throw a spanner in the works. Relocation has only been agreed in principle and is not binding or permanent in nature. Europe talks about values, but forgets that we are talking about rights and laws." For Greek GUE/NGL MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis: "We have a humanitarian crisis of refugees and we need an EU-wide humanitarian response. We need real leaders and for these leaders to stop hiding behind their ministers. It is inhumane for Europe to be absent and to build walls when a handful of right-wing and extreme right-wing governments are blocking the necessary decisions. The EU needs to be a trailblazer."

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 22/09/2015 (link): "The Council will start at 14:30. Ministers will continue discussions on migration. They will focus on the Commission proposal for the emergency relocation of 120 000 persons in need of international protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows to other EU member states."

Germany piles on the pressure in refugee talks (euobserver, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Austria's Werner Faymann, called for an emergency summit of EU leaders next week to address the crisis at the highest level, a few hours after her interior minister hinted at cuts in EU funding for countries opposed to sharing refugees." and: EU interior ministers will meet again on 22 September, the Luxembourg presidency of the EU Council announced. The aim will be "a decision on a provisional mechanism for the relocation of 120,000 people in need of international protection", it said in a statement, after ministers failed to agree on Monday.

Syrian father and son tripped up by camerawoman find home in Madrid (The Local.es, link) "The Syrian father and son who made headlines around the world after being tripped by a Hungarian journalist are on their way to a new life in Spain... and it is all thanks to football.... Now the father and son are heading to Madrid thanks to Spain’s Football Coach Training Centre (Cenafe), which has offered the Syrian refugee a job and accommodation after learning that he worked as a football coach back in Syria."

Bulgaria Extends Additional BGN 5M to State Agency for Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria’s government has approved additional spending of BGN 5M (EUR 2.5M) to back activities of the State Agency for Refugees stemming from increased migratory pressure. The additional expenditure under the Interior Ministry budget will be used to provide food to asylum seekers, maintain security at reception centers as well as cover the cost of operations of the agency’s branches in the country."

Sweden gets 5200 asylum claims in a week (The Local.se, link)

Denmark sticks to hardline refugee stance (The Local.dk, link): "Denmark's government, which depends on the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DF) to pass legislation, is sticking to a hardline stance on refugees despite growing public support for a more open approach. "Denmark has become the Hungary of the Nordic region, a transit country to a place that will welcome a refugee," the liberal Politiken daily wrote recently."

EU says hotspots starting to work in Italy (ANSA, link) and Italy told to set up refugee 'hotspot' centres (The Local.it, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded that both Italy and Greece set up ‘hotspot’ centres to swiftly process asylum requests, arguing that a deal on the redistribution of refugees across the EU depended on it."

Migrants leave Salzburg on foot as trains stop (The Local.au, link): "Hundreds of refugees who had massed at the main train station in the city of Salzburg left on foot on Wednesday in the hope of reaching Germany, a city spokesman said."

New migrant restrictions on France, Austria borders (DW, link): "Traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and Germany has been halted on the orders of the German authorities, according to Austrian state rail. Germany has also boosted controls on part of its border with France." and Germany soldiers 'to chase' smugglers in EU Mediterranean mission (DW, link): "Germany's cabinet has approved measures allowing Germany's military to chase traffickers' boats in the Mediterranean. Previously, the mission was strictly search and rescue, with suspected traffickers allowed to sail by. "

Police and migrants in stand-off near Turkey's Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link) "Hundreds of mainly Syrian migrants spent the night out in the open near Turkey's Greek border after police halted their bid to reach the frontier and cross into the European Union." and After refugee drownings, focus shifts to Greek-Turkish land border (ekathimerini.com, link)

Višegrad group blocks EU agreement on redistribution of migrants (Praha, limk)

Frontex: More than 500 000 migrants detected at EU external borders so far this year (link): "More than 500 000 migrants were detected at EU external borders in the first eight months of this year after a fifth consecutive monthly record was registered in August when 156 000 crossed the EU borders. However, a large number of the persons detected at the Hungarian border with Serbia had already been counted when they arrived in Greece from Turkey a few weeks earlier. By comparison, in the entire 2014, there were 280 000 detections at EU borders." and "Since the beginning of the year, 106 000 migrants were rescued in the Central Mediterranean, 6 percent fewer than in the same period of last year. It is important to note that most of the rescues took place closer to the Libyan coast than to the EU sea borders."

Hungary, Austria seal their borders as refugee crisis escalates (euractiv, link): "Hungary's right-wing government shut the main land route for migrants into the European Union on Tuesday (15 September), aiming to halt a massive influx of refugees. Austria did the same, closing its borders with neighbours Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia, dealing a further blow to Europe's vaunted Schengen area of free travel. Under new rules that took effect beginning at midnight (16 September), Hungary said anyone seeking asylum on its southern border with Serbia, the EU's external frontier, would automatically be turned back, and anyone trying to sneak through would face jail. Hungary's conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also announced plans for a similar barrier on its frontier with Romania."

Migrants head to Croatia as Hungary shuts borders (France 24, link): "Croatia found itself dragged into the migrant crisis on Wednesday as migrants crossed into Serbia's western neighbour after Hungary locked down its frontier."

French Interior Minister Calls Border Controls 'Stupid' (Huffington Post, link): "n the wake of Berlin's recent decision to temporarily reintroduce controls at Germany's border with Austria, president of the French far right National Front, Marine Le Pen, has urged France to do the same. Le Pen’s suggestion was met with immediate, and strong, opposition from interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve. He criticized her suggestion to reinstate checks at France's border with Germany, calling it a “stupid” idea,"

PM: Europe's outer border must be secured (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The measures Germany and Austria have taken on their borders do not resolve the migration issue, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after a government meeting yesterday and added that the outer border of the Schengen area must be secured."

Muslims become number one victims of hate crimes in Spain (el pais, link)  "At least 57 cases of hate crime have been reported throughout Spain so far this year, says the Interior Ministry. And most of those complaints, which are now investigated in all their forms under the new penal code, are the result of Islamophobia, representing 40 percent of the total, according to police reports."

IOM fears EU indecision will lead to more refugee deaths (Reuters, link): "Political indecision among European Union member states may lead to more refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday, calling for agreement and "responsibility-sharing". "As dangers increase we fear that the indecisions in Europe will lead to more deaths in the Aegean (sea)," Leonard Doyle, chief IOM spokesman, told a news briefing in Geneva. "Decisions made by various (European) governments to put border controls will have a very damaging effect.""

Migration creates a deepening gulf between East and West - Political tensions across central Europe are rising as solutions prove elusive (The Economist, link)

EU: Deflecting Responsibility to Protect Refugees (HRW, link)" Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU... Faced with Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the collapse of Yugoslavia, EU governments can only agree to push responsibility to countries outside the Union,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU is supposed to have a Common European Asylum System, yet EU governments can’t even agree on how to share responsibility for those in need of refuge.”"

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