Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn: "the Western Balkans must not become a parking lot or "no man's land" for stranded refugees": Press release (pdf) This turn of phrase quickly hit headlines: Hahn: Western Balkans no parking lot for refugees (Inserbia, link) and EXTRA EU official warns against Balkans becoming refugee «parking lot» (Europe Online, link) also Western Balkans 'not a parking lot for refugees' (EUbusiness, link)

The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (YouTube, link):"Eric Kempson and his family live on the Greek island of Lesbos. For months they have struggled to give the most basic of humanitarian assistance to thousands of desperate people arriving in boats from Turkey. This is their story."

Multinational border protection teams to be rolled out (euractiv, link): "Given the continuing refugee crisis, the European Commission wants to secure the EU's external borders with a European border surveillance system. Until it can be implemented, Frontex will commit extra personnel.... EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told Die Welt on Thursday (17 September), "The Commission will, by the end of the year, put forward a proposal for a European Border Guard System. "The aim is that multinational border guard teams monitor the external borders of the EU.... the Commissioner added that, "Frontex will shortly be sending additional emergency personnel, in the form of Rapid Border Intervention teams, to secure the critical points of the external borders." The Rapid Border Intervention teams are multinational emergency response units"

Athens complains to Hungary over handling of migration crisis (, link): "The Foreign Ministry Thursday issued an official complaint to the Hungarian Embassy in Athens, rejecting criticism by Hungarian officials of Greece’s handling of a burgeoning migration crisis and accusing officials in Budapest of “brutal cynicism.” “We find it difficult to witness either the wave of statements from Hungarian officials against our country or, and mainly, what the UN secretary-general characterizes as the ‘unacceptable’ conduct of Hungary’s forces of order against the refugees, including infants, who are living through the drama and misery of war,” ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras said in a statement... Greek government officials have heralded plans to build two new migrant reception facilities – one in Lavrio, eastern Attica, and one in Thessaloniki."

IOM: Latest Data on Europe Migrant Emergency (link): "Through two and a half weeks of September, IOM teams have recorded total arrivals to Europe by sea in 2015 at 473,887 men, women and children. At least 182,000 of those migrants have arrived from Syria—making Syrians just under 40 per cent of this year’s total." and Map (link)

Very strong words: UNHCR warns that time is running out for Europe to resolve refugee emergency (link): "Yesterday's mayhem on the Serbian border with Croatia, which has since closed some entry points, and Wednesday's dramatic situation on the Hungarian border demonstrate the chaos and confusion being caused by the absence of a coherent and united response to Europe's refugee situation. With more than 442,440 refugees and migrants having arrived via the Mediterranean so far this year, some 2,921 deaths, and 4000 people arriving on the Greek islands daily, the crisis is growing and being pushed from one country to another without solution."

Germany says majority decision may be needed on refugees - Steinmeier says will be necessary if things don't work otherwise (ANSA, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Friday proposed putting the issue of quotas to redistribute refugees to a majority vote among EU member States to break through the current impasse."

Croatia moves refugees to Hungarian border (Guardian, link):" Croatia PM says country can no longer accept refugee burden | Hungary starts a new fence overnight on Croatia border | Germany threatens qualified majority vote on quota system

PM Orbán: Migrants’ Tuesday Attack On Hungarian Border Took Place With “Organised Media Background” (, link): "Speaking on Kossuth Rádió, he said that the event was controlled from loud speakers in Arabic and English with an “organised media background”. Commenting on the Tuesday events, the Prime Minister claimed that Hungary and Hungarian policemen were subjected to an armed attack from Serbia, which the country did not even attempt to prevent."

Croatia shuts border points with Serbia (euobserver, link): "Croatian authorities on Thursday (17 September) closed down half a dozen road crossing points with Serbia. The move follows the arrival of some 13,300 asylum seekers in the country in recent days, according to the Croatian government. The Croat army has also been put on alert and is ready to be deployed." and Croatia Closes 7 of 8 Border Crossing Points with Serbia (, link): "Croatia has closed seven of its eight border crossing points at the Serbian border. The largest border crossing point, Bajakovo-Batrovci, is still open. The temporary closure of the border crossing points is aimed at reducing the influx of refugees arriving in the country from Serbian territory, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio."

Slovenia offers shelter for 5,000 refugees - Ambassador says country will try to ensure all those arriving from Croatia are cared for, but police threaten to return 150 who crossed border by train (Guardian, link)

Germany: Social groups attack asylum law draft (DW, link): "Drastic social welfare cuts in draft German asylum law have been condemned by welfare groups and opposition parties. The interior ministry's bill would accelerate migrant expulsions and declare Balkan nations to be safe."

'Bulgaria Refugee Struggle Underlines Elusive European Dream' (, link)"Most refugees and migrants quickly find out they don't want to stay in Bulgaria and this adds to Europe's problem of controlling mass migration, Al Jazeera America has noted. "The EU's poorest country has accepted an asylum seeker quota, but few want to live with so few social services," it goes on. A special report published Wednesday tells the story of Noel Kouaho's "epic, two-year journey from Côte d’Ivoire to refuge" in Bulgaria - one that "cost him seven of his toes"."

Czech PM says principle of immigrant allocation system main issue (Radio, Praha, link): "Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has given a cool reception to comments from the Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Jirí Dienstbier saying that the Czech Republic could take up to 15,000 immigrants."

Switzerland prepares to take its share of refugees (The, link): "Switzerland is expected to offer to accept 4,000 to 5,000 refugees who have entered the European Union largely from the wartorn regions of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."

Geldof slams Norway refugee 'nonsense' (The, link): "Musician and political activist Bob Geldof has laid into Norway for taking too few refugees from Syria, calling it a 'nonsense' that one of the world's richest countries was doing so little."

Germany takes 1/3 of EU asylum applications (The, link): "More than one in three asylum seekers across the European Union applied for refugee status in Germany in the second quarter of 2015, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority showed on Friday."

Refugee electrocuted at Channel Tunnel site (The, link): "A refugee was electrocuted late Thursday near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in France as he tried to climb on to the roof of a train to make his way to England, police said."

Austria sends refugees to Slovakia (The, link): "Just 18 of an agreed 500 Syrian asylum-seekers arrived in Slovakia on Thursday under a deal with EU neighbour Austria that has sparked protest in the village where they will stay temporarily."

Bulgaria accepts up to 1,200 refugees with no troops at its borders - at least for now (, link)

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