Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe

EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Draft statement (LIMITE doc no: SN 58-15, pdf): "immediately start implementing the measures set out in the Commission's recent action plan on return;"

EU summit to focus on roots of refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "After ministers voted on a relocation plan Tuesday (22 September), the attention at today's EU extraordinary summit will focus on strengthening the bloc's external borders, as well as giving extra funding to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and UN agencies"

The full Programme for the EU Summit (PMs):on 23 September 2015:

"17:00: Arrival of the heads of state or government of the European Council
18:00: Exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament
18:45: Working dinner"

Invitation Letter from President Tusk to PMs (pdf)

REFUGEE CRISIS: European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf)

"Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (see Annex II). The Support Teams will have an instant impact on the most critical point in the chain – where the most affected Member States are finding the sheer number of arrivals too great to manage effectively. Staff deployed by EU agencies and other EU Member States will help identify, screen and register migrants on entry to the EU. This is the first step to a secure future for those in need, and an early opportunity to identify those who should be returned to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Comment: This appears to beg the question about refugees's right ot ask for asylum - especially as the Council Decision has prioritised refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea - when they are many refugees from Afghanistan ans Somali amongst others?

Commission Press release (pdf)

Annex 1: Priority Actions under the European Agenda for Migration to deliver within six months (pdf)
Annex 2: Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (pdf)
Annex III The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf)
Annex IV Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund (link)
Annex V Member State and Commission Contributions to the World Food Programme (link)
Annex VI The EU Regional Trust Fund ("MADAD Trust Fund") in response to the Syrian Crisis (link)
Annex VII Implementing the Common European Asylum System (link)
Link to: Annexes to Communication (link)

Further Background

European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (Statewatch) and Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) plus Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU at "war" in the Med: European Parliament: Refugee crisis: present and future EU military operations in the Mediterranean (Press release, pdf):

"The EU military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean is about to enter its next phase. After gathering intelligence and setting up the structure, the operation will now focus on arresting traffickers and disabling smugglers vessel. The details of the operation were discussed by MEPs during a meeting of the security and defence subcommittee on 22 September....

At the hearing, Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) asked what would happen if traffickers were found on "suspicious" ships. Would these ships then be confiscated and sunk to avoid them being used to transport refugees? Answering to Gahler, Wosolsobe said the idea was to put smuggler vessels out of use, but not necessarily destroy them. They could be brought back to European shores.""

European Commission: More Responsibility in managing the refugee crisis: European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work (pdf)

40 EU migrant procedures against 19 countries (ANSA, link): "The European Commission on Wednesday opened 40 infraction procedures on migrants against 19 countries. They are accused of not fully implementing the rules of the common European asylum system, especially in regard to registration and repatriation. Italy was not among the 19.".

EU: European Commission: Refugee Crisis – Q&A on Emergency Relocation (pdf)

News (23.9.15)

This Network of Merchants Is Helping Refugees Flee the Horrors of Yemen (VICE, link): "like those of thousands of other Yemenis or Somalis living in Yemen, was organized through a network of merchants, refugees, and businessmen that spans the Gulf of Aden. As a Saudi-led naval blockade has slowed the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen to a trickle, this network is one of the few remaining ways out of the country, ferrying desperate people packed aboard cattle boats in their hundreds to Somalia."

Commission launches legal broadside on asylum rules before summit (euractiv, link): "The European Commission today (23 September) launched a broadside of legal action against EU countries for not putting the bloc’s asylum laws into practice, bringing to 75 the total number of such cases open against member states."

EU Provisional measures of Refugees Relocation: some progresses but still on a bumpy road… (ASFJ, link): "the Decision as adopted yesterday is different from the one voted by the European Parliament some days ago so that, under a constant CJEU Jurisprudence the Council is under the obligation to re-consult the European Parliament on the latest modifications (such as the exclusion of Hungary from the mechanism….

Greece: Huge increase in migrant arrivals on Lesvos (, link): "More than 2,500 people, mainly Afghan refugees, arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos on Wednesday morning in the space of three hours, a Reuters photographer said, with more on the way. About 40 rubber dinghies each carrying 60 to 70 people arrived in the rain on one beach on the island, which was covered in life jackets and rubber tubes. Some were suffering from hypothermia. Nine more boats could be seen in the distance, he said."

UNHCR says EU must go beyond relocating 120,000 refugees (Daily Star, Lebanon, link): "A European Union proposal to find spaces for 120,000 refugees will not work unless reception facilities are provided for tens of thousands at any time, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday. "A relocation program alone, at this stage in the crisis, will not be enough to stabilize the situation," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said."

Militants not seen using refugee routes to reach Europe - Danish intelligence (Reuters, link)

Minister's 'troubling' citizenship plan slammed (The, link): "The Danish government wants to make it harder to become a Danish citizen and if Inger Støjberg gets her way, the tougher requirements will not only apply to future applicants but to all of those who have applied to become a Dane over the past 14 months, Information newspaper reported on Wednesday."

Crisis, what Crisis? Some Views from Spain on the Recent Refugee Crisis in Europe (, link)

Hamburg clinics 'denied surgery to migrant' (The, link): "A 55-year-old man from Ghana died from multiple organ failure in Hamburg earlier this month after five different hospitals refused him surgery."

Austria probed for EU asylum violations (The, link): " The EU authority criticized Austria's inadequate operation of the EU directive on reception conditions for asylum. In August, Amnesty International complained of inhumane conditions at Austria's reception centre for asylum seekers in Traiskirchen, which has been severely overcrowded.

Brussels launches investigation into asylum law violations by Spain (The,link): "The European Commission has opened an investigation into 19 countries for violations of asylum laws, including Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Spain."

Bulgaria PM Skeptical of EU Approach to Migrant Crisis (, link): "Only with the cooperation of both the United States and Russia can the conflict in Syria be solved, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said. Speaking in front of reporters in Parliament, where he arrived to urge support for constitutional changes, he also commented on the migrant crisis and the roots it has in the Syrian conflict."

EU splits further due to inability to decide about 120,000 migrants (, link): "Splits within the EU on the relocation of 120,000 migrants have been further exposed as leaders gather for an emergency meeting in Brussels. Slovakia is launching a legal challenge to mandatory quotas that were passed in a majority vote on Tuesday. Hungary's PM defended its "democratic rights" and proposed a radical budgetary revamp to raise funds. The summit will focus on tightening EU borders and aiding neighbours of Syria, from where many migrants come."

EU should condemn inhumane refugee camp in Croatia (/groenlinks.n, link): "“EU leaders meeting in Brussels today must condemn and propose solutions to tackle the inadmissible practices in refugee camps in the EU.” Commenting after watching a preview of a video of a refugee camp in Croatia, shot by Danny Ghosen for the Dutch television programme 3onderzoekt, Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament for GroenLinks, stated: “This situation is inhumane. Europe should be ashamed.” "

Over 480,000 Undocumented Migrants Arrive in Europe by Sea in 2015 – IOM (sputniknews, link): "The number of undocumented migrants who have entered Europe by sea since the beginning of 2015 is estimated at 481,612, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement Tuesday."

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