Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Press release (pdf):

"ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015"

News (24.9.15)

Migrant crisis: EU leaders avoid punch-up but fail refugee test (BBC News, link): "In the anxiousness to avoid a punch-up there was also one screaming omission from the leaders' debate: what to do with the spiralling number of refugees and other migrants already in Europe? The avoidance of the topic was all the more glaring as the summit came hot on the heels of EU interior ministers forcing through a quota system for 120,000 asylum seekers, despite angry protests from Central and Eastern European countries. Its idea of a permanent quota system, with numbers automatically divided more equally across the continent, remains deeply unpopular in many countries. But Europe cannot hide from the issue. Unaddressed, it will test relations between EU countries to breaking point." [emphasis added]

Migrant crisis: Serbia compares Croatia to 'fascist-era regime' (BBC News, link): "Serbia has compared Croatian border restrictions to racial laws enforced by a Nazi puppet state during World War Two, in a deepening row over migrants. Croatian border police are stopping all Serbian vehicles from entering the country in protest at Serbia's decision to transport migrants to the border. But Croatia's interior minister said the ban did not apply to Serbian people. The Serbian authorities have responded by banning cargo traffic from Croatia. Amid escalating tension, Serbia's foreign ministry said the measures were "discriminatory" and "can only be compared with measures taken in the past, during the fascist Independent Croatia", referring to the Nazi puppet state proclaimed in Croatia in 1941, which sided with Berlin."

EU to start new phase of anti-trafficking op (The, link): "The second phase of an EU operation against migrant traffickers, allowing for arrests in international waters, will begin on October 7th, the bloc's foreign affairs chief said Thursday. "The political decision has been taken, the assets are ready," Federica Mogherini said at the Rome headquarters of the EU military operation, dubbed EUNAVFOR MED. The EU recently approved the use of military force against migrant traffickers, including the seizure of vessels used to ship people across the Mediterranean, many of which set off from the coast of Libya. Under the new phase, European warships will be used against traffickers but on the condition they remain within international waters and do not stray into Libyan territory, Mogherini said.

Relocation of Asylum-Seekers in the EU: Law and Policy (EU Law Anakysis, link): "I last looked at the legal issues surrounding the refugee crisis two weeks ago, focussing on the international law dimension of the issue. But I left out the issue of relocation of asylum-seekers, pending further developments. Subsequently the EU has adopted a second, more controversial Decision on relocation of asylum-seekers within the EU this week (against the opposition of several Member States), following soon after the first Decision on this issue earlier in September. These measures are both provisional, in force for a total of two years, but there’s also a proposal for a permanent system of provisional measures."

Europe ‘must close its doors or risk far-right backlash’ (The Times, link): "The European Union must close its “open door” to prevent millions of migrants entering Europe unchecked or there will be a backlash leading to a surge in support for extremist and far-right parties, a senior Brussels official has warned. "

Timmermans: Central Europe has ‘no experience with diversity’ (politico, link): "Central European countries have “no experience with diversity,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said Thursday, making them susceptible to fears about Muslim refugees. If no sustainable solution is found “you will see a surge of the extreme right across the European continent,” Timmermans said on BBC Radio 4, following a summit Wednesday where EU leaders agreed a range of measures to tackle the migrant crisis." Statewatch comment: The rise of nationlaist, racist and fascist parties and groups is not limited to Central European countries.

Bulgarian PM Clarifies Position on Hosting Hotspot Reception Centre for Refugees (, link): "Borisov clarified that he had rather requested for Bulgaria to be viewed as a hot spot as it as an external border of the EU which is also subject to a migratory pressure, similarly to Italy, Greece and the other member states experiencing serious migratory pressure."

UNHCR welcomes more EU support to refugees, urges fast implementation (UNHCR, link) and UN refugee chief disappointed in EU refugee plan (, link): "His office called the EU program "limited" compared to current needs and urged a "substantial and rapid increase in legal opportunities for refugees to access the EU.""

UNHCR 'disappointed' at EU migrants summit - Didn't establish safe routes for refugees into Europe (ANSA, link): ""It is an important step toward stabilizing the crisis, but much more needs to be done. The plan can only work if, at entry points in Europe, robust facilities are created to receive, assist, register and screen people. These facilities must have a capacity that could handle the current average 5,000 people arriving every day by boat." Guterres reiterated UNHCR's position that countries must also offer those in need of international protection a credible alternative to the present chaotic journeys across "border after border at the mercy of criminal smugglers"."

'Safe countries of origin': Assessing the new proposal (EU Law Analysis, link) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex

Leaders decide to strengthen EU's external borders (euractiv, link):"The emergency summit on the refugee crisis ended last night (24 September) with agreement that the EU's borders needed to be better protected, and that “hotspots” must be set up where the asylum seekers’ requests can be processed.... A major advance seems to be the agreement to set up “hotspots”, an idea which appeared until very recently as controversial. This time, leaders agreed that hotspots would be set up by the end of November."

EU to fortify external borders to stem migrant flow (euobserver, link): "The EU is forging ahead with plans to restore control of its external borders amid a refugee crisis unlike anything seen in recent history. Among the ideas announced in the early morning of Thursday (24 September), is the establishment of EU-run quarantine centres for new asylum arrivals by the end of November and a proposal for an EU border and coast guard system by December...The quarantine centres – also known as hotspots – will separate legitimate asylum seekers from others not entitled to international protection. People will be finger printed and registered. Rejected applicants will be returned back to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Agence Europe reports: "The hotspots (or "migration management support teams", as the Commission now calls them), were the subject of an in-depth discussion at the summit. According to the European leaders, these teams will ensure the welcome, identification and digital finger-printing of migrants arriving in Europe, and will use the procedures for returning the migrants or relocating them to other member states... The European leaders also spoke about the usefulness of moving towards a European coastguard system, a source stated. Although the summit statement does not mention this, the Commission will propose such a system at the end of 2015.."

Croatia-Serbia border row escalates (DW, link): "Croatia has reportedly banned Serbian cars from entering the country after Belgrade imposed an embargo on cargo and goods. Both nations are struggling to cope with refugees trying to move across Europe."

Bulgaria Demands Access to Schengen Database amid Migrant Crisis (, link)

Juncker talks of welcoming refugees, while turning Europe into a fortress (Guardian, link): "The European commission is spending millions making external borders harder to cross. The migration crisis doesn’t appear to have altered its priorities... Instead of questioning the priorities of the commission, local media repeated the mantra that €475m had been made available to help Greece deal with immigration. But what exactly is the money for? The British whistleblower Statewatch gave us an answer when it uploaded the Internal Security Fund’s spending programme for Greece.."

The boat is full (, link): "In the 1990s, the catchy slogan - “the boat is full” - coined by the far-Right Republikaner Party in Germany had influenced most of the mainstream parties... In 1991, Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, first warned that behind the formal institutions of what was then the European Community (EC) lay a shadowy parallel state - “largely undemocratic and unaccountable”."

SERBIA/CROATIA: Your help is still needed at Croatian/Serbian border at Bapske, near Šid. This is the crossing point for refugees at this moment – They are being transported here from the south of Serbia (For Refugees in Hungary, link)

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