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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
6 10.16
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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
EU Border Guard Agency: Securing Europe's external borders: Launch of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Press release, pdf):

"Under the new mandate, the Agency's role and activities have been significantly expanded. The Agency's permanent staff will be more than doubled and the Agency will be able to purchase its own equipment and deploy them in border operations at short notice. A rapid reserve pool of at least 1,500 border guards and a technical equipment pool will be put at the disposal of the Agency - meaning there will no longer be shortages of staff or equipment for Agency operations. The European Border and Coast Guard will now ensure the implementation of Union standards of border management through periodic risk analysis and mandatory vulnerability assessments."

And see new: REGULATION (EU) 2016/1624 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (pdf)

See: Shooting revelations clouds EU border guard launch (euobserver, link):

"The EU inaugurated the launch of the new border and coastguard agency on Thursday (6 October), amid revelations that border forces routinely used firearms against migrants off Greece in 2014 and 2015.

The new agency, called the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, replaces Frontex, and is a precipitous policy response to last year's large inflow of refugees and broader security issues. ... On 23 September, EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly and Nils Muiznieks from the human rights watchdog Council of Europe were cc'd in a letter to Frontex that demanded answers over the shooting incidents. The letter, signed by 42 MEPs, asks if the new agency will continue to use firearms against boats carrying refugees.".

See: European Parliament: From 42 MEPs: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf): and Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) also Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf).

Are You Syrious (5.10.16)

The migration “problem” is too big for Greece

"As situation in Greece becomes more and more absurd with the EU packing people inside this country, Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas, who heads a task force on migrants, urged the EU and the United Nations to help his country accommodate refugees coming from the Middle East in an interview with AP: “The migration problem… is too big, it’s not only in Syria, it’s in Africa, it’s in Asia. It’s a problem that the United Nations must consider,” Vitsas said. “We need to move from words to actions.” Vitsas urged Eastern European countries, such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, which have been reluctant to accept refugees, not to shut their doors on migrants, Khathimerini news reports.".

First man to be deported by EU-Turkey deal

"To add insult to injury, Amnesty international published the story of Noori. Noori is a young man from Syria who is to become the first one to be deported by the EU to Turkey under EU- Turkey deal. Amnesty international warns that this is a dangerous historic precedent. By deporting Noori to Turkey, Greece (on behalf of the EU) would be taking an ominous step in history. They would deliberately turn away a refugee without first examining the substance of his asylum claim under this cruel and dodgy deal with Turkey. To European leaders, Noori says that he - and other refugees - simply want to be somewhere safe: “You are safe, please open your eyes and see why we came here.” Read Noori’s story and do not forget this moment when a 21 year old young man’s destiny became a historical turning point."

11,000 people rescued in the Mediterranean in just three days

"As we’ve been reporting since Monday, staggering numbers of people have arrived, amounting to 11,000 people who were rescued from the Mediterranean sea in just three days. The total death toll for Monday and Tuesday is up to 50. Wednesday saw a sharp decline in rescues with only 368. The latest surge in new arrivals means at least 142,000 migrants have reached Italy since the start of the year and around 3,100 have died making the perilous trip."

EU could order return of refugee crisis funding (ekathimerini.com, link):

"European officials have indicated that Greece may be obliged to return more than 500 million euros in funding disbursed by the European Union to help authorities tackle the refugee crisis due to the slow pace at which those funds are being absorbed, Kathimerini understands.

It is not the first time that Brussels has urged Athens to accelerate the absorption of funds and the processing of asylum claims. But the latest warning, a European Commission official told Kathimerini, comes amid a climate of increasing frustration with the Greek government. “There is an increasing sense of a country that cannot bring about results either in the refugee crisis or in the economy,” the official said. There is also a growing frustration with the slow pace of the Greek asylum service, with applications being processed at a snail’s pace, European officials say.

Sources said Athens has been informed about the danger of 509 million euros being revoked and that Commission officials are on hand to help the government overcome the current obstacles."

UK: Against Borders for Children: ABC Day of Action: Contact your local MP and councillors! (link):

"Today, Thursday 6th October is School Census day in England. Academies and local authority schools will be electronically submitting school census data to the Department of Education.

Against Borders for Children is calling today a Day of Action to protect immigrant children in England. For the first time ever, the school census includes immigration data, i.e. country of birth and nationality of pupils in Primary and Secondary Education and young people in sixth forms attached to a secondary school.

Schools are asking parents to send this data in but parents have a right to refuse providing this information. However some schools are not making this right clear to parents."

Greece: Migrant transfers will be gradual, ministry sources say (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The relocation of migrants from overcrowded camps on the eastern Aegean islands to the mainland will be carried out in phases with the transfer of a small number of people initially, sources at the Migration Policy Ministry have said in response to pressure – from European authorities and residents of the islands – for their immediate transfer....

The return of small groups of migrants to Turkey, however, is continuing. On Wednesday, 55 people were returned to Turkey: 20 Algerians, 20 Pakistanis, four Afghans, five Moroccans, three Bangladeshis, one Iranian, one Palestinian and one Sri Lankan. Of the 55 migrants sent back, 37 had had their asylum applications rejected a second time, after appealing the first rejection. The others had not appealed.

Meanwhile new migrants continue to arrive, both via the Aegean and the Greek-Turkish land border. On Wednesday morning, Greek authorities said 90 migrants had arrived on islands of the eastern Aegean in the previous 24 hours, with another 214 entering Greece via the land border with Turkey."

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