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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
Increased surveillance in the Med and policing Libya's southern border

On Thursday there will be an Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Malta under the Maltese Council Presidency. Among the issues under discussion will be the latest attempt to end the movement of refugees into Libya and then on to Italy. This is set out in a Joint Communication from the Commission and the EEAS (European External Action Service): Migration on the Central Mediterranean route, Managing flows, saving lives (JOIN 4-17,pdf)

While Commission President Juncker recognises that: "First and foremost, stability in Libya and the region as a whole is required" most plans are already known. Two new initiative are speeding up the introduction of the "Seahorse Mediterranean Network" and sending in Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions to strengthen Libya's southern border controls. Managing migration along the Central Mediterranean Route – Commission contributes to Malta discussion (Press release, pdf)

EU: Commission: Back to Schengen: Commission proposes that the Council allows Member States to maintain temporary controls for another three months (Press release, pdf):

"Brussels, 25 January 2017: European Commission: The European Commission has today recommended the Council allows Member States to maintain the temporary controls currently in place at certain internal Schengen borders in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway for a further period of three months."

And see Proposal for: Council Implementing Decision setting out a Recommendation for prolonging temporary internal border control in exceptional circumstances putting the overall functioning of the Schengen area at risk (COM 40-16,pdf)

EU looks to limit migration from Libya (euractiv, link):

"After blocking the main migrant route from the Middle East, the EU will this week seek ways to check a feared spring surge from Libya and North Africa across the Mediterranean.

The European Union lacks a reliable partner in chaotic Libya, the launchpad for almost all migrant crossings over the central Mediterranean, while some African governments along the trail north have been reluctant to cooperate, EU sources and experts said."

And see: No Turkey-type migrant deal with Libya, says EU commission (euobserver, link)

Are You Syrious (24.1.17, link)

Greece: Arrivals

"With 94 official registrations until this morning (51 on Lesvos and 43 on other islands), more than 1000 (1063) people have officially arrived on the Eastern Aegean islands since the beginning of the year, an average of 44 per day."

CROATIA; AYS and the ‘Welcome’ Initiative demanding responsibility from the Croatian police

"The Welcome Initiative and Are You Syrious have urged the Croatian police to stop forcibly and unlawfully turning back refugees from Croatia, to investigate such cases and take disciplinary action against those responsible, and to allow expelled refugees wishing to seek asylum in Croatia to return."

Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): The impact of the proposal for a revised Eurodac Regulation on fundamental rights (link):

"The European Parliament asked the Agency to provide its Opinion on the fundamental rights impact of the proposed revision of the Eurodac Regulation on children."

See: The impact of the proposal for a revised: Eurodac Regulation on fundamental rights Opinion of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (pdf)

EU-Afghanistan: Why the European Union Shouldn’t Deport Afghans - Putting Lives at Risk in Kabul (HRW, link):

"Germany and other EU member states should stop deporting rejected Afghan asylum seekers until it is clear how the Afghan government copes with Pakistan’s mass forced return of refugees. They should not detain Afghans but instead grant them the most favorable status possible under national law.

Returning desperate Afghan asylums seekers to conflict and crisis is not just inhumane, it will add to the instability that drove them to flee in the first place."

See also: Second collective deportation of rejected asylum seekers from Germany arrives in Afghanistan (DW, link): "A group of rejected Afghan asylum seekers deported from Germany has landed in Kabul following protests Monday night at Frankfurt Airport. More than 100 people gathered to demonstrate against the forced repatriations."

Frontex, the European Union and deportations (Exiles in Calais and at the British border, link):

" the European agency Frontex has announced the constitution of a “deportation pool ” With 690 staff members to assist the EU Member States in organizing more effectively the deportations of foreigners.

The priority of this pool will be to increase deportations from Italy and Greece, the two main countries of entry into the European Union."

See: Frontex Press release (link)

Greece: “The snow ruined our international image” – but what about the refugees? (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "The snow is melting on Lesvos. Life goes on, but I am afraid that it will be ice cold, even in summer."

w2eu Statement 22.01.2017: No Dublin Returns to Greece! (link):

"‘One step forward, hundreds back…’ seems to be the motto under which EU experts implement refugee policy, as currently also demonstrated in Greece. "

Thousands of refugee children sleeping rough in sub-zero Serbia, says UN - Refugee facilities in Belgrade, where it is -15C, have been described as ‘worse than the jungle in Calais’ by aid workers (Guardian, link):

"Hundreds of new refugees and migrants, many of them children, are arriving in Serbia every day despite the prospect of sleeping rough in sub-zero temperatures and reports of violent treatment, Save the Children has said, as it calls on the EU to do more to help.

The EU-Turkey deal, which was supposed to stem the flow of refugees arriving in Europe by boat, has meant many refugees are being forced to take a deadlier land route to cross the Balkans, with children as young as eight experiencing harsh weather conditions, dog bites and violent treatment by police and smugglers.

Spain sees 500 southern border crossing attempts in a month (New Europe, link):

"Spanish police say migrants have attempted close to 500 illegal border crossings in just one month by trying to hide on passenger and cargo boats landing on its southern coast."

Greece: Island mayors ask PM for transfer of migrants (, link):

"The mayors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros on Monday jointly presented their demands for measures to ease severe overcrowding at migrant reception centers on their islands during a meeting in Athens with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.....

However, though the sources described the mayors’ demands as “logical,” it remained unclear what action, if any, the government plans to respond with."

Refugee winter crisis: Serbia accused of illegal mass deportations - Rights groups say government is complicit in 'pushbacks' of refugees to Macedonia and Bulgaria, including families dumped in forests (Middle East Eye, link)

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