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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
6-7.7.17
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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
War and violence drive 80% of people fleeing to Europe by sea, not economics (Guardian, link):

"Report challenges economic migrant myth, revealing that most of those making perilous sea crossing were forced from their homes by persecution and fear.

The vast majority of people arriving in Europe by sea are fleeing persecution, war and famine, while less than a fifth are economic migrants, a report published on Friday reveals.

More than 80% of an estimated 1,008,616 arrivals in 2015 came from refugee-producing countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and a quarter of that number were children."

Researchers say the findings challenge the myth that migrants are coming to Europe for economic reasons."

EU-G20: Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany (pdf):

Tusk is seeking support to tackle "the unprecedented wave of illegal migration" through "targeted UN sanctions against smugglers" in north Africa. However, he notes that:

"Unfortunately I have to say that today we do not have the full support even for this minimum. If we do not get it, it will be a sad proof of the hypocrisy of some of the G20 members..."

Perhaps this is because he refers to everyone arriving in the EU as "irregular migrants" (who anyway have the right to claim asylum) and not as refugees and migrants. He also refer only to "smuggling" not trafficking - two legally distinct concepts.

EU plans on Central Mediterranean Route: old wine in new bottles (ECRE, link):

"EU Ministers once more set the wrong priorities. Reducing search and rescue capacity and increasing deterrence is not the answer when lives are at stake,” said ECRE’s Secretary General, Catherine Woollard, “Rather than a code of conduct on NGOs an action plan on the creation of safe and legal channels is urgently needed. “

Clock ticking on EU migrant quota deadline (euobserver, link):

"EU states are running out of time to comply with migrant relocation quotas on Italy and Greece, the European Commission has said.

“I’m not very happy with how some member states have so far responded to our call for more relocations,” the EU migration commissioner, Dmitris Avramopoulos, said in Tallinn on Thursday (6 July). ...

As of 3 July, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, and Slovakia had not relocated a single person from Italy. Germany and France were miles away from their full legal commitments, with Germany 20,477 relocations short and France 15,935 behind. Spain (8,254 short), the Netherlands (3,891), Romania (3,546), Sweden (3,100), Belgium (3,031), and Portugal (1,561) were also heading for major violations....

Human Rights at Sea, a UK-based charity, said on Thursday it had seen a leaked copy of the draft Italian code. There was “a distinct lack of ... explicit reference to the need to save life at sea” in the draft, the charity said. It said that NGOs who refused to sign could be denied access to Italian ports."

See: Relocations at 3 July 2017 (pdf)

Toddlers and babies forced to sleep rough in northern France amid rise in refugees (Independent, link):

"Photos show babies less than a year old sleeping and crawling in woodland of unofficial camps in Calais and Dunkirk."

Drowning mothers (Open Democracy, link):

"As refugees try to cross the Mediterranean Sea - women are more likely to drown."

Central Mediterranean: Death toll soars as EU turns its back on refugees and migrants (Amnesty, link):

"The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.

EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse."

And see: Europe migrant crisis: EU blamed for 'soaring' death toll (BBC News, link)

EU: Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers: Press statement following discussions on Central Mediterranean (pdf):

"In Tallinn, the Ministers of Interior acknowledged that the situation in the Central Mediterranean and the resulting pressure on Italy is of great concern to all Member States. In line with the European Council conclusions of 22-23 June, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take urgent action by stepping up coordination and delivery of all the elements contained in the Malta Declaration, the Partnership Framework and the Joint Valletta Action Plan, as well as the need to continue steps towards finding the right balance between the principles of solidarity and responsibility and to provide adequate support to the most affected Member States.

The Ministers of Interior welcomed and based their discussions on the Action Plan presented by the Commission on 4 July 2017, containing immediate measures that can be taken by the Commission, the High Representative, Italy and other Member States."

See also: Ministers of Interior agree on more robust approach to migration pressure (press releaes, pdf)

And: EU: Action Plan for Central Mediterranean: mandatory code of conduct for NGOs, massive expansion of detention and hotspots in Italy

GREECE: Police detain dozens of migrants in Samos sweep (Ekathimerini, link):

"Police on Wednesday carried out a sweep of Samos to round up dozens of migrants whose applications for asylum have been rejected for deportation to Turkey, but officers struggled to locate them all.

Authorities detained 138 people though many more are believed to be hiding out across the eastern Aegean island. There has been tension on Samos and Chios amid local opposition to the creation of so-called predeparture centers to host migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected.

The situation is less chaotic on Lesvos, Leros and Kos, which have such centers, though overcrowding remains a problem, particularly on Lesvos, which smugglers have started targeting again."

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