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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
9.6.17
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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
EU: New report debunks "toxic narrative" aimed at search and rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean

A new report examines the accusations made by state officials, commentators and others that search and rescue NGOs operating in the Mediterranean are a "pull factor" for migrants and are effectively working in league with people smugglers. The report, Blaming the Rescuers, argues that as well as being false, those accusations have allowed state actors "to divert public attention from their own responsibilities and failures" and are part of "a wider attempt to criminalise solidarity towards migrants and refugees, which endangers the possibility of EU citizens standing in solidarity and exercising civilian oversight at the EU’s frontiers to contest their deadly effects."

Serbia-Hungary police cooperation deemed "excellent" (b92, link):

"Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic spoke on Thursday in Budapest with his Hungarian counterpart Sandor Pinter about illegal migration.

They also discussed cooperation in protecting external borders and exchange of information in the fight against human trafficking, the Serbian government announced.

It was assessed during the meeting that cooperation between the two police forces in the fight against organized crime is on an exceptional level, while the excellent results achieved through the work of joint investigation teams in combating human trafficking have been particularly highlighted.

Stefanovic and Pinter concluded that the involvement of police officers from EU countries, among them those from Hungary, who are, together with Serbian colleagues, securing Serbia's borders, resulted in better control of migrations and prevented illegal border crossings and human trafficking.

Stefanovic said that the Serbian police in the last two years arrested more than 2,000 persons suspected of smuggling people and filed more than 1,200 criminal charges."

HUNGARY: Will Hungary’s detention practices put an end to the Common European Asylum System? (Migration News Sheet, link):

"The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is today much less ‘common’ than it used to. Large-scale arrivals of refugees in 2015 have tempted Member States, starting with Hungary, to act unilaterally and in complete violation of EU rules.

Are Hungary’s unpunished waves of massive detention paving the way for other national governments to openly violate EU regulations?

Would this race to the bottom signal the end of CEAS and its Dublin System?

In turn, will European institutions manage to force governments to comply with its legislation?

This article will look into these questions."

EU-MALTA: €9.2 million in EU funds for police modernisation, border security projects

"€9.2 million in EU funds are being spent on modernising the Malta Police Force and on border surveillance, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela and PS for EU Funds Ian Borg announced.

Mr Abela said five projects on border security, which is a priority, have been completed so far.

These include the acquisition of radios and biometric devices for border guards and modern equipment that can analyse a person’s unique physical characteristics, like fingerprints.

(...)

Mr Abela said the Malta Police Force is also benefitting from other projects falling under the EU Internal Security Fund 2014-2020.

These include the purchase of bullet-proof vests, riot kits and surveillance equipment; access to the Europol and Interpol databases; the Smart Policing project, which will see the Cyber Crime unit strengthened, the purchase of new forensic equipment; and the strengthening of the automated case management system."

See: Article in Border Security Report (in World Security Report, p.24, link to pdf)

Europol press release: Migrant smuggling organised crime group dismantled in Greece (pdf):

"An organised crime group involved in smuggling migrants from Greece to other European Union countries has been dismantled in Athens, Greece. The operation was jointly carried out by Attika Aliens Division, Europol and the UK’s National Crime Agency, following several months of investigations.

In this large operation in Athens at the end of May, a total of 12 individuals were arrested, of which seven were members of the organised crime group. Four arrestees were migrants that were about to be smuggled. In addition, one Afghan national was arrested for carrying a false identity card. Seven members of the organised crime group were already arrested earlier. The members of the network received up to EUR 16 000 per person that was illegally transported, with the money transferred via the Hawala informal money transfer system."

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