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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
18-20.3.17
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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
Greece: Sharp increase in migrants reaching Aegean islands from Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link):

"New arrivals to the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos have raised the number of migrants landing in Greece from neighboring Turkey since last Thursday to 566, government figures showed on Monday.

The figure represents a significant increase compared to arrivals in the rest of March and for the whole of February.

In the past four days, 195 migrants landed on Lesvos, 341 on Chios and 30 on Samos."

UK: House of Commos: EU External Affairs Sub-Committee: Committee follows up on Operation Sophia and Libya (link):

"The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee holds a double evidence session with Joseph Walker-Cousins from the Institute for Statecraft and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a follow-up to its previous inquiry on Operation Sophia."

In Rome, EU and North African ministers hold 'migration summit' (DW, link)

"EU and North African ministers are to meet in Rome to discuss strategies for curbing the number of migrants coming to Europe. Thousands of people have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean in dangerous boats.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is to meet with interior ministers from a number of EU countries and from three Northern African states on Monday in Rome.

The interior ministers of Libya, Tunisia and Algeria are to meet with their German, Italian, French, Austrian, Maltese, Slowenian and Swiss counterparts. The EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, is also attending.

Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti wants to form a permanent "contact group" between European and North African countries that addresses migration issues. Following the closure of the so-called Balkan route and an EU deal with Turkey, more migrants have attempted the hazardous route from North Africa across the Mediterranean towards Italy."

Greek Ministry: Refugee statistics 20.3.17 (pdf) Records 56 people arriving in Lesvos and 24 in Chios. Total of 14,762 on the Islands and 62,434 in Greece.

Bulgaria says ready to reinforce border with Turkey (New Europe, link):

"Bulgarian officials say they are prepared to increase patrols and complete a razor-wire fence along its border with Turkey to prevent any new flood of migrants.

“We are ready to protect the country’s border in the way provided for in our legislation,” Defense Minister Stefan Yanev told AFP news agency during a visit Malko Tarnovo, a town on Bulgaria’s southeastern border with Turkey.

He added, however, that the border for now is calm and that illegal border crossing attempts have declined over the past two months."

Greece: Thousands of asylum claims pending despite influx drop (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Thousands of asylum applications remain pending even though the influx of undocumented migrants into Greece from neighboring Turkey has plummeted over the past year.

A total of 2,627 migrants landed on the islands of the eastern Aegean from Turkey between January 1 and March 5 this year, according to government data. In the same period last year, that number was 121,426."

UNHCR: (17.3.17): 2017: 15,556 arrivals in Italy, 2,945 in Greece, 1,000 in Spain. 537 dead/missing.

Are You Syrious (18,3,17, link)

FEATURE: Enough is enough!

"Tens of thousands of people all around Europe went out on the streets today to repeat that EU - Turkey deal is not what they want.

The deal was signed on March 18 and became operation two days after, but since the very beginning, it is surrounded by criticisms coming from human rights groups, activists and even academics. It did not help. Even more, EU leaders are planing to replicate this type of deal with other countries, like Libya, Sudan and Niger."

Greece: New arrivals

"More people arrived today to Greek islands, and were immediately taken to detention, in some cases with no possibility to get dry clothes from volunteers. Today, 102 new arrivals were registered on Chios, from two boats. Over the last 48 hours, more than 280 people arrived to the island. CEST group at Chios need help to keep up helping to new arrivals and those on the islands, where many people are still living in tents."

Turkey Interior Min: Let’s send 15,000 migrants a month to Europe to “blow its mind’ (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said Turkey could send 15,000 refugees and migrants to Europe to shock the Europeans. The threat follows the recent diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Germany and the Netherlands that stemmed from the latter’s decision to bar Turkish ministers from staging rallies there.

“We have a readmission deal. I’m telling you Europe, do you have that courage? If you want, we’ll send the 15,000 refugees to you that we don’t send each month and blow your mind. You have to keep in mind that you can’t design a game in this region in spite of Turkey,” Soylu said at an event late on March 16, referring to a readmission deal between the European Union and Turkey to return migrants to Turkey who have illegally crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece."

Romania and Italy unite to halt abuse of women migrants (Observer, link): "Governments act after the Observer exposed exploitation of workers in Sicily."

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