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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: Commissioner to face awkward questions from MEPs over EU home affairs and migration spending

On Tuesday 23 January Commissioner Avramopoulos (DG Home) is to appear before the European Parliament's Budget Control Committee to answer: Written Questions on the 2016 Discharge to the Commission (pdf). They pose a number of awkward questions for the Commissioner.

Are You Syrious (22.1.18, link)

Fascists set fire to squat in Thessaloniki

During the course of a far-right wing demonstration, fascists torched a squat which had been active since 2008. Between 30–40 people were in the building at the time of the arson attack. Some of the participants of the demonstration, in which 100,000 people marched, took a detour to attack the Libertatia Squat. Unfortunately, this is one of many events that fit the same pattern across Europe. From Sweden to Germany to Italy, facilities which housed refugees were intentionally burned down by people who cannot tolerate the presence of foreigners in their countries. Here however there is also the additional political element, a targeting of anarchists. (...)

Prior to setting fire to the squat, the group attacked the School Social Center, an attack which was recorded on video. The attack was dispersed by the police, but those involved were able to go on to commit the heinous act."

Chios Eastern Shore Response Team desperately needs volunteers!

"Volunteers are needed for the months of February and March. The volunteer must commit to a stay of at least 14 days for this opportunity. Their current project is the servicing of a children’s center in Vial, as well as the creation of a general House of the People, which may be donated to at the link below. Click here to support Help put humanitarian aid in reach of trapped asylum seekers."

Hungary: Migszol responds to libelous accusations against them

"Reports in the Hungarian media have smeared Migszol, claiming that the group has a connection to terrorism as well as other untruths. The organization has responded strongly by posting an article in which they rebuke the claims."

France: CRS officer comes clean about CRS harassment of refugees

"A CRS officer who wished to stay anonymous gave an interview to the Ebdo Journal. The officer had worked in Calais for over 15 years. “Oh, I have destroyed many encampments, I have emptied canisters of tear gas to contaminate people’s sleeping bags… In Calais I follow orders and I don’t think. … I [have] colleagues who set tents on fire so badly that the fire brigade had to be called,” he told the journal."

The EU-Turkey deal returned just 4% of migrants who undertook the dangerous journey to Greece (Quartz, link);

Greece: Minister fears new crisis on islands if migrant influx continues (, link):

"Amid fresh threats by Turkey to stop enforcing an agreement with the European Union to curb human smuggling over the Aegean, Greek authorities fear a renewed crisis on the islands.

Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas is very worried about the current situation, as the influx of migrants from Turkey has increased since the summer, reaching an average of 100 to 150 a day, a ministry official told Kathmerini.

“If the daily influx continues at this rate, from March onwards we will have to build a new refugee camp every month to host new arrivals,” the official said."

The Government of Hungary has proposed a new bill to tackle illegal immigration (About Hungary, link):

"On the frontier of Europe, Hungary is particularly exposed to the effects of illegal immigration, and the government is proposing measures to stop it."

And see: Hungary’s Government Strengthens its Anti-NGO Smear Campaign (HRW, link): "Draft “Stop Soros” Law Announced Ahead of National Elections in April"

EU 'hypocrisy' condemns people to Libya (euobserver, link):

"The EU is condemning people to "nightmarish conditions" in Libya by training its coastguard to prevent them from fleeing towards Europe, according to Human Rights Watch.

Kenneth Roth, the NGO's executive director, said at a press conference in Paris on Thursday (18 January) that the EU policy is an exercise in hypocrisy."

Greece: The complicated politics of the refugee crisis (Infomigrants, link):

"In the Greek city of Konitsa, the local mayor has openly welcomed refugees. With only 100 migrants and refugees in the city, locals have been able to help and make a real difference to people's lives. But the future is unclear with the government in Athens planning to move more newcomers to the mainland."

GREECE-TURKEY: Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership, questions migrant deal (, link):

"Turkey would reject any offer of partnership with the European Union that falls short of membership, Ankara’s minister for EU affairs said, warning that the current situation gave Turkey no reason to maintain its migrant deal with the bloc.

“A privileged partnership or similar approaches, we don’t take any of these seriously. Turkey cannot be offered such a thing,” Omer Celik told Reuters in an interview."

WALES: A Manufactured Catastrophe (Mid-Wales Refugee Action,link):

"“Fascism in Europe never starts with mass killings, it starts with the normalisation of hatred.” Brendan Cox

The situation of refugees in Calais is a tragedy, a miserable story of human suffering that has no place in the UK or France. Yesterday, Marcon and May agreed an extra 45 million towards on top of the existing 68 million to secure the Calais border.

In practice this means our taxes going towards building more fences, increasing CCTV and detection technologies and the continued beatings, use of tear, pepper spray and horrific treatment of those seeking safety suffer,

It is time to end this Manufactured Catastrophe."

Italy approves military mission in Niger, more troops to North Africa (Reuters, link):

"Italy’s parliament approved on Wednesday an increased military presence in Libya and the deployment of up to 470 troops in Niger to combat migration and the trafficking of people toward Europe (...)

Austrian far-right orders ‘border protection unit’ (euractiv, link):

"Austria’s new far-right interior minister has ordered the creation of a “border protection unit” in case of a major new influx of migrants, like the one in 2015.

“A repeat of 2015 cannot be allowed to happen. Therefore I have given instructions for the creation of a border protection unit,” said Herbert Kickl, of the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPÖ), on Thursday (18 January)."

Germany: Far-right Identitarians want to become guardians for refugees (DW,link):

"The far-right Identitarian youth movement has called on its members to become guardians for underage refugees. The provocative action has been condemned by German authorities.

In a statement released on its website, the far-right Identitarian Movement in Hamburg claimed that members could earn between €19.50 and €33.50 ($23.90 - $41) an hour at the state's expense as guardians for underage refugees."

Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration (euobserver, link):

"The Hungarian government on Wednesday (17 January) said it would propose a set of new laws that would tax and possibly sanction Hungarian groups which "assist illegal migration" and receive foreign funding.

The package was named 'Stop Soros', referring to George Soros, the Hungarian-born US billionaire whose foundation partly helps groups that advocate for the rights of refugees.

According to the proposed measures, any organisation that aids illegal migration would have to register and provide their data to the courts."

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