EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 news stories and documents, 14.12.15)

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- Migration [What Think Tanks are thinking] (EPRS, link): "This note offers links to a series of recent commentaries and studies on migration from major international think tanks and research institutes. More papers on the same topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What think tanks are thinking’, published in early September" Comment: It would be good to see a similar survey of what NGOs - who are active on this pressing issue are thinking and doing.

These Are The Most Powerful Photographs Of The Syrian Refugee Crisis In 2015 (BuzzFeedNews, link): "With the Syrian conflict showing no sign of ending, we look back on the risky journeys men and women fleeing the country have taken this year."

- The European Commission and the UNHCR today launched a scheme to provide 20.000 additional reception places for asylum seekers and relocation candidates in Greece through subsidies for housing in the private sector. (pdf) and:

Joint Declaration On the Support to Greece for the development of the hotspot/relocation scheme as well as for developing asylum reception capacity Brussels, 14 December 2015 (pdf)

- News (14.12.15)

Bulgaria, Turkey PMs to Discuss Migration Crisis in Sofia Tuesday (, link)

Refugee crisis: The closure of internal borders will not make Europe safer (Irish Examiner, link): "ANOTHER key European project is under threat. Two decades after border controls were abolished under the Schengen Agreement — which encompasses 26 countries, including four non-members of the European Union — Germany has reinstated controls at its border with Austria, and France at its border with Belgium."

Enough's Enough: Interior Minister Says Germany May Stop Accepting Migrants (, link): "Germany may start turning incoming migrants back already at the border, German media reported, citing Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. “The Schengen zone may not last long without controlling its borders if the system of protection of its external borders is not functioning,” the Minister said on Saturday."

Illegal border crossings hit record highs (euractiv, link) and EU border force plan faces resistance (link): "A proposal to give the European Union executive the power to send forces unbidden into member states to defend the common European frontier will face resistance from some countries when it is published this week. The European Commission wants to be able to deploy personnel from a new European Border and Coastguard Agency without, as currently required, the consent of the state concerned, EU officials told Reuters in early December, reflecting frustration with Greek reluctance to seek help with migrants."

Erosion of Schengen is 'worrying', IMF says (euractiv, link): "The IMF is becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of consensus among EU countries to address the refugee crisis, and its impact on the freedom of movement within the Schengen area, senior officials from the institution said on Friday (11 November).

The challenges ahead could be too hard in light of the lack of appetite to reach common solutions on immigration, the IMF fears. The declining interest in more integration, and the discord between the member states, are so significant that the Fund considers them as important risks for the Union, a senior IMF official told a group of reporters."

Refugee flow to EU defies cold weather and crackdown (, link): "Harsh winter and stricter controls at the coastline fails to deter refugees from trying to reach Lesbos....

Young people vote far-right in Europe (DW, link): "In the European Union, which was founded upon ideals of democracy and inclusion, more and more young people are turning to far-right parties that lure them in with simple messages. Some experts see democracy in danger."

Moroccan migrants moved to Corinth camp after clashes at Athens stadium (, link): "Around 120 migrants from Morocco have been moved from the impromptu camp at the Taekwondo stadium in southern Athens to a detention center in Corinth, west of Athens."

GERMANY: Police use water cannon to break up Leipzig protests against neo-Nazi march (Deutsche Welle, link): "A youth pastor known in Germany for his stance against neo-Nazis has been arrested in Leipzig during a leftist protest. At least 56 officers and several demonstrators were injured in clashes with left-wing protesters."

HUNGARY: Council of Europe request information on discrimination of Roma children in Hungary (, link): "The Council of Europe (CoE) has requested information from the Hungarian government concerning an unrealistically high number of Roma children sent to special schools for the mentally challenged. In a statement, the CoE said it required statistical figures to assess why there are more Roma than non-Roma children in such schools and what factors contributed to an increasing ratio. The figures should contain the number of Roma and non-Roma children that have been asked to fill in a test before starting school, and the number of children found mentally challenged based on the test results."

Turned away - On thin evidence, Britain declares its biggest source of refugees safe after all (The Economist, link): "Over 350,000 Eritreans, or 6-10% of the population, have escaped the country since 2000. Last year 46,750 sought refuge in Europe, up from 12,000 in 2012. Britain now receives more asylum-seekers from Eritrea than from any other country. But recently it has become inhospitable. The acceptance rate has dropped from around 90% at the end of last year to 39% (see chart), the lowest in Europe. Between April and September applications to Britain accounted for 7% of those lodged in Europe, but 49% of rejections. Why has it become so strict?

Strangely the answer lies in a country that grants refugee status to nearly all Eritreans who apply: Denmark. A fact-finding mission by the Danish Immigration Service in October 2014 concluded that living in Eritrea was much less bad than previously thought. It claimed those who left illegally and evaded conscription were safe to go back, provided they sign a letter of apology and pay a 2% tax on income earned abroad. Torture, imprisonment and executions were a thing of the past for returnees. In March Britain’s Home Office included the research in its own country reports, which officials use to make asylum decisions. Acceptance rates plummeted."

Top Belgian Politician Misleads Asylum Seekers and Contradicts the Law (, link): "There is serious concern about the freedom the migration authority is giving itself in determining which asylum seekers to consider and how it handles claims from Afghans."

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