EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and documents, 4.12.15)

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- RABITS team to go to Greece to "combat "illegal immigration": European Commission: Refugee Crisis: Greece activates EU Civil protection mechanism, agrees Frontex operation at border with former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and triggers RABIT mechanism (pdf)

What are RABITS? EU:

Rapid Border Intervention Teams (Statewatch database) and FRONTEX and RABITS: the European Union is stepping up its operational efforts combating illegal immigration (Commission press release, pdf)

and The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf): "The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) was established in 2007. It offers rapid operational assistance for a limited period of time to a Member State facing a situation of urgent and exceptional pressure at points of the external borders, with large numbers of third-country nationals trying to enter illegally the territory of the Member State" [emphasis added]

EU border agency confirms Greece’s request for help (

"“Greece asked Frontex yesterday to launch a Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) mechanism on the Greek islands in the Aegean, where it continues to face massive migratory pressure,” the agency said in an announcement on Friday, adding that Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has five working days to evaluate the situation and decide whether to activate the mechanism. If the mechanism is activated, Frontex explained, EU member states and Schengen associate countries would be obligated to provide border guards and equipment for the operation"

- Frontex to assist Greece with registration of migrants at its land border (link): "Frontex agreed with Greece today to expand its activities to the country’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where the agency will assist with registration of migrants"

- IOM: Mediterranean staistics: 4 December 2015 (pdf): 893,970 arrivals, 744,662 to Greece, 145,098 to Italy and 3,631 dead/missing.

- Boats in the night (open democracy, link): "Even if we didn’t do a perfect job, we could do something together. It would be better than nothing and certainly better than the absence of support offered by our governments".

- Germany: Just four convictions for refugee home attacks (The, link): "Just four out of 222 recorded attacks against refugee homes in Germany this year have ended with a conviction for the perpetrator, an analysis by German newspaper Die Zeit shows... Out of the 93 fire attacks, almost half were against buildings where people were already living. So far in 2015, 104 people have been wounded in fire and other attacks against refugee housing. But prosecutors have secured convictions against just four of the people behind the violence, with a further eight cases ongoing – making for a total of five percent of cases that have even seen a day in court."

- EU: Council of the European Union adopt (4.12.15): Conclusions of the Council and the Representatives of the governments of the Member States on Statelessness (pdf):

While: "Recalling: that the right to a nationality is a fundamental right recognised by Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that this is one of the basic principles of the 1997 European Convention of Nationality...."

These non-binding Conclusions simply: "Invite: the Commission to launch exchanges of good practices among Member States..."

- Turkey rounds up 3,000 migrants planning to cross into Greece (, link):

"Turkish authorities have rounded up in the past four days nearly 3,000 migrants planning to cross the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece, local media said Friday.

The detentions were part of a major operation that was launched on Monday, a day after Turkey and the European Union reached a deal to stem the flow of refugees into Europe. The Turkish coastguard apprehended a total of 2,933 migrants, mainly from Syria and Iraq, as they were preparing to make their way to the Greek island of Lesbos from the northwestern town of Ayvacik in Canakkale province, Dogan news agency reported.

Thirty-five suspected smugglers were also detained while hundreds of migrant boats were seized, it added. The migrants will be sent to a detention centre where some could face deportation, Dogan said, without giving details."
[emphasis added]

- News (4.12.15)

Four days, zero migrants at Norway-Russia border (The, link): "On Monday, police in Eastern Finnmark began acting on new stricter requirements regarding who is allowed to come over the border to Norway. This means that border control agents are now assessing asylum seekers’ identification papers before they even leave the Russian area. As a result, asylum seekers are essentially stopped before they even come to Norway."

France scolded for 'round-ups' of refugees (The, link): "A top prison inspector has slammed France for its response to the refugee crisis in Calais, stating that the policy of "unclogging" the 'Jungle' camp by flying migrants around the country must stop....The inspector, whose job is to ensure that people deprived of liberty in France have their fundamental rights respected, concluded in an eight-page report on Wednesday that there are "serious violations of human rights" at the camp."

Greece's suspension from Schengen had never been raised in the EU framework: govt speaker (, link): "Greece's suspension from Schengen had never been raised in the EU framework, but there are untrue reports pushing a hostile agenda about Greece in an attempt to persuade the Athens government to improve its handling of migrants and refugees"

IOM Monitors Greece-FYRoM Border Amid Security Concerns (link): "The situation at Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRoM) is extremely tense with protests and sporadic rioting by stranded migrants and refugees. Nobody has crossed the border since Wednesday, when some 4,058 refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were allowed to cross, according to IOM staff. But another 3,500 migrants of other nationalities are now stranded on the Greek side of the border, together with some 2,500 Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, who have been caught up in the border closure, but who are expected to be admitted to the FYROM when the border re-opens."

Pakistan sends deported migrants back to Greece (Guardian, link): "In latest flare-up of tension between EU and Islamabad, Pakistan rejects 31 people it says were illegally returned Although 19 out of the 50 deportees who came in on a charter plane were taken into custody in Pakistan, the remainder stayed on board for almost two hours before returning to Greece after the government said they did not have the correct paperwork."

The refugee crisis in Brussels is deteriorating rapidly (euractiv, link) "Citizens engaged in helping hundreds of refugees arriving in Brussels are overwhelmed. The Belgian government should take greater responsibility for the humanitarian crisis, write Elke Zander and Anja Werner."

Visegrad Four mobilise to keep Schengen intact (euractiv, link): "Four eastern EU member states yesterday (3 December) rejected the idea of cutting the 26-member passport-free Schengen zone down to include fewer countries as a way to cope with the refugee and migrant crisis. The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the countries known as the Visegrad Group or V4, said in a joint statement that "any open or hidden attempts to limit free movement" inside the European Union were unacceptable."

EU debates longer-term suspension of Schengen travel-free zone (euracttiv, link): "EU interior ministers will discuss a proposal on Friday (4 December) that could allow new border controls between European states for up to two years as an unprecedented migration crisis strains the Schengen free-travel zone". and see: Integrity of the Schengen area, LIMITE doc: 14300-15, (pdf)

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