EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22 news stories and important documents, 10.12.15)

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- European Commission orders infringements procedures against Greece, Italy, Hungary and Croatia

- Implementing the Common European Asylum System: Commission escalates 8 infringement proceedings (pdf):

"The Commission is today urging Greece, Croatia and Italy to correctly implement the Eurodac Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 603/2013), which provides for effective fingerprinting of asylum seekers and transmission of data to the Eurodac central system within 72 hours....

The Commission is also urging Greece and Malta to communicate the national measures taken to fully transpose the Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU), which sets out common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and the Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33/EU), which deals with access to reception conditions for asylum seekers while they wait for examination of their applications."

- Commission opens infringement procedure against Hungary concerning its asylum law (pdf):

"Firstly, regarding the asylum procedures, the Commission is concerned that there is no possibility to refer to new facts and circumstances in the context of appeals and that Hungary is not automatically suspending decisions in case of appeals - effectively forcing applicants to leave their territory before the time limit for lodging an appeal expires, or before an appeal has been heard....

Secondly, regarding rights to translation and interpretation, the Commission is concerned the Hungarian law on fast-tracked criminal proceedings for irregular border crossings does not respect provisions of the Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, which ensures that every suspect or accused person who does not understand the language of the proceedings is provided with a written translation of all essential documents, including any judgment....

Thirdly, on the fundamental right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, there are concerns as to the fact that under the new Hungarian law dealing with the judicial review of decisions rejecting an asylum application a personal hearing of the applicants is optional. Judicial decisions taken by court secretaries (a sub-judicial level) lacking judicial independence also seem to be in breach of the Asylum Procedures Directive and Article 47 of the Charter."

See: EU to sue Greece, Italy, Croatia over migrants (, link): "The European Union has started legal action against Greece, Italy and Croatia for failing to correctly register migrants. Tens of thousands of migrants have arrived in those countries over the last few months but less than half of them have been registered by national authorities. Greece has only fingerprinted around 121,000 of the almost half a million people who arrived there between July 20 and Nov. 30 this year, according to the European Commission."

- Pakistan did not accept its nationals extradited from Greece, Austria and Bulgaria (Greek Reporter, link)

- Frontex accepts Greece’s request for Rapid Border Intervention Teams (link):

"“The RABIT deployment will allow us to increase the number of both sea and land patrols, which means more migrants will be identified and properly registered soon after they arrive on the Greek islands. In other words, launching RABIT means upscaling Operation Poseidon Sea,” said Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

Out of more than 700 000 migrants who reached the Greek islands from Turkey so far this year, only one in five was intercepted upon reaching the shore."

- State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Updated on 8 December (pdf): Comment on the current situation: Little has changed..

- "Relocations": Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (Communicated as of 09 December 2015] (pdf): Now 14 Member States 3,827 places offered - up 481 - out of 160,000 needed.

- Returns since September 2015 (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 658 - up 49, plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece - same as last week.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf) In Lesvos: Now: Frontex: 114 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer) 11 "hospots" are planned but only two - Lampedusa and Lesvos - are operational.

- Finanical pledges: Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million
(Communicated as of 09 December 2015)
(pdf) No change in shortfalls.

- Accepted Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece (Communicated as of 09 December 2015) (pdf) Many unmet needs.

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

And see: EU refugee relocation makes lethargic start (DW, link): "The EU agreed to resettle tens of thousands of refugees from overburdened southern European countries. The result has been meager, with a mere 133 people relocated from Italy, as Megan Williams reports from Rome."

- Greece dismantles Macedonia border camp (euobserver, link): "Authorities on Wednesday (9 December) removed some 2,300 people from a makeshift camp on the Greek side of the Macedonian border after weeks of tension. Nationals from Algeria, Bangladesh, Morocco, Pakistan, and Somalia, among others, were bussed to former Olympic venues in Elliniko and Galatsi. Only those that have a good chance of obtaining asylum, such as Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans are allowed to cross the barbed-wire and chain-link fence separating the two states in their efforts to reach mainland EU."

- More than 1 million people have sought EU asylum so far in 2015 (Guardian, link):

"One in four asylum seekers are Syrian refugees, with Germany receiving by far the highest number of claims... Of the 1,001,910 applications registered in the EU in the year to date 94% were first time applicants. Syrian asylum seekers accounted for a quarter of applications, while 12% related to Afghanistan and 9% to Iraq."

NB: This figure includes applicants from Balkans and EU states.

- News (10.12.15)

Derry residents determined to help Syrian refugees settle in city (Derry Journal, link): "The desire of Derry people to help Syrian refugees was never as evident as it was inside the main hall in the Foyle Arena on Friday. The event, called ‘From Syria to Sanctuary’, was spearheaded by Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Elisha McCallion. Open to the public, ‘From Syria to Sanctuary’ was emotive, informative and extremely insightful."

Many Iraqis already want out of Finland – “I'm dying on the inside here” (Helsinki Times, link)

Nearly 770,000 people enter Greece in 2015, says UN (, link): "The UN refugee agency says nearly 770,000 asylum-seekers have entered Greece so far this year on their long trek toward a better life in wealthier European Union countries and said more than 200 have drowned en route."

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