EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories, documents and commentaries, 17-19.12.15)

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- Greek minister: New EU border force should assume full control of refugees (euractiv, link):

"The new European Border and Coast Guard Agency should be responsible for the full management of refugee and migration flows, while respecting the national sovereignty of the countries in which it operates,... So we want this new body to participate in returns, relocation, and resettlement. It must take the responsibility for the entire management; it cannot only protect the borders..."

- UPDATE: EUROSUR Handbook: EU: European Commission: EUROSUR: ANNEX to the COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR Handbook) (pdf):60 pages attached to Recommendation below

COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 15.12.2015 adopting the Practical handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR Handbook) (C-9206-15, pdf): This says: "Member States should transmit the EUROSUR Handbook, annexed to this Recommendation, to their authorities responsible for the surveillance of the external land and sea borders which shall use it as the main tool when implementing Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013."

Eurosur is a surveillance system with drones etc to stop "illegal" migration, See: EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control (Statewatch News Online, November 2015)

- Suspend EU-Turkey Action Plan: Turkey: EU risks complicity in violations as refugees and asylum-seekers locked up and deported (AI, link):

"Amnesty International is calling on Turkey to end unlawful detentions and deportations. The EU and Turkey should establish effective independent monitoring mechanisms to review human rights compliance of the EU-Turkey Action Plan and the use of EU funds for migration-related detention purposes. Until these measures are in place, implementation of the Action Plan should be suspended." and see:

Bad weather and Turkey push-backs curb asylum inflows (euobserver, link): "Bad weather appears to be the main factor in the recent drop in asylum seekers coming to Europe, but reports are also emerging of Turkey sending people back to war zones. On Wednesday (16 December), Amnesty International accused Turkish authorities of rounding up asylum seekers and refugees and busing them back to Syria and Iraq in breach of international law. John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s director for Europe and Central Asia, in a statement said Turkey is pressuring people against their will to return to places they fled.“We have documented the arbitrary detention of some of the most vulnerable people on Turkish soil," he said. Amnesty says "possibly hundreds" have been returned since the EU signed a €3 billion deal at end of November with Turkey to curb the inflow."

- The EU’s Response to the Refugee Crisis - Taking Stock and Setting Policy Priorities (CEPS, link): "What have been the most important EU policy and legal responses to the 2015 refugee crisis? Is Europe acting in compliance with its founding principles? This Essay takes stock of the main results and policy outputs from the EU’s interventions to the refugee crisis. It critically highlights the outstanding policy dilemmas confronting the adopted instruments and puts forwards a set of policy priorities to guide the next phases of the European Agenda on Migration."

Ska Keller: Border policy spokeswoman of the Greens in the European Parliament: A Green Assessment of the European Commission 's Proposal on A new mandate for Frontex (pdf)

EU: European Council: 17-17 December:
European Council meeting (17 and 18 December 2015) – Conclusions: see Migration: pages 1-2 (pdf)

- News (17-19.12.15)

Eurojust in Greece to support fight against illegal immigrant smuggling (link): Comment: No-one seems to have told Eurojust there there is no such thing in law as an "illegal" immigrant. Also sets out Eurojust's role in "hotspots"

EU stalls over drive to resettle refugees in Turkey (FT, link)

Turkey told illegal migration must be slashed - Ankara urged to do more by 11 states at mini-summit before European Council (Politico, link): "A group of 11 EU nations told the Turkish prime minister Thursday that the country must dramatically reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the bloc. “We have to bring down the numbers of illegal border crossings,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told POLITICO after the Thursday morning meeting. “We can only discuss resettlement of refugees from Turkey to the EU if these numbers are close to zero.”"

Eighteen migrants drown after boat sinks off Turkey's southwestern coast (, link): "Eighteen people died and 14 were rescued late on Friday after a boat carrying migrants trying to sail to Greece sank off the southern Turkish town of Bodrum, Dogan News Agency reported. Fishermen hearing the migrants’ screams of migrants alerted the Turkish coast guard, who picked up the bodies from the sea after the wooden boat carrying migrants from Iraq, Pakistan and Syria capsized about 3.5 km off the coast."

Blaming Greece and Italy for the EU's failures: Opinion: Central EU border security is necessary evil (euobserver, link): "Attempts to deal with the problem at the EU border have been hampered by Greece and Italy, who have failed to properly protect their borders. Left alone by the other member states, they have decided to let refugees pass through unregistered. In 2015, only 429,000 out of the 760,000 refugees entering Greece where registered by local authorities, and only 121,000 fingerprinted."

Sweden must be able to say No to refugees (euobserver, link)

Outrage at Danish plan to seize refugees' jewellery (link): "The Danish government has caused outrage with a proposal to seize cash and jewellery from refugees to make them pay for their stay, with international media drawing parallels to Nazi practices" and Denmark wants to seize jewelry and cash from refugees (Washington Post, link)

Turkey, Greece pressed at EU migrant summit (, link): "European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday pressed Turkey to curb the flow of migrants entering the bloc via Greece and urged Athens to speed up its efforts to accommodate and repatriate migrants...."

Leaders impose June deadline for EU border force (euobserver, link)

International Migrants Day: Let your light shine (euractiv, link): "I see anti-migrant sentiment beginning to seethe. I see political malaise; an absence of courage, a bankruptcy of leadership and a paucity of moral sensitivity. I see a one-sided debate focussing on fear, negativity and security. Where are the smiles of welcome from last summer? Where are the banners in football grounds declaring “Migrants Welcome”? I know they are there, and I know they will be seen again when we gather in cities and towns across the globe with candles of solidarity. The common sense and generosity of ordinary people, of communities made up of migrants and non-migrants, people of all skin colours, politics and faiths – that is what sustains me."

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