EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 news stories and commentaries 28-30.12.15)

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- Thoughts from the Borderlands (link):

"Against this tragic backcloth, in contrast, a new internationale of activists and volunteers, of new and old non-governmental organisations has responded to attempt to meet the needs of those in distress, in acute need and despair. Activists locally, in every place where refugees and migrants arrive and are held back, supported by volunteers from across the world, with specialist life-saving expertise and with none except a desire to help, on the front line for months on end or a few days, raising funds, collectivising and collaborating to try to plug the gaps of state failures.

Volunteers and refugees alike have been obstructed, assaulted, threatened with prosecution and derided by the very authorities whose inertia has caused this emergency humanitarian response.

It only serves to underline the deliberate antipathy towards the needs of refugees that everywhere, from Lesbos to Calais, it is paramilitary policing that is deployed, riot shields, batons, tear gas and rubber bullets, razor wire and detention, the destruction not building of shelters, to control not to assist, to abuse not to assuage, to inculcate fear, not to foster a sense of safety."

- IRELAND: Council of State convenes over International Protection Bill (RTE, link):

"President Michael D. Higgins has said he will take a decision within the next 24 hours on whether to refer the International Protection Bill to the Supreme Court or sign it into law.... After consulting with the council, the president must decide whether to sign the International Protection Bill into law or, if he believes it is "repugnant" to the Constitution, refer it to the Supreme Court.

The Council of State advises the president and is made up of the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of the High Court and the Attorney General. All surviving former taoisigh, presidents and chief justices are also members, along with seven of the president's own nominees. It is only the second time that the president has convened such a meeting, under Article 26 of the Constitution; the previous occasion was the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.....

the International Protection Bill, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said the overhauling of the asylum application system would enable officers to efficiently grant protection to those who are entitled to it while also identifying, at a much earlier stage, people who have no entitlement to stay in the State"

European Association for the Defense of Human Rights (AEDH): Migrant rights are not for sale! (pdf)

"8.6 billion euros! This is the sum the European Union has committed to spending to keep migrants as far as possible from its borders.

5 billion euros so that 4.4 million Syrians – whose need for international protection cannot be denied – remain in Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, instead of being welcomed in Europe.

3.6 billion euros so that Africans, from Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria, Niger and others; Kosovars; Afghans and Turks encounter obstacles blocking their path to Europe, holding them in detention and even sending them back to the countries from where they fled violence. So that third, or “partner” countries turn them back, deport them and sometimes even arrest migrants that the European Union does not want to allow inside its borders.

8.6 billion euros so that the EU can keep its hands clean, sparing European feelings from seeing migrants die before arriving on their shores."

- News (28-30.12.15)

Greece: At least 3,000 refugees arrive at Piraeus port on Wednesday (30 December): (ANA-mpa, link)

Denmark defends plan to strip refugee valuables (The, link): "The Danish government on Friday defended plans for police to search asylum seekers' luggage for valuables and cash after they prompted international outrage and drew comparisons to Nazi Germany... The plans have sparked international outrage, especially in the US, where the Washington Post on Thursday noted that confiscating jewellery from refugees had "a particularly bitter connotation in Europe" where the Nazis seized gold and valuables from Jews and others during the Second World War.."

Sweden-Denmark border rail fence completed (The Local, dk, link): "The fence at Copenhagen’s Kastrup station has been completed as preparations continue for the introduction of ID checks between Denmark and Sweden on January 4th." and: Norway to turn back asylum seekers at border (The, link): "Norway said Tuesday it would start turning back refugees without visas arriving from elsewhere in the passport-free Schengen zone, particularly Sweden. The move is part of a draft law containing a series of immigration measures that the Oslo government says will make its asylum policy "one of Europe's toughest". The conservative minority last month gathered enough parliamentary support from the centre and labour parties to adopt the measures."
Migrant crisis: Over one million reach Europe by sea (BBC News, link): "More than one million refugees and migrants have reached Europe by sea since the start of 2015, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says.More than 80% of the 1,000,573 people arrived in Greece, with the majority landing on Lesbos island, it said... The migrant crisis is Europe's worst since World War Two." Comment: It is a refugee crisis which the EU has handled abysmally

Refugees: Austria sends hundreds of refugees back to Slovenia (DW, link): "Over 400 refugees trying to cross the border from Slovenia to Austria have been turned back by Austrian police. The migrants had apparently lied about their nationality to be granted entry.... According to Slovenian news agency STA, Austrian border patrols sent back 413 refugees since Saturday. But Slovenia's deputy Interior Minister Bostjan Sefic said on Tuesday that since then, around half of those had been granted entry into Austria,"

Migrant crisis: Over one million reach Europe by sea (BBC News, link)

Frontex sends 300 guards in migrant mission to Greece (, link): "EU border agency Frontex said Tuesday it had started to deploy 293 officers and 15 vessels on Greek islands to help Athens cope with the massive influx of migrants to its shores. The guards "will assist in identifying and fingerprinting of arriving migrants, along with interpreters and forged document experts," Frontex said in a statement. "The number of border guards deployed will gradually increase to over 400 officers as well as additional vessels, vehicles and other technical equipment," it added."

Group demands removal of border fence (, link): "Ljubljana, 29 December - A group representing the interests of the southern region of Bela krajina has demanded of the government to remove the wire fence on the border with Croatia. The Bela Krajina Society said in Tuesday's protest that the fence was devastating for the local economy, environment and local society."

Greece: Migrant arrivals rise more than tenfold in a year (, link): "Over 800,000 refugees and migrants entered Greece between the start of the year and the end of November, with the number of arrivals increasing more than tenfold compared to last year’s total of 72,632, data published by the Greek Police showed Monday. The number tallies with figures from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which puts total arrivals in Greece from January 1 to December 24 at 836,672."

Fear and few answers as Turkish police round up Syrian refugees (Reuters, link): "Aid organizations and rights group Amnesty International say Turkish authorities are rounding up scores, maybe hundreds, of Syrian migrants off the streets, sometimes targeting beggars, and sending them to detention centers. The process has resulted in the deportation of some back to Syria against their will, they say. In a report this month, Amnesty said it had interviewed 50 refugee families who had been detained. It said more than 100 had been deported."

Two dead as migrants storm Spain's African border at Ceuta (The, link): "Hundreds of African migrants stormed the border between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta on Friday, and two migrants drowned and 12 others were hospitalized, officials in both nations said."

Bavaria demands control of own borders (The, link): "The conservative state government in Bavaria has called on Berlin to allow the Free State's own police to secure its border with Austria, saying that federal officers are overwhelmed."

Danish PM seeks change to UN asylum pact (The, link): "Denmark's centre-right prime minister on Sunday said he would seek a revision of the UN Refugee Convention, as Europe faces its worst migration crisis since World War II"

Turkey Detains 21 Migrants Trying to Enter Bulgaria (, link): "Turkish authorities say they arrested 21 people who were seeking to cross illegally into Bulgaria on Saturday. Another 26 were captured before entereing Greece from Turkey's northwest, Hürriyet Daily News reports" and Turkey captures 978 for illegal cross-border attempts (, link): "Some 978 people have been captured ahead of illegal crossings through Turkish borders, the Turkish General Staff has said. The general staff said in a written statement that 978 people were captured before illegally crossing Turkey’s borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Syria, Iraq and Iran on Dec. 26. Some 697 of them were captured as they attempted to cross into Turkey from Syria."

How Europe reacted to the refugee crisis (ICMPD, link)

Calls for Bundeswehr to reallocate resources from refugee care to NATO missions (DW, link): "The German Armed Forces Association has urged withdrawing thousands of soldiers from refugee care tasks and has called for boosting the number of recruits in the light of increased military obligations."

Question Papadimoulis in the European Council for the Hungarian attitude to the refugee (Athens Times, link)

Germany prices refugee effort at 17 billion euros (DW, link): "Spending on refugees by Germany's 16 states next year could exceed 17 billion euros, according to "Die Welt" newspaper. For the 300,000 children among them, 25,000 extra teachers are needed, reckons the trade union GEW."

Rescue filmed of stricken migrant boat off Lesbos (BBC video, link) showing volunteer rescue speedboat.

New film to be shot in migrant hotspot Calais (The, link): "An award-winning director will soon start work on Happy End, a film which will 'integrate' the migrant crisis affecting the French port into its plot."

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