EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (35 news stories, documents and commentaries, 21.12.15)

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- Migration: Global Report on Journalism's Biggest Test in 2015: Press release (link):

"An international report on media and the global migration and refugee crisis, issued today to coincide with International Migrants Day (December 18), says journalists often fail to tell the full story and routinely fall into propaganda traps laid by politicians.

The report, Moving Stories, is published by the Ethical Journalism Network and reviews media coverage of migration in the European Union and in 14 countries across the globe.

“Around the world media coverage is often politically led with journalists following an agenda dominated by loose language and talk of invasion and swarms,” said Aidan White, EJN Director. “But at other moments the story is laced with humanity, empathy and a focus on the suffering of those involved.”

From the Ethical Journalism Network: Full report (link) includes:

The View from Brussels: Missed opportunities to call the European Union to account by Tony Bunyan.
Bulgaria - A study in media Sensationalism by Rossen Bossev and Maria Cheresehva
Italy - A charter for tolerant journalism: Media take centre stage in the Mediterranean drama by Yasha Maccanico
United Kingdom - How journalism plays follow-my-leader in the rhetoric of negativity by Zak Suffee.

- Red Cross EU: Migration to the EU: a perilous and difficult journey (Press release, link) and Recommendations from the National Red Cross Societies in the European Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (pdf)

"This position paper proposes concrete steps that can be taken by the EU and its Member States to reduce risks along migratory routes and address some of the increasing vulnerabilities stemming from these perils. Some of the key dangers faced by migrants along migratory routes to Europe are analysed in the Red Cross EU Office (RCEU) publication Perilous journeys(2). These include: limited access to rights and services; arbitrary arrests and detention; violence and human trafficking; family separation and the loss of family links; as well as increasingly dangerous journeys to reach and cross the EU’s external borders."

- European Parliament: MEPs voice concerns over detention and reception conditions for asylum seekers (pdf)

"No-one should ever be detained for the sole reason that he or she is an asylum seeker, said speakers in a debate on Wednesday evening. To apply for asylum is a basic human right, and detention can only be used as a measure of last resort, they insisted. Several MEPs criticised declarations by European Council President
Donald Tusk about detaining migrants for up to 18 months in order to “screen” them. Other MEPs argued that such decisions are better taken at national level....

EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said that "all aspects of the asylum legislation" must be respected. Asylum seekers may only be detained "in full compliance with these rules", he insisted, stressing the need to properly transpose EU asylum rules into national law and implement them."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"Under the EU's so-called "hotspots" policy refugees are subjected to "nationality screening" to determine whether they should be considered for reloaction in the EU or returned (voluntarily or forcibly). Commissioner Avramopoulos seems to be unaware of the statement issued by the head of the UN Ban Ki-moon that the screening "asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard.""

- Migreurop: 18 December 2015: Calais Declaration: We must refuse the encampment of foreign citizens and the closure of borders (pdf) and French (pdf):

"The situation which Calais has experienced for nearly 20 years (the Sangatte camp “closed” in 2002 had opened in 1999) is symptomatic of the policies which the European Union has been advocating with blind persistence: hence, the planned “hotspots” and “processing centres” will unfailingly translate, if they are effectively implemented, into the creation of immense detention centres in Italy and in Greece, but also in Niger and Turkey. «Encampment», as far away as possible from the glances of civil societies, is the final objective of the European Union’s migration policies: by relentlessly sorting migrants, it thus goes so far as to violate the most basic human rights and to cause the death of numerous third-country nationals.

The Migreurop network deems it important to solemnly reaffirm that respect for rights and human dignity requires the cessation of all forms of detention and ghettoisation of the people exercising their right to leave their countries. Necessary steps towards dignified reception conditions, in the Calais region and beyond, include repealing the Dublin Regulation and any form of border controls (like those promoted by the Le Touquet treaty) introduced for the purpose of transforming them into enclosures, rather than legal and protected points of passage."

- Dead and missing migrants en route to Greek islands 2015 (, link): "The map shows the estimated number of migrants who have died or gone missing en route to the Greek islands between Jan - Nov 2015. Click on an island to show historic data specific to that route. Click again to deselect it and show the year to date total for the Aegean Sea."

- Yesterday I met a guy that broke my heart to pieces. [Facebook, link] "He had to sell his kidney to make this trip to safety and upon arriving on the shore of Greece he has no money to continue onwards. Imagine having to sell your kidney to find safety. It's 2015, Why is this happening? Why are WE allowing this to happen in OUR lifetime?"

This is the man who came to cook for refugees and now even has his own visa run out and has to leave, he is heartbroken like so many of us...

- IOM: EU Migrant, Refugee Arrivals by Land and Sea Approach One Million in 2015 (link): 956,456 arrivals in the EU this year: 801,919 to greece, 150,317 to Italy. 3,695 dead/missing (18 December 2015)

- Global Detention Project & Access Info Europe: The Uncounted: Detention of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Europe (link):

"There is no requirement within the European Union for Member States to gather data on the number of migrants detained nor for EU bodies such as Eurostat to gather such data."

- News (20-21.12.15)

EU: Schulz at the EU summit: "It is easy to blame Europe or Schengen for security failures in our Member States" (European Parliament, link): "It is easy to blame Europe or Schengen for security failures in our Member States, and wave the illusion that retreating behind national borders somehow immunises against - often home-grown - terrorists", said the EP President Schulz in his opening speech before the European Council of 17-18 December dedicated to pressing issues, such as migration, counter terrorism and the British referendum. "If we want to preserve our freedom of movement, then we must act fast and decisively.""

Germany reports doubling of deportation numbers 2015 (DW, link): "More than 18,000 rejected asylum seekers have been sent back to their home countries from Germany this year. The interior ministry reports that the numbers have nearly doubled since last year."

Germany and Austria mull new EU asylum rules (euobserver, link): "Altmaier said asylum application decisions, under the new plans, would also take place at hotspots. "Those who get a positive decision will then be distributed around EU countries according to a formula and the actual asylum application will then be carried out in those countries," he said.... "We cannot pretend that all refugees actually have grounds for asylum," he told Austrian daily Oesterreich over the weekend."

European nations' refugee policy leaves thousands of migrants stranded in Greece (Los Angeles Times, link): "The policy is aimed at easing the massive influx of refugees into Europe, but it has thrust thousands of migrants from troubled countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia into an uncertain limbo. Critics say the policy is discriminatory..."

European migration nears 1 million mark, IOM says (DW, link): "More than 990,000 migrants have entered Europe and the number is expected to reach 1 million in the coming days, the International Organization for Migration has said. EU's Frontex border agency is beefing up its forces."

Greece: Government mulls Plan B for returning migrants (, link): "A key issue dogging the government is the fate of north-bound migrants who are turned back on the border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) because they are not considered refugees. Speaking to Kathimerini, an official that did not wish to be named said that non-Syrians, Iraqis or Eritreans who received permission to stay in Greece for 30 days after arriving at one of the Aegean islands will after the deadline be considered illegal unless they have submitted an asylum or repatriation claim. “Officially, these people cannot be accommodated in one of the ‘open’ facilities,” the official said."

Refugee crisis: Germany warns of legal action against EU countries ignoring quota (Guardian, link): "Foreign minister warns Slovakia and Hungary that ‘solidarity is not a one way street’ and legal channels could be used to ensure refugee quotas are upheld" and see: Refugee crisis warnings to eastern EU nations from Germany, Austria (DW, link) "Eastern EU nations that refuse to accept refugees risk funding cuts and legal sanctions, according to two German cabinet ministers. Chancellery chief Peter Altmaier added that no nation can ignore globalized migration."

Danish MEP quits party over asylum policies (euobserver, link): "A European lawmaker for Denmark's ruling right-wing Venstre party said Saturday he was leaving the party over its controversial asylum policies, which include plans for police to search asylum seekers' luggage for valuables to help pay for their stay. MEP Jens Rohde is joining the centrist Danish Social Liberal Party."

DENMARK: New integration rules will leave refugees hungry, says report (The Copenhagen Post, link): "The integration allowance negotiated in July by Dansk Folkeparti, Liberal Alliance and Konservative for 20,000 refugee adults and children will have them living below the poverty level, unable in most cases to afford three meals a day."

DENMARK: Sharp increase in numbers charged with passport fraud at Copenhagen Airport (The Copenhagen Post, link): "The number of foreigners attempting to pass through Copenhagen Airport charged with passport fraud has more than tripled in the past five years from 74 in 2010 to 255 last year, Metroxpress reports."

EU: Refugee crisis warnings to eastern EU nations from Germany, Austria (Deutsche Welle, link): "Eastern EU nations that refuse to accept refugees risk funding cuts and legal sanctions, according to two German cabinet ministers. Chancellery chief Peter Altmaier added that no nation can ignore globalized migration."

Germany to introduce individual checks for Syrian refugees (Deutsche Welle, link): "The German Interior Ministry confirmed it would return to case-by-case reviews for Syrian migrants entering the country. This comes after media reported that the IS had stolen thousands of Syrian passports."

GERMANY: Asylum deportations set to double in 2015 (The Local, link): "Almost twice as many people have been deported from Germany in 2015 so far after having their asylum applications rejected compared with the previous year."

Germany's BAMF showcases fast asylum center (Deutsche Welle, link): "The head of Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Frank-Jürgen Weise, said on Friday that asylum applications of "little complexity" because they involved individuals from Balkan nations deemed "safe" would be decided "within 48 hours" under fast-track procedures."

ITALY: Eritrean migrant dies in Italy hospital escape bid (The Local, link): "An Eritrean man who survived a perilous journey across the Mediterranean by boat to Italy has died after falling from a hospital window in a night-time escape bid, Italian media reported on Saturday."

HUNGARY: Council of Europe and UNHCR urge Hungary to change tone over refugees (Council of Europe, link): "UNHCR - the UN Refugee Agency, the Council of Europe and ODHIR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) have urged Hungary to refrain from policies and practices that promote intolerance, fear and fuel xenophobia against refugees and migrants."

SCOTLAND: Syrian refugees in Scotland: cold weather but warm welcome (The Guardian, link): "Traumatised arrivals are given help with language and cultural issues, as well as hot water bottles and umbrellas"

Syrian refugee Ameer Mehtr swims for 7 hours to start new life in Europe (The Independent, link): "A desperate Syrian refugee has revealed how he braved massive waves and deadly currents to swim for seven hours to reach Greece from Turkey."

Turkey: No change in visa-regime with Syria, ‘open door policy’ goes on (Hurriyet, link): "Turkish officials have strictly ruled out reports suggesting that the country would start imposing visa requirements on Syrians trying to enter the country, underlining that Turkey “open-door policy” for Syrians is still valid."

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