EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (39 news stories and lots of documents, 15.12.15)

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- Migration: Global Report on Journalism's Biggest Test in 2015: Embargoed until 17th December 2015, 00.01 GMT (Word file):

"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) and Executive Summary (link)

- EU: Council of the European Union: Latest version: European Council (17 and 18 Decembre 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13598-15, pdf)

News (16.12.15)

One dead as refugee boat sinks off Turkish coast (, link)

Merkel: Germany needs to reduce number of refugees (euobserver, link)

- EU: European Commission: 15 December 2015: "Package": Excluding, controlling and returning refugees

Press releases on 15 December 2015 and new measures/reports:
A) A European Border and Coast Guard to protect Europe's External Borders (pdf)

1) EU Borders Guards: Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004, Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (COM 671-15, pdf)

and: ANNEX (COM 671-15 pdf)

2) Amending Schengen Border Code: Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Regulation No 562/2006 (EC) as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders COM 670-15, (pdf)

3) EUROSUR: 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." See: EUROSUR: ANNEX to the COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR Handbook) (pdf):60 pages

4) Communication: Eighth biannual report on the functioning of the Schengen area 1 May - 10 December 2015 (pdf)

B. Commission proposes temporary suspension of Sweden's obligations under the EU relocation mechanism (pdf)

- SWEDEN: Proposal for a:
Council DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Sweden in accordance with Article 9 of Council Decision (EU) 2015/1523 and Article 9 of Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (COM 677-15, pdf)

C. Commission presents Recommendation for a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey for refugees from Syria (pdf)

- TURKEY: VOLUNTARY ADMISSION: Commission RECOMMENDATION: of 15.12.2015: for a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme with Turkey (C-0490-15, pdf)

D. Implementing the European Agenda on Migration: Progress Reports on Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans (pdf)

1) Report: on the follow-up to the Leaders' Meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkans Route (COM 676-15, pdf) and ANNEX (pdf)

2) Progress Report on the Implementation of the hotspots in Greece (COM 678-15, pdf) and ANNEX (pdf)

3) Progress Report on the Implementation of the hotspots in Italy (COM 679-15, pdf) and ANNEX (pdf)

E. European Agenda on Migration: Securing Europe's External Borders What does today's Borders Package include? (pdf)

Includes: EU TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Proposal for a: Regulation on a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (COM 668-15 pdf) and ANNEX with sample document (pdf). This would replace the long-standing l “laissez-passer” based on 1994 Recommendations (Statewatch JHA Archive 1976-2000) and rejected by African countries. There is no guarrantee this will be any more acceptable.

see also for Backjground: Managing the refugee crisis (15/12/2015) (link)

- EU: European Council: European Council (17 and 18 Decembre 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13596-15, dated 14 December 2015, pdf): compare section on "Migration" with earlier: European Council (17 and 18 December 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13593-15, dated 7 December 2015, pdf). Latest version says:

"For the Schengen acquis to be preserved it is indispensable to regain control over the external borders. Deficiencies, notably as regards hotspots, relocation and
returns, must be rapidly addressed.The EU institutions and the Member States must urgently:"

Comment: the following eight points are all about preserving Schengen by excluding, controlling and returning refugees.

They include opening:

- more "hotspots"

- "ensure systematic identification, registration and fingerprinting, and take measures to tackle refusal of registration and stem irregular secondary flows",

- "ensure the actual return of people not authorised to stay and provide support to Member States as regards return operations"

- "ensure implementation" of "returns and readmission" following the Valletta Summit (some hope of this...)

- to "rapidly examine" the Commission's 15 December proposals (there are two different lists in the two documents)

- NOTTINGHAM: Refugee Forum Conference: Changing Narratives of Asylum: Media, Legislation, and Refugee Support (link):

A conference at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum bringing together academics, practitioners and activists to examine the different narratives around seeking asylum in the UK from different perspectives. The conference will take place on FRIDAY, 8 January 2016 from 9.45 am to 5pm at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF), The Sycamore Centre, 33a Hungerhill Road, Nottingham NG3 4NB.

There will be two Keynote speakers: Aidan White, Director of the Ethical Journalism Network, and Dr Helen O’Nions, Nottingham Law Centre (NTU), together with four workshops on asylum issues: Legal, Mental Health, Destitution, and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children, plus a concluding panel.

- News (15.12.15)

Greece wants migrants to apply for asylum wherever they want (euobserver, link): "Greece wants to strip point of entry rules in the EU's crippled Dublin asylum regulation to allow migrants to travel and apply for asylum anywhere they want.The idea was floated in a letter to EU commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos."

Dispatches: Stranded in an EU country (HRW, link)

Proposal on EU Border and Coast Guard must not be at expense of migrant and refugee rights (AI, link)

EU agency reports drop in migrants to Greece (, link): "Frontex cited worsening weather and more restrictive border-control policies along the Western Balkan route as the apparent reasons for the drop. Some 108,000 people arrived in Greece in November, down from 150,000 in October." and: Migrant center to open at site of old airport (link)

Number of migrants arriving in Greece dropped by half in November (Frontex, link)

Denmark to introduce border controls (euractiv, link): "Denmark will introduce border controls with Germany on 4 January, as soon as Sweden formally introduces ID checks on the Øresund bridge, connecting Denmark and Sweden, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said on Monday (14 December)."

EU wants centralized policing powers for its borders (DW, link): "The EU's external borders have more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. That is why the European Commission now wants its own border police. Not all member states like the idea. Bernd Riegert reports from Brussels."

Assessing economic impacts of hosting refugees: conceptual, methodological and ethical gaps (University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre, link): "This paper explores a variety of approaches used to assess and measure the economic impact of refugees on their host communities and states. It identifies theoretical, methodological, and ethical gaps in the existing literature, and also problematizes some of the assumptions and rationales behind current debates about measuring refugees’ economic impact on host populations and states. It begins by presenting the key arguments and approaches within the existing literature on analysing the economic impact of refugees on their host communities and states. It then seeks to elucidate some significant conceptual, methodological and ethical gaps in the field, drawing primarily upon cost-benefit analyses in the migration literature in order to identify several cautionary implications. Finally, as a way forward, the paper highlights some alternative approaches to understanding and assessing the impact of hosting refugees."

BELGIUM: AIDA Belgium update: asylum seekers access to international protection and reception remains a struggle (ECRE, link): "The lastest AIDA update on Belgium highlights several shortcomings that asylum seekers face relating to accessing procedures and suitable reception; while the number of people seeking asylum in the country has significantly augmented since late summer 2015."

EU border agency could be deployed in non-member states - Asselborn (Reuters, link): "Luxembourg's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the European Union's border agency could be deployed in non-member states like Serbia and Macedonia while EU members with no external borders should provide more help to those with such frontiers."

HUNGARY: A calculated non-action miscalculated: Hungary´s migration crisis (V4 Revue, link): "The Orbán-government had detailed plans about how to use the migration crisis in domestic politics, and part of this “strategy” meant neglecting preparatory measures all together. However, when the crisis actually hit the country, the lack of preparations backfired and resulted in a series of spectacular failures in the situation’s handling."

GERMANY: Far fewer people entering Germany with fake Syrian passports than thought (The Guardian, link): "The proportion of people entering Germany with fake Syrian passports is far less than the 30% announced by the interior minister in September, the government has said."

SLOVENIA: IOM Deploys Medical Team, Distributes Non-Food Aid to Migrants in Slovenia (IOM, link): "According to Slovenian Police, some 309,217 refugees and migrants have transited through Slovenia en route to Austria and Western Europe since 16 October 2015. This is roughly a third of the over 950,000 migrants and refugees arriving in Western Europe this year."

UK: Transcript of House of Commons debate: European Agenda on Migration (Hansard, link)

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