EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 news stories, documents and commentaries 6-7.1.16)

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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents

- Less democracy, xenophobia, resentment: bad times for refugees. OM interviews Zygmunt Bauman: Bauman: “Walls against migrants are a victory of terrorism” (thanks to Open Migration, pdf)

"“To win their war, fundamentalist terrorists can safely count on the collaboration of their shortsighted enemies”. Suspension of the basic rules of democracy, resentment towards foreigners, the vicious circle between political propaganda and xenophobia, nation-states unable to face a significant phenomenon as migrations. The refugee crisis, before and after the attacks in Paris, is the “litmus test” of a global crisis of the West, explains the great sociologist Zygmunt Bauman in this interview with Open Migration. An emergency that will last long and to which Europe has yet to find the proper arguments to answer."

See also: “Migrants arriving in Italy are mostly economic” Incorrect (, link)

- Lesvos, Greece: Who Made These Decisions? (Eric Kempson video, link) Remove NGOs and you will get fewer refugees...

- EU: SAFE COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: European Economic and Social Committee: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (pdf): Excellent critique:

"The EESC considers that the specific criteria for determining that a country is safe for the purposes of Directive 2011/95/EU and, in particular, Annex I of Directive 2013/32/EU, must be established in a more practical and secure way that provides guarantees.

Similarly, while welcoming the Commission's initiative, the EESC considers that at this juncture it may be premature to draw up a specific list of countries considered to be safe for these purposes."

See: Proposal for a Regulation: establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (pdf) and Annex (pdf)

and see: ECRE Comments on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin and amending the recast Asylum Procedures Directive (COM(2015) 452) (pdf)

- EU: European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Brussels, (Dated 4 January, 2016, pdf)

Comment on current situation: The only change since 23 December is that another "hotspot" has opened in Trapani, Italy. There are now three out of a planned 11 "hotspots"

- "Relocations": Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (pdf): 17 Member States with 4,207 places offered - up 380 - out of 160,000 needed. No change from December.

- Returns updated on 4 January 2016 since September (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 683 no change from December, plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece - same as two weeks ago.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf) In Lesvos: Frontex: 131 officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams - althougth it appears from reports that quite a few are away for a Xmas break - Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer) 11 "hotspots" are planned but only three - Lampedusa (17 Frontex offcials) and Trapani (4 Frontex officials) in Italy and Lesvos - are operational.

- Finanical pledges: Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million ((pdf) Unmet pledges total: 2,224,890 euro unchanged since December.

- Accepted Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece (Communicated as of 4 January 2016) (pdf) Still many unmet needs.

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing since September 2015: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

- UK: House of Commons Select Committee: International Development Committee report: Syrian refugee crisis (pdf): "we are very concerned about the plight of unaccompanied refugee children in Europe, particularly as reports suggest they are falling prey to people traffickers. We urge the Government to come to a quick decision on the proposal by Save the Children as this is a matter of utmost urgency. We would welcome a decision by the Government in favour of resettling 3,000 unaccompanied children, as recommended by Save the Children, and in addition to the current commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees from the region."

The report which shows a terrible flaw in Cameron's refugee policy (link): "The problem is that neither of these policies – helping in the region and relocating especially vulnerable refugees at home – are being properly delivered. It's a classic example of simplistic political messaging crashing into complex political realities. Today's international development select committee report lays it out in black and white. Behind the rhetoric and the bluster, it offers a very good account of why Cameron's promises on refugees are running into problems..... Now that the UK is participating in airstrikes in Syria, those access challenges are obviously heightened. As the parliamentary report says:

"The recent escalation of military efforts will have an impact on conditions faced by civilians in Syria, and may well make it more difficult for DfID and other agencies to deliver humanitarian aid.""

- News (6-7.1.16)

New Dutch EU presidency plans tough line on refugees - Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the numbers of migrants ‘have to come down.’ (Politico, link)

Greece: Drop in migrants caused by weather, not Turkey's crackdown, Germany says (, link): "Migrant arrivals in Germany dropped significantly last month, but the reason was rough seas, not efforts by Turkey to crack down on illegal departures to Greece, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Wednesday.... The huge influx has forced authorities to register migrants upon entering Germany and have them wait in temporary accommodation centers before they can officially file asylum applications. Just over 476,000 migrants applied for asylum last year, the highest number ever recorded in Germany, the Interior Ministry said. That number will rise when the asylum applications of the remaining 600,000 registered migrants are collected."

Sweden keen to slow Europe's 'refugee highway' (euobserver, link): "Sweden is demanding measures to block "the highway" of migrants traversing across Europe, as the inflow of refugees to Germany has not slowed since September."

As Schengen crumbles, Orban becomes the face of Europe (New Europe, link): "Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Greece… what freedom of movement?"

Schengen is dead? Long live Schengen (euractiv, link): "Schengen needs to be safeguarded in the face of international crises, write Jacques Delors, António Vitorino, Yves Bertoncini and the participants of the Jacques Delors Institute 2015 European steering committee." and: Avramopoulos gets Sweden and Denmark to speak over border controls (euractiv, link): "Danish and Swedish migration ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday (6 January) to discuss the border controls, which the two countries introduced earlier this week in response to the refugee crisis, creating unprecedented tensions between the two countries."

EU fails to defuse passport-free clash in Northern Europe (, link)

Don't Let 2016 Be the Year We Forgot About Migrants (Huffingtom Post, link): "Imagine bodies washing up on the beach in town popular with British tourists. Imagine corpses becoming a regular feature, in a resort which people usually visit to relax and enjoy themselves. Imagine men, women, and children in lines on the sand. No-one knows who they are, but they are becoming a common sight, close by to where holidaymakers eat, drink and swim. It's like something from a horror movie, but it's happening."

Forced Migration Review: The Mediterranean challenge within a world of humanitarian crises (link)

Greece: Government mulls army camps for hosting migrants (, link): "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday chaired a meeting to assess his administration’s progress in responding to the migration crisis, with sources indicating that military facilities are among the venues being considered for accommodating thousands of migrants.."

Medical charity MSF ends Mediterranean rescues, appeals to EU (Yahoo News, link): "The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has ended its sea rescue operation aimed at reducing the number of migrants and asylum seekers killed while trying to cross the Mediterranean from north Africa to Europe, it said on Tuesday. MSF said its three ships had rescued more than 20,000 people in over 120 search and rescue operations during eight months at sea."

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