Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and crucial new documents: 28-29.11.15)

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- EU-TURKEY: Meeting of heads of state or government with Turkey - EU-Turkey statement, 29/11/2015 (pdf):

[Point 7] "The EU and Turkey agreed to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. As a consequence, both sides will, as agreed and with immediate effect, step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection, preventing travel to Turkey and the EU, ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and swiftly returning migrants who are not in need of international protection to their countries of origin." [emphasis added]

And: Press remarks by President Donald Tusk after the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey (pdf):

"we expect a major step towards changing the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey. Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier." [emphasis added]

Press coverage: Germany's plan to strike EU-wide refugee-sharing deal stalls (Guardian, link): "Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries after meeting EC resistance to pro-quota pact with Turkey.... Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the EU on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.... Merkel’s mini-summit brought together the leaders of Germany, Austria and Sweden – the countries taking the most refugees – Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Greece (and probably France)...."

- The Danish Refugee Council is going to manage registration centre at Lesbos (, link):

"Reuters — Many refugees are still arriving to the Greek islands, and reception facilities cannot keep up with the arrival figures. Danish Refugee Council is now opening op in Greece, initially on Lesbos, where the vast majority of the refugees, primarily from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, arrive.... “We will begin by camp managing the Moria registration centre on Lesbos, where chaos is reigning at the moment. We must, so to speak, manage the centre; help with accommodation and ensure people have blankets and clothing and other basic necessities.

The Danish Refugee Council is the largest Danish humanitarian organization with more than 6,000 employees in nearly 40 of the world’s hotspots. DRC delivers emergency relief and long-term solutions to more than 2.5 million refugees and displaced persons each year in the regions of origin"

- Refugee crisis: European Commission statistics up to 27-11-15 (pdf)

Comment on the current situation: The "relocation" process is at a complete standstill and worse the number of "relocation" offers seems to have actually fallen from 3,546 places on 6 November to 3,216.

- News (28-29.11.15)

Hiding in plain sight: inside the world of Turkey's people smugglers (Guardian, link): "Thousands of refugees are continuing to board boats to Europe everyday despite the worsening winter weather."

FYROM border tension peaks as fence erected (, link): "Tensions peaked at Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the weekend after the FYROM army started building a border fence to keep out would-be migrants. FYROM border guards were photographed by foreign news agencies as they erected a 2.5-meter-high fence along the Greek border on Saturday." and Migrants attack Macedonian police as construction of Greek border fence begins (Guardian, link): "Officers retaliated with stun grenades and plastic bullets after unrest broke out among 800 migrants waiting at the border to continue their journey to northern Europe"

FYROM army starts building fence on Greek border (, link): "Soldiers in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) began erecting a metal fence on Saturday on the country's southern border with Greece, but the government said it had no plans to seal off access to refugees fleeing war and heading to western Europe." and Police, migrants clash on Macedonia border; soldiers build fence (Reuters, link): "Police in Macedonia fired tear gas and stun grenades at desperate migrants stranded for days at the Greek border and who are demanding passage to western Europe, as soldiers began erecting a metal fence to keep them out"

Brussels seeks Washington’s help on refugees - Europe wants military cooperation in the Med and diplomatic pressure on Gulf states (politico, link): "If the proposals are agreed, the EU and U.S. would establish an “effective liaison” between Eunavfor Med, the bloc’s newly launched mission to stop people smugglers, and the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which is also deployed in the Mediterranean."

Greece stresses its role before refugee summit (, link): "Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned on Friday that countries failing to adequately guard EU borders, and refusing to take in their share of refugees, could find themselves outside the borders of what he called a “mini-Schengen,” referring to the EU’s passport-free travel zone. A team of European officials are visiting Greece to help with preparations necessary to unlock emergency EU funding for tackling migration. It appears unlikely, however, that five refugee screening centers, or “hotspots,” that Greece has promised to set up on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos will be up and running by the end of the year, partly due to opposition by local authorities and residents."

EU-Turkey refugee talks turn sour as Erdogan belittles Juncker (, link): "The challenge of completing the deal, hammered out in a month of negotiations, was underlined at a difficult meeting on Monday between EU officials and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.... One European diplomat said the “tough exchange of views” underlined how difficult it was to negotiate with Turkey — particularly at a time when some member states are desperate for assistance with the crisis and have a weak bargaining position. “They are trying to exploit this situation in a way that some countries find unacceptable,” he said"

Turkish Ambassador: EU accession is our strategic choice (euractiv, link): "Turkey is now hosting more refugees than any other country in the world. The total number of Syrians living in Turkey is around 2.2 million. 260,000 Syrians are accommodated in 25 temporary protection centres and provided with food, non-food items, health and education services, as well as psychological assistance, vocational training and social activities. Syrians living outside these centres are also enjoying a protective regime, benefitting from free health care."

Refugees In Berlin Move Into Cold War Secret Police Headquarters (Huffington Psot): "Finally, these rooms will be used for something meaningful."

Tougher controls block hundreds from entering France (DW, link): "New border controls imposed ahead of upcoming climate talks in Paris have prevented people considered security risks from entering France. The controls were introduced just before the November 13 attacks in Paris."

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