Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and commentaries 11.11.15)

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- Valletta Summit: Statewatch Analysis: EU-AFRICA Fortress Europe’s neo-colonial project (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

"The overall strategy in the latest draft, is not new, it is simply presented differently. The EU fundamental concern is to stop people, refugees or migrants, moving up the continent of Africa until they reach the shores of the Mediterranean – where they become the EU’s problem.

This goes together with the demand for the creation of civil registry systems across Africa with biometrics (fingerprinting), quick “returns”, new readmission agreements and the enforcement of its neo-colonial project through the “externalisation of Europe's asylum responsibilities”

- The EU and its neighbours: enforcing the politics of inhospitality by Emmanuel Blanchard, Bill MacKeith, and Yasha Maccanico 11 November 2015 (Open Democracy, link):

"Today marks the start of the two-day Valletta Euro-African summit on migration in Malta, but the outcomes of deterrence, surveillance and militarisation are already written....

To attain their objectives, the EU and its member states have shown themselves willing to engage in all sorts of shameful behaviour: military operations led by France and Belgium in the Sahel are now envisaged as a way of cutting off migration routes; plans have been made to construct camps in Niger to facilitate forced or ‘voluntary’ returns away from European borders; the most repressive regimes (such as Sudan or Eritrea, especially in the context of the ‘Khartoum process’), which produce tens of thousands of asylum seekers, receive subsidies to contain their populations and ‘securitise’ their borders."

- Agence Europe reports (10.11.15) "A further potentially thorny issue could be discussed in Valetta. The EU wants to talk about setting up reception centres in Africa where migrants could be registered, identified and have a start made to consideration of their requests for asylum in the EU, and, indeed, have their request turned down. The matter has been withdrawn from the latest draft statements (a political statement and an action plan are expected to be adopted) as it offended the sensitivities of the African countries.

"We are looking to continue discussions with our African partners", the source went on. "A large number of those who take the path of illegal migration do so without realising they are risking their lives. The idea, then, was to have centres in the countries of departure or transit where they can be provided with information on the risks they are taking and the administrative procedures in Europe" and also possibly undertake "the first administrative stage, pre-screening to see if the applicant for asylum the EU has any chance whatsoever of being admitted", he added."

- Valletta Summit: EU and Africa, so closed but so far (, link):

"EU-Africa summit on migration in La Valletta on the 11th and 12th November. Symbol of the tensions present between the parties, Morocco and Egypt, who are both respectively heads of the processes of Rabat and Khartoum, will send only foreign ministers."

- Hotspots: Europe Debates Initial Reception Centers for Refugees (Der Spiegel, link);

"Lesbos and other such hotspots are a significant focus of efforts by the European Commission and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to find a solution to the refugee crisis. They would like to establish initial reception centers where refugees will not only be registered, but also housed until a cursory review is conducted to determine whether they might qualify for asylum or protection under the Geneva Convention on refugees.

Under the second part of the plan, refugees from countries with an average EU-wide asylum recognition rate of 75 percent would then be distributed among the rest of the member states. The others would face deportation.....

The biggest problem, however, is the lack of a clear answer to the question as to what happens to refugees who have little chance of remaining in Europe. How will these people be prevented from heading towards Germany on their own? "It's a delicate issue," says one high-ranking EU official. "After all, the Greek government doesn't want to be accused of putting migrants in internment camps." Indeed, refugees attempting to escape from fenced-in camps is the one image that has yet to plague this European refugee crisis."

and see: Avec les "hotspots", l’UE renforce sa politique de refoulement des boat people (migreurope, link)

- EU's deep dilemmas over refugees laid bare at Malta summit (Guardian, link):

"More than 60 European and African leaders are meeting in the Maltese capital Valletta against a backdrop of ever-widening policy divisions....

“They say it’s all about Europe externalising and outsourcing its own problems,” said the diplomat, who has been liaising with the African governments. “The Europeans are not exactly visionaries,” another international official taking part in Malta said. “And they don’t realise that they are no longer the centre of the world.....

In the latest policy move, Berlin and Brussels are pressing the transit countries of the Balkans to set up new “processing centres” to screen asylum claimants. It is an admission that the policy of having them finger-printed and registered first in Greece before moving on has failed. Nor do Slovenia, Croatia or Serbia want to register them, however, for fear they will then be saddled with responsibility for the refugees....

"Most of these leaders are lost and they're looking to someone like Tusk to come up with a big idea," said the senior diplomat. "This is the challenge, because the whole thing can crumble and individual countries will start following Hungary. That won't help Europe to remain credible.""

- News (11.11.15)

Refugees on hunger strike over long Czech detention (Prague Monitor, link): "Forty-four refugees from the Drahonice detention centre have launched a hunger strike in protest against their detention in the Czech Republic and possible return to their home countries, Mikulas Vymetal, a protestant priest in contact with the refugees, told CTK yesterday. According to a statement that CTK received from Vymetal, the mostly Iraqi refugees complain of being detained in the country for more than 90 days in some cases. They write that they fled against fighting, prison and violence only to get into a new fight and prison and to be treated as if they were monsters."

Germany makes U-turn on Syrian refugees (euobserver, link): "Germany announced Tuesday (10 November) it is again applying Dublin rules on asylum for Syrian refugees. The move is a U-turn on a migration policy followed since August as well as a new indicator of tension in chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition. The interior ministry told German media that since 21 October, authorities are "applying the Dublin regulation for all countries of origin and all member states (except Greece)." That means migrants are sent back to the first country in which they entered the EU and where their asylum application must be examined. This does not apply to Greece, where reception capacities are stretched and living conditions for migrants are deemed too poor." and see: Germany reinstates Dublin rules for Syrian refugees (DW, link): "Berlin plans to send more Syrian refugees back to the first EU country they entered while traveling towards Germany, officials say. The decision would not apply to Greece, one of the main entry points for the bloc."

Greece: Fourteen reported dead after migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast ( "Fourteen people died and a further 27 were rescued by Turkish authorities after their boat sank on its way to the Greek island of Lesvos, Dogan news agency reported on Wednesday....Children were among those who died when the wooden boat went down in the 8km (5 mile) stretch of water separating Lesvos from the Turkish coast, Dohan reported. Turkey's coastguard was not immediately available to comment."

Bulgarian President Identifies Refugees as Posing Greatest Threat to National Security (Novinite, link)

Denmark plans additional refugee restrictions (The, link): "Saying that Denmark risks “having so many people that we can’t handle it”, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen on Wednesday said that the government is planning a “robust” plan to further tighten asylum laws."

Refugees being 'ripped off by private landlords' (The, link): "The Vienna public prosecutor is investigating allegations that dozens of refugees have been ripped off by unscrupulous landlords in the city"

BELGIUM: 250 refugees to be accommodated on a 'floating island'? (Flanders News, link): "The city of Ghent is to have a floating reception centre for refugees by the end of the year. That is, if the Asylum Office Fedasil gives the final go-ahead. A pontoon that can accommodate up to 250 people will be installed at the Rigakaai dock, in Ghent's port area."

FRANCE: More violence in Calais as refugees are moved (The Local, link): "Refugees and police clashed for a second night in Calais, with 11 officers left injured. The violence comes as the French government steps up efforts to move refugees and migrants out of the New Jungle camp."

Deportation to Afghanistan: safe or unsafe origin? (Deutsche Welle, link): "The German government has decided to offer Syrian refugees protection in Germany but to send home more Afghans. German human rights NGO Pro Asyl is accusing the government of restricting the right to asylum."

Hungary asked to take over migrant truck deaths case (The Budapest Times, link): "Austrian prosecutors have officially asked Hungary to take over the case of 71 dead migrants who were found abandoned in a truck on an Austrian motorway in August, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office has told state news agency MTI."

Spain welcomes first refugees from its European quota (El País, link): "The first group of refugees to be officially accepted by Spain as part of a European deal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers across the continent arrived at Madrid airport on Sunday night."

EU turning blind eye to violence against women migrants (euractiv, link)

Europe wants document for those refused asylum ( "The controversial "laissez passer" plan has been criticized by diplomats and non-governmental organizations as being tantamount to Europe telling African countries who they should accept. It will be discussed later Wednesday by European and African leaders at a migration summit in Malta."

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