Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30 news stories and documents: 17.11.15)

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- EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14298-15, pdf): includes:

"implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement,...

in the context of the current migratory crisis, carry out a systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of all migrants entering into the Schengen area and perform systematic security checks by using relevant databases in particular SIS II, Interpol SLTD database, VIS and national police databases, with the support of Frontex and Europol, and ensure that hotspots are equipped with the relevant technology. Europol will deploy guest officers to the hotspots in support of the screening process, in particular by reinforcing secondary security controls,...

provide, in its proposal to update the Frontex Regulation, a solid legal basis for the contribution of Frontex to the fight against terrorism and organised crime and access to the relevant databases.... Frontex will: contribute to the fight against terrorism and support the coordinated implementation of the Common Risk Indicators (CRIs) before the end of 2015, – assist the Member States to tighten controls of external borders to detect suspicious travels of foreign terrorist fighters and smuggling of firearms, in cooperation with Europol, – work closely with Europol and Eurojust, in particular in the context of the hotspots..."

- Refugee crisis: Serbia, FYROM limit migrant passage to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghan (, link):

"Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have begun limiting the passage of migrants across their borders to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, turning back Africans and Asians, the United Nations said on Thursday.

A senior police source in FYROM, who declined to be named, said Skopje had acted after European Union member Slovenia, further along the migrant path, had told countries in the region that it would start doing the same. “They will turn back all others on the basis they are economic migrants,” the official said."

And see: Balkan countries implement tighter border restrictions (DW, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says three Balkan countries have shut their borders for migrants from states that are not directly engulfed in wars. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through the Balkan route to reach Germany. ...

The UNHCR says Macedonia has begun allowing only people from these three countries to cross its southern border from Greece, while Greek authorities say migrants of other nationalities are gathering on the Greek side of the border and blocking the crossing completely. Aleksandra Kraus, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Macedonia, said Thursday that Macedonian authorities had begun allowing only people from warzones to enter the country because Serbian authorities had imposed the same criteria on those attempting to cross the Macedonian-Serbian border."

Also: Balkan states start filtering migrant flow to Europe (Reuters, link): "Balkan countries have begun filtering the flow of migrants to Europe, granting passage to those fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan but turning back others from Africa and Asia, the United Nations and Reuters witnesses said on Thursday.

The move left hundreds of people stranded on borders. On Serbia's frontier with European Union-member Croatia about 400 were denied access to a train and were halted by Croatian police as they tried to cross the border through fields, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), said..

A police spokesman in EU-member Slovenia confirmed Ljubljana would start returning "economic migrants" arriving through neighbouring Croatia, saying it could only grant passage to those "from countries where there are armed battles"."

- EU: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis:

A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.

This article takes up the crucial issue of what happens to those who have died in the Mediterranean? Are their deaths recorded and the next of kin informed? What systems are in place to ensure relatives, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons know what happen to their relatives and where they are? This harrowing account traces what does, and does not happen. And asks the question, why is there no EU-wide procedure in place to ensure that the dead do not just disappear into unknown graves?

- European Parliament: Working Document: on EU internal and external funding related to its migration and asylum policy Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Co-Rapporteurs: Roberta Metsola, Kashetu Kyenge Shadow Rapporteurs: Barbara Spinelli, Ignazio Corrao (pdf)

- News (19.11.15)

Turkey: Refugee crisis dominates Tsipras trip to Turkey (DW, link): "Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave his full backing to Turkey's EU membership. That also expressed his support for Ankara’s position on the refugee crisis attracted much attention... Greece and Turkey pledged to work together in forming a "bilateral working group" aimed at solving the refugee crisis and agreed to start joint security efforts along the Aegean coast.."

Merkel says must 'very quickly’ reach an accord with Turkey (, link): "A focus at the EU-Turkey summit will be the maritime border between Turkey and Greece, Merkel said. “It can’t be that the Aegean, the small sea zone between Greece and Turkey, is dominated by smugglers and kidnappers and not a rational border system,” Merkel said. “That has to change.”"

France confirms it will receive 30,000 refugees (euobserver, link): "France will receive 30,000 refugees in the next two years, president Francois Hollande confirmed Wednesday (18 November).The figure had first been announced by prime minister Manuel Valls in September."

Merkel, Faymann call on other countries to step up amid refugee crisis (DW, link): "Angela Merkel and Werner Faymann have called for EU states to step up to help refugees. They pushed for the so-called 'hotspots' to be implemented and also suggested closer cooperation with Turkey."

Czech Republic: Minister: Zeman helps enhance rise of fascism in Czech society (Prague Monitor, link) "President Milos Zeman helps create conditions for the rise of fascism in Czech society, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier told CTK on Wednesday, adding that some of Zeman´s statements are xenophobic and Islamophobic, and arouse fear in society."

Civilian Dispatches From Syrian Refugee Camps in Lesvos Post-Paris (Huffington Post, link)

Macedonia: Army preparing possible border barrier with Greece (, link)

Migrants should be forcibly deported, says Bulgaria's Foreign Minister (, link): "Europe should make it a priority to deal with the security of its external borders and all migrants should be forcibly deported with no right to international protection, said Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov in Brussels."

Hungary: Viktor Orbán using fear to unite supporters and intimidate opponents says George Szirtes (Budapest Beacon, link)

Netherlands: New mini-Schengen can stop asylum seekers with no passports (ntl, link)

EU to tighten external border checks after Paris attacks (Reuters, link)

Greece, Turkey boost cooperation to tackle migrant crisis (eubusiness, link)

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