EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 9.10.15

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- EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf):

"achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration..." See: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

"devise technical solutions to reinforce the control of the EU's external borders to meet both migration and security objectives, by making full use of technological developments in order not to hamper free circulation and to facilitate travel" See: France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs and:

"press ahead with the establishment of further hotspots...

step up implementation by the Member States of the Return Directive...

development of a European Border and Coast Guard System...

enlarge the Frontex mandate on return to include the right to organise joint return operations on its own initiative and enhance its role regarding the acquisition of travel documents for returnees...

promote the acceptance by third countries of an improved European laissez-passer as the reference document for return purposes.[*]"

[*] The Council's legal basis is relying on 1994 Recommendations for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures.

- EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: Final Press release: 8-9 October 2015 (pdf) including:

The future management of the EU external borders
The future of the return policy
Visa policy

- Commission’s proposal to put Turkey on ‘safe countries' list under attack (euractiv, link): "Commission plans to put Turkey on a list of "safe countries", to which migrants can be quickly returned as they would not risk oppression, have run into opposition from several European nations, sources said on Thursday (8 October).... Several member states refuse to add Turkey - home to two million refugees from the Syrian war - because of its poor record on judicial independence, minority rights and freedom of expression, several diplomatic sources told AFP." and see:

Turkey frowns at EU refugee aid plan (euractiv, link): "Turkey has given a lukewarm response to a European Union plan to assist Ankara in coping with over two million Syrian refugees, indicating that funding needs to be drastically increased.... Turkish officials, so far, are not rushing to embrace the plan."The EU is in a hurry but we are not," a Turkish official, who asked not to be named, told AFP."

See: Commission Press release: EU-TURKEY: Draft Action Plan: Stepping up EU-Turkey cooperation on support of refugees and migration management in view of the situation in Syria and Iraq (6.10.15, pdf)

- IOM Monitors Mediterranean Migrant Flows: 7,000 Crossing Daily to Greece (link):

"Despite the increased number of arrivals on the island of Lesvos, the congestion on the island has declined significantly. This is due in part to the fact that 70 per cent of migrants and refugees who arrived in Greece last week immediately crossed into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at Greece’s Idomeni border.... Migrants and refugees have to pay for their own tickets for all their transport in Greece and, according to people interviewed by IOM, nationality has become an important factor in determining how quickly they can leave the islands and travel to the FYROM border.

Syrians are now travelling faster from the islands to the border because they can afford it. They buy tickets for boats to Athens, buses straight to the border and sometimes even pay for taxis that can cost up to EUR 700 a family from Athens to the border.

Afghans, on the other hand, often have to work to get enough money to buy tickets or have to contract friends or relatives to borrow funds for onward travel. Consequently they spend more time transiting Greece."

See: Med infograpics with latest figures (pdf)

- News (9.10.15)

Croatian Section Of Hungary’s Anti-Migrant Border Fence Completed (, link): "The anti-immigration fence along the Hungarian-Croatian border is 99 per cent complete, Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár has said."

Czech NGOs call for better approach to migrants (Radio Praha, link) "A consortium of 18 Czech non-governmental organisations working with migrants last week issued a document in which it outlines the basic principles the country should adhere to in dealing with immigrants."

Alarm in Austria over Seehofer's Bavaria border plan (DW, link): "Alarm is growing in Austria over the Bavarian state premier's plans to reduce the number of migrants crossing the border. Austria had grown accustomed to its role as a transit country"

Lesvos struggles to be ready as EU 'hotspot' (, link): "Wet, scared and already weary from a dangerous sea crossing from Turkey, many Syrian families with small children are currently forced to walk a distance longer than the Athens Marathon from the beaches where they land to the points of registration near the port capital of Mytilene. Buses provided by local authorities and rides by volunteers do not suffice, especially as many refugees continue to land at night."

The EU’s Grapple with Hate Crime ( "If rising anti-Semitism is a sign that Europe is becoming hostile towards all minorities, it is difficult to understand why a recent European colloquium on hate crime focused on only two vulnerable groups."

The Latest: Czechs to boost migrant checks on Austria border (Yahoo News, link)

Norway to limit asylum grants to five years (The, link): "Norway’s right-wing government is to limit grants of asylum to a five-year term, after which refugees will be automatically sent home if the situation in their country has changed for the better. “If the war in Syria ends, or conditions in Iraq improve, they will have to prepare for the return trip,” State Secretary Joran Kallemyr, a senior official from the Progress Party in the Ministry of Justice told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK"

UN: Sweden is bearing brunt of migrant crisis (The, link): "Sweden and Germany cannot continue to take in the majority of refugees seeking new lives in the EU, a top UN official has said, days after Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that immigration could become a bigger challenge than the Greek debt crisis."

Bavaria threatens Merkel with court over refugees (The, link): "The Bavarian government is threatening to take Chancellor Angela Merkel to the country's highest court to make her change her refugee policy. If the federal government does not take the initiative itself to control the number of people coming into the country, the Bavarian government will force it to through the Constitutional Court, the Bavarian government announced on Friday after an emergency meeting of the state cabinet."

Denmark's refugee quota plan skips Copenhagen (The, link): "The Danish Immigration Service has released its plan to distribute 12,000 expected refugees across Denmark and the nation’s largest city will take zero."

EU gets tough on expelling migrants, talks to neighbors (Reuters, link)

‘Refugees welcome’ say Sion demonstrators (The, link): "Around 400 people joined a peaceful demonstration in support of refugees held in the centre of Sion on Thursday night."

Western Balkans migrant route in EU spotlight (euobserver, link): "The talks on Thursday also addressed how to help the capacities in the region for the countries to slow down the influx of people. On the sidelines on the meeting, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland agreed to participate in protecting the southern borders of Hungary and the Schengen free-travel zone."

EU moves first group of refugees to Sweden (, link): "First 20 Eritreans will be relocated from Italy according to quota system, but experts question viability of scheme... Sweden committed to taking in 821 from Italy and 548 from Greece as part of a first total of 40,000 people from Eritrea, Iraq and Syria to be redistributed across the EU in the next two years." and First 19 refugees leave Italy as part of EU redistribution plan (ANSA, link): "The group, which included five women, arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa a few days ago."

Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Italy: First Relocation Flight and Hotspot visit (Coomiision, link)

Merkel slams eastern Europeans on migration - Chancellor makes emotional plea in closed-door meeting (, link)

Baby dies after migrant boat breaks down off Greek island (, link)

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