Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 stories and documents, 13.10.15)

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- EU: Council of the European Union:: Justice and Home Affairs Council Presidency Letter to the President of the European Council for the Summit meeting on 15-16 October 2015 (pdf): A summary of the actions taken and future plans: Includes two sets of Conclusions and 1994 Recommendations (EU return Laissez-passer) in which national and European parliaments have no say at all:

"To increase the effectiveness of the EU's return system, Ministers reiterated their willingness to implement all measures, including the use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort. They underlined the need to reinforce pre-removal detention capacities to ensure the physical availability of irregular migrants for return....

an integrated system of return management by building on synergies between all relevant stakeholders [see footnote]....

The Council also highlighted the importance of all EU actors exploiting the full potential of EU diplomacy on the ground and prioritizing readmission in all relevant contacts at political level with countries of origin of irregular migrants, thus helping to identifying potential leverage. On this issue, Commissioner Avramopoulos stressed his strong support for the organization of planned joint return flights to Pakistan by the end of the month...

addressing the future management of the external borders of the European Union. In the current circumstances, further efforts need to be undertaken on hotspots, with a focus on green [land] borders....

Influx of migrants to the European Union will not abate in the short run."

Footnote: New initiatives to try and persuaded, or "bribe", the so-called "more for more principle" if African states agree to the return of refugees:

"Notably the European Integrated Approach on Return towards Third Countries (EURINT), the European Reintegration Instrument Network (ERIN) and the European Return Liaison Officers network (EURLO), as well as Immigration Liaison Officers (ILOs), Frontex Liaison Officers and European Migration Liaison Officers (EMLOs), to be deployed by end of 2015 to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Serbia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey and Jordan." [emphasis added]

- EU: AUSTRIA: Xenophobia on the increase in Austria (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europe is concerned about a rise in racism in Austria. Certain political parties and organisations, as well as media outlets, are cultivating a chauvinistic discourse."

and see: European Commission against racism and intolerance (CoE): ECRI report on Austria (pdf)

- Athens rules out joint sea patrols with Turkey (, link): "Diplomatic sources in Athens Monday ruled out the prospect of Greek and Turkish naval forces conducting joint patrols in the eastern Aegean in a bid to curb a dramatic influx of migrants and refugees.

Speaking to Kathimerini, the same sources from the Greek Foreign Ministry stated that no official European documents raise the issue of joint sea patrols – which was first reported in the German press ahead of the draft action plan signed last week between the European Union and Turkey on the support of refugees and migration management."

- Spain-Morocco: Two deaths at Spain-Morocco border after marines overturn raft

Two migrants died and 20 others were injured at the Spanish-Moroccan border on Friday 9 October after a raft on which they were travelling was overturned by the Moroccan Royal Marines, according to a report on the website of Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

Cadena SER cited eyewitness testimony from people working with the NGO Caminando Fronteras, who said: "The immigrants were travelling in a raft which was intercepted and overturned by the Royal Marines with great violence; they were subsequently beaten."

- Watch The Med Alarm Phone‘s 1 Year Anniversary Statement 12.10.2015 (pdf):

"While we are confronted with a lot of despair, we have also been inspired uncountable times by the willingness to overcome the sea and to move on to desired places throughout Europe.

They grew stronger, louder and more visible every day in the past months: the incredible social and political struggles of refugees and migrants for the freedom of movement. To overcome the Mediterranean Sea in small overcrowded boats is one of the most dangerous aspects of these migration journeys towards the European Union as safe and legal pathways are closed down and fenced off by its government."


- ECRE Comments on the proposal for an EU common list of safe countries of origin (AIDA, link):

"ECRE seriously questions the compatibility of the safe country of origin concept with international refugee law, as it is at odds with the obligation on states under the 1951 Refugee Convention to treat refugees without discrimination based on their country of origin. The use of safe country lists, whether nationally designated or at EU level, further contributes to a practice of stereotyping certain applications on the basis of their nationality and increases the risk of such applications not being subject to a thorough examination of a person’s fear for persecution or risk of serious harm on an individual basis, which is at the core of the refugee definition and crucial to ensuring full respect for the principle of non-refoulement....

In that regard, ECRE is opposed to the adoption of a common EU list of safe countries of origin as proposed by the Commission, as it is part of a worrying development in EU asylum law to increasingly assume a negative outcome of an asylum procedure on the basis of the nationality or profile of the applicant as being manifestly unfounded prior to a proper examination of the application."

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)

- News (`13.10.15)

Turkish students attacked in Poland (, link): "A group of students from Turkey were attacked and told to”'go back to their country” on Monday in Slupsk, northern Poland."

Drahonice detention centre opens to migrants (Prgague Daily Monitor, link): "The complex is closed and the refugees are not allowed to leave it"

EU migrant arrivals 170,000 in September, says Frontex (, link): "Some 170,000 irregular migrants entered the European Union in September, the bloc's border agency Frontex said on Tuesday, taking the total for the year so far to 710,000. That compares to 282,000 migrants crossing EU borders irregularly for the whole of 2014 as Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since World War II."

Migrant sea deaths top 3,000 this year, says migration organization (, link): "Ninety percent of the deaths this year were on the high Mediterranean, mainly between Libya and Italy. The IOM says that those arriving in Italy are much more diverse, with large contingents from at least 16 countries."

Tears, relief and joy: Lesbos - the tiny Greek island on the frontline of Europe's refugee crisis (ITV News, link)

Czech Prison Service to help guard detention facilities (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Prison Service will help guard migrants in detention facilities as from November 1 at the request of the Interior Ministry, for which Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (for ANO) has released up to 70 people, he told journalists yesterday."

AI: FENCED OUT: Hungary's violationd of the rights of refugees and migrants (pdf)

UK-GREECE: positive action. taking action. rebuilding lives: So you're interested in volunteering? We just need a few pieces of information to get things going. (Positive Action in Housing, link)

Angela Merkel au Parlement européen, des paroles aux actes? (EASFJ, link)

Winter Is Coming, But Activists Fear The Tide Of Refugees Isn’t Slowing Down - “What rational people would say is unsafe may not be enough to stop you if you’re a refugee,” one advocate said. (Buzz Feed, link)

“Migration in a World in Disarray”: IOM Director General (link): "IOM Director General William Lacy Swing yesterday (12/10) spoke of “Migration in a World in Disarray” and called for improved global migration management at a time of unprecedented human mobility.... “More people are on the move than ever before – more than one billion in our seven-billion person world. Of these, 250 million are international migrants, and 750 million are domestic migrants. International migrants have remained constant at about 3 percent of the world’s population for several decades, but numerically, migrants are more numerous than ever before,” he said." and see: IOM Launches Online Platform to Track Europe’s Migration Emergency (link) also: Mediterranean Arrivals Near Record 600,000 (IOM, link)

Greece promises five hotspots operational within month: Brussels, 12/10/2015 (Agence Europe) - "Hotspot" facilities should be operational in Greece in about ten days' time, with the first at Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, Luxembourg Immigration and Asylum Minister Jean Asselborn announced on Saturday 10 October, during a visit to Greece with European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. Four further hotspots on the Greek islands will be set up subsequently, with the Port of Piraeus currently the centre from which the logistics of these hotspots are being organised. Greek Minister Delegate for Immigration Yannis Mouzalas said that the country's five hotspots would be operational "in a month's time". Asselborn and Avramopoulos are expected to return to Mytilene to check progress at the end of this week."

EU Commission concerned by Hungary's migration laws (euobserver, link): "The EU Commission has expressed concerns over Hungary's new and amended migration laws in a letter sent last week which asked for clarification. The letter, published earlier by Hungarian media and now on Statewatch, a non-profit organisation committed to transparency, was sent on 7 October and was signed by the Commission's director general for migration and justice. The letter challenges recent Hungarian legislation that seems to fast-track people seeking refuge back to Serbia with a ban on entering the EU for a year." See: Letter to Hungary: and detailed Annex: Comments and preliminary concerns on recent legislative changes related to the migration crisis (pdf)

"Hotspots" in Germany: Germany will filter refugees in camps at borders (euractiv, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Bavarian allies have agreed on a plan to set up "transit zones" at the border, to identify migrants who are ineligible for asylum, Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer said on Monday (12 October). Seehofer, who heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said a concrete proposal would be drawn up by the two parties, the Bavarian government and the federal government, this week. Speaking at a CDU event at the northern city of Stade, Merkel said the idea was to stop directly at the border those migrants who were coming from countries deemed as safe.

Greece: Chaos, Insecurity in Registration Center - Information, Attention to Vulnerable Groups Urgently Needed (HRW, link): "Poor organization and a lack of personnel is creating chaos and insecurity at a police registration center and surrounding informal camp for asylum seekers and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos, Human Rights Watch said today.In a visit to Lesbos on October 4 and 5, 2015, Human Rights Watch found that women with young children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities or medical conditions are often not identified as vulnerable groups nor ensured that they can register and get proper access to basic services such as food and health care."

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