EU: Austria and Slovenia prolong border controls
Border controls reintroduced in central Europe in response to the refugee crisis are set to continue until at least the middle of October. Austria has announced its intention to "continue to temporarily position adequate police forces at the border crossings initially with Hungary and Slovenia," and "if necessary... with other neighbouring states." Slovenia is also prolonging controls on its border with Hungary.
FRONTEX & FORCED RETURNS: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (May 2015)
and see: Closing Summary: Proposals to improve the monitoring of Frontex Joint Return Operations (link):"Frontex needs to enhance the transparency of its JRO work, amend its Code of Conduct in areas such as medical examinations and the use of force, and engage more with the Member States. Frontex must do all in its power to promote independent and effective monitoring of JROs." and Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants’ fundamental rights during "forced returns" (link):: "She calls on the agency to ensure that families with children and pregnant women are seated separately from other returnees. Frontex should also promote common rules on the use of restraint, publish more information on JROs, including monitors' reports, and require the Member States to improve complaints procedures. The Ombudsman continues to be unhappy with the refusal of Frontex to establish its own complaints mechanism."
"The Council will have a discussion on the future management of EU external borders and of the return policy. On the latter the Council is expected to adopt conclusions.... Ministers will also take note of a progress report on a directive on the use of passenger name record data (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime....
Mixed committee: Under the visa policy, ministers will hold a policy debate and will take stock of work regarding a regulation on the Union code on visas (recast) and a regulation establishing a touring visa. As for the future of the return policy, they will discuss a Commission communication concerning an EU action plan on return, and a Commission recommendation establishing a common 'return handbook' to be used by member states' competent authorities when carrying out return related tasks.
Justice ministers will try to reach a general approach on a directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data. This issue will be discussed under the Mixed committee format." [emphasis added]
EU: What is the role of "hotspots"? A European Commission official told the parliament's LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee this morning (Thursday) that the 'hotspots' concept would mean:
"People may be placed in closed centres for the return procedure
For relocation people will be the possibility of centres - which are open to a degree are necessary
Attempts will be made to convince them to stay in the reception centre in order to be resettled
Centres: Hotspots for relocation would be open centers and closed centres for returns"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"How many people are going to be forced to "return" and held in closed camps? The pre-screening process will be carried out by Frontex and member state officals who will decide who is to be "returned" - prior to them being allowed to make an asylum application. Will refugees being vetted for return have interpreters and lawyers to help and represent them? And is there a right of appeal?"
And see ‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) and see:
Italy: Sicily ‘hotspot’ to be prison-like centre (euractiv, link): "It will be one of Italy's brand new hotspots for identifying newly-arrived migrants -- but as the Pozzallo reception centre in Sicily prepares its fingerprinting kits, the EU-led plan for these facilities is still plagued with unresolved issues... When Pozzallo becomes an official hotspot at the end of November, new arrivals will instead be obliged to provide their fingerprints as part of an asylum request, or be taken to a detention centre to await expulsion from Italy. The hotspots will be closed-door centres, sharply reducing the chance that people can flee and head north off their own backs. Those very likely to win refugee status -- Syrians, Eritreans and Iraqis -- will be fast-tracked and taken to a separate centre, where they will be divided up and distributed to other countries within the European Union.... What will happen if Syrian or Eritrean nationals refuse to give their fingerprints, seeing as they cannot be expelled? Would they be kept in a detention centre until they change their minds?." Se also: Centro accoglienza Pozzallo primo hotspot in Italia (corrierediragusa.it, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25 stories and documents, 1.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Council Decision regarding the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled
- Presidency Compromise Proposal (LIMITE doc no: 7576-Rev-1-15, pdf)
- Previous version of above (LIMITE doc no: 7576-15, pdf)
- Guidance for further work (LIMITE doc no: 7321-15, pdf)
- Open Issues (pdf) (LIMITE doc no: 5110-15, pdf)
"Before the recent flow of refugees from war-torn Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa entered Germany, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments and attacks against asylum seekers had been on the rise already, according to a new opinion by the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). Adopted in March – but released today with a first reaction on the findings from the German government – the Advisory Committee opinion assessed data from 2010 to 2015, noting increased anti-Muslim sentiment and negative attitudes towards immigrants and asylum-seekers. It criticizes marches attended by thousands of persons, under the banner “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West” (“Pegida”, in its German acronym), for example.
Despite these developments, the Advisory Committee praises the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency for its “considerable efforts” to raise awareness of anti-discrimination legislation in place. The Advisory Committee calls on Germany to stop the practice of ethnic profiling and take steps to build trust between persons belonging to minorities and the police. It recommends ensuring that racist elements of criminal offences are systematically taken into account by law enforcement." [emphasis added]
See: ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES: Fourth Opinion on Germany adopted on 19 March 2015 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)
European rights body concerned over rising racism in Germany (DW, link): "The Council of Europe has said reports of rising racism against Muslims and refugees in Germany are concerning. However, the human rights body also noted that protection for minority rights is high." and Rising racism worries Council of Europe (The Local.de, link)
EU: SECRET, CLOSED, TRILOGUES: NGO Letter to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament (pdf):
"We, the undersigned organisations, hereby express our concern regarding the pervasive use of so-called "trilogue" negotiations within the EU decision-making process. It is our view that the trilogues have, regardless of intent, become a means for EU institutions to bypass democratic good practices, prevent public participation and are contrary to the principles of transparency and accountability recognised under the EU treaties, including citizens' right to access public documents.
In light of the outlined problems, we are calling for a major reform of the trilogue process in order to end this unacceptable democratic deficit in the EU decision-making. We call for the publication of all documents in a timely and systematic manner.
Further, we ask that disclosure not be limited to the multicolumn meeting documents, but also to public access to the meetings and access to any reports or notes discussed over the course of the process, in line with the procedures for normal Parliament committee meetings. There is an overriding public interest in the timely and systematic disclosure of these documents in order to enable proper public scrutiny of EU decision-making."
Signed by 16 EU NGOs including Statewatch
EU: European Parliament study: The European legal framework on hate speech, blasphemy and its interaction with freedom of expression (446 pages, pdf):
"this study provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime on the one hand and to blasphemy and religious insult on the other hand. It also evaluates the effectiveness of existing legislation in selected Member States and explores opportunities to strengthen the current EU legal framework, whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The study also provides the European Parliament with guidelines on dealing with hate speech within the EU institutions."
EU: Council of the European Union: Visa Package - Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on visas (Visa Code) (recast) - Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a touring visa (LIMITE doc no: 11858-15, pdf):
"there are several outstanding issues, which are perceived as sensitive and for which political guidance from Ministers would help significantly to advance the discussions... - "The mandatory issuing of a multiple entry visa (MEV) valid for three or five years to
- VIS registered regular travellers (Art. 21(3) and (4))
- The deletion of the current Article 15 of the Visa Code providing for a travel medical insurance (TMI)
- The scope of the definition of “close relatives” of Union citizens (Art. 2(7))
- The issuing of visas at the external border under a temporary scheme (Art. 33)"
‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) by Frances Webber:
"Through the mechanisms it is setting up for the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece, the EU is trying to regain control of refugee movement in the EU. The tough screening process it is setting up at points of entry into the EU seems designed as a crude instrument to separate out a minority of ‘good’ refugees from what EU ministers want to convince us are a majority of ‘bad’ economic migrants, and to dispatch the latter rapidly and efficiently. But life is not that simple, and the hotspots’ screening procedures could result in large numbers of people being returned to unsafe or unviable situations without proper consideration of their claims....
Frontex’s removal remit covers not just those whose claims are exhausted and so have no claim to remain on the territory, but also those who have not claimed protection. Does this mean that Frontex officials have a roaming mandate to go around Italy and Greece rounding up all those who have not registered a claim for asylum? The opportunity to claim international protection should be available at any time, up to the point of removal; but how will this right be guaranteed?
Without clear and robust safeguards in place, the EU's relocation package could turn out to be a figleaf for a quiet but massive removal operation against, rather than a protection operation for, those arriving on Europe's shores."
EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: At the Weekly meeting of the Commission on 23 September 2015: Management of the refugee crisis: Commission shows the way forward (link) it was agreed that:
- "Restore the normal situation and reinstate Dublin transfers to Greece within six months
- Establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard and extension of the Frontex mandate (December 2015)
- Legal migration package including revision of Blue Card (March 2016)
- Further reform of the Dublin Regulation (March 2016)
- Proposal for a structured system on resettlement (March 2016)"
HUNGARY: The right of asylum has practically vanished in Hungary – Pardavi (budapestbeacon.com, link):
"The right of asylum in Hungary has practically vanished because the refugees do not receive adequate care, applications for asylum are not fairly evaluated and very few receive refugee status, Hungarian Helsinki Committee co-chair Márta Pardavi says in her assessment of the status of refugees in Hungary. By continuously taking alarming political steps, Hungary will soon find itself in the same role as Greece, with one European court after another ruling that it is not a safe place to which to return refugees, says Pardavi, adding that if Hungary continues to visibly withdraw from every common European Union initiative to handle the refugee crisis, it will dig itself deeper in this game of denial."
And see Helsinki Committee: NO COUNTRY FOR REFUGEES – New asylum rules deny protection to refugees and lead to unprecedented human rights violations in Hungary (pdf) and The Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s opinion on the Governments amendments to criminal law related to the sealed border (pdf)
"The day before his death, Costas’ boss at Vodafone had ordered that a newly discovered code — a powerful and sophisticated bug — be deactivated and removed from its systems. The wiretap, placed by persons unknown, targeted more than 100 top officials, including then Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and his wife, Natassa; the mayor of Athens; members of the Ministerial Cabinet; as well as journalists, capturing not only the country’s highest secrets, but also its most intimate conversations. The question was, who did it?
according to a highly classified NSA document provided by Snowden and previously published by The Intercept, covertly recruiting employees in foreign telecom companies has long been one of the NSA’s deepest secrets."
EU Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med: EU agrees to start the active phase of the operation against human smugglers and to rename it "Operation Sophia" (pdf):
"The EU naval operation against human smugglers in the Mediterranean will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.
The Political and Security Committee also agreed that EUNAVFOR Med should be renamed "Sophia" after the name given to the baby born on the ship of the operation which rescued her mother on 22 August 2015 off the coast of Libya."
22 member states are involved in the Sophia operation - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
EU: REFUGEE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Spreading Anti-Migrant Sentiment is Endangering Lives, IOM’s Swing Warns World Leaders (IOM link):
"United Nations – At the opening of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing warned that growing anti-migration sentiment in Europe is unnecessarily endangering the lives of migrants, while ignoring the overall benefits that migration has historically provided to the world..... Swing called on them to ensure that migration is governed in a responsible and humane fashion. One in seven people on the planet is a migrant – one billion in total – and billions more are impacted by migration daily. “Migrants cannot remain just a number to be counted,” said IOM’s Director General. “Governments must ensure that migrants’ rights are truly protected once and for all. This General Assembly, in its historic 70th year, presents world leaders with the opportunity to acknowledge that migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable.”
EU-USA: US governnent statement challenges the EU Court of Justice: Safe Harbor Protects Privacy and Provides Trust in Data Flows that Underpin Transatlantic Trade (US EU Mission, link):
"the Advocate General's opinion rests on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States..... The United States does not and has not engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of anyone, including ordinary European citizens."
See: CJEU: According to Advocate General Bot, the Commission decision finding that the protection of personal data in the United States is adequate does not prevent national authorities from suspending the transfer of the data of European Facebook subscribers to servers located in the United States (pdf): "The Advocate General considers furthermore that the Commission decision is invalid" and see: Opinion: Full-text (pdf)
US embassy defends 'invalid' EU data pact (euobserver, link): "The United States has spoken out against a European Court of Justice opinion which invalidated a 15-year old data-sharing pact. The US embassy to the EU on Monday (28 September) said a preliminary judgment by Yves Bot, the court’s advocate general, was based “on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States"."
News Digest (29.9.15)
Press freedom: How the EU struggles to match action with values (euractiv, link): "Press freedom is a reliable barometer of the state of democracy. But the EU’s failure to live up to its own standards undermines its influence on the rest of the world, argues Jean-Paul Marthoz."
EU: Access to documents: Meijers Committee: Memorandum concerning the non-paper on transparency dated 17 April 2015 (pdf):
"This memorandum presents a point-by-point discussion of the recent proposals presented in the Council by the six pro-transparency countries. While the proposals generally have positive and broadly uncontroversial implications, this does not hold for proposals 3 and 5 in particular. Moreover, the scope of most of the proposals is not yet entirely clear. This memo has therefore identified certain elements that require further examination to allow further discussion of the presented plans."
UK: Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice (Houses of Parliament: Research Bulletin, link): "Prison populations are increasing while crime is declining; thought in part to reflect changes to sentencing and policy."
EU: 499,826 refugees have arrived: See UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response (detailed information, link): 2,962 dead/missing. 129,000 people have arrived in Italy and 368,394 in Greece: Map: arrivals on Greek Islands (pdf)
Lesvos Volunteers: How to help refugees in Lesvos, Greece? (link): "Several amazing teams are working on the north coast of Lesvos. They provide the refugees arriving by boat with dry clothes and shoes, rain ponchos, sleeping bags, food, medical help, information, buses, etc."
Press Release: Extreme Poverty during the refugees’ journey (Greek Forum of Refugees, link):
"The Greek Forum of Refugees strongly feels the need to present and denounce the conditions that the refugees are dealing with, as soon as they arrive, in the European continent. The continent, that started values such as Democracy and Solidarity, proves being unable to apply them practically. Europe can do and offer, much more than what has been done until today. The GFR receives every day messages from European citizens that would like to offer help. Unfortunately, the leaders' policies, worldwide, do not keep up with this movement and the least that we can do is to denounce it."
MOAS Launches New Mission in Southeast Asia (migrantreport.org, link): "The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will launch a rescue operation in Southeast Asia during the winter months, when thousands of Rohingya are expected to embark on the dangerous sea crossing out of Myanmar.... “MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone. “Our job in the Mediterranean is not over, but we now feel it is our responsibility to use the Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis, he said." and:
Mediterranean crisis: MSF ceases operations on Phoenix rescue ship (link): "Harrowing time in Libya: In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats. Fleeing places like Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya. They have been treated by MSF for a range of conditions ranging from mild dehydration and hypothermia to kidney failure and gunshot wounds. MSF on the Mediterranean: Since operations began on 2 May, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea."
Security services accused over Aamer's lengthy detention - Supporters of Briton’s last Guantánamo detainee celebrate as questions remain as to why his release took so long (Guardian, link): "The post 9/11 world was just a few days old when Shaker Aamer was first imprisoned. Captured by Afghan bounty hunters while attempting to flee from Kabul with his pregnant wife and their three children, he was sold on twice, and found himself in US hands. By the end of the year he was being held at the notorious interrogation centre that American forces and the CIA had established at the Soviet-era airfield at Bagram, north of the capital.
Whatever happened there may explain why Aamer has languished for so long at Guantánamo, remaining behind bars long after every other British national and resident had been set free. The interrogators that MI6 and MI5 had sent to Bagram were warned that they must not take part in the torture that was being inflicted on the inmates; all received written instructions that “we cannot be party to such ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it”. In practice, this meant that they would remove themselves from the room before the abuses began."
UK-GCHQ: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities (Intercept, link):
"The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.... more than two dozen documents being disclosed today by The Intercept reveal for the first time several major strands of GCHQ’s existing electronic eavesdropping capabilities.
One system builds profiles showing people’s web browsing histories. Another analyzes instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions. Separate programs were built to keep tabs on “suspicious” Google searches and usage of Google Maps."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 25.9.15)
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU PNR: EDPS warns against unjustified and massive collection of passenger data (Press release, pdf):
"the EDPS published his Second Opinion on the use of Passenger Name Records (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime, he said that there is a lack of information to justify the necessity of an EU PNR scheme....
Since the proposed EU PNR scheme is likely to cover at least all flights to and from the EU, and may also involve intra EU and/or domestic flights, more than 300 million non-suspect passengers would potentially be interested by the EU PNR proposal. Building on his earlier Opinions on PNR addressing the same issue, the EDPS says that the available information does not justify why the massive, non-targeted and indiscriminate collection of passengers' personal information is necessary and why it is urgently needed.
The EDPS points out that the EU legislator must ensure that it fully complies with the strict requirements laid down by the Court since the Court, applying the Charter, looks with great scepticism upon any measure which, like the Data Retention Directive, would ‘appl[y] to persons for whom there is no evidence capable of suggesting that their conduct might have a link, even an indirect or remote one, with serious crime’."
and Full-text: Second Opinion (pdf)
Don't blame the smugglers: the real migration industry (heindehaas.blogspot.fr, link):
"The billions spent on the militarisation of border controls over the past years have been a waste of taxpayers' money. As we are able to witness during the current 'refugee crisis', increasing border controls have not stopped asylum seekers and other migrants from crossing borders. As experience and research has made abundantly clear, they have mainly (1) diverted migration to other crossing points, (2) made migrants more dependent on smuggling, and (3) increased the costs and risks of crossing borders. The fact is that 25 years of militarising border controls in Europe have only worsened the problems they proclaim to prevent....
Europe's immigration policies have created a huge market for the private companies implementing these policies as well as smugglers... a multi-billion industry, which has huge commercial interest in making the public believe that migration is an essential threat and that border controls will somehow solve this threat."
REFUGEE CRISIS: EUNAVFOR: Meijers Committee: Military action against human smugglers: legal questions concerning the EUNAVFOR Med operation (pdf):
I. There are no indications that combating migrant smuggling contributes to the restoration of international peace and security or to ending the ongoing humanitarian crises;
II. Without express consent from third states or authorization from the UN Security Council, the EU lacks jurisdiction over vessels or assets in third-country territorial waters;
III. Without express consent from third-country coastal states or authorization from the UN Security Council, there is no clear legal basis for coercive measures against vessels or assets on the high seas
News DIgest (25.9.15)
Jewish council welcomes ouster of minister after racist tweets (ekathimerini.com, link): "In a letter on Thursday to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece welcomed a decision to remove Independent Greeks (ANEL) MP Dimitris Kammenos from the Greek cabinet following an outcry over a series of racist and homophobic tweets by the right-wing politician."
Collusion and covert policing: colonial roots, contemporary issues (IRR, link): A Race & Class seminar on ‘Collusion and covert policing: colonial roots, contemporary issues’. Thursday 15 October 2015, 6-8pm Institute of Race Relations, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HS: "Professor Mark McGovern (Edge Hill University) will be discussing his work on the history of collusion in the context of contemporary developments in covert policing at a seminar to launch the October edition of Race & Class, leading with his article on ‘State violence and the colonial roots of collusion in Northern Ireland’."
Places are limited and booking is essential, email: email@example.com
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Council of the European Union: Preparation of trilogues - Data Protection issues (LIMITE doc no 12032-15, pdf)
"The outcome of that exchange of views will be the basis for the first trilogue on the draft Directive to be held on 24 September 2015. The Presidency will suggest to discuss the data protection elements of the proposed Directive at a trilogue on the PNR file in the near future."
September 11: From Verona to Belfast (IRR, link) by Phil Scraton: "September 11, 2001. The day imprinted on a disparate international collective consciousness. As two planes hit New York’s twin towers, another engulfed the Pentagon in flames and United Airlines Flight 93 plane came down in Pennsylvania en route to its target, I slipped traversing a ramp in Verona, severing my quadriceps tendon. Undiagnosed but in great pain, I flew home. A week later the tendon was repaired but I was soon in intensive care, pulmonary emboli – blood clots – to both lungs. It was touch and go."
SPECIAL: EU Ombudsman investigating secret "trilogue" decision-making but:
The Council challenges the right of the European Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry into secret "trilogues" (in which most EU legislation is decided)
In May 2015 Emily O'Reilly, the European Ombudsman, began an Own-initiative Inquiry on the "transparency of trilogues (pdf), But the Council of the European Union challenges the right of the Ombudsman to carry out such an inquiry: Council response to the Ombudsman (pdf)
"Trilogues" are meetings of the two EU co-legislators: the Council of the European Union (the 28 EU governments) and the European Parliament (with the European Commission in attendance). The purpose of trilogues is to speed up decision-making by agreeing new legislative measures quickly at 1st reading.
Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, comments: "The Council's objection to the Ombudsman's competence is totally unfounded"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "Over 80% of all new EU laws are agreed in these secret trilogues - they should have no place in a democracy worthy of the name - they should be held in the open with full public access to documents so that we can see what is being decided in our name."
As part of the Inquiry the Ombudsman has organised a Consultation meeting (link) on 28 September 2015 (10.00 - 12.00 in Room JAN 4Q1 of the European Parliament in Brussels).
Statewatch was amongst the first to criticise secret trilogues: See: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (September 2007, pdf) - European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf) - Proposed Commission changes to Regulation on access to documents fail to meet Lisbon Treaty commitments (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 24.9.15)
REFUGEE CRISIS: EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Press release (pdf):
"ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015"
EU to fortify external borders to stem migrant flow (euobserver, link): "The EU is forging ahead with plans to restore control of its external borders amid a refugee crisis unlike anything seen in recent history. Among the ideas announced in the early morning of Thursday (24 September), is the establishment of EU-run quarantine centres for new asylum arrivals by the end of November and a proposal for an EU border and coast guard system by December...The quarantine centres – also known as hotspots – will separate legitimate asylum seekers from others not entitled to international protection. People will be finger printed and registered. Rejected applicants will be returned back to their home countries." [emphasis added]
Agence Europe reports: "The hotspots (or "migration management support teams", as the Commission now calls them), were the subject of an in-depth discussion at the summit. According to the European leaders, these teams will ensure the welcome, identification and digital finger-printing of migrants arriving in Europe, and will use the procedures for returning the migrants or relocating them to other member states... The European leaders also spoke about the usefulness of moving towards a European coastguard system, a source stated. Although the summit statement does not mention this, the Commission will propose such a system at the end of 2015.."
News Digest (24.9.15)
Met police compensates brothers caught up in protests (Channel 4 News, link): "The Metropolitan police is to pay out tens of thousands of pounds in compensation to two brothers caught up in the 2010 violent student protests at Westminster. The settlement came after they sued the force for malicious prosecution, assault and battery.".
Five things you should know about the EU-US Umbrella Agreement (Access Blog, link): "The text of the Umbrella Agreement has not yet been officially released, and we are only able to comment on it thanks to our friends at Statewatch, who published the text in full.. The agreed text of the Umbrella Agreement will have be ratified by the European Parliament. The vote will not take place until the US Congress passes the Judicial Redress Act, which could takes few months. ".
UK: Student accused of being a terrorist for reading book on terrorism -Staffordshire University apologises after counter-terrorism student Mohammed Umar Farooq was questioned under Prevent anti-extremism initiative (Guardian, link)
Automated "recognizing propaganda": Reporting Office Internet content at Europol to continue to grow [Automatisiertes „Erkennen von Propaganda“: Meldestelle für Internetinhalte bei Europol soll weiter wachsen] (netzpolitik.org, link): "The EU member states raise even more money and personnel for the development of the financial intelligence unit for Internet content ("EU Internet Referral Unit" EU IRU). It describes the EU anti-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove in a strategy paper that published the British civil rights organization Statewatch today."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (36 stories and documents, 23.09.15) and Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (35 stories and documents, 22.09.15)
REFUGEE CRISIS: European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf)
"Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (see Annex II). The Support Teams will have an instant impact on the most critical point in the chain – where the most affected Member States are finding the sheer number of arrivals too great to manage effectively. Staff deployed by EU agencies and other EU Member States will help identify, screen and register migrants on entry to the EU. This is the first step to a secure future for those in need, and an early opportunity to identify those who should be returned to their home countries." [emphasis added]
Comment: This appears to beg the question about refugees's right to ask for asylum - especially as the Council Decision has prioritised refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea - when they are many refugees from Afghanistan and Somali amongst others?
Commission Press release (pdf)
Annex 1: Priority Actions under the European Agenda for Migration to deliver within six months (pdf)
Annex 2: Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (pdf)
Annex III The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf)
Annex IV Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund (link)
Annex V Member State and Commission Contributions to the World Food Programme (link)
Annex VI The EU Regional Trust Fund ("MADAD Trust Fund") in response to the Syrian Crisis (link)
Annex VII Implementing the Common European Asylum System (link)
Link to: Annexes to Communication (link)
European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (Statewatch) and Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) plus Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.
REFUGEE CRISIS: EU at "war" in the Med: European Parliament: Refugee crisis: present and future EU military operations in the Mediterranean (Press release, pdf):
"The EU military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean is about to enter its next phase. After gathering intelligence and setting up the structure, the operation will now focus on arresting traffickers and disabling smugglers vessel. The details of the operation were discussed by MEPs during a meeting of the security and defence subcommittee on 22 September....
At the hearing, Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) asked what would happen if traffickers were found on "suspicious" ships. Would these ships then be confiscated and sunk to avoid them being used to transport refugees? Answering to Gahler, Wosolsobe said the idea was to put smuggler vessels out of use, but not necessarily destroy them. They could be brought back to European shores.""
European Commission: More Responsibility in managing the refugee crisis: European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work (pdf) See: 40 EU migrant procedures against 19 countries (ANSA, link): "The European Commission on Wednesday opened 40 infraction procedures on migrants against 19 countries. They are accused of not fully implementing the rules of the common European asylum system, especially in regard to registration and repatriation. Italy was not among the 19.".
EU-USA: Data Protection: American Mass Surveillance of EU citizens: Is the End Nigh? (EU Law Analysis,link):
"Facebook is only a conduit in this case: Schrems’ real targets are the US government (for requiring Facebook and other Internet companies to hand over personal data to intelligence agencies), as well as the EU Commission and the Irish data protection authority for going along with this. In the Advocate-General’s opinion, the Commission’s decision to allow EU citizens’ data to be subject to mass surveillance in the US is invalid, and the national data protection authorities in the EU must investigate these flows of data and prohibit them if necessary."
CJEU: According to Advocate General Bot, the Commission decision finding that the protection of personal data in the United States is adequate does not prevent national authorities from suspending the transfer of the data of European Facebook subscribers to servers located in the United States (pdf): "The Advocate General considers furthermore that the Commission decision is invalid" and see: Opinion: Full-text (pdf)
Also: Safe Harbor: European Court Advocate General says Agreement should be declared invalid (EDRI, link) and Facebook case may force European firms to change data storage practices (Guardian ,link): "Changes may be required after European court advocate general accuses US intelligence services of ‘mass, indiscriminate surveillance"
UNHCR: 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate .(ekathimerini.com, link)
Germany: Strategic Initiative Technology: We Unveil the BND Plans to Upgrade its Surveillance Technology for 300 Million Euros (netzpolitik.org, link): "Fiberglass tapping, real-time Internet traffic analysis, encryption cracking, computer hacking: Germany’s foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst is massively expanding its Internet surveillance capabilities. We publish its secret 300 million Euro investment programme „Strategische Initiative Technik“. Members of Parliament and civil society criticise the agency’s new powers and demand an end of the whopping armament programme."
First Tunisia-EU counter-terrorism dialogue in Tunis (tap.info.tn, link): "he first enhanced political dialogue “security and counter-terrorism” was held Monday in Tunis, the European Union Delegation to Tunisia said Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Deputy Secretary General at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Christian Leffler and EU Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove."
EU: Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf)
Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.
JHA Council enforce migration plan by majority voting: Migrant crisis: EU ministers approve disputed quota plan (BBC News, link):
"EU interior ministers have approved a controversial plan to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent over the next two years. It will see migrants moved from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU countries. Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against accepting mandatory quotas. After the vote, Slovakia's prime minister said he would not accept the new quotas. Finland abstained from the vote. Poland, which had opposed the proposal, voted for it.
The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris said it was highly unusual for an issue like this - which involves national sovereignty - to be decided by majority vote rather than unanimous decision."
Comment: So far the EU has agreed to relocate 40,000 refugees who arrived on or after 15 August 2105 over a 1 year period and now 120,000 over 2 years. But the UNHCR says that : "477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year" . The European Commission states that "Syrians, Eritreans, Iraqis" are to be prioritised - which leaves out the tens of thousands who have fled from Afghanistan. The Commission also states that: "Initial screening of asylum applicants [to be] carried out in Greece, Hungary and Italy" - where does this leave the tens of thousands of refugees who already passed through Greece and Italy since March this year?
EU backs refugee plan in teeth of east European opposition (euractiv, link): The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday (22 September) to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations... The Czech minister tweeted that he had voted against, along with colleagues from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, with Finland abstaining" and EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania vote against the decision to impose quotas, as lack of consensus threatens to feed resentment (Guardian, link) Of the 120,000: A little more than half are to be moved to the rest of the EU from Greece and Italy. The remaining 54,000, initially planned to relieve Hungary, whose government takes the hardest anti-immigration line in the EU and refuses to accept the help, will be reserved for other needy countries on the Balkan migratory route, such as Croatia and Slovenia. If the 54,000 are not resettled within 18 months, more refugees can be moved from Greece and Italy."
EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2015 (53 pages.pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - Preparation of the Council meeting (Justice Ministers) (LIMITE doc no:11898-15, pdf)
Eurojust supports the frontline Member States by participating in the “Hotspots” and coordinates its efforts with relevant EU agencies. Currently, Eurojust participates in the Hotspots in Italy (Catania) and Greece (Piraeus) and its further participation in other Hotspots should be strengthened by helping prosecutors on the ground. In this framework, Eurojust should further support host Member States by providing for coordination with other Member States and by assisting, where appropriate, in the setting up of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)."
EU: Council of the European Union: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12139-15, pdf):
"the new “Hot spot approach” developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants."
UN Secretary-General statement: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary- General on the situation facing refugees and migrants in Europe (pdf): "He calls on all European States to ensure that they abide by their international obligations, including the right to seek asylum, and the prohibition of refoulement. All persons must be received with dignity and their human rights must be respected. The Secretary-General has followed with increasing concern the closing of some borders in Europe, as well as the lack of proper reception facilities as well as the increased use of detention and criminalization of irregular migrants and asylum seekers."
Hungary approves new anti-migrant powers despite outcry (France 24, link): "Hungary on Monday gave the army drastic new powers to protect its borders, as the UN chief said he was “extremely concerned” about the treatment of migrants and refugees in overstretched Europe. On the eve of two key European Union meetings, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to leaders across the 28-nation bloc, urging them to “show leadership and compassion” as the continent grapples with it worst migration crisis since World War II. “The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation facing refugees and migrants arriving across Europe,” said a statement in which he expressed concern about European borders being closed, the lack of proper facilities to receive newcomers and the increased use of detention against them.
It also gave troops the right to use rubber bullets, tear gas and net guns at the border "in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided"." [emphasis added]
EU: European Parliament study: Big Data and smart devices and their impact on privacy (pdf)
"In this context, and focusing on the development of Big Data practices, smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), this Study shows that the high degree of opacity of many contemporary data processing activities directly affects the right of the individuals to know what is being done with the data collected about them.
This Study argues that the promotion of a datadriven economy should not underestimate the challenges raised for privacy and personal data protection and that strengthening the rights of digital citizens should be the main focus of the current debates around the GDPR."
News Digest (22.9.15)
An updated version (2014) of the Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration just published.. (EASFJ, link):"A first version of the handbook on the European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration is co-authored by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and by by the European Court of Human Rights was published (in four languages) in June 2013. This second edition incorporates the changes to the EU asylum acquis published in the summer of 2013. Future updates of this handbook will become available on the FRA webpage at: http://fra.europa.eu/en/theme/asylum-migration-borders and on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) webpage at: www.echr.coe.int under “Publications”."
EU Anti-Money Laundering legal framework: the race has started again… (EASFJ, link): "The revision was triggered by the necessity to adapt the legal framework to counter new threats of money laundering and terrorist financing and to reflect recent changes due to revised Financial Actiont Task Force (FATF) "
No “Facebook Bureau of Investigations” as Terror-Reporting Provision Dies in Senate (The Intercept, link): "A provision that would have forced tech companies like Twitter and Facebook to report every inkling of “terrorist activity” on their services to law enforcement was removed from the 2016 Intelligence Authorization Bill on Monday."
News Digest (21.9.15)
ENS launches its new report "No Child Should be Stateless" (link) European Network on Statelessness: Report (pdf)
USA: Government Argues: If Your Mobile Phone Provider Knows Where You Are, Why Shouldn’t We? (The Intercept, link)
Refugee crisis: news from across Europe ( 20.09.2015)
"MI5 is paying Muslim informants for controversial short-term spying missions to help avert terrorist attacks by homegrown Islamist extremists.... A source, not from Whitehall but with knowledge of the payments, said: “It’s been driven by the [intelligence] agencies, it’s a network of human resources across the country engaged to effectively spy on specific targets. It’s decent money.”
They did not divulge the number of informants receiving government funding or how much of the agency’s national security budget is allocated to such transactions. However, the use of payments to gather information prompted calls for caution from senior figures in the Muslim community, who warned that such transactions could produce tainted intelligence."
AFGHANISTAN: Europe's Refugee Crisis Isn't Only About Syria - Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help (HRW, link):
"Although international interest in Afghanistan has waned and most foreign troops are long gone, the war there is only getting worse. The first six months of 2015 saw the highest number of casualties among women and children since the U.N. started keeping track in 2009. Many Afghans leaving now are fleeing violence, insecurity, or threats from the Taliban or government militia forces. They are just as entitled to refugee status or other protection."
Refugee crisis: news from across Europe (19.9.2015)
EU: Council of the European Union: Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies:
- STATE OF PLAY: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the free movement of such data (116 pages, LIMITE doc no: 11972-15, pdf) With 269 Member state positions.
"Delegations will find attached the full text of the Directive in subject. Chapters II, III, VI and VIII will be discussed at the Friends of the Presidency meeting on 21-22 September and Chapters I, IV, V, VII, IX and X in Coreper on 23 September 2015".
- As above Correction (LIMITE doc no: 11972-cor-1-15, pdf)
- Preparation of general approach: Chapters I, IV, V, VII, IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11978-15, pdf) Note to COREPER. is necessary to put in perspective - the idea is to agree big chunks of the Directive in Coreper next week, and then to go to the October JHA Council.
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (PIF Directive) - Judgement in case C-105/14 (Taricco) (pdf): European Public Prosecutor is nearer to agreement: The Council and EP may soon be able to agree on the definition of fraud in the PIF Directive. This is likely to speed up work on the proposed European Public Prosecutor and the reform of Eurojust:
"The European Parliament, supported by the Commission, have continued to insist on the inclusion of VAT Fraud in the scope of the Directive, and thus of the deletion of the above-mentioned paragraph. In substance, they have noted that VAT fraud such as carrousel fraud constitutes a major problem as regards criminal attacks against the Union's financial interests that should fall under the responsibility of the future European Public Prosecutor's Office... It appears that the judgment in the Taricco case contributes to clarify the legal situation concerning criminal penalties in relation to VAT fraud, as it is now seems that such fraud is already covered by the PIF Convention."
EU: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council (pdf) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday 23 September 2015. This will follow the extra Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015. See also: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.09.15, 23 items)
"Given these shortcomings, to me the exultation of the agreement seem premature. The European legal bodies which need to approve the ratification of the agreement, in particular the European Parliament and the parliaments of the Member States are called upon to thoroughly examine the agreement, in particular, its compatibility with the provisions of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Depending on the results of such assessment it might be necessary to renegotiating and caulking the umbrella."
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: European Commission: Report on the application in 2014 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (pdf) The report notes that:
"The Commission remains by far the institution handling the largest number of both initial and confirmatory requests pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001. The Commission handles more than twice as many requests as the Council and the European Parliament together."
This should come as no surprise as the Commission's public register is hugely incomplete and, remarkably, the register's website only gets 2,750 visits and 3,749 page views a month - the Statewatch European Monitring and Documentation (SEMDOC) covering all Justice and Home Affairs measures since 1993 gets over 50,000 "hits" a month. .
See Statewatch's Observatory FOI in the EU
EU: European Parliament study: A quest for accountability? EU and Member State inquiries into the CIA Rendition and Secret Detention
"The study identifies significant obstacles to further accountability in the five EU Member States [Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom] under investigation: notably the lack of independent and effective official investigations and the use of the ‘state secrets doctrine’ to prevent disclosure of the facts, evade responsibility and hinder redress to the victims."
The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (YouTube, link):"Eric Kempson and his family live on the Greek island of Lesbos. For months they have struggled to give the most basic of humanitarian assistance to thousands of desperate people arriving in boats from Turkey. This is their story."
Multinational border protection teams to be rolled out (euractiv, link): "Given the continuing refugee crisis, the European Commission wants to secure the EU's external borders with a European border surveillance system. Until it can be implemented, Frontex will commit extra personnel.... EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told Die Welt on Thursday (17 September), "The Commission will, by the end of the year, put forward a proposal for a European Border Guard System. "The aim is that multinational border guard teams monitor the external borders of the EU...."
News Digest (18.9.15)
UK: Strangeways, here we go again: prison protests in Manchester 25 years on (Guatdian, link) "In 1990, Strangeways in Manchester saw the biggest prison riots in UK history. When Stuart Horner scaled the same roof alone this week, it was an instant reminder. Eric Allison, who observed the original protests, asks how much has changed."
USA: When Is Assassination Not Assassination? When the Government Says So (The Intercept, link)
US report proves Lithuania hosted CIA 'black site': lawyer (news-republic.com, link)
Right-Wing soft power, the refugee crisis and Europe’s failure (Open Democracy, link): "The fact that Syriza was crucified more often and with more intensity than Viktor Orbán speaks volumes in itself. It is just that most people do not want to listen."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 items, 17.09.15)
EU-USA "Umbrella" agreement on the exchange of personal data: In EU-US data sharing we trust – but can we have that in writing, say MEPs Signs of split between EU apparatchiks and elected reps (The Register, link):
"European lawmakers won’t blindly accept an EU-US agreement on new data sharing laws without important legal questions being answered and fine print being read, according to several prominent MEPs....Despite the commission presenting the agreement as a done deal, it will not take effect until it is approved by the European Parliament and a Judicial Redress Bill has been signed by the US Congress....
Although the deal would give EU citizens the same rights as Americans to seek judicial redress before US courts if US authorities deny access to, or rectification of, their personal data, those rights are not absolute. Certain types of data are exempt.
However, although welcoming the move towards greater data protection, Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht said he would like the text of the agreement to be examined by the parliament’s own legal department."
Statewatch obtained the full text of draft, initialled by officials: Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (pdf) And see: Letter from Vera Jourová to Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee (14 September, pdf): "Let me once again stress that the prerequisite for the signature and conclusion of the Umbrella agreement is the adoption of the Judical Redress Bill by the US Congress." and see: Statement by EU Commissioner Vìra Jourová on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement" (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: "President Tusk decided to convene an extraordinary, informal meeting of the heads of state or government on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 18:00 to discuss how to deal with the refugee crisis." (link) This will follow the extra meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.
Will the Council invoke QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) to push through relocation plans? Tusk calls new EU summit on refugees - Countries still deadlocked over plan to relocate asylum-seekers (politico, link).and Germany says majority decision may be needed on refugees - Steinmeier says will be necessary if things don't work otherwise (ANSA, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Friday proposed putting the issue of quotas to redistribute refugees to a majority vote among EU member States to break through the current impasse."
EU: Refugee Crisis: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):
"An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.... Parliament backed the Commission's proposal (without amending it) by 370 votes to 134, with 52 abstentions. It then approved a legislative resolution by 372 votes to 124, with 54 abstentions, informing the Council that this approval is without prejudice to the position it will subsequently take on the proposal establishing a permanent crisis relocation mechanism, on which Parliament will co-decide on an equal footing with the member states."
"Under the Commission proposal, additional 120,000 asylum seekers would be relocated from Italy (15,600), Greece (50,400) and Hungary (54,000). [but] Luxembourg's Minister for Immigration and Asylum,Jean Asselborn, speaking on behalf of the Council's presidency, informed Parliament that "there will be an important change to the initial proposal: Hungary does not consider itself to be a frontline country and it does not want to benefit from the relocation scheme. "
How this plan will be implemented (eg: which refugees/asylum-seekers will qualify) will be decided by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015.
Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Acts in 2014: REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEWER ON THE OPERATION OF THE TERRORISM ACT 2000 AND PART 1 OF THE TERRORISM ACT 2006 by DAVID ANDERSON Q.C. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, SEPTEMBER 2015 and see:
Counter-extremism bill could play into terrorists' hands, says watchdog - Independent reviewer David Anderson QC says proposed legislation could lead to backlash from Muslim communities (Guardian, link)
Migrant crisis: UN 'shocked' over clashes in Hungary (BBC News, link):
"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is "shocked" after Hungarian police fired tear gas and water cannon to force migrants back from its border. Mr Ban said such treatment of asylum seekers was "unacceptable". Hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on Wednesday, trying to breach a razor-wire fence."
News Digest (17.9.15)
MI5 chief warns technology has put terrorists 'out of reach' (WIRED, link): "Rapid advances in technology are allowing terrorists to operate "out of the reach" of British spies, the head of MI5, Andrew Parker has claimed."
MEPs adopt report to help boost Europe's drones industry (euobserver, link): "New rules are needed to ensure safe use of drones, the European Parliament's transport committee has recommended in a new report. No-fly zones are considered, while no new privacy legislation needed,"
UK: Attorney General refuses to say whether UK has ‘blanket’ drone policy (Reprieve, link):
"The British Attorney General has today refused to say whether the Government has a ‘blanket’ or ‘case-by-case’ policy on carrying out targeted killings in countries with whom the UK is not at war. Jeremy Wright was answering questions from MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who questioned him over the UK’s adoption of a US-style drone programme, as recently announced by the Prime Minister.
However, Mr Wright refused to give further details on the nature of the legal advice he had provided to his Government."
"The report notes that most of the detained persons met by the CPT did not report any ill-treatment by the police. However, a number of allegations were received of verbal abuse and excessively tight handcuffing. As regards safeguards against ill-treatment, the CPT recommendations to the Luxembourg authorities include that all persons detained by the police be given access to a lawyer from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty....
the CPT calls upon the authorities to put an end to the practice of handcuffing detained persons to fixed objects and recommends that each police establishment be equipped with premises suitable for detention. The security cells in police stations, "cages" measuring less than 2m², should no longer be used as facilities for questioning suspects or for prolonged detention."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS: Updates to Policy and Additional Guidance Would Improve Oversight by DOJ and DHS Agencies (pdf)
"five of the eight components’ policies are not fully consistent with the Guidelines provisions for overseeing informants’ illegal activities. For example, the Guidelines require agencies to document certain information when authorizing an informant to participate in an activity that would otherwise be considered illegal (e.g., purchasing illegal drugs from someone who is the target of a drug-trafficking investigation)."
EU: SMART BORDERS: euLISA (European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice): Smart Borders Pilot Interim Report on the technical conclusions of the Pilot project (190 pagers, pdf) The Council asked for a detailed report on the "Smart Borders" initiative:
"The COM-led Technical Study (the first step of the Proof of Concept) identified the suitable options and solutions for the Smart Borders package to be tested during the Pilot. The aim of the Pilot (the second step of Proof of Concept) carried out by eu-LISA is to verify the feasibility of the proposed options and validate the selected concepts for both automated and manual border controls in operational environments with real travellers across Europe by November 2015." [emphasis added]
U.N. chief 'shocked' by treatment of migrants on Hungary-Serbia border (Yahoo Newes, link):
""I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated, it's not acceptable," Ban told a news conference. "All the countries have their domestic problems, but since they are the people fleeing the wars and persecutions, then we must show our compassionate leadership," he said. "First and foremost we have to provide life-saving assistance and shelter and ... sanitation, then we can discuss how they should be treated, accommodated," Ban said."
Justice and Home Affairs Council, 22/09/2015 (link): "The Council will start at 14:30. Ministers will continue discussions on migration. They will focus on the Commission proposal for the emergency relocation of 120 000 persons in need of international protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows to other EU member states." and Parliament fast-tracks vote on 120,000 refugee relocation plan (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 items, 16.09.15)
EU: DATA RETENTION: European Commission: European Commission statement on national data retention laws (Press release, pdf):
"We have seen press reports suggesting that the European Commission is “threatening to take Germany to court” over concerns regarding its national data retention law.
As the European Commission has repeatedly said since the European Court of Justice annulled the EU Data Retention Directive: the decision of whether or not to introduce national data retention laws is a national decision. The European Commission has no intention to go back on this statement or reopen old discussions.
We are aware that data retention is often the subject of a very sensitive, ideological debate and that sometimes there can be a temptation to draw the European Commission into these debates. The European Commission is not ready to play this game."
EU: Refugee crisis: Turning point for Europe: humanity remembered by Monish Bhatia and Ann Singleton (Open Democracy, link):
"Both governments and ordinary people should respond to the humanitarian crisis with a renewed sense of humanity... Last week the public and media became aware, through one image across Europe (and the world) of the plight of people fleeing for their lives. Within the UK this image produced an awakening after months and years of warnings about the consequences of policy failures, wars and discrimination against migrants. Evidence of the catastrophic failures of UK and EU migration policies, which are based solely on immigration control, borders and ‘security’, have been disbelieved or treated with scepticism by policy makers, officials and many academics."
EU-USA: Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement: Europol Joint Supervisory Body: Europol JSB inspection of the implementation of the [EU-USA] TFTP Agreement (pdf):
"The JSB restates that, in view of the nature of the TFTP and the scope of the agreement there is a massive, regular, data transfer from the EU to the US. There is a clear tension between the idea of limiting the amount of data to be transmitted by tailoring and narrowing the requests and the nature of the TFTP."
EU: Deflecting Responsibility to Protect Refugees (HRW, link)" Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU... Faced with Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the collapse of Yugoslavia, EU governments can only agree to push responsibility to countries outside the Union,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU is supposed to have a Common European Asylum System, yet EU governments can’t even agree on how to share responsibility for those in need of refuge.”"
Report on: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe Update (16.9.15):
The Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees is effective only for those who:
"have arrived or are arriving on the territory of those Member States [Greece and Italy"] as from 15 August 2015 until 16 September 2017"
Both the European Commission and the European Parliament wanted the relocation programme to run from April 2015. The Council Decision to only start tjhe programme from 15 August 2015 excludes hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived before this date. It would appear that the Council only wants to include those who will be caught by the new "hotspots" being set up in Greece and Italy where all new arrivals will be fingerprinted and registered. (Press release, 14.9.15: Relocation of 40 000 refugees from Greece and ltaly agreed by CounciI pdf)
There are a plethora of documents and statements from the Council of the European Union on the refugee crisis - the clearest guide to the their coercive thinking on creating "hotspots" for registration and fingerprinting, accelerated asylum procedures, "returns" and more see: Migration: EU action, state of play and next steps (Doc no: 11782-1-15, 11 September 2015, pdf)
EU-USA 'UMBRELLA AGREEMENT' ON DATA PROTECTION: FULL TEXT
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee will later today (15 September) be updated by a Commission official on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement". Statewatch has obtained the full text of draft, initialled by officials: Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (pdf)
And see: Letter from Vera Jourová to Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee (14 September, pdf): "Let me once again stress that the prerequisite for the signature and conclusion of the Umbrella agreement is the adoption of the Judical Redress Bill by the US Congress."
The meeting will be broadcast live: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (link)
EU: Chinese to Schengen countries to submit biometric data (Xinhua, link): "The European Union's delegation to China recently announced that Schengen nations will require Chinese visa applicants to provide biometric data beginning Oct 12." See: Visa Information System to start operations in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan on 12 October 2015 (Statewatch News Online, June 2015)
News Digest (15.09.15)
BELGIUM: Manifestation anti-raciste à Bruxelles: Emir Kir craint des débordements (Le Soir, link)
UK: Demand for free help almost doubles since cuts to legal aid (The Guardian, link)
UK: Inmate died after smoking legal high 'Spice' in Liverpool prison HMP Altcourse (Liverpool Echo, link)
UK: IMMIGRATION DETENTION: Not one dissenting voice … apart from James Brokenshire (Right to Remain, link)
UK: Protesting Strangeways prisoner in underwear scales fence as inmates chant 'we shall not be moved' (Mirror, link) and see: Strangeways prison: Gunman jailed for execution of uncle holds tense rooftop protest at Manchester jail (Manchester Evening News, link)
UK: Theresa May loses court battles against two failed asylum seekers (The Guardian, link)
UK: Two Belgian activists arrested during a protest at an arms fair in London (Brussels Times, link)
UK-EU: Some open questions in Britain’s EU referendum puzzle (EurActiv, link)
“WikiGate” raises questions about Wikipedia’s commitment to open access (Ars Technica, link)
Germany has reintroduced border controls in response to the number of migrants and refugees travelling to the country. The border with Austria is the main focus, and all train travel between Austria and Germany has been halted. The European Commission has said that Germany's decision "underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis."
The Justice and Home Affiars Council (interior and justice ministers of EU Member States) is meeting today to discuss the EU response to the ongoing migration crisis. Here you can find official documents related to the meeting, both public and leaked.
EU privacy watchdog planning international board on tech ethics (EurActiv, link): "The EU's Data Protection Supervisor made an unexpected move today (11 September) by releasing an opinion on technology and ethics, aimed to fill in gaps in consumer protection rules left unaddressed by the ongoing EU privacy reforms." See the opinion: Towards a new digital ethics: dignity, data and technology (pdf) and EDPS press release (pdf)
UK-EU: UNDERCOVER POLICING: What to consider before making a submission to the Pitchford Inquiry (Undercover Research Group, link): "Have you had an encounter with an undercover copper as part of your political activism? The Pitchford Inquiry is an opportunity for that story to be heard as part of a wider investigation into the targeting of protest by undercover police. We explain the practicalities of what this means and of how you can get involved." See also: Netpol calls for activists to participate in public inquiry into undercover policing (Netpol, link)
And: Police teaching teachers about "domestic extremism": Police tell teachers to beware of green activists in counter-terrorism talk (tes, link)
EU: End mass snooping and protect whistleblowers, MEPs yell at EU (The Register, link): "The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to adopt the conclusions of a report – as a non-legally binding resolution – that defends encryption, anonymity and digital freedom."
Full report, as adopted: Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (pdf) and how MEPS voted (VoteWatch Europe, link)
EU: Court of Justice: UK and Ireland can participate in Eurosur
The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled against a petition from Spain that called for halting the participation of the UK and Ireland in the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur). See: Judgment of the Court (Case C-44/14, 8 September 2014) (pdf) and Tribunal UE permite a Londres participar en Eurosur pese a rechazo de España [EU court allows London to participate in Eurosur despite Spain's protests] (La Vanguardia, link)
News Digest (14.09.15)
AUSTRIA: Austria creates new agency with unprecedented surveillance powers (EDRi, link)
BORDERPOL newsletter: Border Security Matters, August 2015 edition (pdf, link)
FRANCE: The Banlieue Battleground: Designing the French Suburbs for Police/Military Interventions (The Funambulist, link)
FRANCE-SPAIN-BELGIUM: Intelligence agencies face questions over gunman security lapses (The Telegraph, link)
INTERPOL asked to clarify position on Clare Rewcastle Brown (Fair Trials, link)
LITHUANIA: When Pre-Trial Detention Becomes a Form of Retribution (Fair Trials, link)
Northern Ireland ceasefire monitoring body on agenda in crisis talks (The Guardian, link)
ROMANIA: Romania: After PNR, a proposal for retention of tourist data (EDRI, link)
SERBIA: New Videos Show Crime Boss Meeting Top Serbian Police (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, link)
SPAIN: Barcelona buzzing as region celebrates Catalonia’s national day (euronews, link): "More than one million people crammed the streets of Barcelona to celebrate Catalonia’s national day."
UK: Jeremy Corbyn wins landslide victory in Labour leadership contest (Wirral Globe, link) and see: Corbyn victory energises the alienated and alienates the establishment (The Guardian, link)
UK: The Iraq Inquiry and the silent civil servant (New Internationalist, link): "John Chilcot has held back the release of his findings for nearly 5 years. Bereaved families have had enough, writes Felicity Arbuthnot."
UK: Youth, welfare and the legacy of structural racism (IRR, link): "Will those from BAME communities be disproportionately affected by the government’s intensive workfare programme for young people?"
USA: First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist (The Daily Beast, link)
USA-NSA: FAIRVIEW: Collecting foreign intelligence inside the US (Top Level Telecommunications, link): "Here we will combine these new and old documents to provide a detailed picture of this important collection program, that was previously misunderstood on various occasions."
Two horrific videos: Refugees forced to scramble for food by police in Hungary (Guardian, link): "PM says Hungary facing ‘a rebellion by illegal migrants’ as officers filmed throwing sandwiches towards desperate crowds at centre in Röszke" and see Packed In A Dinghy With Syria's Refugees (Sky News, link): Remarkable video on the crossing from Assos in Turkey to Lesvos, including attempted interception by Turkish coastguard boat and shots were fired into the air - but the dinghy crosses into Greek waters.
HUNGARY: Refugees encounter prisoners building Hungary's border fence – video Guardian, link): "Refugees entering Hungary witness the building of the country’s new border fence with Serbia. Hungary has pressed on with the fence, which is due to be finished in October, as authorities move to restrict illegal entry next week. The fence is being built by prisoners along the 109 mile border with Hungary’s former Yugoslavian neighbour"
EU aid arrives and so does fingerprinting: Report from Lesvos: Meeting with the Mayor: "A new center in a football pitch with 40 computers that can take fingerprints checked via Interpol and register the migrant/refugees. This center will operate for a week on a 24/7 basis. They will take people to the centre by bus then get on the ship to Athens. The second part of the plan is to organise 3 new centres, one in Mytilene, one in Kapi Lesvos (NE of Lesbos) and one in Petra where they will register the refugees and also they will also use as departing harbour Sigri which is nearer to the mainland and the trips could be faster."
Pro-refugee barefoot protests sweep Italy (ANSA, link): "More barefoot marches took place in several Italian cities on Friday calling for refugees to be welcomed in Europe. Thousands of people attended barefoot protests in Venice, Rome, Mantua and Naples Friday after similar demonstrations on other parts of the country in recent days."
‘Refugees welcome here’: UK marchers take to streets with message of support (The Observer, link): "Senior UN official warns that, if the war in Syria continues, a million more of its people may be displaced by the end of the year."
Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1 (The Local.de, link): "Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts."
'Don't throw refugees off Sweden's trains' (The Local.se, link): "Refugees who board a train and have do not have enough money for the entire journey will not be thrown off the train, according to to an internal e-mail from Sweden’s state-owned train operator, SJ."
Bulgaria's Sofia Joins #RefugeesWelcome Initiative (.novinite.com, link): "Bulgarians on Saturday took to the streets of the capital Sofia to show solidarity with the hardship of migrants fleeing the war in Syria and seeking a better life in Europe...Saturday's demonstration ended in front of the EU Commission office building in downtown Sofia. Participants held placards reading "Europe Says Welcome", "Europe Is Not a Fortress", "Stop Killing Refugees", or "Xenophobia Is Illegal, People Are Not"."
German pro-refugee politician defies neo-Nazis (DW, link): "A senior German politician whose district council is enlarging hostels for refugees says he won't be deterred by a neo-Nazi murder threat. Erich Pipa says "99 percent" of residents support his stand to provide shelter." and Five injured when refugee shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt catches fire (DW, link): "Five people have been injured in a fire in a migrant shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt. Police are investigating whether this may be the latest in a series of arson attacks on refugee homes across Germany."
Thessaloniki makes preparations to receive refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "Preparations are under way in Thessaloniki so the northern city will be in a position to house refugees who will find it more difficult to cross Greece’s northern borders while heading to Central Europe in the winter. Kathimerini understands that around 120 prefabricated structures, similar to those used to house refugees at the Elaionas camp in Athens, have been moved to the city and are to be installed on land belonging to the Hellenic Railways Organization."
Beyond Hungary: how the Czech Republic and Slovakia are responding to refugees (The Conversation, link): "After Hungarian authorities finally allowed trains to leave Budapest’s main railway station on August 31, about 200 refugees arrived on the territory of the Czech Republic. They were taken off the train by Czech police in the town of Breclav on the Austrian-Czech border and placed in detention."
Pro-refugee rallies due as Europe squabbles (The Local.es, link): "Tens of thousands were due to rally in European capitals on Saturday in support of refugees as Hungary's populist prime minister called for a giant aid package for countries around war-ravaged Syria to stem mass migration to Europe. The Europe-wide "day of action" includes dozens of events across several nations with the biggest demonstration expected in London. There are also rival anti-migrant events due to take place, notably in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia."
UNHCR urges full and swift implementation of European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (link): ""Given the urgency of the situation, these proposals need to be implemented fully and swiftly," UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva."
'Difficult for Sweden to register refugees' (The Local.no, link): "Norway on Friday pulled back from criticising Sweden after the country’s migration authorities admitted that they could not force refugees to register if they wanted to move onwards to Norway."
Denmark says no to EU's 160,000 refugee plan (The Local.dk, link): "Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said on Friday that with the nation's opt-out on EU asylum policies, there is "simply no reason" that Denmark should participate in the EU's plan to resettle asylum seekers."
Ministers hammer out plan for refugee influx (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian government is holding talks on Friday on how to deal more effectively with the large numbers of refugees entering the country from Hungary, some of whom are claiming asylum in Austria. They will discuss integration, housing and employment opportunities. "
France takes in refugees but abandons 'migrants' (The Local.fr,link)
EU-USA "Umbrella agreement" on the exchange of personal data: EPIC Pursues Public Release of EU-US Agreement on Data Transfers
EPIC has filed an expedited FOIA request to obtain a secret agreement between US and EU law enforcement agencies concerning the transfer of personal data. Citing legislation pending in Congress and NGO concern about the scope of the data protection safeguards, EPIC said "there is an urgency to inform the public" about the contents of the agreement. EPIC has pursued numerous FOIA cases and routinely made the information obtained available to Congress and the public. The agency has 10 days to respond to EPIC's request about the law enforcement "umbrella agreement."
Germany: The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information: “A welcome step but still only a little piece of the puzzle.” (pdf): "Given that the negotiations were not public, it is not possible at this stage to come to a final assessment of the agreement from a data protection point of view.
Details relating to retention periods and to data protection supervision are not yet known. In addition, for the implementation of the right to action under this Agreement, the Congress still has to adopt a Bill guaranteeing Europeans in the US access to judicial redress which is equivalent to the redress to which US-citizens are entitled in Europe."
And see: EU-US data protection "Umbrella Agreement" - Commission Services Non-Paper on state of play of negotiations (April 2014: Doc no: 8761-15, pdf)
Includes: "The two sides agree that: "the agreement will be without prejudice to transfers or other forms of cooperation between US and Member State's competent authorities responsible for safeguarding national security" and in addition in relation to the whole agreement: "Directive n. 12 specifies that the agreement shall be without prejudice to the activities in the field of national security" - this alone should undermine any acceptable agreement."
News Digest (11.9.15)
UN rights chief blasts Paris for Roma evictions (The Local.fr, link): "France has once again been blasted for its treatment of Roma communities. This time its the UN's human right's chief who has taken Paris to task for forced evictions of Roma camps.... The UN rights chief on Friday condemned what he described as a "systematic national policy" in France to evict Roma, two weeks after more than 150 people were forced from a shantytown north of Paris."It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a systematic national policy to forcibly evict the Roma," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement, attacking the policy as "punitive and destructive."
UK: Show solidarity with refugees this Saturday 12th September (Refugee Action, link):"IThis Saturday (12th September 2015) there are events and demonstrations taking place all across the UK in support of welcoming refugees. Refugee Action is a partner in the London march, but there are loads more events happening all over the country."
GREECE: Far-right Golden Dawn exploits darker side of Greece's discontent (ekathimerini.com, link): "Standing before them, a member of the European Parliament from Golden Dawn, the eurozone’s most extreme right-wing political party, roused the crowd with defiant denunciations of enemies at home and abroad ahead of a national election on Sept. 20. "The message of Leonidas - Molon Labe (Come and get it) – is as timely today as ever for everything tormenting Greece," the retired lieutenant general, Eleftherios Synadinos, told supporters waving flags bearing the party’s Swastika-like emblem."
EU humanitarian emergency: (11.9.15)
Bulgaria: Interior Minister Says Bulgaria Will Fulfill Its Commitment to Accept Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova assured that Bulgaria will fulfill its commitment to accept the refugees, who will be distributed from Greece, Italy and Hungary according to the new quota system unveiled by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday."
Denmark says it already has 'fair share' of refugees (euobserver, link): "Denmark will not take part in a mandatory distribution of asylum seekers, as suggested by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Danish integration minister Inger Stoejberg said. She told told Danish news agency Ritzau on Friday (11 September) that an informal distribution of refugees is already taking place across Europe and that Denmark has granted asylum to 'a fair share' of them."
German politician goes public with racist abuse on Facebook (DW, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians have called on Facebook to do more against racist comments on the site. Now an opposition politician has gone public with the abuse she has taken on her Facebook page."
Germany: The Breaking Point? Germany's Asylum System Struggles to Cope (Der Spiegel Online, link): "As the migrant influx continues, the 'Refugees Welcome' high is beginning to wear off. People are beginning to wonder if Germany will really be able to cope with all the newcomers. And the system is already completely overwhelmed." and Countering the Hate: 'People Are Getting Involved in Tremendous Ways' (DEr Spiegel Online, link): "Around 800,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany this year, with the number of Syrians growing rapidly. Manfred Schmidt, Germany's top migration official, discusses how the country is coping with the massive influx."
Borderland Europe and the challenge of migration (Open Democracy, link) by Etienne Balibar:
" We tend to think that the external limits of the European Union define the 'real' borders of Europe, which is a mistake..... part of the solution is within reach: this minimum would be achieved by 1) an official declaration on the 'state of humanitarian urgency' on the entire 'territory' under the auspices of the European Commission, 2) the binding commitment of all EU member states to treat refugees with dignity and equity from each according to their objectively measurable ability."
New Defense Minister: Hungary Can Protect Its Schengen Border (Hungary Today, link): "Hungary can protect its own and the European Union’s Schengen borders and will prove that ability, István Simicskó, the new Hungarian defense minister, told public television M1. He said that Hungary’s defence system can and must be used to prevent a “new type of migration” across the country, compromising the security of its residents. Asked how the military would be used along the border, the new defense minister said soldiers would assist the police. “Each army has a basic task, a task in protecting the country, a task to deter, to coerce, or to demonstrate power.” The military will need to convey the message that those who enter legally, will receive fair treatment, while illegal immigrants will be prosecuted, he said. The minister also said that early completion of the fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia was of key importance."
Immigration: Hungarian Government Considers Declaring State Of Crisis (Hungary Today, link): "The interior ministry has proposed that the Hungarian government declare a state of crisis in light of the massive influx of migrants, which will be discussed at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, government office chief János Lázár told a press conference. Lázár said that findings by the national security cabinet indicate that organised crime and the threat of terrorism are on the rise in Hungary. In response to a question, Lázár said that the deadline for completing construction on the border fence at the Röszke border station, including the railroad tracks, is September 15."
Hungary: Abysmal Conditions in Border Detention - Ensure Adequate Access to Food, Water, Medical Care (HRW, link): "Migrants and asylum seekers are being held in abysmal conditions in the two Roszke migrant detention centers on the Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today after obtaining footage from inside the camp and interviewing persons currently and formerly detained there. Hungarian police intercept asylum seekers and migrants entering via Serbia and detain them for days for registration and processing in conditions that fall short of Hungary’s international obligations."
Refugee Air (link): "Swedish entrepreneurs and humanitarians are taking migration matters into their own hands, and are working to airlift Syrian refugees into the EU. The effort is led by Susanne Najafi and Emad Zand. “As entrepreneurs we find solutions, and if we can fly people to the moon, why shouldn’t we be able to fly refugees safely to Europe?” says Najafi"
Why Europe is conflicted over immigration (kuve, link)
CoE: The Dublin system has collapsed and must be reformed as a matter of urgency, says Migration Committee (Parlimentary Assembly, link)
Why do so many refugees avoid Bulgaria? (DW, link) "In an Arabic language "Refugee Handbook," Bulgaria ranks first among countries asylum seekers should avoid. Refugees say xenophobia and Islamophobia are widespread and that they try to skirt around the country."
Migrant crisis: People treated 'like animals' in Hungary camp (BBC News, link) with video: "Footage has emerged of migrants being thrown bags of food at a Hungarian camp near the border with Serbia.An Austrian woman who shot the video said the migrants were being treated like "animals" and called for European states to open their borders. The emergency director of Human Rights Watch said the migrants were being held like "cattle in pens""
Serbia happy to help EU, ambivalent about refugee hub status (euractiv, link): "The EU has praised Serbia for coping with the refugee crisis. However, this contributed to widespread speculation inside the country that it will host a large refugee camp."
Polish prime minister says accepting refugees is Poland's duty (Reuters, link): "Poland cannot afford to accept economic migrants, but it is the biggest central European economy's duty to accept refugees fleeing wars, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said on Thursday "Accepting migrants escaping to save their lives is our duty," Kopacz, speaking ahead of an election in October."
Czech political spectrum united in opposition to EU migrant quotas (Praha Radio, link): "Politicians from across the Czech political spectrum have reaffirmed their opposition to a revised plan unveiled by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday that would see member states dividing-up 160,000 asylum seekers. Instead, Czech elected officials are maintaining that assistance to refugees should be a voluntary matter."
Hungary's Orban faces off against refugees (The Local.at, link): " Prime Minister Viktor Orban was never much of a liberal. A former US ambassador recently quoted him as saying: "All this talk about democracy is bullshit" after one too many lectures regarding his authoritarian ways. Yet even by his own reactionary standards, the building of a heavily fortified fence along the country's southern border, patrolled by sniffer dogs and possibly the army, looks like an extreme step -- particularly in a country with vivid memories of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain.The UN's refugee agency said new laws due to come into force next week, threatening three years in jail for anyone breaking through the barrier, "could lead to chaos", while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the fence a breach of "Europe's common values"." [emphasis added]
Italian van driver stopped with 33 Syrians aboard in Hungary - Says 'saw them shivering in cold' (ANSA, link): "Rome, September 11 - An Italian van driver was stopped with 33 Syrians aboard heading for Germany near Budapest Friday, police said. The man, 55, driving a red Fiat Ducato, was stopped near Lake Balaton. There were two women among the refugees in the back. The Italian embassy is investigating the matter. The man reportedly said he had picked up the refugees after he saw them shivering in the cold. He has been accused of human trafficking."
‘Transit’ countries get tough on refugees (euractiv, link): "While Germany has surprised the world with its welcome of refugees, Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Denmark are growing hostile towards them, despite the fact that asylum seekers show no interest in settling there."
CSU denounces Merkel's refugee policy as a 'mistake' (DW, link): "Members of the CSU - sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU - have dubbed the German Chancellor's handling of the refugee crisis a "mistake." Germany saw the arrival of more than 15,000 asylum seekers last weekend alone."
European Commission: Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf):
"The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."
Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link): So far in 2015:
- Arrivals in the EU: 381,412
- Dead/Missing: 2,850
- Arrivals in Greece: 258,365
- Arrivals in Italy: 121,000
See: Greek islands: Map (pdf)
"Johanna Rolland, EUROCITIES president and mayor of Nantes, explains how cities are taking leadership when it comes to welcoming refugees. Under the increasing pressure from European Institutions and the impact of tragic current events, Member states are stepping up their response to one of the greatest humanitarian crisis ever faced by the European Union....
Throughout the summer, our cities have continued to provide emergency assistance, housing, healthcare and social services where asylum seekers and migrants were stranded, transiting, or have reached their final destination. We have also challenged extremist discourses, such as in Leipzig and Dresden. We have called for open and welcoming societies. We have taken leadership and chosen to support movements emerging at local level to welcome refugees."
CLOSING BORDERS: Record number of refugees enter Hungary amid border crackdown fears - Hungarian police say 3,221 people entered country from Serbia on Wednesday in advance of new border controls expected next week (Guardian, link): "Orbán has also ordered the speeding up of the construction of a 3.5-metre high fence along Hungary’s southern frontier with Serbia. He has also vowed to cut to zero the number of migrants entering from next Tuesday. Explaining the new system, the justice minister László Trócsányi said an area similar to an “airport transit zone” would be set up at the border. “While it is located in the territory of the given state, the entry into the transit zone does not qualify, in immigration terms, as an entry into that state,” he said. Activists fear this will strand people in a legal limbo and lead to the vast majority of asylum seekers being turned back "
and see: Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the country’s borders."
VERY Important info for Serbia-Hungary-Border-crossing-refugees (Refugee Relief Action Forum: TwitLonger, link): ""As of next Tuesday, the authorities in Hungary will adopt a completely different approach to the refugees.Those who enter illegally, will be captured, jailed and quickly expelled from the country. Those who submit an application for asylum legally, can not even enter the territory of Hungary and will be returned to Serbia within few hours. The government in the coming weeks is preparing for crowd dispensing scenes, but Orbán said that this is the only way to have relative calm by Christmas.".
Refugees face chaos and harsh conditions at Serbia-Hungary border (AI, link): "“While Europe rejoiced in happy images from Austria and Germany yesterday, refugees crossing into Hungary right now see a very different picture: riot police and a cold hard ground to sleep on,”
Macedonian guards filmed threatening refugees with batons on border with Greece - Guards attempt to control influx of 4,000 people, the largest single wave of refugees and migrants the Greek border police has seen so far (Guardian, link)
MACEDONIA-GREECE: FYROM mulls fencing off border against migrants, says foreign minister ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is considering building a Hungarian-style border fence to stem a rising influx of migrants from the south, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki was quoted as saying on Thursday."
EU humanitarian emergency: (10.9.15)
Refugee crisis: the fifth boat to land on Lesvos this morning alone (Channel 4 News with short video, link): "The boats pop into view as if from nowhere, frighteningly low in the water, snaking from left to right looking for a place to land on the northern shore of Lesbos. Why here? Because it’s 6km across the Mytilini Strait from Turkey to Greece.... A window of flat calm water with no wind has prompted a mad dash of boats. There were twenty seven yesterday. The one we filmed was the fifth this morning."
Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the country’s borders."
As refugees crowd onto Lesbos, the IRC is providing vital information and registration service (IRC link): "“People overwhelmingly just want to move on,” says Emily David, the IRC’s emergency protection coordinator. “They want to continue their journey at whatever the cost. They’re determined to reach their friends, family and find safety in Europe. We’re here to make sure that journey is as safe and dignified as possible.""
Szijjártó on high moral ground as chaos worsens (Budapest Times, link)
Ács mayor quits Fidesz over PM's remarks on Roma (Budapest Busines Journal, link)
MACEDONIA-SERBIA: 5,000 refugees arrive in Serbian town in one day: A record number of refugees - as many as 5,000 - arrived to the reception center in Kanjiza, northern Serbia, in a single day, RTS said on Thursday morning. (b92, link)
Worsening conditions inside Syria and the region fuel despair, driving thousands towards Europe (UNHCR, link): "Deteriorating conditions in Syria and neighbouring countries are driving thousands of Syrians to risk everything on perilous journeys to Europe, the UN refugee agency cautioned on Tuesday. As the crisis digs deeper into its fifth year with no sign of a political solution in sight, despair is on the rise and hope is in short supply."
Thousands of refugees, migrants at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Thousands of people, including many families with young children, are braving torrential downpours to cross Greece's northern border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), after Greek authorities managed to register about 17,000 people on the island of Lesvos in the space of a few days, allowing them to continue their journey north into Europe.... About 7,000 people waited in the mud of an open field near the northern village of Idomeni to cross the FYROM border early Thursday, with more arriving in trains, buses and taxis."
European Parliament: MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "Ms Keller also stressed the need for a "permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states." The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system. The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions."
Dreaming of Europe, Syrians in Turkey undeterred by Aegean tragedy (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Ali, 31, a Syrian seeking to move to Europe, sits in a cafe in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, impatient and angry. Undeterred by a succession of fatal accidents, he wants to cross the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece in the hope of making it to Britain, or Germany as Berlin takes in more Syrian refugees."
Danish police: Refugees can travel on to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish National Police said on Thursday that arriving refugees and migrants will now be allowed to pass through Denmark on the way to Sweden."
Denmark-Germany trains resume amid influx (The Local.de, link): "Denmark's train operator said early Thursday it expected rail traffic across the German border to resume later in the day, after police ordered services to be suspended due to an influx of migrants. "
New spike in refugees entering Austria (The Local.at, link): "Austria witnessed a new spike in migrant numbers overnight with more than 3,000 people crossing unimpeded from Hungary, authorities said on Thursday." and The expats working overtime for refugees (The Local.at, link): "As exhausted and destitute refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, continue to arrive in Vienna one group of expats has been working overtime to gather and distribute donations."
Grybauskaite - Lithuania should accept over 1,000 refugees (Baltic Times, link)
Refugee crisis: how does Europe solve a problem like Viktor Orbán? Anti-immigrant stance of Hungary’s prime minister is discomforting other European leaders but there seems little they can do to change his ways (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter III, preparation for trilogue (106 pages, LIMITE doc no 11696-15, pdf) Multicolumn: Commission proposal, positions of Council and the European Parliament and "compromise"
Refugee crisis: Europe's leading newspapers urge governments to act now in open letter - Europe must show that it is built on the principles of solidarity, equality and liberty (Independent, link):"Our leaders must show courage and insight if they are not to fail this test of our shared European civilization. We need to act, and we need to act now:"
Bernd Ulrich, Die Zeit, Germany, Ezio Mauro, La Repubblica, Italy, Antonio Caño, El Paìs, Spain, Johan Hufnagel and Laurent Joffrin Libération, France, Amol Rajan, The Independent, UK, Oliver Duff, i, UK, Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday, UK, Christian Broughton, independent.co.uk, Andreas Paraschos, Kathimerini, Cypres, András Murányi, Népszabadság, Hungary, Matúš Kostolný, Denník N, Slovakia, , Adam Michnik, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, Jan Helin, Aftonbladet, Sweden, Christian Jensen, Information, Denmark, Anna B. Jenssen, Morgenbladet, Norway"
News Digest (10.9.15)
Syria drone strike sets low threshold for killing people, says UN official - Prof Christof Heyns says UK’s killing of two British jihadis in Raqqa sets a dangerous precedent as other experts question whether attack was justified (Guardian, link)
UK: INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT: That Sir Alan Duncan, Mr Dominic Grieve, Mr George Howarth, Fiona Mactaggart, Angus Robertson, Mr Keith Simpson and Ms Gisela Stuart be appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under Section 1 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.
USA: Secret Warfare: U.S. Special Forces Expand Training to Allies With Histories of Abuse (The Intercept, link): "documents obtained by The Intercept demonstrate that from 2012 to 2014 some of America’s most elite troops — including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets — carried out 500 Joint Combined Exchange Training missions around the world."
Austria creates new agency with unprecedented surveillance powers (EDRI, link): "In the midst of the biggest surveillance scandal of mankind and after years of criticism about rogue secret agencies spying on politicians and the government bodies supposed to control them, Austria is planning to establish a new secret agency.Austria’s draft state security law, “Staatsschutzgesetz”, grants new, far reaching surveillance powers while reducing oversight and transparency of the planned ten state security agencies that are tasked with fighting threats to the state and its public institutions.
EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Council of the European Union encouraging MS to use more entry bans (dated 8 September 2015): Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (doc no: 11648-15, pdf). The document notes:
"At its meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015, the European Council concluded that "Member States will fully implement the Return Directive, making full use of all measures it provides to ensure the swift return of irregular migrants; return decisions issued by the Member States will be introduced in the Schengen Information System" [emphasis added]
The Council wants a "new legislative package" but in "short-term" want to use a "soft law" (non-binding, but enabling) set of Council "Conclusions" and:
"The Permanent Representatives Committee is invited to confirm agreement on the draft Council Conclusions as set out in the Annex and to submit them to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) on 14 September 2015 for adoption as an A point."
Statewatch notes that: "A Points" are nodded through without debate.
EU: Council of the European Union: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:
(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.
(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:
"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human
smuggling or trafficking"
Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Deputy PM calls for ‘Mediterranean Shield’ to sink empty smugglers’ ships (Prague Post, link):
"NATO should start a naval operation in the Mediterranean that should sink people smugglers’ ships and protect the Turkish border, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said today. Babiš said he wanted to discuss the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who will come for a two-day visit to the Czech Republic this afternoon. “I want to call on Stoltenberg to start the operation. With its joint forces, NATO should protect the Turkish border and the Mediterranean. It should sink the smugglers’ empty ships and help in further operations against the dangerous criminals and murderers whose business is threatening both the refugees and Europe,” Babiš wrote in a press release."
Statewatch comment: The Czech Minister seems to be unaware that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.
As Lesvos gets tense, leader seeks summit (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As tensions build on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where some 20,000 migrants and refugees are awaiting the documents that will let them continue their journeys into Europe, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked European Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency summit of European Union leaders to address a growing migration crisis.... On Lesvos, many locals have joined efforts to help migrants, providing food and clothing for instance. Others are less accepting, however. And there are fears that tensions on the island will peak as the influx shows no signs of abating."
(9.9.15) Eleven docunments: European Commission proposals on refugee-migrant crisis
including Proposal for a establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 452-15, pdf): " the European Commission has come to the conclusion that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo* , Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are safe countries of origin within the meaning of Directive 2013/32/EU and should be included in the EU common list of safe countries of origin." [emphasis added]
Dated: 9.9.15: EU: Humanitarian emergency: European Parliament: JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: on migration and refugees in Europe: on behalf of the EPP Group; on behalf of the S&D Group; on behalf of the ALDE Group; Judith Sargentini, Ska Keller, Jean Lambert, Ulrike Lunacek, Bodil; Valero, Philippe Lamberts, Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes, Margrete Auken; on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group (pdf):
"not to sanction those who voluntarily help migrants on humanitarian grounds, including carriers by asking the Commission to consider revising Council Directive 2001/51/EC; takes note of the EUNAVFOR Med operation against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean;
Regrets that the leaders of some Member States and the far right parties are using the current situation to fuel anti-migration sentiments while blaming the EU for the crisis, leads to growing numbers of violent actions against migrants."
See also: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Annotated draft agenda (pdf): "Further to the Commission proposals and to the intensive work undertaken at the JHA Council on 14 September and 8/9 October, the European Council will hold a substantial discussion on migration in all its aspects. In this context, it will also take stock of the preparations for the Valletta Summit and the follow-up to the June European Council conclusions on a high-level conference on the Western Balkans route."
- Migrants claim that they have have been robbed of their life possessions while on the perilous crossing to Greece by pirates
- They claim that the masked, armed men may be a rogue element of the Greek coastguard and claim their descriptions fit
- The UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children are told MailOnline they are looking into the claims
- Greek coastguard deny the claim, adding pirates are 'posing as authorities'... but admitted last month that one was a government employee
See also: The writing was on the wall (Statewatch)
EU: Humanitarian emergency: EU refugeee crisis: The time has come to act (pdf) Statement of the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly
"In recent days we have seen several Member States, many ordinary citizens, and civil society groups demonstrating remarkable and humbling leadership as they welcome refugees to their communities.
EU institutions and all Member States must now take their cues from those citizens and act to alleviate the immediate suffering. The EU must use its immense diplomatic, economic and moral capacity to find ways to tackle the wider issues of Middle Eastern security."
The Refugee Crisis: What should the EU do next? (EU Law Analysis, link): "How should the EU address this issue next? Should it abolish or reform the Schengen and/or Dublin rules? Are Member States complying with EU and international law in their response? "
EU: MED: Humanitarian emergency: Council of the European Union discusses response in run-up to the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November 2015: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)
and see: Non-paper from the European External Action Service: Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015) - Possible elements for the outcome document (LIMITE doc no: 10908-15, pdf)
Also: Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS: Brussels, 01 06. 2015 Ares(2015) 2397724: Letter to Ministers (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "These documents offer little that has not been agreed before. They speak of "tackling the root causes of "irregular" migration" which are clear to all as being war, persecution and poverty. They call for increasing efforts to get African countries to sign up to readmission agreements to support a forced returns policy to the country of origin or transit state - and there seems to be an unbelievable reluctance to accept that most people do not want to be returned from the countries they have fled which could, in many cases, to be deemed refoulement.
The absolute need at this time is for an effective humanitarian aid and civil protection programme, not the creation of so-called "hotspots" charged with the rapid processing of asylum applications in order to effect a quick "returns" policy - under the watchful eyes of Frontex and Europol."
UK: Ministers drew up 'kill' list of British jihadis fighting with Isis in Syria - National Security Council meeting considered list of targets that went beyond Reyaad Khan, who was killed in RAF drone strike last month (Guardian, link)
EU, US ink 'umbrella agreement', ensures data protection between authorities (CBR, link): "Deal protects personal data exchanged between police and judicial authorities. The EU and the US have reportedly signed on the dotted lines to protect personal data shared for law enforcement purposes, including terrorism investigations." and see: German Data Protection Commissioners Call for Improvements to the General Data Protection Regulation (link)
"We are ashamed" Statement on the desperate situation in the Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully": It is time for the European Parliament to act: for circulation and joining in support
"In August four of us, from Statewatch and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, visited Lesvos where we were horrified to see the situation for refugees deteriorate day by day, with no sign of effective intervention 'on the ground' from International Organisations or the governments of the European Union.
The trip made us ashamed of the EU's response, but applies equally to the whole situation caused by EU member states and EU policies, in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Middle East and Africa:
The MEPs should show leadership in this crisis by insisting that the other EU institutions develop an effective humanitarian protection policy on arrival for refugees , and create EU-wide legal channels to be open to migrants (the initiatives are so far limited to the highly skilled and seasonal migrants), by the end of the year. If they do not do so, then the EP should censure the Commission (ejecting it from office) and shut down the Council and European Council, by blocking all funding for their administration. If the parliament does not act now it will be meaningless to hold further elections."
To sign the Statement (pdf) please send an email with Support "We are ashamed" statement in the subject line to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please sign up as: an organisation/group or your name (group) or as an individual
Statewatch Observatory on: EU MED crisis - a humanitarian emergency: The Observatory covers the arrival of migrants and the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities) Updated daily.
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (8.9.15)
EU's refugee plan: how does it work? (ekathimerini.com) EU plans with figures
Migrants in Lesbos: volunteers stand alone against the humanitarian crisis (Youtube, link): "Under Juncker's plan for emergency relocation to deal with an escalating crisis, Germany, France and Spain would together relocate nearly 60 percent of 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary, under mandatory quotas. Germany would take 31,443 refugees (26.2 percent), France would take 24,031 (20 percent) and Spain 14,931 (12.4 percent over the next two years. The next biggest intakes would be Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium and Sweden. Member states that refuse the quotas are expected to be asked to offer financial compensation instead
Migrant crisis: Greece acts over Lesbos 'explosion' fears (BBC News, link): "he Greek government and the UN refugee agency have brought in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 stranded migrants on the island of Lesbos. A processing centre has been also set up on an abandoned football ground to help the migrants to get to Athens. A Greek minister said on Monday Lesbos was "on the verge of an explosion". Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants broke through police lines on Hungary's border with Serbia and started walking towards the capital, Budapest. The migrants faced down pepper spray used by police as they broke out of a holding centre in a cornfield and marched down a motorway towards Budapest. They later agreed to be taken by bus to another reception centre."
SPAIN: It's time Spain learnt some lessons from its own Civil War refugees (The Local.es, link): "When Alberto Letona sees images of Syrian refugees he can't help think of his own family, who 80 years ago fled the Spanish civil war and sought refuge with strangers.... My mother was only a little Basque girl of seven when General Franco and his troops rebelled against the democratically elected government of the Spanish Republic. It was 1936 and the Spanish Civil War would go on for almost three years with a death toll of half million and further 450,000 fleeing into exile.
SWEDEN: Stockholmers gather to welcome refugees (The Local.se, link): "Volunteers headed to Stockholm's central train station on Tuesday to welcome refugees with clothes, food, and coffee. One told The Local that some Swedes don't realize how lucky they are to live in such a safe place."
Syrian refugees bypass Switzerland for EU states (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is not a "preferred destination" of Syrian refugees, says its migration office, with new figures showing just 401 Syrians applied for asylum in the Alpine country in August. "
'Change of pace' on migrants Renzi tells Merkel (ANSA, link) with EU relocation list..
Hundreds of refugees 'disappear' in Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police cannot account for hundreds of refugees who arrived in Denmark during the course of Monday."
Czech relations with West may worsen over migration (Prague Post, link): "Czech relations with West European countries threaten to worsen due to the migration crisis since the West promotes mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across the European Union, while the Czech Republic rejects the quotas, senior Czech diplomats have told the Czech News Agency."
AUSTRIA: EU quotas 'only way to solve refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that European Union asylum quotas are the only way to solve the ongoing refugee crisis, adding that Austria will consider withholding funds from the EU if other member states continue to oppose quotas. "
Romania and Cyprus impose migrant relocation conditions (euobserve, link): "Romania and Cyprus are demanding EU concessions in exchange for allowing in a set number of relocated asylum seekers. On Monday (7 September), Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta said he won’t accept relocated asylum seekers unless Romania is allowed to join the Schengen passport-free zone."
German budget debate in shadow of refugee influx (DW, link): "Germany's provisional budget for 2016, currently under debate in parliament, is two months old - and already out of date. A further 6 billion euros must be penciled in to help incoming refugees, if that's enough."
German participation in anti-trafficking mission advocated (euractiv, link): "In October, the EU will start using military resources to hunt down human traffickers. Germany's foreign affairs minister has called upon Berlin to participate in the effort."
LESVOS-GREECE: New migrant clashes on Lesvos as EU chief warns ‘exodus’ could last years (ekathimerini.com, link): "Fresh clashes erupted between police and migrants on the Greek island of Lesvos Tuesday, the latest flashpoint of the crisis shaking Europe as EU President Donald Tusk warned the refugee “exodus” could last for years. With authorities warning Lesvos was “on the verge of explosion,” a dozen or so coastguards and riot police armed with batons struggled overnight to control some 2,500 migrants in the island's main port, screaming “keep back” as the crowds surged towards a government-chartered ferry bound for Athens."
Europe needs 'guaranteed relocation system' for Syrian refugees, says UNHCR (ekathimerini.com, link): "UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva. She welcomed separate offers announced by Britain and France on Monday to take in Syrian refugees, but said reception centers must be set up in countries including Hungary and Greece. "Those can only work if there is a guaranteed relocation system whereby European countries saying yes will take X number. We believe it should be 200,000 -- that's the number we believe need relocation in Europe countries," Fleming said."
EU plans to spend €1bn on relocating refugees across bloc (FT, link): "Germany, France and Spain will provide more than half of all the places on the scheme, according to a draft proposal seen by the Financial Times and confirmed by European officials."
Refugee crisis: European leaders preparing EU-wide protection force to deal with unfolding humanitarian catastrophe (Independent, link): "European leaders are preparing to create a powerful EU-wide border protection force to deal with the refugee crisis engulfing the continent, The Independent understands. Under plans being discussed by officials in Brussels, legal responsibility for deporting people deemed to be economic migrants would pass from the member states to the European Union. The proposal – which would have legal force – will be discussed at the meeting of EU interior and justice ministers later this month. "
Comment: Romania and the E.U.’s new Schengen policy (romanian-insider, link)
Report from Lesvos by Fiona O'Malley (7.9.15):" The beach near Eftalou, Lesvos...Groups of around 50 or 60, packed into black rubber dinghies, have been making the trip from Turkey to Lesvos every day for the last eight months or so."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Greece asks EU for humanitarian aid to cope with migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link)
"Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called "a volatile situation" following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.
It requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc's crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (7.9.15)
The little boy lost whose picture helped get the media back on track by Aidan White (Open Democracy, link): "How have media around the world – and the social networks – helped shape the refugee crisis into a more sensitive, humanitarian and people-focused story"
UNHCR saddened by man's death in Bicske, Hungary (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency is saddened at the death of a 50 year old man, on Friday, near a refugee reception centre in the Hungarian town of Bicske. UNHCR staff on the ground were gathering exact details about the circumstance of the death. However, initial reports suggested the man falling down and hitting his head against train tracks, while trying to run away from the police at the train station. An ambulance was called which tried to provide medical assistance on the spot, but the man reportedly died after 50 minutes of the incident."
AUSTRIA: Emergency migrant measures 'phased out' (The Local.at, link): "Up to 20,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary into Austria over the weekend after an agreement with Austria and Hungary to relax asylum rules. However, Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann has said the emergency measures will now be phased out."
Refugee crisis: Why France won't open borders like Germany (The Local.fr, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy."
Spain warns of jihadist infiltration threat with 'avalanche' of refugees (The Local.es, link): "Spain's interior minister on Monday called for tighter controls to prevent members of the armed jihadist group Isis from infiltrating the "avalanche" of refugees arriving in Europe from Syria."
Danish police stop refugee march to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "Up to 150 refugees who began marching towards the border with Sweden, known for its more generous asylum policies, have finally agreed to be taken to police stations to register, as required under EU rules."
Refugee crisis: national newspapers start to rattle the sabres (Guardian, link): "Amid public sentiment and support for the people fleeing oppression, some titles call on David Cameron to launch air strikes in Syria "
Migration and refugee crisis: Europe cannot bury “head and humanity” in the sand (CoE Parliamentary Asembly, link): "Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur has urged Europe not to “bury its head and humanity,” in the sand, as it confronts the region’s migration crisis.“Europe is in the centre of a migration and asylum cauldron,” she said in New York after the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Each day more and more ingredients are being added to this melting pot of human suffering, and Europe can no longer bury its head and humanity in the sand. “In New York during my meetings I was met with polite incredulity at the lack of an organised European response to the 300,000 refugees arriving and travelling through Europe. Yes, this is a significant number, but no, this is not an insurmountable figure for a continent as large and wealthy as Europe."
EU sets new quotas for states to take asylum-seekers, source says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The EU executive has drawn up a new set of national quotas under which Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday.... The source said the Commission also planned to put Turkey and all the non-EU states of the Western Balkans on a new list of "safe" countries, whose citizens would face accelerated reviews of asylum claims to speed deportation for most of them."
Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants (euractiv, link): "A Hungarian official indirectly admitted that the poster campaign ordered by the government last summer to discourage immigrants from coming into the country was aimed at generating hate towards them."
France reluctant to host large numbers of refugees (euobserver, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy.
UN agencies 'broke and failing' in face of ever-growing refugee crisis - Damage will be impossible to reverse, warns head of UNHCR, after 10% fall in funding forces cuts to food rations and closure of clinics (Guardian, link)
Cyprus says it could take up to 300 preferably Christian refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Union member Cyprus said on Monday it would be willing to take in up to 300 migrants fleeing upheaval in the Middle East under new EU quotas, but would prefer them to be Christians."
Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR.Youtube, link)
The Syrian refugee crisis, in 4 maps and charts (VOX, link)
Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe (Independent, link): "As European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees and migrants from settling in the continent, more and more people are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety. Here are some of the ways you can help at home."
V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague Friday."
GERMANY: Five injured in refugee housing fire in Rottenburg - At least five people have been injured after a fire broke out at refugee accomodation in the southwestern German town of Rottenburg. It was not immediately clear if the blaze was a result of arson. (DW, link)
Slow crossing causes tension at FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Scuffles broke out early Monday between FYROM police and thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to head north toward Europe. About 2,000 people had gathered at the Greek border near the village of Idomeni just after dawn, attempting to cross into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But FYROM authorities were allowing only small groups to cross every half hour, leading to tension. The situation later calmed after more were allowed to cross, with about 1,000 having passed the border by mid-day.
At least 10,000 migrants to be ferried to mainland in next five days, minister says (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece's migration minister has said at least two-thirds of the estimated 15,000-18,000 refugees and economic migrants stranded in "miserable" conditions on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be ferried to the mainland in the next five days. ... Lesvos bears the brunt of the refugee influx, with more than 1,000 arriving daily on frail boats from nearby Turkey. Most remain stuck there for days, sleeping outdoors until they can be identified, and then find berths on crowded ferries to the mainland.
LESVOS-GREECE: Two arrested for hurling homemade bombs at refugee tents on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As tensions rise on Lesvos, police on Sunday arrested two teenagers for hurling homemade petrol bombs at tents set up by refugees near the port of the eastern Aegean island, injuring a 30-year-old Syrian man.
Also on Sunday, police using riot batons clashed with refugees beating one unconscious and leaving several others injured, reports said. One person was taken away in ambulance, according to the same reports."
See: EU Civil Protection Mechanism (link)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Hungarian Parliament toughens laws on border crossing (Budapest Business Journal, link):
"In a parliamentary session begun this morning [Friday], MPs voted on a package of laws early this afternoon that would include stronger penalties for “illegal crossings” of the Hungarian border, with 140 voting in favor and 33 voting against...detailing the role of the army and police in safeguarding Hungary's borders in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.
The amendments passed in Parliament today includes revisions to the Penal Code that will treat “illegal” border crossings, the damage, or the obstruction of the construction of the border fence punishable as a separate crime. The law will also expedite the asylum procedure of refugees and make it more efficient, broaden the defense of the country’s borders, establish provisions for setting up transit zones on the country's borders, and tighten penalties leveled at people smugglers." and Refugee crisis: Hungary may deploy military to southern border, says PM Viktor Orban (Independent, link)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (6.9.15)
Danish tourists helping refugees in Greece (The Local,dk, link): "Large numbers of Danes are heading to Greece with bags of unwanted clothes and other goods to help newly-arrived refugees. Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have reported that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists. The scheme allows all customers flying out of Copenhagen Airport and Stockholm's Arlanda Airport and Copenhagen Airport in Denmark to Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have taken advantage of the offer. "
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann called Sunday for an emergency EU summit to resolve the migrant crisis, saying his country's admittance of thousands of refugees crossing from Hungary was just a "temporary" measure (The Local.at, link)
ITALY: How to help refugees if you live in Italy (The Local.it, link).
UK: Oxford City of Sanctuary (link)
GERMANY: Far-right demo disrupts arrival of migrants in Dortmund (DW, link) "Far-right extremists tried to disrupt the arrival of nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Dortmund in western Germany last night. The police made several arrests."
Key dates in Europe's escalating migrant crisis (FR24, link)
Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, 2-6-15, link) by Seamus Milne: "What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus."
Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR Youtube, link)
To Be European Among Whites (liberties.eu, link): "European identity is much more than race or ethnicity, but you wouldn’t know it from the actions of many EU members, typified by Hungary’s hate-filled campaign against migrants."
IRELAND: Coveney hits back at critics of migrant aid (independent.ie, link): "Defence Minister Simon Coveney has lashed out at critics of plans for Ireland to take a "very generous" approach to the worst migrant crisis to hit Europe since World War II..... the Government will ask the European Union to relax strict budget spending rules to allow Ireland take in more refugees." and Our leaders defend a monochrome culture - Timid politicians resist helping in this great humanitarian crisis because they think we're racist, writes Willie Kealy (link)
PMs: V4 ready to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The Visegrád Group (V4) countries are ready to provide experts and equipment for the protection of the Schengen Area external borders, to intensify the fight against people smugglers and support the fight against Islamic State, the four prime ministers said in a joint statement today."
Refugee crisis: east and west split as leaders resent Germany for waiving rules - Central European nations pin blame on the EU – but their unilateral actions are a hindrance to a solution (Observer, link): "The European parliament, as ever, has plenty to say about immigration, but absolutely nothing to do because it has no remit over policymaking, which remains overwhelmingly national. The countries of Europe prefer it that way, while blaming Brussels for the ever-worsening state of the union."
GREECE: Baby migrant boy found dead on coast of Agathonisi, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link): "A newborn migrant boy was found dead early on Saturday after his parents reached the steep shores of the Greek island of Agathonisi in a boat from Turkey, the Greek coastguard service said. The baby boy was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Samos, where he was pronounced dead."
Czech police release Syrians who applied for Hungarian asylum (Prague Daily Monitor, link)
Real Madrid join drive to help Spain-based refugees (The Local, es.link)
Thousands to rally for refugees in Stockholm (The Local.se, Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriork)
More migrants march as refugees arrive in Austria (The Local, at,link): "Thousands of migrants streamed into Austria from Hungary on Saturday, with another column of refugees setting out on foot as Budapest ruled out bussing any more the 175 kilometres (110 miles) to the border."
UNHCR applauds Austria and Germany as refugees march across Hungary (link): " It was a remarkable and unexpected display of refugee power – the power of the powerless. It began at noon on September 4 with a spontaneous march out of Budapest down the highway towards the Austrian border by more than 1,000 frustrated refugees. They were marching in protest at the Hungarian government's blanket refusal to let them take trains to Austria and Germany."
This refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its institutions are broken by Paul Mason (Guardian, link): "The EU needs a new asylum system based on reality. But without an influx of migrants, it faces a future of economic stagnation"
Bono warns refugee crisis solution must be found (AOL, link): ""As Nelson Mandela said: 'It always seems impossible until it is done" Bono asked the crowd: "What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe with its heart open?"
Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriorl (mediapart, link): "The French naval frogman who sank the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in July 1985, causing the death of photographer Fernando Pereira, has spoken publicly for the first time. Jean-Luc Kister, who was ordered to sink the boat that took part in protests against France's nuclear tests in the Pacific, has given a long interview to Mediapart's editor-in-chief, Edwy Plenel, the journalist who broke the story of French involvement in the attack 30 years ago. This interview is published simultaneously with a public apology given by Kister on New Zealand state television."
Infographic: Police Brutality in Bulgaria (liberties.eu, link):"The burning issue of police brutality in Bulgaria is highlighted in this new infographic from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. It is based on 1,691 individual interviews with inmates from 29 detention facilities, including all prisons."
EU-ISF:GREECE: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Closing the borders, identifying all migrants/refguees and dealing with "potential radical or extremism groups": The EU Internal Security Fund plan for Greek border control under the EU external borders fund - Greece: National programme (49 pages, pdf)
"Indicatively EBF has funded the purchase of land and sea patrol means and equipment such as thermal cameras and fingerprint scanners.... the procurement of special smart devices equipped with face identification, contemporary surveillance devices for digital recording, transmission of information and fingerprint scanners, could transform any kind of simple patrol to smart patrol policing." and
"in order to ensure effective management of the external maritime borders, in particular at critical area of Eastern Aegean. An investment plan, assisted with adequate technology, is scheduled to step up the surveillance capacity in that region. Investments will integrate with the Frontex sea border operations... The maintenance of high level of security in both Greece and European Union as well as the effective prevention and suppression of radicalization towards terrorism and violent extremism could be addressed through the coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and other national authorities in Greece, including Europol.." and:
"The newly established Intelligence Management and Analysis Division aims at implementing an intelligence-led policing model so as to enhance the coordination between the concerned agencies and the detection of internal security threats at local and national level. Another action which could address the gaps mentioned in baseline, is to identify and register all places of gatherings of potential radical or extremism groups such as worship areas, cultural and artistic heritage places in the Greek territory and depict them in a GIS platform, giving the ability for further process of these large amount of data, providing demographic information with specific patterns. One of the latest techniques to do so is to use Visualization Tools, since one can recognize patterns in a graphic display at just a glance. The confidential content of collected data and the output of analysis, require high level of protection on behalf of Hellenic Police, in order to minimize the possibilities of potential leak." [epmphasis added]
EU: CRISIS: Letter from Hollande and Merkel to Monsieur Donald TUSK President du Conseil europeen, Monsieur Jean-Claude JUNCKER President de la Commission europeenne and Monsieur Xavier BETTEL Premier ministre du Luxembourg (3 September. pdf):
"the creation of Home dtspositifs ("hotspots") in Italy and Greece should be accelerated to ensure as soon as possible (identification, recording, notes the fingerprint of migrants, the determination of the need for protection International and, if necessary, return to the country of origin. This should be fully operational at the latest before the end of the taxation year. The Commission and the European Union of competent agencies will formulate all the necessary support. Germany and France are willing to contribute their expertise in this context, the Commission should be ready to study the creation of new reception facilities in other Member States....
European Union should continue and expand its efforts to dismantle the criminal networks trafficking in human beings. In this context, cooperation with key partners, in particular Turkey, but also I'Egypte, Tunisia and Niger, should be reinforced in order to improve the management of the borders and to implement effective measures to control and curb irregular migration."
Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter (bordercriminologies, link): "The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Agreed text of Council decision on relocation of refugees from Italy & Greece, to be adopted officially on 14 September 2105: Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf): and see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)
HASTA CUANDO TOLERAREMOS LAS GUERRAS DESATADAS POR LA CRUEL EUROPA CONTRA LOS PUEBLOS DEL TERCER MUNDO, CONTRAS SUS MUJERES, SUS HOMBRES, SUS NIÑOS Y NIÑAS…! WHEN TO TOLERATE THE WARS unleashed by EUROPE AGAINST CRUEL Third World peoples, against their wives, MEN, THEIR CHILDREN ...! (link) with telling images and.
EJK - Lost Souls (YouTube, link) Song and iImages from Mytilene, Greece
LONDON: Refugees Welcome Here - National Day Of Action, Saturday 12 September: Marble Arch 12.00 then Rally at Downing Street 2pm (link)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (5.9.13)
Here's how you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe (http://mashable.com): "From learning the real issues to supporting both large organizations and grassroots efforts alike, here are six concrete ways you can help during the refugee crisis."
2,200 Austrian drivers join campaign to pick up refugees in Budapest (Yahoo News, link)
V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas (Prague Post, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague."
EU-UK: Cameron limits UK's Syrian refugee intake 'to discourage risky journeys' - Prime minister also rejects obligatory EU quota as aid groups criticise his response to refugee crisis as inadequate (Guardian, link) "David Cameron has set limits on his plan to accept thousands of extra refugees from Syria after he rejected any involvement in an EU scheme for compulsory quotas, saying they would encourage “dangerous” journeys across the Mediterranean. As aid groups said the prime minister’s change of heart fell a long way short of refugees’ needs, Cameron insisted Britain’s main focus would continue to be on providing aid for camps in Syria’s neighbouring countries" and 'Completely inundated': Britons take refugees' aid into their own hands - Moved by coverage of Europe’s migration crisis, people across the UK are collecting donations and organising relief runs (Guardian, link) also: Germany prepares for up to 10,000 refugee arrivals - live updates (Guardian, link)
Hot spots working this year say Hollande-Merkel (ANSA, link) Comment: "Hotspots" are camps where people will be fingerprinted and their asylum claims made and where some will be "returned" from.
GERMANY: Rock for refugees: Bands against right-wing violence (DW, link): "Continued right-wing violence against refugees has spurred artists to help. In a written appeal, 24 German rock bands have called for improved protection for refugees and their accommodations."
Czech asylum facilities are 90% full (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Police vows to stop marking refugees by pens (link): "he method was criticised by some foreign Jewish organisations and Czech NGOs."
KOS: Refugees attacked 'with bats', stun grenades in Greece (The Turkish Weekly, link): "Authorities in Greece have used stun grenades on refugees in Mytilene port, while in Kos island, reports of attacks on asylum seekers by a group calling them to “go home” have emerged, local media and a human rights organization said Friday. On Friday morning, Greek Coast Guard and police used stun grenades to control thousands of refugees, mostly Afghans, in the port of Mytilene, local media said. Around 1,000 Afghans had allegedly tried to occupy Blue Star 1 ferry at the port, shouting "Athens- Athens". After the use of force on the refugees, the ferry eventually managed to sail away from the port, Greek media said."
Europe’s fear of Muslim refugees echoes rhetoric of 1930s anti-Semitism (Wahington Post, link)
Timmermans: Refugee crisis is here to stay (euractiv, link): "First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said what everyone suspected on Friday (4 September): that the refugee crisis overwhelming the EU will last a long time, and that “every single European” will feel its consequences."
Expats in Switzerland mobilize for refugees (The Local, ch, link)
Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece (The Local.se, link) :" Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have told The Local that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists....Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have so far taken advantage of the offer. "
Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake (The Local.se, link): "Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister, has warned that the EU's global credibility is at stake if it does not act now to tackle the refugee crisis."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (4.9.13)
Health Commissioner accused of snubbing invitation to Greek islands (euractiv, link): "Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in Alexis Tsipras' government, has accused EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of damaging the bloc’s image by ignoring his invitation to visit Greek islands."
New EU proposal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers (euobserver, link)
GREECE: Police clash with migrants seeking to board Piraeus-bound ferry (.ekathimerini.com, link)
Visegrad states meet on refusal of refugee quotas (euobserver, link)
Migrant crisis: Hungary train stand-off enters second day (BBC News, link)
EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Migrants refuse to leave train near Hungary camp (BBC News, link) Migrants thinking they were going to Germany refuse to get off train and go to a "camp" to be "registered"- recalling historical parallels
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS the "military" operation enters 2 phase: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, following the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf):
"Now the operation has fulfilled all the military objectives of Phase one, that were related to the collection of information and intelligence. That is why I have proposed to EU Defence ministers today to discuss the transition to Phase two of the operation - that would mean going to the capture and disposal of vessels, including those escorting the migrants and refugees." [emphasis added]
Comment: The operations described would appear to relate to those traveling from north Africa to Italy, especially Libya. The small motorised-rubber dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are destroyed after the journey and all the occupants are migrants/refugees.
Special: EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:Joint Letter from Germany, France and Italy to High Representative (pdf) and Non-Paper: Common external migration policy (pdf)
The suggestions regarding Africa mainly focus on immigration control, and offer little concrete as regards Eritreans in particular. The ministers ought to examine whether EU trade and fisheries meaures have exacerbated the problems of the countries concerned. As regards the Western Balkans, the numbers of Albanians and Kosovars who obtain refugee status is not negligible, and so the decision to apply 'safe country of origin' status is questionable.
As for those reaching or heading for the EU, the non-paper offers little concrete, failing to mention relocation, resettlement, search and rescue, or human rights breaches by Member States as regards the reception and transit of migrants.
There is no mention of the plans to destroy smugglers boats, but it is clear that this will still be discussed. This seems like an ever-more pointless diversion at a time of great humanitarian tragedy.
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS::EU goes to "war": to authorise stage 2 in the planned military operation: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Defence Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf): "I will put forward a proposal to Defence Ministers to pass from phase 1 of the operation, which was information gathering and sharing, to phase 2, which is the fight against smugglers and traffickers in the high seas."
See: See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf): "INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
Statewatch launches Observatory on EU MED crisis - a humanitarian emergency: The Observatory covers the arrival of migrants and the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities)
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees - Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece (Guardian, link): "Warning: this article contains images that readers may find distressing."
and see: Drowned Kurdish boy on beach: the hypocrisy and the truth of what happened (undercoverifo, link): "First, that child… He had a name – Aylan Kurdi. He had a home: it was in Kobani. He had a brother: he was 5 years old and his name was Galip – he too drowned. They died with their mother, Rehan, and eight other refugees when their boat overturned not long after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. The father, Abdullah, survived heartbroken."
Lonndon refugee rally: Tens of thousands plan to join demonstration and call for action to tackle crisis (Evening Standard, link) and Solidarity with Refugees (Facebok)
UK: Petition Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK (Uk.gov, link): There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help. Sign Up; 411,363 signatures so far Already over the 100,000 threshold.
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (3.9.15)
France and Germany call for permanent EU response to migrant crisis (France 24, link)
"The (migrant) problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." (BBC News, link): "Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go". PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering." and "European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU countries should accept at least 100,000 asylum seekers between them, a sharp increase on a previous European Commission target of 40,000. EU states instead so far committed to sharing some 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece."
Member states want to be less attractive to migrants (euractiv, link): "A flurry of ideas about how countries could reduce their attractiveness to asylum seekers have been voiced in various European countries, providing a preview of the discussion at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg tomorrow (4 September)."
Lest we forget, this humanitarian crisis was wating to happen: EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)
Hungary: Stranded in Budapest (UNHCR, link): Video: "Outside the Keleti train station in Budapest, over 3,000 refugees wait to continue their journey.
For two days now, they have been stuck here after Hungarian authorities closed off the station, preventing all refugees from taking trains bound for Austria and Germany"
European Parliament Question: Commission response: FINGERPRINTING: COERCIVE MEASURES MUST BE "PROPORTIONATE": Question to the European Commission: Subject: Unlawful use of force at Pozzallo and Lampedusa reception centres, Italy, to collect migrants' fingerprints — including those of minors — for identification purposes from MEPs:Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Laura Ferrara (EFDD) , Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) and Answer from Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission (links) "Any coercive measures used by Member States must be proportionate, justified and respect the dignity and physical integrity of the individual concerned. Moreover, children under the age of 14 should not be fingerprinted." and see: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
LESVOS-GREECE: Unnberable conditions in Refugee Camp around the Detention Center of Moria (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "Yesterday, 09/01/15, one somalien refugee died because of insuficient medical care in the madeshift refugee Camp outside the Detention Cemtet of Moria. Another one was bitten by snake." and Action on arrivals pledged as Lesvos claims emergency (ekathimerini.com, link): "The caretaker government pledged on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the refugee crisis as the mayor of Lesvos called for the island to be declared in a state of emergency due to the high number of people arriving from Turkish shores.... The caretaker administration is also considering simplifying the registration process for the next few weeks. This would allow refugees to be fast-tracked so they immediately receive their laissez-passer document allowing them to travel on from Greece."
DENMARK: 'Significantly harder to get Danish citizenship' (The Local.dk, link): "The government will attempt to make obtaining Danish citizenship more difficult with four specific changes to current policy, the integration minister has announced."
AUSTRIA: Ski star joins campaign in support of refugees (The Local.au, link) "Austrian alpine skiing champion Marcel Hirscher has joined a new social media campaign using the hashtag #showyourfacechallenge - speaking out in support of refugees and against xenophobia."
France joins call for reform of asylum rules (The Local.fr, link) and Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly (The Local.fr, link) also Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum (The Local.it, link)
Sweden sees summer rise in asylum seekers (The LOcal.se, link): "More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August – the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as the scope of the crisis grows."
German media: Covering the refugee crisis from all sides (DW, link): "TV magazines, websites and newspapers are filled with all sorts of stories about refugees making their way to Germany. The media outlets, including tabloids, have found sensible ways to cover the touchy subject." and Map of arson attacks on refugee centres (link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister signals possibility of allowing refugees to cross Czech territory to Germany (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Speaking in Belgrade, the Czech interior minister also said he was considering a plan under which asylum seekers would be allowed to travel through Czech territory to Germany rather than being returned to Hungary."
Czech Railways ‘obliged’ to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The national rail operator Czech Railways (CD) will be ready to dispatch a special train for migrants from South Moravia"
Germany gets more Italian border controls at Brenner (ANSA, link)
ITALY: Report by ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione): The readmission of foreign citizens in Ventimigla (June 2015): UNLAWFUL ASPECTS (pdf):
Since 11 June 2015, the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia has been the scene of a considerable number of readmissions of migrants, citizens of states which do not belong to the EU, who were first blocked in French territory or upon entry into French territory and then readmitted into Italian territory, presumably on the basis of the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the French Republic on cross-border police and customs cooperation signed in Chambery on 3.10.1997. On 24/25 June, our organisation carried out a fact-finding visit.
EU Ministers to Discuss Naval Mission Against Migrant-Trafficking (Prensa Latina, link):
"Brussels, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) will discuss this weekend in Luxembourg the expansion of a naval mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean, EU sources confirmed today. During preliminary meetings scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, representatives of the 28 member states will discuss the possibility of starting the second phase of the military operation, strongly criticized by humanitarian organizations. According to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the analysis will begin because mission commander, Enrico Credendino, pointed out the need to advance in the mission's implementation."
See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks
Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):
"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
EU: MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (2.9.15)
Czech police arrests 200 refugees and marks them with numbers on their forearms (http://blisty.cz, link):" Czech police continues, nonsensically, arresting refugees which are trying to reach Germany across the territory of the Czech Republic. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in southern Moravia, the Czech police removed some 200 refugees from trains arriving from Austria and Hungary which continued their journey to Germany. The Czech police wrote registration numbers on the refugees' forearms with felt tips (a practice reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps). The refugees are now in detention on police premises in several Moravian towns. The police said it will interrogate them and "then they will decide what to do with them". The refugees were travelling from Budapest and said that they had purchased valid train tickets and that Hungary had allowed them to board the trains." and Just awful: Czech police take 200 #refugees off trains & mark them with numbers on their forearms (link)
EU Commission aims to ease asylum rules for frontier, report says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Commission is drafting a proposal to change the so-called Dublin rule that obliges migrants to request asylum in the country they first arrive in, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Tuesday."
Italy ready to impose Austria border controls (The Local.it, link): "Italy is ready to impose identification checks at Brennero on the border with Austria after receiving a request from Germany for help in easing the flow of migrants into Bavaria, the northern province of Bolzano said on Wednesday. Rome was ready to "reactivate" controls just as it did for the G7 in June, as "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency", a statement from the province said."
Hungary ‘to return economic migrants where they came from’ (France 24, link) and Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens - Emergency meeting, action plan set (Budapest Times, link): "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has convened a session of the national security cabinet by next Tuesday evening to address the challenges of illegal migration. Meanwhile the situation is becoming direr in the capital as designated transit zones are filling up quicker than expected." and Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest (euobserver, link)
BBC Trending - Demand to open doors to Syrians spreading online (BBC, link): "From the UK to Saudi Arabia, the demand that Syrians and other refugees be accepted is being spread by vocal online campaigns. The public reaction to Europe's migrant crisis has been deeply polarised. Many in Europe are dismayed by the news of migrant deaths, and there have been several mass protests demanding stricter controls on the influx. But over recent days there's been a pattern of internet activism with a different set of demands: that it's now time to relax the rules and let refugees in, particularly Syrians fleeing the war there."
Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands - Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other (Guardian, link): "Europe’s fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response."
MOLYVOS- LESVOS: Car park closed to migrants - video (link). The car park is used to bring people from the beaches and from where buses can be called to take them ti the recption centre in Moria - 40 kilometres away
Europe’s migrant acceptance rates (The Economist, link)
Opinion: Europe can't be a fortress - Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. To keep them out, Hungary has built a fence along the border with Serbia. That's the wrong move, says DW's Zoran Arbutina. (DW, link)
Inability to unite on major challenges may pull the EU apart, say politicians (euractiv, link): "French Socialist Party leaders have warned that the multitude of crises currently buffeting the European Union could deal a death blow to the European project."
Human rights court slows rushed migrant repatriation (euractiv, link): "Fast-tracking the repatriation of migrants who did not qualify as asylum seekers is likely to contravene EU rules, according to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights." See: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)
SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger's name exposed (The Local.se, link)
GERMANY: Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees (THe Local.de, link)
AUSTRIA: Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants (The Local.at, link)
DENMARK: Another Muslim cemetery vandalized in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Migration wave is yet to culminate, interior minister says (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Poll: Most Czechs angry at government over its handling immigrants (Prague Daily Monitor, link)
GREECE: Refugee arrivals in Athens prompt new discussions (.ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 4,200 refugees were due to arrive in Piraeus on two ships from Lesvos Tuesday, only temporarily easing the pressure on scant resources on the island but at the same time increasing concern in Athens about the fate of those who would disembark. Authorities on Lesvos have registered some 17,500 refugees and migrants over the past week but the transfer to Athens of many of those people would only provide brief respite as hundreds more are arriving each day." and Caretaker gov't to introduce measures for refugees on islands (link)
GREECE: LESVOS: Kara Tepe! Well Done International Rescue! (Youtube, link) and see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf) also: Greek island of Lesbos overwhelmed by 13,000 refugees says the IRC (IRC, link)
Legal case demands details about how CIA used windowless warehouse in Lithuania as secret prison (BIJ, link): "Now, lawyers for Mustafa al-Hawsawi – one of five men facing a military trial in Guantánamo Bay for allegedly planning the 9/11 attacks – have filed a case with Lithuanian prosecutors to demand more clarity about what went on in the site." See Statewatch Observatory on Rendition
News Digest (2.9.15)
Schengen recoil could turn EU travel back 20 years (euronews, link)
EU: he EU has just become a member of three private-sector anti-terrorism bodies: Joint Decision of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the participation of the European Union in various organisations for cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism (pdf)
"The European Union will participate in the following organisations aimed at preventing and countering terrorism:
– The Hedayah Centre for Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates;
– The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, Valletta, Republic of Malta;
– The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, Geneva, Swiss Confederation."
EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)
Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment
Finnish Government and the Desire to Constitutionalize Mass Surveillance: Toward Permanent State of Emergency? (verfassungsblog.de, link):
The Finnish Government, however, wants to swim upstream. In order to satisfy the intelligence wish lists of both the Ministry of Defence and the The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO), the Government decided in August 20 to start preparing a legislation that would authorize both the military and the SUPO to use electronic mass surveillance for intelligence purposes. Although this work has just started, one may already presume that the prepared legislation will be based on Ministry of Defence Working Group Report on the Guidelines for Developing Finnish Intelligence Legislation, which was published in January, and which is available also in English. (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (1.9.15)
Agence Europe reports that: "the State of the Union speech to be given at the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on 9 September by Jean-Claude Juncker. The president of the European Commission is expected to announce in his speech a number of proposals for dealing with the migration crisis. On Monday 31 August, Margaritis Schinas, a Commission spokesperson, said that Juncker would bring forward the timing of some measures announced in the European Migration Agenda, including returns policy, the role of the Frontex agency and the common list of safe countries of origin for Western Balkans states that have applied to join the EU. The Commission has announced plans to unveil a permanent European mechanism for relocating asylum-seekers in the member states in the event of an immigration crisis." and:
"In Calais on Monday 31 August, on the fringes of a visit by European Commissioners Timmermans and Avramopoulos, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.. called for the setting up of 'hotspot' sorting centres in Greece and Italy to be speeded up in order to allow economic migrants to be returned to their country of origin. French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 60% of the migrants in Calais were economic migrants and the other people would be able to obtain protection. These figures are challenged by NGOs on the ground."
More than 1,000 refugees rescued in a single day, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link)
HUNGARY: Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis (INYT, link) and Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees - Move follows chaotic scenes when thousands of people were allowed on to trains bound for Austria and Germany without visa checks (Guardian, link)
Berlin Couple Launches Website Matching Refugees With Roommates in Germany, Austria (.haaretz.com, link): "More than 400 refugees currently based in Germany have applied to 'Refugees Welcome' website, which aims to combat housing refugees en masse in makeshift locations."
V4 government heads to discuss migration crisis (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet on Friday or Sunday to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, Slovak PM Robert Fico announced yesterday.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said later yesterday that the V4 meeting will be held in Prague on Friday afternoon."
Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal (BBC News, link): "Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU."
Europe’s response to migrant crisis is not working, warns UN rights expert (UN News Centre, link): " The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said. "
LESVOS: GREECE: Authorities on Lesvos stretched to the limit as refugee number climbs to about 12,000 (ANA-MPA, link)
Merkel urges migrant help for Italy (ANSA, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged the European Union to help Italy on its migrant crisis just as the EU called for common rules rather than walls to address the emergency that has come into sharp focus with a string of deadly incidents. The UN said the vast majority of people trying to cross the Mediterranean were refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."
NORWAY: Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum (The Local.no, link): "Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe."
GREECE: Constant flow of refugees proves overwhelming for Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ferry carrying some 2,500 refugees at a time to Piraeus almost around the clock, thousands of people remain stuck on the Greek islands, often in squalid or dangerous conditions. Authorities on Lesvos estimate that there are 12,000 refugees on the island, which has a total population of around 85,000."
Solidarity not one way street says Faymann (The Local.at, link): "Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday."
Trainloads of migrants reach Austria, Germany, as EU asylum system collapses (euractiv, link): "Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary yesterday (31 August) as European Union asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU."
Our treatment of today's refugees harks back to Europe's darkest hour (New Statesman, link): "We mustn't forget the lessons of the Second World War in the face of today's refugee crisis... n the 1930s, thousands of persecuted people fled Europe. Our own press ignominiously reported these as "Stateless Jews pouring into this country" and various records exist from that time of public officials reassuring readers that no such thing would be allowed under their watch."
EU struggles to reconcile values with barbed wire fences (euractiv, link): "European politicians gathered in Calais on Monday (31 August) to make assurances that the EU will not abandon those who need protection. But they also reaffirmed the need to protect the bloc's external borders."
Trains packed with migrants arrive in Vienna (euobserver, link): "Hundreds of people seeking refuge arrived at Vienna’s Westbahnhof station from the Hungarian capital Budapest on Monday (31 August), with most seeking to head on to Germany."
Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave - Posthumous publication of Nobel prize-winning writer’s last book attacks rising vitriol towards refugees in Germany (Guardian, link) and Germany urges other EU countries to take in more refugees - Angela Merkel says it isn’t right that some nations are refusing to accept more refugees as France announces new Calais camp (Guardian, link)
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