Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 26.8.16


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 New routes to reach Spain lead to more deaths at sea


In the first half of 2016, more people have died at sea trying to reach Spain than during 2015 as a whole. The reinforcement of border security measures and raids against undocumented migrants by Moroccan gendarmes has led to the development of longer, more treacherous routes, with new ports of departure emerging near the Morocco-Algeria border and the sea route to the Canary Islands re-opening.

At least 208 people are thought to have died during the crossing to Spain in the first six months of 2016, although the true figure is almost certainly higher. In 2015, the total number of known deaths was 195.

 Norway building fence on border with Russia to deter refugees

Norway has begun building a steel fence on its border with Russia due to the growing number of refugees arriving in the past year. The deision to build the wall has provoked protests by refugee rights groups and has revived fears that relations with its former Cold War rival are deteriorating.

The wall, 200 metres long and 3.5 metres high, has been installed along the length of the frontier in Storskog. The government has defended its decision, citing the need to increase security.

 EU: Common list of safe countries of origin: Parliament concerns over Commission proposal

The Commission originally proposed adopting a European list made up initially of six "safe countries of origin": Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The report by the civil liberties committee cites a number of concerns and significantly alters the Commission's proposal, including by refusing to include any specific countries before opinions from the European Asylum Support Office have been completed.

See: Explanatory statement (pdf) and full report (pdf) by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

 Via Migreurop (link): GREECE: Housing squat for refugees and immigrants at the center of Athens (Notara 26 at Exarchia) burned after attack with molotov cocktail; all the residents are safe but the building is seriously damaged and the provisions and personal belongings of 140 refugees destroyed.

 GREECE: Migration Minister: Without EU-Turkey deal, another 180,000 refugees would be in Greece by now (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greece’s Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas warned on Tuesday that another 180,000 refugees and migrants would have come to Greece in the last three months, if there was no EU – Turkey deal.

During a press conference, Mouzalas stressed that Greece would face an unprecedented wave of refugees and migrants, should the EU – Turkey deal collapse. However, he assured that Greece persists and will persist so that the agreement with Turkey would not collapse. He also denied scenarios about Berlin preparing a Plan B."

 EU-TURKEY: The saga continues: Turkey threatens to scrap refugee deal, again (EUobserver, link): "Turkey said on Thursday (25 August) that EU accession remained its "strategic aim”, but threatened, once again, to scrap the migrant deal with the EU if it does not quickly get visa liberalisation.

The two-sided message came a day after EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn asked Ankara to respect the rule of law in its post-putsch crackdown if it wanted to join the bloc."

 Refugees welcome map (link)

An interactive map displaying "initiatives and activities of higher education institutions and related networks and organisations in supporting refugee students, researchers and academic staff."

 Changing mood in Europe a year after Austria refugee disaster (EurActiv, link): "The gruesome discovery of 71 dead migrants in a truck in Austria last August shocked Europe and led countries to open their borders to a massive influx of people fleeing war and poverty, mainly from the Middle East.

But a year on, the mood in Europe has changed.

Razor-wire fences have gone up, borders are firmly shut again, and the European Union has struck a controversial deal with Turkey to keep migrants from reaching Greece — the main entry point into the bloc, along with Italy.

While the measures have led to a sharp drop in arrivals, experts warn the crisis is far from over."

 GREECE: Migrant pre-registration Completed in Greece (The Press Project, link): "During a press conference Mr. Mouzalas called the situation “manageable now that there is a clear view”. Along with Mr. Mouzalas were the director of the Asylum Service Maria Stavropoulou, the head of the UNCHR in Greece Phillip Leclerc and Dimitris Pagidas, spokesperson for EASO.

Mr. Leclerc noted that the procedure was extremely fast and he added that according to his experience in other parts of the world this was a “world record”.

The registered migrants will be provided a card which will allow them access to education and health services as well as some form of occupation since such a thing is not covered by the current laws of the land."

 Asylum seekers in Italy donate to earthquake victims in country that took them in (Metro, link): "Following the quake that killed at least 120 people in Italy, asylum seekers taken in by the country have decided to donate what little they have to help victims.

Around 75 asylum seekers living in Gioiosa Ionica, south Italy, have pledged to give a portion of their weekly allowance to assist those affected."

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