Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 4.2.16


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 European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (1.2.16, pdf).


Little change but see: Hotspots: State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf): Biggest change of the week is the build up of hotspot staff and capacity in Greece (Italy unchanged): In Lesvos reception capacity up from 1,480 to 2,709 and Frontex officials up from 178 to 184. In Chios reception capacity up from 110 to 2,250 and Frontex from 93 to 99. In Samos reception capacity up from 250 to 650 and Frontex from 40 to 53. Leros Frontex up from 29 to 31 and on Kos capacity up from 0 to 290 and Frontex up from 41 to 54 officials.

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing since September 2015: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

 UN experts urge Cyprus to address migrant detention conditions, improve overall monitoring (UN News Centre, link):

Cyprus has seen many positive developments concerning the treatment of people in detention, but still faces several challenges, particularly regarding the independent monitoring of places of detention and the treatment of migrants, the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture said today after visiting the country.

Press release, link):

“We were very pleased to have visited Cyprus and take note of improvements. But the situation of those in immigration detention centres requires careful attention. It is so important to ensure that such detention is only resorted to when it is strictly necessary. The conditions of detention should reflect the fact that such places are not prisons and those detained are not prisoners,” said Malcolm Evans, the SPT Chair and head of the four-member delegation to Cyprus....

We are particularly concerned that the National Preventive Mechanism for torture prevention, which is a part of the Ombudsman's office, should be much better resourced financially and have its legal powers reviewed so that it can continue and expand its good work. It currently does not have the capacity to work as the Optional Protocol requires."

 Hotspots and Relocation Schemes: the right therapy for the Common European Asylum System? ( "While no one denies that the CEAS and Schengen urgently need therapy, it is worth asking whether the EU and its Member States are selecting the right one. I will offer my reflections on this after recalling the context in which hotspots and relocations schemes have been devised, their essential features, and the first experiences made to-date with their implementation."

 The Elephant in the Room - Islam and the Crisis of Liberal Values in Europe (Foreign Affairs, link) By Alexander Betts

"Europe is still struggling to cope with a massive influx of refugees, with over a million asylum seekers arriving across the Mediterranean Sea. Nearly all of them are Muslims. This fact has shaped public and political opinion but has rarely been openly and honestly discussed. Can a Europe of 28 member states share responsibility for a smaller number of refugees than is currently in Lebanon alone? Of course it can. In fact, most European countries need the labor. "

 News (4.2.16)

Turkish PM warns of new wave of refugees from Syria ( "Close to 100,000 Syrian refugees could soon be on their way to Turkey’s border, PM Davutoglu warns in a plea to the world"

The EU is skirting around immigration issues without tackling the real problem (tvm, mt, link)

Balkan route countries to bar migrants without documents (euobserver, link): "Police officials from Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia, countries on the Balkan migration route, agreed Wednesday to deny entry to people without valid documents or identification papers, including fakes, and to coordinate the registration of asylum seekers, in an effort to filter out economic migrants."

Germany strikes North Africa migrant deal (euobserver, link): "Germany is set to invest millions in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia as part of a deal involving the return of rejected asylum seekers and other migrants, reports Spiegel. The money is earmarked for job creation and training schemes. Germany deemed its existing readmission agreements with Algeria and Morocco ineffective."

NORWAY-EU: Solberg: Schengen needs to be ‘rescued’ (BBC News, link): "The Schengen Agreement is not dead but it needs to be "rescued" if it is going to continue, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg has told BBC HARDtalk. "We need to have a system of redistribution and common solidarity on the amount of refugees that come," she said"

Greek bus drivers, migrants block highway over border impasse (, link): "Greek bus drivers and migrant passengers seeking to reach western Europe blocked traffic on the main highway running north to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Thursday, tempers fraying over the slow pace of passage over the border. At least 80 buses have been backed up short of Greece's northern border with FYROM for several days." and Large number of refugees wait at Greece-Fyrom crossing point (ANAmpa, link): "According to the police, there are around 2,500 refugees at the camp while 4,500 have already disembarked from the 90 buses that have stopped at a gas station at Polykastro." 

Disappointed by Austria, migrants go home (DW, link): "Missing their families, frustrated by difficulties and fed up with living in stadiums with hundreds of others, migrants are leaving Austria in record numbers and returning home. Alison Langley reports from Vienna."

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