EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 news stories, documents and a major development 9-10.1.16)

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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents

- Council of the European Union: Refugee crisis inside the EU: Relocation mechanism:

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a crisis relocation mechanism and amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national or a stateless person (LIMITE doc no: 14951-15, pdf):

Lots of Member State reservations including from Greece: "The number of persons to be relocated shall not exceed 40% of the number of applications lodged with that Member State in the six months preceding the adoption of the delegated act." and:

"The delegations having general or scrutiny reservations reiterated their positions and underlined their wish for a thorough assessment of the functioning of the emergency relocation schemes and stressed the need to address the shortcomings in their implementation. Some delegations recalled their preference for addressing this proposal as part of a broader package on asylum.

The following delegations entered or confirmed their general scrutiny reservations: AT, BE, BG, DE, EE, EL, LV, FI, FR, PT and SI.

CZ, ES, HU, LT, PL and SK have general reservations on the substance of the proposal"

- As above: Relocation: State of play (14513-15, pdf)

"During these discussions, a number of delegations raised general scrutiny reservations and reiterated their positions according to which they consider that it would be preferable to evaluate the functioning of the temporary emergency relocation schemes, adopted by the Council on 14 and 22 September3, before the discussion on the proposal on the crisis relocation mechanism continues. They are of the view that shortcomings in the implementation of the relocation decisions, including the functioning of the hotspots and the prevention of secondary movements, should be addressed as a matter of urgency." [emphasis added]

- UPDATE: Frontex tweeted to Statewatch (9.1.16): "Frontex categorically denies this report. Officers deployed by Frontex do not conduct checks of volunteers, NGOs." See: Statewatch Twitter (link)

WHAT HAS THIS GOT TO DO WITH FRONTEX? POLICING VOLUNTEERS: Greek Police, Frontex to 'check' volunteers on islands receiving migrants (, link): "The Greek Police and Frontex are to carry out checks on non-governmental organizations and volunteers on islands of the northern Aegean which have been receiving large numbers of migrants, sources have told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency.... The broader checks will seek to determine that people declaring themselves as volunteers are working for an accredited organization. The aim is to restore a sense of security on the islands, police source said, not to prevent the work of the NGOs."

and see: Greek police and Frontex to begin ID checks of NGOs, volunteers in North Aegean islands (amna, link): "08/ 01/ 2016 Last update: 18:43: Greek Police on Friday announced the launch, in collaboration with the EU border agency Frontex, of round-the-clock ID checks of volunteers and members of non-governmental organisations currently operating on various eastern Aegean islands as part of efforts to assist Middle Eastern refugees landing on the isles after leaving Turkey.... [a sourrce said] that volunteers working on the coast will be asked to produce a police ID card and to name the organisation they are with, at which point police officers will check to see if the specific NGO is accredited.:" [emphasis added]

Also: Greek Police to do ID Checks on Volunteers Helping Refugees (Greek Reporter, link) which adds: "“It is not our intention to offend the volunteers or the NGO staff and their work but only to stress the presence of the police along the coast and at the points where migrants and refugees generally alight,” a senior police officer told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency..... “The entire process, if everything checks out, will end there,” he added, saying the aim was to bolster a sense of security among island residents, who had become alarmed by recent reports concerning the hundreds of NGO workers and volunteers who were currently on the islands and were interfering in refugee management issues without any kind of monitoring or control." [emphasis added]

Comment: "working for an accredited organization" means working for an organisation which the state (whether EU or Greek) approves.

- News (9-10.1.16)

Volunteers lend a hand at migrant camps in Slovenia (DW, link): "Last year, Slovenia became a flashpoint in Europe's migration crisis. The government there tried to limit the flow to 2,500 people a day. But many more have flooded into the country and migrant camps are overflowing. The authorities have been overwhelmed by the crisis. But some individual citizens have been doing what they can to help out, as Lauren Frayer reports from a migrant camp in Slovenia."

UN backlash against call to scale back Geneva convention on refugees (Guardian, link) "Senior officials warn against Danish prime minister’s proposal to revise 1951 UN treaty, saying it risks the destruction of ‘a milestone of humanity’"

New Dutch EU presidency vows tough line on refugees (Politico, link): "Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the numbers of migrants ‘have to come down.’"

Italy: League slams plan to decriminalize illegal immigration (ANSA, link): "A decree depenalising illegal immigration is expected to go before cabinet on January 15, government sources said Friday. Being an undocumented immigrant became a crime in 2009 under Silvio Berlusconi, and talk of abolishing that law sparked an outcry from his erstwhile governing coalition partner - the rightwing anti-immigrant Northern League."

Reuniting refugee families ‘not a priority’ for Berlin (euractiv, link)

Calais ‘Jungle’: anger over fate of child refugees denied UK asylum hearing (Guardian, link): "Masud, 15, died on a lorry after losing hope that his claim to live with his sister in Britain would ever be heard"

Swedish police hold man for smuggling refugee (The, link): "Swedish police arrested a man early Sunday as he allegedly tried to smuggle a migrant into the country aboard a rubber dinghy, the first such case since Sweden imposed systematic ID checks, police said."

Denmark eases plans to strip migrants' jewellery (The, link): "The Danish government on Friday announced it is modifying a proposed law to make migrants pay for their stay under its generous welfare state, plans which had drawn international criticism."

Greece denies role in Aegean migrant deaths (, link): "Greek authorities have denied any involvement in the Jan. 5 migrant tragedy in the Aegean Sea, citing reports in several Turkish media outlets to that end. ... Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy head and spokesperson Ömer Çelik told a press conference in Ankara on Jan. 6 that the Greek naval authorities directed boats carrying a total of 55 migrants back to Turkey, triggering the tragedy."

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