01 January 2016
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EU: PERMANENT RELOCATION MEASURE: Council of the European Union: 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: 5312-15, 18.1.16, pdf) Includes 47 Member State positions:
"The present note sets out the outcome of the discussions on the abovementioned proposal at the Asylum Working Party meeting on 7 December 2015 as well as at previous meetings of Friends of Presidency (Asylum) and JHA Counsellors.
The following delegations have general scrutiny reservations on the text appearing in the Annex: AT, BE, BG, EE, EL, LV, FI, FR, PT and SI. CZ, ES, FR, HU, LT, PL, RO, SI and SK have general reservations on the substance of the proposal; HU and SI have also parliamentary scrutiny reservations."
"The report spells out that Europe cannot continue to count on the deadly sea crossing, fences and poor reception conditions to act as a ‘filter of deterrence’. The current narrative and policies cannot hold. As instability continues to rage across Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, the EU and European governments must shift their current policies and provide a humane and humanitarianresponse to refugees and migrants desperately seeking its protection and assistance."
European Parliament: Draft Report on The situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration (pdf). The rapporteurs will be taking amendment suggestions until 27 January. It is due for adoption in the LIBE Committee in March. and then during the Plenary vote in April.
European Commission: Commission Recommendation for a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme with Turkey (COM 9490-15, pdf)
"When deciding on the number of persons to be admitted under the scheme the overall numbers of displaced persons staying in Turkey, including the impact on these numbers of the sustainable reduction of numbers of persons irregularly crossing the border from Turkey into the European Union should be taken into account, alongside the processing capacity of the UNHCR."
"Ireland has been asked to take in just 20 asylum seekers under a stuttering European Union scheme aimed at relocating 160,000 people from war-torn states such as Syria and Iraq.
The Government agreed to accept 2,600 asylum seekers under the initiative, which was designed to ease pressure on Greece and Italy by dispersing new arrivals across EU states. But political and logistical obstacles, as well as low take-up, have resulted in just 322 people being relocated to date across the 28-country EU. "
GREECE: Migrant Arrivals in Greece in January Spike 2,100 Percent from a Year Ago (IOM, link):
"Since the beginning of 2016, IOM estimates that 31,244 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece by sea. This is some 21 times as many as the 1,472 recorded by the Greek Coast Guard for the whole of January 2015. The number suggests that the number of maritime arrivals in Greece in 2016 may significantly exceed the record 853,650 migrants who arrived in Greece by sea in 2015.
Some 48 per cent of Greece’s 2016 arrivals have been Syrians, 29 per cent Afghans, 12 per cent Iraqis, 3 per cent Pakistanis and 2 per cent Iranians. Other nationalities have included Algerians, Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Eritreans, Lebanese and Moroccans." and see: Mediterranean Update: Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities (15.1.16, pdf)
UK-FRABNCE: One-third of Calais 'Jungle' to be demolished (DW, link): "Bulldozers are clearing one-third of Europe's largest refugee camp as a new 18 milllion euro camp opens next door and independent volunteers provide vital assistance. Diego Cupolo reports from Calais."
Germany seeks to limit migration from North Africa (euractiv, link): "Germany wants to limit migration from North Africa by declaring Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia 'safe countries', officials from the ruling coalition said yesterday (18 January), cutting their citizens' chance of being granted asylum to virtually zero."
Eastern Europe’s first black mayor: 'If we're Schengen, then why the fences?' (euractiv, link): "“Are we Schengen or not?” the Ghana-born mayor of Slovenian border-town Piran has asked in an interview with EurActiv. “And if we are, why is the government putting up fences?”, he said, before warning that a German decision to close its borders would kill the passport-free zone forever."
Austria ‘temporarily’ suspends Schengen (euractiv, link): "The Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann said on Sunday that (17 January) that the Schengen agreement, which permits the free movement of persons between most EU countries without identity checks, has been 'temporarily suspended.'"
Slovenia threatens to follow Austria with border checks (euuobserver, link): "Slovenia may impose more border controls after Austria issued over the weekend temporary measures to stem the flow of migrants. Slovenia's prime minister Miro Cerar said in Ljubljana on Monday (18 January) that an EU-level solution needed to be found on securing external borders, with more help for Western Balkan states.
"If Germany or Austria adopt certain measures for stricter controls then of course we will adopt similar strict measures with our southern border with Croatia", he said. "Slovenia may impose more border controls after Austria issued over the weekend temporary measures to stem the flow of migrants. Slovenia's prime minister Miro Cerar said in Ljubljana on Monday (18 January) that an EU-level solution needed to be found on securing external borders, with more help for Western Balkan states.
"If Germany or Austria adopt certain measures for stricter controls then of course we will adopt similar strict measures with our southern border with Croatia", he said."
Germany: Asylum applications from Algeria and Morocco nationals on special track (DW, link): "Conservative politicians are calling for Algeria and Morocco to be treated as safe countries of origin. How realistic is this? "
Germany must soon close borders to refugees, transport minister tells Merkel (Guardiasn, link): "Alexander Dobrindt says country can no longer show a ‘friendly face’ and must act unilaterally if fresh arrivals continue"
Germany plans 'expulsion centres' for rejected asylum seekers (Daily Telegraph, link): "Rejected asylum seekers from Algeria and Morocco will be housed in deportation centres.... Asylum seekers from the north African countries will be placed in combined reception and deportation centres to accelerate the process. "
GREECE: Refugee hotspots need to be ready in four weeks, says EU’s migration commissioner (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece and Italy must have set up hotspots for registering and processing migrants and refugees within the next four weeks if they are to honor their commitments, European Union Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said.... “We have no more than four weeks in order to achieve results at the borders,” Avramopoulos said, amid growing concerns of a social backlash to the uncontrolled influx in countries such as Germany."
GREECE: NGOs ask for migrant camp to open again as cold sets in (ekathimerini.com, link): "As temperatures in northern Greece plunge below zero, a number of nongovernmental organizations have asked the government to reopen a camp for refugees and migrants at the village of Idomeni on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Doctors of the World, the Greek Council for Refugees, Praksis, Arsis and the International Autonomous Volunteers in Idomeni wrote an open letter to the government calling for the camp to reopen so that migrants are not forced to stay outside in the freezing weather."
SLOVAKIA: Slovaks oppose accepting refugees (Slovak Spectator, link): “FOR some reason some East European countries feel treated badly, and I need to understand why they react so strongly and are so tough on migrants,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 16.... When it comes to Slovakia the latest EU poll showed that citizens remain unwilling to share the refugee burden with other member states and are unhappy that Brussels decided about it. The government’s policy comes as a reaction to such opinions in the lead-up to parliamentary elections in March 2016, according to analysts approached by The Slovak Spectator."
EU migration crisis: will refugees acquire full free movement rights? (Open Europe, link)
Goodbye Schengen: List Grows of EU States Applying Internal Border Controls (sputniknews.com/europe, link): "Norway, Sweden and Denmark introduced controls of border controls along the internal borders of the Schengen Area, Austria, Germany, France and Malta have plans to introduce border controls, according to European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud"
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