Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 22.1.16

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 The Dublin Regulation: Is the End Nigh? Where should unaccompanied children apply for asylum? (EU Law Analysis, link): "Two recent developments have raised controversy as regards the EU’s Dublin III Regulation, the set of rules which determines in which Member State asylum-seekers must make their asylum application. First of all, a British judgment yesterday stated that the UK was responsible for the asylum claims by unaccompanied children in France (in particular the Calais ‘Jungle’), who have a family member in the UK. Secondly, a press report indicated that the Commission is planning to propose a fundamental overhaul of the Dublin rules in the near future. Both developments have alarmed some commentators, but thrilled others. I will examine the legal and political context of each of them in turn. "


The British court case regarding Calais: Syrian teenagers in Calais win UK asylum ruling (BBC News, link) and: Four Syrian refugees must be brought from Calais camp to Britain, judges rule (The Guardian, link)

Changes to the Dublin rules: How the EU plans to overhaul ‘Dublin regulation’ on asylum claims (Financial Times, link) and: UK lobbies against plan to scrap EU's Dublin regulations (The Guardian, link)

 HUNGARY: Council of Europe human rights commissioner warning: Risk of human rights violations for asylum seekers returned to Hungary (Council of Europe, link): "“Due to sweeping changes introduced in Hungary in asylum law and practice over recent months, asylum seekers returned there run a considerable risk of being subject to human rights violations” said today Commissioner Muižnieks while publishing the written observations he submitted on 17 December to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to two complaints against Austria concerning the transfer of the applicants from Austria to Hungary under the Dublin III Regulation."

See: ECHR: Third Party Intervention by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights under Article 36 of the European Convention on Human Rights - Applications No. 44825/15 and No. 44944/15 S.O. v. Austria and A.A. v. Austria (pdf)

And: November 2015: Hungary’s response to refugee challenge falls short on human rights (CoE, link)

 UNHCR: Information and statistics

Europe Refugees and Migrants Emergency Response - Daily Estimated Arrivals per Country - Flows through Western Balkans Route: 1 October 2015-21 January 2016 (pdf)

Winter Operations Cell report: information on arrivals/departures, bottlenecks, conditions, developments and statistics (pdf)

 News (22.1.16)

Bulgaria's FM Urges Stricter EU Measures on Economic Migrants (Novinite, link): "Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov has opined that the EU should treat economic migrants with the same attitude it had to current member states from Central and Eastern Europe that were accession candidates back in the 2000s."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Zeman calls for NATO to guard EU borders (Prague Post, link): "Czech President Miloš Zeman said NATO would do a better job of protection European borders from immigrants than the proposed European Border and Coast Guard.

“I favor a joint NATO command to protect the EU borders, similar to what exists in Afghanistan,” Zeman told news server Parlamentní listy."

Danish lawmakers back seizing migrant valuables (EUobserver, link): "Denmark is moving ahead with plans to seize refugees' valuables despite a growing international backlash over its legislative proposal."

EU: Under pressure, Merkel looks to Turkey for help in refugee crisis (Middle East Eye, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel will press Turkey to step up to its "key role" in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe, when she hosts Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for talks on Friday.

Germany and Turkey have emerged as key players in the biggest migration crisis to rock Europe since World War II, and both parties will seek to drive a hard bargain at the talks between the two countries' cabinets."

FINLAND: Niinistö concerned about reports from eastern border (Helsinki Times, link): "President Sauli Niinistö called attention to what is “seemingly an isolated incident” that may reflect the refugee situation on the border between Finland and Russia while meeting with members of the media on Tuesday.

“I'm talking about the Indian man who reportedly froze to death close to the border,” he began."

GERMANY: Police 'can't keep up border controls': union (The Local, link): " Police union GdP warned on Friday that overstretched federal officers can't keep up controls on Germany's southern borders indefinitely.

"We can manage it for about three weeks, but we don't have enough personnel strength to last longer," deputy head of the GdP union Jörg Radek told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ) newspaper."

GREECE: At least eight migrants drown in sinking off Greek island (Reuters, link): " At least eight migrants including two children drowned when a wooden boat carrying them capsized north of the Greek island of Kalolimnos early on Friday, a coastguard official said, as the refugee flow towards Europe continues despite the winter cold."

GREECE: Dozens of refugees missing in deadly sinkings off Greek islands (Middle East Eye, link): "At least 21 people including eight children died and dozens of other people were reported missing early on Friday after their boats sank off the Greek islands of Farmakonisi and Kalolimnos while trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey, the Greek coastguard said."

Hungarian FM Reaffirms Support for Bulgaria's Schengen Accession (Novinite, link): "During his visit to Sofia on Thursday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto reaffirmed his country's support for the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen Area.

At a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Daniel Mitov, Szijjarto highlighted the need for reliable guarding of the external borders of the EU.

The Hungarian prime minister pointed to Bulgaria as being a good example in this respect. In his words, the country has been successful in imposing stricter control and meeting the challenges posed by the refugee flows."

Migrant crisis: EU at grave risk, warns France PM Valls (BBC News, link): "French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that Europe's migration crisis is putting the EU at grave risk.

Mr Valls told the BBC Europe could not take all the refugees fleeing what he called terrible wars in Iraq or Syria.

"Otherwise," he said, "our societies will be totally destabilised.""

NETHERLANDS: Anti-refugee campaigners send bullet to council and Police threaten anti-refugee rioters with naming and shaming (Dutch News, links)

NETHERLANDS: Police set up team to stop pimps, drugs lords recruiting refugees (Dutch News, link): "The police have set up a special programme in an effort to keep criminals away from refugee centres where they are trying to recruit people to become prostitutes or get involved in the drugs trade, the Volkskrant says on Friday.

There are currently 47 ongoing investigations into human trafficking around refugee centres, the paper says. In total, 100 police officers have been allocated to the programme and will on Friday begin patrols at refugee centres where problems have been reported."

POLAND: Ambassador denies there are 1 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland (Radio Poland, link): "The prime minister made the claim during her address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

However, Ambassador Andrii Deshchytsia has stated that the majority of Ukrainians seeking refugee status in Poland have been refused.

“Only two people received such a status last year,” he said of the 4,000 Ukrainians who had sought asylum in Poland."

Polish party seeking support for referendum on refugees (Radio Poland, link): "Party leader and veteran rock star Pawel Kukiz said on Thursday that the asylum seekers are “culturally foreign.” He has launched a website via which the signatures for the referendum are being collected.

His recently formed faction, which includes MPs of various political colours, counts among its ranks members of the nationalist group the National Movement."

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