01 January 2016
Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
WHAT HAS THIS GO TO DO WITH FRONTEX? POLICING VOLUNTEERS: Greek Police, Frontex to 'check' volunteers on islands receiving migrants (ekathimerini.com, 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)
Comment: "working for an accredited organization" means working for an organisation which the state (whether EU or Greek) approves of.
UNHCR: GREECE: Daily estimates – arrivals per location (29 Oct 2015 – 06 Jan 2016) (pdf) and Total arrivals in Greece (Jan 2015 - 06 Jan 2016 (pdf): 861,354. Total arrivals in Greece during January 2016: 10,035.
IOM Counts Latest Mediterranean Arrivals in 2016, German 2015 Asylum Statistics (link): Arrivals in Greece: 1 January – 6 January 2016: 9,930 and 1 January – 31 December 2015: 847,084
Italy set to decriminalize illegal immigration (The Local.it, link): "The Italian government is set scrap a law criminalizing those entering the country without proper documents, a move which has been condemned by political opponents amid the ongoing refugee crisis. The bill, which will reach the Council of Ministers next week, stipulates that those entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa will no longer be tried or fined up to €10,000."
Asylum cases yo-yo after Danish border checks (The Local.dk, link): "After the first three days of new border controls led to a sharp increase in the number of asylum applications, the figures plummeted on the fourth day."
Migrants struggle in sub-zero temperatures (BBC News, link): "Medics working at refugee aid camps in the Balkans say they are seeing a spike in the number of migrants falling ill as freezing temperatures arrive. It has fallen to as low as -11C in the region. The medical charities International Medical Corps and Medecins Sans Frontieres say most patients are suffering with respiratory problems such as bronchitis and flu."
Greece: A letter from Lesvos by Dimitris Ballas: "The inspiring humanity of many ordinary European citizens in the face of the refugee crisis contrasts shockingly with the limited actions of European governments.... As one of the local volunteers put it, ‘even if Greece is bankrupt and we have no money, we will still have our bodies and we will help the people who need us’. The vast majority of work has been done by the islanders themselves, but they have also been joined by NGOs and people coming here from all over the world,... However, all these amazing manifestations of humanity and solidarity have not so far been matched by adequate government policies and actions at the national, European and global levels."
Slovak PM: ‘It’s impossible to integrate Muslims’(euractiv, link): "Challenging the EU’s political correctness, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he will not allow a large Muslim community in his country. Fico’s anti-immigration rhetoric has boosted his Direction-Social Democracy party (SMER-SD) ahead of the 5 March elections."
International aid efforts dwarfed by scale of refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "European countries are diverting development and humanitarian aid to tackle the refugee crisis. But a severe lack of funding and restrictions on aid donations undermine the efficiency of their efforts."
Greece: Turkey not challenging traffickers, says minister (ekathimerini.com, link): "Turkey has not taken any action to clamp down on human traffickers and between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants and refugees are reaching Greece every day, Immigration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said Thursday..... “The high rate has to do with refugees’ fear that the borders will close for everyone,” he said, adding that he though this possibility is “very likely.” [emphasis added]
'We must save Schengen' says Juncker - 'Protect our outer borders' says Timmerman (ANSA, link): " "We have much to gain by identifying - at a very preliminary stage - who has a right to international protection and who doesn't, allowing for fast repatriations," he added. "We must take these steps in the next two weeks," Timmermans said." [emphasis added]
Croatia: There are no problems with management of migrant crisis in Croatia (dalje.com, link): "Persons without papers are issued with an ID document and they must leave the country, the minister said."
Timmermans travels to Turkey as plan to stem migrant flow flops (euobserver, link): "The European Commission’s first vice-president Frans Timmermans is to fly to Turkey this weekend to discuss with Turkish authorities why the number of refugees arriving in the EU from Turkey has not dropped significantly since the EU agreed in November to pay €3bn in aid in return for a crackdown." and EU 'long way from satisfied' with Turkish migrant cooperation (euobserver, link): "The EU is far from satisfied with Turkey's cooperation in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe after a deal clinched late last year, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said today "
EU should erect new Greek frontier to stop migrants, Hungarian PM says (TRF, link): "The European Union should establish a new frontier on the northern border of Greece, because an agreement with Turkey will not be enough to stop hundreds of thousands of migrants from coming to Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday."
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