Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 29.3.16


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 Statewatch Analysis: Policing the internet: from terrorism and extremism to “content used by traffickers to attract migrants and refugees" (pdf) by Chris Jones:


The EU’s deal with Turkey on refugees and migrants has been presented by its proponents as a quick and effective way to deal with the ongoing arrival of people in Europe. Its opponents maintain it is morally bankrupt and contrary to international law. Yet the EU’s approach to migrants and refugees is not solely concerned with such high-profile actions, and a whole host of new projects have been launched or given a new lease of life in recent months.

One of these projects is a new unit set up within Europol, the Internet Referral Unit (IRU). Originally set up to remove “terrorist and violent extremist” material from the internet, it will now also deal with “content used by traffickers to attract migrants and refugees”. The legal basis for the unit was established in secret “trilogue” meetings with the Parliament and the Commission, during negotiations on the new Europol Regulation

 Greece eyes two-week turnaround for asylum claims, minister says (, link)

"Greece will be able to process asylum claims within two weeks once a migration deal between the EU and Turkey takes full effect, a senior Greek official said Tuesday...

He said all those who entered Greece after a new EU migration deal with Turkey began to take effect on March 20, and whose asylum applications are not accepted, will be returned to Turkey on six ships chartered by EU border agency Frontex."

 Greece-Macedonia border: Macedonia extends Border Emergency until end of year (MINA, link):

" The Macedonian Parliament on Monday voted to extend the state of emergency enforced in the areas on the southern and northern borders until 31 December 2016 as a result of the migrant crisis.

Speaking in Parliament, Defense Minister Zoran Jolevski said the motion on amending the decision approving an extension of the state of emergency came as a result of the growing number of migrants entering and passing through Macedonia.

The objective is to secure continuity of the execution of tasks by the army and security forces of the Interior Ministry in an attempt to guard and protect the state border."

 UNHCR (29.3.16): 164,664 arrivals in 2016 in EU: 149,534 to Greece, 14,492 to Italy. 528 dead/missing in 2016.

Arrivals (UNHCR):

Wednesday, 23 March:  269
Thursday, 24 March:        83
Friday, 25 March:            149
Saturday, 26 March:           8
Sunday 27 March              17
Monday 28 March             57

It is reported that there was bad weather on these days - it is expected to improve early next week.

And: "Approximately 5,330 people are currently residing at Pireaus Port, where sanitary conditions are very basic. Transfers from Piraeus Port to other sites are limited as authorities face challenges in identifying new sites due to the lack of a comprehensive shelter allocation system for the sites/camps. In addition, whilst the demand for information on access to relocation, family relocation and asylum in Greece remains high, the Greek Asylum Service’s limited capacity is causing significant delays for first time appointments, with none available prior to May 2016."

 Are you Syrious reports that on Monday: "One boat with 35 people landed in the north coast of Lesvos... . Chios volunteers report that one boat with 49 refugees arrived...

Official Greek Government figures show that there is a total number of 50.146 refugees in Greece today. 4.289 on the islands, 14.430 in Attica, 2.879 in central Greece and 28.548 in the northern Greece. Number of arrivals in 24h period until 07:30AM was: 90 on Lesvos, 64 on Samos and 78 on Chios."

And: "WEATHER REPORT Monday night +24h: WARNING: Waves up to 1.5 meters high expected of the coast of Kastelorizo and Leros, 1 meter high for south east Samos and even 2 meters in north east Kos. ATTENTION:: 0.5 meters high waves of the coast of Lesvos and Chios."

 Italy reports upsurge in migrants crossing from Libya (euobserver, link): "The Italian coastguard reported on Monday (28 March) it had rescued 1,482 migrants off the Libyan coast in two days, a new indication that the number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Italy is on the rise.

Some analysts had feared that the EU's focus on shutting down the so-called Balkan route would force migrants to aim for other ways of getting into Europe.

Last week, the United Nations refugee agency said in 2016 almost 14,500 people had arrived in Italy via Libya, which was 42.5 percent more than in the same period last year."

 5 deadlines to watch on the EU-Turkey migration deal - New threats emerge to the agreement to control migrant flows (Politico, link)::

"Making the controversial EU-Turkey migration deal work was always going to be a huge logistical challenge. Now that the terror attacks in Brussels have stirred up fresh opposition, it’s a political one too....

If Greece does not change its laws and Turkey is still foot-dragging on granting full protection for non-Syrians, experts say, it will be another sign the deal is in trouble. EU officials say they hope that the message that migrants will be jailed and returned would be enough to significantly discourage new arrivals by the end of April." [emphasis added]

 News (29.3.16)

Is Italy ready for the next wave of migrants? (The, link): "The "crossing season" for migrant boats from Libya to Italy has not yet begun, yet arrivals are already up on last year's count, raising questions about where the new wave of tens of thousands will be housed... Amid unseasonably fine weather and calm seas, warnings have been sounded in recent days over the number of migrants in Libya ready to attempt the perilous Mediterranean crossing - 500,000 according to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, while French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian puts it closer to 800,000."

Germany’s FM praises EU-Turkey refugee deal, critical of Balkan border closures (New Europe, link): "The closure of the Balkan route used by refugees caused a “humanitarian crisis” for Greece, according to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In an interview with Funke media group newspapers on March 28, the minister said: “Fewer refugees are coming to central Europe because they are stranded in Greece. A humanitarian crisis has arisen there. Getting rid of your own problems by putting European partners in distress – this isn’t how we should treat one another.”"

Poland says No to migrants after Brussels attack (euobserver, link): "Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo has said the Brussels attacks mean that Poland cannot take part in the EU’s migrant relocation scheme. "Twenty eight EU countries agreed to solve the issue through relocation. But I will say it very clearly: I do not see it possible to allow migrants in Poland at the moment," Szydlo told the Superstacja TV broadcaster on Wednesday (23 March)."

Chios, Greece: Police Neglect the Camp and Criminalise Activists Who Distribute Food (Moving Europe, link): "Yesterday, March 23 2016, an activist on Chios reported about police repression towards activists and moreover about the police neglecting the camp in Vial."

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