Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 30.3.16


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 European policy is driving refugees to more dangerous routes across the Med (The Conversation, link): "It is estimated that in 2015, more than a million people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in search of safety and a better life. 3,770 are known to have died trying to make this journey during the same period. This so-called “migration crisis” is the largest humanitarian disaster to face Europe since the end of World War II.


That’s why we’ve been working to examine the conditions underpinning this recent migration across, and loss of life in, the Mediterranean.

Our first research brief , based on interviews with 600 people, including 500 refugees, shines a light on the reasons why so many risk everything on the dangerous sea crossing. It also offers an insight into why the EU response has been so ineffective."

This article is based on research undertaken as part of project Unravelling the Mediterranean Migration Crisis (MEDMIG) (link). More extensive findings are documented in the project's first report: Research Brief No. 1 March 2016 (pdf)

 Greece: Number of migrants reaching Greece surges again (, link): "Hundreds of migrants and refugees have arrived on Greek islands after days of low numbers, despite a European Union-Turkey agreement under which new arrivals will be sent back to Turkey.

Figures released by the Greek government Wednesday showed 766 people reached the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios and Kos in the 24 hours until Wednesday morning. The number is a roughly a three-fold jump compared with arrivals in previous days, when weather conditions had been poorer."

The increase in numbers comes less than a day after the authorities were apparently "encouraged" by the reduced numbers of arrivals: Authorities ‘encouraged’ by decreased refugee flow (ekatherimini, link).

And see: Flows from Turkey to Greece on sharp decline, while logistic assistance from member states continues (New Europe, link): "Just 11 days after the EU – Turkey agreement, progress on returns of irregular migrants to Turkey has been made, as Turkey sent back 76 irregular migrants on Thursday and 71 on Friday, 25-26 March 2016 in respect, as the European Commission spokesperson for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Natasha Bertaud announced in Brussels. In terms of arrivals, “the numbers are encouraging”, as “less than 1,000 people arrived last week. In detail, numbers of the arrivals are: 20 March: 1,667, 21 March: 600, 22 March: 260, 23 March: 0, 24 March: 161, 25 March: 78, 26 March: 73, 27 March: 232 and 28 March: 192."

 News (30.3.16)

Greece: stranded refugees and migrants clash with police in Idomeni (euronews, link): "Protesting refugees and migrants on Tuesday clashed with Greek police in the border town of Idomeni, next to the closed crossing between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Tension flared as police officers tried to move people away from the railway tracks, where there have been daily protests calling for the Macedonian government to reopen the border crossing."

Minister: Greece will process asylum claims in two weeks (EurActiv, link): "Greece will be able to process asylum claims within two weeks, including appeals, once a migration deal between the EU and Turkey takes full effect, a senior Greek official said on Tuesday (29 March).

Alternate Minister of National Defence Dimitris Vitsas, who is in charge of coordinating Greece’s management of the refugee flow, said that all procedures pertaining to asylum requests would be sped up and examined within the space of a fortnight.

“Asylum requests will have to be examined within a week – and there is international help for this purpose– and administrative appeals will be examined within another week,” Vitsas told a late-night political talk show on Star TV.

The fast-tracked procedure will be formalised as part of a refugee bill to be submitted to parliament on Wednesday (30 March), he said."

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