Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 22.11.16

 Frontex to begin collecting personal data in Greece on suspected criminals (Press release, pdf):


"Starting today, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, will begin collecting personal data of persons suspected of people smuggling, terrorism and other cross-border crimes collected as part of its operation in Greece."

Note: according to Article 2(16) of the new Frontex Regulation (pdf), "cross-border crime" means "any serious crime with a cross-border dimension committed at or along, or which is related to, the external borders." There is no specific definition of "cross-border crime" in the Regulation but such activities "necessary entail a cross-border dimension," for example "trafficking in human beings or smuggling of migrants" (preamble, paragraph 19).

 Hungarian prisoners complete part of new anti-migrant fence (euractiv, link):

"Hungarian prisoners have finished building the first part of a second anti-migrant fence on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia, state television reported yesterday (21 November).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced last August plans for a second fence line in August to reinforce the existing barrier erected last year along the 175-kilometre-long border."

Chios Greeece: Dep. Migration Minister Vows to Close Refugee Camp in Souda Following Days of Violence (Greek Reporter, link):

"Deputy Migration Policy Minister Ioannis Balafas said the government wants to close the camp in Souda on the Greek island of Chios and transfer refugees and migrants in a new camp outside the town....

The UN Refugee Agency and Amnesty International condemned the serious violence that broke out in the municipality-run refugee camp at Souda, when tents were burned and two activists beaten by suspected extreme-right supporters. A Syrian refugee at the camp was seriously injured on Friday, when a stone thrown down from the walls surrounding the camp hit him on the head."

 Refugee 'crisis'? Try 'crisis in the European press' (Open Democracy, link):

"A new study finds some disturbing trends in the European press coverage of refugees and the purported consequences of their arrival...

The emerging narrative strongly links negative consequences to 'real', tangible developments in European countries, while very few positive aspects go beyond moral obligations....

This all leads to problematic signals coming from the media, whose vulnerability and lack of resources become particularly evident in coverage of complex stories like this. A lack of context given to the refugee plight, low diversity of standpoints, and little mention of wider historical circumstances behind 'the crisis' result in simplistic framing: us versus them, the good versus the bad, refugees worthy of saving versus sneaky/dangerous migrants. Finally, no voice given to refugees or even citizens makes it impossible to develop a sense of togetherness or solidarity in Europe. The 'refugee crisis' label is controversial, but there is no doubt we are experiencing a crisis of journalism and ethics."

 Calais refugee children describe French reception centers as 'prisons' (Daily Sabah Europe, link):

"Refugee children living in the French reception centers after the makeshift "Jungle" camp closure in Calais have been forced to work in farms, as many of them believes that they live in a "prison" rather than a reception center, a Britain-based charity groups said, the Independent reported yesterday.

Interviewing 33 refugee boys living in reception centers by phone, the report by Safe Passage shows that 15 percent of the boys did not "feel safe in the center" and 39 percent of them stated that they had been "better off in Calais.""

 Greece: Plan for refugee children's hostel causes tension in Piraeus (, link):

"Dozens of residents at the port city of Piraeus heckled representatives at a meeting of the municipal council on Monday, in protest at plans by a nongovernmental organization to open a hostel for unaccompanied refugee and migrant children.

According to reports, Piraeus residents are opposing a project by the NGO Praksis, which has rented a former school building in Piraeus’s fifth district and plans to turn it into a hostel. "

 Is the EU Gradually Renouncing its Fundamental Values in Order to Better Protect its External Borders?(,link):

"Criticism by a number of NGOs and policy commentators about the European Union’s wavering observance of some of its core fundamental values has been mounting over the past few months. One strategic area in which such criticism has been most acute has been the EU’s evolving immigration and border security policy....

The outsourcing of the EU’s border security strategy to third countries with a potentially poor human rights record and an often discretionary use of rule of law has not been confined to Turkey alone."

 Belgrade: Police raids and mass transfers to Preševo (, link):

"This is a report which was send to us by an independent support collective in Belgrade. It testifies a massive nightly police operation on November 10th in Belgrade, which lead to mass evictions and transfers towards the Southern Serbian border where illegal push-backs have become normality. This testimony is an important addition to our recently published report „Bordered Lives – Unbound violence“ on migrants‘ situation in Serbia."

 Asylum applications from Turkey skyrocket in Germany (DW, link):

"Germany saw a massive uptick in asylum seekers from Turkey in 2016. Much of it is due to the failed coup in July and ensuing crackdown on human rights and press freedom."

 EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Current migration situation in the EU: hate crime - November 2016 (link):

"Asylum seekers and migrants face various forms of violence and harassment across the European Union (EU). As this month’s report on the migration situation underscores, such acts are both perpetrated and condoned by state authorities, private individuals, as well as vigilante groups. They increasingly also target activists and politicians perceived as ‘pro-refugee’. "

See Report: Current migration situation in the EU: hate crime (pdf)

 Europe’s migration campaign pivots to Africa (politico, link):

"Having reduced the number of crossings from Turkey to Greece, European leaders are now looking to northern Africa...

“Tunisia could be the first country in North Africa to benefit from an ambitious visa facilitation agreement,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration. “At the same time, the conclusion of a readmission agreement will help to avert the risk of irregular immigration from Tunisia, and manage its consequences.”"

 European Parliament: Don’t incite fear and hatred of migrants and refugees, MEPs urge EU countries (Press release, pdf):

"EU member states should “refrain from inciting fear and hatred in their citizens towards migrants and asylum-seekers for political gains”, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs voting a resolution on fundamental rights in the EU on Thursday. The rights to free movement and life-saving abortion are also stressed in the text, which will now be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole."


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