Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 14 10.16


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 After the publication of: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) 42 Members of the European Parliament wrote to Frontex:Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf).


The Director of Frontex has now responded to the MEPs' Letter: Response to Letter from MEPs on: Recurrent use of weapons by coast guards within Frontex operations (pdf):

Frontex Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri replies that in; "half of the incidents reported, the weapons were shot into the air, with no possible harm to anyone and thus in full respect of the principles of necessity and proportionality."

He seems to be unaware of how frightening it is for shot to be fired "in the air" or towards a boat of refugees.

In the remaining cases (that is half): "shots were fired upon attempts by facilitators to violently ram the patrol vessel.. officers are entitled to the right of self-defence."

When it comes down to specific cases they come under each EU Member States's law - Frontex is not responsible.

 EU: Council of the European Union: REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals, and repealing the Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994 (pdf):

Replaces the 1994 Resolution adopted under the Maastricht Treaty. This will only be effective if states (eg: in Africa) agree to returns and readmission decided by EU Member States:

The national authorities of the Member States experience difficulties in returning illegally staying third-country nationals who possess no valid travel documents.

Improving cooperation on return and readmission with the main countries of origin and transit of illegally staying third-country nationals is essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory. An improved European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals is relevant in that regard.

The current standard travel document for the return of third-country nationals, established by the Council Recommendation of 30 November 19942, is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards." [emphasis added]

Comment: The primary reason why an EU document is not accepted is not "security" but because third countries are not prepared to accept an unlimited number of "returns" to their state of those from and "transiting" through that state. Moreover, there is a quite understandable reluctance of refugees to "return" to countries from which they have fled due to war, persecution and poverty.

 Are You Syrious (13.10.16)

“EU-Turkey Deal 2.0” with African states? A no-go: Feature

"In the midst of German Prime Minister’s Angela Merkel historic trip to North Africa to address the problem of Mediterranean crossings, the Interior Ministers of EU countries are gathering in Luxembourg to discuss the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, namely to Italy. Merkel has offered military and financial aid (read: bribes) to Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal in exchange for halting immigration, while the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizere has called for a new solution to the problem; those who are rescued at sea ought to be taken to centers in North Africa while their case for asylum is studied." See also: EU-Afghanistan returns plan: Another "dodgy" deal

Greece: Refugees are increasingly resorting to making a land crossing from Turkey to Greece

"As fall and winter weather approaches, police say the number of refugees and migrants trying to get across Greece’s northern land border with Turkey is growing. Hundreds of asylum seekers have continued attempting to cross the frontier during the past several weeks despite authorities recently breaking up a smuggling ring on the Greek side and arresting 70 people. Much less dangerous than the sea-crossing from Turkey to Greece’s eastern Aegean islands, many asylum seekers have been apprehended after walking across the shallows of the Hebrus River, which marks the Greek-Turkish border."

Greece: Numbers

"A total of 160 refugees have arrived on the islands today. 72 of them on Lesvos, 43 on Chios, and 45 on Samos. Additionally, 4 volunteered to be returned, bringing the monthly total to 23. There have been no deportations to Turkey this month."

 Migrant arrivals to Italy top concern now (New Europe, link):

"Greece is no longer the main point of entry for migrants arriving to the European Union by sea. It’s Italy, according to the latest figures released by the United Nations refugee agency UNCHR.

The data show that more than 144,000 migrants have reached Italy so far this year, compared to the nearly 154,000 arrivals in the whole of 2015. Arrivals to Greece fell sharply after the EU struck a deal with Turkey to prevent departures from its shores."

 Lone children at risk in Calais camp demolition (euobserver, link):

"There are several schools in the Jungle, and a yellow, double-decker school bus where children's drawings adorn walls and windows. A British baroness is giving classes in English and French. There are playgrounds, hills to climb, a kids’ cafe for children only.

But it is still hard to imagine a worse place for a child to live than the Jungle, as the slum in the French port-town of Calais is often called. More than a thousand of them do and almost all came here without their parents. "

 Schengen zone suspended beyond Nov. 15 (New Europe, link): "Border checks will remain in place for Germany, Austria, and Sweden beyond November, which undermines the Schengen zone."

See also Re-establishing Border Controls in Europe Could Cost Up to €3 Billion a Year (RAND Study, link)

 EU states to undergo border stress tests (euobserver, link): "If the EU state fails to plug the gap assessed by the agency, then the Council of the EU, representing member states, could reintroduce internal border controls for up to six months."

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