01 October 2016
EU-AFGHANISTAN: Second "dodgy deal" agreed: Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU (18 pages, pdf)
See: EU mulls 'migrant' terminal at Kabul airport (euobserver, link):
"The EU and Afghanistan are looking into creating a new terminal at Kabul's airport designed specifically for migrants rejected by EU states.
The plan is part of a broader deal on stepping up the returns of rejected asylum seekers from the EU to Afghanistan signed over the weekend....
the return agreement appears to contradict an internal document from the European Council, representing member states, which earlier this year said security is actually getting worse in Afghanistan.
"Due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, as well as pressure on Afghans in Pakistan and Iran, there is a high risk of further migratory flows to Europe," noted the internal document."
See also: Jjoint "non-paper" from the European Commission and the European Action Service (EEAS) in March 2016: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted do no: 6738-16, pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"Under the dodgy EU-Turkey deal we have two Letters and a Statement now for the Afghanistan deal there is a "Agreement" - yet again by-passing formal law-making and parliamentary scrutiny. Yet again the Council demonstrates its contempt for the rule of law. There is no way Afghanistan, even in Kabul, is a safe country to return refugees to."
Sweden threatens to sue Hungary over asylum refusals (euobserver, link):
"Sweden's minister of justice Morgan Johansson said Sweden will challenge Hungary in court unless it starts taking back asylum seekers from other EU countries.
The European Commission is sending a fact-finding delegation to Hungary to examine reasons for the row.
Earlier this month, ministers from the Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, in addition to Sweden - wrote to the EU executive to complain that Hungary is not abiding by EU Dublin rules, which say refugees should in principle seek asylum in the first EU country they enter.
Greece: More refugees arrive on Chios (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A total of 88 migrants and refugees arrived on Greece’s Aegean island of Chios in the past 24 hours, authorities said Wednesday."
European Parliament: Calais: MEPs demand solutions for migrants, truck drivers and local people (Press release, pdf):
"The situation in and around the port town of Calais is untenable for everyone: migrants and asylum seekers living in the informal camps, truck drivers crossing to the British Isles and the local population, said MEPs in a plenary debate on
Tuesday. Most urged the EU Commission, France and the UK to work together to find a long-term solution.
Many speakers pointed to the terrible conditions in the camp known as “the jungle” and showed special concern about the high number of unaccompanied minors in the area and the risks they face."
"At first look, this seems logical and even advisable. Since 2015, the EU has been unable to respond effectively to the ‘refugee crisis’. It is only the fragile ‘deal’ with Turkey that brought the illusion of a solution by externalising asylum provision to a third country. The EU remains profoundly divided about possible internal solutions.
A European East-West divide has appeared, in addition to the well-known North-South division about the principles evoked in the Bratislava Declaration. Member States in the South have been complaining for years about the lack of solidarity measures, while many Member States in the Northwest have castigated them about their inability to implement their responsibilities.
More recently, Member States in the Central/Eastern part of the EU (more precisely the Visegrad group consisting of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) are refusing, ostensibly in the name of responsibility, to engage in the type of solidarity requested by no longer only the Member States in the South, but also those in the Northwest."
EU’s Relocation Farce: From 160,000 asylum seekers only 5,821 moved from Greece & Italy to other member states (Keep Talking Greece, link):
“On the one-year anniversary of the EU plan to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, the first countries of arrival, the scheme must be judged a farce, ” Human Rights Watch Advocacy Director Philippe Dam writes in his review about the failure of the European Commission sponsored Relocation scheme."
Hungary: Orban would ban mass resettlement in constitution (euobserver, link):
"Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban is to propose constitutional amendments banning the mass resettlement of migrants by the EU without parliament's approval.
"In Hungary 3.3 million voters decided they will not let others decide for them on resettlement of migrants," he told journalists on Tuesday (4 October), after a referendum on Sunday saw 98 percent of voters who cast a valid ballot rejecting EU competence over migration quotas.
The referendum was however invalid according to Hungary's national election committee, as it failed to bring out more than half of Hungary's 8 million eligible voters.
Orban has nevertheless vowed to make constitutional changes, saying the referendum result "cannot remain without consequences in politics, if there is still democracy in Hungary""
Italy leads mass migrant rescue (New Europe, link):
"The rescue of more than 5,600 migrants off Libya was coordinated by Italy on October 3 – three years to the day after 366 people died in a sinking that first alerted the world to the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the October 3 rescue is a poignant reminder of the ongoing drama being played out on Europe’s southern shores. At least nine bodies were recovered from a total of 39 distressed vessels, the bulk of them overcrowded rubber dinghies but also including five converted fishing boats.
Almost 200 children were among those saved, according to NGO SOS Mediterranee. Most of them were unaccompanied and nine were under five years old. At least 10 of the 191 women on board were pregnant."
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