Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.9.16)

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- EU's Tusk demands closure of Balkan route to refugees 'for good' (DW, link):

"European leaders have met in the Austrian capital to find a common solution to the wave of migration to the continent. The European Council's president has called for restoring control over the EU's external borders...

"Obviously, an essential precondition for achieving this goal is close cooperation with our partners in the Balkans and Turkey," he said. "(But) we need to confirm - politically and in practice - that the Western Balkan route of irregular migration is closed for good."

- Merkel wants to send back dud migrants
(The, link)

"Echoing Merkel, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday that this showed that the EU needed to send people back to Egypt, Libya and other countries. Orban, who has been scathing about Merkel's "open-door" policy and has called immigration "poison", has refused to take in a single migrant under the EU relocation scheme.

Attacks on asylum seekers

Meanwhile, attacks on centres for asylum seekers in Austria are on course to double this year, according to government figures released on Saturday. Twenty-four were recorded in the first half of 2016, compared with 25 for the whole of 2015, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in reply to a parliamentary enquiry."

- European Parliament Study: Overview on the use of EU funds for migration policies (pdf):

"The aim of this document is to give an overview of the use of EU funds on migration policies during the first two years (2014-2015) of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and present a preliminary budgetary outlook for 2016---2017 and the remaining MFF period, taking into account the uncertainties relating to the evolution of the migration situation and pressures on EU funding....

Within the current EU framework, potential changes in policy and practice to deal with the migration crisis are under discussion. Such changes include revisiting legislative instruments on asylum and legal migration, as well as (within an overall vision adapted to the needs of the crisis) the competences of the EU agencies involved in migration management. Any revision of the latter should involve a budget increase accompanied by the necessary staff reinforcements."

- Hungary PM suggests giant migrant city in Libya (BBC News, link):

"The European Union should set up a "giant refugee city" on the Libyan coast to process African asylum seekers before they reach Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said.

Mr Orban, who has taken a hardline stance against migration, suggested a new Libyan government run the camp. He made the remarks at a Vienna summit of European and Balkan leaders....

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has faced criticism from the Hungarian prime minister over her so-called "open-door" policy towards refugees and migrants, said the solution was to secure deals with African countries to send back migrants who do not qualify for asylum."

- Greek positions on refugee crisis reiterated at Vienna mini-summit (Tornos News, link):

"In Vienna, Tsipras will be able to highlight the challenge facing Greece due to the migration crisis, noting that 60,000 refugees and migrants were now trapped in the country since its northern borders were unilaterally closed. He is also expected to make clear that if Greece fails in its efforts to cope with the crisis, only the most xenophobic, nationalist and far-right forces in Europe stand to gain, as reflected in elections and polls in Austria and neighbouring countries."

- Are You Syrious (23.9.16, link)

Greece: Today, 241 new arrivals were registered in Greece (1 at Lesvos, 123 at Chios, 41 at Samos, 58 at Kos, and 18 at Kalumnos). Unofficial number could be higher.

"For a long time we are reporting about dire situation on overcrowded islands, but until now little has been done to improve the situation. Those responsible?—?authorities, UN and the EU?—?are not finding any solution. Chios will soon have 4,000 people, and that means that the capacity will be at 400 percent. Skaramangas increased from 3362 to 3450 refugees. People have no place to stay, no warm clothes, or anything. In total, 13,983 refugees are currently on the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean while the maximum capacity of the camps is 7,450."


"While nobody is watching, more people are arriving to Macedonia, while about 180 are stranded in the camps of Tabanovce and Gevgelija since February. After so many months, the UN human rights team visited Macedonia and raised some concerns about the conditions in “transit centers” in Macedonia, noticing that people’s freedom of movement is restricted, while kids do not go to school."


"There is no improvement of living conditions for refugees in Serbia, another country that hardly anybody pays attention to at this moment. Hundreds of refugees are arriving every day, while hundreds are already in different centers, private accommodation, or out in the streets. Last night temperature warm 8 degrees. People who are in centers have limited freedom of movement, and people in the streets are in constant fear of police that is every day in the are near a train station in Belgrade. Most of the people have the only document saying they can stay in Serbia for 72 hours, but many of them are there for a couple of months waiting to cross to Hungary and continue their journey."

- New fears for 1,000 lone children in Calais refugee camp (The Observer, link):

"French authorities hope Britain will honour pledges and rescue minors when the bulldozers move in....

Up to 1,000 unaccompanied minors will be left to fend for themselves when the so-called jungle camp for refugees in Calais is bulldozed next month. The French authorities have made no plans to rehouse the children, the Observer has learned, because it is hoping to force Britain to honour a promise to help child refugees.

The French interior ministry has informed charities and aid organisations that it intends to destroy the camp in less than four weeks."

And see: Panic sweeps Calais camp as refugees await the bulldozers (Guardian ,link): "With demolition of ‘the Jungle’ only weeks away, the fate of some of its most vulnerable residents hangs in the balance."

- Pope says journalism based on fear-mongering, gossip is form of 'terrorism'
(Reuters, link):

"Journalism based on gossip or rumors is a form of "terrorism" and media that stereotype entire populations or foment fear of migrants are acting destructively, Pope Francis said on Thursday."

- Greece: PM to join more talks on refugees amid unrest (, link):

"As Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras joins nine of his European counterparts, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Vienna on Saturday to discuss the refugee crisis, authorities on the Aegean islands on Friday struggled to keep order at overcrowded migrant reception centers.

Another 241 migrants arrived on islands of the northern Aegean from Turkey on Thursday, according to government figures released on Friday, including 123 on Chios, where violent clashes broke out between migrants at the local camp.

In total, 13,983 migrants are currently being hosted at camps on the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean while the maximum capacity of the camps in question is 7,450.

The overcrowded conditions at the camps, where most migrants have been waiting months for their asylum applications to be processed, often fuel unrest and, occasionally, riots.

In the early hours of Friday morning, unrest broke out at the migrant reception camp on Chios when a group of Algerian nationals, who are believed to have been inebriated, started breaking beds and throwing stones."

- Greece: Inside Moria's African neighborhood (DW, link)

"Following the fire that destroyed a large part of the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, life seems to be back to normal - but not for everyone. Marianna Karakoulaki and Dimitris Tosidis report from Lesbos."

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