Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 29.9.16


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 Brussels pushes Greece for action on migrants sought before Dublin pact reboot (, link):


"European officials are calling on Athens to take action by the end of this year ahead of the review and reactivation of the Dublin Regulation, which would lead to EU member-states returning migrants to Greece.

The European Commission on Wednesday asked Athens to improve reception facilities, accelerate the processing of asylum claims and create separate facilities for unaccompanied minors.

European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said there will be no returns to Greece in the months leading up to the review of the pact, which stipulates that migrants lodge their asylum appeals in the first EU country they enter."

Comment: Once it is agreed that refugees, who entered the EU through Greece, can be returned to Greece it is up to each EU Mmber State to activiate the "return" provisions under the Dublin rules.

 Closing off the Balkan corridor: Brussels, Sofia on track to sign the grant agreements that will strengthen the management of migration flows (New Europe, link):

"“By fast-tracking the requests, we will make available up to €108 million in emergency funding to Bulgaria to strengthen the management of migration flows and strengthen border surveillance and border control activities,” the Commission said in a presse release.

Following constructive meetings between the Commission and Bulgaria on September 26, both sides are on track to sign the grant agreements and proceed with the first disbursements quickly, the Commission said."

 Are You Syrious (28.9.16):

79 refugees arrive in Greece

"A total of 79 refugees have been registered in the last 24 hours up to 7:30am this morning?—?49 in Lesvos, 9 in Samos and 21 in Kalymnos. Two boats arrived on Lesvos today according to volunteers, one with 55 people on the southeast coast, and the other with 47 on the north coast. The number of refugees in Skaramagas has increased from 3,382 to 3,500 according to official statistics."

Chios residents protest and demand measures to reduce the number of refugees on the island

"Chios residents held a protest today, demanding immediate measures to reduce the number of refugees on the island. Organizers said the rally will be closely monitored to avoid the intrusion of far-right elements. Employees of the Greek and European Asylum Service on Chios also staged a symbolic protest on Tuesday, by blocking the entrance to the overcrowded Vial camp, demanding greater policing."

France: Donations needed in Paris

"Aid Box Convoy says it will be opening a new warehouse in Bristol next week to respond to the crisis in Calais and Paris, and asks people to have their “tents, sleeping bags and camping equipment ready for drop off”. These items are especially necessary in Paris, as people arrive there to claim asylum and are often forced to sleep in the streets without protection from cold or rain. The group plans to buy things directly from shops in Paris until their physical donations can get there."

 Turkey to complete Syria border wall within 5 months, official says (Reuters, link):

"A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday.

Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and is also concerned by the presence of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which controls most of its Syrian border."

 Greece: Deputy FM Xydakis: “7,000 refugees ready to relocate, but some EU-states don’t even respond to Greece’s requests” (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greece plans to relocate a large number of migrants to the mainland to relieve the islands on the Eastern Aegean Sea, despite the fact that EU Turkey Deal provides that new arrivals after march 20th should stay in hot spots on these islands and be prevented from further travel.

Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, told German conservative Die Welt, that Greece “will soon begin to bring a large number of migrants to the mainland to relieve the islands in the eastern Aegean. This will be very well organized and conducted in a legal manner. We will accommodate them in guarded premises”...

The minister blamed the EU for the appalling situation and the occasional unrest in some refugee camps on the islands as a result of member-states reluctance to relocate refugees as well as lack of support. And he warned that with refugees and migrants keep coming to Greece “the situation in the camps can easily escalate.”

“For the time being, 7,000 refugees could be immediately relocated from Greece to other EU countries, all formalities for this procedure have been met. But it does not happen."

Turkey denies protection to returning Syrians (euobserver, link):

"A migrant swap deal with Ankara is progressing well despite returning Syrians being denied guaranteed protection status in Turkey, says the EU commission.

EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Wednesday (28 September) that "adequate standards" were in place for those returned under the March deal.

But earlier in the day, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said not a single Syrian returned from Greece has been granted any temporary protection status, despite the "formal guarantees" under the EU's deal with Ankara.

"As we speak today, none of the Syrians that have returned to Turkey have got temporary protection," Vincent Cochetal, UNHCR's Europe director, told this website."

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