Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 3-4.9.16


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EU-TURKEY "DEAL": A reminder of the conditions Turkey has to meet before visa-free travel becomes a possibility:


Overview: Turkey meets 65 of 72 requirements for visa liberalisation (Statewatch, link):

As part of the EU-Turkey deal on migrants and refugees, signed on 18 March 2016, the EU agreed:

“to accelerate the implementation of the visa liberalization roadmap with all Member States with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the latest by the end of June 2016.” 

On 4 May the Commission published the ‘Third Report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap’. 

 Turkey ‘must meet conditions’ for visa-free travel, says Merkel (, link):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that Turkey must fulfill all 72 preconditions before the European Union grants visa-free travel to its citizens.

“These 72 conditions have not yet been met, and of course we will insist that agreements are honored by our side and Turkey,” Merkel told private TV network RTL."

 Turkish EU minister says no deal on migrants without visa-free travel (,, link)

"Turkey will not apply a readmission agreement with the European Union meant to stem the flow of illegal migrants if it does not get the visa-free travel to Europe it has been promised, its EU affairs minister Omer Celik said on Thursday."

EU: DG Home Commissioner: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the Press Conference with Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik (pdf):

"Let me be clear on a very important issue: the EU remains committed to keep up the momentum and dialogue on visa liberalisation. A lot has been achieved during the past months and we want to further build on these achievements.

Since March, Turkey has made considerable progress but there are still outstanding benchmarks to be met, and the EU is fully committed to help Turkey achieve those."

 Europe swings far-right, leaving fate of thousands of refugees in limbo (Daily Sabah, link):

" With no solution to the refugee crisis, racism, xenophobia and ultra-nationalism have dominated the social and political environment in Europe, which is gripped by anti-Muslim hysteria

Europe, gripped by anti-Muslim hysteria, which often goes to the extent of associating Islam with terrorism, now seeks comfort in extremist right-wing political figures who have been drumming up support with ultra-nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric bordering on racism."

 German interior minister floats idea of returning migrants to Greece (link)

"Germany's interior minister has suggested the nation could send migrants back to Greece. There are over 50,000 in Greece waiting to be divided among EU states, but he said much had to be done to improve the situation.

Germany's interior minister has suggested the nation could send migrants back to Greece. There are over 50,000 in Greece waiting to be divided among EU states, but he said much had to be done to improve the situation.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Sunday that he wanted to send migrants back to Greece.

"We have done a lot in Europe in order to improve the refugee situation in Greece," de Maiziere told the "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper. "This must have consequences that will enable refugees to be sent back to Greece according to the Dublin regulations.""

 Are You Syrious (3.9.16, link)

Greece: 11,662 people arrived this year

"While tens od thousands of people are stuck in inhuman conditions in camps for over six months now, relocation remains shamefully slow: only 5 percent (3,386) so far.

Meanwhile, people are arriving continuously to overcrowded islands. Over the last three days, 78 people reached #Kos. According to the #UNHCR data, between 22 and 28 August, 521 people crossed the sea, which is less than the week before (923). But overall, more people arrived so far in August (2,810) than in July (1,920). The total since April is 11,662 (same period last year it was 225,505).... Capacity at the islands is 7,450 and currently there are 11,690 persons there."#

Borders will remain closed

"Today, we heard several rumors about possible opening of the borders. Unfortunately, there are no official plans for something like that anytime soon....

The borders are officially not open, but some people are crossing while risking their lives. Those who manage to enter #Serbia irregularly, do have a chance to enter #Hungary after several weeks, sometimes even months of waiting at the border in Northern Serbia....

There’s no way to enter Croatia or Slovenia legally. However, if a refugee is found on Croatian soil, he or she can ask for asylum (there are no guarantees he or she will get it)."

Italy: Number of new arrivals to Italy on par with the last year

"During the last week, UNHCR registered 1,953 new arrivals to Italy by sea. The number of arrivals in 2016 continues to be on par with 2015: 105,628 this year, compared to 116,149 in the same period the previous year.

Most of the people coming to Italy are from #Nigeria, #Eritrea, and #Gambia, while 15 percent of all arrivals are unaccompanied and separated children."

 British warship sent to Libya to target people-smugglers -Deployment of HMS Diamond part of EU crackdown as number of migrants trying to cross Mediterranean reaches record level (The Observer, link):

"But the plan to deploy HMS Diamond was met with scepticism by Crispin Blunt, head of parliament’s powerful foreign affairs committee, who is due to grill British officials about Libya policy later this week.

Blunt said that without Libyan cooperation naval forces could achieve only partial success, with the smugglers having impunity to operate inside coastal waters. “The smugglers are taking advantage of the fact there is no coherent government in Libya,” Blunt told the Observer."

 Are You Syrious (2.9.16, link)


"985 people reached Greek islands from 29th of August to 2nd of September.

One speedboat dropped off 20 people (ten men, five women, four children and one baby) today on Korakas’s cliffs, in northern Lesvos."

Protests in Thessaloniki

"A group of refugees held a protest in Thessaloniki, demanding open borders and expressing their frustration with delays in the asylum processing system and the relocation procedure."

40 refugees relocated to Finland today

"42 refugees were relocated from Greece to Finland on Monday and 40 today, including 38 Syrians, one Iraqi and one Eritrean. Ten unaccompanied minors were among them.

Since the beginning of the relocation program, 419 people have been relocated from Greece to Finland, including 38 unaccompanied children. Only four unaccompanied children have been relocated to other EU Member States."

Bulgarian government looking to set up closed refugee camps

"Balkan Insight reports on a massive fight between over 500 people of different nationalities inside the Harmanli refugee centre on August 28th. Following this brawl, the government decided to allow the State Agency for Refugees to set up closed refugee camps, or transform existing open camps into closed facilities if they assess that it is necessary.

The decision has drawn criticism from human rights activists, who argue that existing Bulgarian laws should simply be applied to individuals that break them.

Harmanli, the largest refugee camp in Bulgaria, hosts around 1,500 asylum seekers mainly from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan."

 Europe’s migrant crisis is back with a vengeance - The Mediterranean remains the world’s deadliest maritime area for refugees (FT, link):

"In rubber dinghies and ramshackle wooden boats, refugees and migrants have been risking their lives in the Mediterranean this week in one desperate expedition after another. These voyages mock the notion that the EU is in command of the emergency engulfing its southern borders. Since Saturday, the Italian coastguard and other rescuers have saved about 13,000 people trying to make their way from north Africa to Italy."

 France vows to dismantle 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais - Interior minister says France will create accommodation for thousands of refugees elsewhere in France ‘to unblock Calais’ (Guardian, link):

"France is to gradually dismantle the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has vowed.

Cazeneuve told the regional newspaper the Nord Littoral he would press ahead with the closure of the camp “with the greatest determination”, dismantling the site in stages, clearing the former wasteland where record numbers of refugees and migrants are sleeping rough in dire sanitary conditions as many hope to reach Britain.

He said France would create accommodation for thousands elsewhere in the country “to unblock Calais”"

 Child refugees struggle alone in Bulgaria (DW, link)

"One of the more disturbing effects of the refugee crisis is the increasing number of unaccompanied minors. As Emanuela Barbiroglio and Ambra Montanari report from Sofia, the situation in Bulgaria is particularly bad."

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