July


EU-MED-CRISIS:

Asylum seeker death toll rising (IRR, link): "In the last two months, at least thirteen people, two of whom were teenagers, have died trying to reach the UK, and countless others have been injured."

The Calais crisis: which Member State is responsible? (EU Law Analysis, link)

UK-FRANCE: JOINT ACTION: ARRANGEMENT ADMINISTRATIF (pdf) [The Joint Action: Government of France and the UK to secure the common border and combate illegal immigration, 2009]

UK: House of Commons: Letter from Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration, to the Committee Chair, 21 July 2015 (pdf)

GREECE: Two groups in distress in the Aegean Sea near Lesvos, rescued by Turkey, one boat punctured by Greek coastguard! (Watch the Med, link): " person contacted us and reported that he had knowledge of a vessel that sought to reach Lesvos but was intercepted by the Greek police. He said that the police boarded their vessel and took away their engine. They then punctured the vessel and left them behind at sea. They were now, of course, in a situation of distress."

What the Calais ‘crisis’ reveals about racism - The deaths we have seen in Calais are not the first, and until Britain can come to terms with race and racism, they won’t be the last (Red Pepper, link)

SERBIA: Fears of humanitarian crisis in Serbia as refugees stream in (euractiv, link): "At the crack of dawn hundreds of refugees, most of them Syrians, stream into Serbia's southern valley of Presevo after a perilous journey they hope will lead to a new life in the European Union."

The Hungary PM made a ‘rivers of blood’ speech … and no one cares - All the attention has been on Europe’s neo-Nazi fringe groups, when it’s those in national governments who should be scrutinised (Guardian, link)

EU: Statewatch Briefing: Preparing the ground for “smart borders”: EU action on “overstayers” (pdf) by Zakeera Suffee:

"Quiet preparations for the EU’s ambitious “smart borders” proposals are ongoing. This will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU residents entering the Schengen area, and is made up proposals for an Entry/Exit System intended to detect visa “overstayers”; a Registered Traveller Programme for the vetting of selected individuals before they arrive at EU borders; and proposals for relevant legal amendments to the Schengen Borders Code....

The multiple efforts to ensure ever-greater capture, storage and sharing of information suggest that people on the move are increasingly seen as a threat that needs to be regulated and managed through high-tech surveillance combined with “on-the-ground” information-gathering and police operations. All of these initiatives pose significant challenges to fundamental rights, in different ways. The fact that they are, for the most part, discussed and prepared in secret only adds to the concerns that they raise."

EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps

The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea.

A proposed new database known as the Entry/Exit System (EES) would require the fingerprinting of all non-residents entering the Schengen area, with the aim of making it easier to calculate and detect who has "overstayed" their visa entitlement. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), for the vetting of certain travellers before they reach EU borders, would also be introduced, along with amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.

However, the Commission's plan has raised concerns amongst the Member States. Documents obtained by Statewatch show that a majority of Member States consider passport stamps to be the most effective way of detecting overstayers

EU: MED-CRISIS: Morocco: The forgotten frontline of the migrant crisis (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):

"It's late afternoon on the forested slopes of Mount Selouane. In single file or knots of friends, young West African men are trudging down the hillside to the dusty, dishevelled outskirts of the Moroccan village of Shadia.

Nearly everyone is carrying an empty water bottle, part of their daily routine to fill them for free from standpipes outside the few general stores. They come as well to get a better network connection, to check their Facebook, make calls home, or catch up on friends who have made it to Europe."

- Four reasons Syrian ‘safe zone’ unlikely to work ( (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link)

- The only 'migrant madness' is the tabloid pretence about events in Calais - Analysis: It is time to end the lie that a few hundred migrants trying to enter the UK via the Channel tunnel amount to a mass invasion (Guardian, link) and Calais migrant crisis: David Cameron branded 'disgraceful' for Mediterranean 'swarm' remark (IBT, link): "“Cameron calling Calais migrants a 'swarm' is nothing short of disgraceful. [It] confirms there's no dog-whistle these Bullingdon Boys won't blow.” - Andy Burnham"

- Germany eases access to job market for refugees - German government has removed a legal obstacle for certain groups of young refugees who want to work as interns. German companies, opposition parties and local officials are pushing for even more reform of the system. (DW, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS:: WHERE IS THE EU GOING?: Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter (BBC News, link): "Some 2,000 migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais on Monday night in an attempt to reach the UK, operator Eurotunnel has said."

Emergency measures on Kent roads to combat Channel tunnel gridlock - Police reintroduce Operation Stack and close the M20 between junctions eight and nine to non-freight traffic after ‘continued disruption’ in Calais (Guardian, link) and HMS Bulwark's replacement yet to rescue any migrants in Mediterranean - HMS Enterprise was sent out in place of much larger vessel that saved nearly 5,000, as David Cameron insisted UK would continue to play full role (link).

GERMANY: Amid attacks on refugee homes, explosion destroys Left politician's car near Dresden - A local politician who supported a plan to house refugees in the town of Freital outside Dresden has been the victim of an arson attack. The Left party said that Michael Richter was the target of right-wing threats. (DW, link) and Refugees: German state of Baden-Württemberg sets up refugee task force - To deal with an influx of refugees, the wealthy south-western state of Baden-Württemberg plans to set up a task force and build more shelters. It also wants to speed up the deportation of migrants from "safe" countries. (DW, link)

GREECE: Seven children from makeshift refugee camp in Athens receive treatment (.ekathimerini.com, link)

Czech Republic and Austria to re-enforce border patrols in view of growing number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Adopted text: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece - General approach (pdf): "Delegations will find attached a document on the above issue as agreed by the JHA Council on 20 July 2015." and see:

Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders (pdf)

GREECE: Coast guards aided more than 1,500 migrants in Aegean since Friday (ekathimerini.com, link)

LESVOS-GREECE: These are refugees, not migrants, arriving in their thousands on Greek shores - As Europe turns its back, the compassionate crisis response of local Greek volunteers, despite harsh austerity, puts the international community to shame (Guardian, link)

GREECE: Official calls for crisis talks over Athens park migrant camp (ekathimerini.com)

EU-MED-CRISIS:

GREECE: PRESS RELEASE: Alarming humanitarian crisis at Pedion tou Areos’ park: The Greek Forum of Refugees, following the Press Release from Afghan Community in Greece, seeks to raise awareness concerning the situation of hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers. Fleeing the war in Afghanistan and seeking for protection and safety in Europe, they arrived in Lesvos Island and ended up in Athens. and see:

- GERMANY: Attacks against Germany's refugee homes on the rise - The rate of violence perpetrated against refugee homes in Germany in 2015 has already outstripped the whole of 2014. The Interior Ministry has warned that right-wing violence is on the rise in the west of the country. (DW, link)

- Calais crisis: Teenage migrant found dead on top of Eurotunnel train (Independent, link)

- Bavaria’s tough asylum policy gains support across Germany (euractiv, link): "Horst Seehofer’s confrontational policy against asylum seekers from Balkan states sparked protest in Berlin. But now a growing number of Germany states and municipalities are calling for a tougher approach."

- The Latest: NYC mayor denounces EU over immigration (Yahoo News, link): "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the European Union for leaving Italy to deal with waves of immigrants coming from North Africa, saying the EU must come up with a Europe-wide immigration policy."

- For them, there is no Schengen - In Europe, freedom of movement is suspended — for those who look like migrants" (Politico, link)

- ITALY: Amnesty stages flash mob for migrants in central Rome - Group hands over petition to prime minister's office (ANSA, link)

- GREECE: Minister mulling ‘open’ facility for migrants in city (ekathimerini.com, link)

- CZECH REPUBLIC: Foreigner police detain 20 to 50 illegal migrants daily (Prague Monitor, link)

ECHR rules Cyprus must pay Syrian deportees (Cyprus Mail, link): "The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ordered Cyprus to pay three Syrian Kurds deported from the island almost €17,000 in total for violating their human rights. Filed in 2010, the cases concerned a total of 17 Syrian Kurds who applied for asylum on the island saying they were at risk of persecution and torture in their home country as they are a small minority. Cyprus deported them all in 2012."

Slovakian extradition case raises questions of state cooperation (Fair Trials, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: COMPULSORY FINGER PRINTING OF MIGRANTS including: "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" AGREED WITHOUT DISCUSSION at: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels:

Not released until 21.7.15: "A" Points agenda: Non-legislative activities - Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints 11013/15 ASIM 60 EURODAC 8 (adopted without discussion, pdf)

See: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (EU doc no: 11013-15, pdf) agreed at the Council::

"On 16 June 2015, the Commission held an ad-hoc technical meeting with Member States and Associated Countries. The main focus of the meeting was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges Member States face when taking fingerprints and to agree on a common best practice approach to taking fingerprints in circumstances where the migrant refuses to cooperate. At that meeting, participating Member States reiterated their different practices when fingerprinting asylum seekers and irregular migrants and talked about different ways to deal with non-cooperation and damaged fingertips. The meeting concluded with the unanimous agreement of all Member States present that the best practices put forward in the above Commission document should be followed...

All delegations welcomed the [Commission] document, which, based on existing EU law, provides useful guidance to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints in full respect of fundamental rights and more specifically of the right to data protection... Coreper is therefore requested to recommend that the Council, at its meeting on 20 July 2015, invite the Member States to follow the mentioned 10-step approach." [emphasis added]

There is no reference to the "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" in the Commission proposal (below)

See: European Commission: Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”(pdf) and List of designated authorities which have access to data recorded in the Central System of Eurodac pursuant to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, for the purpose laid down in Article 1(1) of the same Regulation (pdf)

See: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU states fall short on asylum targets (euobserver, link): "Interior ministers in Brussels on Monday (20 July) fell short of a European Commission-proposed target to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years. Instead they agreed to relocate 32,356 with Austria and Hungary refusing to take any asylum-seekers, despite the plan being billed by EU leaders last month as a demonstration of European solidarity."

UPDATED 21-7-15: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels: Asylum, Agreements on relocation, resettlement and safe countries of origin: Final press release (pdf)

- Background Note (pdf) The "non-legislative": Agenda (pdf) is sole concerned with:

Resettling 20 000 displaced persons from outside the EU in clear need of international protection
Relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection
Provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece
Designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin

See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:

Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)

Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)

Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)

See also Working Documents from the European Parliament: Developing safe and lawful routes for asylum seekers and refugees into the EU, including the Union resettlement policy and corresponding integration policies (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf) and On Article 80 TFEU – Solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including search and rescue obligations (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf)

'Migration is not a security issue,' study says (euractiv, link): "The Federal Republic should apply new thinking to its development aid and asylum policy, says a new study from the University of Osnabrück, calling on decision-makers to see migration as an opportunity rather than a threat."

Spain causing concern on EU migrant relocation (euobserver, link)

FRANCE: Report on detention centres for 2014 - Increased use of detention, including of children and EU nationals

The fifth report on French detention centres, published jointly by the associations ASSFAM, Forum Réfugiés - Cosi, France terre d'asile, La Cimade and Ordre de Malta France, provides a wealth of official data, statistics and critical analysis concerning detention centres and places of detention for migrants on the French mainland and overseas territories for 2014.... [and] a practice initially introduced to target third-country nationals was later extended to Romanians and Bulgarians, and is now being used to deal with citizens of several EU member states..

EU: MED-CRISIS: IRELAND: State will take 600 extra migrants in EU initiative - Government agrees to relocation scheme as part of bid to tackle crisis in Mediterranean (Irish Times, link) and Czech Republic expects about 400 asylum seekers to be accepted by end of year (Prague Post, link)

Google pulls controversial map showing German refugee homes - The US search giant deleted an online map that showed the location of homes for asylum seekers and planned shelters across Germany. Activists had urged Google to get rid of the map amid fears it could fuel violence. (DW, link): "Activists fear an online map apparently created by a neo-Nazi group and which shows the locations of refugee homes and planned shelters across Germany could lead to more attacks against asylum seekers."

ITALY: Anti-immigrant protests break out in Rome, Treviso - Fourteen cops injured in clashes in the capital (ANSA, link)

UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: The United Kingdom opt-in to the proposed Council Decision on the relocation of migrants within the EU (pdf): "We understand that the Government is minded not to opt into the proposed Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece. Nevertheless, we believe that it is in the United Kingdom’s interest to take part in the negotiation of this proposal, and that, should an amended or a new proposal be brought forward giving effect to the European Council’s Conclusions in April and June 2015, the Government should reconsider its position and opt in."

CoE: Convention on Cybercrime Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism: Explanatory Reports and Guidance Notes (pdf)

Teenage asylum seeker who confronted Merkel allowed to stay in Germany - German chancellor had said ‘Politics is sometimes hard’ after Palestinian teenager burst into tears over deportation fears during televised debate (Guardian, link). This followed: Angela Merkel attacked over crying refugee girl (BBC News, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission's positions: "safe countries of origin", "Hotspot pre-removal centres" & Frontex as a "removal Agency

- Information note on “safe countries of origin” (18 pages, pdf): Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments:

"The CJEU ruled back in 2006 that the Council could not give itself special power to adopt a common list of supposed safe countries of origin, but had to follow the full EU legislative process. When EU law on asylum procedure was revised in 2013, the power to adopt such a common list was deliberately left out. But the Council now plans to draw up a de facto common list, with no democratic accountability whatsoever, in clear contempt for the rule of law."

- Explanatory note on the “Hotspot” approach (pdf): "structured border zones" are now referred to as "first reception facilities".or "pre-removal centres"

- Support to be provided by Frontex to frontline Member States on the return of irregular migrants (pdf) emphasises Frontex's role as a "returns" Agency rather that a Border Agency: "The Commission has announced its intention to propose to amend the Frontex Regulation to strengthen the role of Frontex, notably so that it can initiate return missions." [emphasis added]

- Letter from Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS to Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (pdf):

"The aim of the "Hotspot" approach is to provide comprehensive and targeted support by the EU Agencies to frontline Member States which are faced with disproportionate migratory pressures at the external borders.... Frontex will provide prompt support for the identification of irregular migrants, the acquisition of travel document for their return, as well as carrying out return operations to bring them back to their home countries... . establishment of a common EU list of "safe countries of origin" [emphasis added]

See below documents on the Council's positions

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015: Background Note (pdf) This will be a Mixed Committee (with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland attending) meeting discussing:

"Home affairs ministers will discuss the implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration as regards the resettlement and relocation of 60 000 persons in clear need of protection in the member states. Ministers are also expected to adopt conclusions on the designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin within the meaning of the Asylum Procedures directive."

Statement from Informal JHA meeting on 9 July (pdf)

See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:

Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)

Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)

Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)

Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (euractiv, link):

"The German Institute for Human Rights has criticised the repurposing of the EU's fingerprint database, Eurodac, for registering asylum seekers. Tagesspiegel reports. Biometric information, to which the police will soon be given access, will be stored there for ten years, just because an individual has fled their country, activists have warned.

The German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR) has come out strongly against the biometric registration of asylum seekers at Europe's external borders. The new regulation on Eurodac, scheduled to take effect on 20 July, is a misuse of the EU database and allows for "considerable interference into fundamental rights", said Eric Töpfer, a research associate at the institute."

and see: ECRE expresses concern over the European Commission's guidance on Eurodac fingerprinting (aida, link): "ECRE has published comments on the European Commission’s Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”, issued on 27 May 2015 as part of the first round of implementing measures announced by the European Agenda on Migration. These comments point to some alarming elements in the Commission’s guidance that challenges several underlying principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."

Also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

EU-MED CRISIS: European Parliament: MEPs want a binding and permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "A binding emergency mechanism to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states was backed by civil liberties MEPs on Thursday. An upcoming permanent scheme, on which Parliament will decide jointly with the Council, must be based "on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states", MEPs say."

Refugees face harsh plight in Greece (euractiv, link)

Arson attack on Bavarian building due to house asylum seekers - Police in Bavaria are investigating an arson attack on a building in the town of Reichertshofen, north of Munich, scheduled to house asylum seekers from September. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control. (DW, link)

Police clash with anti-refugee protestors in Rome - Police on Friday clashed with a group of protestors who had set up a road block against the arrival of a group of refugees in a northern suburb of Rome as they broke through the cordon.(ANSA, link):"Four police officers were hurt in scuffles with residents in the northern Rome suburb of Casale San Nicola who were trying to stop 19 migrants being moved into a centre in the area Friday, the Rome police HQ said."

UK: Detained Fast Track: how to reform structural injustice? (IRR News, link): "Asylum rights campaigners and human rights lawyers are celebrating the suspension of the detained fast track – and gearing up to resume battle over a ‘reformed’ version."

EU: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean 15 July 2015 (pdf): 14 new key documents and 21 news stories

EU: FRONTEX: Latest statistics and analysis from EU border agency Frontex

The publication is divided into two sections.

1. A "situational overview" covering risk analysis indicators; surveillance; border checks; "situation in the EU"; and fraudulent documents.
2. A series of "featured risk analyses" on: South-Eastern Europe: Migrants from Kosovo ranked first in Q1; Eastern Mediterranean route: Increasing flow of migrants arriving in the Eastern Aegean Sea; Central Mediterranean route: Winter low followed by spring increase; and Effective returns: Comparison with other indicators shows different patterns.

The annex contains statistical tables.

See: Frontex Risk Analysis Network Quarterly: Quarter 1, January-March 2015 (pdf)

MED CRISIS: House of Commons Library: Briefing paper: Mediterranean boat people (pdf): "Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The numbers safely reaching their destination are creating problems for the recipient countries... The EU has also launched a military operation called EUNAVFOR MED, to disrupt the smuggling business that would include destroying boats used by the smugglers. The UK has contributed HMS Enterprise to the operation. There are, however, significant legal and practical problems with this approach."

Belgium exposed vulnerable Serbian asylum seekers to extreme poverty in breach of ECHR

ECRE's weekly bulletin reports that: "In a judgment delivered this week, the European Court of Human Rights held that the conditions of extreme poverty faced by a Serbian family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre in Belgium amounted to degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)."

EU: Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (EurActiv, link)

Hungary builds fence, Commission watches and waits (Politico, link)

EU: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes

Today the JHA Counsellors, a secretive working party of the Council of the EU, is discussing draft agreements between the Member States that concern the ongoing migration crisis. On the agenda are a set of conclusions on "designating certain third countries as safe countries of origin", and recommendations on resettlement programmes for 40,000 people currently in Italy and Greece and 20,000 people outside of the EU.

GERMANY: Authorities abandon comprehensive fingerprinting due to refugee numbers

Deutsche Welle reports that: "Border authorities in Bavaria have given up trying to take the fingerprints of all the refugees entering the country, reported "Der Spiegel" on Monday."

UK Home Affairs Committee begins inquiry into the situation in Calais

The first evidence session will be held today (14 July). Evidence is to be provided by Alan Pughsley QPM, Chief Constable, Kent Police; Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association; James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association; John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel; Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration.

See: Immigration: the situation in Calais

CZECH REPUBLIC: Police detain record number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: French and British back closing EU's borders (The Local.fr, link) and West Europeans want end to open borders - French and other Europeans want to ditch Schengen Agreement, ending free movement of people across borders as the migrant crisis grows, a new poll shows" (Daily Telegraph, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR says Greece faces 'unprecedented' migrant emergency (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greece is facing an "unprecedented" emergency as migrants fleeing war and poverty stream into the country's islands in huge numbers, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The UNHCR said 77,100 people have arrived in Greece by sea this year, an average of 1,000 per day, overwhelming local authorities. The country's precarious economic situation is putting severe strain on small islands that are unable to cope, the agency said.

"Greece is part of the European Union and this is happening in Europe," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in Geneva. "We would like the European Union to have a much more active role in responding to the situation in Greece.""

And see: 7 videos guaranteed to change the way you see refugees (UNHCR, link)

Gateway to freedom: Migrants walk thousands of km for haven of Western Europe (Globe and Mail, link)

Macedonia's uniformed border thugs wait for war-weary Arab migrants arriving at Europe's doorstep (Independent, link)

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 9-10 July 2015:

Background: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf): There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)

CoE: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech: annual report from Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission (link):

"Strasbourg, 9 July 2015 – With conflicts in the Middle East, acts of Islamist violence in Europe and incidents of unprecedented mass arrivals of migrants, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published today, identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014."

And see: Annual Report (pdf)

UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere (pdf): "Racial and ethnic profiling, defined as a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity, has been a persistent and pervasive issue in law enforcement, and its use has often arisen in connection with policies on national security and immigration."

See: UN Racism Rapporteur Presents Road Map to End Ethnic Profiling (Liberties.eu, link).

EU:The Missing Piece in the European Agenda on Migration: the Temporary Protection Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "The EU’s Temporary Protection Directive entered in force in 2001 and was the first EU directive on international protection adopted after the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force in 1999.... Lack of implementation of the Directive in the past 14 years" and see:

Greek island refugee crisis: local people and tourists rally round migrants - Residents and even holidaymakers on Lesbos are exposing themselves to threats and possible legal action by helping newly arrived refugees (Guardian, link)

PM: Czechs have reservations about southern Schengen border (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Lower house extends powers of intelligence services (link): "Agents will be able to ask telecommunication operators for data on their clients in fulfilling a specific task. They would be able to identify the owner of the telephone station or the telephone number of the phone from which the phone call is made. Now, the secret services have access to the call content and the number of the called person when applying wiretapping."

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf)

There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble.

and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Migrant dies on UK-bound freight train near Calais - Death is second in two weeks amid migration crisis at French port, causing delayed passenger services and freight traffic (Guardian, link)

Greek island of Lesbos struggles to cope with migrant influx (BBC News, link): "Record-breaking numbers of migrants are arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, overwhelming local authorities, local police say. About 1,600 landed on the island on Saturday alone, the island's chief of police said."

Hungary MPs approve border fence and anti-migrant law (BBC News, link): "Hungary's parliament has passed new legislation tightening asylum rules, and backed plans to erect a border fence to keep out migrants. The new law allows the detention of migrants in temporary camps, the speeding up of asylum assessments and limiting the possibility for appeal. The move was criticised by the UN and human rights groups."

Balkans: Refugees and migrants beaten by police, left in legal limbo and failed by EU (AI, link): "Thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants – including children – making dangerous journeys across the Balkans are suffering violent abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs and being shamefully let down by a failing European Union (EU) asylum and migration system which leaves them trapped without protection in Serbia and Macedonia, said Amnesty International in a new report."

GERMANY: Right-wing extremist attacks in Germany on the rise, says new report - The number of attacks motivated by right-wing extremism in Germany has gone up, according to the country's 2014 Constitutional Protection Report. Refugee shelters were a frequent target. (DW, link)

- Combating racism - state of play of work in the Council (EU: doc no: 9499-15, pdf). The Council adopted a Framework Decision in 2008 (pdf) and Report on the Framework Decision (2014, pdf). Historical reminder: European Parliament: Report drawn up on behalf of the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry (Rapporteur: Glyn Ford: 1991, pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Commission Recommendation of 8.6.2015 on a European resettlement scheme - Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece = Main outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no 10524-15, pdf)

And see: Draft Report on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf): Rapporteur: Ska Keller MEP

The discussion paper for Coreper (Member States' representatives to the EU) confirms that the Council is still intending to adopt the Commission's proposal to relocate 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece. There seems no prospect of increasing the numbers to 50,000, to take account of the increased numbers coming to the EU, as the draft Keller report suggests. Nor is it clear yet what the Council will do if Member States do not offer voluntarily the full 40,000 places, given that the Commission's idea of mandatory quotas will be dropped.

However, the Council is considering amending the rules on which nationalities are covered by the rules. This would mean that not only Syrians and Eritreans would be covered by the Decision; nationalities could be added or removed depending on refugee recognition rates (for instance, Afghans and Somalians also have a fairly high rate of successful claims).

The draft Council document shows great concern to avoid 'secondary movements', ie refugees or asylum-seekers moving between Member States. However, it says nothing about the part of the draft Keller report which would most obviously address this issue: allowing refugees to express a preference over which country they go to, and giving them a veto over their relocation. If refugees are only sent to countries which they prefer to and/or agree to be in, they are much less likely to move to another Member State.

See also: EU Naval Force EUNAVFOR MED sets sail in troubled waters (CEPS, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):

"Delegations will find enclosed at annex a note issued under the responsibility of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the European External Action Service and the Commission services....

The Summit will bring together the leaders of the most concerned countries of origin, transit and destination as well as regional organisations to identify, agree and launch actions to jointly address immediate and long term migration challenges as well as to reinforce the current mechanisms to implement and follow up high level political decisions on migration. Therefore, the aim is to invite the Heads of State and Government of the European Union Member States and of the countries parties to the Khartoum Process and the Rabat Process, as well as the African Union Commission and the ECOWAS Commission.

Libya is central to irregular migration to Europe but its participation to the summit will depend on the evolution of its internal political situation....

Making progress on return and readmission agreements (actions for both the EU and the countries of origin to facilitate returns of irregular migrants, with particular attention to assisted voluntary return and integration and the establishing of readmission agreements with countries of origin)"

EU: MED-CRISIS: Update from Boukhalef: large-scale evictions and mass deportations (No Borders Morocco, link):

"For several years already, migrants, mainly subsaharans, have found refuge in Boukhalef, a district in the periphery of Tangier. Some just live their lives, others have been regularized or are being hosted by their respective community while trying to cross to Europe. Subsaharans get harassed in the quarter or beyond on a regular basis, sometimes violently, by Moroccans reproducing racist ideologies. Regularly, the authorities decide to evict migrants violently, which has provoked several tragedies. On 1st of July 2015 more than 200 police officers and soldiers were deployed to the district Boukhalef in order to evacuate all the “blacks”....

Hundreds of people were deported further South, others are now on the streets, hiding in the Tangier medina, and need urgent support. A delegation of migrants' NGOS from Tangier and Rabat is calling for funds to support the evicted inhabitants of Boukhalef. The priority would be to provide at least some shelter for the most vulnerable people for the coming days, as they have lost all their possessions and are just staying in the streets! Please let us know if you can donate any sum of money to buy some blankets, plastic sheets, some cooking utensils, food and medicine. Please email to nobordersmorocco@riseup.net and we will give you the account details. Any sum is welcome!"

Serbia receives assistance to stem illegal migrant flows (euractiv, link): "Police chiefs from Germany, Austria and Hungary have agreed to help Serbia crack down on waves of illegal migrants transiting its territory heading for the European Union. Meanwhile, Budapest said it will forge ahead with plans to erect a fence at its border with Serbia."

AUSTRIA: 'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis (The Local.at, link): "Tent cities for 400 asylum seekers are being set up in Carinthia and Burgenland - with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner saying that she sees no end in sight for the refugee crisis."

Hungary government condemned over anti-immigration drive - Activists accuse Fidesz party of stoking xenophobia to divert attention from escalating poverty and corruption scandals (Guardian, link)

GERMANY: Germany revises law on residency, expulsion - Up to 30,000 migrants living in Germany for years on suspended deportation orders are to be granted residency under a law amendment. Another parliament move to expel those unwanted has been slammed by asylum advocates. (DW, link)

France Moves to Stop Treating Its Traveller Citizens Like Foreigners (OSF, link): "France is home to more than 350,000 Travellers, people who live their
lives on the road a few months of the year... France is also the only country that requires these residents to carry special papers."

EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR: "A large majority of the thousands of people who made dangerous sea journeys across the Mediterranean into Europe in the first six months of 2015 were fleeing war, conflict or persecution": UNHCR Tracks: The Sea Route to Europe People risking their lives to reach Europe are often called migrants, but the current Mediterranean crisis is primarily a refugee crisis (llink)

See: ITALY: Renzi says suspending Schengen won't stop migrants (ANSA, link) and EU: MED-CRISIS: Seeking Refuge: Central Europe balks at refugees. But then there's Ukraine.- Central Europe, and Poland in particular, could be key to easing the EU's migrant crisis. The region has been cold to the idea of taking in refugees – but Ukraine conflict could force the issue.(Yahoo News, link): "The most deadly and pressing elements of the current migration crisis are focused on the southern Mediterranean. But pressure is coming from the east, too. And Poland could emerge as a key powerbroker for the region ­ not just if a refugee crisis takes shape in Ukraine, butt also by setting the example in the region as the EU scrambles to get all 28 members of the bloc to see the refugee problem as their concern."

UK: More than 100 asylum seekers to walk free after detention system quashed - About 800 cases to be reviewed after immigration minister orders system to be put on hold following court of appeal decision it was ‘structurally unfair’ (Guardian, link)

UK and Spain granted most EU citizenships (euobserver, link): "Spain and the UK issued almost half of all new EU citizenships in 2013. The figures, released on Wednesday (1 July) by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, show Spain accounted for around 23 percent (225,800) of all citizenships granted in the EU, while the UK accounted for 21 percent (207,500). In relative terms compared to population size, Ireland and Sweden come out top."

EU-GREECE: Syriza can’t just cave in. Europe’s elites want regime change in Greece - Greece’s confrontation with the euro overlords will shape resistance to austerity – and the future of the whole European Union (Guardian, Seumas Milne, link)

EU: MED-CRISIS:

GREECE: Migrants 'attacked' at sea between Greece and Turkey (France 24, link): "Migrants trying to sail from Turkey to Greece are increasingly reporting being attacked by gunmen trying to prevent them from reaching Europe, according to multiple sources.... Nawal Soufi, and Italian activist who has handled numerous distress calls from Syrian refugees at sea, said she had heard of around 20 boats whose passengers had been attacked in recent months. "The migrants speak of commandos -- some say they (were confronted by EU border agency) Frontex, others by the Turkish or Greek coastguard -- others by militias or pirates," Soufi told journalists, adding that such cases have rocketed in recent months."

HUNGARY: Letter from Hungarian PM Orban to Commission President Juncker (pdf) stating that Dublin provisions will be adhered to but "technically temporarily not capable of receiving people sent back from the Western direction"

EU: MED CRISIS: HUNGARY: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after his visit to Budapest (pdf) He:

"offered the possibility to deploy ''hotspot teams'' to help in the swift processing of asylum requests and help with the return of irregular migrants. These teams will include experts from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Frontex and Europol in order to improve the capacity of fingerprinting, identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."

See: European Council Conclusions: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) – Conclusions (pdf). For "hot spots" the term "structured border zones" is now referred to as "first reception facilities".

It is not all clear what the legal powers the Commissioner is referring to for Europol, Frontex or EASO [European Asylum Support Office] to ensure the "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting" of migrants or for EASO and Europol to: "identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."

See also: Denmark to impose controls on border, risking EU ire (Reuters, link): "Denmark will impose controls on its border to stop smugglers and illegal migrants, its new foreign minister said on Tuesday, in a move likely to worry the European Union but please a right-wing party on whose support the government now depends. More police, machines screening number plates and other measures would increase security without breaking EU rules guaranteeing freedom of movement through the bloc, Kristian Jensen told Reuters."

GERMANY: MASSIVE RISE IN RECORDED RACIST ATTACKS: 2014 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution Facts and Trends (pdf):

"Two aspects should be noted:

• a rise in the number of violent offences motivated by right-wing extremism (the largest number since 2008) and xenophobia (highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001); and
• an enormous increase in the number of crimes and violent offences in the category of politically motivated crime by foreigners."

'Euphoria' among jihadists in Europe, says German security agency (euractiv, link):

"The number of violent acts committed by right-wing extremists increased by 24% last year. A total of 990 violent crimes were recorded. De Maizière said now one in two right-wing extremists is considered to be violence-oriented, indicating that the 512 attacks against foreigners are troubling.

Attacks on refugee camps motivated by right-wing extremism also increased from 55 recorded in 2013 to 170 last year. This year, the number could be even higher. In the first half of 2015, there were already 150 crimes of this kind, according to de Maizière. There should be “no silent understanding and especially no silent consent” for this, he said."

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