November


News (30.11.15)

BELGIUM: "Boost capacity of closed asylum centres with 33%" (Flanders News, link): "The Asylum Secretary Theo Francken wants to create extra places in closed reception centres for asylum seekers that saw their application for a residence permit rejected. Francken was speaking in the VRT's Sunday news programme "De Zevende Dag". He also wants to send back 1,000 more undocumented people in the short run."

BULGARIA: Bulgaria Could Send up to 1000 Troops to Border if Migrant Wave Surges (Novinite, link): "Bulgaria could deploy up to 1000 troops at its borders to help police if a worsening crisis in Syria leads to increased migrant flow out of the war-torn country, Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev has said."

Bulgarian Authorities Detain Syrian Refugees Hidden in Romanian Truck (Novinite, link): "Bulgarian authorities detained nine Syrian refugees hidden in a Romanian truck in the Pass of the Republic (also known as Hainboaz) in central Bulgaria on Saturday."

CZECH REPUBLIC: PM: Prague not joining legal complaint against refugee quotas (Prague Post, link): "The Czech Republic will not join the legal complaint against mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across the European Union as it does not want to harm its position in the EU, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said today."

EU: Merkel creates EU core group on refugees (EUobserver, link): "German leader Angela Merkel has said a core group of eight EU states is preparing to resettle refugees from Turkish camps next year.

"The eight leaders - from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden - held a separate meeting in Brussels on Sunday (29 November), shortly before all 28 member states met with Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu. "

Germany Offers Protection to Refugees Stranded in Egypt (Internatonal Organization for Migration, link): "This week IOM moved the last of nearly 600 refugees – half of them Syrian – from Egypt to Germany as part of the country’s Humanitarian Admissions Programme (HAP)."

POLAND: FM Waszczykowski: Polish refugee policy based on 'safety criteria' (Radio Poland, link): " The policy on how many refugees Poland will accept of the 7,000 pledged by the former government will depend on issues of safety, Foreign Minister Waszczykowski said."

EU-TURKEY: Meeting of heads of state or government with Turkey - EU-Turkey statement, 29/11/2015 (pdf):

[Pont 7] "The EU and Turkey agreed to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. As a consequence, both sides will, as agreed and with immediate effect, step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection, preventing travel to Turkey and the EU, ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and swiftly returning migrants who are not in need of international protection to their countries of origin." [emphasis added]

And: Press remarks by President Donald Tusk after the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey (pdf):

"we expect a major step towards changing the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey. Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier." [emphasis added]

Press coverage: Germany's plan to strike EU-wide refugee-sharing deal stalls (Guardian, link): "Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries after meeting EC resistance to pro-quota pact with Turkey.... Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the EU on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.... Merkel’s mini-summit brought together the leaders of Germany, Austria and Sweden – the countries taking the most refugees – Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Greece (and probably France)...."

The Danish Refugee Council is going to manage registration centre at Lesbos (apokoronasnews.gr, link):

"Reuters — Many refugees are still arriving to the Greek islands, and reception facilities cannot keep up with the arrival figures. Danish Refugee Council is now opening op in Greece, initially on Lesbos, where the vast majority of the refugees, primarily from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, arrive.... “We will begin by camp managing the Moria registration centre on Lesbos, where chaos is reigning at the moment. We must, so to speak, manage the centre; help with accommodation and ensure people have blankets and clothing and other basic necessities.

The Danish Refugee Council is the largest Danish humanitarian organization with more than 6,000 employees in nearly 40 of the world’s hotspots. DRC delivers emergency relief and long-term solutions to more than 2.5 million refugees and displaced persons each year in the regions of origin"

Refugee crisis: European Commission statistics up to 27-11-15 (pdf)

Comment on the current situation: The "relocation" process is at a complete standstill and worse the number of "relocation" offers seems to have actually fallen from 3,546 places on 6 November to 3,216.

News (28-29.1.15)

Hiding in plain sight: inside the world of Turkey's people smugglers (Guardian, link): " Thousands of refugees are continuing to board boats to Europe everyday despite the worsening winter weather."

FYROM border tension peaks as fence erected (ekathimerini.com, link): "Tensions peaked at Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the weekend after the FYROM army started building a border fence to keep out would-be migrants. FYROM border guards were photographed by foreign news agencies as they erected a 2.5-meter-high fence along the Greek border on Saturday." and Migrants attack Macedonian police as construction of Greek border fence begins (Guardian, link): "Officers retaliated with stun grenades and plastic bullets after unrest broke out among 800 migrants waiting at the border to continue their journey to northern Europe"

FYROM army starts building fence on Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Soldiers in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) began erecting a metal fence on Saturday on the country's southern border with Greece, but the government said it had no plans to seal off access to refugees fleeing war and heading to western Europe." and Police, migrants clash on Macedonia border; soldiers build fence (Reuters, link): "Police in Macedonia fired tear gas and stun grenades at desperate migrants stranded for days at the Greek border and who are demanding passage to western Europe, as soldiers began erecting a metal fence to keep them out"

Brussels seeks Washington’s help on refugees - Europe wants military cooperation in the Med and diplomatic pressure on Gulf states (politico, link): "If the proposals are agreed, the EU and U.S. would establish an “effective liaison” between Eunavfor Med, the bloc’s newly launched mission to stop people smugglers, and the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which is also deployed in the Mediterranean."

Greece stresses its role before refugee summit (ekathimerini.com, link): "Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned on Friday that countries failing to adequately guard EU borders, and refusing to take in their share of refugees, could find themselves outside the borders of what he called a “mini-Schengen,” referring to the EU’s passport-free travel zone. A team of European officials are visiting Greece to help with preparations necessary to unlock emergency EU funding for tackling migration. It appears unlikely, however, that five refugee screening centers, or “hotspots,” that Greece has promised to set up on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos will be up and running by the end of the year, partly due to opposition by local authorities and residents."

EU-Turkey refugee talks turn sour as Erdogan belittles Juncker (apokoronasnews.gr, link): "The challenge of completing the deal, hammered out in a month of negotiations, was underlined at a difficult meeting on Monday between EU officials and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.... One European diplomat said the “tough exchange of views” underlined how difficult it was to negotiate with Turkey — particularly at a time when some member states are desperate for assistance with the crisis and have a weak bargaining position. “They are trying to exploit this situation in a way that some countries find unacceptable,” he said"

Turkish Ambassador: EU accession is our strategic choice (euractiv, link): "Turkey is now hosting more refugees than any other country in the world. The total number of Syrians living in Turkey is around 2.2 million. 260,000 Syrians are accommodated in 25 temporary protection centres and provided with food, non-food items, health and education services, as well as psychological assistance, vocational training and social activities. Syrians living outside these centres are also enjoying a protective regime, benefitting from free health care."

Refugees In Berlin Move Into Cold War Secret Police Headquarters (Huffington Psot): "Finally, these rooms will be used for something meaningful."

Tougher controls block hundreds from entering France (DW, link): "New border controls imposed ahead of upcoming climate talks in Paris have prevented people considered security risks from entering France. The controls were introduced just before the November 13 attacks in Paris."

European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Updated on 27 November (pdf)

- "Relocations" Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000 needed), no change for three weeks... Only 159 people have been relocated: 129 from Italy and 30 form Greece - with major press coverage...

- Returns since September (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 609 people (up 1) plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece. Italy was the "Organising Member State" for two return flights to Nigeria. Returns flights have been to: Kosovo, Nigeria, Albania, Pakistan and Georgia.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf) The Total Reception Capacity in Lesvos is: 700 (Moria) and next door: 780 (Kara Tepe) where there are: Frontex: 54 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer)

- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million: (Communicated as of 27 November 2015) Member States Africa Trust Fund Syria Trust Fund Humanitarian aid (pdf) The total Shortfall is: 2,227,660 euro. The total pledged by EU Member States is only 572,34 m euro.

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

EU-TURKEY: Background Note: Meeting of the EU heads of state or government with Turkey: Brussels, 29 November 2015 (pdf)

The reason for this meeting is to get Turkey to agree to the EU-drafted Action Plan on migration to stop refugees arriving in Greece and for Turkey to activate the EU-Turkey readmission agreement "to ensure the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and the return of economic migrants to their countries of origin." The country of origin for refugees arriving in Greece is Turkey. Given that the EU officially will only recognise people from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea as being in need of international protection and "relocation" in the EU thousands of refugees from other countries, especially Afghanistan, could be returned to Turkey.

In return the EU will offer money, moving towards a visa facilitation measure and to "re-energise" the EU accession process.

See: EU seeks to buy Turkish help with migrants at controversial summit (Guardian, link): "Germany driving bid to get Ankara to block way to Greece in return for €3bn in aid, with scepticism high about merits of deal... European leaders are to stage an unprecedented and highly controversial summit with the Turkish government on Sunday in an attempt to outsource the migration crisis, paying Ankara €3bn for it to seal its border with Greece to halt or slow migrant flow"

News (27.11.15)

Turkey putting Syrian refugees 'at serious risk of human rights abuse' (Guardian, link): "Amnesty International says move by Turkish authorities to expel 80 Syrian refugees is in violation of international law.. Dozens of Syrian refugees have been deported to Syria by the Turkish authorities, putting them at risk of serious human rights abuses, Amnesty International has said. The human rights group said about 80 Syrian refugees who were previously held at a detention centre in the Turkish city of Erzurum had been expelled in violation of the non-refoulement principle of international law, which bans countries from returning refugees to conflict zones where their lives are in danger. It said another 50 more Syrian refugees were being held at the EU-financed detention centre following their participation in peaceful protests against being banned from entering Greece in September, and all of them faced deportation.""

Attacks against Muslims on the rise after Paris strikes (DW, link): "Hatemongers in several European countries have been targeting Muslims after the Paris attacks. Advocates say people urgently need to develop strategies for reconciliation rather than demonizing Muslims en masse.... "Attacks against Muslims began the very same night of the Paris attacks," Yasser Louati of the Collectif Contre l'Islamophobie en France (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) told DW. The CCIF has received several reports and even pictures of vandalized mosques and restaurants owned by Muslims following the November 13 attacks in Paris, when militants killed 130 people, Louati said." "

Migrants at FYROM border crossing block trains (ekathimerini.com, link): " Migrants have over the last few days been protesting FYROM’s decision not to let them cross from Greece. Many migrants have camped on the railway lines connecting the two countries, which means that no trains have come in or out of Greece for the last week." and Behind migrant protests, children live in limbo at Macedonia's border (DW, link): "With the Macedonian border closed to all but Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees, many children seeking asylum are stuck in a cold and dusty no man's land. Oscar Lopez reports from Idomeni, Greece."

Frontex to keep Piraeus office after protests (ekathimerini.com, link): "A meeting of Frontex’s management board in Warsaw, Poland, concluded with a decision to restructure the office in Piraeus but not to remove it after objections to the idea were raised by Greece and Cyprus." and see: Frontex to restructure its office in Greece (Frontex, link)

Mediterranean Migrants: Latest Developments (IOM, link) : "Greece - Based on data gathered by the Hellenic Police and IOM field staff, IOM estimates that over 110,000 migrants and refugees have now arrived in Greece by sea since the beginning of November. The sharp decrease in the number of arrivals witnessed last weekend – only 155 crossed on November 22 and 336 on November 23 – has now reversed and numbers have again picked up. On 24 November some 3,516 people crossed and on 25 November 5,140." and Latest figures: 868,282 arrivals in the EU, 721,217 to Greece, 143,114 to Italy and 3,551 dead/missing

Norway border controls stop Syrians in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)

Sweden: 14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace (The Local.se, link)

Berlin and Vienna try to put brakes on refugee influx (euractiv, link): "The Austrian and German governments are looking for a way to reduce the influx of refugees. They want to satisfy everyone."

Member states deepen development aid diversion to refugees (euractiv, link): "The Global South is losing out, as EU members dig into their development aid budgets to meet the costs of their asylum policies."

BELGIUM: Asylum Secretary writes to Afghans considering asylum in Belgium (Flanders News, link): "The Belgian Asylum Secretary Theo Francken has written a letter advising Afghans not to seek asylum in Belgium. The letter has been posted on Facebook and follows a similar initiative last October in which the secretary of state addressed Iraqis thinking of applying for asylum here."

Calais refugee camp hit by another blaze (The Local, link): "Photos have emerged from a fire that swept through the New Jungle migrant camp in Calais, injuring two and burning down numerous tents over 250 square metres. The blaze marks the third at the camp in under a month."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Zeman in press: PM's stance on migration threatens Czech security (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka's stance on the migrant crisis threatens the security of the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman told yesterday's issue of daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), calling the current migrant wave an organised invasion."

Czech, Slovak ministers agree to fund better border protection (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Republic and Slovakia are ready to help finance the measures to secure the EU outer border in connection with the migrant crisis and terrorism threats, Finance Minister Andrej Babis told reporters after a meeting with his Slovak counterpart Peter Kazimir yesterday."

EU: Over 1,500 Czech volunteers helping refugees abroad (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Over 1,500 volunteers from the Czech Republic have been helping the refugees abroad since early September, Zuzana Lenhartova, from the We Are Helping Fleeing People group, told CTK yesterday."

ITALY: 'We were abandoned': migrants tell of suffering in Italy's private shelters (The Guardian, link): "Hosting a refugee earns landlords €35 a day from the state, but asylum seekers report being left without gas, water and food"

Migrants: six kids dead in shipwrecks off Turkey (ANSAmed, link): "Six children have died in two migrant shipwrecks at dawn Friday off the Turkish coast, state-run news agency Anadolu reports. Two Syrian brothers ages one and four, Diven Halil Hussein and Beren Halil Hussein, drowned after their ship sank off Bodrum with 23 others on board, who were all rescued. Four other bodies of children were found after another ship carrying Syrian and Afghan nationals sank off Ayvacik in which 51 migrants were rescued." 

When Sweden shut its doors it killed the dream of European sanctuary (Guardian, link): "Sweden has always welcomed refugees but the unprecedented migration crisis has forced it to shift ground: the high noon of social democracy has passed"

After Paris, is there a EU backlash against migrants? (CNBC, link): "A few months ago European leaders opened their arms, albeit reluctantly, to migrants coming into the continent from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa - but amid heightened concerns over the terrorism, there now appears to be is a growing backlash at the top against the newcomers."

Schengen: going, going… gone (Politico, link): "An optimistic experiment comes to a sad end. What next?"

Dijsselbloem - Refugee crisis could trigger 'mini-Schengen' (Reuters, link): "Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned that countries which fail to adequately guard Europe's borders and do not take in a fair share of refugees could find themselves outside the borders of a future "mini-Schengen" zone. In an interview in Belgian business dailies De Tijd and L'Echo on Friday, Dijsselbloem, who is also the chair of the euro zone group of finance ministers, said the EU's passport-free Schengen zone could not work if only a few countries gave shelter to refugees. "There are a few countries that are carrying the heaviest burden in the asylum crisis, taking in the most refugees," he told the papers, naming Sweden, Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands."

EU: Refugee crisis: Statewatch Briefing: Italy: MSF report on reception conditions in Pozzallo (pdf):

On 17 November 2015, MSF published a report on reception conditions in the CPSA (Centro di Primo Soccorso e Accoglienza, First Aid and Reception Centre) in Pozzallo which was submitted to the Commission of Inquiry into the system for reception, identification and holding of migrants, highlighting a number of serious shortcomings. MSF has been operating in the centre since February 2015, in order to attend to the medical and humanitarian needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who disembark in Sicily, in cooperation with the Ragusa province’s health authority (ASP, Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale).

NORWAY SHUTS BORDERS from 26 November - 6 December:due to "migratory pressure": Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the Norwegian internal borders in accordance with Articles 23 and 25 of Regulation (EC) 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf)

and see: Norway runs anti-refugee ads in Afghanistan (The Local.no, link): "Ads from the Norwegian government are in Afghan newspapers this week warning that potential asylum seekers “will be returned by force”."

Hungary tries refugees for illegal entry (DW, link): "Hungary rid itself almost entirely of migrants by building a border fence. It also deemed entering the country without permission a crime. Daniella Cheslow reports from the trial of a Syrian refugee in Szeged, Hungary.

Kovacs said Budapest is providing money and manpower for border construction in Serbia, Macedonia and Slovenia. Inside Hungary, about 1,500 migrants remain of the more than 300,000 people who crossed the country over the summer, according to the Helsinki Committee. Prime Minister Victor Orban has vowed to challenge attempts by the European Union to impose a mandatory quota on Hungary to resettle 2,000 refugees.... A spokesperson for the Szeged court wrote DW that since mid-September, 688 people were found guilty of the felony charge of crossing the border illegally. Almost all were sentenced to expulsions lasting between one and five years. The United Nations has ruled that crossing a border to seek asylum is not a crime;." [emphasis added]

News (26-11-15)

Frontex considers leaving its operational office in Greece (New Europe, link): "Frontex is considering packing up to go, according to NGO witnesses on the ground, the agency is not particularly up to the task of dealing with the crises.

Since late October, Frontex mobile teams went to Lesvos with their mission being to identify who is ‘illegally’ entering EU territory. The agency demanded the separation of Syrians and non-Syrians and went on to increase the scrutiny of the registration process. While doing so, they offered no technological, technical or other support to make that screening process more efficient and expedient. Since Frontex entered the scene, the registration processes slowed down dramatically"

Austria sees massive jump in right-wing crime (The Local.at, link): " Austria's police intelligence agency received 1,201 criminal complaints about racist and xenophobic crimes between January and September, compared to 750 in the same period last year - a jump of 60 percent.... The number of xenophobic and racist crimes in the first three quarters of 2015 was equal to the number reported for the previous three years, police figures showed. The interior ministry confirmed that this represented a real increase in crime, and not just an increased willingness to report racist and xenophobic crimes."

Alternate FM Xydakis and Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas visit Lesvos with EU and Schengen Ambassadors (24 November 2015) (link to Ministry, link)

Juncker: Euro doesn't make sense without Schengen (euobserver, link): "Juncker warned that the euro is pointless if people can't move around freely to use it"

Juncker warns against equating terrorists with refugees (Irish Times, link): "Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning , Mr Juncker said that those who perpetrated the attacks of November 13th were exactly the people who forced people to flee to Europe."

The Fear-mongers’ Bad Advice (HRW, link): "Favoring security over privacy only helps the terrorist agenda"

Italy: We were abandoned': migrants tell of suffering in Italy's private shelters Guardian, link): "Hosting a refugee earns landlords €35 a day from the state, but asylum seekers report being left without gas, water and food"

UN decries stopping refugees at borders (euractiv, link): "The United Nations yesterday (24 November) condemned new restrictions on refugees that have left around 1,000 migrants stuck at the main border crossing into Macedonia from Greece, denied entry due to their nationalities in violation of international law.

"Profiling asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued by his press office."

UN's Ban Ki-Moon decries Balkan refugee restrictions (DW, link): "UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against filtering asylum-seekers by nationality, claiming that the procedure "infringes" on their rights. Several Balkan states are only accepting migrants from war-zones.

Ban called on authorities "to respond with compassion, solidarity and shared responsibility," and to ensure that their policies on screening refugees adhere to international regulations, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The head of the global organization also stressed that collective expulsion and return of asylum seekers were strictly prohibited under international law." [emphasis added]

News (25.11.15)

UNHCR statistics (link): 863,101 arrivals in the EU: 715,704 to Greece, 143,700 to Italy. 3,510 dead/missing (25.11.15) and: UNHCR warns of new humanitarian problems building at crossings from Greece into the Balkans (link): "On Friday last week, UNHCR, together with our partners IOM and Unicef, expressed our shared concern at the risks associated with a series of new and uncoordinated restrictions imposed on several borders in the Balkans in use by refugees and migrants. The negative consequences of these actions are already becoming clear as people become backed up in countries along the route and without proper solution to their situations. A new humanitarian situation is developing in Europe that needs urgent attention."

Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas (euractiv, link): "Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November)."

Rate of refugee arrivals picking up (ekathimerini.com): "After a brief dip in the number of refugees and migrants arriving on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands, an increase was noted on Tuesday in the quantity of boats reaching Greek shores from Turkey. The uptick came a day ahead of Frontex’s management board meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday, when it is expected that the European Union border agency will decide to move its operational office from Piraeus. The office has been located in the port city since 2010 and its removal would be seen as a diplomatic blow for Greece, especially given the current flow of refugees to the country." [emphasis added]

French PM: Europe can receive no more refugees (euobserver, link): "France's prime minister Manuel Valls told several newspapers Tuesday (24 November) he wants Europe to completely halt the influx of migrants from the Middle East, as Sweden announced it would become more strict with asylum seekers. “We cannot receive more refugees in Europe. It is not possible”, Valls said, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, adding that Europe must control its external borders. Valls: 'We cannot receive more refugees in Europe. It is not possible' “If we do not do that, then the people will say: it's over with Europe”, noted the centre-left politician."

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees (Guardian, link); ‘We simply can’t do any more,’ prime minister says in announcing Sweden’s asylum regime will revert to EU minimum" and Sweden and Norway tighten asylum rules (Deutsche Welle, link): "Sweden and Norway have tightened border controls and asylum rules as a means to reduce the number of asylum seekers. The move is also an effort to force other European Union member states to take in more refugees."

BALKANS: Refugee crisis: Stranded Iranian asylum seekers sew their mouths shut in protest at Greek-Macedonian border (The Independent, link): "A group of Iranian refugees have sewn their mouths shut and gone on hunger strike at the border between Greece and Macedonia as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to be trapped."

BALKANS: UN's Ban Ki-Moon decries Balkan refugee restrictions (Deutsche Welle, link): "UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against filtering asylum-seekers by nationality, claiming that the procedure "infringes" on their rights. Several Balkan states are only accepting migrants from war-zones."

FINLAND: Asylum applications drop in Finland after Sweden launches border checks (Helsinki Times, link): "Finnish authorities maintain the readiness to house asylum seekers in tents instead of accommodation facilities regardless of the fact that the number of asylum seekers arriving in the country has dropped considerably following a decision by Sweden to step up its border control efforts."

French, German ministers propose 10 billion euro fund for refugee crisis (Reuters, link): " The French and German economy ministers have proposed setting up a 10 billion euro (7.06 billion pound) fund to pay for tighter security, external border controls and care of refugees, French minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday."

French PM: Europe can receive no more refugees (EUobserver, link): "France's prime minister Manuel Valls told several newspapers Tuesday (24 November) he wants Europe to completely halt the influx of migrants from the Middle East, as Sweden announced it would become more strict with asylum seekers."

GERMANY: Merkel tries to hit tough-but-fair note on refugees (The Local, link): "Angela Merkel continued her balancing act between her party and her principles in a speech to MPs on Wednesday as she attempted to reassure parliament that she had the refugee crisis under control."

GERMANY: November set to break refugee arrivals record (The Local, link): "November is set to break the record set in October for the highest number of refugees to arrive in Germany in one month, police reported on Monday."

NETHERLANDS: Minister gets tough on asylum seekers who commit crime (Dutch News, link): "The government is making it harder for asylum seekers who commit crimes to obtain and keep a residency permit, junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff has told parliament in a briefing."

Immigration detention in Europe (eutopiamagazine.eu, link): "Well before the current mass arrival of refugees, Europe has been busy closing its borders. As part of this attempt to ‘manage migration’, most member states have witnessed a growing intersection between criminal justice and immigration policy, introducing a host of new legislation criminalising matters that used to be purely administrative."

Czech Republic: Anti-Islam group head accused of inciting hatred of Muslims (Prague Post, link): "Martin Konvicka, leader of the Czech far-right group Bloc Against Islam, has been accused of encouraging hatred of Muslims over the statements he made on his Facebook profile, his lawyer Klára Samková told journalists today"

Norway to clamp down on asylum 'misuse' (The Local.no, link): "Refugees and migrants who cross into Norway from Russia to seek asylum will be turned away without due process"

Greece: FM Xydakis: EU faces challenges that threaten its cohesion (ANAMPA, link)

Latest European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (Updated on 24 November, pdf):

Summary: No more offers of "relocation" places in past two weeks, so still only 3,216 places offered to meet need for 160,000. This stasis is feeding into the new barriers (both physical and new "rules" limiting entry) being constructed and putting pressure on Serbia, Macedonia and Greece.

- Relocation offers by Member States (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000).
159 (was 168 oreviously) people have been "relocated". There have been no more offers of relocation.

- Returns: since September (pdf) Joint Frontex Return flights: 608 (previously, 569) people have been returned, plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece.

- "Hotspots: staffing in Greece and Italy (pdf)

- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf)

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

EU: Council calls for Summit with Turkey on migration: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the EU heads of state or government for a meeting with Turkey (pdf): "I have now decided to call a meeting of the Heads of State or government of the EU with Turkey this coming Sunday (29 November). The meeting will mark an important step in developing our relations and contribute to managing the migration crisis."

EU-Turkey meeting on refugees likely as pressure builds on Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Amid reports of a possible meeting soon between the European Union and Turkey on the refugee crisis, the pressure continued to mount on Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where hundreds of migrants are stuck demanding passage."

EU: Institute for Security Studies: Migration: new ‘ push’ and ‘ pull’ dynamics (pdf)

EU: Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): Crisis management missions outside EU looking for new migration roles: Germany/Netherlands: DE/NL Food for Thought-Paper Tapping the full potential of CSDP in the field of migration (13 November 2015, pdf):

"it must be clear that CSDP missions are a crises management instrument... CSDP Missions have encompassed a variety of approaches and tools for crisis management and stabilization. They range from the training of security forces and the support for the rule of law, to the provision of a military or civilian presence to safeguard elections or to monitor border arrangements and ceasefire agreements, to the fight against piracy or other forms of organised crime....

we should explore whether a horizontal CSDP mission specifically for migration issues, with its HQ in the EU itself, could serve to rapidly deploy expertise to third countries to assist in analyzing and addressing specific issues that affect migration flows into the EU."

News (24.11.15)

IOM: 24 November 2015: (link): 858,805 arrivals in the EU: 712,159 to Greece and 142,695 to Italy. 3,548 dead/missing

UN slams new restrictions for refugees, migrants (ekathimerini.com, link): "About 1,000 refugees and migrants are stuck at the main crossing point into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from Greece as authorities deny entry to some nationalities in contravention of international law, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

“A new humanitarian situation is developing in Europe that needs urgent attention,” Adrian Edwards of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing. “All people have the right to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard. Proper information needs to be provided to people affected by decisions at border points, and proper counselling needs to be available,” he said.

Mediterranean Migrants: Latest Developments (IOM, link): "Greece - IOM staff in Greece report a drastic decrease in the number of migrants and refugees crossing into Greece over the weekend. On Sunday, just 155 migrants arrived on the Greek islands by sea. Of these, 79 arrived in Kalymnos, 44 in Megisti and 24 in Lesvos. The remainder arrived in Chios and Kos." But see: Thousands of refugees arrive at Lesvos as weather conditions improve (amna.gr, link, 24-11-15): "Thousands of refugees arrived at Lesvos island on Tuesday as weather conditions have improved"

Hampered by new border controls, migrants make case for asylum (DW, link): "As Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans pass through Balkan states, asylum-seekers from other nations remain stuck in Greece and protest against new border controls. Diego Cupolo reports from Idomeni refugee camp."

Migrants Protest After Macedonia Shuts Them Out (Balkan Insight, link): "Hundreds of migrants have been protesting for several days at Macedonia’s southern border with Greece against Skopje’s decision only to allow them to transit the country if they come from war-torn states.... Only refugees from countries affected by ongoing armed conflicts such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq who possess complete documents are currently being allowed to enter Macedonia.The Macedonian authorities followed the example of Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia, which are also on the Balkan refugee transit route, in an attempt to keep out what they regard as economic migrants. The Macedonian government is reported to have received written notice from Croatia and been informed by telephone by Serbia that Zagreb and Belgrade will send back migrants who do not come from conflict zones.... Some of the migrants told Macedonian media that they don’t have the money to go back and haven’t eaten for days.""

Danish government backtracking on EU asylum-seeker pledge (The Copenhagen Post, link): "Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has announced that Denmark will no longer be accepting 1,000 asylum-seekers from other EU countries, as was previously pledged, DR reports. "Rasmussen told the Venstre party meeting in Herning that the volume of asylum-seekers otherwise making their way to the country precludes Denmark from taking its share of EU asylum-seeker quotas agreed in September."

Greek PM to Meet with German and Turkish Premiers Over Refugee Crisis (Greek Reporter, link): "Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss the refugee crisis very soon. This is according to German government deputy spokesperson; Georg Streiter though he did not provide a date or location, according to CNN Greece."

POLAND: Most Polish municipalities fail to set refugee quotas (Radio Poland, link): "No more than 66 out of 2,500 of Poland’s municipalities have declared willingness to take in refugees, writes daily Rzeczpospolita. "In total, the country’s administrative districts have set forth to welcome 435 asylum-seekers, including 113 families, 212 children and 27 singles, according to the results of a nationwide survey run by the Labour Ministry, released by the paper."

And see: PM Szydlo: we need to assess whether EU refugees decision was 'appropriate' (Radio Poland, link): " Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has announced that the government will debate whether the decisions taken by the EU to redistribute thousands of asylum seekers around the bloc are still the “right ones”. "

POLAND: Poland to restore border checkpoints (Radio Poland, link): "'We seek to deploy border guards in places that have been phased out in recent years,' the minister said in an interview for Polish Radio. "As Blaszczak underlined, screenings would be put in place for all travelers entering EU’s passport-free zone, including European citizens – a step which will entail a targeted revision of the Schengen Borders Code."

Greek Crewman Accused of Sinking Syrian Refugee Boat (Sputnik: Video, link):

"Refugees with kids fleeing from Syria have been caught on the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe by Greek coastguard crewmen who reportedly tried to pierce their rubber boat... An "armed masked man" whose identity remains unidentified is seen multiple times disabling vessels with refugees and towing them back to Turkey... The Greek coastguard left the scene just after the boat started to sink, so it was left to the Turkish boat to take drowning refugees on board and take them back to the Turkish city of Didim".

EU: European Parliament: Briefing : Fingerprinting migrants: Eurodac Regulation (pdf)

European Commission refuses to uphold rule of law (euobserver, link):

"Back in July, the parliament asked the commission to activate the rule of law ‘framework’ in relation to Hungary. The commission’s reply, sent to MEPs on 12 November, is bound to taste bitter.... The EU’s only available tool, Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, had already proved unworkable because it cannot be used without the consent of national governments, which are reluctant to target each other with sanctions...."

News (23-24.11.15)

Stranded migrants block railway, call hunger strike (ekathimerini.com, link): "Moroccans, Iranians and Pakistanis on Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) blocked rail traffic and demanded passage to western Europe on Monday, stranded by a policy of filtering migrants in the Balkans that has raised human rights concerns. One Iranian man, declaring a hunger strike, stripped to the waist, sewed his lips together with nylon and sat down in front of lines of FYROM riot police."

Makeshift mosque attacked on Crete (ekathimerini.com, link): "A house believed to be a makeshift mosque in the Cretan city of Iraklio was the target of a failed bomb attack on Monday, police said."

Hampered by new border controls, migrants make case for asylum (DW, link): "As Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans pass through Balkan states, asylum-seekers from other nations remain stuck in Greece and protest against new border controls. Diego Cupolo reports from Idomeni refugee camp."

German media report suggests a 'winter upsurge in refugee numbers' (DW, link): "The German government's forecast of falling migrant numbers during the winter might be flawed, according to a German media report. Various factors could cause an upsurge in the number of people seeking refuge."

This Greek Artist in New York is Trying to Make People Think About the Refugee Crisis in Europe (Greek Reporter, link)

Conditions worsen for refugees stranded at Balkan borders (euractiv, link): "New border controls in the Western Balkans are leaving refugees stranded behind barbed wire as temperatures start to plunge, and aid agencies warned that the clampdown would lead to a rise in smuggling. Countries along the Balkan route taken by hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking refuge in Western Europe last week began filtering the flow, granting passage only to those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The move has stranded a growing number of Iranians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and other nationalities from Asia and Africa."

EU needs US-type refugee screening (euobserver, link)

Migrants Protest After Macedonia Shuts Them Out (Balkan Insight, link): "Hundreds of migrants have been protesting for several days at Macedonia’s southern border with Greece against Skopje’s decision only to allow them to transit the country if they come from war-torn states."

One of 15 missing in Bodrum boat capsizing found dead (Hurriyet, link): "One of the 15 migrants reported missing after a boat capsized off the Aegean resort town of Bodrum has been found dead... Meanwhile, Turkey has stepped up efforts to enforce stricter border patrols near its northwestern borders to prevent illegal migrant crossings into European countries."

Visiting the Calais camps made us ashamed to be British (The Independent, link): "We have recently returned from the ‘jungle’ in Calais where we have been working in a warehouse preparing winter shelters for the occupants of the camp. We went there to join our elder daughter and 4 fellow students from the University of Aalborg."

Greek concerns mount over refugees as Balkan countries restrict entry (Guardian, link):

"Estimated 3,600 Europe-bound migrants stranded on Greek border, and debt-stricken Athens is ill-placed to deal with additional burden... “The nightmare scenario has started to develop where Greece is turned from a transit country to a holding country due to the domino effect of European nations closing their borders,” said Dimitris Christopoulos, vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights. “There is no infrastructure in place to handle people being stuck here,”....

Those affected by the ban – mainly Iranians, north Africans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis – demonstrated within spitting distance of Macedonian border guards on Saturday, shouting “we are not terrorists” and “we are not going back”... “This business of placing restrictions and erecting fences to keep terrorists out when terrorists are already in their countries makes no sense whatsoever,” said Ketty Kehayiou, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Athens. “Profiling by nationality defies every convention.”"

EU: In the light of the refugee humanitarian crisis this year, and the recent Valletta Summit with Africa, it is interesting to look at the following, highly detailed Council of the European Union report on "migratory pressures", adopted in May 2014: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response - 4th Biannual Update (LIMITE doc no: 9277-rev-1-14, 78 pages, pdf) including:

"Strategic Priority III- Preventing illegal immigration from Turkey:

Several initiatives aimed at preventing illegal immigration from Turkey have been undertaken at various levels. Regarding cooperation between the Greek and Turkish authorities, progress has been noticed in a number of areas during the last period of time....

And under: "Strategic priority area: Preventing illegal immigration from Turkey"

"As of August 2012 and continuing, seaborne migratory flows transiting from Turkey to Greece destined to other EU Member States/Schengen Associated Countries have increased significantly...."

Refugee Crisis: Balkans border blocks leave thousands segregated and stranded in Greece (AI, link):

"During the night of 18 November, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia all changed their border management practices suddenly, without prior notice, and more or less simultaneously.

Macedonia was the first to act, by refusing to admit anyone unless they have papers to prove they originate from Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. This meant that hundreds of people were stranded, either because they are from other countries, including Iran, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan, or because they do not have identity papers. Greek border police in the village of Idomeni continue to prevent nationals of countries other than Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria from leaving on the basis that Macedonia would not let them in.

"These governments appear to have acted without thinking through the consequences for thousands of people who are now stranded in grossly inadequate conditions with nowhere to go and precious little humanitarian assistance. With thousands more people on the way, action is urgently needed to reverse this worsening disaster" John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International."

News (21-22.11.15)

From UNHCR : 850,571 arrivals, 703,374 to Greece and 143,500 to Italy. 3,485 dead/missing.

UNHCR: Balkan states turning away 'economic migrants' (DW, link): "Some Balkan states are no longer letting in supposed "economic migrants." Melita Sunjic, from the Belgrade office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tells DW why this is such a grave turn of events."

GREECE-MACEDONIA: Ivanov explains FYROM border fence strategy (ekathimerini.com, link):"FYROM started construction on a fence a few days ago, prompting concern that thousands of migrants would become trapped on the Greek side of the border, at the village of Idomeni. Ivanov, however, told a group of journalists from Greece and FYROM that Skopje would continue to send back to Greece any migrants that are expelled from its northern neighbors." and see: Blocked migrants protest at Greek-FYROM border (link)

EP: GUE/NGL calls for guaranteed safe passage and adequate shelter for all those in need of protection (GUE, link): "NGOs and international organisations, such as Amnesty International and MSF, have denounced the actions taken by the Balkan States, which included collective expulsions and denied access to asylum procedures. UNHCR, IOM and UNICEF have warned that this clampdown would lead to an increase in smuggling. Swedish MEP Malin Björk commented: "The relatively safe passage that has been created through the Western Balkans route absolutely needs to be maintained. Blocking certain nationalities at the border is a de facto systematic push-back. This arbitrary decision causes additional hardship on the women, men and children who are seeking safety.”"

Sweden refugees sleep outside for second night (The Local.no, link): "The Swedish Migration Agency on Friday left newly arrived refugees to sleep outside in the cold for the second night running, although religious and civil organisations eventually stepped in."

Migrants storm fence at Spain's Melilla enclave (The Local.es, link): "Close to 100 migrants tried to storm the border fence from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla Saturday in a scramble that left one man seriously injured, authorities said."

France Demands Border Control Overhauls in Greece (Migrant Report, link): "French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has demanded an overhaul of border checks in Greece and Italy following information that at least two of the terrorists responsible for the Paris attacks may have come in from the Greek islands as refugees"

Chaos on Greek islands as refugee registration system favours Syrians (Guardian, link): "Process encourages ethnic groups to lie about their backgrounds as Syrian families are fast-tracked on Lesbos... Syrian families arriving on the island of Lesbos, where nearly 400,000 asylum seekers have landed so far in 2015, are separated from other nationalities and given expedited treatment that allows them to leave the island for mainland Europe within 24 hours. Syrian males, Yemenis and Somalis are registered in a separate and slower camp but still receive preferential treatment and are usually able to continue their journey within a day.But a third category of asylum seekers – including many from war-torn countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan – are being processed in another camp where there are roughly half as many passport-scanners... A Frontex spokeswoman said... her agency was not involved in the decision to create a three-tier system. Izabella Cooper said that "organisation of the management of the registration and identification process is the exclusive responsibility of the Greek national authorities."" Statewatch comment: this latter statement is misleading: the three-tier system is laid down by the EU in document after document which spell out the roles that Frontex and Europol are to play. And see: Tensions between Afghan and Syrian refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos – video (link)

Thank You From The Bottom Of Our Hearts! (YouTube, link): Report by Eric Kempson on Pipka an open home for refugees, inclusing making huts from wood taken from the boats they came in..

Angela Merkel, a decade in power: Could Germany's controversial open-door refugee policy bring about her downfall? (Independent, link) "In the final part of our series, Tony Paterson considers whether the German Chancellor has bitten off more than she can chew, especially in light of the Paris attacks "

‘Nearly impossible’ to find jihadists among migrants, Greeks warn (ekathimerini.com, link): "As the hunt for jihadists widens after last week's Paris attacks, authorities in Greece warn it was virtually impossible to pick out dangerous extremists among arriving migrants, without prior intelligence. “If they are not already registered in the database, it's nearly impossible,” says Dimitris Amountzias, police captain in charge of Moria, Greece's main registration camp on the island of Lesvos."

Zeman spreads anti-migrant hatred effectively (Prague Post, link): "Columnist says comments about Islam by president are ‘a huge faux pas’ "

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Conclusions of the Council and Member States on counter-terrorism (pdf):

"in the context of the current migration crisis, carry out a systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of third country nationals illegally entering the Schengen area, whether migrants or applicants for international protection, and perform systematic security checks by using relevant databases, in particular SIS II, Interpol databases, VIS and national police databases, with the support of Frontex and Europol, and ensure that hotspots are equipped with the relevant technology. Europol will deploy guest officers to the hotspots in support of the screening process, in particular by reinforcing secondary security controls,"

And see: Paris attacks show flawed use of Schengen rules, ministers confess (euractiv, link): "The ministers agreed on making these [border checks] checks mandatory. Moreover, all EU citizens will be now considered a potential threat, so all EU travellers will be subject to a stricter scrutiny, including checks against the Schengen Information System (SIS), as is the case for all third country nationals. and

Paris attacks show flawed use of Schengen rules, ministers confess (euoberver, link): ""We need to check Europeans because the threat comes from within," a French official said.. "Our collective reaction must be ruthless," French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at a press conference."

IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF Joint Statement on New Border Restrictions in the Balkans (link):

"In the last couple of days, we have witnessed Governments instituting a range of restrictions against movements of refugees and migrants from Greece through the Western Balkans and further northwards.

This includes people being profiled on the basis of nationality. This is becoming increasingly untenable from every point of view – humanitarian, legal, and also safety related, not least in light of falling temperatures and the risks for children and others with specific needs.

These measures by States are creating tension at border crossings and a domino effect, leaving in total limbo some refugees and migrants stranded at different border points..."

And: Tempers flare at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com): "Tempers have flared at Greece’s main border crossing with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where riot police pushed back thousands of migrants jostling to cross over, after FYROM blocked access to people deemed to be economic migrants and not refugees. Holding their identity papers aloft, several hundred Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, who are being allowed into FYROM, crossed the border Friday morning until police halted the flow again to ease congestion on the FYROM side. Once across, migrants head for the nearby Gevgelija train station, to continue by rail north through Serbia toward wealthier northern European Union countries. About 3,000 people remain on the Greek side of the border near the village of Idomeni, including about 1,000 Iranians and north Africans whom FYROM is not letting in."

EU: Migrant journeys: respecting the dead (IRR, link): An interview with Catriona Jarvis, former judge of the United Kingdom Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), and now a writer/ activist on human rights initiatives.

"Where states fail to take all reasonable steps to safeguard and identify the dead so as to enable surviving family to recover, lay to rest and mourn their loved ones, potential breaches of the right to dignity and to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment arise, as well as failure to respect the right to family life and to physical and moral integrity of those left behind...

across Europe, and indeed globally, there is an urgent need for a new visa regime to allow not only humanitarian visas for those fleeing serious harm, but also visas to permit lawful movement of bereaved family members and procedures for repatriation of bodies in such situations."

See also: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis: A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.

News (20.11.15)

Greek police arrest 10 over forged papers for migrants (Reuters, link): "This criminal organisation has provided more than 100 Greek passports and identity cards so far, charging between 300 and 700 euros depending on the document," a police official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said Pakistani and Afghani nationals were among those arrested. The fake registration papers had a forged Lesbos police stamp that meant the holders did not need to have their fingerprints taken by authorities on the island, he added. The falsified documents were mostly used to allow the migrants to travel from Greece by plane. The fingerprints of those arrested would be sent to Interpol for checks, he said."

Belgium, IOM Seek Solutions to Migration and Refugee Crisis (link): "“Migration is not a problem or an issue to be solved, but a human phenomenon to be managed. Turning the migration challenge into opportunity requires good migration governance, a broad, durable consensus among a wide constituency, and coherent coordinated policies among partners,” said Ambassador Swing"

How will future generations judge our response to the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime? (19 million project, link): "The 19 Million Project is a program born from a collaborative effort between Chicas Poderosas and La Coalizione Italiana Liberta e Diritti (CILD). It is sponsored by the multi-platform media networks, Univision and Fusion."

Syrians fly to Mauritania for perilous Sahara trek, Europe tightens borders (Reuters, link)

The 19 Million Project: Bypassing national borders and narratives to tell the stories of refugees (journalism.co.uk): "Journalists, coders and activists from around the world met up in Rome to discuss new approaches to covering the migration crisis – here are some of their takeaways"

Greek authorities step up identity checks (ekathimerini.com): "Greek authorities have started supplementary identity checks on immigrants reaching Athens by ferry from the country's eastern islands, after breaking up a ring that sold fake identity documents to migrants arriving on Lesvos. About 1,500 refugees and other migrants who reached Athens' port of Piraeus early Friday were scrutinized as they disembarked from the Ariadni ferry. Dozens were taken aside and driven away in police buses for further checks. The crackdown followed the arrests on Lesvos late Thursday of about 10 people, including Afghan, Pakistani and Iraqi nationals, who allegedly sold forged police identity documents to newly arrived migrants. Police said the gang was charging 300-400 euros for each document, and is believed to have been selling up to 500 a day. That would allow migrants to circumvent the official registration process, and buy ferry tickets for Piraeus without being screened by authorities on Lesvos - where most migrants crossing to Greece from Turkey arrive."

Merkel, Faymann call on other countries to step up amid refugee crisis (DW, link): "Angela Merkel and Werner Faymann have called for EU states to step up to help refugees. They pushed for the so-called 'hotspots' to be implemented and also suggested closer cooperation with Turkey."

Sweden hits refugee crisis zero hour (DW, link): "Sweden has reached the breaking point. The country's migration agency has said it can no longer put a roof over the heads of the high number of people requesting asylum each day. Richard Orange reports from Malmö."

GERMANY: Barnstorf - Feuer in Wohnhaus gelegt [Fire started in apartment] (Presseportal.de, link): "Am Donnerstag legte ein unbekannter Täter ein Feuer in einem Wohnhaus in der Aldorfer Straße. In dem Haus wohnen derzeit 11 Asylbewerber mit verschiedenen Nationalitäten. Gegen 19:20 Uhr legte der Täter laut derzeitigem Ermittlungsstand ein brennendes Stück Stoff in den Anbau des Hauses. Der Anbau wird nicht als Wohnfläche genutzt, sodass sich darin keine brennbaren Gegenstände befunden haben. Ein Bewohner des Hauses bemerkte das Feuer schnell und löschte es umgehend mit eigenen Mitteln. Es kam somit nicht zu einem Brandausbruch im Haus, sodass für die Bewohner und das Wohnhaus keine Gefahr bestand. Der Staatsschutz der Polizeiinspektion Diepholz hat die Ermittlungen aufgenommen." Summary: There was an arson attempt on a house in which 11 asylum-seekers of various nationalities are currently living. However, the arsonist placed burning material in a building annexed to the house, which was noticed by a resident and extinguished. The police have begun an investigation.

Balkan countries close borders to 'economic migrants' (EUobserver, link): "Four countries along the migratory route in the western Balkans have in one day closed their borders to all migrants except those from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, in a move that each justified because of restrictions imposed by the next country in the chain."

EU foreign policy coordinator Mogherini postpones her visit to Czech Republic (Prague Monitor, link): " Federica Mogherini has not paid her originally planned visit to Prague yesterday also because some Czech politicians automatically link Islam and refugees with terrorism without distinguishing between the migrants, Czech Radio (CRo) said yesterday, citing a high EU source."

'Muslims feel oppressed' after Paris attacks (The Local.at, link): "The President of Austria’s Islamic Religious Community has spoken about the consequences of the Paris terror attacks for Muslims and how frustrated he feels that Muslims have to constantly distance themselves from terrorists."

Denmark to open refugee camp amid aid criticism (The Local.dk, link): "Denmark’s first tent camp for refugees is expected to open this weekend as the nation faces criticism for diverting international development funds to deal with asylum seekers within the country."

IOM, UN Call for Additional Reception Capacity along Migrants’ Balkan Route (novinite.com, link): "The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday urged the countries lying along the so-called Balkans route used by migrants and refugee to reach western Europe to to put in place additional reception capacity at the points of entry and to allow for decent and effective accommodation.."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14298-15, pdf): includes:

"implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement,...

in the context of the current migratory crisis, carry out a systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of all migrants entering into the Schengen area and perform systematic security checks by using relevant databases in particular SIS II, Interpol SLTD database, VIS and national police databases, with the support of Frontex and Europol, and ensure that hotspots are equipped with the relevant technology. Europol will deploy guest officers to the hotspots in support of the screening process, in particular by reinforcing secondary security controls,...

provide, in its proposal to update the Frontex Regulation, a solid legal basis for the contribution of Frontex to the fight against terrorism and organised crime and access to the relevant databases.... Frontex will: contribute to the fight against terrorism and support the coordinated implementation of the Common Risk Indicators (CRIs) before the end of 2015, – assist the Member States to tighten controls of external borders to detect suspicious travels of foreign terrorist fighters and smuggling of firearms, in cooperation with Europol, – work closely with Europol and Eurojust, in particular in the context of the hotspots..."

Refugee crisis: Serbia, FYROM limit migrant passage to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghan (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have begun limiting the passage of migrants across their borders to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, turning back Africans and Asians, the United Nations said on Thursday.

A senior police source in FYROM, who declined to be named, said Skopje had acted after European Union member Slovenia, further along the migrant path, had told countries in the region that it would start doing the same. “They will turn back all others on the basis they are economic migrants,” the official said." nad see:

Balkan countries implement tighter border restrictions (DW, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says three Balkan countries have shut their borders for migrants from states that are not directly engulfed in wars. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through the Balkan route to reach Germany. ...

The UNHCR says Macedonia has begun allowing only people from these three countries to cross its southern border from Greece, while Greek authorities say migrants of other nationalities are gathering on the Greek side of the border and blocking the crossing completely. Aleksandra Kraus, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Macedonia, said Thursday that Macedonian authorities had begun allowing only people from warzones to enter the country because Serbian authorities had imposed the same criteria on those attempting to cross the Macedonian-Serbian border."" also

Balkan states start filtering migrant flow to Europe (Reuters, link): "Balkan countries have begun filtering the flow of migrants to Europe, granting passage to those fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan but turning back others from Africa and Asia, the United Nations and Reuters witnesses said on Thursday.

The move left hundreds of people stranded on borders. On Serbia's frontier with European Union-member Croatia about 400 were denied access to a train and were halted by Croatian police as they tried to cross the border through fields, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), said..

.A police spokesman in EU-member Slovenia confirmed Ljubljana would start returning "economic migrants" arriving through neighbouring Croatia, saying it could only grant passage to those "from countries where there are armed battles"."

EU: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters’ Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis:

A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.

This article takes up the crucial issue of what happens to those who have died in the Mediterranean? Are their deaths recorded and the next of kin informed? What systems are in place to ensure relatives, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons know what happen to their relatives and where they are? This harrowing account traces what does, and does not happen. And asks the question, why is there no EU-wide procedure in place to ensure that the dead do not just disappear into unknown graves?

European Parliament: Working Document: on EU internal and external funding related to its migration and asylum policy Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Co-Rapporteurs: Roberta Metsola, Kashetu Kyenge Shadow Rapporteurs: Barbara Spinelli, Ignazio Corrao (pdf)

News (19.11.15)

Turkey: Refugee crisis dominates Tsipras trip to Turkey (DW, link): "Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave his full backing to Turkey's EU membership. That also expressed his support for Ankara’s position on the refugee crisis attracted much attention... Greece and Turkey pledged to work together in forming a "bilateral working group" aimed at solving the refugee crisis and agreed to start joint security efforts along the Aegean coast.."

Merkel says must 'very quickly’ reach an accord with Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "A focus at the EU-Turkey summit will be the maritime border between Turkey and Greece, Merkel said. “It can’t be that the Aegean, the small sea zone between Greece and Turkey, is dominated by smugglers and kidnappers and not a rational border system,” Merkel said. “That has to change.”"

France confirms it will receive 30,000 refugees (euobserver, link): "France will receive 30,000 refugees in the next two years, president Francois Hollande confirmed Wednesday (18 November).The figure had first been announced by prime minister Manuel Valls in September."

Merkel, Faymann call on other countries to step up amid refugee crisis (DW, link): "Angela Merkel and Werner Faymann have called for EU states to step up to help refugees. They pushed for the so-called 'hotspots' to be implemented and also suggested closer cooperation with Turkey."

Czech Republic: Minister: Zeman helps enhance rise of fascism in Czech society (Prague Monitor, link) "President Milos Zeman helps create conditions for the rise of fascism in Czech society, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier told CTK on Wednesday, adding that some of Zeman´s statements are xenophobic and Islamophobic, and arouse fear in society."

Civilian Dispatches From Syrian Refugee Camps in Lesvos Post-Paris (Huffington Post, link)

Macedonia: Army preparing possible border barrier with Greece (mia.mk, link)

Migrants should be forcibly deported, says Bulgaria's Foreign Minister (standartnews.com, link): "Europe should make it a priority to deal with the security of its external borders and all migrants should be forcibly deported with no right to international protection, said Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov in Brussels."

Hungary: Viktor Orbán using fear to unite supporters and intimidate opponents says George Szirtes (Budapest Beacon, link)

Netherlands: New mini-Schengen can stop asylum seekers with no passports (ntl, link)

EU to tighten external border checks after Paris attacks (Reuters, link)

Greece, Turkey boost cooperation to tackle migrant crisis (eubusiness, link)

European Asylum Support Office (EASO): Newsletter - October 2015 (pdf):

"Since 17 September 2015, EASO experts have been deployed in Lampedusa, Catania, Villa Sikania/Agrigento, Rome and Milan to support the daily activity of local Police and asylum authorities to jointly process the applications for international protection of the potential applicants for a relocation scheme in the European Union..."

and in Italy and Greece: Matching of applicants with the most appropriate MS of Relocation and preparing the transfer to the MS of Relocation. EASO experts will assist the units processing such files as well with regular Dublin cases."

News (18.1.15)

Greece-Turkey: Tsipras, Davutoglu announce measures to tackle refugee, migrant flows (ANAMPA, link): "Regarding the issue of illegal migration, the Turkish prime minister said that the burden should not fall exclusively on Turkey and Greece and that they had agreed on cooperation on "technical issues" to tackle the refugee crisis."

Syrian passport in Paris may be planted, German minister says (ekathimerini.com, link): "A Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris terror attacks may have been planted, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise the suspicion that it could be a deliberate attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said. “There are indications that this was a planted lead, but it still can’t be ruled out that this was indeed an IS terrorist posing as a refugee,” he told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, referring to Islamic State, which France blames for organizing the violence."

Confusion mounts over Syrian passport found at Paris attack site (aljazeera.com, link): "Confusion over a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the six suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Paris last week mounted after investigators on Tuesday said there are indications the travel document actually belongs to a Syrian regime soldier."

Scotland: Muslims urged to stay at home after signs of Paris attacks backlash (eveningtimes.co.uk, link): " MEMBERS of Scotland’s largest Muslim community are being urged to stay at home and avoid travel outdoors if unaccompanied amid increasing signs of a Paris attacks backlash. As police investigate a firebomb attack on an Islamic centre in East Dunbartonshire, leaders at two of Glasgow’s biggest mosques have said the message had been sent through their communities to avoid where possible being in public alone."

USA-EU: Senate intelligence chair: visa waiver programme worse threat than refugees (Guardian, link): "Richard Burr is ‘more concerned with the visa waiver programme’, which allows travelers to come to the US without a visa for stays of 90 days than with refugees"

Paris attacks: closing migration routes into France won’t stop terrorism – resisting xenophobia might (The Conversation, link): "Coventry University research associate Durukan Kuzu, writing in a powerful op-ed for The Conversation, says that the solution to terrorism is a more equitable distribution of dignity and opportunity, not the closing down of borders."

Myths, Facts and Answers about Refugees and Migrants (11/04/15, Prepared by UNRIC, IOM, UNHCR, UNDP and OHCHR in Brussels (link)

UNHCR urges states not to demonise refugees over Paris attacks (Reuters, link): "The United Nations urged European countries on Tuesday not to react to Friday's attacks in Paris by rejecting or blaming refugees, the vast majority of whom were fleeing persecution or conflict. "We are concerned about reactions by some states to end the programmes being put in place, backtracking from commitments made to manage the refugee crisis (i.e. relocation), or proposing the erection of more barriers," UNHCR's chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. "We are deeply disturbed by language that demoness refugees as a group. This is dangerous as it will contribute to xenophobia and fear.""

Migration flows and the reintroduction of internal border controls: assessing necessity and proportionality (eumigrationlawblog.eu, link)

Czech president attends anti-Islam rally on Velvet Revolution anniversary (euractiv, link): "Milos Zeman, the President of the Czech Republic, attended a rally against refugees and Islam in Prague on Tuesday (17 November) on the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which peacefully toppled Communism in then Czechoslovakia."

Hungary to challenge refugee quotas in EU court (euobserver, link): "Hungary's parliament obliged the government in a law passed on Tuesday (16 November) to challenge the EU decision on mandatory refugee relocation quotas in court next month.The bill, approved by 154 votes in favor from the ruling Fidesz party, and the opposition far-right Jobbik, with 41 against, states that the quota ignores the European principle of subsidiarity and fails to grant national parliaments the opportunity to express their opinion."

GERMANY: Bavarian ally backs Merkel in row over refugee policy (Reuters, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel's most senior Bavarian ally rushed to her defence in an escalating row over her refugee policy, saying his finance minister's reaction to the attacks in Paris was "totally inappropriate"."

Humans of Lesvos (UNHCR, link): "Street photographer Brandon Stanton takes ‘Humans of New York’ on the road, profiling refugees, volunteers and aid workers in Europe."

NETHERLANDS: Dutch to carry out body searches, biometric registration of refugees (Dutch News, link): "The registration and identification of asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands is to be tightened up in the very short term, prime minister Mark Rutte said in a briefing to MPs on Tuesday. All asylum seekers will be searched, as will their baggage, on arrival, Rutte said. Everyone’s biometric details will also be included on a special register and police will have the power to check mobile phones and tablets for documents and other information."

UK: First Syrians arrive in the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) (European Resettlement Network, link): "The first group of Syrian refugees to be accepted under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) arrived in the United Kingdom on Tuesday 25 March. The Scheme, announced by the UK Government in January, will offer the most vulnerable refugees fleeing the crisis protection in the UK. Beneficiaries of the scheme will be granted 5 years’ humanitarian protection. This will provide them with the same key rights and benefits as refugees, including the right to work, eligibility for welfare benefits, access to statutory services such as health and education, as well as the right to apply for family reunification."

Paris attacks: Hating Muslims plays right into Isis's hands (The Independent, link): "Islamist militants deliberately aim to make Muslims in the West feel isolated and turn against their own communities"

Ten missing after boat sinks in Aegean (ekathimerini.com, link)

Artful wording to allow Germany to impose a limit on refugee numbers (euractiv, link): "The use of language when discussing refugee policy in Germany has taken on a new dimension, as the government discusses "refugee quotas" within the context of a deal with Turkey"

EU: Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (17.11.15, link)

- Relocation offers by Member States (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000).168 people have been "relocated". There have been no more offers of relocation in the past week.

- Returns: since September (pdf) Joint Frontex Return flights: 569 people have been returned, plus 153 from Italy, none from Greece.

- "Hotspots: staffing in Greece and Italy (pdf)

- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf)

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

IOM: Mediterranean Migrants: Latest Developments (link): Latest: 832,193 arrivals in the EU, 685,758 to Greece, 142,464 to Italy - 3,505 dead/missing (17.11.15). "IOM Greece is reporting that a boat carrying some 20 migrants capsized this morning off the Greek island of Kos, leaving nine migrants dead. Two of the victims were children aged seven and 14. Seven people were rescued. “The Hellenic Coast Guard has recovered nine bodies, but four others may be missing and search operations are continuing,’’ said Kelly Namia, an IOM Athens spokesperson"

News (17,11.15)

UNHCR chief says it is "absolute nonsense" to blame refugees for terror (link): "UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said today it was "absolute nonsense" to try to blame refugees for terror attacks, stressing that they were its "first victims" and could not be held responsible for what happened in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere.... "It is not the refugee outflows that cause terrorism, it is terrorism, tyranny and war that create refugees," he emphasized as he toured the Presevo refugee reception centre on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. "It is clear that the Daesh strategy is not only to set Europeans against refugees, but within Europe, to set citizen against citizen within communities, community against community within countries, and country against country in the Union.""

Don’t Blame Greece or the Muslim Community for the Paris Attacks (Greek Reporter, link): "It was November 14, 2015 that news broke out that one (if not two) of the assailants in the Paris attacks had passed through Greece, as a “refugee” using a Syrian passport. The Paris attacks, tragically, left 129 people killed and 352 injured, and wide spread rhetoric for and against Greece’s current handling of the refugee crisis ensued."

Europe's populists link terrorism with refugees (euobserver, link): "Europe’s far-right and populist politicians used the attacks in Paris on Monday (16 November) to call for an immediate halt to the inflow of refugees and to criticise the EU’s migration policy."

US states close door on Syrian refugees in wake of Paris attacks (DW, link): "Governors across the US have defied the president and said they will stop accepting Syrian refugees. Fear concerning migrants is growing after the brutal terrorist attacks in Paris." and see: The International Rescue Committee responds to U.S. Governors on Syrian refugee resettlement (link)

26 US states refuse to take in Syrian refugees following Paris attacks (euractiv, link): "At least 26 of the 50 US states said yesterday (16 November) they won't accept Syrian refugees following Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris."

Paris terror attacks threaten EU freedom of movement (Parliament magazine, link): "Heightened security threat increases pressure on embattled Schengen agreement"

Europe anti-refugee rhetoric swells after Paris attacks (aljazeera.com, link): "far-right politicians call for borders to be sealed in wake of Paris assaults amid rowing fears for refugees' plight."

Fortress Britain? EU open borders policy under threat after Paris terror attacks (RT, link): "The Paris attacks and the ongoing refugee crisis have left the future of the open borders policy in doubt. Hours after Friday’s attacks, investigators discovered two of the terrorists involved in the attack may have entered Europe posing as refugees."

'They'll think we are the enemy': Refugees in Germany fear backlash (euractiv, link): "Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Germany fear that the attacks in Paris could further shift public opinion against the Berlin government's welcoming asylum policy".

Tusk: Schengen On Brink Of Collapse (News Oracle, link)

Refugees crossing into Europe tell of abuse at hands of Bulgarian police (Oxfam, link): "Refugees and migrants arriving in Europe through Bulgaria are claiming to have been abused by the country’s law enforcement officials. A survey of over 100 people conducted by the Belgrade Center for Human Rights revealed alleged incidents of abuse both at the Serbian-Bulgarian border and at holding centers in Bulgaria. The survey was funded by Oxfam and released today."

Tsipras in Turkey for talks on refugees (EUobserver, link): "Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras begins an official visit to Turkey on Tuesday for talks on the refugee situation. The Greek minster in charge of migration, Yiannis Mouzalas, said on Sunday, according to the Ekathimerini daily, that refugees should be registered and relocated from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, not Greece."

GERMANY: Asylum-seekers await application results at historic Berlin airport (UNHCR, link): "Their journeys now over, thousands of asylum-seekers are awaiting the results of their applications in a cavernous, historic airport in the German capital, Berlin. With freezing temperatures approaching fast, German authorities are scrambling to ensure no one is left out in the cold."

Balkan Leaders Condemn Xenophobia After Paris Attacks (Balkan Insight, link): "Political leaders in Serbia and Croatia warned against any xenophobic backlash against refugees, while Macedonia prepared for the possible building of a barbed-wire fence on its border."

GERMANY: Anti-immigration group PEGIDA holds first rally since Paris attacks (Deutsche Welle, link): "Thousands of people have gathered in the German city of Dresden for the weekly rally of "anti-Islamization" group PEGIDA. It comes as German leaders warn against using the Paris attacks to incite anti-refugee sentiment."

Serbian police arrest man with Syrian passport matching Paris attacker's (The Guardian, link): "Serbian police have arrested a man carrying a Syrian passport with the same details as one found near the body of one of the Paris suicide bombers, police sources told the Guardian."

After Paris Attacks, a Darker Mood Toward Islam Emerges in France (NYT, link): "The question, rights advocates say, is how far the government can go in restricting the rights of a mostly law-abiding minority without further alienating its more marginal members and driving them to the militants."

Closed borders and raised fences will be Europe's defeat against terrorists, PM Tsipras says (Anma.gr, link): "Referring to the recent terrorist attacks in France, the prime minister said that "the political defeat of Europe against terrorists will be the closed borders, the raised fences, the intolerant voices and the accession to the concept of the extreme and racist right." "We have to isolate racism in Greece and Europe," Tsipras underlined."

Migrant Boat Capsizes Near Greek Island of Kos, 9 Dead (Greek Reporter, link): "So far authorities have located the bodies of nine unfortunate migrants, four children, four women and a man. Seven people were rescued in the operation. The information regarding the exact number of missing persons is not clear at the moment, since the survivors can only estimate that the boat was carrying between 18 to 20 people. The search operation in the region is still ongoing."

Security experts affirm government position on migration and terrorism on MTVA (Budapest Beacon, link)

Austria: Fences 'not the answer' to terror threat (The Local.at, link): "Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ) and Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner (ÖVP) have spoken out against completely sealing Austria’s borders with fences in response to the influx of migrants and said that civil liberties must be preserved in the wake of the attacks by Islamist militants in Paris."

G20 Statement on the fight against terrorism (pdf)

"We reaffirm that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.... through swift implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards in all jurisdictions.... combatting radicalization and recruitment, hampering terrorist movements, countering terrorist propaganda and to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite terrorist acts, including through the internet. The direct or indirect encouragement of terrorism, the incitement of terrorist acts and glorification of violence must be prevented.... tackle this phenomenon, including operational information-sharing, border management to detect travel, preventive measures..."

And see: After Paris: Western Unity Ever More Difficult, Ever More Essential (Gernan Marshall Fund, link) : "The growing sense of insecurity in Europe will make it even more difficult for Europe to act coherently.... If democracy thrives in the absence of fear, then socio-economic uncertainty, now compounded with fear of violence, will encourage many to search for populist, inward-looking, xenophobic policies. Liberalism in our societies is under siege, and not just by ISIS.".
European Commission: Transcript of Press Conference - G20 Summit in Antalya (15.11.15, pdf)

"President Juncker: I try to make it crystal clear that we should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe. The one who is responsible for the attacks in Paris cannot be put on an equal footing with real refugees, with asylum seekers and with displaced people. These are criminals and not refugees or asylum seekers. I would like to invite those in Europe who are trying to change the migration agenda we have adopted –I would like to invite them to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions. I don't like it."

News (16.11.15)

Berlin ostracizes CSU politician who linked Paris to refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "Germany's ruling coalition has mostly agreed not to use the Paris attacks to fuel the refugee debate, but not everyone has followed this course."

U.N. urges Greece to boost aid at Lesbos island 'epicenter' of migrant crisis (Reuters, link): "The United Nations urged financially strapped Greece on Friday to expand reception centers before winter sets in for refugees and migrants who continue to pour onto the island of Lesbos at a rate of 3,300 every day." snd: Flow of refugees to Lesvos showing slight decline, island officials report (amna.gr.link): "The flow of third country nationals from the opposite Turkish coast to Lesvos appears to be falling off slightly, based on arrival figures collected on the island over the last few days, authorities on the eastern Aegean island reported on Monday."

View on Migration: Demand for tents that beat the cold (SciDevNet, link)

EU refugee crisis: the morality, stupid! (euobserver, link): "“They [refugees] are running from this form of radical Islam … I’m sure they hate it even more than we do. We can’t leave them behind the wall.”"

Islamic scholars in Germany fear consequences from Paris (DW, link): "Following the Paris attacks, many Muslims fear that prejudices and resentments will increase in Germany as well. The image of Islam is deteriorating, despite intensive interfaith dialogue."

Europe’s cauldron of crisis - The Paris attacks add another possible crack to the EU foundation stone (Politico, link)

Juncker: Don’t mix up terrorists and refugees (euobserver, link): "The attackers in Paris and Middle East refugees should not be mixed up, warned EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday (15 November).He also called on member states not to reject people who are fleeing from the same terror that shocked the French capital on Friday night. "We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe," Juncker told a news conference in Antalya, Turkey, where a G20 summit of world leaders is taking place. “Those who organised these attacks and those that perpetrated them are exactly those that the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite,” he said."

German defense minister: Do not 'equate' refugees with terrorists (DW, link): "German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has urged order at the national and EU borders, but warned against suspecting all refugees of terrorism. Migrants are fleeing attacks similar to those in Paris, she said."

Sobotka wants more emphasis on security in dealing with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The Czech Republic must help people in need, but at the same time it must think of its own security, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Czech Television (CT) today and added that he was disappointed at Jean-Claude Juncker's words about an unchanged attitude to migration."

Sent back from Europe, some Afghans prepare to try again (Reuters, link): ""If I can get enough money I'll go again. It is hard to survive here," he said. "The situation is bad in Kabul. There is no security, no job. If you go out of your house it's unclear what may happen to you. You can't go anywhere." Rostami's predicament underlines the problem for European countries that promised to send back failed asylum seekers in the face of growing public alarm at the numbers arriving. "The truth is that most Afghans who are forced to return will try to leave again, whatever policy makers intend," said Ceri Oeppen, from the University of Sussex in Britain, who has worked extensively on the problems of Afghan migrants."

Fingerprints from Paris bomber match man registered in Greece, says prosecutor (ekathimerini.com, link): "a French prosecutor said on Monday. "At this stage, while the authenticity of a passport in the name of Ahmad al Mohammad, born Sept. 10 1990 in Idlib, Syria needs to be verified, there are similarities between the fingerprints of the suicide bomber and those taken during a control in Greece in October," the Paris prosecutor said in a statement."
Sudanese refugees shot dead on Egypt-Israel border (aljazeera.com):"Fifteen refugees killed in Sinai as they reportedly attempt to enter Israel to seek asylum."

Czech Republic: Court says Afghan family kept in detention unlawfully (Prague Monitor, link): "An Afghan family with three small children is kept in the Czech detention facility in Bela-Jezova, central Bohemia, unlawfully, the Regional Court in Brno says in its ruling CTK has at its disposal, but the police can appeal it."

Why Syrian refugee passport found at Paris attack scene must be treated with caution: There are good reasons to wait for the full facts instead of jumping to the conclusion that Isis infiltrators are exploiting Europe’s refugee crisis (Guardian, link)

Paris attacks intensify migrant debate in EU (Yahoo News, link): "The Paris attacks and the discovery of a Syrian passport near one of the assailant's bodies have revived the European debate on whether to take a harder line on migrants."

Here are Denmark's planned asylum changes (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government recently announced another round of asylum policy changes, including plans to erect refugee tents and extend family reunification times to three years. Here is a full overview of the proposed changes."

Swiss right calls for army to reinforce borders (The Local.ch, link): "Swiss defence minister Ueli Maurer has called for Switzerland to use the army to reinforce its borders following the terrorist atrocities in Paris on Friday night, comments that have riled left-wing politicians."

Bulgarian Authorities Have Detained 27 000 Illegal Migrants Since Start of Year (.novinite.com, link): "A joint operation of the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) has been held across the country with more than 350 illegal migrants already detained.The operation against illegal migration started on Saturday as part of the heightened security measures after the recent attacks in Paris.More than 7000 people and 3000 vehicles were checked over the weekend, with eleven Bulgarians accused of human smuggling. Most of the detained foreigners had initially identified themselves as citizens of Syria and Iraq, but following police checks it was established that they were mainly nationals of Afghanistan and Pakistan."

News (14-15.11.15)

Bavarian allies pressure Merkel to reverse refugee policy (Reuters, link)

Guardian: Live coverage: "Holder of Syrian passport found near gunman sought asylum in Serbia. Serbia’s interior ministry has said the holder of the Syrian passport found at the scene of the Paris attack crossed into Serbia on 7 October and claimed asylum there, Reuters reports. The Syrian passport is also said to have been used to register on the Greek island of Leros in October.The legitimacy of the passport has not been verified, and it is not known whether the same person who used it to pass through Greece was the person who was involved in the Paris attacks." and: Holder of Syrian passport found in Paris attack sought asylum in Serbia (ekathimerini.com, link)

Egyptian passport found at Paris stadium belongs to critically injured victim, not suspect: Ambassador (ahram.org.eg, link): "Egyptian national Waleed Abdel-Razzak was found severely injured following bombings outside Stade De France"

Paris attacks give EU leaders excuse to get tough on refugees (euractiv, link): "A Reuters report, of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night's attacks, may change attitudes towards migrants across Europe.... " and Poland won’t relocate migrants after Paris attacks (euractiv, link)

G20 to discuss threat of Isis infiltrators among EU migrants after Paris attacks (Guardian, link): "Fears of Isis capability to bring terror to western cities loom over talks after it emerged one attacker had a Syrian passport flagged as arriving in Greece."

Two refugee children die in Greece in separate incidents (ekathimerini.com, link)

Paris attacks: European leaders link terror threats to immigration (Guardian, link): "German chancellor Angela Merkel likely to come under fire for policy of openness towards refugees after Syrian passport found at scene of attack."

Europe's populist right targets migration after Paris attacks (Reuters, link): "Populist leaders around Europe rushed to demand an end to an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa on Saturday after a wave of deadly attacks in Paris claimed by Islamic State militants.The carnage in the French capital, directly linked to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, seemed bound to further complicate the European Union's task in sharing out hundreds of thousands of migrants who have entered the bloc this year, fleeing war and poverty. Poland's designated Europe minister said Warsaw could not take in refugees under an EU quota system after Friday's wave of attacks on restaurants, a concert hall and a soccer stadium in Paris, in which 127 people died and some 200 were injured."

Austria approves fence on Slovenian border (euractiv, link): "The Austrian government has, at the last hour, approved a control system on its border with Slovenia that will actually include a fence. EurActiv Germany reports.... Now, a short fence on the Austria-Slovenia border will be built; a measure that the leaders and citizens of the most-affected regions have long called for. It is intended to help regulate the flow of refugees and register them more efficiently. At the same time, Vienna has avoided shutting itself off completely, like Hungary has done in the past few months"

Greece warns EU to hold Turkey to account on refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com): "Greece has warned the European Union to obtain specific commitments from Turkey ahead of putting together a 3-billion-euro fund for Ankara to help tackle the refugee crisis. The key role of Turkey in the process of stemming the flow of refugees and migrants was discussed on Friday during the second and last day of a summit in Malta. According to sources, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed to his EU counterparts that Brussels has to make it clear what it will be getting in return for providing Turkey with emergency funding and assistance."

PM: Norway will not pursue border controls (The Local.no, link): "Norway is not considering following Sweden and imposing temporary border controls, the country’s prime minister said on Thursday, as parliamentary leaders met to discuss proposals to deal with the refugee crisis."

EU to hold summit on migrants with Turkish president, offers Turkey 3 bln euros for migrants (Daily Star, link)

People-smuggling: the trade with refugees in Bulgaria (DW, link): "More and more refugees are trying to reach the West via Bulgaria. The people-smuggling trade is flourishing along the dangerous route to the West - and border guards are sometimes involved in the illegal business. "

Paris attack puts terrorism centre-stage as world leaders meet in Turkey (Reuters, link): "

Denmark to erect tents, shorten refugee permits (The Local.de, link): "The Danish government on Friday announced a package of 34 initiatives designed to bring down the number of refugees."

Greece: Some 3,300 people a day still arriving on Lesvos (UNHCR, link): ""The number of refugees and migrants arriving on Lesvos continues to be high, at an average of 3,300 people per day so far in November … With winter approaching, reception conditions and capacity there remain overstretched and inadequate," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva."

Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis: Brussels, 12 November 2015 (pdf)

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (pdf): Greece and Italy. Lesvos, Greece::"Total Reception Capacity 700 (Moria) 780 (Kara Tepe)"
- Returns since September (pdf) From Italy 153 and none from Greece. Frontex 569 "returns"
- Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (pdf) Relocation places available: 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000). A totlaof 142 refugees have been relocated.
- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015 (pdf)
- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)

See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis

CoE: Third party intervention: Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on migration cases concerning Spain (link):

"Today, Commissioner Muižnieks has submitted written observations to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to two complaints concerning alleged pushbacks of migrants from the Spanish city of Melilla to Morocco.

Basing his observations on his visit to Melilla in January 2015 as well as on other credible reports, the Commissioner underscores the existence of an established practice of summary returns of migrants who attempt to enter Melilla in groups by climbing the fence surrounding the city. “Such returns, which affect Sub-Saharan Africans in particular, take place outside of any formal procedure and without identification of the persons concerned or assessment of their individual situation. This prevents the persons concerned from effectively exercising their right to seek international protection” he writes in his third party intervention."

and Written submission to the court: CoE ECHR-Spain (pdf)

European Parliament Study: Migrants in the Mediterranean:Protecting Human Rights (62 pages, pdf) Concludes that current policies are more geared to keeping so-called "illegal" migrants out and to return them rather than with effective measures to protect human rights and saving lives. Well worth reading.

European Commission: DG MIgration & Home Affairs: A study on smuggling of migrants: Characteristics, responses and cooperation with third countries Final Report (179 pages, pdf)

UNHCR: Latest figures: Total arrivals 806,000 with 660,698 to Greece and 142,400 to Italy. 3,460 dead/missing and the IOM reports 812,230 arrivals, 666,502 to Greece and 141,777 to Italy. 3,499 dead/missing

News (13.11.15)

Ghanaians respond to EU migrant fund with caution (DW, link): "The European Union believes dedicating millions of euros to African governments can help ease the migration crisis. Ghanaians don't totally agree."

IOM, UNHCR Build Capacity of Libyan Partners to Save Lives of Migrants at Sea (link)

EU to hold special summit with Turkey on refugee crisis (DW, link): "EU officials have announced that they will hold talks with Ankara on ways to ease the number of migrants. Brussels has been courting Turkey's government as it struggles to accommodate the number of refugees in Europe." and EU leaders race to secure €3bn migrant deal with Turkish president (Guardian, link):"David Cameron is the first leader to pledge funds, offering Recep Tayyip Erdogan €400m to stem flow of refugees from Syria"

Bulgaria warns Germany against returning refugees (euractiv, link): "Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov warned Germany yesterday (12 November) against returning refugees to countries where they first registered. Speaking to journalists at the Valletta summit on migration, Borissov said that if Berlin begins applying the Dublin II agreement again, and starts sending back unwanted asylum seekers, there will be less of a chance that they will be integrated in Bulgaria, and Macedonia..... on 9 November, the German Interior Ministry said it was returning to the Dublin II procedure with respect to all EU member states except Greece. “We cannot keep migrants by force in Bulgaria,” warned Borissov, adding that his country had no intention of building prisons to hold asylum seekers in."

EU plan to buy milk for refugees still work-in-progress (euobserver, link)

Frontex: 540 000 migrants arrived on Greek islands in the first 10 months of 2015 (link) Frontex still putting out dodgy numbers: "Overall, the number of detections of illegal border crossings at the EU’s external borders between January and October stood at an unprecedented 1.2 million"

Frontex gets headline news with this kind of press release by its own admission it includies double-counting:

"Clarification: Frontex provides monthly data on the number of people detected at the external borders of the European Union. Irregular border crossings may be attempted by the same person several times in different locations at the external border. This means that a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again counted when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia."

Whereas UNHCR reported: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (infographic, link) 502, 840 arrivals (during the year to 29 October, 2015)

Valletta Conference 11-12 November 2015: Update: Final texts and full documentation

EU: Informal meeting of EU heads of state or government (12 November 2015, Valletta, Press release, pdf) there is nothing new except a growing urgency as "time is running out" to save Schengen. Council trying to set up another "special" Summit of 28 Member States and Turkey before year end:

But see: EU’s ‘indecent proposal’ angers Turkish minister (hurriyetdailynews.com, link): "Turkish EU Minister Beril Dedeoglu has been left apoplectic after Brussels suggested “an inappropriate proposal” to Ankara that linked Turkey’s EU accession process with a solution to the refugee crisis.... During a dinner … a young person from the commission attempted to match the progress report to refugee issue. Something like ‘We could soften the content of this progress report if we sort out the refugee issue,’ was said. I swear I can’t even remember how I chided him...".

and Tusk reiterates that:

"it must be clear that without registration there will be no rights. If a migrant does not cooperate, there must be consequences. It is also clear that asylum seekers cannot decide where they will be granted asylum within the European Union."

Reactions to Valletta Summit

Migration crisis: European and African leaders agree €1.8bn 'trust fund' (Guardian, link) :"Compromise package in which African governments agree to cooperate on receiving deported migrants described as ‘lowest common denominator’"

and Europe fund to tackle African migration 'not enough' (BBC News, link): "Senegal's President Macky Sall has described a $1.9bn (£1.2bn) European fund set up to tackle irregular migration as a good beginning but said more money was needed.... "The Senegalese leader also pointed to tax avoidance by multinationals that he estimated cost Africa billons of dollars. "We have sufficient resources in Africa… if we could combat tax evasion - that would stop us calling for aid. "Terrorism is an issue, wherever war is waged people flee - where there's less development people flee towards development," he said. "We have to look at migration serenely, take the drama out of it. And we have to tackle the traffickers.""

EU's migration cash for Africa falls short (euractiv, link): "The European Union’s efforts to stem the flow of refugees from Africa was undermined today (12 November) by member states who failed to match EU money for a €1.8 billion trust fund to the tune of €1.72 billion, raising just €78 million. EU and African leaders were meeting in Valletta, Malta, for a two-day summit in response to the migration crisis. €1.8 billion from the EU budget and European Development Fund was stumped up for the emergency trust fund, which will pay for measures to tackle the reasons refugees flee.

"For the Africa Trust Fund and our response to be credible, I want to see more member states contributing and matching the €1.8 billion the EU has put forward," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said as EU leaders signed the deal. But, at time of going to press, 25 of the 28 member states, and two non-EU donors Norway and Switzerland, had pledged a total of around €78.2 million matching funds, far short of what Juncker has called for...Civil society organisations have warned that, if they do pay into the trust fund, EU countries could divert development cash meant for schools and hospitals to checkpoints and barb wire. Sara Tesorieri, Oxfam's migration policy lead in Malta, said, "The EU Trust Fund for Africa must have a clear separation between development aid and security cooperation envelopes ? these have different objectives and do not belong in the same pot.""

Europe in 'race against time' to save open borders - EU's Tusk (Reuters, link): ""We must hurry, but without panic," he said after a summit with African leaders that will be followed by an emergency EU summit later on Thursday in Valletta to discuss migration and notably efforts to secure a deal with Turkey to slow departures."

EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit: VALLETTA SUMMIT, 11-12 NOVEMBER 2015 ACTION PLAN - Final (pdf) and VALLETTA SUMMIT, 11-12 NOVEMBER 2015: Declaration - Final (pdf) see: Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the press conference of the Valletta summit on migration (pdf)

EU Commission: A European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (pdf): "made up of €1.8 billion from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF), to be complemented by contributions from EU Member States and other donors. To date, Member States' contributions amount to around €78.2 million " The Member States are meant to match the Commission's contribuition... and List of Member State donors and contributions in Alphabetical order (as at 11/11/2015) (pdf)

Refugee Crisis May Threaten Development Aid to World’s Poor (afronline.org, link): "As the spreading refugee crisis threatens to destabilize national budgets of donor nations in Western Europe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday appealed to the international community not to forsake its longstanding commitment for development assistance to the world’s poorer nations."

News (12.11.15)

Europe gears up to fight refugee smugglers (euractiv, link)

EU Leaders Consider Meeting with Turkey’s President on Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Leaders of EU member states on Thursday discussed a possible meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later this month to seek his help in alleviating the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War II, AFP reported."

Swiss refugee total to 'clearly' exceed forecast (The Local.ch, link): "The original forecast of 29,000 asylum seekers arriving in Switzerland in 2015 will be "clearly exceeded" according to the Secretary of State for Immigration."

Swedish police stop arrivals from Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Police on Thursday began carrying out ID checks on passengers crossing the Øresund Bridge from Denmark to Sweden after the latter reinstated border controls."

Czech Republic: PM: Refugee readmission will be hard for Germans (Prague Monitor, link) "It will be difficult for Germany to return Syrians to the countries where they entered the EU, in view of the persisting problems with refugee registration in the countries concerned, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in Malta yesterday."

EU expected to heap more pressure on Greece over refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "The document also suggests that Turkey is not intentionally ushering migrants toward Greece, whereas Athens is deemed to be purposely moving these arrivals on toward the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission’s note also says Greece needs to agree to joint patrols with Turkey in the Aegean and the opening of some of the chapters in Ankara’s EU accession negotiations."

Exclusive. Federica Mogherini (EU foreign policy chief): “We need to build opportunities, not walls, with Africa” (.afronline.org, link)

Germany to toughen restrictions on Syrian refugees (euractiv, link): "Germany wants to send more Syrian refugees back to other EU countries, an idea supported by many in the CDU, but heavily criticised by the SPD"

Sweden reintroduces border controls (euobserver, link): "Sweden is to impose temporary border controls to try to manage the flow of refugees, which is putting the country’s infrastructure under stress.The decision was announced Wednesday evening (11 November) and will be effective Thursday at noon for a 10-day period which could be extended for 20 days"

Slovenia erects fence to 'channel' migrants (euobserver, link): "Slovenia has started building a fence on its border with Croatia, in efforts, the government said, to “prevent the dispersal of refugees and to steer them towards controlled entry points.” The installation of 1.5 km worth of an 1.8-metre high razor wire structure began early on Wednesday (11 November) morning near the easterly villages of Rigonce and Razkrizje." and see: Slovenia to Build a Fence on Its Border With Croatia (total-croatia-news, link): "Slovenian Prime Minister announces the construction of a fence on the Croatian border. At certain sections of its border with Croatia, Slovenia will set up technical barriers, including fences, in order to better control the expected inflow of refugee who have recently started moving from Greece, confirmed Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, reports Jutarnji List on November 10, 2015."

Germany's Schäuble likens migrant wave to 'avalanche' (DW, link): "German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has compared the refugee crisis to an avalanche that could engulf Europe. He appealed for greater solidarity in the issue, although there a few signs of that emerging."

Refugees opting for Bulgaria route exposed to violence (DW, link): "Asylum-seekers with limited funds or fears of sea travel are bypassing Greece for a land route through Bulgaria, but the risks remain high. Diego Cupolo reports from Dimitrovgrad, Serbia."

EU, Africa discuss migration crisis plan (neweurope, link): "Amnesty International has warned the summit could reinforce the idea of a “Fortress Europe”. In an interview with AFP, the group’s acting director, Iverna McGowan, said the approach “can lead to an outsourcing of human rights abuses and is quite worrying”."

Valletta Summit: Statewatch Analysis: EU-AFRICA Fortress Europe’s neo-colonial project (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

"The overall strategy in the latest draft, is not new, it is simply presented differently. The EU fundamental concern is to stop people, refugees or migrants, moving up the continent of Africa until they reach the shores of the Mediterranean – where they become the EU’s problem.

This goes together with the demand for the creation of civil registry systems across Africa with biometrics (fingerprinting), quick “returns”, new readmission agreements and the enforcement of its neo-colonial project through the “externalisation of Europe's asylum responsibilities”.

The EU and its neighbours: enforcing the politics of inhospitality by Emmanuel Blanchard, Bill MacKeith, and Yasha Maccanico 11 November 2015 (Open Democracy, link):

"Today marks the start of the two-day Valletta Euro-African summit on migration in Malta, but the outcomes of deterrence, surveillance and militarisation are already written....

To attain their objectives, the EU and its member states have shown themselves willing to engage in all sorts of shameful behaviour: military operations led by France and Belgium in the Sahel are now envisaged as a way of cutting off migration routes; plans have been made to construct camps in Niger to facilitate forced or ‘voluntary’ returns away from European borders; the most repressive regimes (such as Sudan or Eritrea, especially in the context of the ‘Khartoum process’), which produce tens of thousands of asylum seekers, receive subsidies to contain their populations and ‘securitise’ their borders."

Agence Europe reports (10.11.15) "A further potentially thorny issue could be discussed in Valetta. The EU wants to talk about setting up reception centres in Africa where migrants could be registered, identified and have a start made to consideration of their requests for asylum in the EU, and, indeed, have their request turned down. The matter has been withdrawn from the latest draft statements (a political statement and an action plan are expected to be adopted) as it offended the sensitivities of the African countries.

"We are looking to continue discussions with our African partners", the source went on. "A large number of those who take the path of illegal migration do so without realising they are risking their lives. The idea, then, was to have centres in the countries of departure or transit where they can be provided with information on the risks they are taking and the administrative procedures in Europe" and also possibly undertake "the first administrative stage, pre-screening to see if the applicant for asylum the EU has any chance whatsoever of being admitted", he added."

Valletta Summit: EU and Africa, so closed but so far (afronline.org, link):

"EU-Africa summit on migration in La Valletta on the 11th and 12th November. Symbol of the tensions present between the parties, Morocco and Egypt, who are both respectively heads of the processes of Rabat and Khartoum, will send only foreign ministers."

Hotspots: Europe Debates Initial Reception Centers for Refugees (Der Spiegel, link);

"Lesbos and other such hotspots are a significant focus of efforts by the European Commission and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to find a solution to the refugee crisis. They would like to establish initial reception centers where refugees will not only be registered, but also housed until a cursory review is conducted to determine whether they might qualify for asylum or protection under the Geneva Convention on refugees.

Under the second part of the plan, refugees from countries with an average EU-wide asylum recognition rate of 75 percent would then be distributed among the rest of the member states. The others would face deportation.....

The biggest problem, however, is the lack of a clear answer to the question as to what happens to refugees who have little chance of remaining in Europe. How will these people be prevented from heading towards Germany on their own? "It's a delicate issue," says one high-ranking EU official. "After all, the Greek government doesn't want to be accused of putting migrants in internment camps." Indeed, refugees attempting to escape from fenced-in camps is the one image that has yet to plague this European refugee crisis."

and see: Avec les "hotspots", l’UE renforce sa politique de refoulement des boat people (migreurope, link)

EU's deep dilemmas over refugees laid bare at Malta summit (Guardian, link):

"More than 60 European and African leaders are meeting in the Maltese capital Valletta against a backdrop of ever-widening policy divisions....

“They say it’s all about Europe externalising and outsourcing its own problems,” said the diplomat, who has been liaising with the African governments. “The Europeans are not exactly visionaries,” another international official taking part in Malta said. “And they don’t realise that they are no longer the centre of the world.....

In the latest policy move, Berlin and Brussels are pressing the transit countries of the Balkans to set up new “processing centres” to screen asylum claimants. It is an admission that the policy of having them finger-printed and registered first in Greece before moving on has failed. Nor do Slovenia, Croatia or Serbia want to register them, however, for fear they will then be saddled with responsibility for the refugees....

"Most of these leaders are lost and they're looking to someone like Tusk to come up with a big idea," said the senior diplomat. "This is the challenge, because the whole thing can crumble and individual countries will start following Hungary. That won't help Europe to remain credible.""

News (11.11.15)

Refugees on hunger strike over long Czech detention (Prague Monitor, link): "Forty-four refugees from the Drahonice detention centre have launched a hunger strike in protest against their detention in the Czech Republic and possible return to their home countries, Mikulas Vymetal, a protestant priest in contact with the refugees, told CTK yesterday. According to a statement that CTK received from Vymetal, the mostly Iraqi refugees complain of being detained in the country for more than 90 days in some cases. They write that they fled against fighting, prison and violence only to get into a new fight and prison and to be treated as if they were monsters."

Germany makes U-turn on Syrian refugees (euobserver, link): "Germany announced Tuesday (10 November) it is again applying Dublin rules on asylum for Syrian refugees. The move is a U-turn on a migration policy followed since August as well as a new indicator of tension in chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition. The interior ministry told German media that since 21 October, authorities are "applying the Dublin regulation for all countries of origin and all member states (except Greece)." That means migrants are sent back to the first country in which they entered the EU and where their asylum application must be examined. This does not apply to Greece, where reception capacities are stretched and living conditions for migrants are deemed too poor." and see: Germany reinstates Dublin rules for Syrian refugees (DW, link): "Berlin plans to send more Syrian refugees back to the first EU country they entered while traveling towards Germany, officials say. The decision would not apply to Greece, one of the main entry points for the bloc."

Greece: Fourteen reported dead after migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast (ekathimerini.com): "Fourteen people died and a further 27 were rescued by Turkish authorities after their boat sank on its way to the Greek island of Lesvos, Dogan news agency reported on Wednesday....Children were among those who died when the wooden boat went down in the 8km (5 mile) stretch of water separating Lesvos from the Turkish coast, Dohan reported. Turkey's coastguard was not immediately available to comment."

Bulgarian President Identifies Refugees as Posing Greatest Threat to National Security (Novinite, link)

Denmark plans additional refugee restrictions (The Local.dk, link): "Saying that Denmark risks “having so many people that we can’t handle it”, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen on Wednesday said that the government is planning a “robust” plan to further tighten asylum laws."

Refugees being 'ripped off by private landlords' (The Local.at, link): "The Vienna public prosecutor is investigating allegations that dozens of refugees have been ripped off by unscrupulous landlords in the city"

BELGIUM: 250 refugees to be accommodated on a 'floating island'? (Flanders News, link): "The city of Ghent is to have a floating reception centre for refugees by the end of the year. That is, if the Asylum Office Fedasil gives the final go-ahead. A pontoon that can accommodate up to 250 people will be installed at the Rigakaai dock, in Ghent's port area."

FRANCE: More violence in Calais as refugees are moved (The Local, link): "Refugees and police clashed for a second night in Calais, with 11 officers left injured. The violence comes as the French government steps up efforts to move refugees and migrants out of the New Jungle camp."

Deportation to Afghanistan: safe or unsafe origin? (Deutsche Welle, link): "The German government has decided to offer Syrian refugees protection in Germany but to send home more Afghans. German human rights NGO Pro Asyl is accusing the government of restricting the right to asylum."

Hungary asked to take over migrant truck deaths case (The Budapest Times, link): "Austrian prosecutors have officially asked Hungary to take over the case of 71 dead migrants who were found abandoned in a truck on an Austrian motorway in August, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office has told state news agency MTI."

Spain welcomes first refugees from its European quota (El País, link): "The first group of refugees to be officially accepted by Spain as part of a European deal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers across the continent arrived at Madrid airport on Sunday night."

EU turning blind eye to violence against women migrants (euractiv, link)

Europe wants document for those refused asylum (ekathimerini.com): "The controversial "laissez passer" plan has been criticized by diplomats and non-governmental organizations as being tantamount to Europe telling African countries who they should accept. It will be discussed later Wednesday by European and African leaders at a migration summit in Malta."

JOINT DECLARATION: Human rights at the core of migration policies: An urgent call to European and African leaders (Euro-mediterranean human rights network, link):

"Once again, terms of cooperation remain euro-centric and focused on efficient return/removal policies as well as on the need for cooperation on behalf of non-EU countries to fight so-called « irregular » migration.

In Europe and in Africa, the security obsession which has characterised migration policies is unfolding with increased border closures on both continents, despite fatal consequences and human rights violations.

As the EU is about to launch its new Neighbourhood Policy, our organisations wish to stress that migration is not a threat and express their grave concerns.."

LInk - French and Link Arabic

Malta summit: Experts raise concerns over lopsided EU-Africa migrant deals (Malta Independent, link): "

"Forced into action by its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the European Union is pressing some northern African nations to sign lopsided deals that would send thousands back without sufficient protection, African diplomats and migration experts are warning.

Concern is growing that the EU will use its considerable political and economic clout — including access to more than 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in aid — to buy off vulnerable countries on the sidelines of a two-day summit with African leaders starting Wednesday in Malta.

Still wary of Europe's colonial past, some Africans believe the EU is desperately trying to outsource its refugee challenges rather than accept that people will still try to come to the continent."

Afghans flee in droves, but Germany closing the door (IRIN, link):

"The number of Afghans making the journey to Europe has increased drastically over the past year. But the journey is fraught with danger.

There have been reports of migrants being violently attacked by bandits as they attempt to cross Iran. Health authorities in Nimruz, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, told IRIN they had treated people who returned with gunshot wounds inflicted by Iranian border police.

If they do make it to Europe, they face an increasingly cool reception, even in Germany which has until now been the most welcoming country. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced last week that Germany would tighten its policy on dealing with asylum applications from Afghans. He said many claiming asylum are from Afghanistan’s middle class, and they should stay home to help rebuild their country.

Yet the situation in Afghanistan only appears to be getting worse. President Ashraf Ghani, who took power a year ago, has so far been unable to rein in corruption or enforce government control over much of the country."

The illegalization and deportation of refugees in Tunisia (by Debora Del Pistoia, Glenda Garelli, Martina Tazzioli) (November 2015) (link): "The condition of asylum seekers and refugees in Tunisia is quite alarming, as the recent deportation to Algeria that we monitored in real-time and we report here below confirms."

News (10.11.15)

Austria calls for Greece, Italy border controls (ekathimerini.com, link): "Austria’s chancellor said establishing controls on the borders of Italy and Greece must be a priority to stem the influx of migrants into the EU. Werner Faymann said border controls inside the EU are less effective because refugee flows can "only be shifted" once the refugees have traveled thousands of kilometers (miles) in hopes of a safe haven".

EU plans new refugee centers as influx overwhelms Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Union governments acknowledged that policies to channel migration aren’t working, announcing new processing centers to deal with refugees who slip through Greece without being registered. With little more than 100 of a planned 160,000 asylum-seekers sent from Greece and Italy to future homes in other European countries and winter setting in, EU interior ministers said the record-setting influx threatens to overwhelm some governments."

As Migrants Continue to Arrive in Europe, Asylum Seekers Relocated (IOM, linK): "Arrivals of migrants and refugees to Europe by sea in 2015 approached 800,000 through the first week of November, a figure that amounts to nearly four times the total for all of 2014."

Parliament leaders sign joint refugee letter ahead of Valletta summit (euractiv, link)

EU/AU: Put Rights at Heart of Migration Efforts (HRW, link)

European Union warns of impending refugee 'catastrophe' during winter (DW, link): "A humanitarian catastrophe is looming over tens of thousands of refugees as winter closes in, the European Union has warned. EU ministers are under pressure to deliver on their promises as the migrant surge continues."

Agence Europe reports: "only 147 refugees out of the 160,000 that the EU countries had promised, in September, to make having so far been relocated from Greece "

EU will create migrant processing centres in the Balkans (neweurope, link)

Schengen open border agreement needs an overhaul: Dutch minister (DutchNews.nl, link)

Slovenia to tighten border control, fears unmanageable migrant wave (Yahoo, link)

Pakistan says it won’t take back migrants (neweurope, link) "Pakistan on November 8 announced its decision to suspend a 2010 agreement with the European Union for the return of all its citizens entering Europe illegally. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was quoted as saying by Agence France-Press (AFP) that European countries were misusing the agreement. “Pakistanis travelling illegally to any Western country are to be deported after proper verification” of their nationality and other relevant details from Pakistan, state-run Radio Pakistan quoted Khan as telling local media in Islamabad. But, he said, “Most of the [Western] countries are deporting people without verification by Pakistani authorities”."

EU considers migrant 'processing centres' in Balkans (euobserver, link): "EU interior ministers decided on Monday (9 November) to consider setting up processing centres in the Western Balkans to help with registration, identification, and finger printing of migrants."

EU: Updated Justice and Home Affairs Council: 9 November 2015: Draft Council conclusions on measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis (LIMITE doc no: 13799-15, pdf)

Paragraph 17: "As part of an information strategy geared at reducing pull factors, it should be clearly explained that migrants must register in their first Member State of arrival; that, under EU law, asylum seekers have no right to choose the Member State responsible for examining their application; and that migrants without a need of protection will be swiftly returned. Furthermore, a clear message should be passed that migrants cannot refuse to cooperate with the relevant national authorities. Henceforth, all necessary measures will be taken by Member States to prevent, deter and draw the consequences of such movements and non-cooperation."

9 November: EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November 2015:

- Revised: Valletta Summit Action Plan- Working Draft Five (LIMITE doc no 13768-15, pdf)

- Revised: Declaration: Valletta Summit Political Declaration (Version One) (LIMITE doc no: 13767-15, pdf)

See: EU and Africa still at loggerheads on Valletta accord (euobserver, link): "Senior EU and African officials remain divided on readmission and legal migration ahead of the Valletta summit in Malta. The two sides have been thrashing out draft conclusions and political declarations in the lead up to a conference aimed at addressing the root causes of migration flows to the EU from the continent. “What remains to be discussed is certainly the issue of returns and readmission where some of our African partners are still looking for ways of redrafting some of the present version that is on the table,” a senior EU official told reporters in Brussels on Monday (9 November).

African negotiators are also unhappy with a plan to issue special transit visas or EU laissez-passer documents for those sent home.The EU laissez-passer is a standard travel document for the expulsion of third-country nationals. Member states want it to become the standard for all those booted out of the EU.The African Union's ambassador to the EU, Ajay Bramdeo, last week said such a document was “unheard of in terms of international law and international practice. He said African nationals asked to leave the EU should only do so on a voluntary basis. "

EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November 2015: Background Note (pdf): Among the aims is to tackle "Root causes" which are wars, persecution and poverty. Another is: "Return and readmission

Leaders are expected to make progress on return arrangements and readmission agreements. In particular, they should strengthen cooperation in order to facilitate the return and sustainable reintegration of irregular migrants, both from EU member states and associated countries and from African countries of transit and destination. The summit should also call for strengthening the capacity of authorities of countries of origin to respond to readmission applicants. A special emphasis is expected to be put on identification and issuance of travel documents."

The reference to "travel documents" is to the EU's proposal that EU-issued Laissez-passer documents be sufficient for returning refugees. The Council's legal basis is relying on 1994 Recommendations (Statewatch JHA Archive 1976-2000) for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures.

There are currently 17 readmission agreements (link) are in force with the following countries: Hong Kong, Macao, Sri Lanka, Albania, Russia, Ukraine, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey (inoperative) and Cape Verde

See also:  Valletta Summit: Documentation

Greece: Anti-racist Observatory of the University of the Aegean: The Refugee issue: "Fortress Europe" and Solidarity (pdf)

"This summer we experienced a real humanitarian crisis, a situation that could have led to an unprecedented tragedy if hundreds of volunteers had not been mobilised and had not offered their unconditional and continuous solidarity to those who came from the Middle East, Central and Southern Asia and North Africa and were heading towards Europe."

UK: Police use anti-terrorism powers to detain UK volunteers taking aid to Calais refugee camp 6,000 people live in squalor near the Calais ferry terminal (The Independent, link):

"British volunteers on a humanitarian aid run to refugees in Calais were detained by police under legislation meant to be used against suspected terrorists, an aid group has told the Independent. Two people working with the London2Calais group said they were stopped and held for three hours under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 while returning to the UK at Calais.

One of the pair, who were travelling in the same vehicle, said Kent Police counter-terror officers carried out the detention on the Calais side of the channel.

News (9.11.15)

Migrants at British RAF base on Cyprus given asylum deadline (, link): "Britain has given dozens of Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese migrants camped at its military base on Cyprus seven days to claim asylum in the country or face deportation to Lebanon, a government spokesman said on Monday. Two fishing boats carrying 115 people came ashore at a British Royal Air Force (RAF) base on Cyprus three weeks ago, the first time in the migrant crisis that refugees have landed directly on British sovereign soil."

Greece: ‘It Was Hell’: Lesbos Volunteers Recount Harrowing Refugee Rescues (Newsweek, link)

Germany: Pegida march goes forward despite Kristallnacht anniversary (DW, link): "Supporters of far-right Pegida group are set to hold rallies in Dresden and other German cities despite the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Thousands of people filed an online petition against the planned events. "

EU turns to African leaders to stem migrant crisis (RTL, link):

Luxembourg's FM Jean Asselborn warns of EU collapse due to refugee crisis (DW, link): "Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has said the EU might "break apart" under the strain of the migrant crisis. His words come as politicians find themselves at odds over how to deal with the crisis."

Turkey, Bulgaria & Greece move to tackle migration (.worldbulletin.net, link)

Refugee crisis: Germany imposes restrictions on Syrian refugees in surprise U-turn (Independent, link): "Syrian refugees will only be able to stay for one year with limits to their rights as refugees "

FINLAND: Supo: Terror threat up partly because of immigration (Helsinki Times, link): "The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) has warned that the threat of terrorism has increased in Finland since the summer of 2014. Supo estimates in its latest threat assessment that the threat of an organised terrorist attack remains low but that the threat of an isolated act of violence has continued to grow."

FINLAND: Man brandishes handgun outside reception centre in Helsinki (Helsinki Times, link): "Investigation into an incident in which a man brandished a firearm outside a reception centre in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki, on Thursday has moved forward."

BELGIUM: Dozens of refugees spend the night outside (Expactica, link): "Dozens of refugees in Brussels had to spend the night outside last night. All the beds for those that are waiting to apply were taken. "

EU: "Lack of cooperation" by refugees to be met, if necessary, with coercive measures including forced fingerprinting and detention

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 9 November 2015: Draft Council conclusions on measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis (LIMITE doc no: 13738-15, pdf)

Paragrpah 3: to "speed up the relocation process" or designate for "return"..This is about fast track asylum procedure or detention to induce people to apply for asylum as soon as they arrive rather than move towards other Member States, using coercive measures if they refuse.

"Member States, to overcome the potential lack of cooperation of migrants as they arrive into the European Union, and while fully respecting the fundamental rights and the principle of non-refoulement, will make full use of all possibilities provided by the EU acquis, such as (1) asylum procedures at borders or transit zones; (2) accelerated procedures; (3) nonadmissibility of subsequent asylum applications by the individuals concerned; (4) coercive measures, including, as a last resort, detention for a maximum period necessary for the completion of underlying procedures"

"Coercive measures" also include: 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)

Under paragraph 2 Greece and Italy will register people on arrival but move processing to their mainlands:

"Italy and Greece will substantially accelerate the preparatory steps for potential asylum seekers to be relocated. The Council supports Italy and Greece in their decision to register migrants before further handling their case on the mainland, in particular with Eurodac machines provided by Member States."

Para 7: "upscaling [by 1 December 2015] the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in Greece within the current operational plan"

The shift of Poseidon operations on the Greece-Turkey border might save more lives but is also a precursor to blocking first and then sending people back to Turkey once it agrees to accept them.

See also: Concept paper on the deployment of European Migration Liaison Officers (LIMITE doc no: 13435-15,pdf): Known as "EMLOs" to gather information and intelligence and deals with returns and readmission.

The following countries have been designated to get EU EMLOs:

1. Egypt (regional mandate covering East and initially Horn of Africa)
2. Morocco
3. Lebanon (covering Syria)
4. Niger
5. Nigeria
6. Senegal (regional approach to be considered as regards reporting on neighbouring countries)
7. Pakistan (regional mandate covering also Afghanistan)
8. Serbia (regional approach to be considered for Western Balkans)
9. Ethiopia (regional mandate covering Horn of Africa, in particular Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, South Sudan)
10. Tunisia (covering Libya)
11. Sudan (regional mandate covering Horn of Africa, in particular Eritrea which cannot be covered through Ethiopia)
12. Turkey
13. Jordan

Only Pakistan and Turkey (not operative) have readmission agreements with the EU. [emphasis added throughout]

UN warns Cameron not to turn his back on refugees as winter nears (Guardian, link): "This is the moment our generation must act, says migration expert Peter Sutherland"

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, 9 November 2015: Background Note (pdf) Discussing refugee crisis response. And B Points Agenda (French, pdf) for discussion and A Points Agenda: non-legislative (French, pdf), adopted without debate.

UNHCR: Winterization Plan for the Refugee Crisis in Europe: November 2015 – February 2016 (pdf)

Asylum Seeker's Death by Bulgarian Police Must Be Investigated (liberties.eu, link): "An asylum seeker is shot dead by police on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, but will justice come for the victim and his family? An Afghan man was shot down by a police officer and over 50 others were arrested near the Bulgarian – Turkish border in the evening of October 15, 2015. In connection with the incident, which took place near the town of Sredets, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee expressed the following position"

News (7-8.11.15)

Frontex to deploy forces on Greek-Albanian border (ekathimerini.com): "The European Union border protection agency Frontex says it will deploy forces along Greece’s border with neighboring Albania.Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri on Friday told Albanian television station Top Channel the agency wants to prevent migrants from attempting to reach Western Europe by traveling through Albania."

Greece: PM to visit Turkey for refugee talks (ekathimerini.com)

Sweden faces huge shortfall in refugee tents (The Local.se, link): "Sweden won't have enough tents to house record numbers of asylum seekers, with only 4,000 spaces available for an expected 50,000 refugees"

Czech volunteers heading for Lesbos to help migrants (Prague Monitor, link)

France to take in just 200 refugees in November (The Local.fr, link)

Greece: United Nations Predicts 5,000 Daily Migrant Arrivals in Europe Until February (Greek Reporter, link)

Norway: Shutting Norway border 'not off table': minister (The Local.no, link): "Norway’s government has not ruled out shutting the country’s northern border with Russia, after an extraordinary meeting held on Friday to discuss record refugee numbers"

Germany: Asylum activists arrested for anti-AfD protest (The Local.de, link): "Police clashed Saturday with activists who took to the streets of Berlin to shout down anti-migrant marchers of the populist nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD)".

Denmark and Sweden in refugee war of words (The Local.dk, link): "Sweden’s declaration that it can no longer guarantee refugees a roof over their heads has sparked a back and forth between Danish and Swedish ministers."

Austria: 'Majority' fear effects of refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Concern about the impact of the refugee crisis on Austria is growing, with 60 percent of people saying that the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants is a cause for fear and worry, according to a new survey."

German teachers union warns girls to stay away from refugee men (DW, link): "A teachers group in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt has garnered criticism after saying girls should be encouraged to stay away from male - often Muslim - refugees. Politicians have accused the group of fear-mongering. "

EU: European Commission: Refugee crisis statistics

- State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (6-11.15, pdf) contains for first time data on:
- Joint Frontex return flights (pdf) Main countries are Pakistan and Nigeria
- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (Greece and Italy, pdf): "Total Reception Capacity: Lesvos: 700 (Moria) 780 (Kara Tepe) with Frontex: 54 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer)"
- Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (Communicated as of 29 October 2015) (pdf): "14 Member States 3,546 places (of 160,000)"
- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (Communicated as of 6 November 2015) (pdf)

Joint African and European recommendations for the Valletta Summit (madenetwork.org, link): With this statement, African and European civil society set out priorities for the upcoming discussions and outcomes of the Valetta Summit:

"The African and European Civil Society Joint Statement is based on consultations conducted by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Caritas Senegal in its role as MADE Africa Coordinator with several African and European civil society platforms and organisations during September and October 2015. The statement comes ahead and in preparation of the Africa-Europe Valletta Summit on Migration on 11-12 November 2015, focused on reinforcing existing cooperation processes between Europe and Africa, particularly the Rabat and Khartoum processes on migration, and the EU-Africa Dialogue on Migration and Mobility. The Valletta Summit will result in a political declaration and an action plan."

African and European Civil Society Joint Statement (pdf)

EU-AFRICA: List of invited delegations: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November 2015 Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta - Malta (pdf)

News (6.11.15)

Greeks struggle to give dead refugees a dignified burial (CBCNews, link): "Activist tries to organize proper burials 'just to make us a little bit more human'"

Mediterranean Migrants and Refugees: Latest Arrivals and Fatalities (IOM, link): Total arrivals in EU: 772,979 and 3,423 deaths/misssing (6.11.15): 627,527 in Greece (Main countries of origin: Syria and Afghanistan) and 141,501 in Italy (Main countries of origin: Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Bangladesh, Ghana). See Infographic (IOM) inclusing countires of origin

Moscovici: 3 million migrants won’t harm EU economy (euractiv, link)

Agence Europe reports that Frontex currently has 35 agents in Greek "hotspots", and by the end of January it will have 143 "agents" there.

"Hotspots" in Germany? Migrant crisis: Germany to fast-track asylum returns (BBC News, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel said five special centres would handle the applications of asylum-seekers deemed to have little chance of staying. Her Christian Democrats and their junior partners, the Social Democrats, have argued for weeks over the plan."

EU wants actions, deadlines from Valletta summit (euobserver, link): "The EU’s lead negotiator at next week’s Africa summit on migration, Pierre Vimont, wants actions backed by deadlines and oversight. Speaking in Brussels at a conference on Thursday (5 November), the former top official of the EU diplomatic service, said Valletta needs to mark a departure from previous dialogues. “For us, Valletta is not about repeating what has been done, it is not about reinventing what already exists,” he said."

Germany's opposition slams Berlin refugee deal (DW, link): "Germany's opposition parties have criticized a deal forged by coalition partners to control migration flows in Germany, saying it produces "little concrete action." Germany has struggled to cope with the influx."

EU Commission refugee announcement riles right-wing MEPs (Parliament magzine, link): "The EU Commission predicts three million migrants will arrive by end of next year."

Tsipras to hold emergency meeting on refugees (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has invited mayors of eastern Aegean islands bearing the brunt of the current refugee influx to Athens for an emergency meeting on how to deal with the crisis. The meeting, scheduled for midday Friday, was also to be attended by the north and south Aegean regional governors as well as mayors and religious officials from the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios, and government officials."

No transit zones on German borders for now (euobserver, link): "Germany’s governing coalition parties diffused tensions over the refugee crisis on Thursday (5 November) in a deal to set up five migrant reception centres inside the country and to speed up asylum procedures and deportations.The Social Democrats (SPD), the junior coalition partners to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, rejected the idea of transit zones on the Austrian border, claiming they would amount to detention camps. Instead, the coalition agreed to set up five reception centers within Germany, which would hold migrants from countries deemed safe, mainly from the Balkans, and those refusing to co-operate with asylum laws. Migrants would not be detained, in a concession won by the SPD from Merkel, but if they leave the region where the centre is located, they would lose welfare benefits."

Geopolitical and power games with the refugees (X-Pressed, link): "Frontex cynically admits double-counting those entering from the Greek border and then again from the Hungarian or Croatian. Later, they will add a relevant note at the end of the text. All this, however, is not of concern for the Commission. So one wonders: Does the Commission know how many people have entered this year in the EU? The correct answer is: Maybe they know, maybe they don’t – but that does not really matter."

Bulgaria Border Security System 'Out of Service over Unpaid Electricity Bills' (Balkan Insight, link): "State-of-the art border monitoring equipment has been installed at the Bulgarian-Turkish border but it is "out of service. Police have no money for electricity," German magazine Der Spiegel's website notes."Citing official documents, it also suggests the number of people crossing Bulgaria's border without being caught might be "enormous"."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Government approves sending troops to Slovenia (Prague Post, link): "The Czech government approved today the sending of up to 50 soldiers, including engineering and health officers, to help Slovenia with border protection, Defense Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO) said after the Cabinet meeting today."

Greek PM Tsipras and EU Parliament Chief Schulz Visit Lesvos Amid Protests (Greek Reporter, link)

Tsipras to hold emergency meeting on refugees (ekathimerini, link)

Unmarked baby graves a harrowing reminder the refugee crisis is far from over (Irish Mirror, link)

Germany to speed up asylum deportations (The Local, link)

Refugee beds running out in Sweden (New Europe, link)

EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control

The EU has made €24 million available for research into autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control systems" in order to improve the surveillance of Europe's borders and "to support missions ranging from surveillance to detection of marine pollution incidents, and including early identification and tracking of illegal activities and illegal communication."

Italy: Interior MInistry circular on the "relocation" procedure

On 6 October 2015, the interior ministry sent a circular to the prefetti [government envoys responsible for security] outlining the provisional measures for international protection adopted for the benefit of Italy and Greece, including the start of "relocation" procedures. These instructions are in response to the decisions of the European Council meetings held on 14 and 22 September 2015.

Asylum seekers "in clear need of protection", belonging to nationalities whose recognition of international protection is above 75% according to the last quarter's Eurostat data, may enter the "relocation" procedure.

European Commission: Progress following Western Balkans Route Leaders' Meeting: Second Contact Points Video Conference (pdf):

"Frontex and the Commission insisted on the importance of the relevant countries responding to the proposed operational plans from Frontex to enable Frontex to deploy its teams by mid-November in Greece and Croatia."

Europe must act now on refugee deaths (IRR, link):

"As borders become militarised zones, and internal policing of refugees and migrants intensifies, the IRR continues to monitor asylum- and migration- related deaths.... In the absence of an effective accountability mechanism, it is up to us to call EU states to account. When state responsibility is engaged following a death, why do we not know even the names, ages, nationalities of a large number of the dead? Is anyone held accountable, and if not, why not? The IRR will continue to monitor deaths in order to help campaigners in their demands for structures of accountability for the deaths inside Europe, caused by Europe’s response to refugees and migrants."

News (5.11.15)

Agence Europe reports: "To date, only 116 people have been relocated from Italy (86) and Greece (30 Iraqis and Syrians travelled to Luxembourg on 4 November) to other EU countries. Member states have pledged 2,314 places (of the 160,000 planned), following an announcement by France, the Commission said on Wednesday 4 November." [emphasis added]

Bulgaria Border Security System 'Out of Service over Unpaid Electricity Bills (.novinite.com, link): "State-of-the art border monitoring equipment has been installed at the Bulgarian-Turkish border but it is "out of service. Police have no money for electricity," German magazine Der Spiegel's website notes."

A Europe without walls and frontiers our vision, says PM Tsipras (ANA, link)

Swedish mobile app tries to put out asylum fires (The Local.se, link): "Following a string of suspected arson attacks on temporary refugee accommodation in Sweden, a new neighbourhood watch app is hoping to spark communities into action to prevent future damage."

Spanish navy ship rescues over 500 refugees from fishing boat off Libya (The Local.es, link): "A Spanish navy frigate rescued more than 500 migrants off the coast of Libya on Thursday as the small wooden fishing boat they were packed into sailed adrift."

Refugees must take 'Austrian values' course (The Local.at, link): "Austria’s minister for foreign affairs and integration, Sebastian Kurz, will present a 50 point integration plan for recognised refugees next week - which will include a special course to teach them “Austrian values”. and Possible charges for refugee convoy activists (The Local.at, link)

Pussy Riot member: Czech Republic treats refugees like criminals (Prague Monitor, link): !The Czech Republic is treating refugees like criminals, Maria Alyokhina, member of the feminist punk-rock band Pussy Riot, said after her visit to the refugee detention facility in Bela-Jezova on Tuesday. Alyokhina, 27, called the arguments of the Czech government to justify the existence of the facility "absurd and xenophobic." "Such a camp should not have existed on Czech soil at all. Refugees gain nothing from a stay there expect for a psychological harm," Alyokhina told CTK after the visit. "The refugees were detained without knowing where they were and where they were placed. They received all information in Czech that none of them can understand," she added".

Hotspots: Europe Debates Initial Reception Centers for Refugees (Spiegel Online, link) "Angela Merkel is hoping that a proposal for more reception centers in areas where refugees land at Europe's external borders will ease the influx into Germany. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to happen anytime soon."

Western Balkans route still preference of most refugees (euractiv, link): "The steady stream of refugees through the Balkans continues - while the national governments of their desired destinations are tightening their asylum laws in reaction"

EU predicts 3 million more migrants could arrive by end 2016 (AP, link)

Parallel realities: refugees seeking asylum in Europe and Hungary's reactions (eumigrationlawblog.eu, pdf)

Ahead of PM, Schulz visit, refugee load grows on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link): "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Parliament President Martin Schulz are due on Thursday to visit Lesvos, which has received more than half of some 600,000 refugees and migrants who have arrived in Greece this year" and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he witnessed migrants and refugees reaching Lesvos by dinghy shortly after landing on the island to inaugurate a fast-track registration center.(link)

UNHCR (link): 752,072 arrivals, 608,970 in Greece and 140,200 in Italy, and 3,440 dead/missing.

EU and Africa to clash on readmissions (euobserver, link): "EU negotiators, led by Pierre Vimont, the former head of the EU diplomatic service, are more interested in implementation of existing readmission agreements to help send people back. “There is no secret that the Africans are looking for opportunity for legal migration, work permits and these kinds of things, while the Europeans are focusing more on returns and readmission”, one EU official told this website."

Sweden to tap Hungary's EU relocation quota (euobserver, link): "Sweden, one of the main destination of migrants coming to Europe, is to ask the EU to relocate asylum seekers to other member states"

Viktor Orbán blames left-wing for European refugee crisis (Budapest Beason, link).

News (4.11.15)

Helicopters winch Lebanese, Syrian migrants from sea off Cyprus (ekathimerini.com, link): "Twenty-six people thought to be Lebanese and Syrian were winched to safety by helicopters off Cyprus in an overnight operation when their sailboat began to sink in rough seas, authorities said. Radars picked up a distress signal from the boat sailing off the island's south-eastern tip, which is prone to very strong sea currents. Police said a number of passengers required medical treatment for hypothermia."

European Union states have relocated just 116 refugees out of 160,000 (Guardian, link): "EU agreed in September to transfer 160,000 people from most affected states but so far just 86 have moved from Italy and 30 are due to leave Greece"

Austria puts up barbed wire at border despite chancellor's pledge (GUardian, link): "Werner Faymann last week criticised Hungary for blocking refugees with barbed wire fences and said Austria’s project was different"

Greece repatriates undocumented migrants (ekathimerini.com, link): "A group of 70 undocumented immigrants from Pakistan are set to be repatriated later Wednesday in the first such operation in about 18 months. The EU-funded operation is overseen by the bloc’s border agency Frontex in cooperation with the Greek police’s Aliens Bureau. The immigrants, who are currently held at the Amygdaleza detention facility north of Athens, will be flown to Islamabad shortly after midnight." and Greek coast guard says 5 die in boat accident (link)

Tusk calls migration summit number 5 (euractiv, link): "European Council President Donald Tusk has called another EU summit on the migrant crisis, the fifth this year, this time in Valletta, on 12 November. The summit of the EU leaders will be held back-to-back with an EU-Africa summit on migration, which will start the previous day. Migration summitry has produced many decisions, but has been followed by minimum implementation."

All eyes on Germany as refugee exodus continues (euractiv, link): "Member states are affected in very different ways by the refugee crisis. But all of them worry about what will happen when Germany’s capacity to absorb asylum seekers reaches saturation point... The first EU leaders to announce that they would close their borders if Germany does were Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, his Romanian colleague Victor Ponta, and their counterpart from candidate country Serbia, Alexandar Vucic."

EU tests new screening process on Greek island where over 300,000 migrants have arrived (usnews.com, link): " registration center for migrants and refugees in Moria village on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands are camping out in a tent city that has sprung up around the police registration center chosen for the pilot program, which includes translators and police interviewers who use a secret questionnaire aimed at helping to quickly determine the migrants’ country of origin."

A Syrian Migrant’s Journey from Syria to Europe (IOM, link)

Roma driven to homelessness across Europe (euractiv, link): "Roma are being evicted from their homes across the European Union in systematic forced evictions. What is needed is the political will to use EU anti-discrimination laws to sanction member states guilty of leaving Roma homeless."

Hungary: Parliament rejects refugee quotas, sets legal battle with EU (Budapest Journal, link): "Parliament yesterday set up a legal battle with the European Union by approving a resolution rejecting an EU plan to introduce a quota system that would share refugees among member nations, according to reports"

Agence Europe reports, some good news, at last: "The Commission also decided on Tuesday to grant additional funding of €2 million for refugees and asylum seekers currently in the Western Balkans. With the arrival of winter, this humanitarian aid will enable the UNHCR to provide 200,000 refugees with warm clothes for the winter and temporary shelter and protection at reception sites in the region."

DENMARK: October was a record month for asylum-seekers in Denmark (The Copenhagen Post, link)

DENMARK: Rise in human trafficking cases fuelled by refugee crisis (The Copenhagen Post, link)

FRANCE: VIDEO: Explosion at Calais refugee camp (The Local, link)

POLAND: Survey: Poles believe Poland cannot afford refugees (The News, link): " 73 percent of Poles consider that their country cannot afford to take in refugees, at the same time 53 percent believe that as an EU member Poland should take an active part in solving the migration crisis, a recent poll by the TNS Polska has indicated."

UN refugee chief: funding shortage triggered Europe arrivals (Washington Post, link)

NETHERLANDS: Western Balkan countries are safe, says Dutch justice minister (Dutch News, link): "Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have been added to the Dutch list of safe countries, which means their nationals have no right to asylum in the Netherlands."

Yet another emergency EU Summit (Heads of State): Invitation Letter from Council President Tusk to Members of the European Council (pdf) to be held on 12 November at 14.30 straight after the Valletta EU-Africa Summit and there is also to be another extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 9 November 2015. President Tusk concerned at some EU states introducing "different measures at internal Schengen borders"

EU: European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (3 November 2015, pdf) Details figures on funding, "hotspots" (Greece and Italy) and returns

EU: Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Athens: First Relocation Flight from Greece (pdf):

"On Wednesday 4 November, Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn will travel to Greece. Together with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Greek Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction responsible for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas they will meet with the first group of asylum seekers to benefit from the EU's relocation scheme from Greece. Thirty asylum seekers will travel by plane from the Athens International Airport to have their applications processed in Luxembourg."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:

"Instead of turning the first relocation flight from Greece into a photo-opportunity the Commissioner would be be employed sorting out the mess at home in Brussels by tackling the lack of humanitarian aid and civil protection on the beaches and camps in Greece and right up through the centre of the EU and by getting member states to come up with the number of refugees they are going to "relocate" and when."

EU: Letter from European Commission and Council to Member States (30.10.15, pdf) Outlines where EU Member States response to the refugee crisis is "still falling short":

- The European Asylum Support Office needs the secondment of 374 experts, so far it has only 153 promises, Frontex needs 775 border guards and so far has 353 from nineteen states

- the Syria Crisis Trust Fund needs 500 million euro - it has 50 million euro

- the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: EU funding will reach 1.8 billion euro which should be matched by EU Member States - so far:

"the contrast with Member State' pledges of below 30 million euro is stark. In the run-up to the Valletta Summit, it is indispensable that the national effort comes closer to the EU funding"

UK-EU refugee crisis and humanitarian emergency: House of Lords, Select Committee on the European Union report: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (pdf):

"Evidence suggests that a majority of those currently entering the EU as irregular migrants are ‘prima facie refugees’, as defined by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It is, therefore, important that as much focus is placed on the humanitarian aspects of the crisis as on law enforcement....

We recommend that, as part of its review of EU legislation, the Commission should propose an EU framework that builds on the humanitarian aspects of the UN Protocol that concerns migrant smuggling. It should criminalise only acts committed for financial gain. Clauses should be added to avoid the criminalisation of individuals and organisations acting for humanitarian purposes. Inhuman and degrading treatment should be included as aggravating factors in the sentencing of smugglers." [emphasis added]

Refugee Rescued With His Cat Exposes “Dangerous And Unlivable” Conditions In German Camp (Buzzfeed, link):

“It is like a prison here,” said Moner Al Kadri, a refugee from Syria who gained internet fame when pictures of him with his kitten he brought across the Mediterranean on a life raft were posted on Facebook... The couple is now in a large refugee camp in Suhl, a city in eastern Germany’s federal state of Thuringia. The conditions, Al Kadri said, are deplorable. Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, and other families fleeing Middle East conflicts pad through inches of water to get to the bathroom and receive small food rations, and they are subject to spreading diseases."

News (3.11.15)

Sweden beset by asylum seeker-targeted arson attacks (euobserver, link): "In the month of October alone, ten asylum homes caught fire in Sweden in suspected cases of arson. As police search for the culprits, a debate has erupted on who, or what, is responsible. ”We announced that the building would become an asylum home and it was set ablaze the following night”, Olle Reichenberg, the municipal chairman of Danderyd, a wealthy Stockholm suburb, told Swedish radio. ”It seems clear to me what the motive was.” The former kindergarten in was just one of ten buildings that caught fire during the month of October in suspected cases of arson in different parts of the country. The police has so far not found any incendiary device."

Libyan faction threatens EU with migrant boats (euobserver, link): "One of the two rival authorities in Libya has threatened to send migrants to Europe unless the EU recognises its legitimacy. Jamal Zubia, a spokesman for the General National Congress (GNC), told The Telegraph, a British daily, in an interview published on Monday (2 November): "I have advised my government many times already that we should hire boats and send them [migrants] to Europe." "We are protecting the gates of Europe, yet Europe does not recognise us and does not want to recognise us. So why should we stop the migrants here?"."

Germany: Merkel pushes for transit zones, warns of military clashes (euobserver, link): "German chancellor Angela Merkel defended the deal on transit zones reached with her rebellious sister party on Sunday and said her coalition partners needed to be convinced of it. Merkel also warned against military presence in the Balkans, in case borders close on the migration route....Speaking to supporters of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in the western city of Darmstadt on Monday evening, Merkel said the Social Democrats (SPD) need to support the transit zones.... SPD opposes the idea of large centres along the border, where migrants will be detained."

Official: Afghanistan will accept all Afghans deported from Germany (Stars & Stripes, link): "Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Hossain Alemi Balkhi has disapproved of Germany's decision to return the Afghans, saying in a recent interview with The Associated Press that Kabul is "against the forced exile of any people from any country back to where they came from." "The problem that caused them to leave Afghanistan in the first place has not been solved — there is still war, conflict, insecurity," he said."

In Limbo at Europe's Door - African migrants can’t reach continent, but can’t go home (WSJ, link): "As the world watches hundreds of thousands of Syrians crossing into Europe from the east, territories north of the Sahara are filling with comparable numbers of Africans determined to make their own entrance. Migrants from more than a dozen African nations are descending on Morocco, Algeria and Libya in unprecedented numbers, sleeping in abandoned apartments, derelict warehouses and on city streets. Thousands are living in fast-expanding forest encampments, surviving off garbage...".

Winter is coming: the new crisis for refugees in Europe (Guardian, link): "From Lesbos to Lapland, refugees are bracing for a winter chill that many will never have experienced before. Some will have to endure it outside"

Migrant disturbances at British base on Cyprus (ekathimerini.com, link): "British military authorities confirmed Tuesday there had been disturbances at a base in Cyprus where 114 migrants from the Middle East are being kept after coming ashore last month. However, he did say a fire had set two tents ablaze Monday and that the fire services put it out. Tully was responding to a videos posted on the website of Britain’s Guardian newspaper showing migrants protesting and complaining about "being treated like animals". He said the mostly Syrians, Palestinians and Lebanese were frustrated, as they were unsure about their future, but he insisted they were being well looked after."

Humanitarian group vows more aid for refugees in Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which coordinates humanitarian groups around the world, promised to increase its aid to 12.7 million Swiss francs over the next seven months from 3 million offered in September. In Athens, the IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, called for a loosening of travel restrictions to allow the refugees to move legally, echoing a position long held by Greece. “Because if you do it legally, you take away the illegal business from the traffickers and then the smugglers. And then people would feel safer and it would be better organized,” he said"

Migrants Continue to Flow into Greece, Balkans (IOM, link): 757,192 refugees have arrived into the EU, 612,605 in Greece and 140,636 in Italy. There have been 3,406 dead/missing (3 November 2015).

Greece: Tsipras under pressure to tear down Turkish border fence (euractiv, link): "The Greek government is facing increasing pressure to take down a fence along its land border with Turkey, and stop refugees from making the deadly journey to Europe via the Mediterranean.... The 12-kilometer fence was built in 2011 at the land border with Turkey, along the Evros River. Antonis Samaras, the conservative premier, decided to proceed with the fence, in order to stem the rising number of illegal immigrants entering the country via Turkey."

Greece: Lesbos has run out of room to bury refugees killed at sea, mayor says (aljazeera.com, link): "esbos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Greece's Vima FM radio on Monday that he is still trying to find places to bury dozens of bodies that are now in the local morgue. "Yesterday we held five funerals, but there are still 55 bodies at the morgue," Galinos told NBC News. "Who could have anticipated such a carnage in the Aegean?""

GERMANY: Merkel pushes for transit zones, warns of military clashes (EUobserver, link)

Europe begins migrant screening on Greek islands (ap, link): "Thousands are camping out here in a tent city that has sprung up around the police registration center chosen for the pilot program, which includes translators and police interviewers who use a secret questionnaire aimed at helping to quickly determine the migrants' country of origin."

NETHERLANDS: Six arrested at Enschede refugee protest (Dutch News, link)

EU: Refugee crisis: 700 children a day now claiming asylum on European soil (The Independent, link): "Up to 700 children a day are now claiming asylum on European soil, as new figures reveal that twice as many child refugees are arriving this year compared to 2014."

GERMANY: Dresden's PEGIDA numbers drop, but anti-refugee sentiment still strong (Deutsche Welle, link)

Migration and interpretation – a potent mix (Law Society Gazette, link): "The current migration crisis is testing interpreting services across Europe. What is being done to ease the burden?"

Greek conscripts: 'we won't take part in fighting migrants' (libcom.org):

"A collective statement on the migrant crisis from “Diktyo Spartakos” (‘Spartacus Net’), a far leftist formation inside the Greek army, and signed by conscript soldiers from 50 different units.

The following inspirational statement deserves the widest possible circulation. It is from Greek conscripts in 50 units of the Armed Forces. The statement is notable for linking all the current horrors inflicted on workers everywhere to a single cause – the ongoing crisis of the capitalist system. In this crisis, which demands sacrifices in lost and ruined lives, all workers, whatever their condition, have a common cause and a common interest.. "

UK: Otley aid worker could face jail for smuggling 4-year-old back to family (ITV News, with viideos link): "Rob Lawrie tried to smuggle four-year-old Bahar from the infamous Jungle refugee camp in Calais to relatives in Leeds after her father pleaded with him to take her in his van. He persuaded a Yorkshire aid volunteer to try to take her to family in Leeds - Rob Lawrie's now due in court for this - he will appear in January in Boulogne charged with smuggling."

News (2.11.15)

Berlin journalist 'hunted by far-right thugs' (The Local.de, link): "A journalist for Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel said on Facebook he was tracked down and physically attacked on the street by right wing thugs in Berlin on Friday after writing a column about xenophobia."

Germany wants Greece 'hotspots' ready this month (ekathimerini.com, link): "Tobias Plate, a spokesman for Germany's interior ministry, said the centers were at various stages of completion but “we expect this to proceed rapidly.” Plate told reporters in Berlin on Monday that Germany “expect that in November...the hotspots, particularly in Greece, will become fully operational.” Germany, meanwhile, is close to completing work on two “waiting zones” capable of housing 5,000 migrants each at its border with Austria, Plate said".

Czech helper says refugees face desperate situation on Croatia border (Radio Praha, link)

First refugee relocation from Greece to Luxembourg on Wednesday (amna.gr, link)

Austria: Winter retreats from her anti-Semitic remarks (The Local.at, link): "An Austrian far-right MP is rapidly backpedalling after making remarks on social media which were interpreted as supporting anti-Semitic views."

Norway copies Danish anti-refugee adverts (The Local.no, link): "Norway has launched a campaign on Facebook and Twitter warning prospective refugees of the treatment they will face in the country, copying a negative advertising campaign launched in Denmark."

Sweden: Activists fight closure of Malmö migrant camp (The Local.se, link): "Campaigners are gathered at a controversial camp in Malmö that has been home to hundreds of mostly Roma people, but is set to be cleared by police and local authorities."

Hungary 'will not accept' refugees from other EU states (worldbulletin.net, link): " Refugees should be returned to Greece where they first entered EU, says Hungarian minister, noit accept any refugees sent to it by other European Union countries. Janos Lazar, the minister in charge of the Hungarian Prime Ministry, told reporters on Thursday: "Western European countries want to send about 40,000 migrants back to Hungary; we will not accept them, [not] even one of them." "The migrants did not enter the European Union zone from Hungary; they entered from Greece, [to] where they should be sent," Lazar added."

7 Volunteers Whose Lives Were Changed By Refugees (The Huffington Post, link): "HuffPost Greece spoke with members of MSF’s team on Kos about what motivated them to leave their homes and take care of others in a difficult situation -- one we could all experience at some point in our lives. Who did they meet among the refugees and whom will they never forget?"

After escaping war, asylum seekers in Sweden now face arson attacks (Reuters, link): "* Sweden expects record migrant arrivals this year * Arson attacks on asylum centres remain unsolved * Minister attacks party over anti-immigration rhetoric * Sweden Democrats leader condemns attacks * But party publishes addresses of new asylum centres."

BULGARIA: Refugees found in refrigerated truck in Bulgaria (Al Jazeera, link)

EU: 'Sharing the Burden of Rescue': Illegalised Boat Migration, the Shipping Industry and the Costs of Rescue in the Central Mediterranean (Border Criminologies, link)

EU: The horrors of Lesbos: on the front-lines of Fortress Europe (ROAR Mag, link): "Far from providing safe refuge to those who survive the crossing, Europe is subjecting refugees to dehumanizing, degrading and life threatening conditions."

German Village of 102 Braces for 750 Asylum Seekers (New York Times, link)

Germany limits refugee access from Austria (The Local, link)

Germany's refugee welcome wears thin (IRIN News, link): "Images of Germans greeting refugees at Munich’s train station with cheers and teddy bears in early September were beamed around the world, but the welcome that asylum seekers receive after being dispersed to cities, towns and rural areas around the country is often quite different."

UK: Yorkshire 'Football for All' project helping refugees (Al Jazeera, link)

A journey to a refugee camp in Slovenia (Press Project, link)

Greece: Total of 19 dead recovered from Aegean Sea (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek authorities confirm that the bodies of four more migrants, all men, have been recovered north of the island of Farmakonissi in the eastern Aegean Sea. Four others were rescued and seven are missing. This brings the total number of dead recovered Sunday in the Aegean Sea to 19, in three separate incidents."

Merkel coalition still at odds on refugees (euobserver, link): "German chancellor Angela Merkel faces further coalition rifts this week as talks over the weekend with party leaders on the refugee crisis failed to produce a common government policy on how to deal with the huge number of arriving refugees and migrants."

From refugee crisis to Stormont, unacceptable language of intolerance breeds hatred by Phil Scraton (.belfasttelegraph.co.uk, link)

EU-AFRICA:Refugee crisis: Valletta Conference 11-12 November 2015: Update: Latest and full documentation and

See: EXCLUSIVE. EU-Africa: Valletta, the summit of dissent (afronline.org, link) and also: African and European Civil Society Joint Statement: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November, 2015 (thanks to afronline.org, pdf)

Documents

Valletta Summit Political Declaration Version Zero (LIMITE doc no: 13384-15, 23 October 2015, pdf)

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Four (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-3-15, 26 October 2015, pdf)

Valletta Summit on Migration, 11-12 November 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 13153-15, 16 October 2015, pdf)

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Three (Limite doc no: 12560-rev-2-15, 12 October 2015, pdf

Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)

1st version: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version LIMITE doc no 11534-15, 26 August 2015, pdf)

Background

GAMM-AFRICA: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response 5th Biannual Update (LIMITE doc no: 16600-14, pdf)

Draft Council Conclusions on the EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 (28 pages, LIMITE doc no: 13200-15, pdf)

""[T]hree issues affecting EU interests in the region have gained particular salience: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa, violent extremism and migration and forced displacement....

"The high number of people in the region who are willing to migrate is by far larger than the limited possibilities of legal avenues for migration, be it within the region or outside. Lack of opportunities for legal migration or complex and expensive procedures mean that many migrants feel that they have no other option than to use irregular channels."

See also: EU: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria prioritised for "pilot initiative on return" (Statewatch database)

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