September


EU: "SAFE" COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (LIMITE doc no: 12414 , pdf):

EU common list of safe countries of origin referred to in Article 2:

Albania,
Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Kosovo**,
Montenegro,
Serbia,
Turkey.

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, comments on the inclusion of Turkey and necessary safeguards::

"It would be designated 'safe' for Kurdish people who have Turkish citizenship; obviously there are Kurdish people from other countries, including those with Syrian and Iraqi citizenship some of whom would be refugees (but not recognised as such in Turkey). Those who do not have Turkish citizenship would not be covered by the Regulation, since it only designates a country as a safe country of origin, ie for nationals of that state. The presumption is rebuttable but as points out in the blog post " ‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know", it can be very hard to rebut.

In my view the proposal, to be acceptable at all: cannot apply to Turkey; must include strict safeguards to ensure that those who have a genuine claim have an effective chance to rebut the presumption of safety; and should prevent Member States from abusing the notion of a 'safe country of origin', or other forms of 'safe country' concepts, in their national law. (See blog post: "Safe countries of origin': Assessing the new proposal)"

EU: European Parliament study: The European legal framework on hate speech, blasphemy and its interaction with freedom of expression (446 pages, pdf):

"this study provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime on the one hand and to blasphemy and religious insult on the other hand. It also evaluates the effectiveness of existing legislation in selected Member States and explores opportunities to strengthen the current EU legal framework, whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The study also provides the European Parliament with guidelines on dealing with hate speech within the EU institutions."

Eastern Mediterranean - Western Balkans route conference, 08/10/2015:

"This conference will focus on the increased migratory flows coming from the Middle East and on the importance of the Western Balkan route.

Ministers for home affairs and ministers for foreign affairs will meet with their counterparts from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo). The associated countries, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are also invited.

Representatives from UNHCR, International Organisation for Migration, World Food Program, and EU agencies Frontex and EASO will present the situation on the ground."

News (30.9.15)

Italy: Migrant camp cleared at Ventimiglia - No border protestor camp also targeted in dawn operation (ANSA, link): " Genoa, September 30 - Police cleared a migrant camp in a pine wood at the city of Ventimiglia on the French border in a dawn operation on Wednesday. They also dismantled a camp put up by no border protestors. The camps with be knocked down with bulldozers"

Czech Republic: Opposition: gov't should keep fighting refugee quotas (Prague Monitor, link): "he Czech centre-left government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) should keep fighting the refugee quotas, the opposition Communist Party (KSCM) and Civic Democratic Party (ODS) told journalists before a lower house session yesterday."

The Latest: Overcrowding in refugee housing now an issue (AP, story, link): "Authorities in some parts of Germany have waived housing standards to cope with an unprecedented influx of migrants this year."

Polish extreme right bares its teeth (euractiv, link): "Polish far-right organized demonstrations on Saturday (26 September), against the background of the refugee crisis. They succeeded in holding demonstrations in several big cities, but turnout was low."

Germany: Different origin means different chance of success for asylum seekers in Germany - The chance of getting political asylum in Germany also depends on the country you're from. For the authorities, asylum seekers come from three types of countries. (DW, link)

Surprising Greens stance on the refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "The German Greens have added their voice to the debate on the refugee crisis. Some unexpected approaches have been discussed. EurActiv's partner Tagesspiegel reports.."

Migrant tent city springs up at Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Relief agencies have set up a tent city at Greece's border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to cope with the growing number of migrants and refugees trying to reach central Europe."

EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: At the Weekly meeting of the Commission on 23 September 2015: Management of the refugee crisis: Commission shows the way forward (link) it was agreed that:

- "Restore the normal situation and reinstate Dublin transfers to Greece within six months
- Establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard and extension of the Frontex mandate (December 2015)
-  Legal migration package including revision of Blue Card (March 2016)
- Further reform of the Dublin Regulation (March 2016)
-  Proposal for a structured system on resettlement (March 2016)"

EU Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med: EU agrees to start the active phase of the operation against human smugglers and to rename it "Operation Sophia" (pdf):

"The EU naval operation against human smugglers in the Mediterranean will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.

The Political and Security Committee also agreed that EUNAVFOR Med should be renamed "Sophia" after the name given to the baby born on the ship of the operation which rescued her mother on 22 August 2015 off the coast of Libya."

22 member states are involved in the Sophia operation - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

See also: European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean: Update: September 2015 (pdf)

HUNGARY: The right of asylum has practically vanished in Hungary – Pardavi (budapestbeacon.com, link):

"The right of asylum in Hungary has practically vanished because the refugees do not receive adequate care, applications for asylum are not fairly evaluated and very few receive refugee status, Hungarian Helsinki Committee co-chair Márta Pardavi says in her assessment of the status of refugees in Hungary. By continuously taking alarming political steps, Hungary will soon find itself in the same role as Greece, with one European court after another ruling that it is not a safe place to which to return refugees, says Pardavi, adding that if Hungary continues to visibly withdraw from every common European Union initiative to handle the refugee crisis, it will dig itself deeper in this game of denial."

And see Helsinki Committee: NO COUNTRY FOR REFUGEES – New asylum rules deny protection to refugees and lead to unprecedented human rights violations in Hungary (pdf) and The Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s opinion on the Governments amendments to criminal law related to the sealed border (pdf)

REFUGEE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Spreading Anti-Migrant Sentiment is Endangering Lives, IOM’s Swing Warns World Leaders (IOM link):

"United Nations – At the opening of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing warned that growing anti-migration sentiment in Europe is unnecessarily endangering the lives of migrants, while ignoring the overall benefits that migration has historically provided to the world..... Swing called on them to ensure that migration is governed in a responsible and humane fashion. One in seven people on the planet is a migrant – one billion in total – and billions more are impacted by migration daily. “Migrants cannot remain just a number to be counted,” said IOM’s Director General. “Governments must ensure that migrants’ rights are truly protected once and for all. This General Assembly, in its historic 70th year, presents world leaders with the opportunity to acknowledge that migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable.”

‘Hotspots’ for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) by Frances Webber:

"Through the mechanisms it is setting up for the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece, the EU is trying to regain control of refugee movement in the EU. The tough screening process it is setting up at points of entry into the EU seems designed as a crude instrument to separate out a minority of ‘good’ refugees from what EU ministers want to convince us are a majority of ‘bad’ economic migrants, and to dispatch the latter rapidly and efficiently. But life is not that simple, and the hotspots’ screening procedures could result in large numbers of people being returned to unsafe or unviable situations without proper consideration of their claims....

Frontex’s removal remit covers not just those whose claims are exhausted and so have no claim to remain on the territory, but also those who have not claimed protection. Does this mean that Frontex officials have a roaming mandate to go around Italy and Greece rounding up all those who have not registered a claim for asylum? The opportunity to claim international protection should be available at any time, up to the point of removal; but how will this right be guaranteed?

Without clear and robust safeguards in place, the EU's relocation package could turn out to be a figleaf for a quiet but massive removal operation against, rather than a protection operation for, those arriving on Europe's shores."

News (29.9.15)

Lesvos Refugee Project - donate via Paypal (link): "Our Mission: Provide needed goods for refugees arriving on the island of Lesvos, particularly in the area of Molyvos and Sykaminia and Make the challenge lighter for those helping during this time of humanitarian crisis."

Greece: Island coast guards, port authorities to meet with minister over refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "epresentative of the coast guard and port authorities of the Greek islands on the country’s eastern sea border that are struggling with a dramatic spike in the number of migrants and refugees trying to get into the European Union from Turkey, are expected to meet on Tuesday with Shipping and Island Policy Minister Theodoros Dritsas.... Speaking to AMNA, officers were critical of a decision in 2012 to construct a fence on Greece’s northern land border with Turkey, saying that the barricade diverted inflows to the islands, putting the lives of migrants at risk"

Bulgaria grateful to Turkey for stopping the migrants from entering the EU (standartnews.com, link): "President Plevneliev said that the two countries are preparing jointly special mechanisms for control at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. A case in point is an agreement for the setting up of a police and custom cooperation centre between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece."

Refugee crisis fears 'helped Freedom Party' (The Local.at, link): "After state elections in Upper Austria resulted in huge gains for the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and major losses for the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), regional governor Josef Pühringer has said he will be holding talks with all parties to discuss the options before forming a new coalition.The ÖVP and the Greens have lost their majority, and an ÖVP/FPÖ or ÖVP/SPÖ coalition look most likely."

Mediterranean Western Balkans Update - New Numbers from Italy, Greece, the FYROM (IOM, link): "IOM estimates that some 522,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea since the beginning of the year. Of those, 388,324 have landed in Greece and 130,891 have reached Italian shores after being rescued on the high seas in the Channel of Sicily, including 2,349 rescued since IOM’s last report released Friday, 25 September.".[emphasais added].

Migrants face growing numbers of challenges (euronews, link) and Migrants-face-growing-numbers-of-challenges (Newsweek, link)

Balkan migrant returnees face tough times (DW, link): "Serbian migrants who have tried to apply for asylum in Germany are being sent back following Berlin's decision to declare Serbia a country of safe origin. Lidija Tomic visited a collective center for returnees in Sabac."

Slovenia, Hungary to Patrol Borders Together to Tackle Refugee Influx (laht.com, link): "Slovenia and Hungary agreed on Monday to form joint patrols along the border between the two countries and follow the rules of the Schengen area of free movement to tackle the arrival of thousands of refugees trying to reach wealthy countries in Europe. The agreement and future cooperation on migration and refugees were discussed at a meeting of interior ministers Vesna Gyorkos Znidar of Slovenia, and Sandor Pinter of Hungary in the Slovenian border town of Dolga Vas, according to the news agency STA. The Slovenian minister said the fact that Hungary has removed the barbed wire placed on the border proves that “both countries advocate the respect of the Schengen rules and the EU.”"

MISSING MIGRANTS PROJECT: Half a Million Migrants Cross Mediterranean, While Almost 3,000 Die So Far in 2015 (link): " record half a million migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far in 2015, many of them women and children fleeing war in Syria and seeking asylum in the European Union, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today. Tragically almost 3,000 migrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty perished in these journeys, most from drowning after their flimsy craft succumbed to the waves."

Lesvos: Report: (Facebok link: philippa.kempson, link) "We have been surrounded by the worlds press all summer and the majority have been very special people, many have become friends and while they were here also became valued help and even part of the group. They still took amazing photos but they had a huge amount of humanity. In the last week it has become horrible!! And sadly the Greek photo journalists that are here now should be ashamed of them selves. They are behaving like vultures!! the volunteers can not reach the children in the boats without being barged out of the way by this scum. When confronted they become aggressive and threatening to the extent that today we had to call the police. We have had many wonderful journalist here from Greece and the world but this "disaster paparazzi" should be ashamed!!!!"

Dispatches: As Flows in Aegean Sea Increase, So Do Deaths (HRW, link): "As the number of people crossing the Aegean Sea has increased dramatically, so too have the deaths. Last Friday, the International Organization for Migration said 227 women, men, and children have died in the Aegean Sea since the beginning of the year, a significant jump from 73 people missing or dead recorded last year. Europe has focused for too long on securing borders and limiting arrivals instead of establishing more safe and legal channels for people to seek asylum or find refuge in the EU without resorting to dangerous routes and unscrupulous smugglers."

How Spain halted the flow of migrants from Mauritania to the Canary Islands - Economic aid, diplomacy and joint police action have helped stop the people traffickers (El Pais, link): "In 2008, 108 rickety boats reached the Canaries from Mauritania; so far this year, not one has arrived .The sea crossing is dangerous, but that hasn’t stopped more than 31,500 people succeeding in making the journey to the Canary Islands in recent years. But as suddenly as the exodus started, it has stopped."

EU: TURKEY: TURKEY will be required to take tough measures to stop the flow of migrants to Europe under a deal (Sundayn Times, link):"that could allow its own 75m people to move freely within Europe. Britain and Germany are among countries backing proposals to make Ankara responsible for holding back refugees, hundreds of thousands of whom have crossed from Turkey into Greece and Bulgaria in the past months. In return, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive not only billions in European funds but also political concessions that could include the right for Turks to enter the EU’s borderless Schengen area without a visa."

EU: 499,826 refugees have arrived: See UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response (detailed information, link): 2,962 dead/missing. 129,000 people have arrived in Italy and 368,394 in Greece: Map: arrivals on Greek Islands (pdf)

MOAS Launches New Mission in Southeast Asia (migrantreport.org, link): "The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will launch a rescue operation in Southeast Asia during the winter months, when thousands of Rohingya are expected to embark on the dangerous sea crossing out of Myanmar.... “MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone. “Our job in the Mediterranean is not over, but we now feel it is our responsibility to use the Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis, he said." and:

Mediterranean crisis: MSF ceases operations on Phoenix rescue ship (link): "Harrowing time in Libya: In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats. Fleeing places like Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya. They have been treated by MSF for a range of conditions ranging from mild dehydration and hypothermia to kidney failure and gunshot wounds. MSF on the Mediterranean: Since operations began on 2 May, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea."

Press Release: Extreme Poverty during the refugees’ journey (Greek Forum of Refugees, link):

"The Greek Forum of Refugees strongly feels the need to present and denounce the conditions that the refugees are dealing with, as soon as they arrive, in the European continent. The continent, that started values such as Democracy and Solidarity, proves being unable to apply them practically. Europe can do and offer, much more than what has been done until today. The GFR receives every day messages from European citizens that would like to offer help. Unfortunately, the leaders' policies, worldwide, do not keep up with this movement and the least that we can do is to denounce it."

Press release: Greek (pdf) and English (pdf)

Lesvos Volunteers: How to help refugees in Lesvos, Greece? (link): "Several amazing teams are working on the north coast of Lesvos. They provide the refugees arriving by boat with dry clothes and shoes, rain ponchos, sleeping bags, food, medical help, information, buses, etc."

News (26-27.9.15)

Train of Hope helps refugee arrivals (The Local.at, link): "One of several groups that formed to help refugees arriving in Austria from Syria and other countries is the Train of Hope. The Local spoke to Katrin Bernreiter, to learn what motivated the group."

Calais crisis: Migrants are living in appalling conditions, say doctors - Scabies is spreading like wildfire (Independent, link)

'Far-right stoking fears of 'invasion' by migrants' (The Local.fr, link): "The far right in Europe is making capital from the hundreds of thousands of migrants pushing into the continent and hopes to turn fears it has helped to fuel talk of an "invasion" into electoral success, according to a French expert."

Libya: People smuggler who 'transferred thousands to Europe killed in shootout' - Man referred to as Maskhout and eight others reportedly killed in shootout in Libya after allegedly masterminding key route for refugees from Africa and the Middle East (Observer, link): "Media reports say several men were killed in the attack, and bullets recovered by a pathologist are Hydra-Shok, a specialised round providing deeper penetration, used by western special forces units but not commonly available elsewhere."

Greece: Amygdaleza detention camp to be reused for holding migrants (ekathimerini.com, link): "Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas confirmed on Saturday that the government will use the controversial Amydgaleza detention center to hold migrants who have entered Greece without permission. Speaking on Mega TV on Saturday, Mouzalas stressed that “different laws” apply to migrants than to the refugees that have been coming to Greece in great numbers over the past few months."

Migrant crisis: Colder weather hits refugees on the move (BBC News, link); "Migrants and refugees on the move through Europe are facing growing hardship as temperatures drop, aid agencies have warned. Many, including pregnant woman, children and the elderly, are spending nights in the open." and Refugees find journey imperiled as cold weather, divisions hit Balkans (aljazeera.com, link): "With Hungary expediting border fences with Croatia and Slovenia, chilly autumn temperatures have further reduced options"

Austria changes constitution to accept more refugees (The Local.at, link): "Austria's upper house changed the constitution Friday to force local authorities to accept a quota of migrants equal to 1.5 percent of their population despite opposition from the resurgent far-right.... The far-right Freedom Party, which wants to restrict the number of migrants entering and which is currently topping national opinion polls with around 30 percent of the vote, opposed the move."

Attacks on Muslims rising in Czech Republic (praguepost.com, link): "Women with headscarves have become targets of abuse: The number of incidents provoked by hatred of Muslims has been rising in Czech Republic, In Iustitia organization director Klára Kalibová has told the Czech News Agency. Last year, the organization registered 10 such incidents, this year it has been 23 already, which is more than a 100-percent rise, while most of them have occurred sine June, that is roughly since the beginning of the refugee crisis, she added. The assaulters have been motivated by racism rather than by their fear of Islam, Kalibová said."

London: SOAS, University of London today announced the creation of seven new scholarships for refugee students wishing to study at SOAS.(link) "These are in addition to the Cultures of Resistance scholarships that have been offered by the School since 2013 to MA students from countries affected by war and extreme poverty. The new scholarships are available for four undergraduate and three postgraduate students starting in 2016/17. SOAS Development Team will be seeking philanthropic donations to cover scholarship students' living expenses."

Hellenic Red Cross lists items needed to help refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Hellenic Red Cross on Friday issued an announcement detailing the kinds of goods and products its volunteers need to help thousands of refugees and migrants crossing through Greece on their way to Northern Europe. The organization called for personal hygiene products, weatherproof clothing for adults and children, sleeping bags, clothing and footwear, bottled water, dried food and particularly baby care products, the announcement said. It stressed that clothing and bedding should be new and not used."

EU refugee crisis 'tip of the iceberg', says UN agency - UNHCR coordinator says Europe must prepare for millions more migrants unless there is an end to the civil war in Syria (Guardian, link)

Italy: Taking refugee issue to the UN says Renzi - Premier leaves for UN General Assembly on Saturday (ANSA, link): " "Others have changed their opinion on the migrants, unlike us. Yes to reception, with rules, and the human right to save people comes first"."

Greece: Amygdaleza detention camp to be reused for holding migrants (ekathimerini.com, link): "Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas confirmed on Saturday that the government will use the controversial Amydgaleza detention center to hold migrants who have entered Greece without permission. Speaking on Mega TV on Saturday, Mouzalas stressed that “different laws” apply to migrants than to the refugees that have been coming to Greece in great numbers over the past few months." [emphasis added]

EUNAVFOR: Meijers Committee: Military action against human smugglers: legal questions concerning the EUNAVFOR Med operation (pdf):

I. There are no indications that combating migrant smuggling contributes to the restoration of international peace and security or to ending the ongoing humanitarian crises;
II. Without express consent from third states or authorization from the UN Security Council, the EU lacks jurisdiction over vessels or assets in third-country territorial waters;
III. Without express consent from third-country coastal states or authorization from the UN Security Council, there is no clear legal basis for coercive measures against vessels or assets on the high seas

Don't blame the smugglers: the real migration industry (heindehaas.blogspot.fr, link):

"The billions spent on the militarisation of border controls over the past years have been a waste of taxpayers' money. As we are able to witness during the current 'refugee crisis', increasing border controls have not stopped asylum seekers and other migrants from crossing borders. As experience and research has made abundantly clear, they have mainly (1) diverted migration to other crossing points, (2) made migrants more dependent on smuggling, and (3) increased the costs and risks of crossing borders. The fact is that 25 years of militarising border controls in Europe have only worsened the problems they proclaim to prevent....

Europe's immigration policies have created a huge market for the private companies implementing these policies as well as smugglers... a multi-billion industry, which has huge commercial interest in making the public believe that migration is an essential threat and that border controls will somehow solve this threat."

News (25.9.15)

Loss of hope and deepening poverty driving Syrians to seek refuge in Europe (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency today identified loss of hope and appalling living conditions as major factors behind the recent spike in the number of Syrian refugees from the region seeking asylum in Europe. Around four million Syrian refugees are currently living in neighbouring countries, but recent months have seen a marked increase in the number of those seeking refuge further afield, notably in Europe. Amin Awad, Director UNHCR Bureau for Middle East and North Africa, said this was primarily because of a loss of hope of being able to return home and deteriorating living conditions in the countries where Syrian refugees are currently living. "Refugees face horrible living conditions, and restrictions in the legal regimes for refugees in the countries where they live … When people don't have proper shelter and are living on 45 cents a day of course they want to move," he told a press briefing in Geneva, adding: "Syrians are checking out from the neighbouring countries.""

Six EU states slash food aid for Syria refugees (euobserver, link):"Every member state, except the Netherlands, has slashed contributions to the World Food Progamme (WFP) in 2015.... Austria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Slovakia made the most drastic cuts. All sliced their contributions by 100 percent this year, compared to last year. Sweden’s contribution dropped by 95 percent, followed by Lithuania at 69.5 percent, and Belgium at 54.7 percent. The UK also dropped by 29.5 percent. Others like Croatia, Latvia, Poland, and Romania gave nothing in the past two years. The Netherlands stands alone as the only member state, at plus 5.8 percent, which has increased contributions."

EU navies to start capturing smugglers from 7 October (euobserver, link): "EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Thursday (24 September) the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea is to start capturing smugglers from 7 October. "The political decision has been taken, the assets are ready", she said, according to the AFP news agency. "We'll be able to board, search, seize vessels in international waters, [and] suspected smugglers and traffickers apprehended will be transferred to the Italian judicial authorities."... EUnavfor Med is to operate primarily on the Libya route" [emphasis added]

Finland split over biggest refugee influx since Russian Revolution (Yahoo News, link): "Finland is experiencing its biggest influx of refugees since the Russian Revolution with hundreds of migrants arriving each day via Sweden, but their presence is angering some in the recession-hit country. Finland, whose Lapland steppe forms the European Union's northernmost border, expects to receive 25,000 to 30,000 asylum applications this year, compared to 3,600 in 2014. Most of those arriving are from Iraq, Somalia or Afghanistan."

Refugees raise far-right threat: Norway intel (The Local.no, link): "The biggest risk posed to Norway's national security by the influx of migrants is a possible violent reaction from the far-right, and not the infiltration of Islamists, Norway's intelligence service said Thursday."

EU refugees deal barely scratches surface of a crisis still in its infancy - The European commission thinks its quotas scheme has set a precedent, but will it be repeated when the numbers are higher next time? (Guardian, link): "The aim is to make the frontier much less porous. But the borders concerned are essentially territorial waters. How do you turn back people at sea, many of whom have a legitimate claim on asylum status?"

Die EU-Partner wollen Griechenland und Italien beim Aufbau der "Hotspots" unterstützen. (tagesspiegel.de, link) [Relocate and deport: The EU partners want to support Greece and Italy build the "hotspots"."

Group of 115 refugees to be moved from Alonissos to Volos (ekathimerini.com, link): "A total of 115 Syrian refugees who were abandoned on Thursday on an uninhabited islet north of Alonissos, one of the islands in the Sporades group, were recovering in a gymnasium on the island on Friday."

Tensions between Croatia and Serbia rise over refugees (aljazeera.com, link): "Serbia bans Croatian imports after Zagreb's decision to close shared border in attempt to halt entry of refugees" and Serbia and Croatia Maintain Border Blockade (BalkanInsight, link): "After the dispute over the flow of the refugees escalated into a border dispute between the two countries, Croatia on Friday continued to block freight and some passenger traffic from Serbia while Belgrade still did not allow freight transport from Croatia to enter. Both countries said they were ready to compromise but there were no signs that the blockades on the border crossings would end soon."

Austria returns 5000 migrants to EU countries (The Local.at, link): "Speaking to journalists at a meeting in Germany with the Bavarian Christian Social Union party, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said: “If I remember rightly, we have sent more than 5,000 or 5,500 back from Austria, especially to Bulgaria and Romania amongst others.”"

Hungary working against human rights – Hammar (Budapest Beacon, link)"“Hungary is working against the human rights that are the foundation of the European Union.” “Without immigrants we wouldn’t have the social system we have today. We need differences, complexities, and one another to build society for the future.” - Karl Gustav Hilding Hammar, former Archbishop of Sweden

Sweden to 'urgently review' asylum policies (The Local.se, link): "Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has called for an "urgent review" to help tackle a sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers arriving in the Nordic country."

PM: Prague to support formation of EU guard to protect Schengen (Prague Monitor, link): "Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, Sept 24 (CTK) - The Czech Republic is prepared to participate in the formation of a possible joint European guard to protect the outer Schengen border, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told reporters Thursday."

Bulgaria Calls on Croatia to Reopen Checkpoint at Border with Serbia (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria pleaded with Croatia on Friday to immediately open the Bajakovo crossing at the border with Serbia to Bulgarian-registered motor vehicles or redirect them to other operating checkpoints. During a meeting with Croatia’s Ambassador Ljerka Alajbeg, the Bulgarian side expressed its serious concern over the closure of border crossings between Croatia and Serbia, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said in a statement."

Prague abandons plans to sue EU over refugee quotas (euractiv, link): "Having considered taking the EU to court over the decision to distribute 120,000 refugees across the bloc, the Czech Republic finally decided to de-escalate tensions with Brussels"

Migrants feared missing off Greece's Kos island (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Greek coastguard on Friday said it was looking for seven migrants feared missing near the Aegean island of Kos, after rescuing 115 Syrians in a separate incident. The search began after a migrant plucked from the Aegean Sea by a fishing boat told rescuers there had been another seven people on a boat that overturned."

Ireland: MIgrant crisis: Solid backing for Coalition offer - Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll indicates minority believe number of 4,000 is too high (Irish Times, link)

News (24.9.15)

Migrant crisis: EU leaders avoid punch-up but fail refugee test (BBC News, link): "In the anxiousness to avoid a punch-up there was also one screaming omission from the leaders' debate: what to do with the spiralling number of refugees and other migrants already in Europe? The avoidance of the topic was all the more glaring as the summit came hot on the heels of EU interior ministers forcing through a quota system for 120,000 asylum seekers, despite angry protests from Central and Eastern European countries. Its idea of a permanent quota system, with numbers automatically divided more equally across the continent, remains deeply unpopular in many countries. But Europe cannot hide from the issue. Unaddressed, it will test relations between EU countries to breaking point." [emphasis added]

Migrant crisis: Serbia compares Croatia to 'fascist-era regime' (BBC News, link): "Serbia has compared Croatian border restrictions to racial laws enforced by a Nazi puppet state during World War Two, in a deepening row over migrants. Croatian border police are stopping all Serbian vehicles from entering the country in protest at Serbia's decision to transport migrants to the border. But Croatia's interior minister said the ban did not apply to Serbian people. The Serbian authorities have responded by banning cargo traffic from Croatia. Amid escalating tension, Serbia's foreign ministry said the measures were "discriminatory" and "can only be compared with measures taken in the past, during the fascist Independent Croatia", referring to the Nazi puppet state proclaimed in Croatia in 1941, which sided with Berlin."

EU to start new phase of anti-trafficking op (The Local.it, link): "The second phase of an EU operation against migrant traffickers, allowing for arrests in international waters, will begin on October 7th, the bloc's foreign affairs chief said Thursday. "The political decision has been taken, the assets are ready," Federica Mogherini said at the Rome headquarters of the EU military operation, dubbed EUNAVFOR MED. The EU recently approved the use of military force against migrant traffickers, including the seizure of vessels used to ship people across the Mediterranean, many of which set off from the coast of Libya. Under the new phase, European warships will be used against traffickers but on the condition they remain within international waters and do not stray into Libyan territory, Mogherini said.

Relocation of Asylum-Seekers in the EU: Law and Policy (EU Law Anakysis, link): "I last looked at the legal issues surrounding the refugee crisis two weeks ago, focussing on the international law dimension of the issue. But I left out the issue of relocation of asylum-seekers, pending further developments. Subsequently the EU has adopted a second, more controversial Decision on relocation of asylum-seekers within the EU this week (against the opposition of several Member States), following soon after the first Decision on this issue earlier in September. These measures are both provisional, in force for a total of two years, but there’s also a proposal for a permanent system of provisional measures."

Europe ‘must close its doors or risk far-right backlash’ (The Times, link): "The European Union must close its “open door” to prevent millions of migrants entering Europe unchecked or there will be a backlash leading to a surge in support for extremist and far-right parties, a senior Brussels official has warned. "

Timmermans: Central Europe has ‘no experience with diversity’ (politico, link): "Central European countries have “no experience with diversity,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said Thursday, making them susceptible to fears about Muslim refugees. If no sustainable solution is found “you will see a surge of the extreme right across the European continent,” Timmermans said on BBC Radio 4, following a summit Wednesday where EU leaders agreed a range of measures to tackle the migrant crisis." Statewatch comment: The rise of nationlaist, racist and fascist parties and groups is not limited to Central European countries.

Bulgarian PM Clarifies Position on Hosting Hotspot Reception Centre for Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Borisov clarified that he had rather requested for Bulgaria to be viewed as a hot spot as it as an external border of the EU which is also subject to a migratory pressure, similarly to Italy, Greece and the other member states experiencing serious migratory pressure."

UNHCR welcomes more EU support to refugees, urges fast implementation (UNHCR, link) and UN refugee chief disappointed in EU refugee plan (ekathimerini.com, link): "His office called the EU program "limited" compared to current needs and urged a "substantial and rapid increase in legal opportunities for refugees to access the EU.""

UNHCR 'disappointed' at EU migrants summit - Didn't establish safe routes for refugees into Europe (ANSA, link): ""It is an important step toward stabilizing the crisis, but much more needs to be done. The plan can only work if, at entry points in Europe, robust facilities are created to receive, assist, register and screen people. These facilities must have a capacity that could handle the current average 5,000 people arriving every day by boat." Guterres reiterated UNHCR's position that countries must also offer those in need of international protection a credible alternative to the present chaotic journeys across "border after border at the mercy of criminal smugglers"."

'Safe countries of origin': Assessing the new proposal (EU Law Analysis, link) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex

Leaders decide to strengthen EU's external borders (euractiv, link):"The emergency summit on the refugee crisis ended last night (24 September) with agreement that the EU's borders needed to be better protected, and that “hotspots” must be set up where the asylum seekers’ requests can be processed.... A major advance seems to be the agreement to set up “hotspots”, an idea which appeared until very recently as controversial. This time, leaders agreed that hotspots would be set up by the end of November."

EU to fortify external borders to stem migrant flow (euobserver, link): "The EU is forging ahead with plans to restore control of its external borders amid a refugee crisis unlike anything seen in recent history. Among the ideas announced in the early morning of Thursday (24 September), is the establishment of EU-run quarantine centres for new asylum arrivals by the end of November and a proposal for an EU border and coast guard system by December...The quarantine centres – also known as hotspots – will separate legitimate asylum seekers from others not entitled to international protection. People will be finger printed and registered. Rejected applicants will be returned back to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Agence Europe reports: "The hotspots (or "migration management support teams", as the Commission now calls them), were the subject of an in-depth discussion at the summit. According to the European leaders, these teams will ensure the welcome, identification and digital finger-printing of migrants arriving in Europe, and will use the procedures for returning the migrants or relocating them to other member states... The European leaders also spoke about the usefulness of moving towards a European coastguard system, a source stated. Although the summit statement does not mention this, the Commission will propose such a system at the end of 2015.."

Croatia-Serbia border row escalates (DW, link): "Croatia has reportedly banned Serbian cars from entering the country after Belgrade imposed an embargo on cargo and goods. Both nations are struggling to cope with refugees trying to move across Europe."

Bulgaria Demands Access to Schengen Database amid Migrant Crisis (novinite.com/, link)

Juncker talks of welcoming refugees, while turning Europe into a fortress (Guardian, link): "The European commission is spending millions making external borders harder to cross. The migration crisis doesn’t appear to have altered its priorities... Instead of questioning the priorities of the commission, local media repeated the mantra that €475m had been made available to help Greece deal with immigration. But what exactly is the money for? The British whistleblower Statewatch gave us an answer when it uploaded the Internal Security Fund’s spending programme for Greece.."

The boat is full (thestatesman.com, link): "In the 1990s, the catchy slogan - “the boat is full” - coined by the far-Right Republikaner Party in Germany had influenced most of the mainstream parties... In 1991, Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, first warned that behind the formal institutions of what was then the European Community (EC) lay a shadowy parallel state - “largely undemocratic and unaccountable”."

SERBIA/CROATIA: Your help is still needed at Croatian/Serbian border at Bapske, near Šid. This is the crossing point for refugees at this moment – They are being transported here from the south of Serbia (For Refugees in Hungary, link)

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Press release (pdf):

"ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015"

REFUGEE CRISIS: European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf)

"Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (see Annex II). The Support Teams will have an instant impact on the most critical point in the chain – where the most affected Member States are finding the sheer number of arrivals too great to manage effectively. Staff deployed by EU agencies and other EU Member States will help identify, screen and register migrants on entry to the EU. This is the first step to a secure future for those in need, and an early opportunity to identify those who should be returned to their home countries." [emphasis added]

Comment: This appears to beg the question about refugees's right to ask for asylum - especially as the Council Decision has prioritised refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea - when they are many refugees from Afghanistan and Somali amongst others?

Commission Press release (pdf)

Annex 1: Priority Actions under the European Agenda for Migration to deliver within six months (pdf)
Annex 2: Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (pdf)
Annex III The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf)
Annex IV Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund (link)
Annex V Member State and Commission Contributions to the World Food Programme (link)
Annex VI The EU Regional Trust Fund ("MADAD Trust Fund") in response to the Syrian Crisis (link)
Annex VII Implementing the Common European Asylum System (link)
Link to: Annexes to Communication (link)

Further Background

European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (Statewatch) and Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) plus Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

REFUGEE CRISIS: EU at "war" in the Med: European Parliament: Refugee crisis: present and future EU military operations in the Mediterranean (Press release, pdf):

"The EU military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean is about to enter its next phase. After gathering intelligence and setting up the structure, the operation will now focus on arresting traffickers and disabling smugglers vessel. The details of the operation were discussed by MEPs during a meeting of the security and defence subcommittee on 22 September....

At the hearing, Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) asked what would happen if traffickers were found on "suspicious" ships. Would these ships then be confiscated and sunk to avoid them being used to transport refugees? Answering to Gahler, Wosolsobe said the idea was to put smuggler vessels out of use, but not necessarily destroy them. They could be brought back to European shores.""

European Commission: More Responsibility in managing the refugee crisis: European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work (pdf)

40 EU migrant procedures against 19 countries (ANSA, link): "The European Commission on Wednesday opened 40 infraction procedures on migrants against 19 countries. They are accused of not fully implementing the rules of the common European asylum system, especially in regard to registration and repatriation. Italy was not among the 19.".

EU: European Commission: Refugee Crisis – Q&A on Emergency Relocation (pdf)

News (23.9.15)

This Network of Merchants Is Helping Refugees Flee the Horrors of Yemen (VICE, link): "like those of thousands of other Yemenis or Somalis living in Yemen, was organized through a network of merchants, refugees, and businessmen that spans the Gulf of Aden. As a Saudi-led naval blockade has slowed the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen to a trickle, this network is one of the few remaining ways out of the country, ferrying desperate people packed aboard cattle boats in their hundreds to Somalia."

Commission launches legal broadside on asylum rules before summit (euractiv, link): "The European Commission today (23 September) launched a broadside of legal action against EU countries for not putting the bloc’s asylum laws into practice, bringing to 75 the total number of such cases open against member states."

EU Provisional measures of Refugees Relocation: some progresses but still on a bumpy road… (ASFJ, link): "the Decision as adopted yesterday is different from the one voted by the European Parliament some days ago so that, under a constant CJEU Jurisprudence the Council is under the obligation to re-consult the European Parliament on the latest modifications (such as the exclusion of Hungary from the mechanism….

Greece: Huge increase in migrant arrivals on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 2,500 people, mainly Afghan refugees, arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos on Wednesday morning in the space of three hours, a Reuters photographer said, with more on the way. About 40 rubber dinghies each carrying 60 to 70 people arrived in the rain on one beach on the island, which was covered in life jackets and rubber tubes. Some were suffering from hypothermia. Nine more boats could be seen in the distance, he said."

UNHCR says EU must go beyond relocating 120,000 refugees (Daily Star, Lebanon, link): "A European Union proposal to find spaces for 120,000 refugees will not work unless reception facilities are provided for tens of thousands at any time, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday. "A relocation program alone, at this stage in the crisis, will not be enough to stabilize the situation," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said."

Militants not seen using refugee routes to reach Europe - Danish intelligence (Reuters, link)

Minister's 'troubling' citizenship plan slammed (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government wants to make it harder to become a Danish citizen and if Inger Støjberg gets her way, the tougher requirements will not only apply to future applicants but to all of those who have applied to become a Dane over the past 14 months, Information newspaper reported on Wednesday."

Crisis, what Crisis? Some Views from Spain on the Recent Refugee Crisis in Europe (verfassungsblog.de, link)

Hamburg clinics 'denied surgery to migrant' (The Local.de, link): "A 55-year-old man from Ghana died from multiple organ failure in Hamburg earlier this month after five different hospitals refused him surgery."

Austria probed for EU asylum violations (The Local.at, link): " The EU authority criticized Austria's inadequate operation of the EU directive on reception conditions for asylum. In August, Amnesty International complained of inhumane conditions at Austria's reception centre for asylum seekers in Traiskirchen, which has been severely overcrowded.

Brussels launches investigation into asylum law violations by Spain (The Local.es,link): "The European Commission has opened an investigation into 19 countries for violations of asylum laws, including Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Spain."

Bulgaria PM Skeptical of EU Approach to Migrant Crisis (novinite.com, link): "Only with the cooperation of both the United States and Russia can the conflict in Syria be solved, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said. Speaking in front of reporters in Parliament, where he arrived to urge support for constitutional changes, he also commented on the migrant crisis and the roots it has in the Syrian conflict."

EU splits further due to inability to decide about 120,000 migrants (standartnews.com, link): "Splits within the EU on the relocation of 120,000 migrants have been further exposed as leaders gather for an emergency meeting in Brussels. Slovakia is launching a legal challenge to mandatory quotas that were passed in a majority vote on Tuesday. Hungary's PM defended its "democratic rights" and proposed a radical budgetary revamp to raise funds. The summit will focus on tightening EU borders and aiding neighbours of Syria, from where many migrants come."

EU should condemn inhumane refugee camp in Croatia (/groenlinks.n, link): "“EU leaders meeting in Brussels today must condemn and propose solutions to tackle the inadmissible practices in refugee camps in the EU.” Commenting after watching a preview of a video of a refugee camp in Croatia, shot by Danny Ghosen for the Dutch television programme 3onderzoekt, Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament for GroenLinks, stated: “This situation is inhumane. Europe should be ashamed.” "

Over 480,000 Undocumented Migrants Arrive in Europe by Sea in 2015 – IOM (sputniknews, link): "The number of undocumented migrants who have entered Europe by sea since the beginning of 2015 is estimated at 481,612, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement Tuesday."

UNHCR: 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate .(ekathimerini.com, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf):

The decision is for the resettlement of 120,000 people over two years from Greece and Italy> Hungary no longer part of mechanism. In the first year, 66,000 people from Italy and Greece will be resettled and Hungary will also have to take some of these asylum seekers (its 'quota' has been set at 1,294 people over the two years). The 54,000 people who were to be resettled from Hungary will theoretically be allocated to Greece and Italy in the second year.

Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.

JHA Council enforce migration plan by majority voting: Migrant crisis: EU ministers approve disputed quota plan (BBC News, link):

"EU interior ministers have approved a controversial plan to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent over the next two years. It will see migrants moved from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU countries. Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against accepting mandatory quotas. After the vote, Slovakia's prime minister said he would not accept the new quotas. Finland abstained from the vote. Poland, which had opposed the proposal, voted for it.

The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris said it was highly unusual for an issue like this - which involves national sovereignty - to be decided by majority vote rather than unanimous decision."

Comment: So far the EU has agreed to relocate 40,000 refugees who arrived on or after 15 August 2105 over a 1 year period and now 120,000 over 2 years. But the UNHCR says that : "477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year" . The European Commission states that "Syrians, Eritreans, Iraqis" are to be prioritised - which leaves out the tens of thousands who have fled from Afghanistan. The Commission also states that: "Initial screening of asylum applicants [to be] carried out in Greece, Hungary and Italy" - where does this leave the tens of thousands of refugees who already passed through Greece and Italy since March this year?

EU backs refugee plan in teeth of east European opposition (euractiv, link): The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday (22 September) to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations... The Czech minister tweeted that he had voted against, along with colleagues from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, with Finland abstaining" and EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania vote against the decision to impose quotas, as lack of consensus threatens to feed resentment (Guardian, link) Of the 120,000: A little more than half are to be moved to the rest of the EU from Greece and Italy. The remaining 54,000, initially planned to relieve Hungary, whose government takes the hardest anti-immigration line in the EU and refuses to accept the help, will be reserved for other needy countries on the Balkan migratory route, such as Croatia and Slovenia. If the 54,000 are not resettled within 18 months, more refugees can be moved from Greece and Italy."

EU: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, Tuesday 22 September 2015, Brussels: Background Note (pdf) and Main Agenda (pdf): Only one item on relocation.

UN Secretary-General statement: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary- General on the situation facing refugees and migrants in Europe (pdf): "He calls on all European States to ensure that they abide by their international obligations, including the right to seek asylum, and the prohibition of refoulement. All persons must be received with dignity and their human rights must be respected. The Secretary-General has followed with increasing concern the closing of some borders in Europe, as well as the lack of proper reception facilities as well as the increased use of detention and criminalization of irregular migrants and asylum seekers."

UNHCR says EU must go beyond relocating 120,000 refugees (euractiv, link): "A European Union proposal to find spaces for 120,000 refugees will not work unless reception facilities are provided for tens of thousands at any time, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday (22 September)."

Visegrad countries trigger crisis ahead of EU refugee summit (euractiv, link): "Meeting in Prague on Monday (21 September) the so-called Visegrad group – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – have once again rejected plans to redistribute asylum-seekers under a quota system proposed by the European Commission."

EU refugee plan under fire as ministers try to break deadlock (ekathimerini.com, link)

"The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said the 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share out were equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate.

“A relocation programme alone, at this stage in the crisis, will not be enough to stabilise the situation,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said, calling on the EU to set up reception facilities for tens of thousands of refugees at any one time.

Amid bitter recriminations between member states, EU leaders want to focus at an emergency summit on Wednesday on ramping up aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey and the rest of the Middle East and tightening control on the bloc's frontiers."

Hungary approves new anti-migrant powers despite outcry (France 24, link): "Hungary on Monday gave the army drastic new powers to protect its borders, as the UN chief said he was “extremely concerned” about the treatment of migrants and refugees in overstretched Europe. On the eve of two key European Union meetings, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to leaders across the 28-nation bloc, urging them to “show leadership and compassion” as the continent grapples with it worst migration crisis since World War II. “The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation facing refugees and migrants arriving across Europe,” said a statement in which he expressed concern about European borders being closed, the lack of proper facilities to receive newcomers and the increased use of detention against them.

It also gave troops the right to use rubber bullets, tear gas and net guns at the border "in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided"." [emphasis added]

EU: Council of the European Union: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - Preparation of the Council meeting (Justice Ministers (LIMITE doc no:11898-15, pdf):

"Hotspots

Eurojust supports the frontline Member States by participating in the “Hotspots” and coordinates its efforts with relevant EU agencies. Currently, Eurojust participates in the Hotspots in Italy (Catania) and Greece (Piraeus) and its further participation in other Hotspots should be strengthened by helping prosecutors on the ground. In this framework, Eurojust should further support host Member States by providing for coordination with other Member States and by assisting, where appropriate, in the setting up of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)."

EU: Council of the European Union: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12139-15, pdf):

"the new “Hot spot approach” developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants."

News (22.9.15)

UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (link)

All 120,000 migrant relocations from Italy, Greece (ANSA, link)

Number of refugees waiting at Lesvos' port increases again, food stops in reception (amna.gr, link): "The number of refugees crowding the port of Mytilene in Lesvos has risen dramatically again, as food delivery has stopped at the first reception center in Moria with refugees moving to the port to secure a meal, according to local authorities on Tuesday. "

Dispatches: A Make-or-Break Week for the Refugee Crisis (HRW, link): "Blocked borders, hand-washing governments, muddy camps, risky sea crossings, uncertainty, and fear. As decision-makers meet in Brussels in two high-level meetings this week to address the refugee crisis, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Will they finally decide to act in concert to tackle the situation, or as with last week’s meeting, agree to little more than patching Band-Aids over a gaping wound? "

Open Letter to the peoples of Europe, the European Union, EU Member-States and their representatives on the Justice and Home Affairs Council (link): "We, the undersigned international lawyers, gathered at the European Society of International Law 11th Annual Meeting in Oslo on 12th September 2015, and other international law scholars and experts, condemn the failure to offer protection to people seeking refuge in Europe, and the lack of respect for the human rights of those seeking refuge."

Counter-terrorism police ratcheted up violence at Röszke says photographer (Budapest Beacon, link) and What really happened at Röszke? (link)

EU governments must break the impasse (Green/EFA, link)

How will EU enforce its refugee relocation plan? (ft.blog, link): "The main one is pretty fundamental: how do you make sure a refugee stays in the country where he or she is sent when systematic border checks no longer exist? The proposals being debated this weekend, and seen by Brussels blog, touched on this. In short, member states have few tools to keep refugees in one country beyond cutting their benefits, making them repeatedly check-in with authorities and, well, asking them nicely not to leave."

All 120,000 migrant relocations from Italy, Greece - Ministers set to meet on quotas (ANSA, link): United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday that the European Union's plans to redistribute asylum seekers among member States was not enough to address the current refugee crisis on its own. The agency added that Wednesday's meeting of EU leaders in Brussels could be the last opportunity to provide a "coherent response". It said that 477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year, an average of 6,000 a day."

Eastern European leaders defy EU effort to set refugee quotas (Guardian, link): "Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia reject efforts by Brussels to form common policy on just 66,000 migrants, calling it illegal... But the numbers are not the real issue. The row is about power and sovereignty. In the end it seems that all countries will join in sharing refugees, with the exception of Britain, which has opted out of the scheme. The other two countries with opt-outs – Ireland and Denmark – have agreed to take part, leaving the UK isolated." [emphasis added]

Theresa May maintains tough stance on 'economic migrants' (Guardian, link): "UK home secretary emphasises need for wider European measures to ‘return those people who have no right to be here’"

Eastern EU states want common stance on asylum (euobserver, link): "Ministers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on Monday (21 September) said they want to reach "a common stance" with their counterparts on asylum. The four oppose a binding quota system to distribute some 120,000 migrants from Italy, Greece, and Hungary across European member states.But others like Germany are backing a compulsory system."

Frontex to get budget hike after refugee failures (euobserver, link): "Frontex, the EU's external border agency, is being given a 54 percent budget rise next year as part of a new European Commission package of initiatives to tackle the continent's refugee and migrant crisis."

UK-EU: Think leaving the EU would strengthen Britain’s borders? Take a closer look (Guardian, link) "Eurosceptics take note – Britain is far better placed to help solve the refugee crisis if it stays in Europe"

Refugees or migrants? The EU grapples with definitions (euractiv, link): "As EU leaders prepare to meet Wednesday (23 September) for an extraordinary summit, one question will haunt them: How to distinquish economic migrants from asylum seekers."

Hungary beefs up border with army, warns migrants to stay away (Reuters, link): "Hungary's parliament authorized the government on Monday to deploy the army to help handle a wave of migrants, granting the military the right to use non-lethal force. It passed a law saying the army could use rubber bullets, pyrotechnical devices, tear gas grenades or net guns, according to the text posted on parliament's website." and Hungary takes out ads to prevent more refugees from coming (New Europe, link): "Hungary is warning it will take “the strongest possible action” against those who try to enter the country illegally, according to a full-page ad posted by the government in Lebanese and Jordanian newspapers.The ad says that would-be refugees entering Hungary illegally will be imprisoned." and Hungary posts ads in Lebanon, Jordan media warning migrants (AP, link)

Deutsche Bahn suspends trains to Austria (The Local.at, link): "German rail operator Deutsche Bahn is suspending key services to Austria and Hungary until October 4th, citing border controls introduced to manage a record influx of refugees."

Resources stretched as 20,000 refugees arrive (The Local.at, link): "More than 20,000 refugees entered Austria aboard crowded buses and trains over the weekend, with the Red Cross warning of shortages as temporary accommodation is becoming overcrowded."

Are mandatory refugee quotas dead? (Brussels blog.ft, link): "United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday that the European Union's plans to redistribute asylum seekers among member States was not enough to address the current refugee crisis on its own. The agency added that Wednesday's meeting of EU leaders in Brussels could be the last opportunity to provide a "coherent response".

and: Anti-migrant quota EU states meet in Prague (euobserver, link): "Foreign ministers from the main opponents of migrant quotas are meeting in Prague on Monday ( 21 September), as refugees continue to criss-cross EU borders. The Prague event - involving the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, as well as the Luxembourg EU presidency, which supports the quota scheme - comes ahead of two days of talks on the crisis in Brussels..... For their part, EU ambassadors in Brussels spent the weekend working on draft conclusions for Tuesday’s meeting. An EU contact familiar with the draft text told EUobserver it no longer contains the Commission’s mathematical "key" on redistribution based on GDP and population size, among other factors. The EU source said this means the mandatory idea is "dead".

Human migration will be a defining issue of this century. How best to cope? (Guardian, link) by Alexander Betts: "Whether they are fleeing armed conflict or economic deprivation – or both – people will continue trying to cross borders in search of a decent life, and the global community needs to address this"

News (21.9.15)

Merkel Coalition at Odds Over Proposal to Cap EU Asylum Places (Bloomberg, link): "German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said he doesn’t “understand” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s proposal for the European Union to set an upper limit to the number of people it accepts as asylum seekers."

Poland: Seal EU borders (Politico.eu, , link): "The first priority must be to seal EU borders. Only by doing so will we be able to avoid further chaos and brutal skirmishes on the frontiers. Even countries that have until recently expressed a very open attitude towards taking in refugees now realize they have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. That is why we must become better and more effective in working with our EU neighbors. We must make sure that extradition agreements are enforced. "

UNHCR: Another weekend of tragedy marks the Mediterranean, with up to 40 refugees dead (link): "LESVOS, Greece, Sept. 20 (UNHCR) -- UNHCR staff on Sunday were caring for survivors of two separate weekend incidents involving boats carrying refugees and migrants between Turkey and Greece that left some 40 people dead or missing."

Germany: Football fans show anger at Bild over refugees (The Local.de, link): "Newspaper Bild scored an own goal with Germany's football fans over its "we're helping" refugee campaign."

Report: Croatia would let refugees sneak into Hungary (Budapest Business Journal, link): "If Hungary decides to close the Hungarian-Croatian border, the government of Croatia will send refugees to Hungary without escorting them to border crossings and without helping them organize their routes"

Resources stretched as 20,000 refugees arrive (The Local.at, link): "More than 20,000 refugees entered Austria aboard crowded buses and trains over the weekend, with the Red Cross warning of shortages as temporary accommodation is becoming overcrowded."

No European country 'can be exempt' from taking in refugees: Hollande (Yahoo News, link): "No European country can get out of taking in refugees who have the right to asylum, French President Francois Hollande said Sunday, amid a growing row over how to fairly distribute a massive influx of migrants across the continent.The re-distribution "must involve all European countries -- no one can be exempt or we would no longer belong to the same union built on values and principles,"

Planned German refugee shelter hit by suspected arson attack (DW, link): "German police say there has been a fire at planned refugee accommodation in the southwest of the country. Meanwhile, a Syrian refugee is reportedly being questioned over alleged links to the jihadist group 'IS.' "

Czech Republic: Obligatory migration quotas may be unlawful (Prague Post, link): " The Czech Interior Ministry has worked out an analysis according to which the obligatory quotas for accepting refugees are probably unlawful, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) wrote on Twitter today. He added that he would get the EU acquainted with the analysis on Monday."

German interior minister calls for limits on migrants to EU (euractiv, link): "Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior said on Saturday (19 September) that in the future, the European Union should take in a finite number of migrants, while sending the rest back to a safe country in their home regions."

EU: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council (pdf) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday 23 September 2015. This will follow the extra Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015. See also: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf)

AFGHANISTAN: Europe's Refugee Crisis Isn't Only About Syria - Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help (HRW, link):

"Although international interest in Afghanistan has waned and most foreign troops are long gone, the war there is only getting worse. The first six months of 2015 saw the highest number of casualties among women and children since the U.N. started keeping track in 2009. Many Afghans leaving now are fleeing violence, insecurity, or threats from the Taliban or government militia forces. They are just as entitled to refugee status or other protection."

TURKEY: Rescued boat refugees held in Turkey 'threatened with deportation to Syria' - Survivors among hundreds rescued from sinking boat and detained in Turkish camp claim those without air fare have been told they will be sent back to border (Guardian, link): "Hundreds of refugees fear they are to be deported back to Syria after their boat was intercepted by the Turkish coastguard. Some 22 people are believed to have drowned as the boat sank on Tuesday, while hundreds more were ferried to Turkey, where they claim to have been threatened with deportation. The Turkish government denies the claim. Attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos, the wooden boat of around 250 Syrians and Iraqis was intercepted a few miles from the coast of Turkey by Turkish coastguards, who circled it and fired warning shots. The boat subsequently sank after water started seeping into the hold, and the 211 survivors were taken to a detention centre in Düziçi, southern Turkey."

News (20.9.15)

GREECE: Just one day after the terrible incident where a 5-year old girl lost her life near Lesvos, "another boat sank south-east of the island. 46 refugees were on board, including 9 children under 12 years old and 11/12 women. According to testimonies, the boat sank due to waves caused by a commercial ship passing nearby. A FRONTEX helicopter detected and saved 24 refugees, however a 6-year old girl was found dead. The Greek authorities continue their search with helicopters and boats, since a lot of women and children are still missing. All saved persons were transferred for first aid to the Reception Centre at the ex-military camp of Moria."

Record numbers seek asylum in Sweden (The Local.se, link): "According to the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) 6,400 refugees have sought asylum in Sweden in the last week, a record number of applicants."

At least 13 dead in migrant boat collision with ferry off Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "At least 13 migrants died off the coast of Turkey Sunday after the inflatable dinghy carrying them to Greece collided with a ferry, Turkish media reported. Four children were among the victims of the accident involving a boat carrying 46 migrants from the northwestern Turkish port of Canakkale to the Greek island of Lesvos, Dogan news agency reported. Twenty people were rescued and 13 people were still missing, the report added." and At least 13 dead in migrant boat collision with ferry off Turkey (khaleejtimes.com, link)

UN warns European unity at risk as borders close to refugees - Central European neighbours turn ugly as thousands fleeing war are shunted between Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary (Guardian, link)

Refugees blocked near Turkey-Greece border disperse (ekathimerini.com, link): "Many of the Syrians pouring into Europe have been living in Turkey for months, sometimes years. They complain that Turkey's failure to grant them full refugee status has made it a struggle to access basic services and jobs." and see: Bulgaria, Greece 'Not Letting in Syria Refugees from Edirne Turkey says': Turkey Says (novinite.com, link): "Turkey is keeping hundreds of refugees in because of resistance from Bulgaria and Greece, Trade Minister Cenap Asçi has announced. His comments come as Syrian refugees held on Saturday a demonstration in the southwestern city of Edirne, demanding that authorities let them leave for either Bulgaria or Greece. "If neighboring countries let them in, Turkey would let them pass [through] the country.""

Migrants missing in new boat sinking off Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "Nearly 30 migrants were feared missing off the Greek island of Lesbos, the coastguard said Sunday, in the latest boat sinking in an ongoing Aegean Sea tragedy that has cost hundreds of lives. The coastguard said it had rescued 20 people spotted in the water by a helicopter from EU border agency Frontex, but the survivors said another 26 people had been in the boat."

"Welcome 2 Europe" (tag, link): Orientation in a foreign country - for refugees is important. You have an arduous journey. The "Welcome 2 Europe" initiative will give them assistance. January Lukas Strozyk interviewed for tagesschau.de cofounder nevroz Duman

Bilanz eines Tages: Fast 5000 Menschen aus dem Mittelmeer gerettet (Spiegel, link): 5, 000 boatpeople have been rescued yesterday in central med, another record day.

The refugee crisis is waking old fears in central Europe (Guardian, link) "Muslim migrants are finding little welcome in countries such as Hungary and Croatia"

Refugee crisis intensifies as thousands pour into Austria - Around 13,000 people entered Austria on Saturday, according to the Red Cross, after being forced away from to crosCroatia, Hungary and Slovenia (Guardian, Sunday, link)

News(19.9.15)

PM Borisov Assures Bulgaria’s Borders Are Closed to Illegal Immigrants (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has assured that the authorities have taken all possible measures to close the border to illegal immigrants."

UN warns European unity at risk as borders close to refugees - Central European neighbours turn ugly as thousands fleeing war are shunted between Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary (Guardian, link)

Today (Saturday) another boat had damage and water got in. This took place 5 km north of Mytilini. One 5-year old girl lost her life, while the Coast Guards saved 13 refugees. Overall, it is estimated that 22 refugees were onboard. There is ongoing search to find any survivors.

Greet every volunteer (klamer-staal.n, link): "Somebody really cared about us refugees: Oh yes, sure! I remember the longhaired man on Lesvos. I remember all those volunteers. There were many others on our way trough Europe: they helped us a lot. The volunteers were very important to us: we were exhausted when we arrived in Greece and the volunteers brought us food and water. They also showed us how to get to the camp and spent that entire day with us. We felt that somebody really cared about us refugees."

One migrant child dead, 13 missing in sea off Greek island (ekathimerini.com, link): "A girl believed to be five years old died and as many as 13 migrants may be missing at sea off the Greek island of Lesvos on Saturday, the Greek coastguard said.Nikos Lagkadianos, a coastguard spokesman, said 11 people were rescued from the sea between Lesvos and Turkey and one swam ashore in the early hours. The survivors said they thought 13 of their number were missing. The girl was found unconscious and was declared dead later at hospital, Lagkadianos said."

Refugee Crisis Sees Tensions Rise Between Hungary And Croatia Over 'Human Smuggling' (Huffington Post, link): "Tensions are rising over the current refugee crisis after Hungary accused Croatia of “human smuggling”. Hungary said that its neighbour had committed a “major violation of international law" by attempting to transport 1,000 people across its border by train."

An appeal from Central Europe on the refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "Unlike the former colonial powers, Central European states have little experience of co-existing with people of different cultures. But in refusing to help, they undermine the solidarity that other nations have shown towards them, write politicians, artists and intellectuals from Central Europe. This open letter was sent to EurActiv by the Stefan Batory Foundation, an independent private Polish foundation established in 1988 by American philanthropist George Soros and a group of Polish democratic opposition leaders of the 1980s."

Refugees at Edirne heading for Bulgarian border, no move toward Greece yet (amna.gr, link): "The Turkish Gendarmerie have stopped barring the way to the mostly Syrian refugees in the region of Edirne and hundreds are now making their way to the Bulgarian border, a Turkish Gendarmerie official told the ANA-MPA on Friday. According to Turkish customs authorities, there was no sign that they were heading toward Greece as yet." and Turkey stops migrants to Bulgaria (standartnews.com, link)

Confusion and contradiction as migrants cross into Hungary from Croatia (euronews, link)

Croatia Border Closure Alarms Balkan Neighbours (balkaninsight.com, link): "Countries across the Western Balkans are drawing up their contingency plans after Croatia shut its border, claiming its capacity to receive people had been exceeded."

Denmark's anti-refugee ads under investigation (The Local.dk, link): "Denmark's parliamentary ombudsman has started an official inquiry into whether the Danish government's controversial advertising campaign about asylum rules were in fact misleading."

The wave of children reaching Swedish shores (The Local.se, link): "10,000 unaccompanied children have sought asylum in Sweden since the beginning of the year — a sharp rise from previous years — making it the EU nation with the highest number by far."

Asylum claims soar by 80% in Norway (The Local.no, link): "The number of people applying for asylum for the first time in Norway shot up by 81 percent between April and June, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority Eurostat showed on Friday."

Austria sees 79 percent jump in asylum claims (The Local.at, link): " Applications for refugee status from asylum seekers increased by 79 percent in Austria in the second quarter of 2015, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority showed on Friday."

Refugees blocked in Turkey inch towards Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Several hundred migrants who were blocked by police in northwest Turkey from crossing a land border to Greece this week drew a few kilometres closer to their destination Friday after the authorities briefly opened the route."

Police, military to test border protection (praguepost.com, link): "One-day anti-migrant exercise will have hundreds of participants. The Czech police and military will test border protection in case of a stepped-up migration wave in a one-day exercise by the end of September, in which 300 soldiers and a few hundreds of police will take part, leading politicians said at a press conference today." and Refugee camp in Breclav to be closed down - Very few people have asked for asylum in the Czech Republic (link)

Boat sank off yesterday east of Farmakonisi. 34 refugees have been found drown, including 4 babies and 11 children. The Greek authorities found 8 dead refugees inside the boat (in the hold). There is ongoing research in the area.

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn: "the Western Balkans must not become a parking lot or "no man's land" for stranded refugees": Press release (pdf) This turn of phrase quickly hit headlines: Hahn: Western Balkans no parking lot for refugees (Inserbia, link) and EXTRA EU official warns against Balkans becoming refugee «parking lot» (Europe Online, link) also Western Balkans 'not a parking lot for refugees' (EUbusiness, link)

The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (YouTube, link):"Eric Kempson and his family live on the Greek island of Lesbos. For months they have struggled to give the most basic of humanitarian assistance to thousands of desperate people arriving in boats from Turkey. This is their story."

Multinational border protection teams to be rolled out (euractiv, link): "Given the continuing refugee crisis, the European Commission wants to secure the EU's external borders with a European border surveillance system. Until it can be implemented, Frontex will commit extra personnel.... EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told Die Welt on Thursday (17 September), "The Commission will, by the end of the year, put forward a proposal for a European Border Guard System. "The aim is that multinational border guard teams monitor the external borders of the EU...."

the Commissioner added that, "Frontex will shortly be sending additional emergency personnel, in the form of Rapid Border Intervention teams, to secure the critical points of the external borders." The Rapid Border Intervention teams are multinational emergency response units"

News (18.9.15)

Hungary dismisses asylum requests within minutes, say refugees - People must now knock on a door in the fence to claim asylum – and then, applicants say, officials do not properly assess applications (Guardian, link)

Athens complains to Hungary over handling of migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Foreign Ministry Thursday issued an official complaint to the Hungarian Embassy in Athens, rejecting criticism by Hungarian officials of Greece’s handling of a burgeoning migration crisis and accusing officials in Budapest of “brutal cynicism.” “We find it difficult to witness either the wave of statements from Hungarian officials against our country or, and mainly, what the UN secretary-general characterizes as the ‘unacceptable’ conduct of Hungary’s forces of order against the refugees, including infants, who are living through the drama and misery of war,” ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras said in a statement... Greek government officials have heralded plans to build two new migrant reception facilities – one in Lavrio, eastern Attica, and one in Thessaloniki."

IOM: Latest Data on Europe Migrant Emergency (link): "Through two and a half weeks of September, IOM teams have recorded total arrivals to Europe by sea in 2015 at 473,887 men, women and children. At least 182,000 of those migrants have arrived from Syria—making Syrians just under 40 per cent of this year’s total." and Map (link)

Very strong words: UNHCR warns that time is running out for Europe to resolve refugee emergency (link): "Yesterday's mayhem on the Serbian border with Croatia, which has since closed some entry points, and Wednesday's dramatic situation on the Hungarian border demonstrate the chaos and confusion being caused by the absence of a coherent and united response to Europe's refugee situation. With more than 442,440 refugees and migrants having arrived via the Mediterranean so far this year, some 2,921 deaths, and 4000 people arriving on the Greek islands daily, the crisis is growing and being pushed from one country to another without solution."

Germany says majority decision may be needed on refugees - Steinmeier says will be necessary if things don't work otherwise (ANSA, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Friday proposed putting the issue of quotas to redistribute refugees to a majority vote among EU member States to break through the current impasse."

Croatia moves refugees to Hungarian border (Guardian, link):" Croatia PM says country can no longer accept refugee burden | Hungary starts a new fence overnight on Croatia border | Germany threatens qualified majority vote on quota system

PM Orbán: Migrants’ Tuesday Attack On Hungarian Border Took Place With “Organised Media Background” (hungarytoday.hu, link): "Speaking on Kossuth Rádió, he said that the event was controlled from loud speakers in Arabic and English with an “organised media background”. Commenting on the Tuesday events, the Prime Minister claimed that Hungary and Hungarian policemen were subjected to an armed attack from Serbia, which the country did not even attempt to prevent."

Croatia shuts border points with Serbia (euobserver, link): "Croatian authorities on Thursday (17 September) closed down half a dozen road crossing points with Serbia. The move follows the arrival of some 13,300 asylum seekers in the country in recent days, according to the Croatian government. The Croat army has also been put on alert and is ready to be deployed." and Croatia Closes 7 of 8 Border Crossing Points with Serbia (novinite.com, link): "Croatia has closed seven of its eight border crossing points at the Serbian border. The largest border crossing point, Bajakovo-Batrovci, is still open. The temporary closure of the border crossing points is aimed at reducing the influx of refugees arriving in the country from Serbian territory, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio."

Slovenia offers shelter for 5,000 refugees - Ambassador says country will try to ensure all those arriving from Croatia are cared for, but police threaten to return 150 who crossed border by train (Guardian, link)

Germany: Social groups attack asylum law draft (DW, link): "Drastic social welfare cuts in draft German asylum law have been condemned by welfare groups and opposition parties. The interior ministry's bill would accelerate migrant expulsions and declare Balkan nations to be safe."

'Bulgaria Refugee Struggle Underlines Elusive European Dream' (novinite.com, link)"Most refugees and migrants quickly find out they don't want to stay in Bulgaria and this adds to Europe's problem of controlling mass migration, Al Jazeera America has noted. "The EU's poorest country has accepted an asylum seeker quota, but few want to live with so few social services," it goes on. A special report published Wednesday tells the story of Noel Kouaho's "epic, two-year journey from Côte d’Ivoire to refuge" in Bulgaria - one that "cost him seven of his toes"."

Czech PM says principle of immigrant allocation system main issue (Radio, Praha, link): "Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has given a cool reception to comments from the Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Jirí Dienstbier saying that the Czech Republic could take up to 15,000 immigrants."

Switzerland prepares to take its share of refugees (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is expected to offer to accept 4,000 to 5,000 refugees who have entered the European Union largely from the wartorn regions of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."

Geldof slams Norway refugee 'nonsense' (The Local.no, link): "Musician and political activist Bob Geldof has laid into Norway for taking too few refugees from Syria, calling it a 'nonsense' that one of the world's richest countries was doing so little."

Germany takes 1/3 of EU asylum applications (The Local.de, link): "More than one in three asylum seekers across the European Union applied for refugee status in Germany in the second quarter of 2015, figures released by the Brussels statistics authority showed on Friday."

Refugee electrocuted at Channel Tunnel site (The Local.fr, link): "A refugee was electrocuted late Thursday near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in France as he tried to climb on to the roof of a train to make his way to England, police said."

Austria sends refugees to Slovakia (The Local.at, link): "Just 18 of an agreed 500 Syrian asylum-seekers arrived in Slovakia on Thursday under a deal with EU neighbour Austria that has sparked protest in the village where they will stay temporarily."

Bulgaria accepts up to 1,200 refugees with no troops at its borders - at least for now (standartnews.com, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: "President Tusk decided to convene an extraordinary, informal meeting of the heads of state or government on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 18:00 to discuss how to deal with the refugee crisis." (link) This will follow the extra meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.

Will the Council invoke QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) to push through relocation plans? Tusk calls new EU summit on refugees - Countries still deadlocked over plan to relocate asylum-seekers (politico, link)

EU: Refugee Crisis: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):

"An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.... Parliament backed the Commission's proposal (without amending it) by 370 votes to 134, with 52 abstentions. It then approved a legislative resolution by 372 votes to 124, with 54 abstentions, informing the Council that this approval is without prejudice to the position it will subsequently take on the proposal establishing a permanent crisis relocation mechanism, on which Parliament will co-decide on an equal footing with the member states."

"Under the Commission proposal, additional 120,000 asylum seekers would be relocated from Italy (15,600), Greece (50,400) and Hungary (54,000). [but] Luxembourg's Minister for Immigration and Asylum,Jean Asselborn, speaking on behalf of the Council's presidency, informed Parliament that "there will be an important change to the initial proposal: Hungary does not consider itself to be a frontline country and it does not want to benefit from the relocation scheme. "

How this plan will be implemented (eg: which refugees/asylum-seekers will qualify) will be decided by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015.

Migrant crisis: UN 'shocked' over clashes in Hungary (BBC News, link):

"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is "shocked" after Hungarian police fired tear gas and water cannon to force migrants back from its border.Mr Ban said such treatment of asylum seekers was "unacceptable". Hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on Wednesday, trying to breach a razor-wire fence."

News (17.9.15)

Commission ready to drop mandatory quotas for refugees (euractiv, link): "European authorities are prepared to drop the idea of a mandatory scheme to redistribute 120,000 asylum seekers around the bloc, in favour of a voluntary system favoured by Eastern European states, officials said on Wednesday (16 September)."

Report from Lesvos (3) by Fiona O'Malley: "Before going to Lesvos, I assumed the worst things I would see would be a direct result of general apathy and a lack of resources: stuff like people being forced to walk huge distances, people sleeping in the streets, people going without food, water, clothes, and so on. I didn’t expect to see much deliberate abuse, and certainly did not expect to personally witness abuse perpetrated by state actors. However, on a number of occasions I witnessed abuse carried out by the Turkish coastguard and spoke to refugees, journalists and volunteers who had been subjected to or witnessed abuse carried out by both the Turkish and Greek coastguards."

Greece: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (Crowd funding, link)

Electronic tagging may await rejected asylum seekers (euobserver, link): "Rejected asylum applicants who refuse to leave the EU may end up being electronically tagged before being sent back home. The plans are part of a larger effort by the European Commission to quickly dispatch those not entitled to EU residency.... The details are outlined in a 13-page draft internal commission communication paper, seen by this website.... If no other solution is found, “returns must be enforced”, with “electronic surveillance” and “semi-closed facilities” as alternative measures to just locking people up, the paper adds. " [emphasis added]

Europe's refugee crisis: Is Frontex bordering on chaos? The Bureau investigates the EU's frontline border agency (BIJ, link): "Later today as Frontex director, Fabrice Leggeri is questioned in front of MEPs, the Bureau is publishing the results of a three-month investigation into this little understood, and rarely scrutinised European agency. We have examined its €143m a year accounts and other open source material such as contracts, tenders, speeches, technical reports, as well as interviewing senior officials, politicians and analysts."

CoE Secretary General questions Hungary over human rights (link): "Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland will write to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about new legislation adopted in the context of the migration crisis. “I am concerned about a series of recent amendments to legislation in Hungary which will, among other things, allow the Government to declare a ‘state of crisis’ caused by mass immigration."

France 'won't hesitate' to install border controls (The Local.fr, link): "France will "not hesitate" to follow Germany in bringing back border controls over the refugee crisis if it becomes necessary in the coming weeks, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday."

Austria: Spielfeld prepares for thousands of refugees (The Local.at, link): "Spielfeld in Styria looks set to become the new entrance point for thousands of refugees crossing the border from Slovenia, after Hungary closed its entire border with Serbia and made it illegal for migrants to enter the country."

Germany: Refugee numbers back up despite border checks (The Local.de, link): "The migrant influx into Germany has risen sharply again, days after the introduction of border controls, with police counting 9,100 irregular entries Wednesday, up from about 6,000 the previous day. Federal police said Thursday that "almost all came from Austria", with about 2,000 arriving on trains Wednesday and the rest by road or on foot, three days after Germany introduced passport checks on borders Sunday."

Bulgaria sends troops to guard border with Turkey (ekathimerini.com, link): "Bulgaria is sending more soldiers to strengthen controls along its border with Turkey and avoid a refugee influx that has overwhelmed its neighbours, Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said on Wednesday." and Bulgaria Ready to Deploy 1000 Troops to Turkey Border over Migrant Pressure (novinite.com. link) also: Thousands of Migrants Entered Croatia from Serbia in 24 Hours (novinite.com. link)

800 migrants are walking to Bulgaria from Istanbul (standartnews.com, link): "The migrants want to reach the borders with Bulgaria and Greece and then being transferred to Europe, but the Turkish security forces did not allow them to travel by bus from the bus station. So they decided to go on foot."

Czech military bracing itself for border control (Prague Post, link): "APCs and other equipment may be deployed to Czech-Austrian border"

Hungary behaviour 'unacceptable' says Gentiloni - 'Unsustainable in the long run' says Italy FM (ANSA, link): ""If I have to make a prediction I don't think the current Hungarian position is sustainable in the long term because, as I repeat, you can't choose what you like from Europe and refuse the rest". Hungary said Thursday it might accept migrant quotas if a new EU force was set up to control borders, reinforcing Frontex."

Walls and violence will not solve migrant crisis: EU Commissioner (Reuters, link): "Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto lashed out at those criticizing Hungary’s handling of the clashes.... Szijjarto said the European Union's common refugee policy had failed to tackle the crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people fleeing poverty, war and persecution in the Middle East, Asia and Africa pour into the continent... He said the EU should establish a common force without delay to protect Greece's borders, to which Hungary would provide a "massive national contribution" in the form of police, money and soldiers." [emphasis added]

Bulgarian public figures launch open letter to govt over refugees (focus-fen.net. link): "Big group of Bulgarian artists releases an open letter to the Bulgarian government in connection with the refugee wave:. 100 signatories, is backed by prominent Bulgarian intellectuals and artists.... It says that the European Christian civilisation is facing new difficult challenges and threats with unpredictable consequences because of the millions of refugees heading at Europe and it is naïve to calm ourselves down that the matter in point concerns only refugee waves inspired by humanitarian reasons. In connection with the tragic events and catastrophic threats, the declaration calls the ruling power to come out with clear and explicit position defending the national interests"

Denmark to voluntarily take 1,000 EU refugees (The Local.dk, link): "Ahead of Thursday's EU top meeting in Brussels, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that the country will voluntarily offer to take in an additional 1,000 refugees."

Hungary has been shamed by Viktor Orbán’s government by George Szirtes (Gaurdain, link): "As a 1956 refugee I deplore Orbán’s policy of fear. He doesn’t represent the thousands who care about those crowded at the Hungarian-Serbian border"

New migrant restrictions on France, Austria borders (DW, link): "Traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and Germany has been halted on the orders of the German authorities, according to Austrian state rail. Germany has also boosted controls on part of its border with France."

EU Fundamental Rights Agency: FRA steps up migration work in response to ongoing tragedies (link): "FRA is conducting a large-scale research project on the fundamental rights impact of the collecting, storing and using the biometrics data collected in the three large-scale IT systems (Eurodac, the Schengen Information System and Visa Information System) established to exchange personal data in the area of asylum and borders." and On 3 September FRA will publish its latest report, The cost of exclusion from healthcare – the case of migrants in an irregular situation.

EU: Refugee crisis: Turning point for Europe: humanity remembered by Monish Bhatia and Ann Singleton (Open Democracy, link):

"Both governments and ordinary people should respond to the humanitarian crisis with a renewed sense of humanity... Last week the public and media became aware, through one image across Europe (and the world) of the plight of people fleeing for their lives. Within the UK this image produced an awakening after months and years of warnings about the consequences of policy failures, wars and discrimination against migrants. Evidence of the catastrophic failures of UK and EU migration policies, which are based solely on immigration control, borders and ‘security’, have been disbelieved or treated with scepticism by policy makers, officials and many academics."

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 22/09/2015 (link): "The Council will start at 14:30. Ministers will continue discussions on migration. They will focus on the Commission proposal for the emergency relocation of 120 000 persons in need of international protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows to other EU member states." and Parliament fast-tracks vote on 120,000 refugee relocation plan (pdf)

News (16.9.15)

New reception centers in works but officials fear impact of border closures (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities are concerned that thousands of refugees and migrants could end up trapped in Greece as a number of European countries have essentially closed their borders to keep a flood of desperate people at bay.Greek officials indicate that the situation is under control for now but there are fears that a failure to reach a solution at the European level could lead to chaotic scenes in Greece."

UNHCR urges Europe to change course on refugee crisis (link): "UNHCR reiterates its deep conviction that only a united European emergency response can address the present refugee and migration crisis. Individual measures by individual countries will not solve the problem but will make an already chaotic situation worse, further the suffering of people and increase tension amongst states at a time when Europe needs more solidarity and trust. UNHCR is particularly concerned about a series of restrictive measures recently introduced by Hungary and the way they are being implemented, resulting in extremely limited access for refugees at the border. New legislation includes deterrence measures, some contrary to international law and European jurisprudence when applied to asylum-seekers and refugees."

Hungary opens fire on refugees with tear gas as it steps up border operation (The Independent, link): "Hungary has dramatically escalated its anti-refugee border controls, firing upon asylum-seekers with tear gas and water cannon and bringing in more personnel with armoured vehicles." and see Video on ITN News, link) and
Hungary uses water cannon and tear gas against migrants (Channel 4 News, link) also: Refugees arrested under strict new Hungarian border laws (Channel 4 News, link): "Police have detained nine Syrian and seven Afghan refugees for illegally crossing the razor wire fence at the border town of Roszke. Police spokeswoman Viktoria Csiszer-Kovacs said the refugees were suspected of lifting the fence to get into Hungary, which is now a crime under the strict laws that came into effect from midnight."

Germany piles on the pressure in refugee talks (euobserver, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Austria's Werner Faymann, called for an emergency summit of EU leaders next week to address the crisis at the highest level, a few hours after her interior minister hinted at cuts in EU funding for countries opposed to sharing refugees." and: EU interior ministers will meet again on 22 September, the Luxembourg presidency of the EU Council announced. The aim will be "a decision on a provisional mechanism for the relocation of 120,000 people in need of international protection", it said in a statement, after ministers failed to agree on Monday.

EU leaders must take more responsibility in migration crisis (EP: GUE press release,link): "Italian GUE/NGL MEP Barbara Spinelli called the Council conclusions "indecent". She said: "A majority of member states backs the Commission proposal* to relocate 120,000 refugees from Hungary, Greece and Italy but is letting some countries throw a spanner in the works. Relocation has only been agreed in principle and is not binding or permanent in nature. Europe talks about values, but forgets that we are talking about rights and laws." For Greek GUE/NGL MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis: "We have a humanitarian crisis of refugees and we need an EU-wide humanitarian response. We need real leaders and for these leaders to stop hiding behind their ministers. It is inhumane for Europe to be absent and to build walls when a handful of right-wing and extreme right-wing governments are blocking the necessary decisions. The EU needs to be a trailblazer."

Syrian father and son tripped up by camerawoman find home in Madrid (The Local.es, link) "The Syrian father and son who made headlines around the world after being tripped by a Hungarian journalist are on their way to a new life in Spain... and it is all thanks to football.... Now the father and son are heading to Madrid thanks to Spain’s Football Coach Training Centre (Cenafe), which has offered the Syrian refugee a job and accommodation after learning that he worked as a football coach back in Syria."

Bulgaria Extends Additional BGN 5M to State Agency for Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Bulgaria’s government has approved additional spending of BGN 5M (EUR 2.5M) to back activities of the State Agency for Refugees stemming from increased migratory pressure. The additional expenditure under the Interior Ministry budget will be used to provide food to asylum seekers, maintain security at reception centers as well as cover the cost of operations of the agency’s branches in the country."

Sweden gets 5200 asylum claims in a week (The Local.se, link)

Denmark sticks to hardline refugee stance (The Local.dk, link): "Denmark's government, which depends on the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DF) to pass legislation, is sticking to a hardline stance on refugees despite growing public support for a more open approach. "Denmark has become the Hungary of the Nordic region, a transit country to a place that will welcome a refugee," the liberal Politiken daily wrote recently."

EU says hotspots starting to work in Italy (ANSA, link) and Italy told to set up refugee 'hotspot' centres (The Local.it, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded that both Italy and Greece set up ‘hotspot’ centres to swiftly process asylum requests, arguing that a deal on the redistribution of refugees across the EU depended on it."

Migrants leave Salzburg on foot as trains stop (The Local.au, link): "Hundreds of refugees who had massed at the main train station in the city of Salzburg left on foot on Wednesday in the hope of reaching Germany, a city spokesman said."

New migrant restrictions on France, Austria borders (DW, link): "Traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and Germany has been halted on the orders of the German authorities, according to Austrian state rail. Germany has also boosted controls on part of its border with France." and Germany soldiers 'to chase' smugglers in EU Mediterranean mission (DW, link): "Germany's cabinet has approved measures allowing Germany's military to chase traffickers' boats in the Mediterranean. Previously, the mission was strictly search and rescue, with suspected traffickers allowed to sail by. "

Police and migrants in stand-off near Turkey's Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link) "Hundreds of mainly Syrian migrants spent the night out in the open near Turkey's Greek border after police halted their bid to reach the frontier and cross into the European Union." and After refugee drownings, focus shifts to Greek-Turkish land border (ekathimerini.com, link)

Višegrad group blocks EU agreement on redistribution of migrants (Praha, limk)

Frontex: More than 500 000 migrants detected at EU external borders so far this year (link): "More than 500 000 migrants were detected at EU external borders in the first eight months of this year after a fifth consecutive monthly record was registered in August when 156 000 crossed the EU borders. However, a large number of the persons detected at the Hungarian border with Serbia had already been counted when they arrived in Greece from Turkey a few weeks earlier. By comparison, in the entire 2014, there were 280 000 detections at EU borders." and "Since the beginning of the year, 106 000 migrants were rescued in the Central Mediterranean, 6 percent fewer than in the same period of last year. It is important to note that most of the rescues took place closer to the Libyan coast than to the EU sea borders."

Hungary, Austria seal their borders as refugee crisis escalates (euractiv, link): "Hungary's right-wing government shut the main land route for migrants into the European Union on Tuesday (15 September), aiming to halt a massive influx of refugees. Austria did the same, closing its borders with neighbours Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia, dealing a further blow to Europe's vaunted Schengen area of free travel. Under new rules that took effect beginning at midnight (16 September), Hungary said anyone seeking asylum on its southern border with Serbia, the EU's external frontier, would automatically be turned back, and anyone trying to sneak through would face jail. Hungary's conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also announced plans for a similar barrier on its frontier with Romania."

Migrants head to Croatia as Hungary shuts borders (France 24, link): "Croatia found itself dragged into the migrant crisis on Wednesday as migrants crossed into Serbia's western neighbour after Hungary locked down its frontier."

French Interior Minister Calls Border Controls 'Stupid' (Huffington Post, link): "n the wake of Berlin's recent decision to temporarily reintroduce controls at Germany's border with Austria, president of the French far right National Front, Marine Le Pen, has urged France to do the same. Le Pen’s suggestion was met with immediate, and strong, opposition from interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve. He criticized her suggestion to reinstate checks at France's border with Germany, calling it a “stupid” idea,"

PM: Europe's outer border must be secured (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The measures Germany and Austria have taken on their borders do not resolve the migration issue, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after a government meeting yesterday and added that the outer border of the Schengen area must be secured."

Muslims become number one victims of hate crimes in Spain (el pais, link)  "At least 57 cases of hate crime have been reported throughout Spain so far this year, says the Interior Ministry. And most of those complaints, which are now investigated in all their forms under the new penal code, are the result of Islamophobia, representing 40 percent of the total, according to police reports."

IOM fears EU indecision will lead to more refugee deaths (Reuters, link): "Political indecision among European Union member states may lead to more refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday, calling for agreement and "responsibility-sharing". "As dangers increase we fear that the indecisions in Europe will lead to more deaths in the Aegean (sea)," Leonard Doyle, chief IOM spokesman, told a news briefing in Geneva. "Decisions made by various (European) governments to put border controls will have a very damaging effect.""

Migration creates a deepening gulf between East and West - Political tensions across central Europe are rising as solutions prove elusive (The Economist, link)

EU: Deflecting Responsibility to Protect Refugees (HRW, link)" Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU... Faced with Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the collapse of Yugoslavia, EU governments can only agree to push responsibility to countries outside the Union,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU is supposed to have a Common European Asylum System, yet EU governments can’t even agree on how to share responsibility for those in need of refuge.”"

Report on: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe Update (16.9.15):

The Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees is effective only for those who:

"have arrived or are arriving on the territory of those Member States [Greece and Italy"] as from 15 August 2015 until 16 September 2017"

Both the European Commission and the European Parliament wanted the relocation programme to run from April 2015. The Council Decision to only start tjhe programme from 15 August 2015 excludes hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived before this date. It would appear that the Council only wants to include those who will be caught by the new "hotspots" being set up in Greece and Italy where all new arrivals will be fingerprinted and registered. (Press release, 14.9.15: Relocation of 40 000 refugees from Greece and ltaly agreed by CounciI pdf)

There are a plethora of documents and statements from the Council of the European Union on the refugee crisis - the clearest guide to the their coercive thinking on creating "hotspots" for registration and fingerprinting, accelerated asylum procedures, "returns" and more see: Migration: EU action, state of play and next steps (Doc no: 11782-1-15, 11 September 2015, pdf)

News (15.9.15): EU: MED CRISIS: Germany reintroduces border controls; latest news updates from across Europe

Germany has reintroduced border controls in response to the number of migrants and refugees travelling to the country. The border with Austria is the main focus, and all train travel between Austria and Germany has been halted. The European Commission has said that Germany's decision "underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis."

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 14 September 2015 called to discuss Mediterranean crisis: See Background Note (pdf)

"B Points" for discussion: Agenda (pdf) which includes: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:

(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.

(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:

"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking"

Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.:

and "A" Points Agenda (non-legislative, nodded through without discussion, pdf) - contains the following two documents:

- Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf)
- Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (pdf) encouraging Member States to use more entry bans

Background: European Commission proposals on refugee crisis

News (12-13.9.15)

EU aid arrives and so does fingerprinting: Report from Lesvos: Meeting with the Mayor: "A new center in a football pitch with 40 computers that can take fingerprints checked via Interpol and register the migrant/refugees. This center will operate for a week on a 24/7 basis. They will take people to the centre by bus then get on the ship to Athens. The second part of the plan is to organise 3 new centres, one in Mytilene, one in Kapi Lesvos (NE of Lesbos) and one in Petra where they will register the refugees and also they will also use as departing harbour Sigri which is nearer to the mainland and the trips could be faster."

Pro-refugee barefoot protests sweep Italy (ANSA, link): "More barefoot marches took place in several Italian cities on Friday calling for refugees to be welcomed in Europe. Thousands of people attended barefoot protests in Venice, Rome, Mantua and Naples Friday after similar demonstrations on other parts of the country in recent days."

‘Refugees welcome here’: UK marchers take to streets with message of support (The Observer, link): "Senior UN official warns that, if the war in Syria continues, a million more of its people may be displaced by the end of the year."

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1 (The Local.de, link): "Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts."

'Don't throw refugees off Sweden's trains' (The Local.se, link): "Refugees who board a train and have do not have enough money for the entire journey will not be thrown off the train, according to to an internal e-mail from Sweden’s state-owned train operator, SJ."

Bulgaria's Sofia Joins #RefugeesWelcome Initiative (.novinite.com, link): "Bulgarians on Saturday took to the streets of the capital Sofia to show solidarity with the hardship of migrants fleeing the war in Syria and seeking a better life in Europe...Saturday's demonstration ended in front of the EU Commission office building in downtown Sofia. Participants held placards reading "Europe Says Welcome", "Europe Is Not a Fortress", "Stop Killing Refugees", or "Xenophobia Is Illegal, People Are Not"."

German pro-refugee politician defies neo-Nazis (DW, link): "A senior German politician whose district council is enlarging hostels for refugees says he won't be deterred by a neo-Nazi murder threat. Erich Pipa says "99 percent" of residents support his stand to provide shelter." and Five injured when refugee shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt catches fire (DW, link): "Five people have been injured in a fire in a migrant shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt. Police are investigating whether this may be the latest in a series of arson attacks on refugee homes across Germany."

Thessaloniki makes preparations to receive refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "Preparations are under way in Thessaloniki so the northern city will be in a position to house refugees who will find it more difficult to cross Greece’s northern borders while heading to Central Europe in the winter. Kathimerini understands that around 120 prefabricated structures, similar to those used to house refugees at the Elaionas camp in Athens, have been moved to the city and are to be installed on land belonging to the Hellenic Railways Organization."

Trafficking of Refugees Reportedly Takes New Route Across Bulgarian-Greek Border (novinite, link)

Beyond Hungary: how the Czech Republic and Slovakia are responding to refugees (The Conversation, link): "After Hungarian authorities finally allowed trains to leave Budapest’s main railway station on August 31, about 200 refugees arrived on the territory of the Czech Republic. They were taken off the train by Czech police in the town of Breclav on the Austrian-Czech border and placed in detention."

Pro-refugee rallies due as Europe squabbles (The Local.es, link): "Tens of thousands were due to rally in European capitals on Saturday in support of refugees as Hungary's populist prime minister called for a giant aid package for countries around war-ravaged Syria to stem mass migration to Europe. The Europe-wide "day of action" includes dozens of events across several nations with the biggest demonstration expected in London. There are also rival anti-migrant events due to take place, notably in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia."

UNHCR urges full and swift implementation of European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (link): ""Given the urgency of the situation, these proposals need to be implemented fully and swiftly," UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva."

'Difficult for Sweden to register refugees' (The Local.no, link): "Norway on Friday pulled back from criticising Sweden after the country’s migration authorities admitted that they could not force refugees to register if they wanted to move onwards to Norway."

Denmark says no to EU's 160,000 refugee plan (The Local.dk, link): "Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said on Friday that with the nation's opt-out on EU asylum policies, there is "simply no reason" that Denmark should participate in the EU's plan to resettle asylum seekers."

Ministers hammer out plan for refugee influx (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian government is holding talks on Friday on how to deal more effectively with the large numbers of refugees entering the country from Hungary, some of whom are claiming asylum in Austria. They will discuss integration, housing and employment opportunities. "

France takes in refugees but abandons 'migrants' (The Local.fr,link)

Two horrific videos: Refugees forced to scramble for food by police in Hungary (Guardian, link): "PM says Hungary facing ‘a rebellion by illegal migrants’ as officers filmed throwing sandwiches towards desperate crowds at centre in Röszke" and see Packed In A Dinghy With Syria's Refugees (Sky News, link): Remarkable video on the crossing from Assos in Turkey to Lesvos, including attempted interception by Turkish coastguard boat and shots were fired into the air - but the dinghy crosses into Greek waters.

HUNGARY: Refugees encounter prisoners building Hungary's border fence – video Guardian, link): "Refugees entering Hungary witness the building of the country’s new border fence with Serbia. Hungary has pressed on with the fence, which is due to be finished in October, as authorities move to restrict illegal entry next week. The fence is being built by prisoners along the 109 mile border with Hungary’s former Yugoslavian neighbour"

News (11.9.15)

Borderland Europe and the challenge of migration (Open Democracy, link) by Etienne Balibar:

" We tend to think that the external limits of the European Union define the 'real' borders of Europe, which is a mistake..... part of the solution is within reach: this minimum would be achieved by 1) an official declaration on the 'state of humanitarian urgency' on the entire 'territory' under the auspices of the European Commission, 2) the binding commitment of all EU member states to treat refugees with dignity and equity from each according to their objectively measurable ability."

Bulgaria: Interior Minister Says Bulgaria Will Fulfill Its Commitment to Accept Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova assured that Bulgaria will fulfill its commitment to accept the refugees, who will be distributed from Greece, Italy and Hungary according to the new quota system unveiled by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday."

Denmark says it already has 'fair share' of refugees (euobserver, link): "Denmark will not take part in a mandatory distribution of asylum seekers, as suggested by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Danish integration minister Inger Stoejberg said. She told told Danish news agency Ritzau on Friday (11 September) that an informal distribution of refugees is already taking place across Europe and that Denmark has granted asylum to 'a fair share' of them."

German politician goes public with racist abuse on Facebook (DW, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians have called on Facebook to do more against racist comments on the site. Now an opposition politician has gone public with the abuse she has taken on her Facebook page."

Germany: The Breaking Point? Germany's Asylum System Struggles to Cope (Der Spiegel Online, link): "As the migrant influx continues, the 'Refugees Welcome' high is beginning to wear off. People are beginning to wonder if Germany will really be able to cope with all the newcomers. And the system is already completely overwhelmed." and Countering the Hate: 'People Are Getting Involved in Tremendous Ways' (DEr Spiegel Online, link): "Around 800,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany this year, with the number of Syrians growing rapidly. Manfred Schmidt, Germany's top migration official, discusses how the country is coping with the massive influx."

New Defense Minister: Hungary Can Protect Its Schengen Border (Hungary Today, link): "Hungary can protect its own and the European Union’s Schengen borders and will prove that ability, István Simicskó, the new Hungarian defense minister, told public television M1. He said that Hungary’s defence system can and must be used to prevent a “new type of migration” across the country, compromising the security of its residents. Asked how the military would be used along the border, the new defense minister said soldiers would assist the police. “Each army has a basic task, a task in protecting the country, a task to deter, to coerce, or to demonstrate power.” The military will need to convey the message that those who enter legally, will receive fair treatment, while illegal immigrants will be prosecuted, he said. The minister also said that early completion of the fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia was of key importance."

Immigration: Hungarian Government Considers Declaring State Of Crisis (Hungary Today, link): "The interior ministry has proposed that the Hungarian government declare a state of crisis in light of the massive influx of migrants, which will be discussed at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, government office chief János Lázár told a press conference. Lázár said that findings by the national security cabinet indicate that organised crime and the threat of terrorism are on the rise in Hungary. In response to a question, Lázár said that the deadline for completing construction on the border fence at the Röszke border station, including the railroad tracks, is September 15."

Hungary: Abysmal Conditions in Border Detention - Ensure Adequate Access to Food, Water, Medical Care (HRW, link): "Migrants and asylum seekers are being held in abysmal conditions in the two Roszke migrant detention centers on the Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today after obtaining footage from inside the camp and interviewing persons currently and formerly detained there. Hungarian police intercept asylum seekers and migrants entering via Serbia and detain them for days for registration and processing in conditions that fall short of Hungary’s international obligations."

Refugee Air (link): "Swedish entrepreneurs and humanitarians are taking migration matters into their own hands, and are working to airlift Syrian refugees into the EU. The effort is led by Susanne Najafi and Emad Zand. “As entrepreneurs we find solutions, and if we can fly people to the moon, why shouldn’t we be able to fly refugees safely to Europe?” says Najafi"

Why Europe is conflicted over immigration (kuve, link)

CoE: The Dublin system has collapsed and must be reformed as a matter of urgency, says Migration Committee (Parlimentary Assembly, link)

Why do so many refugees avoid Bulgaria? (DW, link) "In an Arabic language "Refugee Handbook," Bulgaria ranks first among countries asylum seekers should avoid. Refugees say xenophobia and Islamophobia are widespread and that they try to skirt around the country."

Migrant crisis: People treated 'like animals' in Hungary camp (BBC News, link) with video: "Footage has emerged of migrants being thrown bags of food at a Hungarian camp near the border with Serbia.An Austrian woman who shot the video said the migrants were being treated like "animals" and called for European states to open their borders. The emergency director of Human Rights Watch said the migrants were being held like "cattle in pens""

Serbia happy to help EU, ambivalent about refugee hub status (euractiv, link): "The EU has praised Serbia for coping with the refugee crisis. However, this contributed to widespread speculation inside the country that it will host a large refugee camp."

Polish prime minister says accepting refugees is Poland's duty (Reuters, link): "Poland cannot afford to accept economic migrants, but it is the biggest central European economy's duty to accept refugees fleeing wars, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said on Thursday "Accepting migrants escaping to save their lives is our duty," Kopacz, speaking ahead of an election in October."

Czech political spectrum united in opposition to EU migrant quotas (Praha Radio, link): "Politicians from across the Czech political spectrum have reaffirmed their opposition to a revised plan unveiled by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday that would see member states dividing-up 160,000 asylum seekers. Instead, Czech elected officials are maintaining that assistance to refugees should be a voluntary matter."

Hungary's Orban faces off against refugees (The Local.at, link): " Prime Minister Viktor Orban was never much of a liberal. A former US ambassador recently quoted him as saying: "All this talk about democracy is bullshit" after one too many lectures regarding his authoritarian ways. Yet even by his own reactionary standards, the building of a heavily fortified fence along the country's southern border, patrolled by sniffer dogs and possibly the army, looks like an extreme step -- particularly in a country with vivid memories of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain.The UN's refugee agency said new laws due to come into force next week, threatening three years in jail for anyone breaking through the barrier, "could lead to chaos", while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the fence a breach of "Europe's common values"." [emphasis added]

Italian van driver stopped with 33 Syrians aboard in Hungary - Says 'saw them shivering in cold' (ANSA, link): "Rome, September 11 - An Italian van driver was stopped with 33 Syrians aboard heading for Germany near Budapest Friday, police said. The man, 55, driving a red Fiat Ducato, was stopped near Lake Balaton. There were two women among the refugees in the back. The Italian embassy is investigating the matter. The man reportedly said he had picked up the refugees after he saw them shivering in the cold. He has been accused of human trafficking."

‘Transit’ countries get tough on refugees (euractiv, link): "While Germany has surprised the world with its welcome of refugees, Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Denmark are growing hostile towards them, despite the fact that asylum seekers show no interest in settling there."

CSU denounces Merkel's refugee policy as a 'mistake' (DW, link): "Members of the CSU - sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU - have dubbed the German Chancellor's handling of the refugee crisis a "mistake." Germany saw the arrival of more than 15,000 asylum seekers last weekend alone."

European Commission: Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf):

"The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."

Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link): So far in 2015:

- Arrivals in the EU: 381,412
- Dead/Missing: 2,850
- Arrivals in Greece: 258,365
- Arrivals in Italy: 121,000

See: Greek islands: Map (pdf)

Cities of refuge: EUROCITIES members take leadership (link):

"Johanna Rolland, EUROCITIES president and mayor of Nantes, explains how cities are taking leadership when it comes to welcoming refugees. Under the increasing pressure from European Institutions and the impact of tragic current events, Member states are stepping up their response to one of the greatest humanitarian crisis ever faced by the European Union....

Throughout the summer, our cities have continued to provide emergency assistance, housing, healthcare and social services where asylum seekers and migrants were stranded, transiting, or have reached their final destination. We have also challenged extremist discourses, such as in Leipzig and Dresden. We have called for open and welcoming societies. We have taken leadership and chosen to support movements emerging at local level to welcome refugees."

CLOSING THE BORDERS? Record number of refugees enter Hungary amid border crackdown fears - Hungarian police say 3,221 people entered country from Serbia on Wednesday in advance of new border controls expected next week (Guardian, link): "Orbán has also ordered the speeding up of the construction of a 3.5-metre high fence along Hungary’s southern frontier with Serbia. He has also vowed to cut to zero the number of migrants entering from next Tuesday. Explaining the new system, the justice minister László Trócsányi said an area similar to an “airport transit zone” would be set up at the border. “While it is located in the territory of the given state, the entry into the transit zone does not qualify, in immigration terms, as an entry into that state,” he said. Activists fear this will strand people in a legal limbo and lead to the vast majority of asylum seekers being turned back "

and see: Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the country’s borders."

VERY Important info for Serbia-Hungary-Border-crossing-refugees (Refugee Relief Action Forum: TwitLonger, link): ""As of next Tuesday, the authorities in Hungary will adopt a completely different approach to the refugees.Those who enter illegally, will be captured, jailed and quickly expelled from the country. Those who submit an application for asylum legally, can not even enter the territory of Hungary and will be returned to Serbia within few hours. The government in the coming weeks is preparing for crowd dispensing scenes, but Orbán said that this is the only way to have relative calm by Christmas.".

Refugees face chaos and harsh conditions at Serbia-Hungary border (AI, link): "“While Europe rejoiced in happy images from Austria and Germany yesterday, refugees crossing into Hungary right now see a very different picture: riot police and a cold hard ground to sleep on,”

Macedonian guards filmed threatening refugees with batons on border with Greece - Guards attempt to control influx of 4,000 people, the largest single wave of refugees and migrants the Greek border police has seen so far (Guardian, link)

MACEDONIA-GREECE: FYROM mulls fencing off border against migrants, says foreign minister ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is considering building a Hungarian-style border fence to stem a rising influx of migrants from the south, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki was quoted as saying on Thursday."

News (10.9.15)

Refugee Children: Hungarian Orphanages Overwhelmed With Minors Who Make Journey To Europe Alone (IBT, link)


Refugee crisis: the fifth boat to land on Lesvos this morning alone (Channel 4 News with short video, link): "The boats pop into view as if from nowhere, frighteningly low in the water, snaking from left to right looking for a place to land on the northern shore of Lesbos. Why here? Because it’s 6km across the Mytilini Strait from Turkey to Greece.... A window of flat calm water with no wind has prompted a mad dash of boats. There were twenty seven yesterday. The one we filmed was the fifth this morning."

Ireland to take 4,000 refugees in new programme - Burton says total will be ‘signficantly higher’ as family members join under reunification rules (Irish Times, link)

As refugees crowd onto Lesbos, the IRC is providing vital information and registration service (IRC link): "“People overwhelmingly just want to move on,” says Emily David, the IRC’s emergency protection coordinator. “They want to continue their journey at whatever the cost. They’re determined to reach their friends, family and find safety in Europe. We’re here to make sure that journey is as safe and dignified as possible.""

Szijjártó on high moral ground as chaos worsens (Budapest Times, link)

Ács mayor quits Fidesz over PM's remarks on Roma (Budapest Busines Journal, link)

MACEDONIA-SERBIA: 5,000 refugees arrive in Serbian town in one day: A record number of refugees - as many as 5,000 - arrived to the reception center in Kanjiza, northern Serbia, in a single day, RTS said on Thursday morning. (b92, link)

Worsening conditions inside Syria and the region fuel despair, driving thousands towards Europe (UNHCR, link): "Deteriorating conditions in Syria and neighbouring countries are driving thousands of Syrians to risk everything on perilous journeys to Europe, the UN refugee agency cautioned on Tuesday. As the crisis digs deeper into its fifth year with no sign of a political solution in sight, despair is on the rise and hope is in short supply."

Thousands of refugees, migrants at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Thousands of people, including many families with young children, are braving torrential downpours to cross Greece's northern border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), after Greek authorities managed to register about 17,000 people on the island of Lesvos in the space of a few days, allowing them to continue their journey north into Europe.... About 7,000 people waited in the mud of an open field near the northern village of Idomeni to cross the FYROM border early Thursday, with more arriving in trains, buses and taxis."

Common asylum system at a turning point: - Refugees caught in Europe’s solidarity crisis (AIDA, link)

European Parliament: MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "Ms Keller also stressed the need for a "permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states." The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system. The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions."

Dreaming of Europe, Syrians in Turkey undeterred by Aegean tragedy (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Ali, 31, a Syrian seeking to move to Europe, sits in a cafe in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, impatient and angry. Undeterred by a succession of fatal accidents, he wants to cross the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece in the hope of making it to Britain, or Germany as Berlin takes in more Syrian refugees."

Danish police: Refugees can travel on to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish National Police said on Thursday that arriving refugees and migrants will now be allowed to pass through Denmark on the way to Sweden."

Denmark-Germany trains resume amid influx (The Local.de, link): "Denmark's train operator said early Thursday it expected rail traffic across the German border to resume later in the day, after police ordered services to be suspended due to an influx of migrants. "

New spike in refugees entering Austria (The Local.at, link): "Austria witnessed a new spike in migrant numbers overnight with more than 3,000 people crossing unimpeded from Hungary, authorities said on Thursday." and The expats working overtime for refugees (The Local.at, link): "As exhausted and destitute refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, continue to arrive in Vienna one group of expats has been working overtime to gather and distribute donations."

Polish PM says EU summit on migrants may take place earlier than planned (Reuters, link)

Grybauskaite - Lithuania should accept over 1,000 refugees (Baltic Times, link)

Refugee crisis: how does Europe solve a problem like Viktor Orbán? Anti-immigrant stance of Hungary’s prime minister is discomforting other European leaders but there seems little they can do to change his ways (Guardian, link)

Refugee crisis: Europe's leading newspapers urge governments to act now in open letter - Europe must show that it is built on the principles of solidarity, equality and liberty (Independent, link):"Our leaders must show courage and insight if they are not to fail this test of our shared European civilization. We need to act, and we need to act now:

Bernd Ulrich, Die Zeit, Germany, Ezio Mauro, La Repubblica, Italy, Antonio Caño, El Paìs, Spain, Johan Hufnagel and Laurent Joffrin Libération, France, Amol Rajan, The Independent, UK, Oliver Duff, i, UK, Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday, UK, Christian Broughton, independent.co.uk, Andreas Paraschos, Kathimerini, Cypres, András Murányi, Népszabadság, Hungary, Matúš Kostolný, Denník N, Slovakia, , Adam Michnik, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, Jan Helin, Aftonbladet, Sweden
Christian Jensen, Information, Denmark, Anna B. Jenssen, Morgenbladet, Norway"

EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Council of the European Union encouraging MS to use more entry bans (dated 8 September 2015): Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (doc no: 11648-15, pdf). The document notes:

"At its meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015, the European Council concluded that "Member States will fully implement the Return Directive, making full use of all measures it provides to ensure the swift return of irregular migrants; return decisions issued by the Member States will be introduced in the Schengen Information System" [emphasis added]

The Council wants a "new legislative package" but in "short-term" want to use a "soft law" (non-binding, but enabling) set of Council "Conclusions" and:

"The Permanent Representatives Committee is invited to confirm agreement on the draft Council Conclusions as set out in the Annex and to submit them to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) on 14 September 2015 for adoption as an A point."

Statewatch notes that: "A Points" are nodded through without debate.

EU: Council of the European Union: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:

(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.

(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:

"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human
smuggling or trafficking"

Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Deputy PM calls for ‘Mediterranean Shield’ to sink empty smugglers’ ships (Prague Post, link):

"NATO should start a naval operation in the Mediterranean that should sink people smugglers’ ships and protect the Turkish border, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said today. Babiš said he wanted to discuss the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who will come for a two-day visit to the Czech Republic this afternoon. “I want to call on Stoltenberg to start the operation. With its joint forces, NATO should protect the Turkish border and the Mediterranean. It should sink the smugglers’ empty ships and help in further operations against the dangerous criminals and murderers whose business is threatening both the refugees and Europe,” Babiš wrote in a press release."

Statewatch comment: The Czech Minister seems to be unaware that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.

As Lesvos gets tense, leader seeks summit (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions build on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where some 20,000 migrants and refugees are awaiting the documents that will let them continue their journeys into Europe, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked European Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency summit of European Union leaders to address a growing migration crisis.... On Lesvos, many locals have joined efforts to help migrants, providing food and clothing for instance. Others are less accepting, however. And there are fears that tensions on the island will peak as the influx shows no signs of abating."

(9.9.15) European Commission proposals on refugee-migrant crisis

• Press release: Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action (pdf): "the European Commission is today putting forward a comprehensive package of proposals which will help address the refugee crisis."

Commission Recommendation of XXX establishing a common "Return Handbook" to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out return related tasks (3 pages, pdf)

EU Action Plan on return (15 pages, COM 453-15, pdf)

Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (JOIN 40-15, pdf)

•  Communication: Public Procurement rules in connection with the current asylum crisis (COM 454-15, pdf)

Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy, Greece and Hungary (28 pages, pdf)

Annexes: accompanying the Proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy, Greece and Hungary (22 pages, COM(2015) 451 - ANNEXES 1 to 4, pdf)

Proposal for a establishing a crisis relocation mechanism (23 pages, COM 450-15, pdf)

Annex: Regulation to establishing a crisis relocation mechanism and amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national or a stateless person (Annex to: COM 450-15, pdf)

Proposal for a establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 452-15, pdf) " the European Commission has come to the conclusion that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo* , Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are safe countries of origin within the meaning of Directive 2013/32/EU and should be included in the EU common list of safe countries of origin." [emphasis added]

Annex to: common list of safe countries of origin: above (COM 452-15 Annex 1, pdf)

Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action - Questions and answers (pdf)

Dated:: 9.9.15: EU: Humanitarian emergency: European Parliament: JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: on migration and refugees in Europe: on behalf of the EPP Group; on behalf of the S&D Group; on behalf of the ALDE Group; Judith Sargentini, Ska Keller, Jean Lambert, Ulrike Lunacek, Bodil; Valero, Philippe Lamberts, Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes, Margrete Auken; on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group (pdf):

"not to sanction those who voluntarily help migrants on humanitarian grounds, including carriers by asking the Commission to consider revising Council Directive 2001/51/EC; takes note of the EUNAVFOR Med operation against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean;

Regrets that the leaders of some Member States and the far right parties are using the current situation to fuel anti-migration sentiments while blaming the EU for the crisis, leads to growing numbers of violent actions against migrants."

See also: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Annotated draft agenda (pdf): "Further to the Commission proposals and to the intensive work undertaken at the JHA Council on 14 September and 8/9 October, the European Council will hold a substantial discussion on migration in all its aspects. In this context, it will also take stock of the preparations for the Valletta Summit and the follow-up to the June European Council conclusions on a high-level conference on the Western Balkans route."

GREECE: EXCLUSIVE: Migrants claim rogue Greek coastguard are ROBBING them at gunpoint and puncturing their dinghies in the Mediterranean (Mail Online, link):

- Migrants claim that they have have been robbed of their life possessions while on the perilous crossing to Greece by pirates

- They claim that the masked, armed men may be a rogue element of the Greek coastguard and claim their descriptions fit

- The UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children are told MailOnline they are looking into the claims

- Greek coastguard deny the claim, adding pirates are 'posing as authorities'... but admitted last month that one was a government employee

See also: The writing was on the wall (Statewatch)

News reports (9.9.15)

Anti-Islam rhetoric mars French refugee response (The Local.fr, link): "The arrival of the first group of an eventual total of 24,000 refugees in France has been tainted by the ongoing refusal of some mayors to accept Muslims, with one town claiming they “cut off boss’s heads”. Muslim leaders have blasted their "dangerous" words."

Refugees step up push to Sweden via Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police closed roads and stopped rail traffic in Denmark on Wednesday, as hundreds more refugees attempted to make their way to Sweden."

'Turkish spies' hunted govt critics in Germany (The Local.de, link): "Three men believed to have gathered information on critics of the Turkish government in Germany were hauled before a court in Koblenz on Wednesday to face spying allegations."

Oslo Muslims not allowed to help refugees (The Local.no, link): "One of Oslo's leading mosques has been banned from accommodating refugees after the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) ruled that organisation's providing emergency help should be "neutral"."

Frustrated refugees and migrants at Serbia-Hungary border seek to escape poor reception conditions (UNHCR, link): "They had been held at a 'collection point' after crossing into Hungary. The collection point was in fact a field, empty except for bedding and some small tents they had brought with them. A bigger tent held fruit and water which volunteers had brought and were distributing."

The Refugee Crisis: What should the EU do next? (EU Law Analysis, link): "How should the EU address this issue next? Should it abolish or reform the Schengen and/or Dublin rules? Are Member States complying with EU and international law in their response? "

EU: Humanitarian emergency: EU refugeee crisis: The time has come to act (pdf) Statement of the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly

"In recent days we have seen several Member States, many ordinary citizens, and civil society groups demonstrating remarkable and humbling leadership as they welcome refugees to their communities.

EU institutions and all Member States must now take their cues from those citizens and act to alleviate the immediate suffering. The EU must use its immense diplomatic, economic and moral capacity to find ways to tackle the wider issues of Middle Eastern security."

"We are ashamed" Statement on the desperate situation in the Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully": It is time for the European Parliament to act: for circulation and joining in support

"In August four of us, from Statewatch and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, visited Lesvos where we were horrified to see the situation for refugees deteriorate day by day, with no sign of effective intervention 'on the ground' from International Organisations or the governments of the European Union.

The trip made us ashamed of the EU's response, but applies equally to the whole situation caused by EU member states and EU policies, in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Middle East and Africa:

The MEPs should show leadership in this crisis by insisting that the other EU institutions develop an effective humanitarian protection policy on arrival for refugees , and create EU-wide legal channels to be open to migrants (the initiatives are so far limited to the highly skilled and seasonal migrants), by the end of the year. If they do not do so, then the EP should censure the Commission (ejecting it from office) and shut down the Council and European Council, by blocking all funding for their administration. If the parliament does not act now it will be meaningless to hold further elections."

To sign the Statement (pdf) please send an email with Support "We are ashamed" statement in the subject line to: office@statewatch.org Please sign up as: an organisation/group or your name (group) or as an individual


EU: MED: Humanitarian emergency: Council of the European Union discusses response in run-up to the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November 2015: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)

 

and see: Non-paper from the European External Action Service: Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015) - Possible elements for the outcome document (LIMITE doc no: 10908-15, pdf)

Also: Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS: Brussels, 01 06. 2015 Ares(2015) 2397724: Letter to Ministers (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "These documents offer little that has not been agreed before. They speak of "tackling the root causes of "irregular" migration" which are clear to all as being war, persecution and poverty. They call for increasing efforts to get African countries to sign up to readmission agreements to support a forced returns policy to the country of origin or transit state - and there seems to be an unbelievable reluctance to accept that most people do not want to be returned from the countries they have fled which could, in many cases, to be deemed refoulement.

The absolute need at this time is for an effective humanitarian aid and civil protection programme, not the creation of so-called "hotspots" charged with the rapid processing of asylum applications in order to effect a quick "returns" policy - under the watchful eyes of Frontex and Europol."

Report from Lesvos by Fiona O'Malley (7.9.15):" The beach near Eftalou, Lesvos...Groups of around 50 or 60, packed into black rubber dinghies, have been making the trip from Turkey to Lesvos every day for the last eight months or so."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (8.9.15)

EU's refugee plan: how does it work? (ekathimerini.com) EU plans with figures

Migrants in Lesbos: volunteers stand alone against the humanitarian crisis (Youtube, link): "Under Juncker's plan for emergency relocation to deal with an escalating crisis, Germany, France and Spain would together relocate nearly 60 percent of 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary, under mandatory quotas. Germany would take 31,443 refugees (26.2 percent), France would take 24,031 (20 percent) and Spain 14,931 (12.4 percent over the next two years. The next biggest intakes would be Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium and Sweden. Member states that refuse the quotas are expected to be asked to offer financial compensation instead

Migrant crisis: Greece acts over Lesbos 'explosion' fears (BBC News, link): "he Greek government and the UN refugee agency have brought in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 stranded migrants on the island of Lesbos. A processing centre has been also set up on an abandoned football ground to help the migrants to get to Athens. A Greek minister said on Monday Lesbos was "on the verge of an explosion". Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants broke through police lines on Hungary's border with Serbia and started walking towards the capital, Budapest. The migrants faced down pepper spray used by police as they broke out of a holding centre in a cornfield and marched down a motorway towards Budapest. They later agreed to be taken by bus to another reception centre."

IOM Monitors Migrant Arrivals, Deaths in Italy, Greece and Spain 8.9.15 (link)

SPAIN: It's time Spain learnt some lessons from its own Civil War refugees (The Local.es, link): "When Alberto Letona sees images of Syrian refugees he can't help think of his own family, who 80 years ago fled the Spanish civil war and sought refuge with strangers.... My mother was only a little Basque girl of seven when General Franco and his troops rebelled against the democratically elected government of the Spanish Republic. It was 1936 and the Spanish Civil War would go on for almost three years with a death toll of half million and further 450,000 fleeing into exile.

SWEDEN: Stockholmers gather to welcome refugees (The Local.se, link): "Volunteers headed to Stockholm's central train station on Tuesday to welcome refugees with clothes, food, and coffee. One told The Local that some Swedes don't realize how lucky they are to live in such a safe place."

Syrian refugees bypass Switzerland for EU states (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is not a "preferred destination" of Syrian refugees, says its migration office, with new figures showing just 401 Syrians applied for asylum in the Alpine country in August. "

'Change of pace' on migrants Renzi tells Merkel (ANSA, link) with EU relocation list..

Hundreds of refugees 'disappear' in Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police cannot account for hundreds of refugees who arrived in Denmark during the course of Monday."

Czech relations with West may worsen over migration (Prague Post, link): "Czech relations with West European countries threaten to worsen due to the migration crisis since the West promotes mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across the European Union, while the Czech Republic rejects the quotas, senior Czech diplomats have told the Czech News Agency."

AUSTRIA: EU quotas 'only way to solve refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that European Union asylum quotas are the only way to solve the ongoing refugee crisis, adding that Austria will consider withholding funds from the EU if other member states continue to oppose quotas. "

Romania and Cyprus impose migrant relocation conditions (euobserve, link): "Romania and Cyprus are demanding EU concessions in exchange for allowing in a set number of relocated asylum seekers. On Monday (7 September), Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta said he won’t accept relocated asylum seekers unless Romania is allowed to join the Schengen passport-free zone."

German budget debate in shadow of refugee influx (DW, link): "Germany's provisional budget for 2016, currently under debate in parliament, is two months old - and already out of date. A further 6 billion euros must be penciled in to help incoming refugees, if that's enough."

German participation in anti-trafficking mission advocated (euractiv, link): "In October, the EU will start using military resources to hunt down human traffickers. Germany's foreign affairs minister has called upon Berlin to participate in the effort."

LESVOS-GREECE: New migrant clashes on Lesvos as EU chief warns ‘exodus’ could last years (ekathimerini.com, link): "Fresh clashes erupted between police and migrants on the Greek island of Lesvos Tuesday, the latest flashpoint of the crisis shaking Europe as EU President Donald Tusk warned the refugee “exodus” could last for years. With authorities warning Lesvos was “on the verge of explosion,” a dozen or so coastguards and riot police armed with batons struggled overnight to control some 2,500 migrants in the island's main port, screaming “keep back” as the crowds surged towards a government-chartered ferry bound for Athens."

Europe needs 'guaranteed relocation system' for Syrian refugees, says UNHCR (ekathimerini.com, link): "UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva. She welcomed separate offers announced by Britain and France on Monday to take in Syrian refugees, but said reception centers must be set up in countries including Hungary and Greece. "Those can only work if there is a guaranteed relocation system whereby European countries saying yes will take X number. We believe it should be 200,000 -- that's the number we believe need relocation in Europe countries," Fleming said."

EU plans to spend €1bn on relocating refugees across bloc (FT, link): "Germany, France and Spain will provide more than half of all the places on the scheme, according to a draft proposal seen by the Financial Times and confirmed by European officials."

Refugee crisis: European leaders preparing EU-wide protection force to deal with unfolding humanitarian catastrophe (Independent, link): "European leaders are preparing to create a powerful EU-wide border protection force to deal with the refugee crisis engulfing the continent, The Independent understands. Under plans being discussed by officials in Brussels, legal responsibility for deporting people deemed to be economic migrants would pass from the member states to the European Union. The proposal – which would have legal force – will be discussed at the meeting of EU interior and justice ministers later this month. "

Comment: Romania and the E.U.’s new Schengen policy (romanian-insider, link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Greece asks EU for humanitarian aid to cope with migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link)

"Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called "a volatile situation" following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.

It requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc's crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said."

See: EU Civil Protection Mechanism (link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (7.9.15)

UNHCR saddened by man's death in Bicske, Hungary (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency is saddened at the death of a 50 year old man, on Friday, near a refugee reception centre in the Hungarian town of Bicske. UNHCR staff on the ground were gathering exact details about the circumstance of the death. However, initial reports suggested the man falling down and hitting his head against train tracks, while trying to run away from the police at the train station. An ambulance was called which tried to provide medical assistance on the spot, but the man reportedly died after 50 minutes of the incident."

AUSTRIA: Emergency migrant measures 'phased out' (The Local.at, link): "Up to 20,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary into Austria over the weekend after an agreement with Austria and Hungary to relax asylum rules. However, Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann has said the emergency measures will now be phased out."

Refugee crisis: Why France won't open borders like Germany (The Local.fr, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy."

Spain warns of jihadist infiltration threat with 'avalanche' of refugees (The Local.es, link): "Spain's interior minister on Monday called for tighter controls to prevent members of the armed jihadist group Isis from infiltrating the "avalanche" of refugees arriving in Europe from Syria."

Danish police stop refugee march to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "Up to 150 refugees who began marching towards the border with Sweden, known for its more generous asylum policies, have finally agreed to be taken to police stations to register, as required under EU rules."

Refugee crisis: national newspapers start to rattle the sabres (Guardian, link): "Amid public sentiment and support for the people fleeing oppression, some titles call on David Cameron to launch air strikes in Syria "

Migration and refugee crisis: Europe cannot bury “head and humanity” in the sand (CoE Parliamentary Asembly, link): "Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur has urged Europe not to “bury its head and humanity,” in the sand, as it confronts the region’s migration crisis.“Europe is in the centre of a migration and asylum cauldron,” she said in New York after the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Each day more and more ingredients are being added to this melting pot of human suffering, and Europe can no longer bury its head and humanity in the sand. “In New York during my meetings I was met with polite incredulity at the lack of an organised European response to the 300,000 refugees arriving and travelling through Europe. Yes, this is a significant number, but no, this is not an insurmountable figure for a continent as large and wealthy as Europe."

EU sets new quotas for states to take asylum-seekers, source says  (ekathimerini.com, link): "The EU executive has drawn up a new set of national quotas under which Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday.... The source said the Commission also planned to put Turkey and all the non-EU states of the Western Balkans on a new list of "safe" countries, whose citizens would face accelerated reviews of asylum claims to speed deportation for most of them."

Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants (euractiv, link): "A Hungarian official indirectly admitted that the poster campaign ordered by the government last summer to discourage immigrants from coming into the country was aimed at generating hate towards them."

France reluctant to host large numbers of refugees (euobserver, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the French–Italian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy.

UN agencies 'broke and failing' in face of ever-growing refugee crisis - Damage will be impossible to reverse, warns head of UNHCR, after 10% fall in funding forces cuts to food rations and closure of clinics (Guardian, link)

Cyprus says it could take up to 300 preferably Christian refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Union member Cyprus said on Monday it would be willing to take in up to 300 migrants fleeing upheaval in the Middle East under new EU quotas, but would prefer them to be Christians."

Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR.Youtube, link)

Refugee crisis: Hollande says France will take 24,000 refugees and 'begin Syria air missions' (Independent, link)

The Syrian refugee crisis, in 4 maps and charts (VOX, link)

Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe (Independent, link): "As European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees and migrants from settling in the continent, more and more people are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety. Here are some of the ways you can help at home."

V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague Friday."

GERMANY: Five injured in refugee housing fire in Rottenburg - At least five people have been injured after a fire broke out at refugee accomodation in the southwestern German town of Rottenburg. It was not immediately clear if the blaze was a result of arson. (DW, link)

Migrants to lesbos: volunteers only in the face of the humanitarian crisis (France24, link)

Slow crossing causes tension at FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Scuffles broke out early Monday between FYROM police and thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to head north toward Europe. About 2,000 people had gathered at the Greek border near the village of Idomeni just after dawn, attempting to cross into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But FYROM authorities were allowing only small groups to cross every half hour, leading to tension. The situation later calmed after more were allowed to cross, with about 1,000 having passed the border by mid-day.

At least 10,000 migrants to be ferried to mainland in next five days, minister says (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece's migration minister has said at least two-thirds of the estimated 15,000-18,000 refugees and economic migrants stranded in "miserable" conditions on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be ferried to the mainland in the next five days. ... Lesvos bears the brunt of the refugee influx, with more than 1,000 arriving daily on frail boats from nearby Turkey. Most remain stuck there for days, sleeping outdoors until they can be identified, and then find berths on crowded ferries to the mainland.

LESVOS-GREECE: Two arrested for hurling homemade bombs at refugee tents on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions rise on Lesvos, police on Sunday arrested two teenagers for hurling homemade petrol bombs at tents set up by refugees near the port of the eastern Aegean island, injuring a 30-year-old Syrian man.

Also on Sunday, police using riot batons clashed with refugees beating one unconscious and leaving several others injured, reports said. One person was taken away in ambulance, according to the same reports."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Hungarian Parliament toughens laws on border crossing (Budapest Business Journal, link):

"In a parliamentary session begun this morning [Friday], MPs voted on a package of laws early this afternoon that would include stronger penalties for “illegal crossings” of the Hungarian border, with 140 voting in favor and 33 voting against...detailing the role of the army and police in safeguarding Hungary's borders in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.

The amendments passed in Parliament today includes revisions to the Penal Code that will treat “illegal” border crossings, the damage, or the obstruction of the construction of the border fence punishable as a separate crime. The law will also expedite the asylum procedure of refugees and make it more efficient, broaden the defense of the country’s borders, establish provisions for setting up transit zones on the country's borders, and tighten penalties leveled at people smugglers." and Refugee crisis: Hungary may deploy military to southern border, says PM Viktor Orban (Independent, link)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (6.9.15)

Danish tourists helping refugees in Greece (The Local,dk, link): "Large numbers of Danes are heading to Greece with bags of unwanted clothes and other goods to help newly-arrived refugees. Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have reported that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists. The scheme allows all customers flying out of Copenhagen Airport and Stockholm's Arlanda Airport and Copenhagen Airport in Denmark to Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have taken advantage of the offer. "

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann called Sunday for an emergency EU summit to resolve the migrant crisis, saying his country's admittance of thousands of refugees crossing from Hungary was just a "temporary" measure (The Local.at, link)

ITALY: How to help refugees if you live in Italy (The Local.it, link).

UK: Oxford City of Sanctuary (link)

EU: Five Steps to Tackle Refugee Crisis - How to Save Lives and Protect People (HRW, link)

GERMANY: Far-right demo disrupts arrival of migrants in Dortmund (DW, link) "Far-right extremists tried to disrupt the arrival of nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Dortmund in western Germany last night. The police made several arrests."

Key dates in Europe's escalating migrant crisis (FR24, link)

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, 2-6-15, link) by Seamus Milne: "What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus."

Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR Youtube, link)

To Be European Among Whites (liberties.eu, link): "European identity is much more than race or ethnicity, but you wouldn’t know it from the actions of many EU members, typified by Hungary’s hate-filled campaign against migrants."

IRELAND: Coveney hits back at critics of migrant aid (independent.ie, link): "Defence Minister Simon Coveney has lashed out at critics of plans for Ireland to take a "very generous" approach to the worst migrant crisis to hit Europe since World War II..... the Government will ask the European Union to relax strict budget spending rules to allow Ireland take in more refugees." and Our leaders defend a monochrome culture - Timid politicians resist helping in this great humanitarian crisis because they think we're racist, writes Willie Kealy (link)

PMs: V4 ready to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The Visegrád Group (V4) countries are ready to provide experts and equipment for the protection of the Schengen Area external borders, to intensify the fight against people smugglers and support the fight against Islamic State, the four prime ministers said in a joint statement today."

ITALY: Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)

Refugee crisis: east and west split as leaders resent Germany for waiving rules - Central European nations pin blame on the EU – but their unilateral actions are a hindrance to a solution (Observer, link): "The European parliament, as ever, has plenty to say about immigration, but absolutely nothing to do because it has no remit over policymaking, which remains overwhelmingly national. The countries of Europe prefer it that way, while blaming Brussels for the ever-worsening state of the union."

GREECE: Baby migrant boy found dead on coast of Agathonisi, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link): "A newborn migrant boy was found dead early on Saturday after his parents reached the steep shores of the Greek island of Agathonisi in a boat from Turkey, the Greek coastguard service said. The baby boy was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Samos, where he was pronounced dead."

Czech police release Syrians who applied for Hungarian asylum (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

Real Madrid join drive to help Spain-based refugees (The Local, es.link)

Thousands to rally for refugees in Stockholm (The Local.se, Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriork)

More migrants march as refugees arrive in Austria (The Local, at,link): "Thousands of migrants streamed into Austria from Hungary on Saturday, with another column of refugees setting out on foot as Budapest ruled out bussing any more the 175 kilometres (110 miles) to the border."

Migrant Children’s Drawings From Hungary Train Station (WSJ, link)

UNHCR applauds Austria and Germany as refugees march across Hungary (link): " It was a remarkable and unexpected display of refugee power – the power of the powerless. It began at noon on September 4 with a spontaneous march out of Budapest down the highway towards the Austrian border by more than 1,000 frustrated refugees. They were marching in protest at the Hungarian government's blanket refusal to let them take trains to Austria and Germany."

This refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its institutions are broken by Paul Mason (Guardian, link): "The EU needs a new asylum system based on reality. But without an influx of migrants, it faces a future of economic stagnation"

Bono warns refugee crisis solution must be found (AOL, link): ""As Nelson Mandela said: 'It always seems impossible until it is done" Bono asked the crowd: "What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe with its heart open?"

EU-ISF:GREECE: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Closing the borders, identifying all migrants/refguees and dealing with "potential radical or extremism groups": The EU Internal Security Fund plan for Greek border control under the EU external borders fund - Greece: National programme (49 pages, pdf)

"Indicatively EBF has funded the purchase of land and sea patrol means and equipment such as thermal cameras and fingerprint scanners.... the procurement of special smart devices equipped with face identification, contemporary surveillance devices for digital recording, transmission of information and fingerprint scanners, could transform any kind of simple patrol to smart patrol policing." and

"in order to ensure effective management of the external maritime borders, in particular at critical area of Eastern Aegean. An investment plan, assisted with adequate technology, is scheduled to step up the surveillance capacity in that region. Investments will integrate with the Frontex sea border operations... The maintenance of high level of security in both Greece and European Union as well as the effective prevention and suppression of radicalization towards terrorism and violent extremism could be addressed through the coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and other national authorities in Greece, including Europol.." and:

"The newly established Intelligence Management and Analysis Division aims at implementing an intelligence-led policing model so as to enhance the coordination between the concerned agencies and the detection of internal security threats at local and national level. Another action which could address the gaps mentioned in baseline, is to identify and register all places of gatherings of potential radical or extremism groups such as worship areas, cultural and artistic heritage places in the Greek territory and depict them in a GIS platform, giving the ability for further process of these large amount of data, providing demographic information with specific patterns. One of the latest techniques to do so is to use Visualization Tools, since one can recognize patterns in a graphic display at just a glance. The confidential content of collected data and the output of analysis, require high level of protection on behalf of Hellenic Police, in order to minimize the possibilities of potential leak." [epmphasis added]

HASTA CUANDO TOLERAREMOS LAS GUERRAS DESATADAS POR LA CRUEL EUROPA CONTRA LOS PUEBLOS DEL TERCER MUNDO, CONTRAS SUS MUJERES, SUS HOMBRES, SUS NIÑOS Y NIÑAS…! WHEN TO TOLERATE THE WARS unleashed by EUROPE AGAINST CRUEL Third World peoples, against their wives, MEN, THEIR CHILDREN ...! (link) with telling images and.

EJK - Lost Souls (YouTube, link) Song and images from Mytilene, Greece: "Lost Souls Intro: Help these lost souls Help hem find there way Help these lost souls Help them get to bay Chorus: Help these lost souls Help hem find there..."

Covering Migration: Why ‘Refugees and Migrants’ are People Who Go Together (EJN, link) by Aidan White:

"Put simply, the term migrant refers to someone who moves, temporarily or permanently, from one place or country to another. A migrant is someone who moves freely.A refugee on the other hand is forced to move because of persecution, or they are displaced by war or humanitarian disaster or some other external and compelling factor. States are obliged to provide them with protection under international law. Asylum seekers are people seeking protection from persecution who are awaiting a decision on an application for refugee status under international and national laws.

Responsible media reporting on people crossing borders – whether on boats, at railway terminals or simply walking into another country – will focus on the human story, that those concerned are all people in need who deserve support and respect, but they will also recognise that this is not just one single stream of humanity.

Some people may be fleeing war in Iraq or Syria, others may on the run from poverty in Somalia or elsewhere and most will be signing up for asylum, so applying a single term and using it in a negative manner can be unethical – at best it lacks precision and accuracy and at worst it distorts the story, feeds hate and resentment and undermines the rights of those most in need of help.

The responsible journalist will use an inclusive term such as 'refugees and migrants' or 'people in need' when referring to movements of people where it’s likely that both groups may be present. "

See IOM Glossary (link)

LONDON: Refugees Welcome Here - National Day Of Action, Saturday 12 September: Marble Arch 12.00 then Rally at Downing Street 2pm (link)

EU: CRISIS: Letter from Hollande and Merkel to Monsieur Donald TUSK President du Conseil europeen, Monsieur Jean-Claude JUNCKER President de la Commission europeenne and Monsieur Xavier BETTEL Premier ministre du Luxembourg (3 September. pdf):

"the creation of Home dtspositifs ("hotspots") in Italy and Greece should be accelerated to ensure as soon as possible (identification, recording, notes the fingerprint of migrants, the determination of the need for protection International and, if necessary, return to the country of origin. This should be fully operational at the latest before the end of the taxation year. The Commission and the European Union of competent agencies will formulate all the necessary support. Germany and France are willing to contribute their expertise in this context, the Commission should be ready to study the creation of new reception facilities in other Member States....

European Union should continue and expand its efforts to dismantle the criminal networks trafficking in human beings. In this context, cooperation with key partners, in particular Turkey, but also I'Egypte, Tunisia and Niger, should be reinforced in order to improve the management of the borders and to implement effective measures to control and curb irregular migration."

Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter (bordercriminologies, link): "The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (5.9.13)

Here's how you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe (http://mashable.com): "From learning the real issues to supporting both large organizations and grassroots efforts alike, here are six concrete ways you can help during the refugee crisis."

2,200 Austrian drivers join campaign to pick up refugees in Budapest (Yahoo News, link)

V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas (Prague Post, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague."

EU-UK: Cameron limits UK's Syrian refugee intake 'to discourage risky journeys' - Prime minister also rejects obligatory EU quota as aid groups criticise his response to refugee crisis as inadequate (Guardian, link) "David Cameron has set limits on his plan to accept thousands of extra refugees from Syria after he rejected any involvement in an EU scheme for compulsory quotas, saying they would encourage “dangerous” journeys across the Mediterranean. As aid groups said the prime minister’s change of heart fell a long way short of refugees’ needs, Cameron insisted Britain’s main focus would continue to be on providing aid for camps in Syria’s neighbouring countries" and 'Completely inundated': Britons take refugees' aid into their own hands - Moved by coverage of Europe’s migration crisis, people across the UK are collecting donations and organising relief runs (Guardian, link) also: Germany prepares for up to 10,000 refugee arrivals - live updates (Guardian, link)

Hot spots working this year say Hollande-Merkel (ANSA, link) Comment: "Hotspots" are camps where people will be fingerprinted and their asylum claims made and where some will be "returned" from.

Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)

Thousands of migrants leave Hungary as Austria and Germany open borders - Up to 10,000, many refugees from Syria, expected to arrive in Germany on Saturday (Irish Times, link)

GERMANY: Rock for refugees: Bands against right-wing violence (DW, link): "Continued right-wing violence against refugees has spurred artists to help. In a written appeal, 24 German rock bands have called for improved protection for refugees and their accommodations."

Czech asylum facilities are 90% full (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Police vows to stop marking refugees by pens (link): "he method was criticised by some foreign Jewish organisations and Czech NGOs."

KOS: Refugees attacked 'with bats', stun grenades in Greece (The Turkish Weekly, link): "Authorities in Greece have used stun grenades on refugees in Mytilene port, while in Kos island, reports of attacks on asylum seekers by a group calling them to “go home” have emerged, local media and a human rights organization said Friday. On Friday morning, Greek Coast Guard and police used stun grenades to control thousands of refugees, mostly Afghans, in the port of Mytilene, local media said. Around 1,000 Afghans had allegedly tried to occupy Blue Star 1 ferry at the port, shouting "Athens- Athens". After the use of force on the refugees, the ferry eventually managed to sail away from the port, Greek media said."

Europe’s fear of Muslim refugees echoes rhetoric of 1930s anti-Semitism (Wahington Post, link)

Timmermans: Refugee crisis is here to stay (euractiv, link): "First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said what everyone suspected on Friday (4 September): that the refugee crisis overwhelming the EU will last a long time, and that “every single European” will feel its consequences."

Expats in Switzerland mobilize for refugees (The Local, ch, link)

Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece (The Local.se, link) :" Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have told The Local that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists....Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have so far taken advantage of the offer. "

Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake (The Local.se, link): "Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister, has warned that the EU's global credibility is at stake if it does not act now to tackle the refugee crisis."

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Agreed text of Council decision on relocation of refugees from Italy & Greece, to be adopted officially on 14 September 2105: Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf): and see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)

EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (4.9.13)

Health Commissioner accused of snubbing invitation to Greek islands (euractiv, link): "Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in Alexis Tsipras' government, has accused EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of damaging the bloc’s image by ignoring his invitation to visit Greek islands."

New EU proposal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers (euobserver, link)

GREECE: Police clash with migrants seeking to board Piraeus-bound ferry (.ekathimerini.com, link)

Visegrad states meet on refusal of refugee quotas (euobserver, link)

Migrant crisis: Hungary train stand-off enters second day (BBC News, link)

Migration crisis: Hungary PM says Europe in grip of madness - Viktor Orbán attacks EU policy, saying the influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europe’s Christian identity (Guardian, link)

EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Migrants refuse to leave train near Hungary camp (BBC News, link) Migrants thinking they were going to Germany refuse to get off train and go to a "camp" to be "registered"- recalling historical parallels

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS the "military" operation enters 2 phase: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, following the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf):

"Now the operation has fulfilled all the military objectives of Phase one, that were related to the collection of information and intelligence. That is why I have proposed to EU Defence ministers today to discuss the transition to Phase two of the operation - that would mean going to the capture and disposal of vessels, including those escorting the migrants and refugees." [emphasis added]

Comment: The operations described would appear to relate to those traveling from north Africa to Italy, especially Libya. The small motorised-rubber dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are destroyed after the journey and all the occupants are migrants/refugees.

Special: EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:Joint Letter from Germany, France and Italy to High Representative (pdf) and Non-Paper: Common external migration policy (pdf)

The suggestions regarding Africa mainly focus on immigration control, and offer little concrete as regards Eritreans in particular. The ministers ought to examine whether EU trade and fisheries meaures have exacerbated the problems of the countries concerned. As regards the Western Balkans, the numbers of Albanians and Kosovars who obtain refugee status is not negligible, and so the decision to apply 'safe country of origin' status is questionable.

As for those reaching or heading for the EU, the non-paper offers little concrete, failing to mention relocation, resettlement, search and rescue, or human rights breaches by Member States as regards the reception and transit of migrants.

There is no mention of the plans to destroy smugglers boats, but it is clear that this will still be discussed. This seems like an ever-more pointless diversion at a time of great humanitarian tragedy.

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS::EU goes to "war": to authorise stage 2 in the planned military operation: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Defence Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf): "I will put forward a proposal to Defence Ministers to pass from phase 1 of the operation, which was information gathering and sharing, to phase 2, which is the fight against smugglers and traffickers in the high seas."

See: See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf): "INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees - Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece (Guardian, link): "Warning: this article contains images that readers may find distressing."

and see: Drowned Kurdish boy on beach: the hypocrisy and the truth of what happened (undercoverifo, link): "First, that child… He had a name – Aylan Kurdi. He had a home: it was in Kobani. He had a brother: he was 5 years old and his name was Galip – he too drowned. They died with their mother, Rehan, and eight other refugees when their boat overturned not long after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. The father, Abdullah, survived heartbroken."

Lonndon refugee rally: Tens of thousands plan to join demonstration and call for action to tackle crisis (Evening Standard, link) and Solidarity with Refugees (Facebok)

UK: Petition Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK (Uk.gov, link): There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help. Sign Up; 411,363 signatures so far Already over the 100,000 threshold.

EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (3.9.15)

France and Germany call for permanent EU response to migrant crisis (France 24, link)

"The (migrant) problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." (BBC News, link): "Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go". PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering." and "European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU countries should accept at least 100,000 asylum seekers between them, a sharp increase on a previous European Commission target of 40,000. EU states instead so far committed to sharing some 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece."

Member states want to be less attractive to migrants (euractiv, link): "A flurry of ideas about how countries could reduce their attractiveness to asylum seekers have been voiced in various European countries, providing a preview of the discussion at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg tomorrow (4 September)."

Lest we forget, this humanitarian crisis was wating to happen: EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)

European Parliament Question: Commission response: FINGERPRINTING: COERCIVE MEASURES MUST BE "PROPORTIONATE": Question to the European Commission: Subject: Unlawful use of force at Pozzallo and Lampedusa reception centres, Italy, to collect migrants' fingerprints — including those of minors — for identification purposes from MEPs:Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Laura Ferrara (EFDD) , Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) and Answer from Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission (links) "Any coercive measures used by Member States must be proportionate, justified and respect the dignity and physical integrity of the individual concerned. Moreover, children under the age of 14 should not be fingerprinted." and see: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

LESVOS-GREECE: Unnberable conditions in Refugee Camp around the Detention Center of Moria (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "Yesterday, 09/01/15, one somalien refugee died because of insuficient medical care in the madeshift refugee Camp outside the Detention Cemtet of Moria. Another one was bitten by snake." and Action on arrivals pledged as Lesvos claims emergency (ekathimerini.com, link): "The caretaker government pledged on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the refugee crisis as the mayor of Lesvos called for the island to be declared in a state of emergency due to the high number of people arriving from Turkish shores.... The caretaker administration is also considering simplifying the registration process for the next few weeks. This would allow refugees to be fast-tracked so they immediately receive their laissez-passer document allowing them to travel on from Greece."

DENMARK: 'Significantly harder to get Danish citizenship' (The Local.dk, link): "The government will attempt to make obtaining Danish citizenship more difficult with four specific changes to current policy, the integration minister has announced."

AUSTRIA: Ski star joins campaign in support of refugees (The Local.au, link) "Austrian alpine skiing champion Marcel Hirscher has joined a new social media campaign using the hashtag #showyourfacechallenge - speaking out in support of refugees and against xenophobia."

France joins call for reform of asylum rules (The Local.fr, link) and Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly (The Local.fr, link) also Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum (The Local.it, link)

Sweden sees summer rise in asylum seekers (The LOcal.se, link): "More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August – the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as the scope of the crisis grows."

German media: Covering the refugee crisis from all sides (DW, link): "TV magazines, websites and newspapers are filled with all sorts of stories about refugees making their way to Germany. The media outlets, including tabloids, have found sensible ways to cover the touchy subject." and Map of arson attacks on refugee centres (link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister signals possibility of allowing refugees to cross Czech territory to Germany (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Speaking in Belgrade, the Czech interior minister also said he was considering a plan under which asylum seekers would be allowed to travel through Czech territory to Germany rather than being returned to Hungary."

Czech Railways ‘obliged’ to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The national rail operator Czech Railways (CD) will be ready to dispatch a special train for migrants from South Moravia"

Germany gets more Italian border controls at Brenner (ANSA, link)

EU Ministers to Discuss Naval Mission Against Migrant-Trafficking (Prensa Latina, link):

"Brussels, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) will discuss this weekend in Luxembourg the expansion of a naval mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean, EU sources confirmed today. During preliminary meetings scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, representatives of the 28 member states will discuss the possibility of starting the second phase of the military operation, strongly criticized by humanitarian organizations. According to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the analysis will begin because mission commander, Enrico Credendino, pointed out the need to advance in the mission's implementation."

See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks

Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):

"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]

And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."

ITALY: Report by ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione): The readmission of foreign citizens in Ventimigla (June 2015): UNLAWFUL ASPECTS (pdf):

Since 11 June 2015, the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia has been the scene of a considerable number of readmissions of migrants, citizens of states which do not belong to the EU, who were first blocked in French territory or upon entry into French territory and then readmitted into Italian territory, presumably on the basis of the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the French Republic on cross-border police and customs cooperation signed in Chambery on 3.10.1997. On 24/25 June, our organisation carried out a fact-finding visit

EU: MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (2.9.15)

Czech police arrests 200 refugees and marks them with numbers on their forearms (http://blisty.cz, link):" Czech police continues, nonsensically, arresting refugees which are trying to reach Germany across the territory of the Czech Republic. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in southern Moravia, the Czech police removed some 200 refugees from trains arriving from Austria and Hungary which continued their journey to Germany. The Czech police wrote registration numbers on the refugees' forearms with felt tips (a practice reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps). The refugees are now in detention on police premises in several Moravian towns. The police said it will interrogate them and "then they will decide what to do with them". The refugees were travelling from Budapest and said that they had purchased valid train tickets and that Hungary had allowed them to board the trains." and Just awful: Czech police take 200 #refugees off trains & mark them with numbers on their forearms (link)

EU Commission aims to ease asylum rules for frontier, report says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Commission is drafting a proposal to change the so-called Dublin rule that obliges migrants to request asylum in the country they first arrive in, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Tuesday."

Italy ready to impose Austria border controls (The Local.it, link): "Italy is ready to impose identification checks at Brennero on the border with Austria after receiving a request from Germany for help in easing the flow of migrants into Bavaria, the northern province of Bolzano said on Wednesday. Rome was ready to "reactivate" controls just as it did for the G7 in June, as "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency", a statement from the province said."

Hungary ‘to return economic migrants where they came from’ (France 24, link) and Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens - Emergency meeting, action plan set (Budapest Times, link): "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has convened a session of the national security cabinet by next Tuesday evening to address the challenges of illegal migration. Meanwhile the situation is becoming direr in the capital as designated transit zones are filling up quicker than expected." and Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest (euobserver, link)

BBC Trending - Demand to open doors to Syrians spreading online (BBC, link): "From the UK to Saudi Arabia, the demand that Syrians and other refugees be accepted is being spread by vocal online campaigns. The public reaction to Europe's migrant crisis has been deeply polarised. Many in Europe are dismayed by the news of migrant deaths, and there have been several mass protests demanding stricter controls on the influx. But over recent days there's been a pattern of internet activism with a different set of demands: that it's now time to relax the rules and let refugees in, particularly Syrians fleeing the war there."

Amidst the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War 2, one German couple founds a 'Airbnb-style' non profit to provide affordable housing to refugees (.neurope, link)

Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands - Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other (Guardian, link): "Europe’s fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response."

MOLYVOS- LESVOS: Car park closed to migrants - video (link). The car park is used to bring people from the beaches and from where buses can be called to take them ti the recption centre in Moria - 40 kilometres away

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals, Deaths at Sea Soar (IOM, link)

Europe’s migrant acceptance rates (The Economist, link)

Opinion: Europe can't be a fortress - Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. To keep them out, Hungary has built a fence along the border with Serbia. That's the wrong move, says DW's Zoran Arbutina. (DW, link)

Inability to unite on major challenges may pull the EU apart, say politicians (euractiv, link): "French Socialist Party leaders have warned that the multitude of crises currently buffeting the European Union could deal a death blow to the European project."

Human rights court slows rushed migrant repatriation (euractiv, link): "Fast-tracking the repatriation of migrants who did not qualify as asylum seekers is likely to contravene EU rules, according to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights." See: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger's name exposed (The Local.se, link)

GERMANY: Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees (THe Local.de, link)

AUSTRIA: Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants (The Local.at, link)

DENMARK: Another Muslim cemetery vandalized in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Migration wave is yet to culminate, interior minister says (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Poll: Most Czechs angry at government over its handling immigrants (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

GREECE: Refugee arrivals in Athens prompt new discussions (.ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 4,200 refugees were due to arrive in Piraeus on two ships from Lesvos Tuesday, only temporarily easing the pressure on scant resources on the island but at the same time increasing concern in Athens about the fate of those who would disembark. Authorities on Lesvos have registered some 17,500 refugees and migrants over the past week but the transfer to Athens of many of those people would only provide brief respite as hundreds more are arriving each day." and Caretaker gov't to introduce measures for refugees on islands (link)

GREECE: LESVOS: Kara Tepe! Well Done International Rescue! (Youtube, link) and see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf) also: Greek island of Lesbos overwhelmed by 13,000 refugees says the IRC (IRC, link)

EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment

EU: MED-CRISIS: (1.9.15)

More than 1,000 refugees rescued in a single day, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link)

HUNGARY: Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis (INYT, link) and Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees - Move follows chaotic scenes when thousands of people were allowed on to trains bound for Austria and Germany without visa checks (Guardian, link)

Berlin Couple Launches Website Matching Refugees With Roommates in Germany, Austria (.haaretz.com, link): "More than 400 refugees currently based in Germany have applied to 'Refugees Welcome' website, which aims to combat housing refugees en masse in makeshift locations."

V4 government heads to discuss migration crisis (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet on Friday or Sunday to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, Slovak PM Robert Fico announced yesterday.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said later yesterday that the V4 meeting will be held in Prague on Friday afternoon."

Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal (BBC News, link): "Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU."

Europe’s response to migrant crisis is not working, warns UN rights expert (UN News Centre, link): " The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said. "

LESVOS: GREECE: Authorities on Lesvos stretched to the limit as refugee number climbs to about 12,000 (ANA-MPA, link)

Merkel urges migrant help for Italy (ANSA, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged the European Union to help Italy on its migrant crisis just as the EU called for common rules rather than walls to address the emergency that has come into sharp focus with a string of deadly incidents. The UN said the vast majority of people trying to cross the Mediterranean were refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."

NORWAY: Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum (The Local.no, link): "Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe."

       UNHCR: Crossings of Mediterranean Sea exceed 300,000, including 200,000 to Greece (link)

GREECE: Constant flow of refugees proves overwhelming for Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ferry carrying some 2,500 refugees at a time to Piraeus almost around the clock, thousands of people remain stuck on the Greek islands, often in squalid or dangerous conditions. Authorities on Lesvos estimate that there are 12,000 refugees on the island, which has a total population of around 85,000."

Solidarity not one way street says Faymann (The Local.at, link): "Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday."

Trainloads of migrants reach Austria, Germany, as EU asylum system collapses (euractiv, link): "Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary yesterday (31 August) as European Union asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU."

Our treatment of today's refugees harks back to Europe's darkest hour (New Statesman, link): "We mustn't forget the lessons of the Second World War in the face of today's refugee crisis... in the 1930s, thousands of persecuted people fled Europe. Our own press ignominiously reported these as "Stateless Jews pouring into this country" and various records exist from that time of public officials reassuring readers that no such thing would be allowed under their watch."

EU struggles to reconcile values with barbed wire fences (euractiv, link): "European politicians gathered in Calais on Monday (31 August) to make assurances that the EU will not abandon those who need protection. But they also reaffirmed the need to protect the bloc's external borders."

Trains packed with migrants arrive in Vienna (euobserver, link): "Hundreds of people seeking refuge arrived at Vienna’s Westbahnhof station from the Hungarian capital Budapest on Monday (31 August), with most seeking to head on to Germany."

Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave - Posthumous publication of Nobel prize-winning writer’s last book attacks rising vitriol towards refugees in Germany (Guardian, link) and Germany urges other EU countries to take in more refugees - Angela Merkel says it isn’t right that some nations are refusing to accept more refugees as France announces new Calais camp (Guardian, link)

GERMANY-EU: Opinion: Merkel steps up: Germany's position on the refugee crisis facing Europe is clear and without "ifs" and "maybes," writes DW's Dagmar Engel.(DW, link)

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