Statewatch article: RefNo# 35563
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29 stories and documents, 19.10.15)
Statewatch News Online, October 2015
- European Commission: The "Returns" package:

1. Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf)

2. ANNEX: Return Handbook (116 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)."

3. Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)

4. EU Action Plan on return (pdf)

5. Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (Commission and EEAS, pdf)

6. Council of Europe: Guidelines on forced returns (pdf)

- News (19.10.15)

Sweden: Refugee homes become 'secret' after fire attacks (The, link): "Plans to welcome 150 asylum seekers to the northern town of Umeå are being kept under the wraps after a series of suspected arson attacks on refugee centres across Sweden."

Austria: Graves defiled with swastikas and slogans (The, link): "A Jewish and a Muslim cemetery were defiled with Nazi symbols and anti-migrant slogans in western Austria, police said on Monday, just weeks after similar attacks on a refugee hostel and Jewish museum."

Czechs under fire for harsh, lengthy migrant detentions (Reuters, link): "When two young Syrian refugees crossed the Czech border from Slovakia in a smuggler's car last month they thought their dangerous 24-day journey to Germany would be over in hours. Instead the 23-year old childhood friends were arrested, handcuffed, strip-searched and detained for six weeks by Czech authorities, with only sporadic access to legal aid or interpreters and little chance to contact families."

MISSING MIGRANTS PROJECT (IOM, link): As at 16 October there have been 617,179 refugee arrivals and 3,117 dead/missing in the Med

A Libyan militia confronts the world’s migrant crisis In a chaotic country, a militia tries to halt the ships bound for Europe. But is it possible to stop the migrants? (Washington Post, link)

On The Migrant Trail in Calais (IOM, link): "In recent days, French authorities confirmed that the number of people living in informal camps outside Calais, France, has doubled to 6,000 and that since June, a total of 16 migrants have been killed in or near the Channel Tunnel while trying to make the journey from France to the United Kingdom."

Italian MEP asks Brussels about 'secret Malta-Italy migrants-for oil deal' (, link): "Italian MEP Elisabetta Gardini has asked the European Commission to explain the abnormally low numbers of migrants being disembarked in Malta after being rescued at sea, and questioned whether the Commission is aware of any informal agreement between the Maltese and Italian governments related to rescue operations in the Mediterranean. “How does the Commission explain the inactivity of the Maltese navy in recent months, which is demonstrated by the number of people arriving on the island?” read one question put forward to the Commission by Ms Gardini."

Migrant crisis: Tensions rise as Balkan path blocked (BBC News, link): "Tensions are building among thousands of migrants heading north through Balkan states as their route to western Europe is stalled by new controls. Many spent Sunday night in the cold and rain as Slovenia restricted the numbers it allows in from Croatia. Restrictions on the flow have produced bottlenecks on Croatia's borders with Slovenia and Serbia. An official told the BBC that Croatia could run out of room in its transit camps within days." and Balkan bottleneck after Slovenia puts cap on migrants (euobserver, link) and UNHCR: More than 10,000 refugees stranded in Serbia (ITV News, link)

Balkans struggles with growing backlog of migrants (, link): "n desperate scenes, several thousand people, many of them Syrians fleeing war, spent the night on the muddy ground of no-man’s land between Serbia and European Union-member Croatia. "Open the gate, open the gate!" they chanted, held back by lines of Croatian police."

Swiss vote turns into plebiscite on EU, immigration (euractiv, link): "The anti-immigration Swiss People's Party (SVP) won the biggest share of the vote in Sunday's national parliamentary election (18 October), projections showed, keeping pressure on Bern to introduce quotas on people moving from the European Union. Success for the Swiss People's Party (SVP), coupled with gains made by the pro-business Liberal Party (FDP), led political commentators to talk of a "Rechtsrutsch" - a "slide to the right" - in Swiss politics."

Scotland: Celtic FC Foundation donation funds ambulance to help refugees (, link): "CELTIC FC Foundation has donated £17,000 to fund an ambulance which is being taken to the Greek island of Lesbos to assist in the current refugee crisis.The donation is to the Glasgow Cares appeal, and the ambulance will provide medical aid for refugees."

Merkel, in bind on migrants, ready to back faster Turkish EU bid (Reuters, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered Turkey the prospect of support for faster progress on its bid to join the European Union on Sunday in return for cooperation in stemming the flow of migrants and taking back those rejected by Europe"

Some notes on the relations between UNSC Resolution 2240 (2015) fighting smugglers in Mediterranean and the EUNAVFOR Med “Sophia” operation (EASFJ, link)

UK: Why I glued myself to a ticket barrier and shut down the Eurostar (open democracy, link)

Is Europe's 'refugee deal' giving in to blackmail by Turkey? (euractiv, link): "Two million Syrian refugees are being treated as bargaining chips, with the result being European complicity in rigging Turkey's 1 November elections, writes British MEP Richard Howitt."

Germany: PEGIDA marches on 'first anniversary' in Dresden (DW, link): "A rally marking the anniversary of the first PEGIDA demonstration has begun in Dresden. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has condemned the movement as "hard right-wing extremists."

Migrants stuck at borders as officials squabble along Balkan route (DW, link): "Thousands of refugees waited for hours in the rain before entering Croatia, as officials struggled with a growing backlog. Slovenia has capped the number of arrivals, triggering a domino effect across former Yugoslavia."

Refugee Crisis Update: Over 2,500 Refugees Rescued from the Aegean Sea; Oct.16 – 19 (Greek Reporter, link)

Thousands of Refugees Remain Stranded in Croatia (Balkan Insight, link): "Croatia is struggling to cope with the influx of refugees and with transporting them to Slovenia, after Hungary shut its border."

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