Statewatch article: RefNo# 35825
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and important documents, 5-6.12.15)
Statewatch News Online, December 2015
Refugee crisis: State of play: Commission statistics: September 2015 ongoing (3.12.15)

Comment on the current situation: Nothing is moving, offers of relocation and returns static.

- State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis Updated on 3 December (pdf)

- "Relocations": Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (Communicated as of 3 December 2015) (pdf) Now 3,346 offers of relocation out of 160,000 needed - up by 130 since last report. Only 159 people have been relocated: 129 from Italy and 30 form Greece - no change from last week and week before.

- Returns since September 2015 (pdf): Total "returns" organised by Frontex: 609 people plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece - same as last week.

- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (3.12.15, pdf): No change from last week

- Pledges: Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, € million (pdf): The total Shortfall was: 2,227,660 euro now 2,224,890 euro - shortfall for Africa Trust (following the Valletta Summit) is: 1,7118.63 euro.

- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece (pdf) Lots of "needs" unmet and Greece joined last week.

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

- Turkish, German leaders discuss Syria, refugee crisis (hurriyetdailynews.com): Although denied by officials in Brussels the Merkel "mini-summit" with Turkey is going ahead on 17 December 2015 in the margins of the EU Council Summit:

"op Turkish and German leaders have discussed the upcoming mini-summit that will take place between Turkey and eight EU countries on Dec. 17 in Brussels, where they will discuss how to best handle the growing refugee crisis... The eight EU member states involved in the meeting are Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Sweden, Finland and Greece."

- Justice and Home Affairs Council, 3-4 December 2015: Final Press release: 3-4 December (pdf) See pages 8-9 on refugees and Schengen

- Greece: Government unveils plan to set up five hotspots (ekathimerini.com):

"Only days after requesting European Union help in tackling the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis, the Greek government has unveiled plans to set up five so-called hotspots to register and identify arrivals.

The decision, which was published early Saturday in the Government Gazette, foresees the creation of screening centers on the eastern Aegean islands of Chios, Kos, Leros, Samos and Lesvos. Their operation will fall under the responsibility of the Southern and Northern Aegean regional authorities and will rely on Defense Ministry technical infrastructure and personnel."


- News (5-6.12.15)

UNHCR: Latest figures: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (UNHCR, link): 899,620 arrivals in the EU, 751,873 to Greece and 144,100 to Italy. 3,550 dead/missing.

Europe has a deal with Turkey, but migrants will keep coming - Refugees' misery still drives them to leave (Economist, link)

Italy rescues 4,600 people from Mediterranean (Reuters, link): "More than 4,600 people were plucked to safety from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast, the Italian coastguard said on Sunday, as they took advantage of calmer waters this weekend to attempt the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. On Saturday alone, the coastguard operations centre in Rome co-ordinated nine rescues, pulling 1,123 people to safety from two boats and seven inflatable dinghies."

Norway extends border controls as numbers fall (The Local.no, link): "Norway’s tightened border control measures, including identity checks at ferry terminals, have been extended for a further 20 days."

EU risks being shaken apart by refugee crisis, warns Brussels (The Observer, link): "European migration commissioner says countries must do more to shoulder burden of new arrivals and fund local authorities to deal with the problem... Avramopoulos said anyone resisting the arrival of migrants should remember that Europe is an ageing continent and needs to attract new people, as well as develop strategies to send home those who enter illegally. The confusion in terminology between refugees and economic migrants has caused problems, he said. "We must not listen to nationalists and to xenophobic groups that unfortunately are gaining more and more ground in Europe right now because this misconception exists.""

Few refugee arrivals at weekend (sta.si, link) "Ljubljana, 6 December - Only one train carrying refugees arrived in Slovenia on Saturday with 742 people on board, with another one early on Sunday brining 1,121 migrants, Novo mesto police have said."

Greece: The 25ft mountain of lifejackets left behind by the refugees who have arrived on Lesbos (apokoronasnews.gr.link)

Thousands still at Greek-FYR Macedonia border (UNHCR, link): "IDOMENI, Greece, Dec 4 (UNHCR) – Thousands of refugees and migrants were stuck at the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Friday following tense protests which prevented anyone from crossing for more than 24 hours. By Friday morning, the chaos had calmed though passage through the border was far slower than usual. Only refugees and migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are allowed to cross under restrictions implemented last month by authorities along the Western Balkans route. Tensions have increased around along the Greek side of the border at Idomeni, since November 18, when FYR Macedonia started admitting only nationals from those three countries. Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia implemented similar screening systems by nationality."

Germany and France urge more powers for Frontex, report (DW, link): "Germany and France have called on the EU's executive body to strengthen the European border protection agency, Frontex, a German newspaper has reported. It says they want the agency to be given more autonomy to act.... Under the Code as it currently stands, the Commission can only recommend that a member state accepts help in controlling its borders but not force it to do so."

Anti-Muslim prejudice ‘is moving to the mainstream’ - Report warns of rapid growth of far-right groups that plan to provoke a ‘cultural civil war’ (Guardian, link) "The “counter-jihad” movement in the UK is expanding rapidly, according to new analysis showing that 24 different far-right groups are currently attempting to whip up hatred towards Muslims and provoke a cultural civil war. The most comprehensive report yet into the alliance of international counter-jihad organisations warns that Islamophobic groups in Britain are capitalising on public concerns following the Paris attacks and ongoing refugee crisis. The report, by the anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, chronicles 920 anti-Muslim organisations and key Islamophobes in 22 countries, noting that such groups are becoming increasingly well-resourced, particularly in the US, where eight foundations have donated more than £38m since the 9/11 attacks."

and see: The Counter-Jihad movement: From the Margins to the Mainstream (Link): Is a new report from HOPE not hate. It is the most comprehensive and detailed report into the international Counter-Jihad movement produced and profiles 920 organisations and individuals in 22 countries.

FROM BOAT TO BOAT: Kos and the Refugee Crisis (Hope Not Hate, link): "HOPE not hate recently spent several days on the Greek island of Kos, witnessing first-hand the flow of people arriving daily from nearby Turkey. In this special video and report, Joe witnesses first-hand the hope, difficulties and tensions of just one small part of the largest humanitarian crisis since World War Two."

Turkey detains 3,000 refugees after EU deal (Guardian, link): "Detainees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, were preparing to travel to Greek island of Lesbos from north-western town of Ayvacik... The Turkish coastguard apprehended a total of 2,933 people, mainly from Syria and Iraq, as they were preparing to make their way to the Greek island of Lesbos from the north-western town of Ayvacik, in Çanakkale province, and sent them to a detention centre where some could face deportation, Dogan news agency reported." and: 2,933 migrants detained in four days in Turkey’s west(hurriyetdailynews.com, link): "In 1,038 separate operations since the beginning of the year, 47,622 migrants have been captured on the shores of Çanakkale"...

Swiss edge toward possible "Swexit" from EU bilateral pacts (euractiv, link): "Switzerland threatened yesterday (4 December) to impose unilateral curbs on immigration should it fail to agree with the European Union on limiting the influx into a country where nearly a quarter of the population is foreign."

EU mulls plan to take charge of Europe's borders (euractiv, link): "The European Union is considering giving a new EU border force powers to intervene and guard a member state's external frontier to protect the Schengen open-borders zone, EU officials and diplomats said yesterday (4 December). Such a move might be blocked by states wary of surrendering sovereign control of their territory. But the discussion reflects fears that Greece's failure to manage a flood of migrants from Turkey has brought Schengen's system of open borders to the brink of collapse."

'Die Ziet' analysis on refugee home attacks this year shows just four convictions (DW, link) "An analysis by German newspaper 'Die Zeit' has found that from 222 dangerous attacks on refugees homes this year, there have been just four convictions. There have been 637 reported incidents...."

Attacks on refugees in Germany double in three months(DW, link): "The number of registered attacks against refugee accommodations and asylum seekers in Germany has doubled in the last three months. Severe crimes such as arson, bombings and assault have tripled."

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