Statewatch article: RefNo# 35482
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 stories/documents: 3-4.10.15)
Statewatch News Online, October 2015
- Frontex asks for 775 border guards - refugees to be "nationality" screened (link):

"This is the largest number of border guards Frontex has ever requested in the history of the agency. The officers are to assist mainly Italy and Greece in the registration and identification of migrants coming from Libya and Turkey.

“Since the beginning of this year over 470 000 migrants arrived in Greece and Italy alone. No country can possibly handle such high migratory pressure at its borders by itself. It is crucial that all those arriving in the EU are properly registered and identified,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

Frontex requested 670 officers – mainly screeners, debriefers and interpreters to be deployed in Italy and Greece, in addition to 105 officers to be deployed at various external land borders of the European Union.

The screening officers play a key role in helping authorities to determine the nationality of the incoming migrants in order to identify and register them. Debriefers gather information about the activities of smuggling networks."
[emphasis added]

Frontex "Screening officers" will be carrying out "nationality screening" (Frontex in European Parliament hearing on 23 September 2015), followed by registration and fingerprinting after which refugees will be divided into two groups, those destined for "return" to their country of origin to be held in closed camps and those to be relocated in the EU through asylum procedures in open camps.

- Refugee sea arrivals in Greece this year approach 400,000 (UNHCR, link):

"ATHENS, Greece, October 2 (UNHCR) -- The UN refugee agency said on Friday that refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015. With the new figures from Greece, the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year is nearly 530,000.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva that the continuing high rate of arrivals underlines the need for a fast implementation of Europe's relocation programme, jointly with the establishment of robust facilities to receive, assist, register and screen all people arriving by sea. "These are steps needed for stabilizing the crisis," he said.

As of this morning, a total of 396,500 people have entered Greece by sea since the beginning of the year, more than 153,000 of them in September alone. The nine-month 2015 total compares to 43,500 such arrivals in Greece in all of 2014. Ninety-seven per cent are from the world's top 10 refugee-producing countries, led by Syria (70 per cent), Afghanistan (18 per cent) and Iraq (4 per cent)."


- News (3-4,10.15)

Massive rally shows support for refugees (The Local.at, lkink): "A rally in support of migrants fleeing the Syrian conflict and other hardships drew tens of thousands to Vienna on Saturday, organisers and police said. Austria has been a key transit point for many refugees reaching eastern Europe, and organisers said their bid to show public solidarity drew some 60,000 into the capital's streets."

Let's Not Militarize the Refugee Crisis in Croatia (liberties.eu, link): "The Croatian president's announcement to raise the degree of readiness of the Croatian Army ahead of the UN Security Council session is an unnecessary and insensitive response to the migrant crisis."

Europe Begins at Lampedusa: Remembering the Tragedy of October 3 (liberties.eu, link): "Two years have passed from the tragic Lampedusa shipwreck stunned the world. Today more than ever, it is important to remember why we need to protect people, not borders."

Croatia President to Meet Orban to Defuse Crisis (Balkaninsight, link): "Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will visit Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss the refugee crisis and the disputes that have damaged relations"

Refugee crisis: Greece finds a legacy for its Olympics by housing refugees in empty stadiums (The Independent, link): "Residents on Lesbos say the first Syriza government, which took power in January, did nothing about the refugees flooding through... " and: Athens has space but no cash to host migrants, officials say (ekathimerini.com, link): "As thousands of migrants and refugees continue to stream into Greece from Turkey, despite the worsening weather, authorities in Athens, where most of the new arrivals end up, say they lack the funding to host them all. Although there are several venues that could be transformed into temporary accommodation, there is no money for such projects, local authorities say."

Sweden: Funding questioned as refugee numbers rocket (The Local.se, link): "Sweden's government has promised to boost funding for refugees in its next budget, but with its forecast for new arrival numbers in 2015 set to be reached this month, official calculations are being called into question.... According to official statistics quoted by the TT news agency, 73,000 people had applied for asylum in Sweden by the end of September, close to the 74,000 expected in the country in the whole of 2015."

Vienna demo and concert in support of refugees (The Local.at, link): "A demonstration and concert to show solidarity for refugees is taking place in Vienna on Saturday - with tens of thousands of people expected to attend."

Minister: Abuse of fear of migrants is dangerous (praguepost.com/czech-news, link): "Jirí Dienstbier praises Angela Merkel for her approach... Abusing people's fear of migrants and Muslims in the political struggle is very dangerous mainly for mainstream parties most of which are moderate, Jirí Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD), Czech human rights and equal opportunities minister, told Czech journalists today. He said such procedure only plays into the hands of extremist groupings and it consequently turns against the mainstream parties."

Czech government prepares for tight-border security scenario (Radio Praha, link): "The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bill on state border protection which would enable the Interior Ministry to order the imposition of border checks in the event of a serious security threat to the country. Meanwhile, the army and police have been undertaking a joint training exercise along the Czech-Austrian border to prepare for such an emergency."

Refugee crisis puts Athens on the brink (DW, link): "The flow of refugees through Greece is greater than ever, but bad weather and border closures threaten to strand thousands and stretch coping mechanisms beyond control. Pavlos Zafiropoulos reports from Athens."

Refugee sea arrivals in Greece this year approach 400,000 (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency said on Friday that refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015. With the new figures from Greece, the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year is nearly 530,000. As of this morning, a total of 396,500 people have entered Greece by sea since the beginning of the year, more than 153,000 of them in September alone. The nine-month 2015 total compares to 43,500 such arrivals in Greece in all of 2014. Ninety-seven per cent are from the world's top 10 refugee-producing countries, led by Syria (70 per cent), Afghanistan (18 per cent) and Iraq (4 per cent)."

Calais refugee camp conditions diabolical, says report (Guardian, link): "First study of conditions at camp known as the Jungle finds an ‘absolutely abject situation’, with ‘harmful levels of bacteria and appalling hygiene’"

Germany: Viktor Orbán, Bavaria’s hardline hero - Berlin seethed with anger, calling the visit a ‘backstabbing’ by Merkel’s allies. (Politico, link): "Angela Merkel’s conservative Bavarian allies fêted hardline Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán as the guardian of the EU’s external borders — a direct rebuke of the chancellor and her refugee policy."

EU hopes Turkey summit to ease migrant crisis (euobserver, link)

Nordic states fret over migrant threat to borders (The Local.dk, link): "Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in Copenhagen on Saturday said she feared for Europe's borderless Schengen zone and urged countries to shore up their external frontiers in the face of the migrant crisis."

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