FREE News: 24th February

UK in Europe

MAJORITY OF SCOTS WANT ‘FOUR-NATION CONSENT’ ON EU (Euractiv)

A new poll has shown that an overwhelming majority of Scots think the UK should only leave the European Union if all four UK nations support an exit.

According to the poll, 60% of Scottish voters said withdrawal from the EU should require four out votes – in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – rather than a majority across the UK, with just 14% disagreeing. The opinion poll was conducted by Survation, and commissioned by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

[…]

Read the full article here

Hate crimes; Racism; Intolerance:

GREECE: DESPITE NEW ANTIDISCRIMINATION LAW, XENOPHOBIA AND VIOLENCE AGAINST MIGRANTS REACHED WORRYING LEVELS AND SEGREGATION OF ROMA CHILDREN CONTINUED, ACCORDING TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE’S ANTI-RACISM COMMISSION

Strasbourg, 24 February 2015 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fifth report on Greece analysing new developments and outstanding issues, and providing recommendations to the authorities.

“Despite steps forward, such as the enactment of a new anti-racism law, problems persist, including worrying levels of xenophobia and violence against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and the ongoing segregation of Roma children in some schools, in spite of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgements confirming the need to end this practice” said ECRI’s Chair, Christian Ahlund.

The report welcomes the introduction in late 2012 of new special police units tasked to tackle racist violence; the appointment of public prosecutors for the prosecution of acts of racist violence in October 2013; and the enactment, in 2014, of a new anti-racism law, which amended existing provisions in the criminal legislation.

However, public and political discourse is widely permeated by hate speech against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, who often become targets of racist violence. The report also finds that the activities of the Golden Dawn party increased xenophobia and racism, creating a climate of racial hatred and fear that went unchecked for too long.

[…]

Council of Europe Press Release

More information on this issue on http://www.coe.int/ecri

HOLLANDE ANNOUNCES PLAN AGAINST HATE CRIMES

French President François Hollande outlined a governmental plan for the fight against hate crimes.

The French President participated at a Jewish council event on Monday and announced that his government will propose a law for “faster, more effective sanctions” against hate speech.”

[…]

The lack of consensus between the main religious-based associations underscores the rise of religious tensions in France. Besides the rising anti-Semitism acts, Muslim associations reported that there is a rise in Islamophobic acts, including vandalism on mosques following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

[…]

Read more on Neurope.eu

Freedom of speech: the Right to Blasphemy? An event organised by Sophie In ‘T Veld. Watch it live tomorrow on alde.livecasts.eu (Twitter)

Terrorism; Foreign Fighters:

FRANCE CONFISCATES SIX PASSPORTS UNDER ANTI-TERRORISM LAW

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Monday that six French citizens have had their passports confiscated and 40 more will be banned from leaving the country in a crackdown on would-be jihadists planning to travel to Syria and Iraq. The ban lasts six months and can be appealed.” (EUObserver)

EU RIGHTS CHIEF WARNS AGAINST ETHNIC PROFILING

The outgoing head of the EU’s fundamental rights agency, Morten Kjaerum, has warned against the use ethnic profiling as authorities seek to tighten security in the wake of terror attacks in France and Denmark.

Kjaerum, who finishes his job as FRA chief next month, fears such profiling could find its way into EU policies that are designed to fish out those suspected of terrorist links.

[…]

The stigmatisation resulting from such profiling risks pushing already disenfranchised young people towards radicalisation, he warned.

Poverty in some member states is feeding racism and leading to the scapegoating of minority Muslim, Jewish and Roma groups, he says.

[…]

Kjaerum cited the planned EU’s passenger name records (PNR) bill – under which air passenger personal details are handed to authorities – as likely to open the door to ethnic profiling.

National plans, backed by the European commission, to confiscate the travel documents of people leaving to fight in Iraq or Syria could have the same result. Policies, he says, need to be designed with fundamental rights from the outset.

[…]

Read the entire article on EUObserver

Migration; Mediterranean:

LIFE OR DEATH: ENTERING FORTRESS EUROPE (EUObserver)

Z. is a Syrian refugee I met four years ago. Just before the Syrian civil war started, he managed to escape the country where he had been a lawyer and human rights activist. The Bashar regime’s security forces imprisoned many of his friends. After his escape from Syria, Z. ended up in Brussels. The story of how Z. escaped Syria and his subsequent journey to Belgium, which he told me in fluent English, was something you would not wish on your worst enemy. The Belgian government was less impressed and initially refused to give him papers.

There are many like Z. in Europe. Brussels has 19 communes, but there is an unofficial ‘20th commune’ – that of undocumented migrants – which is probably the biggest in the city.

’Flooded’ by refugees

People all over Europe believe that most of the refugees of the world are coming to their countries. This belief is often fuelled by politicians, who depict migrants as abusing social security benefits and taking locals’ jobs. But it is worth looking at the facts.

Since World War II, there has never been as many refugees in the world. For the first time in history, the main reason is not war. It is climate change. According to the UN, there are currently over 51 million people forcibly displaced. In 2013, 17 million people were refugees. Half of the world’s refugees in 2013 were children. In Europe there were only 435,385 applications for asylum in the 28 European member states in 2013. In other words, the wealthiest part of the world received merely 2.5 percent of the refugees.

According to the most recent UN data, there are about 3.9 million Syrian refugees. Some 3.7 million of these are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Between spring 2011, when the Syrian civil war erupted, and December 2014, only 5.6 percent or 217,000 Syrians took refuge in Europe.

Getting to Europe has become the most dangerous journey in the world for refugees. Migrant Offshore Aid Station estimates that 2015 will be the deadliest year so far. According to research, at least 40,000 refugees have died since 2000 while trying to make their way to Europe. Despite these figures, the EU cut funding for Mare Nostrum, a search-and-rescue operation for refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, and replaced it with the Triton operation, which is not focused on search-and-rescue and which does not operate in international waters. The EU has invested around €2 billion to protect its borders and keep refugees out.

[…]

Click here to read more

Processus de Rabat

UE-MAROC : 10 MILLIONS D’EUROS EN FAVEUR DES MIGRANTS EN 2015

« La politique migratoire et d’asile du Maroc bénéficiera d’un nouveau soutien européen.

L’UE a accordera  au Maroc 10 millions d’euros pour un nouveau projet qui sera lancé au courant de cette année. C’est ce qu’a affirmé le commissaire européen en charge de la migration, des affaires intérieures et de la citoyenneté Dimitris Avramopoulos dans une réponse publiée vendredi 13 février 2015 au nom de la Commission européenne à une question d’un eurodéputé.

Selon la même source, ce projet a pour ambition d’assurer aux migrants en situation régulière et aux réfugiés au Maroc l’accès aux services publics et les mêmes droits que les ressortissants marocains.

Il s’agit ainsi de donner aux migrants légalement installés au Maroc un meilleur accès aux soins de santé et à la formation professionnelle, permettre de scolariser les enfants des migrants et d’apporter un soutien aux femmes migrantes enceintes ou accompagnées d’enfants en bas âge.

A noter que l’UE soutient déjà les efforts que déploie le Maroc dans le domaine de la migration à travers le projet Sharaka lancé en septembre 2013 et qui est doté de 5 millions d’euros.

[…]

Read more here

EU EXTENDS MEDITERRANEAN RESCUE MISSION UNTIL 2015

Faced with an influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, the EU has extended its rescue mission off the Italian coast until the end of 2015.

Italy will receive an extra 13.7 million euros, in addition to the more than five hundred million euros that has already been set aside.

“Italia no es sola, Europe is there, Europe is there with its support, political support, with its initiatives and with its fundings,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner for Migration.

The mission, known as Triton, has come under fire from human rights groups.

Amnesty International on Thursday said it offers “no concrete solutions to protecting and saving lives.”

Triton has no operational resources of its own, leaving an enormous financial burden on the Italian coastguard to help refugees in distress.

An estimated 3,000 people died last year trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Euronews.com

Justice; procedural rights:

JURI Meeting this afternoon at 3:40 pm: Presumption of innocence on agenda. Watch live on this link

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