FREE News: 15th -16th September 2015

Immigration : “Germany piles on the pressure in refugee talks” (EuObserver): “Germany raised the stakes in the refugees crisis on Tuesday (15 September), a day after EU ministers failed to agree on a mechanism to distribute 120,000 asylum seekers between member states. 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.

“It is a problem for the entire European Union and therefore we argued for a special EU summit to be held next week,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Faymann in Berlin.Read more here

See also: “Merkel calls for summit on refugee crisis“ (EurActiv): “German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a special EU refugee summit on Tuesday (15 September), urging unity after an angry reaction to a suggestion by one of her ministers that states that did not take in their share of asylum seekers could face financial penalties […] “I think we need to establish a European spirit again … I don’t think threats are the right way to achieve agreement,” she told a news conference with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, whose country is also in the front line of the refugee crisis.Read more here

Justice&Home Affairs: Hungary, Austria seal their borders as refugee crisis escalates” ( EurActiv): “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.” Read more here

Immigration & Finance: “Analysts: Refugees ‘may end up boosting European economies” (EurActiv): “European nations overwhelmed by the biggest refugee crisis since World War II may end up boosting their economies if they just let the migrants in, analysts say.

More than 430,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year. Nearly 2,750 have died, and more arrive every day, many fleeing war zones in Syria and Afghanistan.

The challenge has left the European Union scrambling for answers, with member nations disagreeing Monday over a proposal to share out 120,000 refugees and ease the burden on frontline states. But beyond the immediate logistical challenges and predominant humanitarian concerns, the economic impact of the tide of refugees moving to Europe is slight, and may well be positive, analysts say.” Read more here

Immigration: “Frontex resource limitations put agency in straitjacket ” (EuObserver): “As Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War unfolded in May, hundreds of the continent’s overstretched border guards travelled to Warsaw for one of the highlights of their working year.

With the cost of flights and hotels paid by hosts Frontex, the EU border agency, the 800 delegates relaxed for what has become an annual event in their calendars, the European Day for Border Guards […] Last week, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced grand plans for the organisation as part of a proposed shake-up of the EU’s fragmented and dysfunctional asylum and immigration policies. Addressing the European Parliament for his first State of the Union address, he said: “We need to strengthen Frontex significantly and develop it into a fully operational European border and coast guard system. It is certainly feasible. But it will cost money […] Read more here

See also: “ On the future of EU asylum and free movement rules ” (EuObserver opinion): “Since the beginning of the so-called “migrant crisis” over six months ago, an increasing number of commentators, and occasionally some politicians, too, have questioned the ongoing relevance and viability of the Dublin and Schengen regimes.

So, should they be suspended or abolished?” Read more here

“EU asylum talks end in weak compromise(EuObserver): “Ministers in Brussels on Monday (14 September) failed to reach a unanimous decision on whether to back a European Commission plan to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers.

Instead they opted for a weakened political agreement following stern opposition from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania. An EU source said Poland was lukewarm. Latvia, which did not send a minister to the round table meeting, is also said to be against.

“We were hoping for something stronger”, said the source. Luxembourg’s foreign minster Jean Asselborn, who presided the meeting, told reporters, “not everyone is on board.Read more here

The day borders came back to Europe (EuObserver): “ A surprise move by Germany on Sunday (13 September) to reintroduce border controls to deal with the influx of migrants has set in motion a domino effect in the passport-free Schengen zone, with Austria deciding to do the same, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia reinforced their frontiers on Monday”. Read more here

EU MED CRISIS: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe” ( State Watch): ”News coverage of yesterday’s Justice and Home Affairs Council has focused on the Council’s agreement to relocate 40,000 refugees, and its failure to agree the relocation of a further 120,000 refugees. While the issue of relocation may have proved problematic for the EU’s Member States, conclusions issued by the Luxembourg Presidency show that they are broadly in agreement on a whole host of other migration policies.Read more here

Terrorism: “Putin and Assad invite West to anti-IS alliance” (EuObserver):”Russian leader Vladimir Putin has urged the EU and US to join him and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in the fight against Islamic State (IS). He said at a security summit in Tajikistan on Tuesday (15 September): “Simple common sense, responsibility for global and regional safety require uniting efforts of the international community [to fight] such a threat […] “Russia, as you know, has proposed to form a wide coalition to fight extremists without any delay. It [the coalition] should unite everyone who is ready and is already contributing to tackling terrorism”, he added”. Read more here

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