FREE NEWS 8th-9th October

Migration: Western Balkans migrant route in EU spotlight (EuObserver)                         EU foreign ministers hosted a meeting on Thursday evening (8 October) with representatives from the western Balkans and Syria’s neighbors, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, to tackle the tensions arising from the influx of migrants and refugees arriving via this transit route to Europe.This was the first time ministers have discussed the refugee crisis in this format.Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief said after the meeting that the countries of the region showed willingness for a new start in joint cooperation in managing borders, receptions, assistance and flows of people […]

Migration: Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Italy: First Relocation Flight and Hotspot visit (EC Press Release)                                                             On Friday 9 October, Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn will travel to Italy accompanied by Interior Minister Angelino Alfano for a concrete demonstration of the roll out of the European Union’s comprehensive response to the refugee crisis. They will meet with the first group of asylum seekers to volunteer for protection in another Member State under the new relocation scheme proposed by the Commission, prior to their departure by plane from Rome’s Ciampino airport, to have their asylum applications processed in Sweden. Twenty Eritrean asylum seekers came forward to register with the Italian authorities and provided their identification and fingerprints as part of the process. They will then visit the hotspot area operational in Lampedusa. Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Avramopoulos said: “This is a historic day for Europe. It is a great expression of European solidarity, both with those in need of protection, and between our own Member States[…]

 Refugees Crisis: Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing said that the EU needs to adopt policies to ensure the dignified return of refugees who do not qualify for EU asylum. (NewEurope)                                        EU needs to adopt more policies regarding the refugee crisis to fully protect the refugees and help the migrants to have a dignified return in case they do not qualify for asylum, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing said today.Swing underscored that care needed to be taken when dealing with asylum seekers who do not neatly fit into the category of refugees. “Many of those on the move defy easy categorization. Many will be covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention and many others will not. But it is too simplistic to conclude that all of them fall into a single broad category of “economic migrants,” he said[…]

Refugees Crisis: Turkey frowns at EU refugee aid plan (EurActive)                            Turkey has given a lukewarm response to a European Union plan to assist Ankara in coping with over two million Syrian refugees, indicating that funding needs to be drastically increased.The EU hopes that helping refugees inside Turkey will discourage Syrians from taking perilous sea and land routes, to seek new lives within the bloc, after an unprecedented influx over the last month.But the European Union is also proposing to formally resettle more refugees on EU territory, if Ankara establishes new camps and boosts its coastguard to slow the flow of people to Europe.European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker presented the “draft action plan” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during talks on 5 October[…]

Refugee Crisis: EU approves additional €17 million to help Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia cope with refugee influx (EC Press Release)                          EU approves additional €17 million to help Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia cope with refugee influx.Today the European Commission has detailed its support of €17 million to help Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia cope with the unprecedented refugee flows in these countries ahead of the High Level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean-Western Balkans route taking place today in Luxembourg. This new funding is part of EU’s overall efforts to deal with the consequences of the Syrian crisis announced earlier by the European Commission.Johannes Hahn Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said: “The current refugee crisis is a challenge of global dimensions. We have to work hand in hand with our partners and neighbouring countries beyond EU borders which are most affected. This fresh funding available to authorities in Belgrade and Skopje, who have already done a lot to tackle the issue, is an important signal of continued European solidarity”[…]

Global Europe: NATO ready to defend Turkey (NewEurope)                                          NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said alliance defense ministers on Thursday will consider the implications for NATO’s own security of the “troubling escalation of Russian military activities” in Syria.He said NATO is ready to deploy forces, if needed, to defend alliance member Turkey.On Wednesday, Russian warships fired cruise missiles in the first combined air-and-ground assault with Syrian government troops since Moscow began its military campaign in the country last week.Over the weekend, Turkey reported back-to-back violations of its airspace by Russian warplanes.U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his counterparts from the 27 other NATO nations had already been scheduled to meet Thursday in Brussels.Stoltenberg told reporters the meeting will receive an update from its military commanders on the situation in Syria, as well as Afghanistan[…]

Justice & Home Affairs: EU ministers to discuss ‘smart borders’ (EuObserver)           EU interior ministers are meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (8 October) to discuss how to ramp up external border controls and expedite returns of unwanted migrants.The ministers are hoping to stem the flow of migrants and better manage the number of asylum seekers trying to enter the EU Around 500,000 were detected crossing the external borders in the first eight months of this year. Most first entered Greece before heading through the Western Balkans and onto Hungary and beyond.’Smart borders’.Among the ideas is the future roll-out of a €1 billion digital dragnet known as ‘smart borders’.Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals – the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES) […]

 Global Europe: Juncker: We can’t let EU relations with Russia be dictated by US (EurActive)                                                                                                                                    Europe must improve its relationship with Russia, and should not let this be something decided by Washington, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday (8 October).The European Union joined the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia last year over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and tightened them after separatists launched a rebellion in the east of the country with the backing of Russia. Relations between Moscow and the West have taken a further turn for the worse since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a bombing campaign in Syria, against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. […]



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