Free News 3th-4th November

Migration Greece relocates first batch of asylum seekers (EuObserver)          Thirty asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq boarded a plane from Athens to Luxembourg on Wednesday (4 November). The move is part of a broader EU scheme adopted in September to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other member states over a two-year period. The total relocated from both is now 116 while the number of people denied asylum and sent back to their home countries is 569. Wednesday’s flight from Athens International Airport marks a first for Greece, which has been struggling to set up so-called hotspots where arrivals are screened and tagged before being separated into groups. “It is now time to step up a gear, to have all hotspots fully functioning, and to make relocation a regular occurrence”, said EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday (3 November) […]

Migration Slovenia PM warns migrant crisis could start Balkan conflicts (NewEurope)                                                                                                                                   Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar told a news conference on November 3 that the migrant crisis engulfing Europe threatens to reignite conflicts between former Yugoslav republics which fought each other during the 1990s. The Reuters news agency reported that hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing Syria’s civil war, have taken the Balkan route from Greece to western Europe this year, putting great strain on the finances and infrastructure of transit countries, including the ex-Yugoslav states of FYR of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. The situation worsened when Hungary, an eastern outpost of the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone, shut its southern border to the migrants on Oct. 16, diverting the flow of around 135,000 people westwards from Croatia into Slovenia […]

Refugee crisis State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (EC Press Release)                                                                                                                                                    The European Agenda on Migration adopted by the Commission in May 2015 set out the need for a comprehensive approach to migration management. Since then, a number of measures have been introduced – including the adoption of two emergency schemes to relocate 160,000 people in clear need of international protection from the Member States most affected to other EU Member States, and the endorsement of the Commission Action Plan on Return. On 23 September, the European Commission presented a set of priority actions to implement the European Agenda on Migration to be taken within the next six months. This included both short term actions to stabilise the current situation as well as longer term measures to establish a robust system that will bear the test of time. The list of priority actions set out the key measures immediately required in terms of: (i) operational measures; (ii) budgetary support and (iii) implementation of EU law. The list was endorsed by the informal meeting of Heads of State and Government of 23 September 2015 and again on 15 October 2015 […]

Foreign Affairs Libyan faction threatens EU with migrant boats (EuObserver)  One of the two rival authorities in Libya has threatened to send migrants to Europe unless the EU recognises its legitimacy. Jamal Zubia, a spokesman for the General National Congress (GNC), told The Telegraph, a British daily, in an interview published on Monday (2 November): “I have advised my government many times already that we should hire boats and send them [migrants] to Europe.”                                                           “We are protecting the gates of Europe, yet Europe does not recognise us and does not want to recognise us. So why should we stop the migrants here?”. He noted the GNC has no immediate plans to take the step. “Every day we catch hundreds of them, even though we do not have the necessary resources, and pay for their food and medical services, even when hundreds of thousands of them are here. It is a strategic threat, yes, but I would not rule out us doing it one day,” he said […]

Migration Merkel pushes for transit zones, warns of military clashes (EuObserver)                                                                                                                               German chancellor Angela Merkel defended the deal on transit zones reached with her rebellious sister party on Sunday and said her coalition partners needed to be convinced of it. Merkel also warned against military presence in the Balkans, in case borders close on the migration route.  Speaking to supporters of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in the western city of Darmstadt on Monday evening, Merkel said the Social Democrats (SPD) need to support the transit zones. Merkel’s open-door policy towards refugees has created tensions within her ruling coalition that threaten the stability of the government. She struck a deal on Sunday with Bavarian premier and CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who is pushing for so-called transit zones along the border to make it easer to filter economic migrants and people in genuine need of protection. SPD opposes the idea of large centres along the border, where migrants will be detained. “We continue to negotiate. It is not the first time that we have to convince the SPD of reasonable things,” she told the 2000-strong crowd in Darmstadt […]

Foreign Affairs Juncker promises US tough line on Russia sanctions (EuObserver)                                                                                                                         Jean-Claude Juncker, one of the EU’s more Russia-friendly leaders, has reiterated his commitment to upholding economic sanctions. The European Commission president made the pledge in a phone call with US vice president Joe Biden on Tuesday (3 November), according to a White House readout.                                                                     “On Ukraine, the two leaders agreed that sanctions on Russia should be tied to full implementation of the Minsk agreements, and that Ukraine needed to move forward expeditiously with further economic and anti-corruption reforms”, the readout said.“On energy security, the two leaders discussed the need for energy diversification and full application of EU competition standards,” it added, alluding to EU-Russia gas pipeline projects. Juncker’s pledge comes amid a lull in fighting in east Ukraine […]

Migration Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Athens: First Relocation Flight from Greece (EC Press Release)                                             Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Athens: First Relocation Flight from Greece.                                                                                                                                         On Wednesday 4 November, Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn will travel to Greece. Together with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Greek Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction responsible for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas they will meet with the first group of asylum seekers to benefit from the EU’s relocation scheme from Greece. Thirty asylum seekers will travel by plane from the Athens International Airport to have their applications processed in Luxembourg. Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Avramopoulos said: “Tomorrow the first flight will leave Greece under the EU’s relocation scheme. More than 600,000 people have entered the EU through Greece so far this year. Today’s relocation is a symbolic moment, but it is also a crucial first step in a process that has to become systematic. It is now time to step up a gear, to have all hotspots fully functioning, and to make relocation a regular occurrence. We commend Luxembourg for being the first Member State to relocate people from Greece, as well as for their political efforts as Council Presidency to get this scheme started. We are counting on all Member States to take the necessary steps so that more relocations can follow swiftly from Greece and Italy” […]

UK & Europe Osborne makes Berlin Brexit negotiation plea (EurActiv)         British Chancellor George Osborne took the UK’s argument for a renegotiated relationship between his country and the EU to the capital of the continent’s strongest economy on Tuesday – promising to back a stronger eurozone if London’s conditions were met. Osborne, making his longest and most detailed case yet ahead of a referendum likely next year on Britain’s 42-year membership of the bloc, signalled a deal in which the UK could stay in the EU, in return for guarantees of Britain’s independence from the eurozone, protection of the City of London, restrictions on benefits, and an end to ‘ever closer union’.                                                                                                                                       His speech, to the Association of German Industry (BDI), comes at the start of the month in which London will finally put its demands in writing for a new relationship with Brussels – ahead of a referendum due by the end of 2017. Osborne, the finance minister, spoke in Berlin just after the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, reiterated her wish for the UK to stay in the 28-member bloc. She told business leaders “We will do what we can so that Britain can stay”, without spelling out how far Berlin may seek to accommodate British demands […]

 See also UK demands treaty guarantees on relations with eurozone (EurActiv)                                                                                                                                             UK chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outlined on Tuesday (3 November) some of his government’s demands ahead of the EU membership referendum. In a speech at a business conference in Berlin, George Osborne asked for “permanent and legally binding” rules to ensure that “Eurozone’s decisions and costs are not imposed on us”.  “We want to design a simple mechanism to ensure the principles are enforced,” he said, calling for “the kinds of checks and guarantees that exist in other parts of the EU’s governing rules.”                                                                                                                              Such a move would necessitate EU treaty change, despite strong reluctance from Britain’s partners. A few days before prime minister David Cameron is due to detail UK demands for EU reforms in a letter to other EU leaders, Osborne assured that Britons want “Britain to remain in a reformed European Union” […]

Data Protection ‘Safe Harbour 2’ doesn’t need change on surveillance, top US official insists (EurActiv)                                                                                                                 A top US State Department official has rebuffed critics who argue that Europe can only seal a new data sharing deal if US laws enabling electronic surveillance are changed. Daniel Sepulveda, the US coordinator for international communications and information policy, said today (3 November) in Brussels that a new EU-US deal to replace the fallen Safe Harbour agreement would not follow a change in US law. “It’s a non-sequitur,” Sepulveda said of the critique launched against US intelligence agencies. “The fact of the matter is that the underlying evidence that they use to reach the conclusion that intelligence practices are excessive in the United States is fundamentally and demonstratively wrong,” he added. Sepulveda is meeting with EU lawmakers and rights groups this week in Brussels to discuss data protection. EU Justice Minister Vera Jourova will travel to Washington this month for more talks with US negotiators […]







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