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Justice and Home Affairs: EU approves €3 billion migration fund for Turkey (EurActiv)
European Union countries approved yesterday (3 February) funds for Turkey to help refugees and migrants in the country in exchange for Ankara ensuring fewer of them venture out towards Europe.
All 28 EU countries signed off on the proposal at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday after Italy dropped its opposition to the plan, which was first approved in November.
The bloc’s executive European Commission welcomed the decision.
“Turkey now hosts one of the world’s largest refugee communities and has committed to significantly reducing the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU,” said Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement […]

See also: EU finalises €3bn fund for Turkey refugees(EuObserver)
After much bickering among member states and the European Commission, the 28-country bloc agreed Wednesday (3 February) on the financing details of the refugee facility for Turkey, designed to improve conditions for refugees and migrants.
The facility, agreed last November in exchange for Ankara’s help in stemming the influx of people into Europe, is aimed at delivering humanitarian assitance to refugee camps in Turkey.
Details on the financing have been holding up the project.
The biggest contributor is Germany, on €427.5 million. The UK gives €327.6 million. France contributes €309.2 million […]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU and US agree data ‘Privacy Shield’ (EuObserver)
The European Union and the United States have agreed on new rules that will allow American companies like Google or Facebook to process personal data from European citizens. The deal will replace the so-called Safe Harbour agreement which was annulled by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last year.
The European Commission announced the deal at a press conference in Strasbourg on Tuesday (2 February) […]

Justice and Home Affairs: MEPs’ migration debate turns into ‘stress test’ of European values (EurActiv)
We are on a stress test of our European values, Bert Koenders, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister admitted in the European Parliament yesterday (2 February), following a 5-hour debate on the ongoing migration crisis, in which more than 150 statements were made.
Koenders, representing the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU, Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Neighbourhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn spoke to MEPs, and answered their questions, during the marathon session. Lawmakers expressed views ranging from welcoming refugees to closing the EU’s borders, kicking Greece out of the EU’s borderless Schengen area, and punishing Central European EU members for being reluctant to share the refugee burden by depriving them of EU funding. UKIP MEPs said the developments illustrated that it was a good occasion for the UK to leave the EU […]

Justice and Home Affairs: The EU-US data deal that isn’t (EuObserver)
The European Commission is broadly relying on promises from the US authorities that they will protect the fundamental rights of EU citizens on a data transfer deal that has no legal text.
Details of how the new EU US Privacy Shield will work in practice remain vague as threats emerge of a possible legal challenge in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. The deal, announced after two years of talks, replaces a loophole-riddled Safe Harbour agreement that was declared invalid by the EJC last October following media revelations of a US-led global digital dragnet.
Some 4,000 US firms had relied on Safe Harbour for 15 years, with hundreds having made false claims they adhered to the pact.
It will take weeks before the new deal launches, meaning the companies will now have to sign up to other transfer regimes or face possible fines […]

Migration : EU support in response to the Syrian crisis (NewEurope)
Leaders from around the world are scheduled to meet in London on February 4 to attend a conference aimed at raising $9bn for Syrian refugees.
Ahead of the conference, the European Commission issued a Fact Sheet outlining the EU’s response to the Syrian crisis, which has become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
Over €5bn from the EU and member states has been donated collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance, according to the Commission.
The EU’s support goes both to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq […]

Migration: A third of migrants sailing to Greece are children: UNICEF (EurActiv)
Children now make up over a third of the migrants making the perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece, the UN has said, as two more babies drowned off Europe’s shores.
For the first time since the start of the migrant crisis in Europe, there are also now more women and children crossing the border from Greece to Macedonia than adult males, according to UN children’s agency UNICEF, in a report on Tuesday (2 February).
The figures emerged as Europe struggles with its biggest movement of people crisis since World War II,
with more than a million people fleeing war, violence and poverty risking life and limb to reach its shores last year[…]

UK and Europe: Obama phones Cameron: ‘Stay in EU’ (EurActiv)
US President Barack Obama waded into the boiling debate over Britain’s European Union membership on Tuesday (2 February), telling Prime Minister David Cameron his country was best served inside the 28-country bloc.
Obama spoke with Cameron by phone and “reaffirmed continued US support for a strong United Kingdom in a strong European Union,” according to the White House.
Obama’s intervention comes as Cameron attempts to secure face-saving concessions from Brussels, ahead of an expected UK referendum on EU membership in June.
Washington has long backed Britain playing a central role in the world’s largest economic bloc, warning the “special relationship” could be at risk if Britain were to leave […]

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