Justice and Home Affairs: Hollande, Merkel discuss the EU’s overlapping crises (EurActiv)
The two leaders were meeting in Strasbourg to discuss the preparations for the next European summit on 18-19 February. They had a private meeting before joining EU Parliament President Martin Schulz for dinner in a restaurant next to the Strasbourg Cathedral.They made no statements, and the scarce information that filtered through was made available by their collaborators.Merkel, who opened her country’s borders to Syrians fleeing civil war last summer, is under increasing pressure to limit the influx […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Merkel asks for better protection of EU’s external borders (NewEurope)
The EU need to better protect her external borders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly podcast on Saturday. Merkel, said that the protection of the EU’s external borders will contribute in the survival of the Schengen area. “We need to protect our external borders because we want to keep Schengen,” Merkel said. Failing to protect the Union’s external borders would jeopardize free movement of people which is the basis for the bloc’s wealth, the German Chancellor said according to Reuter’s news agency. Merkel said that EU’s protection of external borders is not turning out very well where the EU has sea borders, indirectly referring to Greece and Turkey […]

Migration: Austria threatens to step up border controls if Turkey does not accept refugees (NewEurope)
If Turkey does not take back refugees picked up at sea on their way to Greece, Austria has warned it will extend its border controls.As reported by the Reuters news agency, Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann issued the warning during an interview published in the daily Oesterreich on February 7. Faymann said Turkey must make a decision by February 18, when EU leaders meet for a summit. It would not be a solution if Turkish border controls led to 10,000 refugees arriving at EU borders instead of 20,000, Faymann was quoted as saying […]

Migration: Merkel in Turkey for new refugees talks  (NewEurope)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and other Turkish officials for talks on reducing the influx of migrants to Europe.
Turkey, a key country on the migrant route to Europe, is central to Merkel’s diplomatic efforts to reduce the flow. Her talks in Ankara Monday come as Turkey faces mounting pressure to open its border to up to 35,000 Syrians who have massed along the frontier fleeing an onslaught by government forces. Turkey, home 2.5 million Syrian refugees, says it has reached its capacity to absorb refugees but has indicated that it will continue to provide refuge […]

Migration: Thousands of Syrians stranded in ‘desperate situation’ on Turkish border (EuroNews)
Aid agencies warn of a “desperate situation” as tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing a Russian-backed government offensive in Aleppo, head to the Turkish border.
Although Turkey has sworn to help, it has yet to open its frontier at Oncupinar, leaving thousands stranded.
Russian-backed Syrian government forces say they are closing in on Aleppo city and have severed the main supply line used by the country’s mainstream rebels.
Rebel-held parts of the city now face the prospect of a government siege. The tactic has previously had a disastrous effect on former rebel strongholds […]

Global Europe: EU pleads with Turkey to accept refugees fleeing Aleppo offensive (EurActiv)
Turkey has vowed to help the fleeing refugees, but has not opened its borders. Aid agencies have warned that they are facing a “desperate” situation as they wait for help.
“Turkey has reached the limit of its capacity to absorb the refugees,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told CNN Turk. “But in the end, these people have nowhere else to go. Either they will die beneath the bombings… or we will open our borders.”We are not in a position to tell them not to come. If we do, we would be abandoning them to their deaths.” Turkey’s Oncupinar border crossing, which faces the Bab al-Salama frontier post inside Syria, remained closed on Sunday (7 February) as thousands of refugees gathered there for a third day waiting for the gate to open […]

Global Europe: London conference closes with €9 billion in pledges for Syria and region (EurActiv)
UK Prime minister David Cameron said the London conference for supporting Syria and the region raised more than $10 billion (€9 billion) – the largest amount of money ever raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis. The Supporting Syria and the Region conference gathered more than 60 countries, including 30 world leaders. Britain, Germany and Norway hosted the conference in London, along with the United Nations and Kuwait. “The situation in Syria is a close to hell as we are likely to find on this earth,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Cameron said the conference received pledges approaching $6bn for 2016 alone, and a further $5bn over the longer term to 2020. “It means millions of people will now receive life-saving food medical care and shelter in Syria and beyond,” said the prime minister […]

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