FREE NEWS 17TH-18TH FEBRUARY

Justice and Home Affairs: Demirtas: EU ignoring Turkey crackdown in bid for refugee deal (EurActiv)
The European Union is turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Turkey in a doomed bid for a solution to its migrant crisis, the leader of Turkey’s main Kurdish party told a Greek newspaper today (17 February).
“Europe is closing its eyes to the trampling of human rights in Turkey and is preparing to succumb to (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan’s threats and blackmail,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas told the Efimerida Ton Syntakton.But Demirtas, who met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on a visit to Athens, said this policy was a “big mistake”[…]

Justice and Home Affairs: Why the EESC supports Schengen – at all costs (NewEurope)
The European Economic and Social Committee, an EU advisory body comprising representatives of workers’ and employers’ organisations and other interest groups, has warned the Schengen Agreement should not be used as a scapegoat.
“The EU institutions must avoid at all cost the piecemeal unravelling of the Schengen rules, and with it the Internal Market, which will ultimately be to the detriment of us all,” the EESC said in a resolution titled “Free to move, Support Schengen”. It was adopted on February 17. The EESC’s representatives of European civil society are concerned about the pressure being put on the Schengen Agreement and its use as an easy scapegoat for all the shortcomings in the management of Europe’s borders […]

Migration: Austria sets asylum limit as Eastern Europe hikes pressure (EurActiv)
On the eve of a European Union summit to debate Europe’s migrant crisis, Austria announced on Wednesday (17 February) a daily limit in the number of asylum requests, and eastern EU members set a mid-March deadline for a plan agreed with Turkey to bear fruit.German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under intense pressure at home, meanwhile urged a “common stance” in the 28-nation bloc, arguing that the Turkey plan “offers a good solution”.
But a separate scheme to ease pressure on the migrant buildup on the EU’s rim ran into problems after a planned mini-summit with Turkey was scrapped following a bomb attack in Ankara. The Austrian government announced it would set a daily cap of 80 claims of asylum in the country. It also said it would grant entry to a daily maximum of 3,200 people who were transiting Austria to seek asylum in a neighbouring country, effective Friday […]

Migration: WikiLeaks publishes EU’s secret report on migrants (NewEurope)
WikiLeaks published today the EU’s secret report on operation “Sophia” carried out from 22nd June to 15th December 2015, which was supposed to target the immigrants’ boats in the Mediterranean sea. The leaked document was prepared for the European Union Military Committee and European External Action Service by the Operation Commander Rear-Admiral of the Italian Navy Enrico Crendino. The published document reveals the real number of migrants coming to the European shores and highlights the main stages of the naval operation in the Mediterranean conducted by member states […]

Migration: Turkey unwilling to target refugee traffickers, experts warn (EurActiv)
Senior experts said today (17 February) that unless Turkey starts targeting the mafias helping migrants cross into Europe, the worsening refugee crisis could push the British to vote to leave the Union, and bring about other disastrous consequences.
Speaking at a press event organised by Carnegie Europe, its director, Ian Techau, said that he heard at the Munich Security Conference some British colleagues voicing exasperation over the refugee crisis, which was souring the mood in Britain ahead of the Brexit referendum, expected in June. Against the background of the refugee crisis, it now looks like there is a 70% chance for vote to leave the EU, he said. “There was some sort of rumour going around at the Security conference that the Euro crisis was bad enough, but the refugee crisis kind of convinced people in Britain this is now the time to leave the bloody place”, Techau said […]

Migration: Austria moves to ‘plan B’, defies EU-wide solution to refugee crisis (EurActiv)
Austria announced it would step up controls along its southern borders on Tuesday (16 February), edging closer to Eastern European member states in their defiance of Germany’s push for an EU solution to the migrant crisis.
The measures will be implemented at 12 existing checkpoints along frontiers with Italy, Slovenia and Hungary to slow down the influx, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said. “There will be different structural measures from containers to further barriers,” similar to the short mesh fence recently set up at Austria’s main border crossing with Slovenia at Spielfeld, she added. The announcement is a new blow to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wants to promote a deal with Turkey at an EU summit to tackle the continent’s worst migration crisis since World War II […]

Refugee Crisis: Reform could see more aid money diverted to refugee crisis (EurActiv)
Donor countries will adopt new rules on official development assistance on 18 and 19 February. The accounting of costs linked to security, refugees and the fight against extremism will be up for discussion. EurActiv France reports.
The refugee crisis has generated significant costs for certain countries and has led donors to rethink the principles of development aid. Discussions are ongoing within the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a group of the world’s major aid donors, over which expenses arising from the refugee crisis should be put through a country’s accounts as funding for international solidarity. This club of 29 largely well-off countries decides who is eligible for official development assistance (ODA), and how these funds should be spent […]

Global Europe : EU summit live: Refugee crisis and Brexit on leaders’ plate (EurActiv)
EU heads of state and governments meet Thursday and Friday (18-19 February) for a crucial summit to tackle the refugee crisis and avoid Britain’s possible exit from the European Union. Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he was confident EU leaders would reach a deal on reforms to keep Britain in the bloc at the summit starting today at 17.00 hiurs.“I’m quite confident that we will have a deal during this European Council. We have to sort out a certain number of questions,” Juncker told
a news conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz. “And I am convinced that Britain will be constructive and active member of the European Union,” he said, speaking in English […]

Global Europe: Turkey cancels pre-summit meeting on migration crisis (NewEurope)
Turkey has cancelled a meeting about the refugee crisis ahead of the EU summit in Brussels after Turkey’s prime minister pulled out. Leaders from a dozen nations were supposed to meet at the Austrian mission in Brussels in the run-up to Thursday’s summit to discuss how the EU and Turkey can cooperate to contain the flood of migrants into the continent. Davutoglu announced he would cancel the trip after a car bomb in Ankara killed at least 28 people and wounded 61 others. All 28 EU leaders are scheduled to discuss their latest response to the migration crisis at the summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels […]

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