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Justice and Home Affairs: EU judges could strike down migrant benefit curbs after UK referendum (EurActiv)                                                                                                                         The ‘emergency brake’ banning European Union migrants from claiming British in-work benefits – part of David Cameron’s deal to keep the UK in Europe – could be struck down by EU judges after the referendum, a leading legal expert has told EurActiv.The British Prime Minister has insisted that his reform pact with EU leaders is legally binding and irreversible, although yesterday (24 February) leading Tory MP Michael Gove said it was subject to the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) approval.Steve Peers is professor of EU law at Britain’s Essex University, writes extensively on his subject, and edits the EU Law Analysis website.He has worked as a consultant for the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union and the Council of Europe.He said that while parts of the deal are legally binding and, in practice, can’t be changed, others depend on later implementation and can be reversed – including the hugely controversial benefits ban. The brake, which is planned to last seven years, was likely to face legal challenges in domestic British courts on the grounds it broke EU law on discrimination between citizens, he told EurActiv […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Tsipras threatens to block future agreements if migrant burden is not shared (EurActiv)                                                                         Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged European Union countries to honour the bloc’s decisions on sharing the burden of the migrant crisis, saying that if they did not, Athens would block future agreements.EU interior ministers will hold fresh talks on migration today (25 February), in an attempt to reduce the flow of people through the Balkans and plan for what the bloc has warned is a looming humanitarian crisis.Ministers from non-EU members Serbia, Macedonia and Turkey will also be in Brussels as the European Union reaches outside its borders in a desperate attempt to deal with the stream of people.Ahead of the talks, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threatened not to cooperate with future EU agreements on the migrant crisis if the burden was not fairly shared among member states […]

Migration: Greek PM threatens to block EU decisions (EuObserver)                   Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said he will block EU decisions at the next summit if Greece is left alone to deal with the migration crisis. He told parliament on Wednesday (24 February) he would not let Greece be turned into a “warehouse of souls”.”Greece will no longer agree to any deal if the burdens and responsibilities are not shared proportionally,” he said.Greece was not invited to a meeting on Wednesday in which Austria and other countries along the Western Balkan migration route agreed to tighten border controls […]

Migration: Germany deports Afghan refugees (NewEurope)                                           A plane loaded with Afghan refugees left Germany and landed to Afghanistan, German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.According to Deutsche Welle, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere confirmed that the plane with 125 refugees onboard had landed in Kabul. The Minister said that the repatriated refugees “had no prospects to stay in Germany.” De Maiziere added that the people in need received some financial support. “The voluntary return and – in case of need – the financial support is of great importance…It contributes to the important task of rebuilding Afghanistan,” the German minister said […]

Migration: Calais camp situation prompts Belgian border controls (EuObserver)                                                                                                                                          Belgium is ramping up controls on its border with France in response to the French authorities’ attempts to clear a huge migrant camp near the port of Calais. Border checks were reintroduced earlier this week, will be enforced fully from Wednesday (24 February) with 250 to 290 policemen and “will last as long as necessary”, interior minister Jan Jambon said on Tuesday.”We are going to guard the border in strategic places, in places used by smugglers, which the police have detected,” he said. Belgium’s decision comes as a giant migrant camp near Calais, about 60 km from the border, could be partly dismantled in the coming days […]

Migration: Austria criticises Germany on migrants, piles ‘pressure’ on EU (EuObserver)                                                                                                                                    Austria has said Germany should stop sending mixed messages on migration at a meeting with Western Balkan states in Vienna on Wednesday (24 February). “Germany has to decide what signals Germany wants to send,” Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told press after talks with her counterparts from Western Balkan countries, where most migrants cross on their way from Greece to Germany […]

Global Europe: NATO mission criticised for sending refugees back to Turkey (EurActiv)                                                                                                                                               NATO’s new mission against illegal people-smugglers in the Mediterranean has drawn criticism from human rights activists, who have highlighted that EU border protection agency Frontex follows different principles when it comes to rescuing people. EurActiv Germany reports. The number of people braving a sea voyage to Europe remains alarmingly high. More than 100,000 refugees have already crossed the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This figure has already eclipsed the total for the first six months of 2015 […]

UK & Europe: Three plan Bs for Brexit(EurActiv)                                                                                                                                         Three possible ‘plan Bs’ for Brexit are defined in research carried out by Michael Emerson, in a 24-page policy paper spanning a range of views, from which EurActiv publishes the Executive Summary. Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS. He would like to express thanks for helpful comments on this study to Roderick Abbott, Steven Blockmans, Jacques Pelkmans, Jean-Claude Piris, Marius Vahl, Guillaume Van Der Loo and Steven Woolcock.Now that the results of Prime Minister David Cameron’s negotiations with the EU have become known following the European Council on 18-19 February 2016, and the date for the UK’s referendum to remain or leave has been set for 23 June 2016, it is time to clarify the consequences of this seemingly simple choice, in or out […]

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