Justice and Home Affairs: Schengen: Austria defies Brussels (NewEurope)
Athens recalled its ambassador to Vienna on Thursday and rejected a request for a visit by Austria’s Interior Minister on Friday, February 26.  The divide between Austria and Greece seems for the moment unbridgeable. The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning {Austrian} “unilateral initiatives to resolve the refugee (crisis) and violations of international law and the European acquis by EU member states could Scundermine the foundations and the process of European unification,” it said. The diplomatic escalation between Athens and Vienna began on Tuesday, with Athens protesting a regional conference called for Wednesday in Vienna in which Greece was not invited. In Vienna, Austria and nine Western Balkan states met on Wednesday and unilaterally decided to contain migrant flows in Greece, by placing arbitrary prohibitions beginning from Afghan refugees and scaling up document controls for Syrians and Iraqis […]

Justice and Home Affairs:MEPs question liability in EU border guard proposal (EuObserver)
MEPs on Monday (29 February) quizzed the EU Commission on the proposed European Border and Coast Guard that aims help member states with protecting external borders of the bloc, even if the member state does not agree with the intervention.
The proposal by the commission put forward last December attempts to tackle the problem of member states failing to protect the external borders of the EU.
Under the proposal, a beefed-up Frontex, the EU’s border agency, pooling in national capabilities would be able to intervene in a member state under disproportionate pressure even against that country’s will, if the passport-free Schengen area is at risk […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Telegraph: German government considers closing borders (NewEurope)
The German government is considering closing its borders to asylum-seekers in an attempt to pressure the rest of the EU countries to take action and deal with the European refugee crisis, according to a report by the British daily, The Telegraph.
According to the British daily, sources close to German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere told to German weekly newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, that the Minister ordered officials to prepare plans on closing down the German borders to the people in need. “For de Maiziere, the time of waving the refugees through is over,” they said […]

Justice and Home Affairs:Peruvians all set for visa-free Schengen travel (EurActiv)
Peru’s migration authority has started issuing its first biometric passports that will allow its citizens to undertake short-term visa-free travel within the Schengen area.
The foreign ministry was positive about the development, commenting that it “places Peru in a leading position in terms of the global freedom of movement of people”.
Older versions of the passports will continue to be issued until 7 July, after which only the biometric document will be available. There was huge demand for the new passports, as all 5,000 available appointments with migration authorities were snapped up within 24 hours. As a result, 15,000 more passports can be applied for between 3 and 7 July […]

Justice and Home Affairs:Chaos and clashes with police at the Greece-FYROM borders (NewEurope)
Close to 7,000 refugees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, who are stuck at the Greek borders with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) demonstrated against the closure of the borders decided by FYROM authorities.
The demonstrators broke down a barbed wire fence and the FYROM border police started to throw teargas at the Greek territory to disperse the crowd and prevent the people in need from entering the forbidden territory. During the weekend, and before Monday’s clashes, there were numerous protests with the refugees asking the opening of the borders. However, as the peaceful demonstrations didn’t bring any result, Monday’s demonstration got more intense […]

Refugee Crisis: Refugees tear-gassed in France and Greece (EurActiv)
Refugees in France’s ‘Jungle’ camp, and on the Greece-Macedonian border, were tear-gassed by border police today (29 February), a week before EU leaders meet to discuss the migration crisis. French authorities began dismantling half of the camp in the northern port city of Calais on Monday, a week before EU leader meet with Turkey in Brussels to discuss their response to the crisis that has seen multiple member states reinstate border controls in the passport free Schengen area.
Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees on Monday tried to break through a border fence into Macedonia from Greece, where more than 6,000 people are stranded […]

Refugee Crisis:Germany urges North Africa states to speed up repatriations (NewEurope)
German authorities are intensifying their efforts to persuade the North Africa States to speed up the repatriation of the rejected asylum seekers.
German public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, reported that German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is to visit Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia aiming to convince the national authorities to better cooperate with Germany and quickly accept their returned citizens. “Our goal is to make the (repatriation) procedures more efficient and faster,” de Maiziere said ahead of his departure for Morocco on Sunday […]

Migration:Hungary’s PM vows to resist EU pressure to take in more migrants (NewEurope)
Warning that more migrants in the country will bring crime, terrorism and other problems, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has vowed to resist European Union pressure to take in more migrants. He also criticised Brussels’ failure to address the migrant crisis. As reported by the Reuters news agency, Orban has long been known for his fiery right-wing rhetoric, but in his annual state of the nation address on February 28 he struck a particularly harsh tone toward the refugees and Brussels over its attempts to impose migrant quotas on member states […]

Data Protection: Commission presents EU-US Privacy Shield (NewEurope)
The European Commission presented the anticipated EU-US Privacy Shield agreement, which aims to protect the personal data of the European citizens from any monitoring activities performed by the US government and the US based firms.
The European Commission said that the Privacy Shield draft agreement, reflects the requirements set by the European Court of Justice in its ruling from 6 October 2015. Then the EU court decided that the previous “Safe Harbor” agreement, which regulated the data transfers between the EU and the US didn’t guarantee the protection of the European citizens from being spied by US agencies […]

Migration:Migrant tensions flare at Macedonian-Greek border (EuObserver)
Macedonian police used stun grenades and tear gas to push back hundreds of frustrated Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers stuck on the Greek side of the border, after they tried to force their way across the border into Macedonia on Monday (29 February).
Thousands are stuck on the Greek side after Austria and Balkan countries restricted border crossings, with people forced out of the Idomeni refugee cap onto surrounding fields.  About 6,500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees are camped out around Idomeni, with another 500 moved to a make-shift camp nearby […]

Migration: Orban: EU leaders lack will to stop migrants (EuObserver)
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, said Sunday (28 February) EU leaders had no will to get a grip on the migration crisis, and vowed to fight pressure from Brussels to take in more refugees.  In a “state of the nation” speech, Orban told supporters he did not blame the migrants for only doing “what they think is best for them” by coming to Europe, but European leaders for failing to come up with a plan to reverse the tide of people.  “Europe’s future is endangered primarily not by those who want to come here, but by those political, economic and intellectual leaders who are trying to transform Europe in opposition to the European people,” Orban said. “Migration can be stopped,” Orban said, arguing that Europe “has the technological, strategic and economic might to defend itself”.
“It is enough of a problem that Brussels cannot organise Europe’s defence, but the bigger trouble is that it lacks the will to do so,” he told his supporters in a traditionally blunt speech […]

UK and Europe: Brexit poll shows desire to keep UK in Union (NewEurope)
The concessions recently gained by the United Kingdom, giving the country a special status in the European Union, unleashed a heated public debate in Europe, both in political circles and among the society at large. Talking to European citizens in Brussels, New Europe found a variety of opinions about the “Brexit deal”, which was reached on Friday 19 February at the EU Summit, and about the prospect of the UK leaving the Union. Most people interviewed believed the deal gives the UK an unfair advantage over other European member states, as they fear it would accelerate EU disintegration. A Belgian scientific researcher told New Europe: “If Britain wants to play different they should leave, the same rules have to apply to everyone”. Another respondent, a French government employee, went even further in his assessment, saying that the Brexit deal is “a dangerous attack on the core idea of the EU and it shows the regression of Europe” […]

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