Justice and Home Affairs: New Emergency Assistance instrument to provide €700 million on refugee crisis; first 308 returns to Turkey confirmed (NewEurope) A brand new funding instrument was proposed by the European Commission in response to the refugee crisis as flows continue and FYROM border with Greece is de facto closed. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management presented the proposal earlier today. The legislation proposal provides for an initial budget of €700 million from 2016-2018 and is expected to be accepted “immediately” by the European Council with a qualified majority of Member States voting in favour, and with European Parliament playing a role only in terms of amending the budget […]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU to launch humanitarian aid plan within its own borders (EurActiv) EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission is set to adopt today (2 March) a new plan aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to refugees inside the European Union, according to a draft proposal seen by EurActiv Greece.The Commission will propose a regulation on the provision of emergency aid within the EU’s borders, breaking with normal rules, which restrict humanitarian aid to overseas countries only.The lack of cooperation among member states has prompted the executive to find creative ways of helping EU countries that are being severely hit by the refugee crisis.“For the first time we mobilise resources, legislation and money that will enable Europe to act and within the EU, not only in crises in the Third World,” Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas told a European Parliament gathering yesterday (1 March) […]

Migration: EU leaders continue war of words on refugees (EuObserver)              EU leaders will hold a summit with Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday (7 March), before an informal meeting. They will discuss how to stem the flow of refugees coming from Turkey to Europe, organise the EU response to the crisis and try to ensure that EU rules and the free-movement Schengen area are not shattered by uncoordinated and contradictory policies. The talks will take place just as the European Commission is preparing an unprecedented humanitarian plan for EU countries, to help them cope with the huge numbers of refugees […]

Migration: Thirty times more refugees and migrants arrive in Greece (NewEurope) Thirty times more, refugees and migrants arrived in Greece during the period between January and February 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported today, that during 1 January – 25 February, 120,369 migrants and refugees chose the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route to enter the EU, while in 2015 the number of the people who entered Greece was recorded at 3,952.Turkish daily, Hurriyet, reported that Frontex Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri, admitted that the ongoing efforts to limit the influx of migrants and refugees from Turkey to Greece didn’t result in reducing the influx[…]

Migration: EU unveils €700m refugee fund with Greece in mind (EuObserver)The European Commission unveiled Wednesday (2 March) plans for an emergency fund of €700 million over the next three years to help EU countries struggling with the huge influx of refugees. While the EU has been providing humanitarian assistance to countries outside the bloc for decades, this is the first time the EU will do the same for its own members. “The fund will reduce humanitarian suffering of refugees in Europe,” commissioner for aid Christos Stylianides told journalists. He said there’s no “magic formula” for the crisis, but said the new fund “will help to ensure that we can provide a European solution […]”

Refugee Crisis: Juncker on refugee crisis: “It was foreseen that this would lead to a huge humanitarian crisis in Greece” (NewEurope) “We are not only concerned, but really worried about what is happening there. It was foreseen that it would lead to a huge humanitarian crisis in Greece”, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said about the humanitarian situation created on the Greece – FYROM border area at the crossing-point of Idomeni.  Juncker has paid tribute to Norway’s response on refugee crisis during a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Brussels. “Norway is ready to take part in the European relocation program, and I would strongly recommend to the member states of the EU to follow that example”, added Juncker, reminding the “huge” effort of Norway in London’s Syria conference last month […]

Refugee Crisis: Managing the Refugee Crisis: Stepping up return procedures to Turkey (EC Press Release) The Commission is today able to confirm that Greece is in the process of returning 308 irregular migrants to Turkey. The Commission is today able to confirm that Greece is in the process of returning 308 irregular migrants to Turkey. The European Union is stepping up its efforts to ensure those who do not qualify for international protection in Europe will be quickly and effectively returned to their countries of origin or transit. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Under the EU-Turkey joint action plan we agreed to accelerate return and readmission procedures with Turkey. The European Commission has reinforced its support for cooperation on return between EU Member States and Turkey and today’s transfers of returnees from Greece to Turkey show that our efforts are starting to bear fruit. If we want to address the challenges of the refugee crisis successfully we need to get back to an orderly management of the migration flows: We have to make sure that those who are in need of protection will receive it, but it has to be clear as well that those who have no right to stay in the EU will be quickly and effectively returned […]”

Global Europe: Ankara denies reports of blocking NATO ships entering its water borders (NewEurope) A Turkish official rejected the accuracy of an AFP news agency report which indicated that the Turkish government is not allowing NATO ships to enter its water borders despite the agreement for common operations against the human traffickers. Turkish daily, Hurriyet reported today that Ankara described the AFP report as “fabricated” saying that it is not true that NATO vessels are unable to start their operations because the Turkish government doesn’t permit them to enter the Turkish waters. “We don’t feel it necessary to respond to the comments, the source (an unnamed diplomatic source) of which we do not know and which are obviously fabricated and most probably aimed at creating provocation,” Turkish officials told Hurriyet Daily News on March 2. “Work is going on to have NATO activity conducted as planned,” the official said […]

Foreign Affairs: Russia ‘weaponising’ refugees against EU (EuObserver) Russia is “weaponising migration” as part of a broader campaign to extend its influence in Europe, Nato’s military chief has said, echoing German and Turkish concern. Philip Breedlove, a US general who commands Nato forces forces in Europe, spoke out on Tuesday (1 March) in a hearing with the Senate’s armed services committee in Washington. “Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponising migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve,” he said, referring to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader and Russian ally […]

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