FREE NEWS 4TH-5TH MARCH

Justice and Home Affairs: EU unveils plan to restore Schengen by the end of 2016 (EurActiv)
The EU on Friday (4 March) unveiled a “roadmap” to end border controls imposed by member states because of the migrant crisis and restore by the year’s end the Schengen passport-free travel area.Brussels has called for the creation of a European Union border and coastguard force by the summer and help for Greece to strengthen its external border, the main point of entry for refugees and migrants to Europe.“The objective would be to lift all internal border controls by December, so that there can be a return to a normally functioning Schengen area by the end of 2016,” the European Commission said in a statement […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Schengen reloaded: Commission’s roadmap for a return to freedom of circulation (New Europe)
The European Commission hit today the reset button on Schengen and came up with a totally refurbished roadmap called: “Back to Schengen”, meant give a new life into the functioning of the Schengen Area. By the end of the year, all internal border controls will have to be scrapped, total freedom of circulation reestablished inside the Schengen area, and control at the external borders reinforced, especially with the help of Turkey, which will be rewarded financially.Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “With this roadmap, we are presenting the next steps that we must take together to restore a normal functioning Schengen Area as soon as possible, and this requires taking a number of important actions. First, all Member States need to apply the rules […]”

Justice and Home Affairs:UN criticises EU’s anti-migrant rhetoric (EuObserver)
A UN official said Friday (4 March) that the overwhelming majority of people coming to Europe are not economic migrants, but people seeking refuge from war. He also criticised EU leaders for telling migrants not to come to Europe. “The inconvenient truth is that people are still coming to Europe, because the wars are still ongoing,” Vincent Cochetel, the director of the Europe branch of the UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, told journalists […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Transparency Register opens up to stakeholder review, leaving lobbyists anxious (NewEurope)
With the EU’s Transparency Register receiving both praise and criticism, the European Commission opened up a 3 month public consultation, aiming to gather views on the functioning of the current Transparency Register and to receive input for the design of the future mandatory regime of registration, as this may allow interest representatives more equal and harmonised access the European Institutions. The move by the European Commission has already sparked great interest in the consultancy and interest-representation behemoths of Brussels […]

Global Europe: Don’t expect big decisions from EU-Turkey summit, say diplomats (EurActiv)
EXCLUSIVE / No official decision is expected to be made during an EU-Turkey summit on Monday (7 March) dedicated to the refugee crisis, due to the upcoming German state elections, diplomats told EurActiv Greece. On 13 March, Germany will hold an election in three of Germany’s 16 regions: Saxony-Anhalt, Rheinland-Pfalz and Baden-Württemberg.
The vote is seen as a first electoral test of Merkel’s immigration policies, as it is expected to measure the rate of confidence in her CDU party and the upsurge of anti-immigration sentiment in German society. Germany prefers that the EU-Turkey summit remains low-profile and that it doesn’t impact on the vote, EurActiv was told. Consequently the summit of EU leaders with Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoğlu will be an informal meeting, where “no official decision is expected to be made” and no summit conclusions will be adopted […]

Justice and Home Affairs: L’arrivée du « PNR », le fichier européen sur les passagers aériens, encore retardée (LeMonde)
On croyait l’affaire réglée après un vote favorable, en décembre 2015, de la commission des libertés civiles du Parlement européen : à l’issue d’années de discussion, le projet de fichier de renseignements sur les passagers aériens (Passenger Name Record, « PNR ») semblait en voie d’adoption. A la grande satisfaction des autorités françaises et du ministre de l’intérieur, Bernard Cazeneuve, qui, dans la foulée des attentats du 13 novembre, avaient souligné l’utilité de cet outil pour mieux lutter contre le terrorisme. Le premier ministre, Manuel Valls, avait de son côté envoyé une lettre au Groupe de l’alliance progressiste des socialistes et démocrates au Parlement européen (S&D) pour lui demander de taire son opposition à ce texte, évoqué depuis 2007 et traduit, en 2011, dans un texte controversé de la Commission […]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU wants internal border controls lifted by December (EuObserver)
The European Commission wants to lift all internal border controls by the end of the year.
The plan is part of a broader effort to keep the passport-free Schengen zone from unraveling after eight EU states imposed checks amid a large inflow of migrants and asylum seekers […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Tusk warns refugees away from Europe (EurActiv)
Speaking in Athens on Thursday (3 March), Council President Donald made a pathetic appeal to ‘economic’ migrants not to come to Europe. Tusk visited Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and is in Turkey today, in preparation for the EU-Turkey summit to be held in Brussels on Monday (7 March).Turkey and Greece are key countries in the context of the unprecedented migrant crisis, as the vast majority of incoming refugees, most of whom do not qualify for asylum, cross from Turkey to the Greek islands, in the Aegean Sea. After talks in Athens with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Tusk told economic migrants it was pointless to try to reach the European Union, which is struggling maintain its prized Schengen passport-free travel area in the face of the surge of people moving across the bloc’s borders […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Commission plans last-gasp attempt to save Schengen (EurActiv)
The European Union will unveil on Friday (4 March) a “roadmap” to restore by November the Schengen passport-free travel area, which is nearing collapse because of the migration crisis, sources said. The plan, a draft of which has been seen by AFP, includes quickly creating an EU coast guard system and strengthening Greece’s external border, the main point of entry for refugees and migrants to Europe. After nearly two decades of European free travel, the 26-country Schengen area is tottering as several member states unilaterally reintroduce border controls to stop migrants passing from Greece to richer northern European countries. “We will adopt tomorrow a roadmap on how to restore a fully functioning Schengen system,” a source in the European Commission told AFP […]

Migration: 1.2 million first time asylum seekers sought protection in the EU (NewEurope)
1,255,600 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU countries in 2015, according to today’s figure by Eurostat. The EU statistics agency pointed out that the number of the asylum seekers was more than double compared with 2014. According to Eurostat, most of the asylum seekers were from the war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq, while hundreds of thousands were from Afghanistan who according to many EU governments should not be entitled for asylum as they are now considered economic migrants. Eurostat reported that the number of Syrians seeking international protection in the EU has doubled in 2015 compared with the previous year to reach 362,800, while the number of Afghans has almost quadrupled to 178,200 and that of Iraqis has multiplied by 7 to 121,500 […]

Refugee Crisis: France struggling to find refugees to relocate as hotspots fail (EurActiv)
France has only relocated 284 refugees from Greece and Italy, despite having housing for 5,200 people ready. It’s a paradox that epitomises the failure of the EU’s refugee hotspots. EurActiv France reports.The establishment of an organised migration route within the European Union is still struggling to get off the ground. France provides a perfect illustration of the problems the plan faces. Several months after the EU’s decision to create refugee hotspots in Greece and Italy, only a very small number of those arriving in these countries have been processed under the European relocation system, according to Kléber Arhoul, a prefect in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and France’s national coordinator for the hosting of refugees […]

Refugee Crisis: Idomeni: Uncertainty over the distribution of the EU refugee aid, humanitarian crisis grows larger (NewEurope)
Uncertainty remains over how the €700 million of refugee aid should be distributed to have the best results for the tens of thousands of people who are now trapped at the Greek village of Idomeni which is located at the Greece-FYROM borders. Greek news agency, ANA-MPA, reported that Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid, said that the EU’s executive body will be working closely with the Greek government to pinpoint the needs of refugees and begin providing assistance immediately, either in kind or through the use of coupons distributed by Greek banks. British dailies, The Daily Mail, Express and the Telegraph reported that the European Commission is also considering giving some of the money directly to the refugees. The Telegraph reported that this policy has been previously used in Somalia and Kosovo, but EU policy papers warn the cash can trigger inflation on the local market, fuel corruption or be stolen if mismanaged […]

Refugee Crisis: Tusk: Shipping back irregular migrants will help in the fight against smugglers (NewEurope)
The establishment of a fast and large-scale mechanism to ship back irregular migrants arriving in Greece, would effectively break the business model of the smugglers, President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk said in a press conference in Turkey.
On Thursday, Tusk met with Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey to discuss about the growing refugee crisis. He welcomed all the Turkish efforts to limit the refugee influx in the EU but he said that he and Davutoglu agreed “that the refugee flows still remain far too high and that further action is needed.”
“It is for Turkey to decide how best to achieve such a reduction…the most promising method seems to be a fast and large-scale mechanism to ship back irregular migrants arriving in Greece […]

Refugee Crisis: Tsipras, Tusk discuss refugee crisis (NewEurope)
On March 3, European Union Council President Donald Tusk visited Athens, saying the situation along the Western Balkan migration route is “really dramatic, and so we must act with determination to improve it”. Tusk met with Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who called for sanctions on EU states that refuse to take in their share of the incoming refugees, and demanded that the practically dormant procedure for relocating refugees stranded in Greece to other members of the bloc should be drastically accelerated. After his meeting with Tusk, Tsipras promised “dignified” living conditions for the more than 25,000 people — mostly bona fide refugees — trapped in Greece. But he insisted that the solution can only be temporary, and Greece will accept no more than its fair share of permanently resident refugees, AP reported […]

UK &EU: UK referendum: no panic – better reforming the EU
(NewEurope)
The ramifications of the UK referendum cannot be underestimated. We can all agree that a Brexit could have an enormous impact on the European Union. Since Great Britain has been such a powerful EU member, seeing them leave would mean a big switch in policy priorities. It is no doubt that as a Lithuanian who has lived half of his life in Australia, I have lots of sympathy for how the British value economic freedoms, respect individual initiative and participate actively in ensuring mechanisms for common security. Therefore I find lots of common understanding in a long- lasting relationship between Lithuania and Britain, and an even longer cooperation between Britain and the EU […]

 

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