Justice and Home Affairs: EU to send smuggled Syrians back to Turkey (EuObserver)
The EU will start returning all irregular migrants back to Turkey from the Greek islands, including smuggled Syrian nationals, under a plan hammered out with Turkey’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a summit in Brussels.
“The prime minister [Davutoglu] confirmed to accept the rapid return of all migrants coming from Turkey to Greece that are not in need of international protection,” EU Council president Donald Tusk told reporters in the early hours of Tuesday (8 March)[…]

Justice and Home Affairs: European Green Party: ‘The EU cannot think to outsource its migration management to Turkey (NewEurope)
The European Green Party warned on March 7 that it cannot accept a deal that does not include a serious relocation mechanism of refugees among the EU countries.
In a statement released by the EGP’s co-chairs, Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer said: “Time has come for the EU to deliver on and to expand the decisions it took in the last few months. We need a comprehensive, stable and common approach to the migration crisis: the EU cannot think to ‘outsource’ its management to Turkey”. According to Frassoni, there is no doubt that economic support from the EU to Turkey is needed […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Amnesty criticizes EU-Turkey draft deal (NewEurope)
The EU-Turkey anticipated refugee deal would lead to more migration tragedies, according to a press release by Amnesty International. The international organization criticized the proposed plan between the EU and Turkey which says that for every Syrian refugee returned to Turkey from Greece, a Syrian will be settled within the EU. According to Amnesty, the plan doesn’t offer any incentive to the people in need to stop risking their live trying to reach the EU through Greece. The plan “make every resettlement place offered to a Syrian in the EU contingent upon another Syrian risking their life,” Amnesty said. The NGO stressed that Europe needs to offer safe and legal ways to the people in need to reach the wanted destinations[…]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU-Turkey deal could see Syrian refugees back in war zones, says UN (The Guardian)
A senior UN official says he is very concerned that a hasty EU deal with Turkey could leave Syrian refugees unprotected and at risk of being sent back to a war zone.
Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, questioned the legality of an outline deal struck by the EU and Turkey.
“As a first reaction I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another, without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law,” he said on Tuesday […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Majority of refugee women traumatised by violence (EurActiv)
Violence against women and girls in refugee camps remains a fact of life, due to the lack of a binding protection strategy and the member states’ delay in implementing the EU Asylum Directive. EurActiv Germany reports.
Europe is currently facing the most serious refugee crisis since the end of World War II. However, for many refugees, escaping the conflict and turmoil of their homelands does not necessarily mean the end of their suffering or hardships. In particular, women and girls are often subjugated to violence or sexual assault in refugee camps and accommodation. Although EU member states are obligated to transpose the rules laid down by the so-called Reception Directive, which governs standards of living and protective measures, Germany still lacks a binding protection system for vulnerable new arrivals […]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU leaders postpone deal with Turkey until next week (NewEurope)
After what some called a “blackmail move” and others a way of “outsourcing refugees”, EU leaders decided to postpone taking a decision on Turkey’s new proposals until the future EU summit next week.
Europe’s hopes that Brussels and Ankara were nearing a deal for Turkey to take back migrants reaching Greece faded late on Monday night after Turkey made a last-minute call for more money and quicker access to European visas in return for its help, measures some leaders said they needed more time to consider.
During 12 hours of negotiations, Turkey insisted that any agreement would require Europe to advance Turkey’slong-delayed hope of joining the bloc […]

Justice and Home Affairs: One in, one out – the EU’s simplistic answer to the refugee crisis (The Guardian)
One in, one out. That was the unexpected compromise occupying EU and Turkish leaders in Brussels as they sought a means of managing Europe’s refugee crisis.
Details were still being hammered out on Monday as the talks reached witching hour, and the plan may yet fold. But at one point European top brass were at least considering the orderly resettlement of one Syrian directly from Turkey in exchange for each asylum seeker it readmits after they land on the shores of neighbouring Greece […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Schulz says no to Turkey’s attempt to link refugee issue with EU access (NewEurope)
“We have to separate the access negotiation between Turkey and the EU and all the questions related to opening of new chapters related to the management refugee crisis”, underlined European Parliament President Martin Schulz, while pointing the major remarks of the EU – Turkey Summit from his own angle. “It is clear that there is an attempt to link the refugee and migration process with access to EU process”, assessed Schulz, making European Parliament’s position on the issue crystal clear: “We have to separate the access negotiation”, he said, while taking the opportunity given by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkish Prime Minister, “to open new chapters and discuss about fundamental rights and freedom media”, naming the recent Zaman seizing case.Schulz did not fail to raise concerns of development at the SE of Turkey, talking about a “very difficalt situation”. He repeated that “for the European Parliament, the PKK is a terrorist organization, but the spiral of violence can’t be broken with the strategy that only a military solution is possible”, he added […]

Refugee Crisis: Europe neglects integration of refugees as humanitarian tragedy looms (EurActiv)
Refugees and asylum seekers risk suffering “long-term damage” due to ill-prepared policies to integrate them, the OECD has warned, while European nations start preparing for the worst. One year after refugees started arriving ‘en masse’ in Europe, integration policies are absent from the debate, as member states seem overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the numbers seen. “This sudden arrival of so many brings challenges for infrastructure, facilities and communities,” commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Marianne Thyssen, told EurActiv on 2 March. Europe is now preparing for the worst as the continent faces a humanitarian crisis on its soil, caused by nations’ failure to protect the EU’s external borders and share the burden of refugees landing mainly in Greece. The European Commission’s proposal to mobilise €700 million of existing EU funding for humanitarian aid within the EU borders represents a turning point in the refugee crisis […]

Refugee Crisis: Will Greece become the Calais of Europe? (EurActiv)
Greece is at risk of becoming one giant refugee hotspot. The closure of its northern border and the continued influx of refugees from Turkey has placed Athens in a critical situation. EurActiv’s partner La Tribune reports.
Last Tuesday (1 March), in an interview with Slovakian newspaper Hospodarske Noviny, the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico once again provoked the Greek government in no uncertain terms: “Tsipras, if you do not make an effort, there will only be one hotspot, and it will be called Greece.”
This understandably raised some heckles in Greece, not only for its threatening overtones, but because it evokes a situation that is already becoming a reality […]

Refugee Crsis: Schulz: ‘Refugee crisis is going to cost us all a lot more’ (EurActiv)
Ahead of the extraordinary EU summit currently going on in Brussels, European Parliament President Martin Schulz told EurActiv’s partner Tagesspiegel that he wants efforts for a European solution to the refugee crisis to be increased, so that the bloc remains “unbroken”.
Martin Schulz spoke with Der Tagesspiegel’s Hans Monath and Albrecht Meier. Before Angela Merkel joins her European colleagues at the Council meeting, how isolated will the German Chancellor feel in terms of her approach to tackling the refugee crisis?
Angela Merkel is certainly in a difficult position, but she is not isolated. The number of member states realising that this is not just a German problem is increasing and the implementation of a reasonable distribution of refugees throughout Europe is being accepted by more countries […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Greece is for the moment “a storage” of 34,000 souls, and counting (NewEurope)
The Balkan route to Europe is closed for refugees. Whether the EU-turkey deal is effective will be tested in the next few hours.
Slovenia announced on Tuesday evening that refugees without a valid Schengen visa will not be allowed passage; Croatia followed and Serbia said this “practically closes the Balkan route.” The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria will not let migrants through without visas either.
The domino effect was swift and it is now an open ended question whether Greece will become “a storage of souls” as its Prime Minister had promised it will not […]

See also: Balkan Route ‘closed’ after cascade of border shutdowns (EurActiv)
Slovenia and Serbia said on Tuesday (8 March) they would place new restrictions on the entry of migrants, putting extra obstacles in the way of those trying to reach the European Union via the Balkans.
The decisions to further restrict routes taken by more than a million migrants in the last year were announced hours after EU leaders declared an end to a mass scramble to reach wealthy countries in Europe from war zones. “From midnight, there will be no more migration on the Western Balkan route as it took place so far,” the Interior Ministry of EU member Slovenia said in a statement […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Avramopoulos: Balkan route is not closed yet, but we are prepared if this happens (NewEurope)
The Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, appeared confident that the EU and Western Balkan countries are “well prepared” for possible flow redirections, in case the border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece at Idomeni closes.
However, Avramopoulos underlined that the Balkan route is not closed at the moment, answering to New Europe on Wednesday afternoon.

Justice and Home Affairs: EU parliament slams ‘sultan’ Erdogan on Turkey deal (EurActiv)
European Parliament lawmakers accused the EU Wednesday (9 March) of giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the “keys to the gates of Europe” through a migration crisis deal with Ankara.
At a summit on Monday (7 March) European Union leaders agreed to work for an agreement with Turkey that would include a ‘one-for-one’ swap of Syrian refugees and a doubling of aid for Ankara to six billion euros.
But European Parliament Liberal group leader and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs in Strasbourg, France that the deal was “hugely problematic”.
“It is a deal with Turkey in which we outsource our problems,” Verhofstadt said […]

Migration: Fears grow on alternative migrant routes in Europe (EuObserver)
Fears are growing that migrants and refugees will try to enter the EU via Albania and the Adriatic Sea after Europe on Wednesday (9 March) closed the Western Balkan corridor.
There is no sign yet of a build-up of people on the Albanian-Greek border.
But Albania, a Nato member and EU aspirant with a population of less than 3 million, could be a gateway to Italy […]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU concerned over fragmentation of Balkan migration route (NewEurope)
As the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece Idomeni border situation remains difficult, the European Commission today denied that the EU has moved on to crisis management mode from trying to provide a “comprehensive solution. “We are doing both”, answered Alexander Winterstein, Deputy Chief Spokesperson, reassuring the press at today’s briefing.
The European Commission appears worried over the development of alternative migration routes, passing via Albania – Italy and Bulgaria, since the Idomeni border hasn’t opened to migrants since Monday […]

Migration: EGP: ‘Organising arrival of refugees in Europe could prove a better solution’ (NewEurope)
Following the European Union migration summit, Monica Frassoni, co-chair of the European Green Party (EGP), warned the EU is being held hostage by the Turkish government which is becoming increasingly “arrogant” at the negotiation table.
“And yet, organising the arrival of refugees in Europe could prove a better solution than insisting in rejecting them,” Frassoni said. “It is becoming clear that the majority of EU countries’ refusal to manage, both at national and EU level, a common plan for the distribution, welcoming and integration of refugees is costlier than agreeing to deal with it properly, in terms of human suffering, public resources, coherence with our values and political credibility” […]


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