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Migrants, Balkan Route: yes to the deal

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

More support to refugees through shelter, food, health, water and sanitation. Daily exchange of information between countries and Brussels. More reception capacity in Greece and in other Balkan countries. Borders management and stabilization thanks to Frontex reinforcement between Bulgaria and Turkey and 400 police officers to Slovenia. These are the topics of the deal approved by the head of 11 EU States and 3 non-Eu within European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during summit about the Western Balkan Migration Route in Bruxelles on October 25.

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In the first phase of summit, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria were initially opposed to EU directives, especially Orban who wants to go on closing its borders. However, before the meeting, Juncker said: “Countries affected should not only talk about each other and at each other, but also with each other. Neighbours should work together not against each other. Refugees need to be treated in a humane manner along the length of the Western Balkans route to avoid a humanitarian tragedy in Europe. I am therefore pleased that today we were able to jointly agree on a 17-point plan of pragmatic and operational measures to ensure people are not left to fend for themselves in the rain and cold “.

And so leaders representing Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia agreed to improve cooperation and step up consultation between the countries along the route and decided on pragmatic operational measures that can be implemented as of tomorrow to tackle the refugee crisis in the region.

Poland turn to right after Eurosceptic victory, as borders closing to refugees on the part of Hungary and several Eastern Europe, combined to over 650,000 people, especially from Syria, arrived by sea during this year, demand a strong answer from EU Member states.

These are all the deal:

Permanent exchange of information
1. Nominating contact points within 24 hours to allow daily exchanges and coordination to achieve the gradual, controlled and orderly movement of persons along the Western Balkans route;
2. Submitting joint needs assessments for EU support within 24 hours;
Limiting Secondary Movements
3. Discouraging the movement of refugees or migrants to the border of another country of the region without informing neighbouring countries;

Supporting refugees and providing shelter and rest
4. Increasing the capacity to provide temporary shelter, food, health, water and sanitation to all in need; triggering the EU Civil Protection Mechanism where necessary;
5. Greece to increase reception capacity to 30,000 places by the end of the year, and to support UNHCR to provide rent subsidies and host family programmes for at least 20,000 more – a pre-condition to make the emergency relocation scheme work; Financial support for Greece and UNHCR is expected;
6. Working with the UNHCR who will support the increase of reception capacities by 50,000 places along the Western Balkans route.
7. Working with International Financial Institutions such as the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Development Bank of the Council of Europe which are ready to support financially efforts of the countries willing to make use of these resources;

Managing the migration flows together
8. Ensuring a full capacity to register arrivals, with maximum use of biometric data;
9. Exchanging information on the size of flows and, where requested, on all arriving refugees and migrants on a country’s territory;
10. Working with EU Agencies to swiftly put in place this exchange of information;
11. Stepping up national and coordinated efforts to return migrants not in need of international protection, working with Frontex;
12. Working with the European Commission and Frontex to step up practical cooperation on readmission with third countries and intensifying cooperation in particular with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan; Commission to work to implement existing readmission agreements fully and start work on new readmission agreements with relevant countries;

Border Management
13. Increase efforts to manage borders, including by:
o    Finalising and implementing the EU-Turkey Action Plan;
o    Making full use of the potential of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement and the visa liberalisation roadmap;
o    Upscaling the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in Greece;
o    Reinforcing Frontex support at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey
o    Strengthening border cooperation between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with increased UNHCR engagement;
o    Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania will strengthen the management of the external land border, with Frontex to support registration in Greece;
o    Working together with Frontex to monitor border crossings and support registration and fingerprinting at the Croatian-Serbian border crossing points;
o    Deploying in Slovenia 400 police officers and essential equipment within a week, through bilateral support;
o    Strengthening the Frontex Western Balkans Risk Analysis Network with intensified reporting from all participants;
o    Making use, where appropriate of the Rapid Border Intervention Team (RABIT) mechanism, which should be duly equipped;
14. Reconfirming the principle of refusing entry to third country nationals who do not confirm a wish to apply for international protection (in line with international and EU refugee law and subject to prior non-refoulement and proportionality checks);

Tackling smuggling and trafficking
15. Stepping up actions against migrant smuggling and trafficking of human beings with support of Europol, Frontex and Interpol;
Information on the rights and obligations of refugees and migrants
16. Making use of all available communication tools to inform refugees and migrants about existing rules, as well as about their rights and obligations, notably on the consequences of a refusal to be registered, fingerprinted and of a refusal to seek protection where they are;
Monitoring
17. Monitoring the implementation of these commitments on a weekly basis; Commission to coordinate with national contact points.
Giacomo Pratali

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Eu, immigration: mirage of a common plan

Europe di

After the building of the wall on the border with Serbia, the new law on illegal immigration has kicked off in Hungary. EU States have rejected Juncker’s plan on redistribution. Germany is the first European country for asylum seekers in 2015: more efficient identification centers in Italy, Greece and Hungary are necessary.

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Arrest and imprisonment up to three years for anyone who arrives in Hungary and has not application for asylum. Since midnight on 15 September 2015 the new law on illegal immigration, launched by Orban government, has entered into forced. It’s also closed the last stretch of wall bordering Serbia. Now there are only two official entrances. On Monday Hungary has observed a record number of entries: 9380 migrants, then blocked by the Hungarian police. Already arrested 16 people, Syrian and Afghan, passed after 12 a.m.

Meanwhile, in the summit in Brussels 14 September, it has been temporarily rejected the increase up to 120,000 migrants between the EU countries, which remains at 40,000. Ministers of Internal Affairs have approved the plan written in early summer, 16 thousand or 24 thousand from Italy and Greece (excluding Hungary). While there was consensus on the launch of the second phase of the mission EuNAVfor Med: European ships transiting the Mediterranean will can stop, seize and destroy boats, having as a priority the protection of human life.

Eastern Europe Countries, especially Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, have closed down the EU Commission President Juncker’s redistribution proposal. Also States, which are in favor of welcoming refugees, have chosen to increase controls on their borders like France and Germany, or Austria, which has sent army on the border with Hungary: “Temporary controls do not mean close the borders – said Chancellor Merkel -. We will continue to accept refugees in Germany, provided that there is an orderly process. ” After internal criticism as a result of 60,000 refugees arrived in Bavaria in the last days, German Prime Minister has done a half step back.

But this words are actually destined to Italy, Greece and Hungary because the systematization of the control of migrants who arrive in Europe is the real critical point. The opening to asylum seekers of the German government in early September passes by the creation of hot spots centers on European borders. The identification of those arriving is crucial. Moreover, refugees have not interest to remain in Italy, Greece and Hungary: their goal is to register directly in Germany, Sweden and Norway because, according to Dublin Regulation, an asylum seeker can stay only in the State where the request was made. But a possible exception to this agreement, as leaked by Brussels, could break through.

Numbers are clear. Arrivals recorded amounted to more than 180000 for Greece, about 170000 for Hungary and 110000 and Italy. But the ranking of total asylum applications in the Q1 of 2015 is very different: Germany, 73120; Hungary, 32810; Italy 15250; Greece (down the list) 2615. Figures about Syrians are even more in opposing trend, except for Hungary, compared to arrivals. From 1 January to 31 August 2015, Germany, 30120; Hungary; 10855; Sweden 7250; Greece (penultimate), 1275; Italy, 155.

So migratory route is clear. And it’s evident as much the anti-immigration policies of Orban government are self-destructive and are overloading the same Hungary, which is the first Eu country has reached 302 refugees per capita in 2015.

The need for identification on the sea and land borders of the European Union is essential. Germany wants to give chances to Syrians because they are graduates, professionals and skilled workers. But it’s also true that Italy and Greece have to make efficient their hot spot to share people with other member states . But despite the refugee emergency, there’s still not an Eu plan.
Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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