Euro-Border Flashpoint News #16

Issue 16: Week 25th – 31st January, 2015

A weekly bulletin, aiming to collate and simplify information from a variety of sources about the situation at Europe’s border hotspots.

General News

Brussels gives Greece 3 months to sort out the “grave deficiencies” in it’s border, or it will be kicked out of Schengen for 6 months, possibly extended to 2 years, with EU borders in place.

Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas says Belgian counterpart Theo Francken advised him to build permanent refugee camps in Greece for up to 400,000 and push back refugee boats “even if you drown them.” Francken denies this.

EU Comission President Juncker wants to move southern EU border from Greece to Macedonia.

The EU Council is preparing plans to equate migrant “smuggling” with migrant “trafficking” and potentially criminalise or marginalise NGOs and volunteers helping refugees and migrants.

At least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency, Europol.

The rise of hate in Germany. Weekly xenophobic demonstrations. Several public pools and nightclubs now prohibit entry to “people of migrant origin”. According to German police there were more than 1,000 attacks on places housing refugees in 2015; 5 times more than the previous year.

Balkan Route

Greece → Macedonia → Serbia → Croatia → Slovenia → Austria → Germany →

25th Jan – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants to close the country’s borders completely and change the country’s constitution for the sixth time. Fact sheet devoted to jurisprudence preventing transfers to Hungary under Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin III Regulation).

26th Jan – Macedonia appears to be restricting the numbers of entries into the country per day. People with fake documents are being discovered every day in the camp and taken back.

27th Jan – 24 year old from Syria dies in Berlin after waiting in the queue for social services for days in sub-zero temperatures. This allegation proved FALSE.

28th Jan – Report on systemic police violence and push-backs against non-SIA (people not from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan) people conducted by Croatian authorities.

28th Jan – Sweden wants to deport 60,000-80,000 people who were denied asylum.

Turkey / Greece

January 2016 deadliest month ever in the Aegean: 257 people died trying to reach Greece. 56,000 migrants and refugees passed through Greece so far in 2016; almost 40 times more than Jan 2015.

27th Jan – 7 people die near the island of Kos.

28th Jan – Boat sinks off the coast of Greek island Samos, drowning 26, including 10 children.

30th Jan – At least 5 children among nearly 40 drowned as migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast.

Calais / UK

Belgian authorities fear a new refugee camp in Heist, near the coast of Zeebrugge. People have been trying to cross from there to UK. About 800 arrests in last 4 weeks (400 in Veurne). Police check the area every night to stop a camp from forming. Mayor asking for extra police to maintain control.

Britain will take in some unaccompanied Syrian refugee children who are already in Europe, and will set aside a new £10m fund to support vulnerable migrant children. This comes after 15 year old Masud Naveed died attempting to re-unite with his family in the UK, despite being entitled to do so.

Fascist attacks on migrants on the rise in Calais. Gangs roam at night armed with knives, gas and guns. One Syrian reportedly taken to hospital and put on life support after one attack. The man who pointed the gun in this video was arrested, now out on bail, awaiting court. Activists and volunteers also attacked and threatened.

25th Jan – 8 people in court after occupying ‘Spirit of Britain’ ferry last week. 6 migrants and two supporters charged with breach of transport code for entering a ferry without permission. Supporters also charged with facilitating entry. Hearing adjourned until Feb 22nd.

26th Jan – Smugglers gun-fight at Grande-Synthe camp near Dunkirk.

30th Jan – Police open fire on truck with dozen migrants inside that doesn’t stop. No-one hurt.

31st Jan – Charity and humanitarian volunteers tear gassed during distribution.

Morocco / Spanish Border

CALL for mobilization: 6th of February transnational actions in commemoration of the Massacre of Ceuta, 2014, in which at least 15 people died after being shot with rubber bullets and tear-gas by Spanish Guardia Civil, while attempting to swim to Spanish enclave Ceuta. 6Th Feb blog.

Morocco is now building a 5 meter high wall at its border with Ceuta and scaling up border force.

25th Jan – 10 people rescued on a small boat close to Tarifa, Spain.

27th Jan – A boat with 57 people found and rescued close to Málaga; 25 rescued onboard a boat close to Motril; 2 women and 13 men from Guinea Conarky rescued in another. All reached Spain. Moroccan citizen who was with the latter boat detained as suspected smuggler.

27th Jan – 55 people including men, women, children and babies, rescued in Málaga. Most detained.