Euro-Border Flashpoint News #15

Issue 15: Week 18th – 24th 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

“In the first two and a half weeks or so of January 2016, more than 30.000 people successfully crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece. In comparison to the nearly 1,500 who did so in the whole of January 2015, this is a significant increase and demonstrates that the new year begins how the last one had ended, with unprecedented cross-border movements into Europe.” – Alarm Phone, who just turned 1 year old.

“We, refugee and migrant communities settled in different EU countries, from different nationalities and backgrounds, strongly condemn the recent sexual attacks against women in Germany. We would like to express our sorrow and sympathy to the victims of these terrible attacks.” – Full statement

14th Jan – Norway wants to send 5,500 Syrian refugees ,who entered the country by bike from Russia, back to Russia.

19th Jan – Germany has produced a guide for refugees on how to behave in the country. It has been somewhat ridiculed.

20th Jan – Issue of refugees threatens collapse of the EU. Berlin and Brussels pushing for new deal to replace the obligation to claim asylum in the first EU country reached (Dublin Regulation) with an enforced quotation system for each EU country. France and Eastern EU countries refusing quotas. Austria has suspended Schengen; various countries enforcing internal EU border controls.

Balkan Route

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

Detailed commentary on the “Long Summer of Migration”, now in it’s first winter, with updates.

Changes in Bulgaria’s detention and deportation system. A second border fence of more than 130km could be completed by March.

20th Jan – Updated information for travellers that are facing problems in Serbia

21st Jan – Macedonian, Serbian and Croatia have introduced a “country of final destination” field in their refugee registration forms. Answers different to Austria and Germany are met with a denial of further travel.

Turkey / Greece

22nd Jan – 46 refugees, many of them women and children, lose their lives in two shipwrecks. [ES] Protests against Greek-Turkish border fence in response.

24th Jan – Greek islanders to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for helping refugees.

Calais / UK

18th Jan – Calais camp eviction begins: “Many refugees moved inside the jungle, away from the evicted area, with all their houses, some Kurdish left for Grande Synthe. More evictions will follow soon, today is too cold. Police are firing CS gas right now on the area that has been evicted – this morning the bulldozers arrived, but the people had moved already bar a few more heroic migrants who put up a symbolic resistance. There was no violence this morning, it has started in the evening, for no reason whatsoever police starting firing tear gas from both exits. The jungle has no more defence after the first line has been evicted, and the police have plenty of room to manoeuvre.”

20th Jan – Scores of people cross to UK after hundreds cause huge traffic jam; police violence.

21st Jan – The 3 “Tunnel Walkers” appear in court in UK on archaic rail obstruction laws after walking the entire length of the Channel Tunnel to the UK. Charges against Abdul Haroun not dropped, despite being granted asylum in UK. Court reconvenes on March 4th.

23rd Jan – Head of UK Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn visits Calais and Dunkirk refugee camps.

23rd Jan – Thousands of demonstrators march in Calais in support of migrants. 100 migrants and friends storm the port and around 50 occupy a ferry named the Spirit of Britain, while it’s unloading. Encounters with fascists during the march. Arrests and detainments. Video.

24th Jan – New Banksy artwork on French Embassy in London criticises French State use of CS gas

Morocco / Spanish Border

18th Jan – 34 migrants rescued from Strait of Gibraltar by Spanish coastguard from 2 separate boats.

19th Jan – 16 people from Guinea Conarky, Gambia, Burkina Faso and a minor from Mali, arrive in Spanish enclave Ceuta in an inflatable boat. The minor is taken to hospital with symptoms of hypothermia; others fine.

19th Jan – Boat carrying 36 people found by Spanish coastguard after going missing for over a week in the Strait of Gibraltar.

21st Jan – Report of illegal pushback of 12 men and a pregnant woman in the sea close to Ceuta.

23rd Jan – 47 people reach Spain in 2 boats, 1 rescued from difficulty. 38 men, 4 women, 5 children.