Euro-Border Flashpoint News #14

Issue 14: Week 11th – 17th 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

German government prolongs suspension of Dublin-deportations to Greece until June 30th.

13th Jan – Danish government plans to confiscate objects of value worth more than €1,340 from refugees. Items of high personal value, such as wedding rings, will be exempt.

14th Jan – Rob Lawrie, the man who attempted to smuggle a 4 year old Afghan girl from the Jungle in Calais to her family in the UK, is not going to prison. He has been given a suspended fine.

16th Jan – Extreme-right “Self-defence groups” patrol the streets of Cologne; in Leipzig, 250 neo-Nazis armed with baseball bats and axes destroy leftist cultural centres and businesses; huge police deployment at an autonomous social centre in Berlin.

Balkan Route

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

12th Jan – Numbers of arrivals picking up again on Balkan Route after New Year lull; more than 180 new arrivals registered on January 10 at Dimitrovgrad (Serbia-Bulgaria border). Growing number of big Kurdish Yazidi families and groups with many children. Services improved in camp.

14th Jan – People arriving at the German border from Austria now asked whether they want to apply for asylum in Germany. People stating they want to go to another country denied entry to Germany.

Turkey / Greece

Arrests of volunteers on Greek islands: Spanish volunteer taking pictures of Dutch FRONTEX boat arrested and charged with espionage (now acquitted); 2 Swiss volunteers caught with hashish sentenced to 8 month prison on bail; Spanish and Danish volunteers on Lesbos who towed a rubber refugee boat to the Greek coast detained as suspected people smugglers; 7 European volunteers detained under suspicion of stealing migrants’ lifejackets are now free.

12th Jan – Boat with 17 refugees sinks in the Straight of Samos. 6 dead so far.

14th Jan – Deployment of FRONTEX begun on Chios and now present everywhere, working with Greek police. Permanent patrols at spots where migrant boats land. Coastguard no longer allows fishing boats rented by help organisations to leave harbour and help refugees. Greek police and FRONTEX ask for ID cards of all helpers at beaches on pretext of preventing theft. Doctors have to provide proof they’re doctors and get a certificate. Patrol boats constantly present on straight between Turkey and Chios; no refugee boat can pass. Operation of closed detention centres will be prolonged until end of 2018.

16th Jan – Bodies of 2 men and 3 women wash up on the shores of Greek island Samos. No vessel yet found.

Calais / UK

Calais Deputy Mayor Mignonet tells BBC [starts at 20:00] British government shouldn’t allow activists to leave UK; they pose as undercover humanitarians, using migrants for political reasons. “When I go to England I respect the rules”, the activists come to the town hall and write “All cops are bastards,” they organise the migrants. Most of them are far left, they are anarchists. They bring things migrants don’t need. People tweeting him images of “I’m an x and I volunteer in the Jungle”.

14th Jan – The eviction of the Jungle has already started with psychological threats, just not yet with bulldozers. Call-out for support. Humanitarian associations were given 3 days to move people from shelters that those same association built to house people not so long ago.

15th Jan – Two bulldozers involved in demolition of camp and construction of new camp set on fire. Slight damage to some of the new containers that will make up the much contested new camp. Graffiti reportedly reads “No border”, “This is a prison” and “Gas chamber”.

Morocco / Spanish Border

11th Jan – Spanish government plans to spend almost €12 million on secret deportations in 2016.

15th Jan – Around 15 Syrians are on hunger strike in (Spanish enclave in North Africa) Melilla after waiting 8 months for transfer to mainland Spain.