Euro-Border Flashpoint News #3

Issue 3: Week 12th to 18th October, 2015

This is the third weekly update on the situation at Europe’s border hotspots, aiming to collate and simplify information from a variety of sources. Apologies for any unintentional ommissions.

Live feed about the situation at the borders by the Welcome To Europe network:

General News

15th October – Frontex admit that its figure of 710,000 migrants crossing external EU borders from Jan-Sept 2015 includes counting people each time they cross an external border. The widely reported figure is therefore overstated by several hundred thousand. Read more here.

15th and 16th October – European Union leaders meet in Brussels in order to debate, among other issues, the theme of migration, with “an emphasis on the cooperation with third countries, exterior borders, and returns”.

17th October – the European Stability Initiative release a proposal that Greece should declare Turkey a “Safe Third Country”. This would give Greece the power to essentially return all asylum seekers who arrive on its shores back to Turkey, esentially shutting down the Balkan migration route.

The first redistribution of refugees has begun, from Rome to Sweden, as part of a new deal established by the European Commission. The relocation of refugees between these two countries will continue for the next two months and will apply to citizens of Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.

Balkan Route

Balkan Route update blog with very important info:

Map of route with flashpoints:

17th October – First intra-Schengen border fence between Croatia and Hungary inaugurated. The new route is via Slovenia. There are some conditions set by Slovenia: only 2,500 refugees per day and only if Austria continues accepting them. People are now being transported from Tovarnik (CRO) to Cakovec, and from there to three entry points: Cakovec / Sredisce ob Dravi (train); Gruskovje / Macelj (road); Mursko Sredisce / Petisovci (road). On all entry points there will be registration of refugees. There are already some tents, UNHCR and other NGOs there.

The self-organised refugee help at the main train station in Vienna is publishing missing person cases on their Facebook page in German and English.

Police department in Burgenland (Eastern Austria) has opened a 24hr hotline. Family members who are looking for their relatives can call: +43 591 331 033 33

Germany / Sweden

There are support structures for people who want to cross to Sweden in the German town Lübeck, which is close to a ferry port: /

Calais / UK

15th October – 30 year old Syrian woman run over and killed on the A16 highway, on the approach to the eurotunnel

16th October – 16/17 year old from Afghanistan run over and killed by a train at the Eurotunnel, body unidentifiable after being “torn to shreds over 400 metres”

16th October – large protest and blockade of the Eurostar St Pancras in London, against the border. Video.

17th October – demonstrations held simultaneously in Dover and Calais, jointly organised by over 20 different associations and campaign groups. Report. Photos.

Another demonstration is planned for next Saturday, 24th October simultaneously at London St Pancras and in Paris.

Morocco / Spanish Border

The Morocco-Spain crossing is becoming increasingly difficult for people of Sub-saharan origin. Many people are now trying other routes instead, such as from Libia to the Italian island of Lampedusa, or the longer route via Turkey.

No Borders Morocco and friends have released a report and video about the forests around Boukhalef (Morocco) which were destroyed by Moroccan police on Saturday 10th October.

13th October – Lifeless body of a man found in the water close to Melilla, aged between 30-40 and thought to be of North African appearance. Source.

Four Moroccan children aged 10-15 intercepted by Moroccan police after being found hiding in the axels of a tourist bus, attempting to cross the border into Ceuta. Source.

Judge clears the Spanish Guardia Civil for their actions in December, 2012 just of Lanzarote, when they collided their ship into a migrant ship during a patrol, leading to death of one man and disappearance of another six men.

14th October – Desctruction of encampments in Nador (Morocco) and arrests by Moroccan police.

15th October – Judge clears Spanish Guardia Civil agents who massacred 15 people on 6th of February 2014 of homicide charges. “The immgrants assumed the risk of illegally entering Spanish territory by sea”.

17th October – Raids being carried out around the border of (Spanish enclave) Ceuta.

New Route: Arctic Route

Around 1,000 people a month, 75% from Syria, are currently crossing into Europe by bicycle, over the Arctic Circle, according to this report (Spanish) from BBC Mundo.