Category Archives: Immigration

MSF vows to continue transporting migrants to Europe

At arrival to port of Valencia (Spain) Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF,  Doctors without Borders) running the Mediterranean rescue operation on vessel #Aquarius gave press-conference, criticising the EU governments, and vowing to ignore the laws and continue to transport migrants from African coast to Europe.

The MSF team is determined to continue saving lives, and resist the intimidation of the governments, obsessed by rejection of migrants at all costs”,  said Thierry Allafort-Duverger, the MSF Director general in a statement.

In spite of joy of the migrants on #Aquarius, reaching European coasts after being rejected by Italian government, and accepted by Spain, the issue of illegal migration to EU if far from being settled. The new Italian Interior minister Matteo Salvini uses the framework of the international law, confirming the sovereign states right to establish jurisdiction over its aquatorium, and fight illegal migration, rejecting vessels from entering their waters.

I am fed up with this trafficking of human beings and children who die at sea. I’m going to do everything possible that these guys don’t need to escape. In the meantime to block ships of the NGOs that had transformed Italy into a large refugee camp” – Salvini said commenting on the situation during Italian TV show.

The illegal mass-migration from Africa occurred after the overthrow of Gaddafi dictatorship in Libya, destabilizing the entire region. The subsequent failure of the EU to ensure the solidarity of relocation of migrants among member-states caused concentration of migrants in Italy beyond capacity to host all those who continue to arrive.

Swedish city votes for ‘begging licence’

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven assessed the decision of Eskilstuna Council to introduce an obligatory  begging licence “interesting”.
Eskilstuna city council has voted for an obligatory licence for “passive” begging in the streets. The regulation was voted in by a majority coalition between the Social Democrats, Moderates and Centre Party in the council of Eskilstuna, a city west of Stockholm. The nationalist Sweden Democrats has agreed to the move, which was opposed by the Left Party, Green Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats.
The council’s chair Jimmy Jansson said the permit requirement was a way of better regulating begging with the aim of helping those living in hardship, rather than banning the practice.

It could help people “come into contact with  charity Stadsmissionen or other charitable organizations, or getting help to travel home again,” Jansson underlined.

The begging came to Sweden with a wave of migrants, and has become a business already back in 2010, however it has grown last years it became widespread, hardly leaving any supermarket entrance with a ‘professional’ beggar.

In Sweden, as well as in the other EU countries, ‘professional’ beggars  are often victims of forced begging, related to human trafficking. The decision of the Swedish city Council is in the line with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) encouraging safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.


#Aquarius: Spain accepts vessel with illegal migrants

Today the European Commission attempted to reduce the tensions around the notorious illegal migrants transport vessel #Aquarius repelled by Italian authorities, to a bilateral issue between Rome and Valletta. Spanish new Prime minister Pedro Sanchez stretched his had to Brussels, saving the EU image, while the solidarity between the member-states on illegal migrants issue is crumbling.

Within the #Aquarius context the were no calls for solidarity with the other EU member states to share the burden of illegal migration flows from Africa Italy suffers since the destruction of Libyan state, which destabilized the entire region. The Institution also declined any responsibility for the situation pointing at an absence of mandate to deal with the issue, belonging to the jurisdictions of the nation-states. It reduced  its intervention by launching an appeal to Italy to find a rapid humanitarian response.

The Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini passed to action, rejecting #Aquarius 629  illegal immigrants transported by from Libyan coasts. The decision came after a protracted period of attempts of Italian successive governments to resolve the issue through European solidarity, relocating the migrants, which failed to function. Matteo Salvini, the Interior minister, firmly rejected to follow the line of his predesessor, letting Italy to become one giant ‘European migrant camp’.

“‘Italy has stopped bowing the head and to obey, this time there are those who say NO” – Salvini tweeted, pointing that there is already another NGO ship ‘Sea Watch 3’ under Dutch flag, run by a German NGO, off the coast of Libya to carry another load of immigrants to Italy.

According  the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) a state is in is right to establish and practice ‘legislative jurisdiction’  in its sea aquatorium, including to fight the illegal migration (article 19), and also to reject a vessel if there is a suspicion that the passage is ‘not peaceful’ (article 25), which gives Italy additional grounds to reject illegal migrants on suspicion of infiltration of terrorists of Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and the other terrorist groups, active in Maghrib.




EASO invites heads of unit for Greece and Italy

While Malta-based European Asylum Support office (EASO) continues its passages through challenging times, it attempts to strengthen its ranks under newly appointed interim director Jamil Addou, opening positions for a Head of the unit for Greece and Italy.  Two new executives are supposed to ensure “tailor-made assistance, capacity building, relocation, specific support and special quality control tools” to the corresponding countries.

This month Management Board of EASO, which is the governing body of the Agency,  has released the Executive Director, Mr. José Carreira, from his duties with immediate effect, following his resignation of 6 June. The Management Board has equally decided that Mr. Jamil Addou, Head of Unit in EASO since 2016, becomes the interim Executive Director, until a new Executive Director is appointed.

Mr. Carreira resigned amid allegations of staff harassment, including “psychological violence” and under the investigation by the bloc’s anti-fraud office OLAF, – POLITICO newspaper reported. The investigation by OLAF  into alleged misconduct in procurement procedures, irregularities in management of human resources and possible breaches of data protection at the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), headed by José Carreira has been conducted since January this year, the newspaper claimed.

The Launch of the EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU 18 June 2018, Brussels, Belgium.

Mediterranean migrant route arrivals at rise

With favorable weather migrants from North African coast continue to arrive to Europe. On Sunday (27/05/2018) 500 passengers of three boats were rescued to be transported in safety to Spain. The Spanish report was preceded by the one from Italy where over the same weekend 1500 migrants were rescued.

The Italian vessels operated by EU border control mission, and NGOs rescued around 1500 migrants in a couple of days during the same week. The reports show the Mediterranean route is actively exploited by traffickers to deliver migrants to European coasts, efficiently using summer period for maximum profit.

The reports from NGOs on migrants rescue in Mediterranean are in stark contrast with the official narrative of the diminishing of the numbers of arrivals. As a reaction on uninterrupted flows of migrants from African coasts, and incapacity of the EU to exercise solidarity in relocation of some of them across Europe, Italian Lega Nord party prepares plans to repatriate around 500 000 migrants, who did not receive a refugee status, or were initially eligible to apply for it.

The refusal of the Italian President Sergio Mattarella to endorse newly formed eurosceptic government the very same weekend, causing the profound political crisis in Italy, will reflect on the situation with illegal migration, protracting the systemic calamity of Italian society, unable to cope with overwhelming multitudes of new arrivals from African coasts.


Kurz suggests Frontex mission in Africa to defeat traffickers

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz suggested European border guards Frontex should be deployed in transit countries in Africa to prevent illegal migrants from undertaking crossings in the Mediterranean Sea in dinky boats, risking their lives.

During an interview with Sunday’s edition of German newspaper Welt am Sonntag Kurz shared his vision of the EU border protection agency Frontex mission. He proposed a format of a mandate, that should allow the monitoring of the transit countries of Maghreb, with the purpose to “act in third countries, with the permission of their governments, to end smugglers’ dirty business model and prevent smugglers’ boats setting off on the dangerous route across the Mediterranean.”

Austrian concept of illegal migration crisis solution has an extra weight because the country will preside in the European Union from July next six month. Chancellor’s governing coalition took office in December last year, following an intense election campaign marked by a paramount attention given to migrant crisis by all political forces.


EU aims at upgrading of Visa Information System

This week the Commission is proposing to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS), the database containing information on persons applying for Schengen visas, in order to better respond to evolving security and migratory challenges and improve the EU’s external border management.

The proposed changes will allow for more thorough background checks on visa applicants; close security information gaps through better information exchange between Member States; and ensure full interoperability with other EU-wide databases.

“Every year, millions of non-EU nationals enter the EU with a visa, be it for a short stay or for a longer period, – Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said. “With the upgrade of the Visa Information System, we will remove blind spots in our information systems and give visa authorities and border guards the information they need to do their job properly. Criminals and potential terrorists should not be able to come to Europe unnoticed. Europe is not a fortress – but we need to know who is crossing our borders. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of European citizens and build a Europe that protects while not hampering mobility for those travelling to the EU in good faith.”

The Visa Information System (VIS) is an EU database which connects border guards at the EU’s external borders with Member States’ consulates across the world. It provides visa issuing authorities with key information on applicants for short-stay Schengen visas while allowing border guards to detect travellers that may pose security risks. Today’s proposal expands the scope of the VIS – notably by adding long stay-visas and residence permits to the system – in full respect of data protection rules, to ensure that these authorities have the information they need, when they need it. The proposal is the second step of the reform of the common EU visa policy and follows the amendments to the Visa Code, presented by the Commission in March 2018.

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