Tag Archives: migrant crisis

EU foreign ministers to discuss broad agenda

The Foreign Affairs Council on July 16 will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.

This will include the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) following the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting on 6 July.

The High Representative and foreign ministers may also refer to the Western Balkan Summit taking place in London on 10 July.

Foreign ministers will exchange views on the Eastern Partnership. They will prepare for the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting foreseen in October.

Ministers will discuss the implementation of the 20 deliverables for 2020. This framework aims to achieve stronger economy, governance, connectivity and society in the six Eastern partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

The Council will discuss Libya and it will focus on the political process, in particular the upcoming elections. It will be the opportunity to reiterate the EU’s support to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Ghassan Salamé.

Ministers may also touch upon the country’s economic situation.The discussion also takes place in the context of the follow-up to the European Council conclusions on migration.

EU adopts new strategy to defeat human trafficking

“In order to definitively break the business model of the smugglers, thus preventing tragic loss of life, it is necessary to eliminate the incentive to embark on perilous journeys. This requires a new approach based on shared or complementary actions among the Member States to the disembarkation of those who are saved in Search and Rescue operations” – the conclusions of the European Council say.

“In that context, the European Council calls on the Council and the Commission to swiftly explore the concept of regional disembarkation platforms, in close cooperation with relevant third countries as well as UNHCR and IOM. Such platforms should operate distinguishing individual situations, in full respect of international law and without creating a pull factor”, – the conclusions continue.

This week in Brussels the European leaders adopted a new set of measures to meet the challenge of illegal mass migration, and defeat human trafficking, luring people to risk their lives in Mediterranean.

A special attention is give to the efforts to stop smugglers operating out of Libya:
” It will step up its support for the Sahel region, the Libyan Coastguard, coastal and Southern communities, humane reception conditions, voluntary humanitarian returns, cooperation with other countries of origin and transit, as well
as voluntary resettlement”.

There is a special reference to NGO vessels, obliging them to respect the legislation, avoiding obstruction of EU efforts to guard external borders: “All vessels operating in the Mediterranean must respect the applicable laws and not obstruct operations of the Libyan Coastguard”.

#EUCO: Tusk invites EU leaders for Summit on migration

“As we approach the June European Council, the debate on migration is becoming increasingly heated, and it is set to be the main point on the agenda. To better prepare our work, let me share with you some reflections and my intentions for the summit” – says the invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council ahead of their meetings on 28 and 29 June 2018.

“After the migration crisis in 2015, it became clear that the situation had to change, which is why we agreed to focus all our efforts on stemming illegal migration to Europe. That meant ensuring full control of the EU’s external borders. A number of measures were put in place to achieve this objective. As a result, illegal border crossings into the EU have been brought down by 96% from their peak in October 2015, which proves that we must continue these measures. However, to fully control the external borders, we also need to be ready to make additional efforts. I will therefore propose that the European Council endorse the following:

  1. Setting up regional disembarkation platforms outside Europe, if possible together with the UNHCR and IOM, in order to change the functioning of Search And Rescue Operations. Our objective should be to break the business model of the smugglers, as this is the most effective way to stop the flows and bring an end to the tragic loss of lives at sea.
  2. Creating in the next multiannual EU budget a DEDICATED financial facility geared towards combatting illegal migration. We need a flexible budgetary tool managed by those responsible for migration, as only they are capable of ensuring effective cooperation with the countries of origin and transit on stemming the flows.
  3. Stepping up our cooperation with countries of origin and transit, and in particular our support for the Libyan Coastguard, so that they have all the necessary resources to fully control Libyan territorial waters.

“A precondition for a genuine EU migration policy is that Europeans effectively decide who enters European territory. Failure to achieve this goal would in fact be a manifestation of our weakness, and above all, it could create the impression that Europe does not have an external border. The people of Europe expect us – and they have done for a long time now – to show determination in our actions aimed at restoring their sense of security. People want this not because they have, all of a sudden, become xenophobic and want to put up walls against the rest of the world, but because it is the job of every political authority to enforce the law, to protect its territory and the border. That was, after all, the purpose of creating border guards – to guard borders.

“There are voices in Europe and around the world claiming that our inefficiency in maintaining the external border is an inherent feature of the European Union, or – more broadly – of liberal democracy. We have seen the creation of new political movements, which offer simple answers to the most complicated questions. Simple, radical and attractive. The migration crisis provides them with a growing number of arguments. More and more people are starting to believe that only strong-handed authority, anti-European and anti-liberal in spirit, with a tendency towards overt authoritarianism, is capable of stopping the wave of illegal migration. If people believe them, that only they can offer an effective solution to the migration crisis, they will also believe anything else they say. The stakes are very high. And time is short.

“Beyond migration, we will also discuss the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union. As agreed in December, my intention is to take the first decisions about completing the Banking Union and strengthening the European Stability Mechanism. I am convinced these are important steps that will reinforce not only the common currency, but also – more importantly – our Union. And given the global political context, it would be very encouraging to see Euro area governments deepening their economic cooperation. Therefore, I welcome the fact that the Franco-German Meseberg declaration provides an additional boost for the reform, together with other important contributions. We must not waste this opportunity.

“Last but not least, while discussing migration or the Euro area reform, it is important that we keep in mind the geopolitical context following the G7 summit in Canada. Despite our tireless efforts to keep the unity of the West, transatlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the policies of President Trump. Unfortunately, the divisions go beyond trade. I will share with you my political assessment of where things stand. It is my belief that, while hoping for the best, we must be ready to prepare our Union for worst-case scenarios.

“As for the choreography of the meeting: after our exchange of views with European Parliament President Tajani at 15.00 on Thursday, Prime Minister Borissov will give us an overview of progress in implementing our previous conclusions. We will then welcome NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, for a short exchange of views on EU-NATO cooperation, ahead of the next NATO summit. After that, we will adopt the conclusions, with the exception of the migration chapter. When it comes to our conclusions on trade, I expect there to be a discussion. Finally, before we break for press conferences, we will adopt the decision on the composition of the European Parliament. Over dinner, we will start with my information point following the G7. After that, Prime Minister May will update us on the recent developments in the UK and then we will start our migration debate, including the adoption of relevant conclusions. Before we finish, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron will report on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

“On Friday, together with the chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, as EU27, we will review progress in our negotiations with the UK, and we will adopt conclusions.

“Finally, for the Euro Summit in an inclusive format, we will be joined by European Central Bank President Draghi and Eurogroup President Centeno to discuss next steps in the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union”.

Juncker proposes migration roadmap

Ahead of the EU leaders’ thematic debate on migration to be held on 14 December, the Commission proposes a political roadmap to reach a comprehensive agreement by June 2018 on how to pursue a sustainable migration policy.

As Europe is moving away from crisis management, an agreement on a stable and future-proof EU migration and asylum policy for the long term is needed in order to maintain the momentum an all fronts – internal and external.

“Even if we are now moving away from crisis mode, it is evident that migration will remain a challenge for a generation of Europeans. Europe urgently needs to equip itself with future-proof means of managing migration responsibly and fairly. We have made solid progress in the past three years but now is the time to turn proposals into law, and law into practice” – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

“Over the past three years, a new EU approach to managing migration has emerged, supporting the Member States most exposed, strengthening the protection of the EU’s external borders and reinforcing our cooperation with partner countries. Whilst the coordinated work was able to stabilise a highly volatile situation – with irregular arrivals to the EU dropping by 63% in 2017 – the trend for the years to come and factors such as climate change, the security situation and demography in the EU and its neighbourhood, point to migration remaining a challenge for decades” – Juncker continued.

The Commission is today recommending leaders take the ongoing work forward by ensuring swift progress on the reform of the EU’s Common European Asylum System, further strengthening partnerships with third countries, continuing to open legal pathways to Europe and securing adequate funding for the future.Only a comprehensive approach works. Focusing just on the internal dimension and support to Member States is not sufficient. At the same time, an external migration policy alone would not solve the migratory challenge for Europe.

As the discussions on the Commission’s proposals to overhaul the Common European Asylum System have progressed very slowly, it is essential that the European Council unblocks the debate on a more effective and fairer approach to balancing solidarity and responsibility. Taking into account the different positions, a way forward on the reform of Dublin could be to adopt an approach where the component of compulsory relocation would apply to situations of serious crisis, while in less challenging situations, relocation would be based on voluntary commitments from Member StatesThe Commission recommends that the Council looks at the Commission’s proposals as a whole, and aim to endorse a  revision of the Dublin regulation as part of a wider agreement on all the reforms proposed by June 2018. While discussion on the core aspects of solidarity and responsibility continues, some elements of the package, such as the European Asylum Agency and Eurodac proposals, can be adopted by March 2018 to allow the operational foundations to be laid for the reformed asylum system.

In order to provide immediate assistance to Member States in protecting the external border, the EU needs to fully operationalise the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency to complete the build-up of an effective external border management system. Member States must ensure by March 2018 that all the assets and staff needed for the Agency’s rapid reaction pools are ready for deployment.

Strengthening cooperation and support to third countries

The external dimension of migration policy needs to be consolidated, ensuring the full implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and stronger engagement with third country partners and UN agencies. The EU now needs to stand ready to mobilise additional resources for the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, reinforce the strategic partnership with the African Union and its Member States, deliver the first wave of projects under the EU External Investment Plan, and replenish the North Africa Window of the EU Trust Fund.

To dissuade irregular migration and break the business model of people traffickers smugglers, the EU needs to offer an alternative to perilous journeys by opening safe and legal pathways for those in genuine need of protection. This will also require Member States to resettle a further 50,000 vulnerable refugees by May 2019. At the same time, Member States need to deliver on swift and efficient return and readmission of those who have no right to stay in the EU. Member States should ensure a fully functioning return capacity within the European Border and Coast Guard Agency by May 2018 and increase by June 2018 the number of returned migrants in operations organised in cooperation with the Agency by 50% compared to 2017. .

Through the joint European Union / African Union / United Nations Task Force established on 29 November 2017, Member States should support the International Organisation for Migration to accelerate returns from Libya, with an additional 15,000 assisted voluntary returns funded by the Commission to be carried out by February 2018.

More and flexible funding to manage migration

Managing migration is a major challenge which requires financial investment. Since 2015, the EU has increased by almost 75% the funding made available under the Asylum, Migration and Internal Security funds and for EU Agencies. Moving forward, leaders should reflect on how to guarantee funding for the external dimension of migration and ensure rapid mobilisation of resources to address the root causes of migration and ensure the protection of refugees and migrants. The next Multiannual Financial Framework (the EU’s 7-year budget)should reflect the experience of the past three years and provide flexible instruments to respond to future migratory challenges.

 

 

Migrants violent outbreaks in Brussels

According to spokeswoman for the Brussels-Capital Ixelles area, Ilse Van de Keere, a group of about 30 young men in a protest marched from Poelaert Square to Place Louise.(Brussels 5th Avenue).

“They committed damage in stores, including Damart and Caroline Biss,” says the Commissioner. A police vehicle was also damaged.
The latest police report shows 55 administrative arrests and 16 judicial arrests. There are no injuries to report, for now.

Police from the Brussels-Midi zone have been deployed near Place Louise, with a view to a possible reinforcement before the calm returned around 18:30.

Brussels inhabitants compared the luxury shopping area of the EU capital with the war-zone.

EU claims “relocation success”

6.09.2017. Brussels. Today the Commission is presenting four progress reports on actions taken under the European Agenda on Migration to better manage migration and protect the EU’s external borders. The package outlines progress made in the EU’s relocation and resettlement schemes and also reports on the roll-out of the European Border and Coast Guard and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, as well as on the progress made under the Partnership Framework on Migration and along the Central Mediterranean route.

“All EU actors have worked hard together to manage migration flows, to protect our external borders and to support the frontline Member States. We’re on the right track and the results can be seen on the ground. However, the challenges and risk factors of migration remain. So we must continue to improve our work to save lives, to put in place safe and legal pathways for those who deserve protection and to return those who have no right to stay,” – European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.

When we speak of migration, we often say that we are facing a complex challenge, but we should never forget that we are dealing with the stories of hundreds of thousands of human beings. We are advancing towards a system to jointly and sustainably manage, in full respect of human rights, a situation which requires strong partnership, sharing of responsibilities, solidarity, and sustained commitment. We are finally on the right path – we need to continue to work with consistency and determination,” – EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said.

“When Europe works together in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity, we make progress and achieve concrete results, both inside and outside the EU. We also see intra-EU solidarity: with the relocation programme delivering results and almost all registered applicants having been relocated from Greece and Italy. This success now needs to be sustained on all these fronts,”  – Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said.

 

Szydlo calls EU to opt for “common sense”

In an interview with public broadcaster TVP Info the Polish PM said Europe must “wake up from its lethargy and finally start thinking about the safety of its citizens”.

Ms Szydło, who has repeatedly clashed with Brussels over immigration said EU chiefs “must not be afraid to talk about terrorism” and should “finally replace political correctness with common sense.”

“There is no price at which the safety of the Polish people could be sold, so the most important thing for me today is to have partners in Europe, among the European elites, to talk about what should be done to combat terrorism” – Szydlo said.

In a frank interview, the Polish PM also claimed that the migration policies of Europe’s leaders, especially German chancellor Mrs Merkel, “have benefited those who are now sowing death”.

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