September 2 – Syrian conflict as intractable as ever
August 29 – Border row flares ahead of French elections
March 7, 2016 – EU and Turkey confident of breakthrough on refugee crisis
Oct 17, 2015 – EU wrestles with a refugee crisis that shows no sign of ending
Hungary sealed its border with Croatia overnight in an effort to curb the numbers of people headed for western Europe.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to travel to Turkey to seek help in managing the continent’s refugee crisis. Bloomberg reports:
Under fire at home for her open-armed stance toward refugees, Merkel is looking abroad to Turkey for help in resolving the crisis. For the European Union’s pivotal leader, that means engaging with the president of 77 million Turks, a man long criticized by the EU as using autocratic methods to squelch dissent and accumulate power.
“There is obvious concern that turning up in Istanbul in the dead heat of an election will be perceived to be an endorsement of Erdogan,” Mujtaba Rahman, head of the Europe practice at Eurasia Group in London, said in an interview. Still, “I don’t think the EU leaders have any other choice but to deal with Turkey.”
But getting a deal might not be as easy as Merkel might think.
Sept 23, 2015 – Refugee plan splits EU
The EU’s tentative plan to resettle refugees was far from unanimous and likely sets up ongoing friction between member states, with one of the rebels, Slovakia, indicating it may take legal action to block the quota requirement.
Meanwhile, the first wave of Syrians has arrived in Britain.
The latest Lunch with the FT features UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon on the refugee issue (among other things).
Sept 22, 2015
Hungary gets even tougher on the refugee issue, as Europe talks.
And, probably predictably,
Sept 21, 2015
With EU leaders preparing for more urgent talks on the refugee crisis, the Church of England‘s Archbishop of Canterbury has offered part of his official London residence to refugees.
But I guess you can’t please everyone.
Meanwhile, this is a particularly moving story from the BBC of one man’s experience.
Sept 18, 2015
The government in Zagreb has put its army on alert as the crisis affecting thousands of refugees and economic migrants appears again to be worsening amid confusion and isolation. Hungary has begun constructing a border fence with Croatia, and the Croatians in turn have closed their crossings with Serbia. Slovenia, meanwhile, is sending people back who have arrived on trains back to Croatia.
Sept 17, 2015
Hungary has been strongly criticized by both the UN and its neighbor Serbia after using tear gas and water cannon against refugees massed at the border between the two countries. Many asylum-seekers are reportedly now headed to Croatia instead.
Sept 16, 2015
The border between Hungary and Serbia remains closed amid a state of emergency, with thousands of refugees massing on the Serbian side and faced with a newly-erected barbed-wire fence. EU ministers have so far been unable to agree an immediate plan to alleviate the situation as more people seek to move across the continent.
Meanwhile, train traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and stations in Germany has been temporarily halted due to a bottleneck of refugees.
Sept 14, 2015 – Europe talks as Germany moves to stem flow of refugees
European ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday in the latest attempt to craft a cohesive continent-wide solution to the ongoing refugee crisis.
- Follow The Guardian‘s live blog here.
The gathering comes as Germany moved to re-introduce border controls – a temporary suspension of the Schengen agreement – in an effort to restrict the wave of asylum-seekers, after more than 13,000 people arrived in Munich over the weekend.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Lebanon on Monday visiting a refugee camp, where he again stressed that the current crisis is best tackled via a “middle east solution.” The Financial Times reports:
The prime minister met refugees in a camp in the Bekaa Valley — less than a mile from the border with Syria — including one family who will be resettled by Britain following his pledge earlier this month that the UK will take 20,000 refugees over the next five years from the war-torn nation.
Downing Street also announced that MP Richard Harrington was being appointed as a Home Office minister with responsibility for Syrian refugees.
As a backdrop to the EU talks, in a story that has tragically become all too common recently, a boat capsized off the coast of Greece on Sunday, killing some 30 people including several babies and children.
Aug 30, 2015
European ministers will meet again in two weeks to address the continent’s unprecedented migration crisis.
Aug 27, 2015 – Europe’s migrant crisis continues to worsen
“Never before in history have so many people fled their homes to escape war, violence and persecution,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said. “And given the large number of unresolved conflicts in our neighborhood, the stream of refugees seeking protection in Europe will not abate in the foreseeable future.”
Thursday was – yet another – very bad day for anyone trying to start a new life.
Even as EU leaders opened another summit in Vienna to discuss the worsening situation in the western Balkans that is having an impact across the continent, Alastair McDonald at Reuters explains how Europe’s failures may be prompting a new way forward.
The failure is evident. Of millions fleeing war, oppression and misery, hundreds of thousands have been desperate enough to brave the sea to reach Europe; thousands have died but their numbers still multiply despite a mostly stony welcome: razor wire, hunger, filth and hosts more intent on blaming each other than on their common duty to help.
That may be changing, although far from certainly and all too slowly for those cradling sick infants in open boats or fighting for air in a Balkan smuggler’s truck.
A reporter and photographer from the New York Times are documenting migrants’ efforts to reach Hungary.
Meanwhile there was some bad news for Britain’s Conservative government in new data showing net migration at a record high.