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Sweden announces plans to deport up to 80,000 migrants

All European media outlets report that the Swedish government announced on Wednesday that it plans to deport up to 80,000 migrants whose applications for asylum have been denied. According to Il Giornale, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans reported that 60% of asylum seekers in Europe do not have the right to get refugee status. The Independent writes that European Commission officials have defended Sweden’s decision, suggesting that the move fits in with the EU’s wider efforts to build a coherent migration strategy that distinguishes between different claims.

Berlingske Tidende reveals that the European Commission has proposed that the European Border Agency Frontex sends people back home. “Countries are entitled and indeed obliged to return people who are not entitled to stay in the European Union. It is essential to make sure genuine asylum-seekers have their asylum applications processed quickly,” said EC spokesperson Natasha Bertaud, as quoted by Dvenik and The Independent. “It is a matter of credibility that we do return these people because we do not want to give the impression that Europe is an open door,” she added.

According to Il Giornale, Finland also announced its plans to expel some 20,000 migrants. Most EU media notably report that the Dutch government, currently chairing the EU’s six-month rotating presidency, is expected to propose plans to try to stem the refugee crisis by suggesting that Europe should automatically return all illegal asylum seekers arriving in EU’s territory from Turkey. De Tijd mentions the European Commission is not pleased with the Dutch asylum plan: “The immediate return of migrants from Greece to Turkey is illegal and in conflict with the Geneva Convention and the European asylum legislation. We are not abandoning the principle that everyone has the right to request asylum in their country of arrival,” the EC stated.

Thomas Mayer comments in Der Standard that repatriating those who have no right to remain in the country is highly reasonable as clear rules are needed to prevent that illegal conditions get out of hand and to establish a tolerant, legal order.

Financieele Dagblad and Der Telegraaf report that the Commission confirmed, that the EU does not practice push backs. This statement is used by the press to suggest the alleged Dutch plans would not work. For the Telegraaf, the Dutch plans received the “cold shoulder” in Brussels, after the head of Amnesty International called the plans illegal and shameful. On the contrary, Publico writes that welcoming refugees gave place to mass expulsions. Fraser Nelson, writing in the Telegraph, is of the same opinion, claiming that Sweden is “is a good example of how not to handle” the refugee crisis.

Most British media, Rai Due and the Wall Street Journal Europe report on UK’s new initiative aimed to taking in unaccompanied child refugees from Syria and other conflict zones. The British government said on Thursday that it would work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to identify “exceptional” cases of such children still in their home region who could be resettled in Britain, but declined to say how many children it would accept.

Michal Kokot, writing in Gazeta Wyborcza, claims that the problem of these northern countries, submerged in a flood of refugees, lies with proven Greek ineptitude in dealing with mass immigration. According to information obtained by Skai radio, the EU Council of Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers will give a one-month deadline to the Greek government to present an action plan to address the weaknesses located and a two-month deadline to implement it. If this does not happen, then the Commission will propose the activation of the article 26 of the Schengen Code, which allows the Member-States to extend the controls in the internal borders for up to two years.

In an opinion piece for Le Figaro, Jean-Jacques Mével writes that the EU does not accuse Greece of allowing the refugees to cross borders but rather “not to do it properly, i.e. without doing identity checks imposed by the Schengen regulation and the terrorist threat.” An FT editorial warns that the refugee crisis is the “biggest the EU has ever faced,” and rather than resorting to “crude” measures, Europe must not turn Greece into a “holding pen” for migrants. According to Večernji list, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, he said that Greece will be fully prepared next month.

Meanwhile, according to Italian media and the International New York Times, the International Organisation for Migration has confirmed that at least 24 people drowned and 11 others were missing after a boat carrying Iraqi Kurds sank on Wednesday night off the Greek island of Samos. The Italian Navy also rescued 290 migrants on Thursday and recovered six bodies from the water near a half-sunken rubber boat off Libya on its way to Italy.




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