The European refugee debate reached a new nadir with a proposal to expel Greecefrom the Schengen zone and effectively transform it into an open-air holding pen for countless thousands of asylum seekers. The idea is not only inhumane and a gross violation of basic European principles; it also would prove vastly more costly than the alternative – a truly common EU policy that quells the chaos of the past year.
Six countries have already reimposed border controls, and the European commission is preparing to allow them, and presumably others, to do the same for two years. The financial price of this alone is enormous – in the order of at least €40bn (including costs to fortify borders and those incurred by travellers and shippers). It would be much less expensive, financially and politically, to establish a common EU border and coastguard, and a functioning EU asylum agency.
This has proved to be, effectively, a zero-sum game. The rush by member states last year to seal their own perimeters left them unable to help shore up the EU’s external borders. They failed to send Greece the personnel and ships it had been promised. As such, the need for national border controls has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A selfish, unilateral approach to borders constitutes a repeat of the tragedy of 2015, when EU member states individually spent about €40bn to address the crisis after it had reached European shores. In early 2015, the UN asked for a small fraction of that to feed, house and school the four million refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, but the international community and Europe failed to deliver (and many EU members still haven’t paid their share). Unable to feed and educate their children, thousands of refugees ceded their savings to smugglers for a chance to reach Europe – precisely what you and I would have done had we been in their place.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/30/expelling-greece-schengen-violates-eu-principles
Now they were approaching ground zero in the intensifying debate over how to curb the unceasing stream of men, women and children from war-ravaged and poor nations in the Middle East and Africa heading to the safety and prosperity of Europe.
After trying and largely failing to persuade Turkey to stem the flow, Europe has reached a critical point in the migrant crisis. With few options left, short of halting the war in Syria, much of the Continent is coalescing around proposals that would harden the border with Macedonia and effectively turn Greece into a giant processing center for migrants.
At the border crossing here — one of the busiest gateways for migrants on the path north and the site of occasional violence between the authorities and frustrated migrants — Greece has played that filtering role to some degree for months. In theory, Greece is allowing only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans to continue toward their preferred destinations in Germany and Austria.
The rest — from places like Iran, Morocco, Eritrea, Libya, Somalia and Congo — are supposed to be sent to camps in Athens, where they can be deported or apply for asylum in Greece, whose economic troubles would make it an unattractive new home to most migrants even if they were accepted.
But other European nations say Greece is not doing enough to enforce the border, and with the number of refugees expected to surge again as the weather improves, the pressure for a new approach is escalating rapidly.
Exasperated with what they claim is a Greek policy of waving people through to the rest of Europe, officials in the European Union are talking about temporarily expelling Greece from the bloc’s passport-free travel zone, known as the Schengen area.
The European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, endorsed a separate idea to send the police from member states to Macedonia, which is not part of the European Union, to buffer its side of the border with Greece. One Belgian minister even called for refugee camps to hold 300,000 to be built in Greece.
Greek officials have reacted angrily to the proposals. They say the plans would not deter migrants from heading to Europe in the first place and would stigmatize Greece — already under heavy European Union oversight as it relies on international bailout funds — for a crisis created elsewhere in Europe.
“The climate has changed from the welcoming politics of Merkel to one of fear and panic,” said Nikos Xydakis, Greece’s foreign minister for European affairs, referring to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision last summer to open Germany’s doors to refugees. “If they want to raise a new Iron Curtain, we will not be the ones to blame.”
Here along the border with Macedonia, anxiety among the migrants is high. But having come this far, few of them seem to think any policy change will keep people from fleeing war, repression and poverty to seek a better life in Europe.
“I pray to my god that they don’t close the borders,” said Mohamed Salem Ibrahim, a teenager who fled Afghanistan to make the long trek to Germany.
“We have no other future but Europe,” he added, his eyes alighting on the single bag of belongings he had stowed on a bus. “We must get in one way or another.”
If border controls are imposed on Greece, Mr. Xydakis said, “the flow will stop at the Greek sea, because people won’t want to be trapped in a black box in Greece. But migrants will just find other ways to get into Europe, even if they have to go through the Arctic Circle.”
The European Union this week proposed allowing countries to suspend the Schengen agreement for up to two years, a move that could push the open-border policy toward collapse and damage economies when the bloc needs more resources to deal with the migrants. Several member countries, including Germany, Sweden, Hungary and Austria, have already temporarily reinstated border checks.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/world/europe/greece-resists-its-role-as-european-unions-gatekeeper.html
MONTANA HIRSCHOWITZ remembers exactly when she decided she would seek her higher education abroad: one night when she was ten, and armed robbers broke in and terrorised her family in Johannesburg. Quang Nguyen dates his decision to no particular moment: he simply did not want to spend a big chunk of his classroom time on communist ideology, as is standard in his native Vietnam. Jehanne Aghzadi, from Morocco, had attended American schools all through her childhood; she wanted to continue her studies in English. Joy Lin was looking for a better course than she could find in China, with more social activities on campus and the chance to gain foreign work experience after graduating.
All four students ended up at the University of Miami in Florida, for reasons that varied as much as those that pushed them to leave home in the first place: good weather, highly regarded courses in subjects they liked, student aid and in one case a scholarship. But beyond the specifics, they are part of a mass trend. More university and college students than ever are studying outside their home countries. Foreigners now make up a sizeable share of students in some countries and courses—a quarter of all those in Australia, for example, and around a million of those on American campuses.
There are 4.5m international students globally, up from 2m in 2000, and that is expected to swell to 7m-8m by 2025, driven by population and income growth in developing countries where local provision is poor. Some places that have not traditionally hosted many foreign students are trying to grab market share. Japan has a goal of 300,000 foreign students by 2020, 60% more than now; Malaysia, of almost doubling numbers to 250,000 by 2025.
Foreign study took off in the 1980s, when several rich countries started to offer large numbers of scholarships as part of their aid programmes. Rising incomes in poorer countries added a financial motive. Universities in rich countries are often constrained by their governments in how many locals they can recruit and how much they can charge them. Foreigners, who can be charged more, help pad out budgets and subsidise local students. But not every country lucky enough to have lots of foreign students is doing what is needed to keep them coming.
Today Anglophone countries take the biggest share, since English is quite a useful language to acquire. France is popular with bits of its former empire and pupils from the French-language schools around the world that France’s government subsidises. Germany, which has started to offer postgraduate courses in English and has abolished all tuition fees, even for foreigners, also takes large numbers.
Pour lire l'article en entier : http://www.economist.com/news/international/21689540-australia-and-canada-seek-attract-more-foreign-students-america-and-britain-could
THE Conservative Party promised ahead of its election victory in 2010 that it would bring annual net migration below 100,000 a year. As the economy has grown, sucking in foreign workers, the government has conspicuously failed to meet this goal: net migration in the year to June 2015 was 336,000, a record. However, one small but socially significant subsection has declined and remained low: immigration by Britons’ foreign spouses.
In 2012 the government introduced a new requirement that British citizens and permanent residents meet an income threshold before being allowed to bring in a partner from outside the European Union. The threshold is £18,600 ($26,500), or higher if children are to come too. This gives Britain the strictest policy on family unification of 38 rich countries, according to the Migration Policy Group, an NGO. The rules have been challenged in a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court next month.
The income threshold is high: the Migration Observatory at Oxford University calculates that 41% of British citizens would not meet it. And its reach is uneven: whereas almost three-quarters of men clear it, most women do not. In poor parts of the country, such as the North East, twice as many are ruled out as in the wealthy capital. And in London white people are twice as likely to be able to import a partner as non-whites. So far the new rules are reckoned to have affected up to 15,000 children, many kept apart from a parent.
The government projected in 2012 that 13,600-17,800 people per year would be prevented from coming to Britain as a result of the changes. Though the true figure is unknowable, the number of spousal visas granted fell by nearly one-third following the rule’s introduction (see chart). Those most affected are Pakistanis, who account for almost one-fifth of such visas.
The government has not trumpeted it, but the new policy has an additional motive. Some believe that the ability to bring in spouses from overseas has put a brake on integration, especially among Pakistanis. About three-quarters of spousal visas are issued to women. David Goodhart of Policy Exchange, a think-tank, says that the constant replenishment of first-generation wives has been a bar to integration with British society.
Saira Grant of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, which is supporting the appellants at the Supreme Court, argues that “integration is not achieved by an artificial financial threshold”. She says there is no evidence that migrant spouses are a burden to the state. Yet studies suggest family migrants do have lower employment rates than the British average, though more than half work after their arrival.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21689634-raising-bar-migrant-spouses-has-worked-cost-richer-not-poorer
WHEN Middle Eastern refugees began arriving in Europe last year, Martina Scheibova, a consultant in Prague, felt sympathy for them. Now she is less sure. They create a “clash of cultures”, she says anxiously. Such fears are shared by many Europeans. But unlike Germans or Swedes, Ms Scheibova is unlikely to encounter many refugees. Czech public opinion is solidly against taking in asylum-seekers; Milos Zeman, the Czech Republic’s populist president, calls Muslim refugees “practically impossible” to integrate. In the past year, the country has accepted just 520.
The backlash against refugees can be felt across Europe. Xenophobic parties are at record levels in polls in Sweden and the Netherlands, and even in Germany the Eurosceptic, far-right Alternative für Deutschland party is polling in double digits. But central Europe’s response has been particularly strong. Anti-migrant sentiment has unified the “Visegrad group” of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic—normally a disparate bunch who agree on some subjects (like opposing Europe’s climate policies) but are divided on others (like Russia). Rather than noisy opposition groups, it is governments in these countries who trumpet some of the most extreme views. And they are taking advantage of anti-migrant fervour to implement an illiberal agenda on other fronts, too.
Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, has been the loudest of the anti-immigrant voices. Mr Orban began inveighing against migrants early in 2015, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, when the numbers arriving in Europe were still relatively low. His government now wants to introduce anti-terror laws that worry civil libertarians, though the details are vague. Fidesz, Mr Orban’s party, pioneered Europe’s illiberal wave: when it came to power in 2010 it limited the constitutional court’s powers, packed it with cronies and introduced a new constitution. Fidesz changed the electoral system, helping it win again in 2014, says Andras Biro-Nagy of Policy Solutions, a think-tank. A new media regulator was set up, headed by a Fidesz stalwart. Public television channels were stuffed with pro-Fidesz journalists, while foreign media were taxed more heavily than domestic ones. (The tax was rescinded after criticism from the main foreign channel, RTL Klub.)
Pour lire la suite : http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21689629-migration-crisis-has-given-unsettling-new-direction-old-alliance-big-bad-visegrad
Plus de 10.000 enfants migrants non accompagnés ont disparu en Europe sur les 18 à 24 derniers mois, estime l'agence policière Europol, craignant que nombre d'entre eux soient exploités, notamment sexuellement, par le crime organisé.
Ces chiffres, révélés sur internet par l'hebdomadaire britannique The Observer, ont été confirmés dimanche à l'AFP par le service de presse d'Europol.
Selon Brian Donald, un responsable d'Europol cité par The Observer, le chiffre avancé concerne les enfants dont toute trace a été perdue après leur enregistrement auprès des autorités européennes. Environ la moitié d'entre eux ont disparu en Italie.
"Il n'est pas déraisonnable d'estimer que nous parlons ici en tout de plus de 10.000 enfants", explique M. Donald. "Mais tous ne seront pas exploités à des fins criminelles, il y en a qui auront rejoint des membres de leur famille. C'est juste que nous ne savons pas où ils sont, ce qu'ils font et avec qui".
Environ un million de migrants sont arrivés en Europe en 2015 dans le cadre de la pire crise migratoire en Europe depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale, estime Europol, citée par The Observer.
Quelque 27% d'entre eux sont des enfants. "Ils ne sont pas tous non accompagnés, mais nous avons des preuves montrant qu'une grande partie d'entre eux pourraient l'être".
Pour lire la suite : http://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/migrants-plus-de-10000-enfants-non-accompagnes-portes-disparus.afp.com.20160131.doc.7j6p9.xml?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_term=Autofeed#link_time=1454251819
La Commission européenne exige du gouvernement Tsipras qu’il protège mieux la « frontière extérieure » de l’Europe. Faute de quoi, le pays pourrait être exclu de l’espace Schengen et transformé de facto en camp de rétention pour les réfugiés qui arrivent par ses îles.
À la Grèce, décidément, rien ne sera épargné. Après le chantage à l’expulsion de la zone euro, voici celui à l’exclusion de l’espace Schengen. « Depuis novembre, la Grèce a commencé à travailler pour respecter les règles de Schengen, mais il est nécessaire qu’elle fasse plus encore », tance Valdis Dombrovskis, le vice-président de la Commission européenne. Même registre, diktats identiques, rhétorique similaire : qu’importent les faucons — Wolfgang Schaüble ou les dirigeants de droite populiste et xénophobe à l’Est —, pourvu qu’on casse la Grèce ! La nature et l’ampleur sans précédent des crises — le fardeau d’une dette publique odieuse et illégitime, ou encore les flux de réfugiés fuyant les guerres en Afrique et au Proche-Orient — ne sont jamais prises en compte. Il n’y a qu’un mot d’ordre, répété à l’envi : « Jamais assez, toujours plus ! »
Des plans sont déjà en préparationUn nouveau cap a été franchi, mercredi, avec un ultimatum lancé à la Grèce : si, dans les trois mois, les institutions européennes considèrent que le pays ne protège pas mieux la « frontière extérieure » de l’Union européenne, il sera sorti de Schengen et cette « frontière extérieure » se verra déplacée plus au nord. Derrière la désignation d’un bouc émissaire commode, la procédure qui, ouverte par la Commission, devra être approuvée à la majorité qualifiée au Conseil européen, sert d’abord à entériner les décisions unilatérales des États qui ont d’ores et déjà fermé leurs frontières et qui, désormais, multiplient les mesures inhumaines contre les migrants. « Si nous ne pouvons pas protéger la frontière extérieure de l’UE, la frontière gréco-turque, alors la frontière extérieure de Schengen sera déplacée vers l’Europe centrale », avertit la ministre autrichienne de l’Intérieur, Johanna Mikl-Leitner. Des plans pour aller dans ce sens sont déjà en préparation. La Slovénie a, par exemple, proposé que les États membres et les institutions européennes participent au « renforcement » de la frontière avec la Macédoine, qui ne fait pas partie de l’espace Schengen et n’est pas membre de l’Union européenne. Dans sa réponse au premier ministre slovène, Jean-Claude Juncker, le président de la Commission, appuie l’idée.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.humanite.fr/apres-leuro-un-nouveau-chantage-inflige-la-grece-597501
Dans le Huffington Post Maghreb-Maroc : Des artistes syriens construisent en miniatures des monuments détruits par la guerre (PHOTOS)
C'est la mémoire et l'histoire d'un pays qui disparaissent. D'après l'association de la protection de l'archéologie syrienne, plus de 900 monuments ou sites archéologiques ont été touchés, abîmés ou détruits en quatre ans et demi de guerre. La cité antique de Palmyre a notamment été particulièrement ciblée.
Pour lutter à leur manière contre ces destructions de sites antiques, un groupe d'artistes, ayant fui la Syrie pour gagner la Jordanie, se réunissent pour recréer en miniatures les monuments emblématiques de leur pays.
Dans un camp de réfugiés, ils utilisent du bois, de la pierre et de l'argile pour construire ces répliques, telles que la cité d'Alep, la cité antique de Palmyre ou le pont suspendu de Deir ez-Zor, comme le rapportent BuzzFeed et ArchDaily.
Selon le monument choisi, ce travail de construction peut prendre de 15 jours à trois mois. Pour ces réfugiés, il est important de faire découvrir à certains enfants des édifices de leur pays qu'ils ne pourront désormais plus jamais voir.
Pour lire la suite et voir les autres photographies : http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2016/01/28/syrie-monuments-detruits_n_9097644.html
Sur Wlrn.org : Wave upon wave of journalists are describing the arrival of refugees in apocalyptic terms
There is a metaphor so embedded in the discussion of refugees and migrants that everyone from Donald Trump to Barack Obama uses it. The New York Times has put it in headlines, and Rush Limbaugh has wielded it like a hammer in his full-throated style.
It’s the image of refugees or migrants as water, as in “waves of refugees” or “the flow of migrants.” It can also become a “flood” or a place can be “swamped” by recent arrivals. Professor Gregory Lee at the University of Lyon calls this the “inundation metaphor.” His research has led him to conclude that it has racist, xenophobic baggage and should generally be avoided.
We know this at PRI because Lee didn’t hesitate to point it out to us on Twitter.
Lee came to this conclusion while studying media about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1892. The bill, which was the first law to ban a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States, was passed amidst a fervor of anti-Chinese immigrant sentiment.
“I noticed that the press had been instrumental in bringing about that shift in public opinion, and so I started looking at elements of language that were recurrent,” Lee says.
The common theme he found in the news and popular culture of the time was the “trope of inundation,” as he described it in an academic paper published in 2007. Over and over again, “unwanted immigrants of color” were described as "pouring in," "swamping," "flooding in," or as “as coming in ‘tides’ and ‘waves.’"
One example he cites is a New York Daily Tribune report from Sept. 29, 1854. The piece refers to the growing Chinese migration as an "Asiatic horde" and weaves in the flood metaphor :
"They are pouring in upon California. Their great companies are shipping them to that region by thousands as coolies... Already there are 40,000 there, and the cry is still they come. If the tide continues they must yet outnumber whites on the Pacific; and they are not like the European immigration to the Atlantic States, for they have no sympathy with Americans, whether in religion, habits or language."
Pour lire la suite : http://wlrn.org/post/wave-upon-wave-journalists-are-describing-arrival-refugees-apocalyptic-terms
Le Royaume-Uni va accueillir des enfants réfugiés qui ont été séparés de leur famille par les conflits en Syrie et dans d'autres pays, annonce jeudi le gouvernement britannique, sans préciser le nombre d'enfants concernés.
«La crise en Syrie et les événements au Moyen-Orient, en Afrique du Nord et au-delà ont séparé un grand nombre d'enfants réfugiés de leur famille», souligne le secrétaire d'État à l'Immigration, James Brokenshire, dans un communiqué.
Londres a demandé au Haut-Commissariat de l'ONU pour les réfugiés (HCR) «d'identifier les situations exceptionnelles où il est dans le meilleur intérêt de l'enfant d'être relocalisé en Grande-Bretagne et de nous aider à les amener ici», ajoute M. Brokenshire, estimant qu'il était préférable pour une «large majorité» d'entre eux de rester non loin de leur pays d'origine avec des membres de leur famille élargie.
Une porte-parole du ministère de l'Intérieur a indiqué qu'elle ne pouvait pas préciser le nombre d'enfants concernés.
L'ONG Save the Children mène campagne pour que la Grande-Bretagne accueille au moins 3000 enfants qui sont arrivés en Europe sans parents ou sans famille pour les prendre en charge.
Le gouvernement britannique prévoit d'injecter jusqu'à 10 millions de livres (environ 20 millions $) dans un nouveau fonds pour aider les enfants réfugiés qui se trouvent déjà en Europe.
Londres a refusé le plan de la Commission européenne visant à répartir 160 000 demandeurs d'asile entre les pays de l'Union européenne en fonction de leur situation économique et démographique.
Pour lire l'article en entier : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/europe/201601/27/01-4944506-le-royaume-uni-va-accueillir-des-enfants-refugies-separes-de-leurs-parents.php