Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Islamic invasion of Europe update (September 22, 2015)

EU forces migrant quotas overriding eastern European opposition
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations.

The European Commission, the EU executive, had proposed the scheme with the backing of Germany and other big powers in order to tackle the continent's worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

But the rift it has caused between older and newer members was glaringly evident as the interior ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary voted against the plan at a meeting in Brussels, with Finland abstaining.

"We would have preferred a consensus but we could not reach that, and it is not for want of trying," Luxembourg Interior Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, told a news conference.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said pushing through the quota system had "nonsensically" caused a deep rift over a highly sensitive issue and that, "as long as I am prime minister", Slovakia would not implement a quota.

And Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted: “We will soon realise that the emperor has no clothes. Common sense lost today.”

This year's influx of nearly half a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa has already sparked unseemly disputes over border controls as well as bitter recriminations over how to share out responsibility.

Refugees and migrants arriving in Greece and Italy have been streaming north to reach more affluent nations such as Germany, prompting countries in central and eastern Europe alternately to try to block the flow or shunt it on to their neighbors. [...]

Dutch Muslims launch free Airbnb-style site for refugees/migrants
The Hague (AFP) - Three young Dutch start-up entrepreneurs have launched a website to find temporary accommodation for refugees fleeing to Europe, modelled on the popular Airbnb home rental site.

But on Refugee Hero, created in just four days and launched on Monday, no money changes hands.

Instead private individuals, and organisations such as churches, schools and mosques, can advertise how much space they can spare for free, and leave a contact phone number for migrants seeking accommodation to get in touch.

Already 63 people have registered their homes with refugeehero.com, not just in the Netherlands but also in Ireland, the Czech Republic, France and even Sweden.

One of the co-founders, Jamal Oulel, told AFP the idea came to the group last week as they were discussing Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II. [...]

Hundreds of Latvians march against refugee quotas
Riga (AFP) - Hundreds of Latvians marched through the capital Riga on Tuesday to protest against the Baltic state's decision to take in 776 refugees as Europe struggles with a record migrant crisis.

The 500-strong crowd, according to police, waved banners calling on the government to resign and depicting European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker as dictator Adolf Hitler.

Other slogans included "Against immigrants" and "The Baltic is ours" at the rally attended by two members of the right-wing National Alliance, one of three parties in the government ruling coalition.

"The refugees are not victims, most of them are here for money," protestor Pols Vaivods said while clutching a banner in praise of Hungary and its Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who gave his army new powers this week to block the migrant influx.

"This is not racist. We are against taking in refugees but we can help them in other ways, maybe by sending medical aid," protestor Ainis Pogris said.

Latvia is part of the European Union's eastern flank whose countries have taken the strongest stance against welcoming migrants. [...]

First Syrian refugees arrive under UK resettlement plan
London (AFP) - Britain on Tuesday welcomed the first of the 20,000 Syrian refugees that it has pledged to relocate from camps in countries neighbouring the war-torn nation, according to the government.

"Today a number of people have arrived in the UK as part of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme," said a Home Office statement.

The government would not give details of how many refugees had arrived, or where in Britain they would be resettled.

Under the expanded scheme, the new arrivals will receive housing, access to medical care and education and will be granted five years' humanitarian protection.

After that period they will be able to apply to stay in Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier this month that Britain would take 20,000 refugees from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey over the next five years after coming under pressure to do more to ease the crisis sweeping Europe. [...]

With refugees, German Muslim minority could be Europe's largest
BERLIN (Reuters) - When the flood of Middle Eastern refugees arriving in Europe finally ebbs and asylum-seekers settle down in their new homes, Germany could unexpectedly find itself housing the continent's largest Muslim minority.

The arrival of so many Syrians fleeing their country's brutal civil war is bound to change the face of Islam in Germany, which until now has been dominated by the Turks who first came as so-called "guest workers" in the 1960s.

While refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries are also arriving, the Syrians make up the largest single contingent - estimated at about 45 percent - and have the best chances of being granted political asylum here.

The longer-term impact on Germany, which unlike Britain or France has no tradition of taking in immigrants from former colonies, is unclear. Many are still struggling through problems all refugees face such as learning the language and getting a job. The number of those yet to follow them is also unknown.

Some trends are emerging, though, and Germans familiar with the Muslim minority see reasons for both hope and concern. The first change is simply in the numbers.

"We could suddenly have five million Muslims," said Thomas Volk, an Islam expert at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think tank associated with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

France now has Europe's largest Muslim minority with five million, followed by Germany with about four million. But the French figure is an estimate several experts say is too high.

Germany expects 800,000 refugees this year, most of them Muslims, and "this trend will continue," Volk told Reuters. "It will not stop abruptly on Jan. 1, 2016."

In addition, most are young adult men, so the numbers will rise further when those who settle here start families. [...]

Croatia PM urges Serbia to redirect migrants to ease burden
ZAGREB: Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic Tuesday urged Serbia to resume directing migrants towards Hungary and Romania to help ease the burden on his own country.

Speaking to reporters, Milanovic said it was still possible for refugees to be directed to Croatia, but "my message to (Serbia) is to also send them to Hungary and Romania."

"We are not fools, we see what they (Serbia) are doing," he said, without explaining further.

Hungary sealed its border with Serbia on Sept. 15 to stem the massive influx of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

Shortly aftwards, Serbia began directing incoming migrants towards Croatia, which like Hungary, is also a European Union (EU) member.

Zagreb initially promised free passage to the migrants, but quickly found itself swamped and began transporting them by bus and train to its border with Hungary.

Others continued travelling westwards towards neighbouring Slovenia.

Since Hungary closed its border with Serbia on Sept. 15, nearly 35,000 people have entered Croatia, official figures showed Tuesday.

Around 5,100 left Croatia Monday, almost all of them crossing into Hungary, the interior ministry said.

Early Monday, Croatia blocked trucks coming from Serbia at the only border crossing left open between the two countries in a move aimed at pressuring Belgrade to redirect travellers.

Croatia had closed Thursday seven of its eight crossings with Serbia in a bid to slow the flow of people arriving.

At midday (1000 GMT) Tuesday, the line of trucks waiting to enter Croatia at the Bajakovo-Batrovci crossing was more than 15 kilometres (9 miles) long.

"We have to send a clear message to Serbia," Milanovic said of the move to halt truck traffic.