Dear Deeply Readers,

Welcome to the archives of Refugees Deeply. While we paused regular publication of the site on April 1, 2019, we are happy to serve as an ongoing public resource on refugees and migration. We hope you’ll enjoy the reporting and analysis that was produced by our dedicated community of editors and contributors.

We continue to produce events and special projects while we explore where the on-site journalism goes next. If you’d like to reach us with feedback or ideas for collaboration you can do so at [email protected].

Executive Summary for June 14th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the E.U. ‘axis of the willing’ seeking a hard-line shift on asylum, a worsening spat between Italy and France over Mediterranean rescues, and a Lebanon minister deepening a row with UNHCR over Syrian returns.

Published on June 14, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

‘Axis of the Willing’ Seeks Hard-Line E.U. Asylum Shift

Immigration hard-liners in Germany, Austria and Italy are talking of an “axis of the willing.” The axis appears to be a push for tough anti-migration policies in the E.U.

The notion was first floated by Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s right-wing chancellor, as he seeks to reject plans to share asylum seekers around the E.U. Kurz is instead pushing an arrangement that includes fringe ideas such as offshore processing centers for asylum seekers outside the E.U. and a stepped-up campaign of deportations.

The “axis of the willing” received backing from Germany’s conservative interior minister, Horst Seehofer. Seehofer, whose Bavarian conservatives are the sister party to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, has publicly challenged the chancellor.

Seehofer has proposed turning back refugees who are already registered in other European countries, as part of a “master plan” on curbing irregular migration.

Merkel has insisted she wants a “solution for all of Europe” rather than one that works only for some countries. E.U. countries face a deadline of the end of June for reform to the asylum system.

Salvini Attacks on Macron Endanger France-Italy Leaders Meeting

Italy has stepped up its war of words with France over Mediterranean rescues. A meeting between France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, and Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is now in doubt.

Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, berated Macron by name in the Italian senate after the latter criticized Italy’s refusal of a safe port for a rescue ship.

Salvini – in theory the junior partner in the Italian coalition – has taken the lead by picking a fight with European allies over Mediterranean migrant rescues.

“So I ask President Macron to pass from words to action and tomorrow morning, welcome the 9,000 France promised to welcome as a sign of concrete generosity and not just words,” Salvini said.

Some 41 people rescued at sea by the U.S. navy ship Trenton face uncertainty as a nearby NGO rescue ship declined to take them aboard. Sea-Watch said it has been refused a safe port by Italy so it could not take the rescued migrants.

Lebanon Minister Steps Up Attacks on UNHCR Over Syrian Returnees

Lebanon has stepped up its attacks on the U.N. Refugee Agency. Foreign minister Gibran Bassil has accused UNHCR of discouraging Syrian refugees from going home.

The government in Lebanon has frozen renewals of residence permits to UNHCR staff. “It’s time to tell them enough. That’s it,” said Bassil during a trip to the border area with Syria. Bassil hopes to pressure the UNHCR into cooperating with a controversial plan to return large numbers of Syrians.

A UNHCR spokesperson in New York responded, “This directly impacts UNHCR’s ability to effectively carry out critical protection and solutions work in Lebanon. UNHCR hopes the decision of the Foreign Ministry will be reversed without delay.”

Recommended Reading:

Suggest your story or issue.


Share Your Story.

Have a story idea? Interested in adding your voice to our growing community?

Learn more
× Dismiss
We have updated our Privacy Policy with a few important changes specific to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and our use of cookies. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our full Privacy Policy here.