Arrivals and Departures: According to European Commission sources, between 17 December and 31 January (thus, over 46 days) the number of people arriving to the EU from Turkey remains high (110,211) despite winter weather conditions. 99.2% of these people crossed the Aegean Sea. There was a significant decrease as compared to total arrival figures for October 2015 (214,792), however when compared to arrival figures in November (154,381) and December (110,835), the trend appears fairly constant. The daily average of irregular crossings via Greece was 2,377 people daily and via Bulgaria 19 people. There were some 16,437 arrivals via Greece per week.
According to the German Ministry of Interior, almost 1.1 million people entered Germany last year to apply for asylum. Most arrived through the country’s southern border with Austria.
Condition of People: On the Greek islands, 32 North African nationals remain detained at police stations. Media sources report that the German government has agreed to allow unaccompanied child refugees to bring their families in particular hardship cases.
Critical Developments According to the German Ministry of Interior, border controls will be extended for an additional three months.
On Thursday 11 February, NATO announced an operation in the ‘Aegean Sea to deter peoplesmugglers taking migrants from Turkey to Greece’. The operation will use existing resources from NATO's Standing Maritime Group 2 (currently under German command), working in cooperation with Greek and Turkish coastguards, to carry out ‘reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance’.
The Croatian Defense Minister, Josip Buljević, announced that the Croatian government is prepared to offer assistance to NATO in this regard.
Similarly, Slovenian Defence Minister, Andreja Katič, confirmed the active participation in the planned NATO action.
Family reunification would remain halted except when “urgent humanitarian reasons” are identified.
Ahead of the Visegrad Group Summit of 15 February in Prague, UNHCR urged leaders in Central Europe to show greater solidarity with desperate refugees who seek sanctuary in the continent as war, conflict and extremism force millions out of their homes.
In Slovenia, the Parliamentary Interior Affairs Committee proposed changes to asylum law.
Changes include measures to cap the number of asylum seekers to 5,000, reduce the number of family members allowed to be reunited with asylum seekers, and eliminate the €288 financial aid