Extra! “What Now” For Austria’s Refugees?

Kurier, Sept. 7, 2015

“They reached safety â€" what now?,” Vienna-based daily Kurier asks on its front page Monday, as at least 15,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary over the weekend into Austria.

After days of confrontation between refugees â€" mostly fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq â€" and authorities in Budapest stopping them from travelling to Western Europe, Austria and Hungary agreed to ease asylum rules. This allowed groups of buses and trains operated by both Austrian and Hungarian authorities, but also activists, to bring refugees across the border.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said these emergency measures would now be “phased out,” explaining they cannot be a permanent solution. After meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Sunday, he said the measures would now move step-by-step “towards normality.”

Faymann also called for an emergency summit with EU leaders to resolve the migrant crisis. The meeting could take place on September 14, after discussions among interior ministers.

"There is no alternative to a common European solution," the Social Democrat was quoted as saying by the Austrian Press Agency (APA).

A few hundred refugees claimed asylum in Austria over the weekend, as most are expected to travel on to Germany, where Merkel's government said it would accept all Syrian asylum seekers, regardless of which EU country they reached first.

In Austria, migrants are afraid they could be sent back to Hungary, under the Dublin III regulation, which states that refugees must seek asylum in the first EU country the enter. Germany is expected to receive a record 800,000 asylum seekers this years, four times more than in 2014.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is slated to present a plan Wednesday to relocate 120,000 refugees across Europe. France is set to receive 24,000 refugees, and Spain could take in about 15,000, German daily Die Welt reports. British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country would take in “thousands” more refugees from Syria, without providing a specific number, the BBC reported.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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