220 ‘Turkish" human trafficking victims found in Thai camp

Updated 15 March 2014

220 ‘Turkish" human trafficking victims found in Thai camp

BANGKOK: Thai police have discovered at a secret camp in the kingdom’s deep south more than 220 suspected Turkish migrants believed to be victims of a trafficking ring.
Police Col. Chusak Panas-umporn said Thursday that immigration police found the group at a secluded camp near rubber plantations in southern Songkhla province.
The group included 78 men, 60 women and 82 children.
Chusak said they identified themselves as Turkish but did not carry any identification documents. Police were seeking a Turkish translator to try to communicate with the group members before pressing charges of illegal entry against them.
Police suspected the traffickers were planning to move the group to a third country.
Thailand has long been a hub for people trafficking, with thousands of Rohingya boat people from neighboring Myanmar believed to have passed through the kingdom in recent years.
“It’s an unprecedented case that there are so many Turkish people arrested here,” Police Major General Thatchai Pitaneelaboot said by telephone.
“They came as families and looks like they wanted to go somewhere else because they kept their belongings ready to move,” he said, adding that several suspected minders had fled during the raid.
It was unclear how they arrived in Thailand. Police were waiting for an interpreter to help question the detainees, who have not yet been charged with any crime.
The Turkish embassy said it had no information about their case while the UN refugee agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In January Thailand detained more than 500 Rohingya refugees after a raid on a suspected people-trafficking camp in its deep south, a Muslim-dominated region plagued by a nearly decade-long insurgency.
Thousands of Rohingya, described by the United Nations as among the world’s most persecuted minorities, have fled sectarian violence in western Myanmar in rickety boats since 2012, mostly believed to be heading for Malaysia.
Thailand said last year it was investigating allegations that some army officials in the kingdom were involved in the trafficking of Rohingya.


EU leaders split over $1.2 trillion post-Brexit budget

Updated 18 October 2019

EU leaders split over $1.2 trillion post-Brexit budget

  • Under a proposal prepared by Finland, the next long-term budget should have a financial capacity between 1.03% and 1.08% of the EU GNI, a measure of output
  • After the meeting, some EU leaders and officials described the talks as difficult

BRUSSELS: European Union leaders discussed a new budget plan on Friday that could allow the EU to spend up to 1.1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in the 2021-2027 period, but deep divisions among governments may block a deal for months.
Under a proposal prepared by Finland, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the next long-term budget should have a financial capacity between 1.03% and 1.08% of the EU gross national income (GNI), a measure of output.
That would allow the EU to spend 1 trillion to 1.1 trillion euros for seven years in its first budget after the departure of Britain, one of the top contributors to EU coffers.
After the meeting, some EU leaders and officials described the talks as difficult.
The Finnish document, seen by Reuters, is less ambitious than proposals put forward by the European Commission, the EU executive, which is seeking a budget worth 1.1% of GNI. The EU parliament called for an even bigger budget, 1.3% of GNI.
But the Finnish proposal moves beyond a 1% cap set by Germany, the largest EU economy. And it has displeased most of the 27 EU states, EU officials said, suggesting long negotiations before a compromise can be reached.
Talks on budgets are usually among the most divisive in an EU increasingly prone to quarrels. The member states are deeply split over economic policies, financial reforms and how to handle migrants.

DEEP SPLIT
The Finnish proposal, which cuts spending on farmers and poorer regions, has managed to unite the divided EU leaders in their criticism.
“The text has caused nearly unanimous dissatisfaction,” a diplomat involved in the talks said.
New, expensive policies, such as protecting its borders and increasing social security, have been enacted, but states are reluctant to pay more.
Germany and other Nordic supporters of a smaller budget argue that because of Brexit, they would pay more into the EU even with a 1% cap because they would need to compensate for the loss of Britain.
Eastern and southern states, who benefit from EU funds on poorer regions and agriculture, want a bigger budget and are not happy with Finland’s proposed cuts on these sectors.
Under the proposal, subsidies to poor regions would drop to less than 30% of the budget from 34% now. Aid to farmers would fall to slightly more than 30% from over 35% of the total.
To complicate matters, the new budget should also include rules that would suspend funding to member states with rule-of-law shortcomings, such as limits on media freedom or curbs on the independence of judges.
This is irking states like Poland and Hungary, which Brussels has accused of breaches in the rule of law after judiciary and media reforms adopted by their right-wing governments.
Friday’s meeting was not supposed to find a compromise, but divisions are so deep that many officials fear a deal may not be reached by a self-imposed December deadline. A later deal would delay the launch of spending programs.
The Finns remained confident, however, and insist their suggested spending range would eventually be backed by EU states. “The fact that almost everybody is against our text shows we have put forward a fair proposal,” one diplomat said.