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EU divided over handling of migrants, refugee crisis deepens

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Roszke, Hungary: As the number of migrants entering Hungary through the Balkans saw a record increase, Austria suspended the cross-border train services on Thursday.

Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com
Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com

Germany which has already accepted around 450,000 migrants this year, has warned that the EU’s efforts to distribute 160,000 new arrivals among the member states is only “a drop in the ocean”, according to a report in the Times of India.

Germany has urged the 28-nation group to go further. German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said: “The distribution of 160,000 refugees across Europe is a first step if one wants to be polite.”

Meanwhile, the eastern members of the EU, as well as those in the frontline of the migrant influx, are putting forward stiff opposition to the EU’s migrant-distribution plans. They have refused to accept any binding quota from EU.

In light of the refugee crisis, Romania President Klaus Iohannis has said: “It is inappropriate to talk about mandatory quotas, calculated on an extremely bureaucratic basis, almost like an accountancy exercise I might say, without consulting member states,” as quoted in a TOI report.

The Greek island of Lesbos has registered around 22,500 refugees since Monday evening. In Hungary, 3,321 refugees rushed to the country on Thursday before a strict anti-migrant law comes into effect.

Austria had to suspend its train operations to Hungary due to massive overcrowding. The UN refugee agency has warned that at least 42,000 refugees are likely to enter Hungary next week.

EU interior ministers are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the easing out of the mounting pressure on the border members by distributing the refugees across the block.

EU lawmakers have called for an international conference with the United Nations, US, and Arab countries to discuss the issue of migration amid the Syrian refugee crisis.

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EU Expresses Concern Over Facebook Losing Data

Under GDPR, companies can be fined up to four percent of annual global turnover if they fail to abide by the rules.

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This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA

The EU’s top data privacy enforcer expressed worry Tuesday that Facebook had lost control of data security after a vast privacy breach that she said affected five million Europeans.

“It is a question for the management, if they have things under control,” EU Justice and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova told AFP in Luxembourg.

“The magnitude of the company … makes it very difficult to manage, but they have to do that because they are harvesting the data and they are making incredible money on using our privacy as the commodity,” she added.

Facebook
This Feb. 19, 2014, photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Jourova spoke just days after Facebook admitted that up to 50 million user accounts around the world had been breached by hackers, in yet another scandal for the beleaguered social platform.

“I will know more … in hours or days but according to our knowledge, five million Europeans have been affected out of those 50, which is an incredible number,” she said.

Jourova said Facebook’s quick revelation of the case demonstrated that new European rules on data protection implemented earlier this year are working.

New EU rules – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – have been billed as the biggest shake-up of privacy regulations since the birth of the web and give European regulators vast new enforcement powers.

Facebook
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

The case for GDPR was boosted by another recent scandal over the harvesting of Facebook users’ data by Cambridge Analytica, a US-British political research firm, for the 2016 US presidential election.

Jourova said the worst cases involve a company finding a major breach then failing to warn authorities or their users, which she said doesn’t appear to be the case in the latest Facebook drama.

Also Read: The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Under GDPR, companies can be fined up to four percent of annual global turnover if they fail to abide by the rules, including notification of the data breach within 72 hours.

Facebook met this requirement, Jourova pointed out, which “is one of the factors which might result in lower sanctions, but this is only theoretical”. (VOA)