Source: Hospital Infections In Greece
Hope is on the way , was Alexis Tsipras’ slogan that brought him to power in January 2015
While two years later, Greek PM saw “light in the end of the tunnel”, as he said on his New Years Eve message,- exactly as his predecessor Antonis Samaras did, precisely two Januaries earlier ,before his fall,- Greeks showed to be more pessimistic than ever about the country’ s economic prospects and their own finances in the coming year, according to survey conducted on last days of last year
Find it on our Festive Season 2016/17 HomePage
Greek Finance Minister officially declared the country’s “adherence”, “compliance” and “faithfulness” to Greece’s creditors by his apology letter sent to promise that Tsipras’ government will never give any relief to the poorest of the country without the creditors permission.
But before that , he cleverly chose to show his bravery to the Greek audience- and only- , reminding …
Find it also on our Christmas 2016 Home Page
ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.
In one short statement,
1) He identified “Islamist terrorists” by name, directly associating them with ISIS.
2) He specified that their victims have often been Christians, here during the Christmas season, and at other times, in their places of worship.
3) He declared war on these terrorists, asking “all freedom-loving partners” to join him in the battle, thereby opening the door to so-called moderate Islamic nations to join us in the battle.
4) He used the term “global jihad,” again with specific reference to Islamic terror.
The significance of this can hardly be exaggerated.
The UK Mirror reminded that “Europe was warned that ISIS planned terror attacks at Christmas markets 25 days before the Berlin atrocity.”
“The attack came after intelligence agencies warned in November that terrorists are planning a wave of Christmas attacks throughout Europe, targeting shopping areas and crowded market-places to maximise casualties. The main groups plotting Yuletide blood-letting are Islamic State and al-Qaeda and UK intelligence agencies and counter-terror police are on high-alert.”
ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the Berlin massacre, which means that we have:
1) Islamic terrorists stating that they will launch Christmas attacks against Christians in Europe;
2) a terror attack taking place against Christians at a Christmas market in Germany; and
3) ISIS taking responsibility for that attack.
For ISIS entrance to Europe and more about the migrant /safety issue through Greece, go to our Special Page by Greek to me
visit our article Source: ‘Islamist Terrorists Continually Slaughter Christians’: Trump Says What Obama Refused to Say | The Stream
The UK is to send a team of experts to Greece to help root out economic migrants from the flow of refugees coming into Europe, allowing them to be sent back quicker, as it has been revealed ahead of the EU summit .
The British officials will take part in the pilot fast-tracking deportation for those not thought to be refugees, …
Go to our Greek to me ! article
Find more for migrants’ smuggling to Europe through Greece on our updated special page
Greek police and the UNHCR is investigating possible ties to terrorist groups in Syria of the man who was arrested abusing a chid in the camp of Chios, which he claimed was his own child after the release in social media of a shocking video footage of the Syrian tormenting the young boy in the showers at the Souda refugee camp…
Go to our fully detailed article by Greek to me !
Find it also in the updated Aegean Refugee No Way Out special page by Greek2m
It is considered dangerous to walk alone in the areas close to Greece’s hot spots and refugee camps, which are located all around Greece, and especialy in the North Aegean islands . Read the Guidelines of the alarming document sent officially by the Greek Mnistry of Defense to the Armed Forces personel on our Greek to me ! Newsblog article
Find this in our Special Page Aegean islands No Way Out
Investigation held by the Greek authorities in cooperation with secret services of Italy, Norway, Germany and other EU countries provided details for jihadists recruitments in Greece over the Internet, empowered also by the presence of ISIS chief terrorists in Athens
Read our fully updated article on greek2m.org
Go to our greek2m.org Newsblog article
Go to our article by greek2m Newsblog
Source: Greek to me ! Newsblog article
The European Parliament Vice President, an MEP of Alexis Tsipras’ governing party in Greece D. Papadimoulis, characterized
“Severe negative development for the whole planet,”
the election of Donald Trump, in a statement to Athens News Agency soon after the US Elections result was wolrdwide officially announced…
Go to our Full Greek to me ! Article
The third consecutive resignation within seven months has sent, reportedly, the Secretary General for Migration Policy Mr. Vasilis Papadopoulos, denounces the situation in the Greek islands “with the ever growing concentration of migrant and refugee population”, following the example of the previous Secretary General Odysseas Voudouris who resigned nearly two months ago …..
Read more: Greek to me ! Newsblog article
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Source: Greek to me ! article
the 24/7 moodhacking Mobile Guide to navigate your way to Greek Health, Wellness and Happiness and keep you informed for your safety in Greece. Click, Sense and stay.
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There were voices saying that Europe should build fences and walls, said the Greek PM in his statements…
No one told the residents of the North Aegean islands, nor the rest of the Greeks, not even the refugees and migrants that apply for asylum, that they are strictly obliged to stay in this island because the agreement restricts any movement of the incomers further than the natural boundaries of the island set by the sea
But how many are the refugees in Lesvos ? How many the migrants? Are they segregated ?
Not at all as it seems
In a meeting held on Thursday September 22 by the EKEPY, the National Operation Center of Health for the response refugees accommodation in Lesvos after the fires, governmental authorities announced that the fires in the hotspot of Lesvos were set up…. Go to greek2m.org article
“Turks landed on Pserimos island!”, a rumor based on a deposition of a local resident that he saw some “shadows” moving on the island…
AIDS is the biggest killer of young women in southern Africa, where many are sexually abused. The CEO of a nonprofit ,Jeda Rosenberg, is trying to tip the balance to women with an unlikely tool: a vaginal ring.
Most important, Rosenberg says, it’s secretive.
“No one knows you have it. And it doesn’t interfere with the sexual experience,” Rosenberg says. “It can help a woman control her body and her health without necessarily challenging the man.”
Rosenberg has been working on the ring for more than a decade. She finally has evidence that it works.
At the International AIDS Conference this week in Durban, she and her colleagues announced results from a big clinical study of 2,600 women. The ring was up to 70 percent effective at stopping HIV when women wore it regularly.
Rosenberg is now trying to get the World Health Organization to approve the ring. She hopes to have it available for all women by 2018.
Source, by the NPR: New Clinical Study Shows Vaginal Ring Up To 70 Percent Effective At Stopping HIV : Goats and Soda : NPR
Visit our Special Page by Greek to me , on the studies for HIV explosion in Athens
With U.S. forces (and nuclear weapons*) housed at Incirlik Air Base, the relationship between Ankara and Washington is critical — and delicate.
The Turkish officers who have already sought political asylum in Greece were not indicted with attempt to disrupt the country’s international relations, something that as one of the suspects’ lawyers said, would offer to some to consider the need for their extradition to Turkey imperative.
The charge could not stand because they did not come to raise a problem to the country.
It is in fact a situation that has stressed Greece’s diplomacy response with major diconfort, since Greece, by Alexis Tsipras government is the country that has raised, more than any other country, the issue of the human rights of Political Asylum Request….
The identity of the Turkish passengers of the helicopter is not yet known, and it is worth notifying that all the seven militants have “dismantled” their grades of their uniforms, so as to not let being obvious their rank on the Turkish army
WARSAW, Poland July 9 – President Barack Obama met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Warsaw on Saturday, the White House said.
“The president commended Greece’s cooperation with Turkey to reduce irregular migration and encouraged longer-term U.S.-Greece defense cooperation,” a White House official said, Reuters wrote .
Go to our Newsblog article by Greek to me !
the 24/7 moodhacking Mobile Guide to navigate your way to Greek Health, Wellness and Happiness, and keep you informed for your Safety in Greece.
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According to a large recent comparative study on 15 European countries Athens is proved to be more fatal than the majority of the rest of European cities under heat wave temperatures, becomes more fatal as the mercury goes up, per 1°C increase, and even more dangerous and fatal per day of the heat prolonged period, and even more harmful as the ozone and air pollution prises rise
Go to our original article by Greek to me !
the 24/7 moodhacking Mobile Guide to navigate your way to Greek Health and Happiness. This is Greek to me ! Click, Sense and stay. Follow Greece, share Greek2m!
Two clusters of gastroenteritis infections in Greece this year have set on Alert Greece’s authorities and the Greek CDC. Protect your self, know which are the safe choices for your food and drink in Greece, and enjoy the tips for natural remedies and antiseptics . Visit our Special Page, Safe Food Not Diarrhea
Source: Greek to me !
The 24/7 moodhacking Mobile Guide to navigate your way to Greek Health and Happiness, and keep you updated on Traveler’s Health information and safety tips forGreece . Click, Sense and stay. Follow Greece, share Greek2m!
Russian President asked for privacy during the last hours of his trip to Mount Athos in Greece, and for personal pilgrimage time at the Garden of Virgin Mary, and especially during his visit to the Russian Monastery
“I am glad to have the opportunity to visit again in Athos, which is rightly called the Garden of the Virgin Mary,” Russian President said at the Mount Athos’ administrative center of Karyes, and stressed that “every man who walks on this earth of prayer, brings particular feelings.”
“The Holy Mountain is a unique defender of Orthodoxy,” Vladimir Putin said, praising the Mount Athos’ role in the strengthening of Christianity.
“We look forward to the establishment of relations with the Holy Mountain” concluded expressing his pleasure for that ” each year more and more visiting pilgrims from Russia.”
The Russian head of state head privately to the St. Panteleimon monastery, after the official welcome ceremony at Karyes, where he was welcomed by the Religious leaders and the Greek President , and lighted a candle and kissed the holy icon at Protaton church .
At St Panteleimon monastery, which is inhabited by Russian monks, President Putin was met by the 102-year-old abbot Jeremiah and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Abbot Jeremiah is the older among all monks in the Athos society. Those who have met him say that he might become a Saint due to his special spiritual value. Greek media reported that he is the “spiritual father” (pnevmatikos) of President Putin
Putin has arrived at the monastic center of Holy Mount Athos on his second and last day of his visit to Greece on Saturday afternoon. He visited Mount Athos’ administrative center of Karyes, and the Protaton church which is under the ownership of the Holy Kinot, Athos’ high governing council.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos welcomed Vladimir Putin alongside local religious dignitaries, followed by a short service at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Putin then addressed members of the Holy Kinot stressing the importance of strengthening relations between Russia and Mount Athos , for the religious strength that this would provide to the Russian people
Russia and Greece celebrate 2016 as a cross-cultural year, marking the millennial anniversary since the first Russian settlement on the Holy Mount Athos.
Mount Athos is a peninsula in northeastern Greece with 20 monasteries – 17 Greek, one Russian named after St. Panteleimon, one Bulgarian and one Serbian. The 20 monasteries rule Athos through their representatives that make up the Holy Kinot.
Vladimir Putin arrived in Greece for his two-day visit on Friday. During his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras,
the Greek leader said that strengthening ties between Moscow and Athens is the “strategic choice” of the Greek nation.
The Russian leader, during his speeches in Athens on Friday, but also on Mount Athos on Saturday,
repeatedly underscored that Russia and Greece have common civilization values and Orthodox culture.
Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill had already arrived since Friday on Mount Athos to join Vladimir Putin during his visit today.
It is not the first time Putin is visiting Athos. Actually,during his visit to Greece in September 2005, he was the first Russian leader to visit the holy place.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens on Friday.
Jointly with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, Vladimir Putin visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens and attended the opening of the exhibition of the Ascension icon painted by Andrei Rublev in 1408, which is part of the State Tretyakov Gallery’s collection.
The first collection of the museum, which was officially opened in 1914, was put together by the councillor to Queen Olga of the Hellenes (before marriage Grand Duchess Olga Romanova), founder of the Christian Archaeological Society George Lambakis.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to attend the opening of this unique exhibition of the Ascension icon, a masterpiece from the collection of Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. This is a work by a great icon-painter, monk Andrei Rublev.
Andrei Rublev took his inspiration from the cultural and religious heritage of Byzantium, whose spiritual successor Greece is. Having mastered various elements and techniques of Byzantine artists, Rublev was able to add to and enrich them. Mr Prime Minister highlighted the Russian style of this icon.
For a long time, the name of Andrei Rublev was known only to specialists. It was only in the 20th century that his art gained broader recognition. Only five of his works, five icons, have survived. The Ascension is one of them. It exudes a sense of harmony and a balance of form that are inherent to the artist. The icon was painted in the early 15th century during the restoration of the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir.
I would also like to highlight that the exhibition is held as part of the cross-cultural years of Russia and Greece, whose launches the President of Greece and I declared in Moscow in January. I am sure that many more memorable events will be held in the course of this extensive project.
Religious Diplomacy, notes Le Monde
“Vladimir Putin is the president of a country where the constitution proclaims the separation of church and state. At the same time, he is a religious person, taking into account his planned visit to Mount Athos, one of the most important orthodox holy places,” the article read.
Vladimir Putin’s cooperation with Tsipras may break the anti-Russian unanimity within the European Union. Greek Prime Mnister Alexis Tsipras, since he assumed his post has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions against Russia.
The Russian president and Patriarch Kirill have a common mission during their visit to Greece, the article noted.
Ahead of the visit, Vladimir Putin wrote an article that was published by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini , where the Russian leader underlined that
throughout different epochs religion and patriotism have helped the Russian and Greek peoples preserve their identity .
He added that Russia is indispensable for Europe.
“An alliance between state and church is becoming more and more visible in Russia,” the article read.
Recently, the Russian Orthodox Church proposed to establish a new monetary organization controlled by all countries.
According to Le Figaro, thus the Church criticized global dollar and euro dominance.
Visit our updated on #PutininGreece Gree2m Special HomePage
Aleksandr Dugin, the chief ideologist of the Kremlin-backed “Eurasian” doctrine has been denied entry into the European Union after arriving at the Greek airport of Thessaloniki.
Dugin is not on the EU sanctions list, but he was put last year on the US black list because of his affiliation with an ultranationalist group that Washington says has “actively recruited individuals with military and combat experience to fight on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.”
On May 17, Greek border guards refused to let Dugin enter the country after he arrived in Thessaloniki.
Dugin said he was stopped from entering the EU at the request of Hungarian authorities. He told the conservative, religious-themed TV channel Tsargrad, where he serves as editor in chief, that he had been “deported” from Greece.
Dugin has been courting both left-wing and extreme right-wing political groups in Hungary, Greece, and Romania, where he is popular among ultra-nationalists. He said he had wanted to visit Mount Athos in anticipation of Vladimir Putin’s planned visit together with the Russian patriarch Kirill.
Dugin said his “deportation” was “weird”, given that he had traveled freely in the EU in recent months.
Beginning of May, a group of Russian journalists were denied entry in Estonia, where the authorities annulled their Schengen visas.
Source: NEW EUROPE
The British paedophile imprisoned now in Greece, was torturing and raping young victims which he kept in the basement of his his villa in Crete. He was popular among local expat community though…
For the people in the tourist resort of Tavronitis, Douglas Barr was a retired rugby player and former pub owner, who relocated to Crete in 2007, in order to spend the later years of his life under the Greek sun. Burly and outgoing, the 56-year-old was in good terms with the members of the Brit expat community of the small town, always up for fun and games. Now this community is waking up to face the dark truth. Behind the friendly neighbour facade, was hiding a violent monster, a gun-obsessed rapist who locked and tortured children in the basement of his villa, the Mirror describes
It all unravelled when Barr was arrested in January last year following a dispute over a car crash he was involved in with a neighbour. After drunk-driving into the parked car of Florist Danai Dagunakis, 28, the man responded to her complains by threatening her with a gun. One of the witnesses recognised her assailant and decided to step up and confront him.
This led to another confession, made by another victim to one of Barr’s neighbours, who alerted the British consulate. Both testimonies were heard during the trial that ensued, describing how Barr locked the children in his dark basement lair, tortured them, shaved their heads and eybrows and repeatedly abused them.
“The psychological and physical violence against these children paints a picture of a villain which not even Charles Dickens could have imagined”, said the attorney presenting the case in court, who described Barr as “the definition of barbarity”.
It is understood the abuse stretched back a number of years. The allegations sparked an international investigation, which involved council officials in Leeds, where Barr and his wife Julie had previously lived, raising no concerns about his behaviour. However, according to the Leeds Council officials, an anonymous letter had been sent in August 2014, accusing Barr of the horrific actions; it was then passed to the Greek authorities for further investigation. The two countries have been co-investigating the case since.
Adding insult to injury, it was revealed In court that Barr – who had never played for the Leeds Rhinos, as he had claimed – was living off welfare, funding his lifestyle courtesy of British taxpayers. It was estimated that he could have been receiving up to £4,500 ($8,740) a month in benefits.
He was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He will serve in one of the toughest prisons in Greece, among fellow sex offenders, people traffickers and drug dealers. As a result of the ongoing financial crisis in Greece, prisons face severe cuts and the Grevena jail has become infamous in recent years for chronic overcrowding, food shortages and brutal prisoner beatings.
source: Mirror, Daily Mail, Neos Kosmos
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors jihadi communications traffic, has reported finding an article published by Al-Wafa that says Hungary is a possible target of Islamic State terrorist. The article says:
“Today It Is Brussels and [Its] Airport, and tomorrow it might be Portugal and Hungary”.
The Hungary Times online reported that nearly two-thirds of Hungarians (65%) consider it possible that Hungary can be the target of a terrorist attack. This is based on the findings of a new public opinion poll conducted by the Hungarian think tank NézőpontIntézet.
Go to source: New Europe article
Yes, you could have met this while walking in Greece, just in front of your eyes, or upon your head. A Goat Hanging in the Air, By Its Horns, From The Power Line
And actually, that was the surreal sight that greeted a group of guys near the village of Sykourio in central Greece last Wednesday.
The men activated an “emergency rescue operation” and saved the goat which was dangling from its horns dozens of feet above a steep hill.
They pushed a ladder into a nearby tree. One of the men who climbed up, tied a rope to the goat’s leg and threw it over to his friend standing further up the hillside. The rescuer dragged the goat back to firmer ground.
The goat appeared to be unharmed, leaving everyone speechless about how did it make it to get trapped on the power line in the first place.
And it is not the first time .
Look at this unique photo taken in Central Greece, a couple decades ago.
Watch Men Rescue Goat Hanging By Its Horns From Power Line by the footage posted online
Sources: Huffington Post, Ethnos Press
URGENT! Situation escalates warns the UNHCR
With increasing border restrictions across the Balkans, the UNHCR agency has early warned for the escalation of the situation into a humanitarian crisis similar to that on the Greek islands last autumn, and especially Lesvos .
Solving Europe’s refugees and migrants’ situation and preventing a new crisis in Greece (which has meanwhile occured, thoug, just in a few hours, as soon as borders closed, after the 7th of March), requires a number of clear actions, Adrian Edwards,UNHCR spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva.
Emergency Actions required
Among the most urgent of these actions when it comes to Greece is the need for
- better contingency planning,
- with increased accommodation capacity
- and other support.
“The authorities are trying to respond now to prevent a further deterioration of conditions throughout Greece.
But, more resources and better coordination are critical for averting wider suffering and chaos,” Edwards stressed.
UNHCR is continuing to support the response operation and has set up field offices in eight locations and deployed additional staff including mobile emergency teams who quickly move to wherever the changing situation demands.
registration and asylum
UNHCR is urging the Greek authorities with the support of the European Asylum Support Office and EU Member States to strongly reinforce its capacity to register and process asylum seekers through the national asylum procedure, as well as through the European relocation scheme.
In the overall management of the situation will also help, the UNHR has said,
- Increased regular pathways for admission of refugees from countries neighbouring Syria
- More resettlement and humanitarian admission,
- family reunification,
- private sponsorship, and
- humanitarian and refugee student and work visas
UNHCR will convene an important conference on this topic in Geneva on 30 March and hopes for concrete offers in this regard.
All the above measures serve to reduce demand for people smuggling, onward movements, and dangerous boat journeys. They thus save lives.
UNHCR spokesman underlined.
relocation in question
” It should concern everyone that despite commitments to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece, states have so far only pledged 1,539 spaces, and only 325 actual relocations have occurred,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards underlined.
Not a “Safe country ” is Turkey …
The FIDH Worldwide Movement for Human Rights strongly condemned by an official Organization Press Release, the EU States’ and Governments’ decesion of March 7, along with the Trurkish Government, and called on the EU and its member States to stop trying to push migrants away at all costs, stop bartering migrants as goods, but create instead legal and safe channels including through increasing their unconditional resettlement capacities.
the cynical ‘migrant swap’
With the help of NATO, the EU will ‘return all new irregular migrants’ crossing the Aegean Sea to Turkey. Given that migrants reaching Europe are mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis in need of international protection, FIDH is worried that these people will not have access to a fair and effective asylum process
According to the plan, the EU would resettle a Syrian from Turkey for every Syrian returned to Turkey
The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive., codemns FIDH President, Karim Lahidji
‘The announced ‘migrant swap’ shows once again the EU complete lack of consideration for migrants’ dignity and rights. Do we have to remind the EU and Turkish leaders that they are not bartering goods but dealing with human beings, some of them in urgent need of protection? The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive.’
According to EU Heads of State and Government, for this plan to be ‘legal’, Europe must grant a ‘safe country’ status to Turkey.
‘Under no circumstances can Turkey be considered a ‘safe country’ for migrants. The EU’s decision to turn a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation and the lack of an adequate asylum system does not mean it is a safe country. Refugees may be at risk of deportation, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This decision only sadly shows that in order to outsource its responsibilities, the EU is caving in to Turkish blackmail using migrants as bargaining chips.’’
“Decision to exclude #Afghans violates summit agreement”, said @imouzalas, “though it was not a written one…” We are trapped.
Those kind of “individual” countries’ decisions in its territory, Europe proves to be unable to handle, or avoid. Greece will pay the unbearable, unthinkable cost , but we should definitely have a plan, said @imouzalas , Monday 22, the closed-FYROM- #borders day .
See more on vima article Mouzalas: “Decision to exclude Afghans violates summit agreement”
According to the draft Council implementing decision that set the 50 points Recommendation for Greece to address deficiencies identified by the European Commission in the 2015 Schengen evaluation, vacationers on crusie ships or yachts should also be checked on the Aegean islands of Greece, among other measures on refugees identification and relocation proceedures.
Greece’s Urgent to-do List
The draft was leaked by Satewatch, the European civil liberties watchdog.These are some points :
irregular migrants not to be allowed to stay or enter EU countries
Greece should “clearly state in the documents of ‘suspension of removal’ which are provided to the irregular migrants during the registration process, that the document does not give the irregular migrant the right to stay and enter other member states, and include, where necessary, certain obligations aimed at avoiding the risk of absconding”, the paper reads.
illegal immigrants to be returned
The Council also asks Greece to immediately start the procedures for returning illegal immigrants who do not apply for asylum and are not in need of international protection, and rapidly transfer them to Turkey in accordance with the bilateral readmission agreement between Athens and Ankara.
Athens to safeguard surveillance on whole sea border
Athens is also asked to improve sea border surveillance by creating an integrated and effective coastal surveillance system covering the “whole” sea border between Greece and Turkey.
“The surveillance system should provide the possibility to detect all vessels, including small boats that are crossing the sea border from Turkey to Greece; in order to identify, detect and apprehend illegal border crossers, the system should be supported by an offshore element: offshore patrol boats and vessels, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and other means, as well as a sufficient number of land patrols on the island.”
first line border guards on alert
The recommendation also says that Greece should familiarise first line border guards with foreign terrorist fighters risk indicators, as well as consider cooperating with the Turkish border control authorities at the local level “as it exists at the land border with Turkey”.
checks on crusie ships and pleasure yachts
The recommendation provides for checks on cruise ships based on the crew and passenger list, and on pleasure yachts coming from third countries at a border crossing points
Since the end of January 2016, the European civil liberties watchdog Statewatch, had also released confidential documents revealing the European Union plans to criminalize charities and volunteers who help refugees arriving on Greek islands.
The documents revealed that EU interior ministers who met in Amsterdam on January 27, 2016 want to criminalize as “smugglers” charities, local people, volunteers and scores of international humanitarians who have traveled to Greece to help pull drowning refugees from the sea and feed and offer dry clothes as they land on Greek island, Euractiv wrote.
Instead, the Council wants to create a state-run mechanism that forces people to register and work under EU-sanctioned rescue and relief plans, added Euractiv
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, stated that
“The (European) Council proposals would criminalise NGOs, local people and volunteers who have worked heroically to welcome refugees when the EU institutions did nothing, while other plans would incorporate those who “register” with the police to work under state structures. In a humane and caring EU it should not be necessary to “register” to offer help and care to people who have suffered so much already.”
Right-wing Germany asking for shootings
Frauke Petry, leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that Germany needed to reduce the influx through agreements with neighbouring Austria and a reinforcement of the EU’s external borders.
Deterrence includes the use of armed force ,Frauke Petry said
She said it should not be shy about turning people back and creating “border protection installations” – and that border guards should, if necessary, shoot at migrants trying to enter illegally.
Merkel’s promise to turn All refugees back
Mrs Merkel has said: “We need … to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once ISIS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained.”
Mrs Merkel said 70 per cent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned.
She urged other European countries to offer more help “because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring”.
Greek Minister :Nato will blow the smigglers networks
“[The smugglers] have used networks, infrastructure, the sea, and land roads through which they have been trafficking weapons, drugs, human trafficking, and cigarettes in the Mediterranean,”
Alternate Minister of Greecce’s International Affairs , Xydakis stressed today talking to the Euractiv.
Referring to NATO’s role in Aegean, Xydakis said: “We know that NATO’s military assistance will be a deterrence means, it cannot rescue but it can collect information and deal a blow to smugglers.”
Asked by EurActiv whether that could take place at sea, the Greek official said that operations should also take place in the coastal areas of Turkey.
“As long as Turkey is part of NATO, we believe that something positive could happen. We need to break the smugglers network.”
Europeanising the Hotspots
Belgian Interior Minister Theo Francken said that Greece “clearly lacks” the ability to handle the situation and that is why he called for the “Europeanisation of the hotspots in Greece.”
In essence, the Minister suggested that hotspots should act as a European waiting room, from where migrants that are not entitled to international protection (asylum) are returned to their country of origin.
Theo Francken for whom the Greek Migration Minister Mouzalas revealed that he told him to “drive them back into the sea; go against the law; I’m sorry, but I do not care if they drown.”
The EU Commission is to blame. Nothing was done 3-4 years ago
Europe is on the brink of collapse due to the “foolish and short-minded illusions” of EU member states, Gianni Pittella is the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) chief in the European Parliament said in an interview on Euractiv.
We are now facing the crumbling of Schengen, because nothing was done 3-4 years ago, when Greece and Italy were saving people from drowing in the Mediterranean, to the general indifference of all other member states. Having said this, we should all thank Greece for continuing to save thousands of refugees on an everyday basis, despite its difficult economic outlook. I do believe that Greek authorities must be helped concretely by Europe in order to fill gaps in the registration process. Again and again, selfish national rhetoric means that member states continue to look at the finger rather than the moon. Greece is not the problem.
The problem stems from the fact that the relocation system doesn’t work, nobody knows where to go, and who should pay, to return those who have no right for refugee status. The outdated Dublin system must be revised and Frontex has not yet started supporting member states in the control of external borders. Do we want to blame Greece for this? That’s a far too simplistic a response.
Honestly, the EU Commission has delivered here. Who is lagging behind? Who is not living up with the expectations? The member states.
Europe risks collapse as a result of the foolish and short minded illusion that we can face this problem by raising walls, closing borders, setting thresholds, discriminating on the basis of religion, or building a mini-Schengen.
Let’s start by penalising non-cooperation and rewarding those who cooperate.
“Schengen countries are just watching “, Mayor of Lesvos to CNN
But instead of financial support, the European Union is now slamming Greece, claiming that it has not acted properly to patrol the continent’s borders.aid Spyros Galinos, Mayor of Lesvos, talking recently to the CNN
“The Schengen countries are just watching this crime happening in the world and they didn’t take any action when it was happening”
Historically, Greece prefers a peaceful diplomacy to neighbor Turkey. Often, this becomes even friendly. Truth is , that this peaceful intention makes sometimes Greece’s stance to seem almost “speechless”
The Greek Prime Minister’s office said Greece’s government “strongly complained via the diplomatic path that such claims are absolutely unacceptable according to the international law” and chose to not further raise tensions.
The e-mailed statement verifies reports in local media, Xinqua today , (ten days later) wrote, that on Feb. 6 Ankara prevented the aircraft from landing on the Greek island of Rhodes for refueling and then continuing its trip to Teheran flying over Turkish airspace.
Turkish authorities argued that the plane was considered a military aircraft since it had military pilots,
therefore could not land on Rhodes and then fly over Turkey, since “the island is a demilitarized zone.” Athens does not recognize the claim.
Ankara suggested the plane ( reminding, which was carrying the Greek PM) to land for refueling in Turkey instead of the Greek island Rhodes for which the Greek Air plan was suggesting, and then continue the journey with Ankara’s overflight permission
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos elaborated speaking to Greek Star TV on Nikos Hatzini9koloaou New show , answering to questions of Defense Reporter Paris Karvounopoulos.
The incident, by the way, occurred opn the special timing of the two countires Greece and Turkey’s historic agreement to cooperate under NATO’s umbrella in the Aegean Sea to manage the refugee flows from Turkey to Europe.
“We ALL need to find us a good … national psychologist!”
comments Paris Karvounopoulos on his article in the new Militaire.gr site on GreekDefense and Military Affairs.
“To address the “tourkophobia” , the credible reporter explains , “which has held for decades Greece’s position on a not-at-all-provocative response to any aggressive or furious provocation from Turkey’s side that could be shown. But let’s not get it to the edge,” Karvouynopoulos adds, “and find oursleves always willingly to do all Ankara’s favors”.
“How could be, a Greek Prime Minister himself not to be allowed to land the PM airplane on Greek land. And finally, Prime Minister of Greece’s alternative flight plan to choose to avoid “any type of crash”, by dissmissing landing on the Greek island and choosing another route…”
Instead of submitting a new flight plan to Ankara that would circumvent Rhodes, the PM’s plane eventually flew to Egypt for refueling and then continued over Cyprus, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to reach Iran, the PM’s office today’s statement added.
Mr Tsipras had to land on the Greek island, Paris Karvounopoulos insists . “Prime Minister had to ignore completely the Turkish absurdity and land in Rhodes. As simple as that”.
Recently, Ankara has taken a series of “landmark” challenges that can not be ignored militaire.gr article notes. “Our islands and Aegean regions’ sovereignity is systematically questioned, the “demilitarization” of the Dodecanese is boldy highlighted, even ,now, the … Prime Empraer! NOTAM which denies everything and especially the “logic” of the Aegean, even on the same moments that Greece is looking to find its heroes dead……. The Athens side remains consistently … silent.”
The next impenetrable razor-wire border fence in Europe should be built on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria’s borders with Greece, according Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the AP wrote.
Orban says it’s necessary because “Greece can’t defend Europe from the south” against the large numbers of refugees pouring in, mainly from Syria and Iraq”.
The plan adds another physical barrier between Greece and countries used as passage for asylum seekers and migrants to Europe’s 26-nation passport-free travel region, the Schengen zone, that is considered one of the European Union’s most cherished achievements. But it is the countries that are newer members to the European Union, and that are just recently enjoying what it means to be in a free Western zone, actually what it means to be the West, in modern and older political civilization, and live without borders as a European citizen . They were countries that lived behind razor soviet borders for almost 7 decades. Ex soviet countries.
As reported by AP, it is one of the new mini-blocs emerging lately in Europe due to the continent’s chaotic, inadequate response to its largest migration crisis since World War Two. The Visegrad group (an alliance of four Central European states – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) is also becoming a force that threatens the plans of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wants to resettle newcomers across the continent while also slowing down the influx.
“The plan to build a new ‘European defence line’ along the border of Bulgaria and [FYROM] with Greece is a major foreign policy initiative for the Visegrad Four and an attempt to re-establish itself as a notable political force within the EU,”
said Vit Dostal, an analyst with the Association for International Affairs, a Prague-based think tank.
Representatives of these four countries are holding an informal meeting ahead of the European Union summit on February 18 and 19.
Germany’s Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she would press for implementation of the EU’s migration deal with Turkey at the summit this week, saying the alternative of closing borders to limit the flow of refugees to Europe would have dire consequences for the bloc.
“I will fight with all my strength for the EU-Turkey agenda as the right way to tackle this,”
the German Chancellor stressed Speaking at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Merkel said the summit was about whether the EU-Turkey pact could successfully tackle the causes of the migration, or
whether the bloc should “give up and instead close the Greek-FYROM-Bulgarian border with all the consequences that would have for Greece, the European Union and the Schengen zone.”
On Monday, February 15, the representative of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas had made clear that
the EU’s response to the refugee crisis will be in cooperation with Greece and not against Greece,
invited to comment on the meeting of the “Visegrad four” with governments of FYROM and Bulgaria, to promote the proposal for the closing of borders to Greece.
Shinas emphasized that based on the latest Commission figures, there is significant progress in the registration of refugees and migrants in Greece.
Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kamenos announced on Tuesday that Greece has met its deadlines and commitment to EU to have the hot spots ready before February 18th,and that the four five hotspots were already functioning .
Spokesperson for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship of European Commission Tove Ernst, also, stressed at a press conference:
“Any action to the FYROM border will be undertaken in cooperation with the Greek authorities and Frontex”.
Ernst Tove said that an additional EUR 10 million of European aid was given to FYROM, in order to improve the management of migration flows at its borders and in particular for the better systematic controls and better monitoring of the borders and identification and registration of third countries nationals.
She stressed though that this aid is not to finance the construction of any fence,
“the work of the Commission is aimed at the management of the border and not on closing them”.
In regard with the construction of hotspots in the Greek islands, Tove expressed the Commission’s satisfaction with the work in progress .
In Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Zaimpert reiterated that the main priority for Berlin is to improve the guarding of the European Union’s external borders as a prerequisite for the maintenance of Schengen.
“From the perspective of the German government, it remains imperative to improve the guarding of EU’s external borders. This is the main requirement to put in order and to control and eventually reduce the flow of refugees’,
adding that “Without effective guard of external borders, the freedom of movement within the Schengen area will be jeopardized”
German spokesman Steffen Zaimpert added that “when we talk about a European solution, we mean a solution of the whole of Europe, which (solution) does not bypass any european country nor is it against an individual member state”.
Commenting the article of Sigmar Gabriel, to which the German Vice-Chancellor is against the possibility of the exclusion of Greece from the Schengen, he said: “I understood the text of Sigmar Gabriel as a very strong advocacy for european solutions – for european rather than national solutions. And this is a fundamental belief of the government”.
Strengthening the control on the Bulgarian-Greek and Greek-FYROM borders will not lead to a solution for Europe but will result only in a change of migration routes,
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov also, had said on February 15 in Prague.
Borissov was in the Czech Republic capital as a guest at a meeting of the Visegrad Group – made up of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – at which the migrant crisis in Europe was the key agenda item.
Greek Prime Minister’s Office earlier last week had strongly denounced the Visegrad countries’ blame game .Go to this story
Visit our Aegean Borders Special Page on greek2m
sources: sofiaglobe, Independent Balkan News Agency , AFP, New Europe, balcan eu
NATO intervention in Aegean operations to stop migration flows from Turkey to Greece was agreed in Brussels, while Greece was waking up on a national bereavement day, since a Greek Navy helicopter crashed in the Aegean Sea early morning hours with two crew members found dead and the third missing.
According to the Greek Navy, the helicopter disappeared from the Hellenic Air Force’s radar at 2.45 a.m. on Thursday as it was flying over Kinaros islet, near the island of Amorgos.
Returning extraordinary earlier to Greece from the NATO ministers meeting in Brussels, the Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the NATO agreement is devoted by Greece to the naval victims of the crash, and underlined that from now on, migrant smuggling is coming to its end.
From Brussels, the Greek Defense minister Panos Kammenos had tweeted that the negotiations have been “successful” at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting , and that the Greece’s positions had been accepted
the NATO agreement
It is the first intervention of NATO in Europe’s migration crisis, with a naval patrol ordered immediately to the eastern Mediterranean to help combat people-smugglers, sources from Brussels said Thursday noon, after the NATO ministers meeting.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said earlier on Thursday said that NATO military authorities have been ordered to draw up plans for how the alliance could help shut down illegal migration and people smuggling across the Aegean Sea. as announced Thursday noon by the US Defense Secretary, Ash Carter, the Associated Press wrote.
NATO ministers “tasked NATO military authorities to provide its advice for options for implementing it,” said Ash Carter.
On Wednesday February 10, Greek Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos had said to the press, that Greece agrees to the involvement of NATO in Aegean for the refugees flows, but the country’s position would be that
- Greek and Turkish vessels should have to be restricted to their respective territorial waters.
FRONTEX to turn back migrants to Turkey
Greece’s defense minister has said to his European counterparts that Greece wants an agreement with neighboring Turkey that would allow the European Union’s
Frontex border agency to stop and turn back – within Turkish waters – boats carrying migrants to the Greek islands.
Panos Kammenos said since Feb. 8 that he has already made the proposal to his EU colleagues, who “showed great interest,” and that he intended to raise the matter with NATO officials in Brussels at the NATO ministers meeting
He said Greek authorities are in a position to locate smugglers boats as they leave the nearby Turkish coast, as well as alert Frontex and the Turkish coast guard.
Kammenos said this would “stop the great migratory flow to Greece” and stop the deaths of migrants and refugees trying to reach Greece in rickety boats.
Greek Army in charge of the Migration Crisis Response
The involvement of the armed forces has been justified as the only viable way of meeting the tight deadline for setting up the hotspots and relocation centres. However, the plan announced by Kammenos goes far beyond merely assisting with construction projects.
Kammenos announced that the operation—the biggest ever undertaken by the Greek Armed Forces in peacetime, wrote the World Socialist Web Site—will be managed by the newly established “Coordinating Organ for Managing Immigration”. This will be headed by Major General Konstantinos Floros,a Special Forces Officer who has served both as a Paratrooper and Navy Seal officer. Kammenos justified Floros’ appointment stating,
“The choice for a Special Forces Officer as a coordinator implies that special circumstances require special people who can make decisions quickly.”
Floros currently heads the National Operations Centre, located in the Ministry of Defence It is where the Coordinating Organ will be centred. According to Kammenos, civilians participating in the operation will only have access to a special designated area.
The Coordinating Organ will include:
* A transportation department, “which will monitor existing arrangements to transport refugees and migrants from the islands and hotspots to the reception centres”
* A health department headed by army and police doctors
* A catering department made of 10 different catering corps units
* An NGO department, which will coordinate all registered volunteers
While Kammenos was at pains to stress that the Armed Forces’ intervention is only temporary, the plans he announced are essentially a framework for establishing martial law on the pretext of the refugee crisis, Global research wrote. Greece has come under great criticism from fellow EU member states on the grounds of not taking the necessary measures to grapple with the biggest migration flow the continent has faced since World War II.
NATO IN AEGEAN Germany’s early wellcome
Since the very first moment of the proposal for NATO involvement was expressed , Germany had welcomed the discussions at NATO. Besides, it was during the meeting of Angela Merkel and Ahmet Davutoglu that Turkey asked for it the German Chancellor.
“It is good that the Turkish government has asked NATO to help for the surveillance of the sea. We are aiming at stopping the business of the smugglers,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
Follow 24/7 coverage on Greek, European and Western Borders Control by our special dedicated HomePage
Possible the Out of Schengen scenario, anyway
“Europe might close the Borders to Greece, even after the country’s commitments are fulfilled” , Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said in a tv interview on Monday evening, adding that “they don’t hear us in Europe!” , referring to the EU-Greece talks on European and Greece’s external Borders protection.
Commitments will be fulfilled by the deadlines
Earlier on Monday the Greek Defence Minister had reassured that “Greece will fulfill its commitments,” stating that all five “hot spots”for the refugees/migrants entrance screening and identification will be ready on the Greek islands in less than a week.
Defense Minister Panos Kammenos discussed in detail on a press briefing in Athens on Monday the construction work that is underway in old military camps since late January by the Greek Army, and assured that all five hotspots will be ready on February 15, the deadline agreed with the European partners and Angela Merkel .
The cost of supporting the incoming refugees and migrants over the past two years and a half has reached 2.7 billion euros(3.02 billion US dollars) for Greece, according to Panos Kammenos.
Greece requests more help from European partners and neighboring countries to face the huge refugee crisis challenge, as the debt laden country is threatened by the EU with an expulsion from the Schengen passport free travel zone, and while refugees continue to arrive in thousands day to day on the Aegean islands’ shores, despite bad weather and the cold waters of winter time.
The Greek Defence Minister stressed also that two relocation centers on the mainland will be ready by the deadline, despite protests from local communities. Hundreds have angrily protested on the streets of Kos island, as well as the Piraeus suburb of Keratsini and a district in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where the two relocation centers will be set up.
Kammenos said that the government is open to dialogue, but there is no time for lengthy discussions, he emphasised, as people are dying in the Aegean Sea and survivors need aid with no more delays. According to the government, all the “hot spots” are temporary structures.
Cabinet ministers , who are obliged, by all means on the moment, to act “under emergency” to protect Greece’s Borders, have dismissed the three local communities’ reactions, as “xenophobic outbreaks” by a minority of locals, while the vast majority of residents of the border islands have shown a total different face, trying to give, all of them, a helping hand .
Indeed, among protesters at Keratsini on Monday were ultra-Right Golden Dawn party MPs and members, but in several cases demonstrators have rejected any affiliation with the party.
@imouzalas: Real the out-of-Schengen threat
Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas being interviewed by Nikos Xatzinikolaou on Star TV late on Monday, did not rule out possible negative acts on the part of Europe
“They can even close the borders although Greece meets its commitments.”, he said openly
Mouzalas summed up the national policy for the refugees to:
- the identification centers to be ready and adequately staffed,
- creating relocation centers for refugees and asylum seekers,
- and temporary centers.
- Moreover, Greece is asking a safe corridor for refugees from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and immediate readmission to Turkey of those not seeking asylum or refuse voluntary return.
Greece’s Alternate Interior Minister, during his interview to Nikos Hatzinikolaou on star tv, also referred to the issue of unaccompanied children saying that “we are lagging significantly behind.”
To address that issue, he said that a committee composed by the ministry, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been set up.
The Europol police agency had warned on January 31 that young people arriving alone were particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and trafficking.
More than 10,000 unaccompanied children registered after arriving in Europe over the past 18 months to two years had disappeared, the EU’s law enforcement agency said.
- «Children currently account for 36 per cent of those risking the treacherous sea crossing between Greece and Turkey,» the Unicef spokeswoman Sarah Crowe has also said.
- «Children and women on the move now make up nearly 60 per cent» of those entering from Macedonia, she added.
(The figures mark a significant shift since June, when 73 per cent of migrants were adult males and only one in 10 were under the age of 18.)
Speaking to AFP on Monday, UNICEF’s Crowe said European mechanisms for protecting children had not worked.
This «is really a failure of child protection systems across the region», she said.
«Procedures need to be a lot faster and children need to be part of that process so they don’t fall through the cracks and they do not fall prey to smugglers and traffickers.»
Black Market on the islands
During the Press briefing on Monday February 8, Minister Kammenos also denounced “the flourishing of a black market on the islands in recent months.”
“A minority of locals has reportedly exploited the needy refugees, overcharging products and services, as long as the assistance from the state mechanism is insufficient, he said. To the moment, complete and ready, adequately functioning is only one “hot spot”that is running so far, and that’s on Lesvos island.
A total of 960,000 refugees entered Greece via Turkey on their way to other European countries since early 2015, according to the latest official data.
Find more about the Borders of the West on our full coverage updated Homepage by greek2m.org
A permanent return to frontier controls in Europe would cost countries in the Schengen open-borders area about €110 billion over the next decade, the French government’s official think-tank said on Wednesday (3 February).
The Schengen agreement is a centrepiece of European integration. But, under pressure from voters alarmed by an unprecedented influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, several governments have already temporarily reintroduced controls at their borders with fellow European Union states.
A study by France Strategie, a think-tank directly attached to the prime minister’s office, said the drop in cross-border tourism and trade brought on by a permanent end of the free-travel area would cost Europe 0.8 percent of economic output over 10 years.
Germany reimposed controls on its border with Austria, after a record number of migrants travelled to southern Germany from Hungary, via Austria.
The influx of migrants also pushed Austria to restrict road and rail traffic on its border with Hungary.
The migrants entered the EU illegally, without Schengen visas.
Hungary became a hotspot as a gateway to the Schengen zone, so it built a fence on its border with Serbia.
The fence was much-criticised in the EU – but Serbia is outside Schengen, so Hungary argued that it was quite justified.
Hungary later erected fences on its borders with EU members Slovenia (in Schengen) and Croatia (not in Schengen).
On 4 January the focus switched to Schengen members Denmark and Sweden.
Denmark stepped up border controls with Germany, hours after Sweden extended identity checks on all travellers to reduce the influx of migrants.
Sweden is now refusing entry to anyone who has no photo identification.
It has slowed traffic across the Oresund road-rail bridge.
More than 160,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden last year – the highest per-capita figure in the EU.
In a December speech, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insisted that free movement under Schengen would be safeguarded and “Schengen is here to stay”.
Schengen is often criticised by nationalists and Eurosceptics, such as the French National Front (FN), Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) and UK Independence Party. They say it is an open door for migrants and criminals.
When can countries reimpose border controls?
Under the Schengen rules, signatories may reinstate internal border controls for 10 days, if this has to be done immediately for “public policy or national security” reasons.
If the problem continues, the controls can be maintained for “renewable periods” of up to 20 days and for a maximum of two months.
An EU regulation in 2013 specified that such controls “should remain an exception and should only be effected as a measure of last resort, for a strictly limited scope and period of time”.
The period for temporary border controls is longer in cases where the threat is considered “foreseeable”. The controls can be maintained for renewable periods of up to 30 days, and for a maximum of six months.
But an extension of two years maximum is allowed under Article 26 of the Schengen Borders Code, in “exceptional circumstances”.
In the Schengen zone currently six states have border controls in place: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden.
Hungary’s controls affect two non-Schengen states: Croatia and Serbia. Last October it also imposed temporary controls on the border with Schengen member Slovenia.
In 2005 France reimposed border controls after the bomb attacks by Islamist militants in London.
Austria, Portugal and Germany reimposed border controls for some major sporting events, such as the Fifa World Cup.
How are non-EU citizens affected?
A short-stay visa costs €60 (£44; $68).
But the visa costs €35 for Russians, Ukrainians and citizens of some other countries, under visa facilitation agreements.
The EU has no visa requirement for citizens of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who have biometric passports. These Balkan nations all hope to join the EU.
Kosovo is excluded from the arrangement.
Non-EU nationals who have a Schengen visa generally do not have ID checks once they are travelling inside the zone. But since the Paris atrocity those checks have become more common.
Since the scrapping of visas for travellers from the Western Balkans there has been a surge in asylum applications from that region.
Most of the asylum claims are submitted in Germany, which already has well-established diaspora communities from the Balkans.
Now the EU aims to establish a common list of “safe countries of origin”, including the Western Balkans and Turkey. It would help speed up the processing of asylum claims, and give a legal basis for sending many applicants home.
sources: euractiv, quarz, express.co/uk
“Today, the relocation program in other European countries has just reached the 0.17% of its implementation. The EU – Turkey agreement has not started, and the same happens with the readmission agreements for refugees who do not have right to submit for asylum”, government sources said in Athens Friday evening.
By a Non- paper release the Greek Prime Minister’s office noted that
“Greece has repeatedly stressed that on this stage of the refugee crisis, only a United Europe by a common policy of solidarity and humanism can manage the problem effectively. The blame game has no practical effect. Success can only be implement by the full commitments of all sides. This is the position that has the support of the majority of the EU member countries and the European institutions “.
The Non Paper strongly emphasizes “despite the common EU engagement in refugee crisis response, a number of Central European countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic), are trying to devise a different policy on a completely different direction, by the following characteristics:
- Closing borderS between European countries to refugees in violation of the humanitarian principles and solidarity which are the signatories to the framework of the European institutions.
- Continuing unacceptable pressure on Greece to depart from the rules of international law and stop the refugees rescues in the sea area.
- Lobbying the EU to close the Greece’s borders .
- Depositing “ideas” unrelated to any notion of humanitarian management of the refugee and unthinkable for the European value framework.
These proposals, the Non Paper continues:
- Incorporate an unacceptable extreme right xenophobic rhetoric, unprecedented in European politics.
- They aim to create buzz for domestic political consumption.
- They distract the common European policy on a hugely important issue.
The government estimates that “European reaction against such political behavior is still not required”but calls for a more decisive answer in this regard stressing that it is currently necessary for Europe to address the issue in the way that has been decided.
“Neither refugee flows can be stifling, nor the refugees can be treated with fences, closed borders and camps.
Decisive implementation of the European decisions and the agreement with Turkey is the only way for a humane and inclusive management of the refugee issue.
Our country is leading the fight to implement a policy similar to the humanitarian face of Europe and prevent the fragmentation of the European area and the far right regression ” concludes the statement of the Prime Minister’s office .
Earlier in Friday, February 5, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras received in his office in Athens visiting French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere.
Greece will honour its commitments regarding the management of the refugee crisis and underlined that everyone must honour their commitments.
Alexis Tsipras said after the meeting and added that Greece was bearing a huge burden, at a time of great economic difficulty,though the highest cost, he said, have been the lives lost at sea.
“We are talking about numbers when we refer to flow. For us an important number is that of those who have lost their life in the Aegean. We must not believe that this tragedy is something that simply happens that we can do nothing about to make it stop. Our first priority is our duty as human beings, to stop the tragedy in the Aegean,” he said, in statements before the cameras.
In statements after the meeting with Tsipras, Cazeneuve said that the goal was to restrict refugees flows “because Europe can’t accept such a large number of refugees in 2016, as that which passed through the EU’s external borders the previous year.
He said that France will contribute 60 police officers to Frontex, who will come to Greece, and also use 18 expert staff specialising in identifying fake documents, to assist Greek authorities.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, who was also visiting the Greek PM office had earlier told his country’s media that
Germany will be sending two coast guard boats, and gradually 100 employees, to Greece from March 1 to support government efforts to secure the EU’s external borders
The German Minister who has expressed his wishes to maintain solidarity in Europe has noted that the aim should be to do everything possible in order to maintain the right to free movement in Europe, with the participation of Greece.”
“We must all contribute and those who are under more pressure due to their geographical position, like Greece, deserve the support of Europe,” Maziere has said.
“We all have to do our homework, the European Commission and member-states,” he said, adding that that all parties should “honor agreements and European law,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had told Kathimerini in a written interview.
The heavy burden that the refugee crisis has placed on cash-strapped Greece and especially the Greek islands
underlined Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the “Supporting Syria and the Region” conference in London, where the Greek PM met with top European officials including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron
Athens insists that refugees be relocated directly to the European Union from Turkey, and not cross through Greece.
Greece is asking for full implementation of the and pushing strenuously for the implementation of a refugee relocation tool that is currently moving at negligible rates.
Merkel: focus on hotspots
During the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister and Angela Merkel , government sources said that Merkel asked that the Greek hotspots be completed by February 18, in time for the European Council in Brussels.
The government has repeatedly said that it will have implemented its commitments by that date, they noted.
The Greek government has also underlined that, once the Italian prime minister lifts obstacles to financing, there must be immediate implementation of the agreements in the EU-Turkey joint action plan.
In the meeting, which was also attended by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Council President Donald Tusk, Tsipras emphasized the huge efforts being made by Greek authorities to manage the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants and called for a more comprehensive European
Tsipras –Cameron on refugees issue
According to government sources, Cameron expressed his full support for Greece and an agreement was reached on setting up
- a bilateral team with British experts with knowhow in the readmission of Pakistanis, who will soon be coming to Athens.
The UK also offered
- assistance to the Greek coast guard in the form of personnel and on a technical level, they said.
Tsipras addressing the conference
Addressing the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ conference, Tsipras urged the international community to adopt a “long-term, strategic approach,” to the still-unfolding Syrian refugee crisis, focused on “effective and humane management of refugee flows.”
“The Syrian crisis has humanitarian consequences that will stay with us for decades. We cannot deal with them by building walls or pushing back people in the sea and risking deaths. We cannot push people from country to country, as if they are someone else’s responsibility,” he said, addressing the donors conference.
“I wonder what would have happened to millions of Syrians if Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon had decided to build walls or if all of Europe had said : ‘Refugees aren’t welcome here.
What happens in the Mediterranean is not our problem,'” he added, pointing out that the Syrian conflict was now in its sixth year “with no end in sight”.
“As the UN Secretary General said, the international community has a heavy responsibility for this crisis.”
We cannot afford to see the consequences of the crisis only in terms of geopolitics and public order,” Tsipras pointed out.
“Greece has experience first-hand the humanitarian consequences of this crisis, and we insist on dealing with this challenge with humanity and on the basis of international and European values. Since July we have faced flows of over 900,000 people, of which around 500,000 were Syrians.
“The cost of managing these flows and the burden on state capacities has been enormous. The coast guard has rescued more than 150,000 migrants, many of our islands have hosted more people daily than their population. And the people of Greece are doing all they can to support Syrian refugees.”
Tsipras for assistance to neighboring Syria countries
Tsipras called for a long-term approach and a “response that focuses on cooperation with and assistance to countries that neighbour Syria, which carry an enormous burden of millions of refugees.”
He called for pledges that ensure the integration of refugees in these countries while stemming migration flows.
- “We have discussed relevant projects on the basis of the EU-Turkey action plan and we must work harder for this plan to succeed. We must push for education programmes and brave economic initiatives that create employment opportunities in Jordan and Lebanon”
- “We must work on a robust resettlement programme to Europe and other countries,” he said.”
“At the same time, we need to press and support UN talks for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict that will end all attacks against civilians and confront terrorism.
- “A political settlement of the Syrian conflict that will create conditions for reconciliation and will return civilians to their homes.”
300.000 UN Pledge
The Greek Prime Minister announced that Greece pledges 300,000 euros to the UN for 2016.
“It is a symbolic sum, ” the Prime Minister said,
“but the daily struggle of the Greek people to support and host refugees is not symbolic it is priceless,” he said.
Tsipras also met with European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
A 37-year old Iraqi who traveled from Istanbul to Athens with one of the false passports that were stolen by fighters of ISIS from Iraq, was arrested in El. Venizelos airport.
The 37-year old Iraqi , who lives in Athens and is married to Greek woman, argued that he received the disputed passport in Athens by mail, having sent only his a photograph of him to his cousin in Iraq, because since he could not go to Iraq himself to renew his passport , due to exit ban restrictions from Greece by which he had been charged in 2008, for human trafficking and the professional set up of criminal organization .
The whole batch of passports were stolen by jihadists from Iraqi citizens in Iraq. The police had received information from the Division of International Police Cooperation for the stolen passports, and as soon as the Iraqi’s passport was spotted, the man was arrested.
The Greek Police had been informed since the summer 2015, that a large number of vacant passports had been stolen by ISIS terrorists in the Iraqi province of Nineveh from the citizens they belonged to, during June, and that Iraqi authorities had canceled the whole batch of these passports in order to secure the entry of ISIS fighters to Europe.
The 37-year old who was arrested when he arrived from Constantinople with the morning flight, was working in an Athens restaurant and is also a co-owner, along with his two brothers, of a furniture manufacturing company based in Kurdistan.
He claim to the Greek that he visited Istanbul for a purchase of timber for his company, and also to meet his mother and one of his six sisters
Two days earlier, two terrorists carrying long knives and military uniforms arrested in Northern Greece with Swedish passports in suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.
Since last August , 2015, the presence of ISIS has been a reality in the islands of Aegean, and has set the Greek Police on Error Alert. In the first days of September, in the city of Mytilene, Lesvos, as Greek to me had exclusively reported at least four ISIS suspects had been arrested. One of them had been referred to have been driving a car, playing ISIS music around the tents of the Syrian refugees in the city downtown. He was identified by an Iraqi refugee due to the symbolism of wolds, and special music tune “related to ISIS Propaganda songs”. The Iraqi refugee had notified the authorities, who spotted the ISIS suspect and arrested him.
The other three have been arrested by the Police, after being recognized by citizens, while they were walking around the waterfront of Mytilene city. The symbols of their blouzes have been recognized by local citizens, and Police was informed. They were arrested by the assistance of National Intelligence Agency.
Despite the vigilance the Greek Police has up to now tried to show for the ISIS entrance to Europe threat, the emergency response of the whole Western world finds Greece inadequate to secure from the terrorists the external borders and the EU Commission warned that Greece could face border controls with the rest of the passport-free Schengen area if it fails to act within three months.
The European Commission on Tuesday endorsed a damning report into Greece’s border controls that concluded: “Greece is seriously neglecting its obligations and there are serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border controls that must be overcome and dealt with by the Greek authorities.”
The Commission wants Greece to boost staff numbers at its borders to better register migrants, and to step up checks of new arrivals’ details against Interpol and the Schengen Information System (SIS).
Greece has promised to use its military to oversee its response to the refugee crisis. On Tuesday, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos heralded the opening of the Central Coordinating Body for the Management of Migration, to be headed by a senior military official.
The body will be based in the country’s Ministry of Defense and will monitor the creation of five “hot spots” for the processing of migrants on islands off the country’s mainland, as well as improving transportation of refugees within the country.
After the EE official warning to Greece for being pushed out of Schengen zone, the US Secretary of State John Kerry is said to have issued warning to Greece among four other European countries to clamp down on the fake passport trade or lose visa-free ESTA travel to America.
John Kerry issued warnings to Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Greece and gaven the five nations a deadline of February 1 to fix a ‘crucial loophole’, while he is said be most worried about Greece and Italy, the dailymail writes today.
Homeland Security’s Jen Johnson will report their progress to President Obama next week.
The US warnings come some hours after the EU governments warning to Greece that there would need to be unprecedented action against Greece if it failed to start playing by the Schengen rules.
A Wednesday’s warning from the commission, according to which Athens would be given three months to take “remedial action” to safeguard its place in the Schengen system, confirmed that.
The Germans, as well as several other EU countries taking in large numbers of migrants, have long been furious with the Greeks for allegedly simply waving the new arrivals through without registration and ID checks and setting them on the Balkan route towards the Central and North European countries,mainly Germany ad Austria .
In recent days, Hungary’s hardline prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has called for Greece to be walled off from the rest of Europe – or at least from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the next step along the migration trail towards Germany.
Orbán wants the EU to expand an existing fence around the Greek border town of Idomeni along the entire length of the Greece-FYROM border, just as Hungary walled off its own border in September.
What Greece is been accused of
“There is no effective identification and registration of irregular migrants,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, a commission vice-president.
“Fingerprints are not being entered systematically into the system, travel documents are not being systematically checked for authenticity or against crucial security databases.”
Dombrovskis said that a secret EU mission to Greece in November had concluded that Athens was avoiding the Schengen rules on several fronts.
On the same moment, US concerns were raised to peak recently, after the passport of ‘Ahmad Almohammad’ was found at the Paris Stade de France terror attack.
the EU Warning in draft
The warning from the EU commission came in the form of a draft report on Greece’s performance, but has to be endorsed by a qualified majority of EU governments. The commission would then give Athens three months to take “remedial action” to safeguard its place in the Schengen system.
At the same time EU governments, with the commission’s support, are acting to increase border controls at Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia border with northern Greece, which would end up to many thousands of refugees being kettled in Greece.
“The solution passes through Turkey, and also through the better cooperation of European Partners on the epimerization of the burden”,
said Alexis Tsipras on Thursday from Israel where he is for official visit .
Athens responded since the first moments robustly to the EU criticism, claiming that the draft evaluation report had been conducted at a time when the situation on the ground was different to the one prevailing two and a half months later.
The Greek foreign ministry released statistics on Wednesday showing that 90% of the new arrivals last year were from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, most of whom would routinely qualify for refugee status, but on the contrary, the commission presented data this week that 60% of those entering the EU currently were “economic migrants” who were not fleeing war and not in need of protection and should be deported, wrote the Irish Times .
Greece straightly blamed Turkey’s failure to honour the deal it struck with the EU in November.
the Europe’s No Help
“Europe has shortchanged Greece by providing smaller-than-promised numbers of everything, from cots and fingerprinting machines to border guards. “
as Ioannis Mouzalas said on Monday Jan 25 to the international and Greek press after the EU meeting Amsterdam
“Since May Greece has persistently been asking for technical, technological and staffing help, and what it has received from Europe is far less than what was asked for,” Greek Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis had openly warned, since December 5 2015, talking to the told The Associated Press in an interview.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, last week, during his meeting with his German counterpart Steinmeier said that Frontex should deploy about 100 boats in the narrow stretch of water separating Greece from Turkey, the main launching pad for 850,000 refugees and migrants who reached Greece’s shores last year.
Diplomacy doubts the wall solution
A supporter of Greece’s proposal
Gerald Knaus, a former diplomat and the chairman of the European Stability Initiative, an influential European think tank said to the Guardian:
“In the end, people will still get through. Anyone already in Greece will not turn back to Turkey.”
It is impossible, Knaus points out, to stop people reaching the Greek islands from Turkey. Once in Greece, it will also be hard to contain them – and even if it were possible, Greece does not have the resources to care for them.
The only way out is to persuade Turkey to take back asylum seekers who reach Greece by boat, and as a quid pro quo, for Germany to formally resettle hundreds of thousands of refugees directly from Turkey. This would not prevent refugees from reaching Europe. But it would allow the continent to manage their arrivals better, decide who comes and when, and know who they are before they arrive.
“I’m convinced that a lot of people just don’t understand the basic issues,” Knaus said. “Whatever they say, you can’t close the Aegean border.”
- Visit our 24/7 update coverage by Greek2m on How all this started , and more
- Read our Related Greek to me ! News story by September 2015
It is appalling to see children with medical conditions and disabilities lying in the dirt as flies buzz around their eyes. The authorities should coordinate with humanitarian groups to ensure that people with particular needs are identified quickly and ensured access to the registration process and unhindered access to doctors.
Human Rights Watch staff witnessed the confusion and tension at the Moria registration center created by the numbers of people and lack of information and interpreters. Aid workers and police at the center said that procedures have changed several times, generating more uncertainty.
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German newspaper Die Welt recently accused Greece, -but mainly the ex Greek government this time-, of not acting on opportunities to recover billions in lost tax, “The Greek government has done nothing for a year to recover supposedly untaxed assets of Greek citizens in Switzerland. There is an invitation extending from 2014 by the Swiss Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) to track the money and transfer it to Athens,”
Between 2008 and 2012, taxation in Greece, which made a 72.4 percent contribution to fiscal adjustments, was increased by 337.7% for lower income households, compared to just 9% for higher income groups, according to the publication of a recent study GREECE: SOLIDARITY AND ADJUSTMENT IN TIMES OF CRISIS, supported by the Macroeconomic Policy of Institute of the Hans-Boeckler-Foundation