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Possible member of #ISIS the Syrian who abused his child in Chios #hotspot, by Greek to me !

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

www-greek2m-org

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UN to Bridge Cyprus Talks that Ended Inconclusively

Go to our article by  greek2m Newsblog 

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Urgency for Actions, says the @UNHCR, while #EU barters humans to #TurkishBlackmail

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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.

 

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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.

 safe pathways

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 …

 

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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.’

Karim Lahidji, FIDH president

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.’’

Geneviève Jacques, FIDH chargée de mission on migrants’ rights
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This is the #Borders Management List for #Greece. #Cruise and #yacht travelers will also be screened

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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

 

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Criminalizing Volunteers 

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.”

 The story was first broken by The Times in London and all corresponding documents, including the leaked European Commission report, have been placed on Statewatch’s website. Statewatch’s full report is here.

 

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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.

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 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”.

 

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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.”

 

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  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.”

 

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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.

 

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“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”

 

 

 

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@tsipras_eu office strongly denounces #Visegrad countries’ #BlameGame”

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“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.

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“Gigantic Effort” of Lesvos on #refugeescrisis should be matched by EU countires. UNHCR chief António Guterres

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UNHCR chief António Guterres witnessed the improved humanitarian response mounted by Greek local authorities and civil society while lamenting the continued lack of a large-scale and effective European response.

 

UNHCR has deployed an emergency team to Greece and now has some 120 staff in the country to support the government in its effort to address the continuing crisis. The island of Lesbos, with a population of 95,000 people, has received over 400.000 people in nine months 160,000 in September, and 15.000 in the last weekend alone.

Greece’s first so-called migrant hotspot on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos started operating last week .Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said on Saturday, adding that another four screening centers will follow on other islands.

He made the announcement during a press conference in Athens to present EU policy on migration and refugee relocation, along with European Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

Mouzalas said it was key that the EU “applies the same criteria for all countries.”

In his comments, Avramopoulos said that a total of 160,000 refugees will be distributed among the bloc’s non-border nations. He said guest countries would be decided by experts at EU-staffed hotspots, and not the refugees.

“No country can shoulder this burden on its own. Europe will offer money and know-how,” said Asselborn.

The EU has so far spent 33 million euros on dealing with the migration crisis, officials said.

Assessing conditions on the Greek island of Lesbos, the main landing spot for tens of thousands of people taking smuggler boats from the nearby Turkish coast, Guterres said

 “It is amazing that on a small island, you do respond, and you do manage this crisis, whereas in a big Europe with half a billion people, they are finding it so difficult to respond,”

Guterres told Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos and other Greek officials.

“We are always saying this crisis is manageable at the European level, but to be manageable, it needs to be much better managed.”

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Without a Europe-wide approach and an effective strategy in dealing with the influx, Guterres warned, criminal networks would continue to thrive. “When states are not able to organize the orderly movement of refugees, smugglers take charge, exploiting people further and adding to their suffering,” he added.

Describing his island as frontline, Mayor Galinos said:

“the main issue is not the numbers, but the lack of a European policy to respond.”

Nevertheless, he said, Greeks would continue to do whatever they could to address the crisis and combat smugglers, “who not only exploit the people, but who put their lives at continuous risk.”

“Above all, we are all human beings,” the Mayor added. “We must all recognize the position of these people because we might all find ourselves in this situation one day.”

 

What is a hotspot according to EU law?

The operational support provided under the Hotspot approach, will concentrate on

  • registration,
  • identification,
  • fingerprinting
  • and debriefing of asylum seekers,
  • as well as return operations.

 

Those claiming asylum will  be

immediately channelled into an asylum procedure

where EASO support teams will help to process asylum applications as quickly as possible.

For those who are not in need of protection,
Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.
Europol and Eurojust will assist the host Member State with
investigations to dismantle smuggling and trafficking networks

Out of question the Greece-out-of-Schengen scenario, said @NikosKotzias

Greece Migrants Border Patrol

Bilateral relations, the refugee issue, the various crisis areas, and Cyprus, were among the issues discussed at the working dinner on January 23 evening in Berlin to the Greek  Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias by his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In his statements to the Greek and international press  after the meeting, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Niko Kotzias, excluded once again the possibility of joint patrols of Greek and Turkish coastguard, and proposed Fronex to readmit those migrants that are not entitled to asylum, to Turkey, after their identification in Greece .

Foreign Minister Kotzias openly condemned, taliking to the press, the proposals for exclusion of Greece from Schengen.

Asked to comment on the recent Financial Times article , according to which Brussels and Berlin consider a proposal of Slovenia to strengthen care at the border between Greece and FYROM, which would result in trapping thousands of people in Greece, Mr. Kotzias noted that such a question had never been put from the German side and stressed that

“the Greek Foregn Ministry’s policy is to prevent any wrong thoughts to be translated into policy recommendations.”.

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He added that
“these plans ( proposed by some new in the EE countries)  have not understood how the Schengen works and what is its significance”

and underlined that

“sometimes the new members of the EU have yet to consolidate the Europeanism which is something they should do.”

The Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias after his meeting with his counterpart  in Berlin presented the Greek proposal for Frontex aid in the Aegean waters that Greece is asking for, in accordance with the fact that Greece requested by the European agency 100 vessels to be send to Greece, to carry back to the hotspot islands in Turkey, immigrants will be rejected for asylum.

According to the Greek Minister of Foreign affairs

  • The audit of the refugees flows should be done in Turkey,
  • Frontex  must strengthen its fleet
  • while all newcomers, refugeees and migrants should be identified in the Hotspots in Greece that have to be completed as soon as possible , and also
  • there should soon be an agreement with Ankara refugees to be repatriated should board the vessels of  Frontex and be transported back to Turkey.

In this way, the Greek Foreign Minister estimates, the number of those attempting to cross to Europe will be limited .

As regards to the discussion on  the joint patrols of Greek and Turkish coast guard, Mr. Kotzias explained that this

“would put us automatically to the problems which we already have to solve with Turkey, but not to the refugees problem solving, while the is no reason to confuse the refugee crisis problems with more general Greek-Turkish relations problems “

The role of Frontex Foreign Minister Kotzias underlined,

«has nothing to do neither with the joint patrols or with the Greek-Turkish issues. It is a third, neutral factor for the Turks and could help to the readmission of those who are not entitled to asylum.

This is our proposal, ” the minister said, adding that such action would require about 100 additional ships. The search and the rescue, minister Kotzias clarified , are under the sovereignty of the Greek state.

“The Frontex may facilitate to the readmission of those who are not entitled to asylum.”

The minister said 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.

Greece has repeatedly called on Frontex to help send back people deemed ineligible for asylum in Europe, such as migrants from Morocco and Pakistan.

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A studio in #Lesvos by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei @aiww to highlight plight of refugees

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Ai is setting up a studio on #Lesvos, the northern Aegean island, the main port of entry into the European Union for the flood of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

“The border is not in Lesbos, it really [is] in our minds and in our hearts ,” Ai said.

In addition to this stop, the 58-year-old Ai told Associated Press he expected to visit Lesbos several times over the next year, or even beyond, if the crisis persisted beyond 2016. He said about six to 10 of his students in China and Germany would be working at the studio.

Ai praised the people of Lesbos for having a “very good understanding” of the refugees’ plight,their needs and for being “very helpful and very tolerant”, but emphasised they had limited resources to deal with the issue.

Ai reportedly told media that some of the projects will be public works, adding that they will aim especially to honour the lives of refugees who have died.

“I think that good art only comes out from when we have strong beliefs in aesthetics and human dignity. This can never be separated,” he told the Associated Press.

Ai used social media to document his trip to the Greek island

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“As an artist, I have to relate to humanity’s struggles… I never separate these situations from my art,” he said. The artist is as well-known for his clashes with the Chinese authorities as for his work.

He praised the impressive work of several foreign non-governmental organisations, notably in the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. He added that there was a lack of awareness of the situation in Europe and the rest of the world and a willingness to act.

The island has been the main point of entry into the EU for hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past year and the studio would produce several projects with themes related to the refugee crisis from him and his students, Ai told reporters.

Visit our special Pages for #Lesvos Nomination to become the European Culture Capital 2021 by greek2m.org

Follow also the official Mytilene, Lesvos European Culture Capital 2021 on fb