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#GreekGov acceptance of the No Way Out in #NorthAegean isles due to EU-Turkey deal causing repetititve resignations in Ministry of Migration

Mytilene, Lesvos, September 2015, 25.000 refugees in the port area awaiting the boat to Athens

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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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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Greece trapped: They are closing borders , said @imouzalas

“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”

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NATO sweep in Aegean agreement devoted to the Greek Navy helicopter crash victims, said @PanosKammenos

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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.

The Greek Defense Minister stressed also that

  • Any people rescued during these operations must be returned to Turkey.

Kammenos also stressed that

  •  territorial rights should be fully respected in search and rescue missions
  • and that Turkey would be obliged to submit flight plans for any of its aircraft that take part in NATO missions over the Aegean.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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 

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400.000 #refugees’ capacity camp demanded in #Athens by #EU, @imouzalas revealed

 

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Belgium’s interior minister has suggested Greece build a camp in Athens to accommodate up to 400,000 migrants, Greece’s minister of immigration policy @mouzalas told national media Tuesday.

“The Belgian minister raised the issue of camps for 300,000 to 400,000 migrants in Athens,”

Ioannis Mouzalas told Greece’s Skai TV broadcaster.

The EU interior and justice ministers met in Amsterdam on Monday, where they attempted to find institutional solutions to the migrant crisis that saw over a million people arrive in Europe last year.

EU’s “big and unfair blame game against Greece is despicable”,

Greek alternate minister Yiannis Mouzalas told to reporters after the meeting of European Union interior ministers in Amsterdam on Monday.

At the EU Ministers’ meeting the Greek Minister had asked for 100 new Frontex vessels, and 1000 more Frontex personnel to assist Greece to repatriation of those migrants denied to asylum, to Turkey,  shouting angrily to the EU miniters “We need Frontex in Greece!”

Europe, Ioannis Mouzalas  said on Monday Jan 25, later to the international and Greek reporters, has shortchanged Greece by providing smaller-than-promised numbers of everything from cots and fingerprinting machines to border guards.

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“It’s a myth that the Greek-Turkish border can’t be protected,” said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner of Austria, which last week set an upper limit on new arrivals. Mikl-Leitner said the Greek navy has “sufficient capacity” to keep refugees out.

Nikos Toskas, a deputy interior minister, said it’s hard to stop some refugee-laden boats “except via sinking or shooting”, emphasising that

‘Cemetery of Souls’: Greece Hits Out at Plans to Exclude It From Schengen, Sputnik news article title wrote

The continent-wide name-calling harked back to the worst days of the debt crisis when Greece’s membership in the euro zone was imperiled. Germany and Austria pressured Greece to seal off its Aegean Sea border with Turkey, warning that the unchecked march of refugees from the Middle East would lead to longer-lasting passport controls at internal borders in western Europe,Bloomberg Business wrote

Mouzalas said Greece, as a frontline country that receives most of the new arrivals, was prepared to open new registration centers in early March.

The European Commission sought to tamp down speculation that it might be bolstering Macedonia’s border to bar Greece from the EU’s passport-free travel area known as the Schengen zone. “We have never discussed a Schengen suspension or an exclusion of a Schengen member,” Natasha Bertaud, a commission spokeswoman, said on Monday.

(sources: Sputnik, New Europe, Bloomberg Business )

 

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Refugees in thousands arriving in Athens from Lesvos, and the other Aegean islands, September 2015

 

 

We need Frontex in Greece, @imouzalas shout to EU ministers

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Greek Immigration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas has angrily blamed European Union member states for failing to send Athens enough manpower and ships to help it tackle the migrant crisis and for not living up to pledges to relocate migrants, New Europe wrote .

Mouzalas told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Amsterdam that sending officers from the EU border protection force known as Frontex to neighbouring Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia in an attempt to halt migrants there would be illegal.

It has been suggested that EU border guards would be more effective on the Greek-Macedonian border, but Mouzalas said

sending them there is “not a good idea,” insisting: “We need Frontex in Greece.”

Mouzalas says Greece is doing all it can to protect its sea borders from boatloads of migrants heading from Turkey to nearby Greek islands, but has not been sufficiently helped by fellow EU members.

He says Athens wanted 1,800 Frontex officers, but has got only 800, the international Press wrote.

@NikosKotzias  The Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, asked his German counterpart for 100 FRONEX vessels,  and  proposed Fronex to readmit those migrants that are not entitled to asylum, to Turkey, after their identification in Greece .

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.

AP, Reuters, New Europe

 

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Crossing dramas and meaning of life in Lesbos. All by a storm

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Just after the storm…

At the waterfront of Mytilini port. It’s Thursday morning.

A crummy Syrian pushes his wife’s wheelchair to the Square of Sappho, some meters nearby . (But it is possible they have been going 8 kilometers long to arrive here, after the risky crossing of the sea.)

She has one foot .The other has been lost by the bombings.

They are wet to the bone by the storm that has just stopped. It’s like they have not even noticed

They tell me how happy they are to be located here.

They want to go to Germany to relatives.

It took me some secs to wonder and realize, why I had been “not in the mood” this morning, while stepping out of the “luxury” of simply a house. Sure, I was worrying about my installments of the tax office, my installments on the loan, the installments of my life .

It’s sure we have lost the meaning of life, (our-Greek chapter lives, which we do experience with worries separated from the refugees’ drama, coexisting on this same isle) while these people next us unstoppably struggle to grab the thread of life by its hair…
I give them my umbrella and leave .

It s them, who show us the meaning of life. We don’t yet see …

Visit our Empathy@Aegean Page on greek2m.org 

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SCRIPT IN GREEK PUBLISHED BY BARBARA GIGILINI , A publisher, reporter and writer of POLITIKA, contributor journalist by the Greek to me team !, Lesbos island

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@tsipras_eu to Merkel: #Refugees screening should be done in Turkey, #Greece says no 2plans for joint #SeaPatrols 

the port of Lesbos rom the boat, by the Stauue of Liberty standing in the middle of the hundredts of tents of refugees staying there waiting for their ticket to Europe

the port of Lesbos from the boat, by the Statue of Liberty standing in the back and all around the hundreds of tents of refugees settled there waiting for their ticket to Europe

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coming closer to the port of destiny…

stepping out in the port of Mytiline that's what you see

stepping out in the port of Mytilini that’s what you see

Alexis Tsipras said officially NO to Angela Merkel talking on the phone on Wednesday October 14, hours before the European Council for Migration, and while Turkey had gladly said Yes to joint patrols of Greek and Turkish Naval and Coastguard Patrols in the Aegean.

Instead of that the Greek Prime Minister insisted to ask the identification screening procedure of migrants and refugees to be held on the Turkish coast, before the migrants make the journey of life-or-death that has lead to hundreds of drownings in the Aegean waters, and which make them pay to smugglers more than 2000 euros each.

This is a proposal officially first made by the official Lesbos’ Municipality Plan for the refugees crisis Response, by the Mayor of the island Spyros Galenos, who had already made diplomatic contacts with his counterparts in Turkey, and had found them positive so far, as the official document reports .

Jean Claude Junker had also officially received the proposal early enough, by late September, but had transposed the responsibility of   assessing it as a whole to the EU Commissioner of Migration, the Greek  Dimitris Avramopoulos, who has not answered so far and plans to visit Lesbos after the EU Council on October 15, as is announced.

But the mayor of Lesbos official presented the proposal to the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and the Austrian Chancellor Faymann on their visit to the island on October 6, and had analysed all the steps made so far, to make possible the solution of the identification procedures to be held on the Turkish coast . And this is what Alexis Tsipras openly and bravely chose to support , even though Jean Claude Junker openly asked the Greek part to say YES to joint patrols  After the NO of the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on public statements, while the scenario of joint patrols was still not formally presented to the Greek government, the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras openly repeated the NO to Angela Merkel , and immediately answered to her arguments for better safeguarding EU’s external borders by proposing the screening and identification procedures to be held on Turkish coast. What will be done, remains to be seen  not   Today is the critical meeting

Go to our Greek to me ! story on full details on this story , we have made full awareness early enough, based on Paris Karvounopoulos, the Defense reporter information about the common German and Turkish

Go to our main article by Greek to me !,

Joint Patrols in Aegean, -by EU blessings-, the trap of Turkey’s humanitarian guise

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Visit our special News section of Greek to me ! for Greece’s Armageddon Cross Roads on Greek to me Newsblog 

Greek to me ! Newsblog

find the news update on the eurobserver, as of Wednesday October14, 2015  Greece says no to plan for sea patrols with Turkey

Traveler’s Health Emergency Case in Greece  and the #humantsunami

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Refugees, FYROM and the pipeline, the topics of the meeting of @PrimeministerGR @atsipras with the U.S. @StateDept Secretary @JohnKerry

During the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, the main issues that were discussed were the negotiation of Greece within the eurozone during the recent months and the need for debt restructuring, but also, the issue of refugee flows, the Cyprus issue, the FYROM name issue, as well as the developments in Ukraine and Syria, and also the energy issues, according to the Greek PM’s office press announcement released on Thursday noon , October 1.

The meeting took place in Washington, by the presence of the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias

US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the strategic importance of the TAP pipeline and IGB in upgrading Greece’s role as an energy hub.

Furthermore, the US Foreign Minister expressed the US intention to support the resolution of the name issue of Skopje and the Cyprus problem.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras undelined the need of the USA support for the upgrade of the UN mechanism for the resettlement of refugees, and also for the intensification of contacts with Turkey in order to manage the refugee issue.

He also stressed the need of US contacts with Turkey for a viable solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions.

Alexis Tsipras underlined to the US Foreign Minister the intention of the Greek government to resolve the name issue with a compound name with a geographical limitation for use against all, and the need of such a corresponding intention to be shown on the part of FYROM.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did not attend the summit meeting held at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday September 29, given that FYROM was listed as the “Republic of Macedonia” rather than the provisional name recognized by the United Nations, i.e. “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

For more on the Greek Prime Minister’s trip to the USA, visist our special Page on Greek to me, #TsiprasInAmerica

@PrimeministerGR trip to the USA

Visist also our Special updated Home Page on the refugees influx, #GreeceTransit4Hope

Greece Transit for Hope, the Gate2West wide open, Aegean islands, Greece

This is Greek to me !

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