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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
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.”
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.
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