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One after the other NGOs pull out of #Lesvos hotspots  sending strong message to EU

 

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the Athens port of Piraeus, where thousands of asylum seekers and migrants are stranded,

the Human Rights Watch said  on Thursday 24 March.

“The suffering in Piraeus is a direct consequence of Europe’s failure to respond in a legal and compassionate way to the crisis on its shores,”

said Eva Cosse, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

In the port of Piraeus there are three large camps and one small one,writes the Muslim Times.  Food is provided alternately by the Red Cross, the navy, a supermarket chain, the community of Piraeus and the local football club, Olympiakos.

By the Human Rights Watch, around 5,000 men, women, and children are at the port.

There are reports of fights between Afghan and Syrian men and mounting fears of sexual harassment and violence against women and children.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) earlier this week saying the so-called hotspots where arrivals are screened and registered on the Greek islands have turned into detention centres.

  • The UNHCR has since refused to transport people to the centres, noting Greece is not prepared to handle the case loads under the EU-Turkey deal.
  • Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children have also pulled out.

“We took the extremely difficult decision to end our activities in Moria (on Lesbos) because continuing to work inside would make us complicit in a system we consider to be both unfair and inhumane,” said Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF’s head of mission in Greece.

  • Amnesty International accused Turkey of forcibly returning around 30 asylum seekers to Afghanistan “just hours after the European Union-Turkey refugee deal came into force”.

Aid agencies said cooperating with the Greeks at detention centres would make them complicit with an “unfair and inhumane” practice.

Two aid agencies,

  • the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and
  • the Norwegian Refugee Council –

said on Wednesday they were following the UN refugee agency UNHCR and aid organisation Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF)

In the same day also, another NGO, OXFAM, has pulled out of Moria detention camp, saying that ‘Humanitarian aid should be delivered in a neutral environment where refugees have freedom of movement’.

Let’s hope the stance that’s being taken by most of the NGOs that operated in Moria will bring the EU to its senses and provide the refugees with the protection to which they’re entitled.

 

 

 

Source: Euobserver, Information Point Volunteers Lesvos

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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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#Grexit in a bottle, Yay… “Zum Wohl”, such a #moodhack!

Grexit in a Bottle? Oh...right on time... Zum Wohl! Is it for Greeks?

#Grexit in a bottle, Yay… “Zum Wohl”, such a #moodhack!.

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@yanisvaroufakis publishes on air Greece’s proposals and asks the world to judge them …

Yianis Varoufakis launched on air today on his personal blog Greece’s official proposals to thte last Eurogroup, urging readers to judge themselves “whether the Greek government’s proposals constitute a basis for agreement”, and answering this way to the “malicious leaks” and misinformation as he said, by plain “transparency ” (and it was not the first time the minister hmself, had to write down the Greece’s truth, word by word)

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“The key emergency is to secure a dialogue with adults in the room,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said after listening to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis expound in Luxembourg on Thursday. “What we lack is a dialogue.”

According to Brussels’ sources, Lagarde introduced herself on the June 18 eurogroup meeting to Varoufakis saying: “the criminal in chief comes to say hello”, referring to Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament couple of days earlier.

Yianis, can't be but a gentleman

Yianis, can’t be but a gentleman

To make the bitter moments Greece is going through on the last days, a bit juicier, enjoy  the most juicy tweet posted on these 24h on Yianis-Chrisitne “love-or-hate affair”

@rpOliveira

@rpOliveira

Yanis Varoufakis

The only antidote to propaganda and malicious ‘leaks’ is transparency. After so much disinformation on my presentation at the Eurogroup of the Greek government’s position, the only response is to post the precise words uttered within. Read them and judge for yourselves whether the Greek government’s proposals constitute a basis for agreement.

View original post 2,912 more words

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Greek representative to IMF resigned, with no comment

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Thanos Catsambas, the Greek representative to International Monetary Fund and one of the Fund’s alternate executive directors, resigned, unxpecedly on Wednesday. Greek media speculate whether Catsambas’ resignation is related by any means with the visit of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to IMF last Sunday.

Effectively Thanos Catsambas will step down from his position on 1. June 2015. No official statement, press release or announcement has been made for the reasons for his departure yet.

Mr Catsambas was a former IMF official from 1979-2010, and was appointed as Greece’s IMF representative in January 2012 when Lukas Papadimos was Prime Minister.

Sources from the Greek Finance Ministry commented on Catsambas’ resignation that “it was his own personal decision” implying that he was not asked to do so.

source: keeptalkingreece

on AlJazeera article of Stephen Kinzer ,former New York Times foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents.

“Gaps” on Brussels group discusssions approach, by information leaked from Brussels

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The “Brussels Group” of the European creditor representatives is continuing reviewing the list of the Greek reform plan of the 18 points- list , but gaps on the approach between Brussels and Athens have been expressed according to information leaked unofficially,said  Kostas Hardavelas on his radio show Sunday moning.

According to Greek TV broadcaster MEGA, the Brussels Group has to review many files, therefore it is possible to reach an agreement after the coming weekend. The discussions are still ongoing since Saturday morning when the EU officials had described as encouraging the fact that there is a commitment for a constructive conversation as to apply the political commitment to reach an agreement .

However, the EU officials have stressed that “there is still a lot of work” to do, the ANA- MPA wrote.

“We want to clarify that Greece itself must prepare the overall list of reforms in a convincing way that the commitments of the 20th February Eurogroup will be implemented”, EU sources said.

They also reiterated that the purpose of the meetings within the Brussels Group is “to discuss the Greek proposals for reforms and to help ensuring that the Greek list of reforms is reliable and complete.”

The set of reforms Greece is struggling to agree on, was sent to its EU-IMF creditors on Friday, March 27.

” There will be no recession measures, or increases of VAT rates. On the contrary, we are presenting a comprehensive programme that will allow us to have a primary surplus in 2015 of 1.5 percent of the GDP, if of course the problem of the economy’s liquidity is resolved on time.”, Greek Finance Minister Yianis Varoufakis was quoted as saying. “As you are aware, we have a noose around our necks” he added.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated on an interview with RealNews on Sunday that “the lack of liquidity is naturally hampering the situation, but this will be resolved once an agreement has been agreed on.”

According to Nikos Filis’ statements, the parliamentary representative of governing SYRIZA party, the list of 18 reforms stands to earn 3.5 billion euros (3.8 billion dollars) in 2015 from the measures, which include fighting tax evasion using a direct on-line system connecting businesses and tax offices, issuing licenses for the country‘s media, online gambling and VAT increases.

The Greek delegation consists of the President of the Economic Advisors Council,   Giorgos Chouliarakis, the General Secretary of Fiscal Policy, Nikos Theocharakis and Elena Panariti, the advisor of the Greek FInance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
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