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Britain sends experts to Greece to help on better tackling smugglers, while FRONTEX accuses NGOs for colluding with them, Greek to me ! News

 

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 

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Greek Migration Minister blamed by his own party MP for trapping thousands of flows on N.Aegean isles voluntarily, and not due to EU- Turkey deal

Go to our greek2m.org Newsblog article

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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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“We cannot afford #refugeescrisis Response in terms of #geopolitics only, said @tsipras_eu at @SupportSyrians conference

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.”

 

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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.

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@SusanSarandon in #Lesvos for #RefugeeSupport 

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Although Susan Sarandon has not made public, nor has she announced any volunteer activity on the island of Lesvos, where she arrived on December 17th, but according to reports of the local media, she is accompanied by a tv crew, and came on behalf of UNICEF, of which she serves as a Good Will Ambassador

Even though she just announced  by a single tweet -and only- that she was on her way to Lesvos, she was spotted in a Facebook photo with Apostolis Paraskevopoulos, a well-known volunteer on the island who is coordinating a massive effort with other volunteers, in the village of Skala Sikamnias, where thousands of refugees pass daily.

 

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Susan Sarandon ‏@SusanSarandon Dec 16 “On my way to Lesbos”

 

Find that on our Lesvos4Capital greek2m Homepage 

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There is a War in Aegean! Watch Pharmakonisi, the latest unbearable tragedy

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“There is a war in Aegean, with human deaths” … The “hot incidents” between the Greek Coast Guard and the Turkish Coast Guard Command, the credible Military Affairs reporter Paris Karvounopoulos explains on onalert site, are numerous and at the same time serious as tens of human lives are lost

The latest tragedy in Pharmakonisi dramatically raises the death toll in the Aegean sea, Go on our latest Greek to me ! article .