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Migrant arrivals’ drop 90% in Greece, undercover agents come, EU-Turkey deal is the one

 

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Europol agents on the Greek islands 

Till the end of June , up to 50  ‘guest officers’ will be deployed by Europol on rotation at key points on the external border of the EU to strengthen the security checks on the inward flows of migrants, in order to identify suspected terrorists and criminals, a EUROPOL press release announced.

They will help reinforce security at the external borders of the EU by

  • supporting the secondary security check process,
  • by cross-checking data against data held in specialist counter-terrorist and other databases at Europol, and
  • by facilitating rapid and secure information exchange between Member States.

This will not include first line border control, although the officers will work closely with those from Frontex involved in such a task. The officers will work under the responsibility and legal framework of the country of deployment.

Europol’s Management Board  approved the recruitment of up to 200 counter-terrorist and other investigators for deployment to migration hotspots in Greece and other countries, EUROPOL press release said, adding that . Europol will form this pool of law enforcement officers through their secondment from national services in EU Member States.

Undercover agents  already arrived

On previous weeks, the Slovenian director of Europol’s newly-established European Migrant Smuggling Center (EMSC)  Robert Crepinko, had told on an interview  that  10 undercover officers had already been  stationed on the islands of Chios, Samos, Lesvos and Leros where refugee registration centers are in operation, as well as in Piraeus Port,  doing secondary security checks to assess the possibly dangerous migrants before they would enter the EU

Crepinko added that the Europol agents would also offer aid to the Greek authorities, in the effort to locate and stop migrant smugglers operating in Greece. 

New trafficking migration routes in Europe

The Slovenian official said that “We are looking into possible new routes that the migrant smuggling networks would use and we already have some developments in the new routes that have been used by organized crime,” , citing information that migrant traffickers are exploring options through Albania and Bulgaria.

 

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Arrivals drop in Greece , rise in Italy

“The drop in the number of arrivals on the Greek islands was dramatic.” Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said on Friday , presenting the data of  90 percent drop on the number of migrants arriving in the Greek islands  in April, compared to the previous month.

But for the first time in a year, the latest UN figures present more migrants arriving in Italy than Greece, trying to make their way into Europe

 9,149 migrants arrived to the shores of Italy in April,  while Greece received 3,462 people, figures of the UN’s refugee agency show.

Fewer than 2,700 people had entered in April.the European Union’s border agency Frontex said Friday,  putting  the drop down to the effect of the EU’s migrant agreement with Turkey and tight border controls at the Greek -FYROM border.

In March, before the EU-Turkey deal came into force, under which Ankara pledged to take back migrants from Greece, 26,971 people arrived to Greece, while 9,676 arrived to Italy.

Different countries of origin 

But migrants arriving in Italy are not coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the three major groups trying their luck through Greece.

Asylum seekers making their way through the Mediterranean are primarily from Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and other Sub-Saharan African nations.

Concerns that migrants will increasingly take the Italian route have prompted fears of another mass influx, leading Austria to plan to restrict access through the its Brenner border crossing with Italy, the eurobserver wrote.

The EU Commission has expressed concern over the effect this could have on the viability of the passport-free Schengen zone.

 

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Transport and tourism harmed say MEPs

Several MEPs at the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg.on Wednesday May 11, demanded, addressing to the European Commissioner on Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, the lift of “intermediate steps of Schengen roadmap”, and warned the  Commissioner that the internal border checks  could seriously harm both transport and tourism in Europe.

Avramopoulos : there is no Plan B

 Rumors  that move EU – Turkey agreement focus form Turkey to Greece as a “plan b”, are not real

the  European Commissioner on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos answered to the European Parliament and underled  that there is only one plan based on solidarity and tackling of traffickers on EU – Turkey deal implementations. Avramopoulos stressed that  “rumours can do only harm” .

“till the end of the year”

These border checks are “exceptional and temporary” European Commissioner said, assuring the MEPs  that the aim is to lift them by the end of the year, at the latest

This happened on parallel, on the same day that  President of the European Parliament was announcing the No to to Turkey’s visa liberalisation

 

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Martin Schultz: I stopped Visa process

“The Turkish Parliament has not yet fulfilled and I stopped the process”, said Martin Schulz, explaining why the Commission sent to the European Parliament the 72 visa liberalisation benchmarks of which  seven , he said  are not yet met .“This is a point of disagreement, we should not hide it,” Martin Schulz added talking to the reporters on a press conference with the Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs.This happened on parallel, on the same day that  President of the European Parliament was announcing the No to to Turkey’s visa liberalisation

Martin Schulz said that

the scope of Turkey’s anti-terror laws were “so far reaching that we think that some of the measures are touching not directly the fight against terrorism but, for example, the freedom of expression and of media.”

The EU-Turkey deal in dangerous moments

“We are trying to save the package,”  Volkan Bozkır, the Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator told the reporters .

Volkan Bozkır described as parts of the package the opening of chapters, the €3 billion plus €3 billion, energy platforms, economy and customs union and also EU – Turkey readmission agreement

The deal between the EU and Turkey to end the migrant crisis is facing “a very dangerous moment”  Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said,  heightening more tension between the two sides in honoring the deal, whie Europe is seeing the recent encouraging results

 

 

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National panic in the closed borders’ vast hot spot that is Greece

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Chaos leading to  generalized national panic is the latest  update on refugee crisis in Greece by thousands arriving every day back to Athens from the closed Greek -FYROM border and some more thousands daily sent from the islands to Piraeus and then Athens, while the country realises that not only European solidarity  is a illusion, but more dramatically, that sharing of the refugee burden has proved to be a utopia itself .
“Greece becoming a vast camp”, Peter Sutherland, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration tweeted on Wednesday .
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced in Parliament  that from now on Greece “will not assent to agreements” unless all its partners are forced to participate proportionately in the relocation and resettlement of refugees.
The management of the refugee crisis by Europe has been disappointing,
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday in an address in Parliament, and urged European Union countries to honor the bloc’s decisions on sharing the burden of the  crisis, warning that  that if they did not, Athens would block future agreements.

Alexis Tsipras made clear that

“Greece will not agree to deals (in the EU) if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured.”

“Some don’t realize that the common rules either apply to all or they don’t exist,” he said. “Also, agreements are either implemented by all or they don’t exist. It’s shameful for the decisions taken by the EU heads of state to be annulled by some sub-gatherings,” he said, noting Greece will demand its partners “to act responsibly”.

“We will not allow Greece to become a warehouse of souls,” he said.

Addressing worries that flow restrictions at the northern border could swell the number of migrants stranded in Greece, Tsipras said he would meet political party leaders to form a common stance before an early March summit of EU leaders on the migration crisis.

 

NATO to send illegal migrants back to Turkey

Migrants rescued by NATO vessels in the Aegean Sea will be returned to Turkey, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said early Thursday after the military alliance finalized an operation to monitor the smuggling networks that help people reach Greece.

“In case of rescue of persons coming via Turkey, they will be taken back to Turkey,” Stoltenberg added.

NATO vessels arrived in the Aegean last week, and are carrying out reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities, the NATO chief said, adding that the alliance is also establishing direct links with the European Union‘s border agency Frontex.

Participating NATO vessels can operate in Greek and Turkish waters, but Ankara and Athens have agreed not to send forces into each others‘ waters or airspace, Stoltenberg said. The two sides are embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute.

He noted that NATO is uniquely placed to facilitate the cooperation and exchange of information between Greece and Turkey, as both countries are members of the alliance, while only Greece is in the EU.

Stoltenberg‘s comments came hours before a meeting Thursday of EU interior ministers in Brussels to discuss joint efforts to curb the migrant inflow.

On Wednesday, Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel  agreed to intensify efforts to implement EU decisions and start NATO operations in the Aegean Sea immediately to counter smuggling networks to reduce migrant inflows, while hours earlier,  Angela Merkel had a telephon conference with President Obama, and as well Francois Hollande  and David Cameron, where the four of them  agreed they were firmly committed to the Nato migration mission, noting the importance of Greece and Turkey working together and with the international community to ensure the mission’s success.

Four vessels under German command, including personnel from Canada, Greece and Turkey, were rerouted last week from another part of the Mediterranean Sea, according to NATO officials.

NATO agreed two weeks ago to help combat the flow of migrants to Europe in response to a request by Turkey, Greece and Germany. But work to agree the details of the operation ran into difficulties after Ankara signalled reluctance to take back anyone rescued at sea.

 

sources:: ANA- MPA ,europeonline

 

 

 

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Zika virus spreading ‘explosively’, says World Health Organisation

Director general convenes emergency committee, saying ‘level of alarm is extremely high’ as virus has now been detected in more than 20 countries

 In the United States the rapidness of  “travel” spread of a bite virus that emerged from South Americas, has shocked specialists and the authorities .

Florida, Texas and southern California have mosquitoes that can spread Zika year-round, according to the medical journal Lancet. The Midwest and East Coast, including New York City, are at risk in the spring and summer, says the report. These areas are now considered “conducive to seasonal Zika virus transmission.” …

The direcor general of the WHO Chan said: “The level of alarm is extremely high. Arrival of the virus in some cases has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads.”

Chan outlined four reasons for alarm:

“First, the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes.

Second, the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector.

Third, the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas.

Fourth, the absence of vaccines.”

This year’s el Niño weather patterns mean mosquito populations are expected to spread, Chan added. “

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert from Georgetown University, warned that Zika has an “explosive pandemic potential”.

“With the Rio Olympics on our doorstep I can certainly see this having a pandemic potential.”

He said every review of the WHO’s response to Ebola found that it was “too little, too late”.

Interviewed minutes before Chan’s announcement, he said: “I’m disappointed that the WHO has not been acting proactively. They have not issued any advice about travel, about surveillance, about mosquito control.”

“The very first thing I would propose is a global mosquito eradication effort, particularly in areas with ongoing Zika transmission. We really need to declare war on this species of mosquito.”

Zika is related to yellow fever and dengue. An estimated 80% of people that have it have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

 

 

There are two primary ways Zika virus—and all other mosquito-borne diseases—travels:

  • A mosquito carrying the virus catches a ride on a plane, or a ship;

  • A person incubating the virus travels to another area of the world and is bitten by a mosquito, which starts spreading the virus.

And that’s the creepy thing about ZIKA. Straightly from the carrier any “local” mosquito can transfer the infection to you

Travel Guidelines

Currently, the US Center for Disease Control has issued a Level 2 travel warning, asking to take “enhanced precautions” when travelling to 17 countries, and has confirmed at least a dozen Zika cases in the US.

Potentially, all areas of the world where Aedes mosquito is endemic are at risk.
Potentially, all areas of the world where Aedes mosquito is endemic are at risk. Zika virus can be spread by all Aedes mosquitos, though so far the Aedes Aegypti, has been the most effective carrier. The areas where the virus is likely to spread next are the US southeastern states of Florida, the Gulf Coast region, and possibly Texas, where Aedes Aegypti are endemic.

 Can the Zika virus be transmitted directly from person to person?

So far, research suggests that the virus can not be transmitted through contact from person to person (except for its capacity to infect fetuses through the placenta).

However, it should not be excluded.

In 2009, one case of probable sexual transmission from a man to a woman was recorded.

 

sources:  Zika virus spreading  ‘explosively’, says World Health Organisation | World news | The Guardian.

Zika: What is it and should you be worried about it?, quarz

 

 

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You are the tireless guardians of borders, the unique example of civilization, President of #Greece told people of #Lesbos

CTTnYCBWcAAC63s1-DSC_00251-DSC_03201-DSC_04481-DSC_02801-DSC_02521-DSC_0157“Your example is one of civilization and humanity. Lesbos has been the “sleepless and tireless” guardian of Greek borders at a critical time for Europe said Prokopis Pavlopoulos visiting the island on November 8th, 2015, on the 103rd anniversary since the island’s liberation from Ottoman Turks. ” And until Europe makes its decisions, the weight falls on your shoulders but also the praise for what you do.” the President of Greece underlined.

Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Terens Quick visiting Lesbos next to the President of Democracy Prokopis Pavlopoulos, met in Skala Sikamias village the LesvosYiayia , the emblematic figure that made headlines worldwide when she was captured by a photographer’s camera to feed a refugee baby. He twitted

@TerensQuick :
Tonight in Skala Sykamias Lesvos with grandmother Emilia who is feeding the refugee babies. The absolute soul of Greek mother

By Greece’s history, Lesvos, and the other islands that were close to the Turkish territories, were freed later from the Ottoman Empire than the territories in the continent, because of their geographical location. The island of Lesvos gained its freedom  in 1912 and became officially part of Greece in 1923 with the Treaty of Lausanne.

The 8th of  November is celebrating the Independence of the island, along with the Christian Orthodox Name day of the Archangels, the “guardians of Archipelagos”, the Aegean, as the Archangels are considered in Greece to be. Taxiarchis, the Archangel Michael, is the patron saint and the  guardian angel of Lesvos.He is celebrated every year by thousands of faithful Greeks, a whole island’s live religious celebration, where many miracles continue to occur in the Lesvian resident’s families, and families all over Greece, as well as Greek military men, and those serving on Greek Airforce of whom the Archangel is the protector.

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President of Democracy Procopis Pavlopoulos and Deputy Minister to the PM Terens Quick attended the religious celremony in the Metropolis church of Mitilini, and visited the Archangel’s monastery in Madamados, at the North part of the island.

for more, go to our  #Empahty@Aegean HomePage

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@MartinSchulz, @tsipras_eu on LifeCrossBorders in the #Aegean ditch

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During the scheduled visit of Alexis Tsipras and Martin Schulz to Lesvos, the reality coincidentaly appeared this time more dramatic than expected, and nude…

go to our Photo Album News udate 

visit our #Empathy@Aegean Special updated Homepage by greek2m

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#Greece to be part of the solution of the surrounding region crisis, #interfaith dialogue, the only bridge of differences, said @tsipras_eu

“Even now in this difficult economic situation for the country, we feel obliged to take care of the refugees who arrive on the shores of our country,” stressed the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, on Tuesday night wellcoming the Meditteranina Spiritual Leaders at the Acropolis Museum in Athens at the dinner hosted by the Foreign Nikos Kotzias in honor of the delegates of the International Conference on “Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East” organised in
by the Foreign Ministry in Greece on this semiologically significant timing
The Prime Minister noted that “in today’s globalized world, Greece is in the midst of a crisis that affects Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean in economic, political, geopolitical and spiritual level”.
“Therefore we believe that religion and culture are bridges of communication and understanding for the folks and people of different countries and civilizations ” he added.“It is Greece again that is asked to face this Eurozone crisis as well, which is objectively posing the question of what kind of Europe do we want in the future, a Europe of solidarity, development and social justice, or a Europe of austerity and inequality. ”

 
“This is a time of great tension in the region surrounding Greece”, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras noted ealier on Monday on his meeting the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Monday.
“Greece found itself in the midst of three overlapping crises:”, he explained.  “The economic crisis in Europe that was still underway, the refugee crisis, where Greece was among the countries bearing the brunt of the refugee waves, and the generalised destabilisation, instability and conflict in the broader region.
“We believe that we will manage to cope and at the same time upgrade Greece’s role in the surrounding region,” he added, stressing that Greece did not want to be part of the problem but part of the solution.
“For this reason, we look for and anticipate the efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,Tsipras said, whose global perspective has the ability to highlight the positions that contain humanity, the value of dialogue, values that we share, adopt and will also support at all international fora,” Tsipras said.
“In these difficult times, the prayers of the mother Church are with you for the success of your mission and the prosperity of the Greek people,” he added.
The prime minister greeted the Patriarch by saying that his presence was a great honour for the International Conference on “Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East”, especially given the Patriarch’s own initiatives for interfaith dialogue in the Middle East and on a global scale.
Dialogue is the only path to bridging differences, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras underlined.
Visit our Solidarity on eu borders page #Empathy@Aegean on Greek to me !#Empathy@Aegean by greek2m.org

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A No by Greece to EU for joint patrols in Aegean, registration centers in Turkey proposes Lesbos

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“No official European documents raise the issue of joint sea patrols, but if Greece is asked,the answer will be no “–answered unofficially to the media the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias , on the scenario of joint Greek and Turkish patrols on the Aegean Sea for the EU’s external border protection,,,

go to full article by Greek to me 

Visit our special section on Greek to me Newsblog

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