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Greek to me ! The Cold 2017 Greek Times

The first month of 2017 in Greece has been hard and extremely cold. Check Greece by a glance and all the Greek News  on our Fully Updated Home Page

This is Greek to me !

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Dear President #Obama , enjoy #Acropolis for your eyes only…

It was President’s Obama wish to visit the Acropolis, as he stated, among first things as he stepped in Athens, on his final  presidential tour . And it was meant to be private…

.. so private , the Acropolis has never been again

Go to greek2m.org News Article 

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Bounce Back Greece!

 

Vladimir Putin’s visit coincides with a period during which “Greece has turned a page and looks to the future with optimism”, said Greek Prime Minister .

Know what that means , just by a glance

Go to our Special Page   , Putin in Greece, May 2016, by Greek to me!

So Greek to me!

Stay with us , 24/7

 

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#Putin @tsipras_eu Memorandums singed in #Athens,

On this transitional critical  moment, our strategic cooperation with Russia is of extremely importance, said Alexis  Tsipras , on historical meeting with President Putin

On his first trip to a European Union country this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece Friday to visit a secluded Christian Orthodox monastic sanctuary and eye energy and privatization deals in the cash-strapped country.

Putin has made only a handful of visits to EU countries since sanctions were imposed on Moscow two years ago in response to the Ukraine crisis.

07122ca09d80a93b15fd811cd8b32aa6_400x400 Visit our Full Coverage by Gree2m on Twitter 

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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Greek government headquarters in the Maximos Mansion at 18:25 on Friday, after a short walk from the presidential palace, where he was met by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the steps leading up to the building. Putin was accompanied by the foreign ministers of Greece and Russia and the rest of the Russian delegation.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion on Friday, immediately after his arrival in Greece, beginning the first of a series of meetings with Greek officials during his two-day visit.
“You visit to Greece comes at a crucial time, not only for our region but for all of Europe,” Pavlopoulos said as he met the Russian president on his arrival.
“Close cooperation between Russia, the United States and the European Union to end the war in Syria is exceptionally important for our time,” the Greek president added.
Responding, Putin said it was time to “proceed with specific steps in order to exploit the opportunities that exist for strengthening bilateral relations,” while noting an impressive increase in Russian tourists visiting Greece.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin will go to the Monastery of St. Panteleimon, which is inhabited by Russian monks on the western coast of the peninsula.

Patriarch Kirill

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, center, arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece, Friday, May 27, 2016, a day ahead of Russia’s President Putin’s visit. Russia’s president is due in financially struggling Greece Friday for a state visit that will include a trip to a 1,000-year-old, all-male Orthodox Christian sanctuary in the north of the country. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill arrived on Friday at 10:45 at Macedonia airport of Thessaloniki and left straight for his  pilgrimage visit to Mount Athos.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis and Deputy Interior Minister Maria Kollia-Tsarouha welcomed the Patriarch with whom they had a brief meeting before his departure for Ouranoupolis and the monastic community of Mt. Athos.
Metropolitan of Kassandria Nikodimos and the Consulate General of Russia in Thessaloniki Alexey Popov were also present at the reception ceremony.

The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia will visit Thessaloniki on Sunday and will make a pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Aghios Dimitrios and afterwards will attend the liturgy at the Aghios Grigorios of Palamas Cathedral.

In his statement Amanatidis pointed out the relations that bind the Greek and the Russian people adding that “we all expect with hope the message that will send the Holy and Great Synod and the heads of the Orthodox Churches that will be held on Crete in June in a world that is plagued by huge social problems underling the role of the Patriarch as a factor of the Orthodoxy’s stability.

This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of the first recorded settlement there by Russian monks, in 1016. While most of Mount Athos’ 1,500 monks are Greek-born, male Orthodox Christians are allowed to live on the peninsula as monks, which male followers of other religions can visit but not live on. The 20 monasteries on the peninsula include one Russian, one Serbian and one Bulgarian, while Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians and Georgians also live there.

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The Holy Mount Athos

Mount Athos occupies almost the whole of the Athos Peninsula and is declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the most unusual places in the world and the only self-governing part of the Greek State, governed by the “Holly Community”. It is a community of priests based in Karyes that follows the Julian Calendar, along with other Byzantine edicts and mores. The Holy Mountain (as it is in Greek) consists of 20 monasteries, 12 sketes and about 700 houses, cells of hermitages.

The monasteries themselves are true masterpieces of traditional Macedonian and Byzantine architecture. Inside there is an unimaginable wealth of unique treasures, religious frescoes, rare mosaics and libraries full of arte facts including miniatures, books, codices and manuscripts.

Only men are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and all are required to obtain a special entrance valid for a limited period. Women can view the monasteries from a cruise along the west coast of Mount Athos.

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Balkan route closed, EU to declare

Greece-FYROM borders

The EU Ambassadors meeting

The Balkan route taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe is going to be closed, EU leaders will declare today Monday at their summit with Turkey in Brussels, diplomats and officials said over the weekend, after a meeting on Sunday, the news site  POLITICO revealed.

Their statement — to be approved by leaders today, Monday March 7— was discussed by EU ambassadors on Sunday afternoon.

“Irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkans route are coming to an end; this route is now closed,”

according to a copy of the document obtained by the news site .

Der Standard leak

Two days earlier aslo, the Austrian Newspaper Der Standard claimed it has seen a draft of the communiqué which stated that the Western Balkan route would  immediately shut down and Europe would provide the necessary support to Greece to deal with the refugees and immigrants to be stuck in the country.

According to Der Standard, the draft of the communiqué included a readmission agreement with Turkey for immigrants who do not qualify for asylum. Also, Europe would ask Turkey to participate directly and constructively in the control of EU external borders in the Aegean Sea.

Moreover, the draft stated, Der Standard  revealed, that the presence of Frontex in Greece would be enhanced, particularly at Greece borders with FYROM and Albania, while among FRONTEX responsibilities would be the proper functioning of the hotspots, where refugees will be registered and being prepared for their relocation to other European countries. EU countries should have done more than they have committed to do at this moment by April 1, as it is stated. According to the same draft, Europol would also participate in the process being also responsible for dismantling the trafficking.

Roadmap to Schengen

According to the Politiko article of Monday 03/07 , the ambassadors’ meeting did not last long and ambassadors also endorsed the aim to “take forward, as a matter of priority all the elements of the Commission roadmap,” according to a diplomatic source, who added that the draft statement was not controversial. The migration roadmap, which was put out on Friday, envisages a series of steps for the return to normality in the Schengen area by December, dismantling the internal border controls reintroduced by some member states.

The new commitment to close the Western Balkan route would end the “wave-through policy” that allowed migrants to cross borders with minimal controls.

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Be aware of the other routes

The final statement stresses the need to be aware of other routes that migrants might take if the road running through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia is shut down. There are fears, especially in Rome, that migrants will try to travel north through Albania and across the Ionian Sea to Italy.

This scenario, we have to underline, would be the most nightmarish one for Greece’s tourism, paralizing at most Greece’s tourist attraction at the Western part of the country, the Ionian islands, where most of top world’s celebrities used to trravel especially on summer months .

EU on Turkey’s acceptannce

To help ease the humanitarian strain on Greece, where thousands of migrants are now stuck after borders were closed further to the north, the EU is counting on Turkey’s help.

“I am afraid we could have an intense discussion on that since some are complaining that the EU has been too soft with Ankara,”

said a diplomat.

The summit is intended to address the refugee crisis by making it clear that migrants will be swiftly returned to Turkey and that last year’s “open-door” policy, that made it possible for more than a million people to make their way to Germany, is over.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in his meeting in Ankara with Tusk on Thursday, agreed to step up the return of illegal migrants from Greece as part of a bilateral readmission program with Athens, another official said.

But hours after European Council President Donald Tusk left Ankara last week, Turkish authorities on Friday seized Zaman, the country’s largest opposition newspaper.An agreement at the summit still faces such political hurdles, in particular unease within the EU over a domestic crackdown in Turkey, politiko article notes

“On Monday, I would like us to agree that all available EU tools, including accelerated relocation, should be used to address the humanitarian consequences for the refugees, not least in Greece, in a speedy and effective way,” Tusk wrote in his invitation letter to leaders who’ll gather in Brussels Monday.

Davutoğlu, who will take part in the first session of the summit, also confirmed Turkey’s readiness to take back Syrians rescued in international waters by a NATO-led operation.

NATO-FRONTEX deal

NATO on Sunday reached a deal with Frontex, the EU border agency, on how to coordinate efforts.

“We welcome that Frontex and NATO reached a common understanding today on the modalities of their cooperation in the Aegean Sea,”

said Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, in a joint statement Sunday with the Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. 

On some days, as many as two-thirds of the 3,000 people coming into Greece are non-Syrians. The plan is to give these people a one-way ticket home.

The statement that was worked on Sunday calls for members to approve a humanitarian package for Athens, presented by the Commission on Wednesday, before the next summit of EU leaders on March 17.

Part of the effort to help Athens includes a speeding up of the existing relocation programs for 66,400 refugees from Greece that has largely been moribund, diplomats said. The draft statement calls for action to “accelerate relocation to alleviate the heavy burden that presently weighs on Greece.”

Diplomats said they were optimistic that a consensus will emerge at the summit. The closure of the Balkan route will also soften the problem of Austria’s unilateral decision to impose a yearly and daily cap on the number of refugees the country will accept, a decision branded by the Commission as a violation of international law, said an official.

 

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SOURCE : POLITICO.

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We plan special campaigns and travel programs for the islands especially hit by refugee flows said @tsipras_eu

 

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Alexis Tsipras(right) , Nikos Hatzinikolaou (left), on air, Star channel

Talking live on Star Channel TV and  Nikos Hatzinikolaou show, the Greek Prime Minister undelined that Tourism is in the heart of the government’s priorities, and especially the islands and areas that have been hit by the refugees flows numbers at most.

Alexis Tsipras assured that all the measures will be taken to protect the tourist activity in Greece and especially the first receptor areas, the islands of Aegean.

Prime Minister stated that his office, and personally him is in close contact with the Ministry of Greek Tourism, and the Minister Elena Koudoura, as well as with the Mayors of the islands to find in common the proper solutions and action plan demanded to aware the travel community and travelers to Greece  on the safety of their travel, and more, he said, to give them a reason why to visit these isles, that gave the paradigm of humanism to a changing Europe

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Greek Minister of Tourism Elena Koudoura, by Lesvos, Mytilini port background

 

Alexis Tsipras also clarified that Greece’s position was pro FRONTEX and NATO presence in Aegean as to support , but also confirm to the international community that Greek borders  are properly guarded by Greece

 

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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