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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.
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.
“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.
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.
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” .
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
“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.”
“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
The management of the refugee crisis by Europe has been disappointing,
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.
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
Alexis Tsipras answered to Angela Merkel via phone call, on her way back to Germany from Turkey, where she visited for a second time in less than ten days.
Through the international News, the Greek government had the chance to know, as official Greek government sources said, that Angela Merkel proposed to the Turkish Leaders the NATO ships patrols in the Aegean seas between Turkey and Greece.
On Monday February 8, Angela Merkel visited Turkey , second time in less than 10 days, and met with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayipp Erdogan to discuss the refugee issue.
Among the series of measures that aim to tackle illegal immigration,on which the two parts made a commitment, the idea of deploying NATO ships to patrol the seas between Turkey and Greece, was also included in the talks, the Handelsblatt wrote .
Greece answered that even though Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had met with Angela Merkel and Ahmet Davutoglu in London last week , no such idea had been expressed to the Greek side.
The Greek Prime Minister firmly answered that
however NATO would be involved, this would be inside the Turkish sea territory , and that Greece’s sovereignty on its sea borders and water territory is undoubtful and undiscussable .
Ms. Merkel said in Turkey that part of a joint strategy would also be to provide a way for people to legally leave Turkey for Europe. Arrivals in Europe would be “controlled, legal and organized by us,” Merkel said, the Handelsblatt wrote .
But Greece is asking for a safe corridor for refugees from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and immediate readmission to Turkey of those not seeking asylum or refuse voluntary return, as Greek Alternate Interior Minister said Monday February 8 night on a tv interview.
While Greece is alarmingly threatened to be seriously kicked out of the Europe’s free Schengen zone , Ahmet Davutoglu last week was delighted to announce that the government of Turkey has accepted the deal from the European Union to help stop the flow of refugees to Europe.
This, to be noted, happened after months of negotiations and deals, which include $3.2 billion in cash and, amongst other benefits a visa-free travel for Turkish passport holders to countries in Europe’s Schengen zone, option , as it is recently announced, on the same moments that Schengen Zone is threatening Greece, by accusations to Greece that it is not fulfilling its obligations.
By this option on the table, and the 3 billions plus, that Turkey purchased from Europe, Ahmed Davutoglu had called the move a “new beginning” in Turkey’s move to join Europe,” talking to reporters on January 31.
”Today is a historic day in our accession process to the EU. I am grateful to all European leaders for this new beginning.”
With 2.5 million Syrian refugees already in Turkey and tens of thousands amassed at the border fleeing Russian and Syrian bombings in Aleppo, Ankara is now Europe’s key partner in solving the refugee crisis, the Handelsblatt wrote a week after, on February 8, 2016, adding that
Chancellor Angela Merkel knows that, which is why she is making her second trip this week in less than four months to Turkey.
As Angela Merkel had promised to the Turkish leaders since her earlier trip to Turkey, today it was announced that
The E.U. also agreed to ease visa restrictions for Turkish citizens and to revive stalled talks on the country’s accession to the 28-nation bloc.
as Handelsblatt wrote on February 9, adding that in return, the Turkish authorities were supposed to crack down on smuggling gangs and work to reduce the flow of refugees into Greece.
Find more on our Special Borders Coverage Home Page
President of Democray of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos hailed Merkel’s role in the refugee crisis during his recent visit to Germany, where he met with German Cancellor and also with the German Presiden Joachim Gauck .
Regarding the refugee crisis, the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos described it as an “existential matter” of Europe.
“All the peoples of Europe have to fulfill their debt towards genuine refugees without phobias and of course will have to work to end the war in Syria, which is the root of this evil,” he noted.
Concerning the guarding of EU’s external borders, he recognized the need for collaboration with EU countries and Frontex, but ruled out joint Greek and Turkish patrols.
Focusing on Turkey, Pavlopoulos said the country needs to live up to its commitment to control the flow of refugees and especially economic migrants who leave from Turkey, “often with the cooperation of the Turkish authorities.”
He also noted the need to reactivate the readmission agreements.
Regarding the threat of terrorism, Pavlopolos said that Europe must be ruthless with terrorists who commit war crimes and must not show any tolerance and urged people to distinguish between terrorists and refugees.
German Presiden Joachim Gauck described the refugee issue as critical and acknowledged that Greece is faced with an even greater burden as a result of the migration flows, in addition to the challenges of economic reform and that there is room for improving European solidarity on the issue, since it is in the common interest of Europeans not to leave Greece struggle securing its borders unaided.
For the financial and recession crisis that Greece is facing for six years long , the President stated :
“Greece will fully meet its obligations and our partners must also fulfill their own obligations.”
Following the [program] review, which should be finished as soon as possible to avoid a problem with the seemingly positive growth prospects of the Greek economy, it is necessary to immediately start talks on the Greek debt – not for a haircut, as it is not possible by European law, but other methods, which will lead to relief and have been accepted by our partners. Especially as regards the sustainability of Greece’s public debt and the so far, extremely dubious, austerity policy,” he said
German Presiden Joachim Gauck assured that Greece can depend on European solidarity, insisting on Germany’s commitment to seeing Greece remain in the European Union and underlined that Athens’ reform programme has become one of Germany’s main policies.
Referring to the “unprecedented” crisis that the Greek people are facing, Greek President Pavlopoulos asked the European partners to take into account the unprecedented crisis that tests the Greek people and to try to establish some mutual understanding despite some initial mistakes, obsessions and misconceptions.
“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,,,
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“For six months we fought an uneven war, We suffered losses but we gained ground too, Now a minefield lies ahead of us.”
Tsipras had said speaking Friday night before the Parliamenary vote. He said the government had a “mandate from the Greek people to bring a better agreement, “but we do not have a mandate to take the country out of the eurozone” he underlined
“It is a choice of high national responsibility, we have a national duty to keep our people alive … We will succeed, not only to stay in Europe but to live as equal peers with dignity and pride,” Tsipras said.
“For the first time, we have on the table a substantial discussion for a debt restructuring,” Alexis Tsipras emphasized on his speech, insisting that with the latest proposals he had won important concessions from the creditors, and the new deal was better than the one rejected by the Greek people with the YES or NO referendum last week.
Meanwhile an EU source told AFP that Greece’s international creditors reviewed the Athens’ proposals and considered it a good basis for a new bailout.
There has been no other government in modern history that, while on the edge of a default, on the most dramatic way, has kept negotiating to the very end with Persistance and Pride
Yes we have made mistakes, AlexTsipras said.
No one is unmistakable, and first of all, me
Bu we managed to light the flame of Solidaity in Europe for the very first time
Now we have to keep alive our folk to keep fighting for its right
Im sure that the passion of this folk for Life and Dignity
will make it
and that it will open new roads for the countries of Europe
But the Greek Prime Minister is left now with an interior bleeding gap in the government, after loosing 15 YES votes of his own coalition lawmakers Even Mr. Tsipras’s party, Syriza, which drafted the proposals with help from French experts, seemed confused, noted the NYT aricle on Friday. The culture minister, Nikos Xydakis, had described on Friday the proposed measures as “very tough.”
“No, it’s not a better deal. It’s a tough deal and the only one we can get right now.”
Minister Nikos Xydakis, though, voted YES in Parliament on Friday night, but did not do the same all of Alexis Tsipas governments’ ministers. Minister of Developement Panayiotis Lafazanis , and Minister of Labour Stratoulis voted PRESENT ( which counts as not a yes). Rumors said after that, hours later on Saturday morning, that Tsipras asked them to resign.
Before and beyond all these abstract, and shocking to a whole, awake till 4 in the morning Greek public, Yiannis Varoufakis counted as ABSENT vote for his own (disastrous)t, negotiation plan, that he had started and ended up, on the very last minute in the hands of his “friend and long term comrade Eukleid Tsakalotos’ as Yianis himself had said for the present Greek Finance Minister, because Yianis on this very moment for Greece, decided to …travel to Aigina for family reasons.
” If I would be there I would vote Yes” he said on a a writen letter he sent to the Parliament. But he wasn’t, so his name counted as absent.
Two other top ministers, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Houdis, and deputy minister of Defence Kostas Isihos stated that they voted Yes, as not to cause more danger to the governmenet, but they openly defined that their thesis is No.
So what is all that confusion about, that made even the governmenet itself to burn out, leaving again Greek people in a desperate mind blow? And also, leaving also stigmatized the Greek Left,as showing no unity, and the whole world to stare breathless to Greece, again?
Greece Isn’t to Blame for the Crisis, wrote the Foreign Affairs article few days before, explaning Why :
We’ve never understood Greece because we have refused to see the crisis for what it was—a continuation of a series of bailouts for the financial sector that started in 2008 and that rumbles on today. It’s so much easier to blame the Greeks and then be surprised when they refuse to play along with the script.
There is a big truth, told openly to the world the Foreign Affairs article….and it is what the European elites buried deep within their supposed bailouts for Greece. Namely, the bailouts weren’t for Greece at all, explained the article. They were bailouts-on-the-quiet for Europe’s big banks, and taxpayers in core countries are now being stuck with the bill since the Greeks have refused to pay.
It is this hidden game that lies at the heart of Greece’s decision to say “no” and Europe’s inability to solve the problem, the article underlines.
it wrote. The roots of the crisis lie far away from Greece; they lie in the architecture of European banking.
When the euro came into existence in 1999,not only did the Greeks get to borrow like the Germans, everyone’s banks got to borrow and lend in what was effectively a cheap foreign currency. And with super-low rates, countries clamoring to get into the euro, and a continent-wide credit boom underway, it made sense for national banks to expand private lending as far as the euro could reach, explained the Foreign Affairs article in the start of the week
To fix the problem, someone in core Europe is going to have to own up to all of the above and admit that their money wasn’t given to lazy Greeks but to already-bailed bankers who, despite a face-value haircut, ended up making a profit on the deal.
Doing so would, however, also entail admitting that by shifting, quite deliberately, responsibility from reckless lenders to irresponsible (national) borrowers,
Europe regenerated exactly the type of petty nationalism, in which moral Germans face off against corrupt Greeks, that the EU was designed to eliminate
Despite Germany being a serial defaulter that received debt relief four times in the twentieth century, Chancellor Angela Merkel is not about to cop to bailing out D-Bank and pinning it on the Greeks.
At the time of writing,
the ECB is not only violating its own statutes by limiting emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks,
but is also raising the haircuts on Greek collateral offered for new cash. In other words, the ECB, far from being an independent central bank, is acting as the eurogroup’s enforcer, despite the risk that doing so poses to the European project as a whole.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times likened the Troika’s demands to medieval doctors when he wrote,
the truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients. And when their bleeding treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding.
Against all advice of many important economists, Europe and the Troika insist on drip-feeding Greece. Against this, a group of economists including Thomas Piketty and an experts to the RealNews Network on the Euro crisis, Heiner Flassbeck, has penned an open letter to Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, published in the Nation magazine.
It makes a plea for debt forgiveness. They wrote:
We cannot demand that generations must pay for decades of the mistakes of their parents.
The Greeks have, without a doubt, made big mistakes. Until 2009 the government in Athens forged its books.
But despite this, the younger generation of Greeks carries no more responsibility for the mistakes of its elders than the younger generations of Germans did in the 1950s and ’60s. We need to look ahead.
Europe was founded on debt forgiveness and investment in the future, not on the idea of endless penance. We need to remember this, they wrote.
It was on this point that Alexis Tsipras had emphasized speaking in the Europarliament the previous week, just after the referendum, and addressing to all the euroleaders, noting that the Foundation of Europe in the modern history was build on this, exactly, brave practise of solidarity and forgiveness, shown by the countries that were ruined by Germany, but though, Greece at least, “donated” to Germany the 60% of its dept.
Confusion and political paralyisis in Greece, bottom line, no matter how much in cold blood, the leftists lawmakers ended up to almost “tombled” their, first in history Left government that has ever existed in Greece, popps out from the main core of the cause, finally, that makes to a majority of Greek people, (with the majority of Greek lives been humiliated), even a Grexit to seem more promising, than obeying to this Germany- ruled Europe, which, ironically, is called a Union: the total absence of Empathy, Humanitarianism and Solidarity, in Principles and Pracise
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