Image

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.

12794617_991059250929453_3358439553702579786_n

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.

 

images (4)

SOURCE : POLITICO.

Image

#Turkey in, #Greece out of #Schengen option, plus #NATO patrols

 

tsipras--merkel-hold-constructive-phone-conversation.w_hr

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.

CarcXkjXIAEPrI6

Schengen Visa free: Turkey in , Greece out

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.

_85534873_schengenvisanewafp

 

Find more on our Special Borders Coverage Home Page

thumbs

Image

Hot pots important, but detension centers also needed, says Commissioner @Avramopoulos, announcing planning of #Dublin reforms

Dimitris-Avramopoulos-Commissioner-for-Migration-Home-Affairs-and-Citizenship.fw_

“Hotspots are important. But detention centres are also needed for those ordered to return to their home countries, particularly if they are not willing to return voluntarily,”

said European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday said in an interview with EurActiv.

Dublin reforms under planning

The Greek Commissioner also said that while systematic registration needs to happen, and while all hotspots need to become operational as soon as possible,  need to step up relocations need to be stepped up too, but also, we are also precisely planning systemic reforms that are urgently needed ,by the EU Committees, ahead of the Dublin reform that is coming in spring.

schengen II

No country threatened with Schengen expulsion

“What we are trying to do is to safeguard and to strengthen Schengen,” Demitris Avramopoulos underlined.
If we want to continue to move freely internally, we simply have to better manage our external borders.
“We are helping Greece to do that, and I know that Greece is making efforts too.
But it is not just about borders. This is precisely what the inhabitants of the Greek islands show on a daily basis. They give food, donate clothes, help those vulnerable people who arrive – they have been doing this from the very start, because it is the right and humane thing to do.”
It is this sense of humanity and solidarity that we have seen also in other places in Europe, such as Italy and Sweden – but unfortunately not enough everywhere.”

 

via Avramopoulos: No country threatened with Schengen expulsion | News.

Image

Following Athens, Schengen pressure locks on Rome

87926493_029065984-1

For Rome it is has been made clear that if Schengen goes, Dublin goes

Italy’s preference on the matter is  clear, with Gentiloni saying that it is the Dublin convention that requires review, especially the clause which requires asylum-seekers coming into the EU to be processed in their country of arrival. This clause has made Italy and Greece the buffer zone for Europe, receiving all migrants heading from Asia and North Africa to Europe via Turkey and the Mediterranean.

via Following Athens, Schengen pressure locks on Rome.

intelNews.org

Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying

It's All Greek

Replicas of Ancient Greek Art: bronze, marble, vases and jewellery

Homeschooling Noel

The World Is My Classroom

Greek National Pride

έγκυρη, αμερόληπτη ενημέρωση

Covert Geopolitics

Beyond the Smoke & Mirrors

UniversalDoctor Blog

Healthcare Communication Blog / Blog de Comunicación en la Salud

%d bloggers like this: