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NEWS ARCHIVE - Jan 26 - Jan 31


Jan 30, 2016

Pressure builds on Greece over Schengen role - eKathimerini

“Stopping refugees between Slovenia and Croatia is an idea which is being discussed in depth by countries in southeastern Europe,” de Maiziere told German news magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday.

“One cannot overlook the fact that Greece would thus be blocked de facto from Schengen, which could create overcrowding, either in Greece, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or elsewhere in the Balkans,” he said."


Greek bank deposits up in Dec.; down 23% in 2015‏ - Athens News Agency

"Bank deposits by individuals and enterprises grew by around 3.0 billion euros in December 2015 to 123.4 billion, from 120.9 billion euros a month earlier, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.

The central bank, in a monthly report, said that bank deposits amounted to 160.3 billion euros in December 2014, losing 23 pct in 12 months."


Aegean Sea refugee crossings rise 35-fold in January - UK Guardian

"More than 52,000 refugees and migrants crossed the eastern Mediterranean to reach Europe in the first four weeks of January, more than 35 times as many as attempted the crossing in the same period last year.

...The eastern route into Europe, via Greece, has overtaken the previously popular central Mediterranean route from north Africa over the past year. Refugees have continued to use the route all winter, despite rough seas and strong winds."


Boat Sinks En Route To Greece, Killing At Least 33 Migrants - NPR

"The deputy governor for Turkey's Canakkale province, Saim Eskioglu, told CNN-Turk that officials believe there may be more bodies inside the submerged boat, the Associated Press reports.

The 56-foot boat, packed with more than 100 migrants, "hit rocks shortly after it left the coast and, unfortunately, it sank," the deputy governor said, according to the AP."


Jan 29, 2016

Greece’s far-left Syriza government is tottering - Economist

"Many Greeks were infuriated that the prime minister’s speech failed to mention the refugee crisis, reinforcing a growing feeling that Mr Tsipras is out of touch. His party has been weakened by corruption scandals. George Stathakis, the economy minister, is being probed by a parliamentary committee for failing to include 38 properties and €1.8m ($1.9m) in his 2011 declaration of assets. Earlier this month, the Greek press alleged that Syriza MPs and officials had appointed family and friends to senior public-sector jobs. The government is moving to privatise ports, airports and other public assets: measures that, while economically sensible, are deeply unpopular. Taxes are rising, and unemployment remains at 25% (and near 50% for those aged 18-24). Capital controls, including a measure limiting bank withdrawals to €420 a week, are still in place."


Sealing Off Greece a Second-Worst Scenario, Says Macedonian Minister - WSJ

"The Macedonian foreign minister, Nikola Poposki, spoke to The Wall Street Journal about Europe’s plan to tighten security and possibly seal off Greece in reaction to the migration crisis and if all other European policies fail. Mr. Poposki said European governments are still betting on “Plan A: that a deal with Turkey on stemming the migration flow will work, along with Greece better registering migrants, sending back those denied asylum and redistributing refugees across the bloc. But in case these policies fail over the coming weeks, countries like Austria and Germany might prefer to secure the Macedonian border than have the highly-prized border-free Schengen area completely dismantled."


Belgium asked Greece to ‘push immigrants back’ - Euroactiv

"Greece's Migration Minister, Yiannis Mouzalas, said on Thursday (28 January) that Belgium had asked him to go against the law, and “push migrants back in the sea”.

....The leftist minister went further on Friday (29 January), saying that he feared a Grexit from the Schengen area was close.

"Such a possibility is getting visible; under the table one can hear such things .... Doesn’t that make us feel a bit worried?" Mouzalas wondered. "Europe is faced with a split that surpasses the political parties […] I am really worried about the threats of Europeans," he added."

Jan 28, 2016

Tsipras: Greece will be fully prepared to deal with refugee crisis in February - Athens News Agency

"Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday said his government will be fully prepared, as of next month, to deal with the refugee flows targeting various Greek islands in the eastern Aegean, while he added that it remains to be seen if Europe, too, will live up to its commitments. He made the statement during a joint press conference with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv."


In Greece’s Populism, Precious Lessons for Europe - NYT

"Greece has been plagued by domestic divisions for most of its modern history. It is easy to see foreign creditors’ supervision of our economy, and their pressure on our political system, as a new chapter in a national epic of resistance.

Similar forces are at play, to some extent, in Poland, Hungary, Portugal and Spain — wherever foreign domination or domestic dictatorships still loom large in national narratives. In France, the National Front sees Brussels and immigrants as the enemy. Demagogues are able to claim that they represent the people against foreigners and their lackeys in the local political and media elites, especially when European institutions and local politicians do not seem to have easy solutions to problems."


Leaders of Cyprus, Greece, Israel meet to boost cooperation - Daily American

"The leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel pledged on Thursday to work together to seize opportunities emerging from newly found offshore gas reserves in order to bolster stability and security in a region wracked by conflict.

...Discussions centered on cooperation to exploit newly found offshore gas reserves as well as migration, combatting terrorism and boosting tourism. The countries also signed a cooperation agreement on managing water resources."


Greece to Honor Holocaust Survivors on Monday - Greek Reporter

"Greece will be honoring the memories of thousands of Greek Jews killed by Nazis during World War II, the government announced on Wednesday.

The government gazette said, “Today we celebrate with the rest of the Greeks, the ‘Day of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust,’ which the Greek parliament adopted, unanimously, into Law 3218 on 2004.”

It is the first time since the day was established that a delegation of Greek Jews will attend a special session of the Greek parliament honoring them."


Jan 27, 2016

Greece 'seriously neglected' Schengen border duties, Commission finds - eKathimerini

"The draft Schengen evaluation report on Greece was based on unannounced site visits to the Greek-Turkish land border as well as to the islands of Chios and Samos carried out from 10 to 13 November 2015. Experts looked at the presence of police and coast guard personnel on the inspected sites, the efficiency of the identification and registration process, sea border surveillance and cooperation with neighbouring countries."


Greece warned: control your borders or you will be out of Schengen - UK Guardian

"The Germans, as well as several other EU countries taking in large numbers of migrants, have long been furious with the Greeks for allegedly simply waving the new arrivals through without registration and ID checks and setting them on the Balkan route towards Austria and Germany.

EU governments made clear on Monday that there would need to be unprecedented action against Greece if it failed to start playing by the Schengen rules. Wednesday’s warning from the commission confirmed that."


EU threatens Greece over border controls - BBC

"Greece has "seriously neglected" its obligations to control the external frontier of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, the European Commission says in a draft report.

...More than 850,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Greece last year.

...There is growing pressure on Athens to deal with the flow of migrants, most of whom go on to travel through Europe to countries such as Germany and Sweden."


Jan 26, 2016

Protests escalate against Greek pension reform - Yahoo

"Alexis Tsipras told a special parliamentary session that the financially struggling country's pension system faces collapse unless swift corrective action is taken.

He insisted that the reforms will see no new reductions in core pensions — which have been repeatedly slashed since the start of Greece's financial crisis.

The pension overhaul has been demanded by Greece's bailout creditors, whose rescue loans have kept the country afloat since mid-2010."


EU mulls partial Schengen suspension over migrant crisis -Yahoo

"If the situation does not change there could indeed be justifications under public order and security reasons to maintain internal controls at internal Schengen borders," said Natasha Bertaud, the Commission's spokeswoman on migration.

... Article 26 of the Schengen code allows members of the 26-country zone, which includes most EU countries, to reintroduce internal border controls for a maximum of two years in exceptional circumstances.

More Coverage:

Greece given six weeks to stop migrant surge - Pop Herald

Greece will have borders effectively sealed off from rest of continent in plans to halt migrant flow - Vancouver Sun

Seal up Greece to STOP flow of migrants: EU's shock plan to MOVE Schengen north - UK Espress


"God and His Angels Can't Fix Greece" Varoufakis - Bloomberg Video

At the link: 4-minute video at Bloomberg with Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis


Resentment simmers as Greece launches debate on pension reforms - Reuters

"Without pension reform, Athens cannot conclude the first review of its compliance to terms of a bailout worth up to 86 billion euros agreed last August, and move on with talks on potential debt relief, which Tsipras sees as a vital prize.

But that cuts little ice with millions of people, farmers included, who will see contributions jump to about 20 percent of monthly earnings to prop up the new pension system."


EU Slows Down on Greece Support as Compliance Trumps Urgency - Bloomberg

"Greece’s next bite of bailout money may turn into a movable feast if Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras can’t convince euro-area authorities he’s making good on his promises.

Greece may get 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) or more once the nation’s creditors complete a review of the most recent bailout, according to a euro-area official who asked not to be named because talks are ongoing. If Greece fails to unlock more funding it may face a cash crunch by the middle of the year."


EU Ministers Threaten To Expel Greece From Schengen Over Refugees - Huffington Post

"European Union interior ministers urged Greece on Monday to do more to control the influx of migrants, some threatening to have it excluded from the continent's prized passport-free travel zone as the crisis increasingly divides bloc members.

Greece was the main gateway to Europe for more than a million refugees and migrants who reached the EU last year. It has been criticized for a failure to control the flow of arrivals, which has shown little sign of easing over the winter."


NEWS ARCHIVE - January 2016

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