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Greece and the economic crisis 2016

NEWS ARCHIVE - March 11 - March 16


March 16, 2016

Greece's migration minister has reportedly resigned for calling Macedonia 'Macedonia' - Bilbaoya

"Many Greeks believe the neighboring country's claim to the name Macedonia represents both a claim on Greece's region of that name, and on the heritage of ancient Macedonia, birthplace of Alexander the Great. The modern country is officially listed as the FYROM at the United Nations. After initial reports that he has resigned, Greek media are now reporting that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet with his nationalist ally Kammenos to try to work out an agreement on the issue. "Since the minister recognizes that he made a huge gaffe, he should go home", Kammenos said. Mitsotakis' father, former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis famously lost his majority in Parliament in 1993 following a revolt of nationalists within his New Democracy party, who complained that he is too soft toward Macedonia. "


Merkel: EU must find common solution to migrants - Roanoke Times

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the current migrant crisis can only be solved if all European leaders heading to the EU summit in Brussels are interested in finding a common solution.

...The U.N. refugee agency says more than 1 million people have crossed into Greece alone since the start of 2015.

UNHCR figures show more than 143,500 people — mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans — have reached Greece from Turkey this year through March 14. A calculation of agency figures Wednesday shows total land and sea arrivals into Greece were 1,000,229 since Jan. 1, 2015."


Kammenos reiterates demand for Mouzalas to resign in meeting with Tsipras - eKathimerini

"Defense Minister and Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos on Wednesday reiterated his demand for Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas to resign in a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Kammenos made his demand after Mouzalas referred to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), simply as "Macedonia" in an interview with Skai TV late Tuesday."


Angelina Jolie visits refugees at Piraeus port - AMNA

"American actress Angelina Jolie, who acts as UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador, arrived in Athens earlier on Wednesday. Jolie is currently visiting refugees hosted at Piraeus port and is planning to visit other areas in Athens where refugees are hosted. The American actress arrived at Athens International Airport at the VIP area with a charter flight at 10:15 on Wednesday."

More Coverage:

In Greece, UN envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt shines light on emergency response for thousands of refugees - UN News Center


March 15, 2016

Migrants Who Forded River to Reach Macedonia Are Returned to Greece - NY Times

"Officials on both sides said that the migrants had been misled by unnamed people who had distributed leaflets in Arabic directing them to an unguarded point on the border about three miles west of the tent city, near the Greek village of Idomeni.

Through that opening, hundreds of migrants poured across the border, fording the Suva Reka River.

Along with those who were turned back, 600 more migrants were stopped at the border, according to the Macedonian Interior Ministry."


March 14, 2016

Greece is worst EU country for young people, report says - eKathimerini

"Greece is the worst country in the EU for the young, according to the first Europe-wide Index of Intergenerational Fairness launched by UK-based think tank the Intergenerational Foundation, which warns things could get even worse if action is not taken immediately."


Greek merchant shipping fleet up to 4,092 vessels, Committee says - AMNA

"Greek-interest merchant shipping fleet totaled 4,092 vessels in February 23, 2016, up 35 vessels compared with the same period last year, the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee said in a report."


Greece wins 'Silver medal' in low birthrate competition - Ethnos

"Greece had a total of over 92 000 births in 2014, with Greek women have their first child, on average, at 30 years old.

The fertility rate in Greece rose from 1.25 in 2001 to 1.3 in 2014. Greece has the lowest fertility rate in the EU (1.3), after Portugal."


March 13, 2016

‘Quartet’ wants national pensions cut to 320 Euros a month - protothema

"The level of the national pension was at the centre of discussions between the two sides during Sunday’s meeting in Athens. The Quartet are pushing for a slash in the current 384-Euro general age pension to 320 Euros its payment after 20 years, instead of 15 that the Greek government wants. The Greek side seems unflinching on satisfying the demands by the Quartet on the reduction of the national pension to 320 Euros, but seems more flexible on the increase on the number years needed for pension payment."


Refugees scramble for way past EU's closed Balkan door - e Kathimerini

"Hundreds of desperate migrants were stopped by troops from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Monday after managing to cross the border from Greece...

...Over 14,000 people have been stranded at Idomeni in increasingly desperate conditions after the main route to western Europe through the Balkans -- taken by over one million migrants since the start of 2015 -- was effectively shut down last week."


Migrant costs to exceed 600 million euros, says Greek central bank - eKathimerini

"The cost of managing the migrant crisis in Greece will exceed a previous estimate of 600 million euros ($670 million) as more and more refugees are forced to remain in the country, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said on Sunday

...Athens has pledged to cut pension spending by 1 percent of GDP this year and reach a primary surplus of 3.5 percent by 2018. Stournaras said Greece’s eurozone partners had promised debt relief in a meeting last year if Greece met its obligations."


In Greece, Constitutional Changes Without Constitutional Revision - Huffpost

"The last thing that the country currently needs is the start of the process for the revision of the Constitution. At a very critical moment for the country's economy, with the state's existence being under threat and with the political system collapsing and becoming more and more unreliable, any discussion over constitutional revision is, in my opinion, untimely, absurd, pointless and misleading...

...it is necessary to cut drastically the scandalous 50-seat bonus given to the first party and to abolish or modify the voting by cross system. The latter should be replaced by an alternative way of expressing the electoral preferences of the voters. Several notable proposals have been put forward on that matter, which could become the subject of national understanding."


March 12, 2016

Greece steps up efforts to move migrants to sheltered camps - Reuters

"...Stranded in filthy conditions near the northern border town of Idomeni, at least 12,000 people, among them thousands of children, were waiting to cross the frontier although Macedonia and other nations along the so-called Western Balkan route have closed their borders.

...Greek authorities handed out leaflets in Idomeni on Saturday informing people that the main route to northern Europe was shut. The pamphlets urged them to move to buildings and hospitality centers across Greece that have been set aside for the purpose, according to a government official from the country's refugee crisis management coordination body."


Turkish official to decide who stays and who leaves Greece - Protothema

"The admission by Greek Alternate Minister for the Protection of Citizens Nikos Toskas, Saturday that a Turkish official will be responsible for deciding the readmission of refugees and immigrants entering Greece into Turkey has caused an uproar...

...Toskas also revealed that the government was preparing a series of camps 20-25 kilometres the area of Idomeni. Main opposition party New Democracy called on the Greek government to immediately clarify its position on the placement of a Turkish official at such a sensitive post. ’Completely incompetent people govern Greece at the country’s most crucial time after 1974’, read ND statement."


March 11, 2016

Minister sees refugee crisis easing by week’s end - eKathimerini

According to the latest figures, there are currently 42,253 refugees and migrants scattered around Greece. At the moment, Greece has a capacity to accommodate 30,000.

Despite the closure of the Balkan route into Europe, authorities are still finding it difficult to convince refugees that it is pointless to head for the Idomeni area and the closed border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

“These people maintain the hope that a number of them will cross to the north,” Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said on Friday. “We’re trying to convince them... that the Balkan route has closed.”


Greece rules out using force against migrants and refugees - UK Guardian

"The country’s leftist-led coalition, racing against the clock to deal with the massive influx, ruled out using force to relocate more than 12,000 men, women and children stranded in increasingly wretched conditions on the Greek-Macedonian border. Instead, it said it hoped the people who are trapped in a waterlogged camp where sanitation facilities have deteriorated and illness has become rife would understand that Europe’s Balkan corridor had been closed and choose to settle in organised shelters.

“We have to persuade them [to move] and we can’t do that using teargas,” said the deputy public order minister, Nikos Toskas. “Half the people there are women and children.”


Greece Cannot Carry Migrant Burden On Its Own – PM Tsipras - TJC

"After meeting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Thursday, Mr Tusk said he was appealing to “all potential illegal economic migrants” , wherever they may be from.

He said illegal economic migrants were risking “lives and money” for nothing.

Officials said Tusk would be stressing in Athens and Ankara on Thursday that the goal was to eliminate entirely the transit of migrants from Turkey to Greece and that Europeans believed Turkey should be able to bring the numbers down to the “low triple digits” very soon."


Greek unemployment rate fell to 24 pct in Dec - Capital GR

"Greek unemployment rate fell to 24 pct of the workforce in December 2015, from 25.9 pct in December 2014, down from a revised figure of 24.4 pct in November 2015, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday."


NEWS ARCHIVE - March 2016

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