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Greece and the economic crisis 2016

NEWS ARCHIVE - Feb 20 - Feb 29

Feb 29, 2016

Migrants try to storm Greece-Macedonia border fence - Yahoo

"Hundreds of refugees on Monday tried to break through a border fence into Macedonia from Greece, where more than 7,000 people are stranded, as anger mounted over barriers to entry imposed on migrants.

..."Open the borders!" they shouted as a group of men used a metal signpost to bring down a section of barbed wire fencing, prompting police to fire volleys of tear gas and preventing them from crossing.

At least 30 people, including many children, requested first aid in the stampede that ensued, the charity Doctors Without Borders said."

More Coverage:

Refugees Try to Breach Greece’s Border With Macedonia - NYT

Migrants break through Macedonia-Greece border fence as backlog mounts - CNN

Merkel insists Greece needs help to avert ‘chaos’ over refugees - Pittsburgh Post gazette

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece needs Europe’s help to keep the refugee crisis from plunging the country into “chaos” and signaled she’ll fight to keep the continent’s borders open, insisting that she’s on the right track.

....“We didn’t keep Greece in the euro only to leave a country that’s part of the euro zone and the Schengen area — a country that has many problems — in the lurch,” Ms. Merkel said during the hour-long live interview with broadcaster ARD. “That’s exactly what I’m afraid of: someone defines a border, and others suffer.”

Over 5,000 refugees staying in Piraeus port - Protothema

"There are 5,000 refugees and migrants currently staying in the passenger areas at Piraeus port. Terminals at gates E1, E2, E3, E6 and E7, as well as a warehouse at the port are fully packed. At Gate E1 a place has been converted into a “warehouse” for food, clothing, medicine and other essentials that the volunteers are sharing out among the refugees and migrants in the port. "

Gov’t prepares plan to integrate refugee children to Greek schools - Protothema

"Greek government prepares a plan to integrate refugee children into Greek schools accepting its fate to host for a long time and incorporate large groups of immigrants and refugees in Greece risking to alter the characteristics of many local communities and ignoring the long term implications of that decision, given that many European countries are refusing to share responsibility."

Athenian Feb 1976

Feb 28, 2016

EU's Tower of Babel may fall while leaders distracted - eKathimerini

"...When those countries' leaders come to Brussels, they often cannot even agree what they should be discussing.

...Unlike many past European crises, where disagreements could be postponed or salami-sliced into gradual steps that turned a political dispute into a technocratic process, there is no obvious way to delay or defuse the migration issue.

Events on the ground are moving faster than the EU's ability to manage them."

Feb 27, 2016

Thousands Stranded as Greece Becomes a Migrant 'Warehouse' - ABC News

"On Thursday, hundreds of frustrated men, women and children abandoned their stranded buses or left refugee camps, setting off on a desperate trek dozens of kilometers (miles) long to reach a border they know is quickly shutting down to them.

About 20,000 migrants were in Greece on Thursday, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said. Of those, Macedonia allowed just 100 people to cross over from Greece's Idomeni border area.

..."Greece, from now on, will not assent to agreements if the proportionate distribution of the burden and responsibility among all member states is not rendered obligatory," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Parliament on Wednesday."

Greece Struggled With Migration Policy Even Before The Refugee Crisis - Huffington Post

"Despite the massive recent surge in numbers, however, this phenomenon of migration is actually hardly new to Greece. The country lies at a crossroads of continents and is the closest part of Europe for many arriving from the Middle East. Many come to Greece from Turkey, either crossing the the Aegean sea to the Greek islands, or by land from Turkey’s northern border. Greece effectively shut the land route in recent years when it constructed a fence along the border. For refugees, the country has traditionally served as a transit stop to other destinations with stronger economies, mainly in northern Europe, and this remains the case for the latest wave of arrivals.

... The 2001 census documented over 750,000 foreigners living in Greece out of a population of almost 11 million. Some 500,000 of them were from eastern European countries that had socialist regimes before the collapse of the Soviet Union."

Austria, FYROM, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia seal their borders - Protothema

"...The countries of Western Balkan route closing their borders, while 25,000 refugees and immigrants are already trapped in Greece.

Specifically, Slovenian police announced that authorities of Austria, FYROM, Serbia and Croatia have agreed to limit the flow of immigrants to about 580 people per day.

The police chiefs are “obliged to limit the daily flow of immigrants through the Western Balkan countries to a number that gives them the possibility to check each immigrant in accordance with the Schengen rules,” police said in today’s statement.

Meanwhile, the situation in Idomeni, northern Greece is chaotic since FYROM has not opened the neutral zone, while women carrying their children are asking authorities when they will be able to enter the country. "

Stournaras: Deep recession may end soon, reform must continue - Capital GR

"Greece΄s central bank governor said on Thursday there were growing signs the country΄s deep recession was bottoming out although a mild recovery expected in the second half of the year could still be at risk.

"The Greek economy has already come a long way, and it is only a short distance from here to an exit from the crisis," Bank of Greece chief Yannis Stournaras, an ECB Governing Council member, told the annual meeting of the central bank in Athens, Reuters reported."

Athens, IMF decide on termination of Greek program - Capital GR

"A decision for the termination of Greece’s IMF program was taken jointly in order to avoid administrative costs related to the program, according to a Greek finance ministry official on Tuesday. "

Greece to cap refugee flow from islands, Shipping Min Dritsas says - Athens News Agency

"The Shipping ministry will proceed with a temporary plan to limit the refugee flow from the islands,in order to develop new temporary hosting facilities for refugees and migrants in Attica and other regions of the country, Shipping Minister Thodoris Dritsas on Friday said in statements to MEGA TV."

Der Spiegel: Bankruptcy of Greece from March? -

"Greece will already be facing difficulties in servicing debts in late March, estimates the International Monetary Fund, according an alarmist article in the German magazine Der Spiegel, under the heading "Bankruptcy in March already?" "

Social fragmentation - eKathimerini

"...What is the meaning of their throwing produce around, waving Greek flags and parking their tractors outside ministry buildings? What do the farmers mean when they threaten to take their battle “into the cities”?

What it all means is that the only reality they’re in tune with is their list of demands from the government: demands and privileges that range from the absurd to the extortionate. What would be interesting to ask, instead, is what anyone can expect to extract from a country that is as shattered as Greece is today, but that is a topic for a different discussion."

Refugee Crisis Disunity - Der Spiegel

"...Athens is considering declaring a state of emergency and applying for EU aid to cope with the refugee situation. Thus far, the government in Athens has declined taking such a step out of political considerations. But doing so now, Athens believes, could push EU member states to show solidarity with Greece in the refugee crisis.

The man who is primarily responsible for preventing refugees from continuing on their northward journey out of Greece is Gjorge Ivanov, the president of Macedonia...

The closing of the border to Greece, Ivanov says, was merely a reaction. "Whenever a country to our north restricts its borders, we do the same," he says. Macedonia, Ivanov continues, made it clear that it would only be able to tolerate 2,000 migrants at a time making their way through the country. Macedonia may not be in the EU, but it is still behaving more responsibly than some EU member states, the country's president insists. He says he could no longer wait for a decision to be made in Brussels, otherwise Macedonia would have been overrun by refugees. "In times of crisis, each country must find its own solutions."

Feb 26, 2016

Greece-Austria migration row heats up as Athens blocks minister - Yahoo-AFP

"A foreign ministry source confirmed a report by state news agency ANA that a request by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner to visit Athens had been turned down.

"We confirm the report," the source told AFP.

The snub came a day after Greece recalled its ambassador to Vienna for consultations in retaliation for Austria's decision to leave Athens out of a Balkans migration meeting this week."

More Coverage:

EU Rift Over Refugees Grows as Greece Rebuffs Austrian Visit - Bloomberg

Balkan borders tighten, Greek islands to hold migrants - Oklahoman

"Ferry companies and regional authorities were handed the instructions as the number of people stranded in Greece continues to rise, with thousands sleeping rough in parks and along the country's highways, and existing shelters filled to capacity.

....About 2,000 people — more than half from Syria and Iraq — are arriving daily from Turkey using dinghies and small boats, but the number of people crossing into neighboring Macedonia has dropped dramatically in the past week, and was down to just 150 on Thursday, according to Greek police figures."

Greece seeks to stem migrant flow as thousands trapped by border limits - Reuters

"From its northern frontier with Macedonia to its port of Piraeus in the south, Greece was inundated with refugees and migrants after border shutdowns cascaded through the Balkans, stranding at least 20,000 in the country.

...Athens on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Austria in anger over the border closures and has threatened to block European Union decision-making unless the bloc comes up with concerted action to deal with the crisis.

In the latest measure to slow the northward movement of migrants, the police chiefs of Slovenia, Austria, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia agreed to limit the flow to about 580 per day per country, Slovenian police said on Friday."

The Syrian exodus - eKathimerini

"...How we deal with the refugees will determine who we are and where we too are going.

As the Syrians march across the map, from their battered land to some hostel in the European north, we can see the virtues and weaknesses of our world – of every country, of the great powers, of our values, of each one of us. The picture is ambiguous: On the one hand there is a great effort to provide food, shelter and security to the wandering refugees; on the other, the international community is playing a macabre game in which it offers this help to those who survive superfluous dangers, such as the crossing from Turkey to Greece."

Greece to cap refugee flow from islands, Shipping Min Dritsas says - AMNA

"The Shipping ministry will proceed with a temporary plan to limit the refugee flow from the islands,in order to develop new temporary hosting facilities for refugees and migrants in Attica and other regions of the country, Shipping Minister Thodoris Dritsas on Friday said in statements to MEGA TV."

High concentrations of carbon dioxide subsea pools discovered near Santorini - protothema

"...The researchers used underwater exploration vehicles to explore these subsea pools which are seen within the Santorini volcanic caldera at a depth of about 250 m.

The scientists named the pools Kallisti Limnes from ancient Greek for “most beautiful lakes”."

Feb 25, 2016

Greece recalls ambassador from Austria amid EU rifts - BBC

"Ministers from EU and Balkan nations are meeting in Brussels to try to heal rifts over the migrant issue.

Austria, Serbia and Macedonia have taken their own steps to limit entry to migrants, angering Greece, which fears the controls will cause a bottleneck."

Greek authorities impose fines for illegal short selling‏ - Athens News Agency

"We can say that for the first time the government discussed the tax-free issue. We will wait to see the draft law. We stay alert. We asked the pension reform to be withdrawn" he said

Asked if the mobilisations will continue, Boutas said that it will be decided at the blockades because the decisions are taken collectively and that the farmers will wait to see the draft law."

Feb 24, 2016

Migrants flock to Europe in peak numbers, getting stuck in Greece - CNN

"Longing for refuge in Germany but stuck in limbo in Greece: That could be the fate of masses of new migrants to Europe, the United Nations warned on Wednesday.

...Reluctance of some European countries to take refugees and discussions in Germany to limit the number there have had little effect on the tide of humanity arriving from the east. Three times as many migrants have arrived so far this year in Greece -- by far their main gateway to Europe -- as had by this point last year.

..."It cannot be tolerated that some member countries do as they want on their own regardless of what everyone else has agreed upon, and this should not be accepted by the European Union," said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili."

Greece Continues to Have a Serious Tax Evasion Problem - Greek Reporter

"Greek government authorities assigned with the responsibility to combat black money have identified over 3,500 cases of tax evasion which amount to over 5 billion euros.

The local tax authorities have been informed of these cases since 2014, but it appears that not much action has been taken, the result being that the public coffers continue to experience cash shortages due to tax evasion."

Bulgaria threatens more retaliation over Greece border blockade - eKathimerini

"Bulgarian truckers will stage another counter-blockade at all checkpoints on the country’s border with Greece if Greek protesters do not end their own blockade by Monday, the Bulgarian transport minister said on Wednesday."

Refugee pressure piles up on Greece - eKathimerini

"More than 12,000 refugees and migrants found themselves trapped in Greece on Tuesday as Athens took diplomatic action to counter the border restrictions to its north that are causing the buildup.

...The rise in the number of arrivals also means there is a greater number of refugees and migrants on the Greek islands. Almost 1,400 people were rescued by the coast guard on Lesvos, some 1,200 people were at the hot spot on Chios and more than 1,300 had arrived on passengers ferries at Piraeus."

Greece rages at neighbors as fears migrants could be halted - Reuters

"Greece raged at neighbors and began bussing refugees and migrants back from its northern border on Tuesday, after new restrictions by countries on the main land route to Western Europe trapped hundreds behind a bottleneck at the frontier.

....Austria is due to host west Balkan states on Wednesday to discuss efforts to manage and curb the flow, but did not invite Greece. In unusually heated language that shows how the migration crisis has raised passions across Europe, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias described the snub as a "unilateral and non-friendly act".

More Coverage:

Austria’s move to exclude Greece from Vienna conference is not a friendly one, says Kotzias - Protothema

Feb 23, 2016

Greece removes refugees from Macedonia border - RT

"The International Organization for Migration (IOM) stated on Tuesday that almost 100,000 migrants have landed on Greece’s islands since the start of 2016. After landing on Greek soil, the refugees are subsequently ferried to ports on the mainland.

"It's a difficult management exercise. I don't know if the planning is adequate. The flows are increasing, more ships are coming," Piraeus Mayor Yannis Moralis told Mega TV, according to Reuters. Piraeus, near Athens, is Greece’s major port."

Tsipras voices 'displeasure' to EU over Balkans border bottleneck - eKathimerini

"Athens has expressed its "displeasure" to the EU over tougher border controls by Balkan countries that have left thousands of migrants stranded in Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' office said Tuesday.

With all of Europe scrambling for solutions to the continent's greatest migration challenge since World War II, Austria has invited interior and foreign ministers from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia to a conference entitled "Managing Migration Together".

Corfu to present its candidacy for Cultural Capital of Europe 2021 on Tuesday - Athens News Agency

"Corfu's candidacy for "European Cultural Capital 2021" will be presented on Tuesday in Athens by Corfu mayor Costas Nikolouzos.

The presentation will be held at central Athens hotel ahead of the selection of the candidate cities that will move into the second and final phase to be declared Cultural Capital of Europe 2021."

European Commission confirms creditors’ return to Athens this week - Capital GR

"According to the EC spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt, the technical staff of Greece’s creditors will return to Athens this week to resume the negotiations with the Greek govt over the pending issues of the first review.

The technical staff will reportedly focus on fiscal issues seeking to finalize the 2015 fiscal performance and to find common ground with the govt on a baseline scenario for the fiscal gap in 2016, AMNA reported."

Feb 22, 2016

Greece braces for growing number of stranded migrants - Journal Sentinel

"Greece's government warned Monday it expected a growing number of stranded migrants and asylum seekers after neighbor Macedonia further restricted border access at the weekend, sparking protests by Afghan nationals at a border crossing.

...Later, hundreds broke a Greek police cordon and crowded at the border fence, trying to climb it or cut through the wire netting. At least one man made it over, and was promptly arrested by police on the Macedonian side."

More Coverage:

Greece braces for growing number of stranded migrants - Yahoo/AP

Greece braces for thousands of stranded migrants - DW

Greece΄s current account deficit shrank in December - Capital GR

"Greece΄s current account deficit shrank in December from the same month a year earlier as a lower trade gap helped to offset a drop in the services balance surplus, according to the Bank of Greece data.

"This amelioration is attributable to the improvement in the balance of goods," the central bank said."

Greece could get gradual debt relief from EU - Nasdaq

"The plan has been discussed among officials from the European Commission, the Eurozone's rescue fund, the ECB, and the larger Eurozone nations, the paper said.

Asked about the report, Finnish fin min Alexander Stubb said:

"At this moment, we are not looking at debt relief but at completing the third programme's first interim review."

EU lenders working on plan for gradual Greek debt relief - UK Reuters

"They would initially allow lower interest rates and longer maturities on Greece's 316-billion-euro (£244 billion) debt, the paper said. At a later stage, there would be talks on linking debt payments to economic growth provided Athens implemented measures to be agreed with creditors by 2022, it added."

Feb 21, 2016

Borders to remain open until March 6 - Protothema

"The meeting with the European leaders gave the opportunity to Alexis Tsipras to ask for joint actions in solving the problems, while he also stressed the need for solidarity and co-responsibility since Greece has borne the biggest part of the refugee crisis.

Mr. Tsipras also stated that the member states would cooperate so as the borders will remain open, and that the agreement with Turkey on stemming the refugee flow would be honored."

Greece: Macedonia has closed its borders to Afghan migrants - SF Gate

"Macedonia closed its southern border with Greece to Afghan migrants Sunday, allowing entry only for Iraqis and Syrians.

Macedonian authorities confirmed earlier reports by Greek police, saying they are responding to a "domino effect" of similar restrictions by their neighbors to the north.

The moves have led to a buildup of migrants waiting at the Greek side of the border...."

Feb 20, 2016

Posters of Classic Greek Tourism

Poster art of Classic Greece Tourism - Huffington Post

"Dream Of Visiting Greece Through The Ages With These Vintage Posters

The country's official tourism ads are works of art. "

NEWS ARCHIVE - February 2016


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