Greece does what it can to handle the refugee crisis, but not enough. This was the conclusion of a tragic week: forty people died drowned in shipwrecks precarious boats trying to reach the country from Turkey; twenty were children.
[blockquote author=”Alexis Tsipras” ]”As a member of the European leadership, I am embarrassed for both the inability of Europe in dealing with this humanitarian tragedy as the level of debate in the heavens, where the ball is passed around to others” [/blockquote]
Since two months ago appeared small Ailan Kurdi died in the Turkish coast (your photo stirred consciences around the world), more than 70 children have drowned in this way, according to the NGO Save the Children reported. The organization warns that the death toll may go up, because the flow of people fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq stops.
In fact, the last Russian offensive on the country of Al-Assad has again aggravated the exodus. Faced with new bombings, no obstacle. “The time, in winter, making the sea crossing even more dangerous, children come soaked and shivering on the beach, and this increases the risk of hypothermia by the lack of adequate shelter,” warning NGO.
Greece is the first line of arrival. “We are poor people, but preserve the values and humanity. We are not asking for a single euro that we have a duty to meet with the people who die in our backyard, “said Tsipras. Athens calls for a European solution, which is to “isolate the voices racist.” “Are all these hypocritical crocodile tears for the children who are dead side Aegean Sea,” added the leader of Syriza. And he does not think that lifting the border fences or plundering money in Brussels.
The Greek proposal
At the last EU summit on refugees, Greek executive dismissed the possibility of creating a great center to house 50,000 there. In exchange, he proposed to build “infrastructure hosting”: critical points to identify potential asylum seekers; Short-term accommodation in the Aegean islands for 8,000 immigrants; centers in the area of Attica and Northern Greece that can accommodate 20,000 people. And helps to live in rented accommodation for a similar number of refugees.
The government, in fact, as promised earlier this month to receive the total 50,000 refugees waiting to be rehoused in other European countries. The program is just beginning to work. So far, Greece has requested support in Brussels to form a team of 370 experts.
What Tsipras does not want anyone to believe that it is using the refugee crisis as a bargaining chip to achieve a relaxation of the terms of the bailout or new financing. But it would compensation: loosen the increase in public spending on rescue operations and reception should lead creditors to soften the deficit targets imposed in the country.
So vague, the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the door to a possible agreement in this direction. While Syriza could argue that mismanagement of the immigration crisis is the fault of Europe, the party will not live internal problems. Meanwhile, the left will continue protesting Greek improvements.
Refugees in central Athens
In the center of Athens, the situation remains dramatic. Crowds of refugees are stacked in Victoria Square after arriving by bus from the port of Piraeus. There are many women with children, and the flow does not stop. The Eleftherios Venizelos, the ship can accommodate up to 2,000 people, two or three daily trips between the islands and mainland Greece.
Islands like Lesbos look as if it were a routine, a tragedy that is multiplied. The groups of volunteers who try to make sustainable the situation, criticizing the authorities for lack of preparation, from the Greek Coast Guard to the European border control agency, Frontex, as well as medical personnel. Daily endure scenes of children dying, the elderly who can barely fend for itself, of people affected by incurable diseases without the necessary equipment, and all this report is because European governments and organizations international yielding to end a civil responsibility not overpay: take care of the survivors fleeing wars. “It is an abomination against humanity,” wrote Facebook Trace Myers, a volunteer English.
The impotence of the UN
The member of the UN Agency for Refugees Alessandra Morelli also complained: “We have warned for weeks that a bad situation could be even worse if desperate migrants and refugees have to resort to smugglers to send even the sea the weather worsens. “
To date, Greece has received more than half a million refugees from earlier this year and has reaccomodated nor in other European countries through the quota system agreed in the EU. This week, Italy will send 100 in France and Spain, as part of the European plan designed to ease the burden of countries that make border. More than 3,200 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, but now the majority of deaths have been concentrated on the route that goes from Libya to Italy.
Credits – Reuters – © 2015 Reuters US