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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-15

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Situation at Idomeni 'tragic and unacceptable,' EU Migration Commissioner says after visit
  • [02] Labour minister, institutions to discuss pension reforms on Wednesday
  • [03] Refugee boy in Piraeus port confirmed to have hepatitis A

  • [01] Situation at Idomeni 'tragic and unacceptable,' EU Migration Commissioner says after visit

    The situation at the refugee camp in Idomeni was "tragic and unacceptable," European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said after a visit to the makeshift camp near Greece's border on Tuesday, accompanied by Greece's Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas. Avramopoulos also urged European Union member-states to honour the decisions they made jointly so that the process of relocating refugees could finally begin.

    "We are talking about the capacity to relocate 6,000 people weekly and it must be made clear that a refugee that has a right to asylum is one thing, but an irregular migrant is another and they must know that they will be returned to their country of origin," the Commissioner said.

    At the same time, he stressed that the unacceptable conditions at Idomeni must not be allowed to continue:

    "This is where the values and principles of the civilised world are daily put to the test and what we saw people enduring under tragic conditions must stop right away. Unfortunately, they are being ruthlessly exploited by trafficking rings that misinform them," Avramopoulos said.

    Europe's stance toward refugees was one of respect and dignity but the conditions at Idomeni did not reflect this, he added.

    He appealed to all EU countries to open their doors and uphold their decisions to share the burden, pointing out that closed borders and fences were "alien" to European principles, politics and philosophy. He also expressed Europe's support for Greece, which was coming under disproportionate pressure from the refugee crisis.

    Mouzalas, on his part, said that great efforts were being made to complete new reception facilities and provide new places, as well as to make refugees understand that the borders will not open.

    "These people must be persuaded to leave. We cannot use riot police to drive them away but we must prepare ourselves slowly, I would say within the next 20 days, for this camp to be a very small place," he said. It was necessary to isolate those spreading rumours that the borders will open and provoking refugees to "irresponsible and illegal actions such as that yesterday," the minister added. He was referring to an attempt by a few dozen refugees to illegally cross over the border into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which ended in at least three fatalities on Monday.

    [02] Labour minister, institutions to discuss pension reforms on Wednesday

    Labour and Social Insurance Minister George Katrougalos is to have another meeting with representatives of the creditor institutions - the European Commission, European Central Bank, European Stability Mechanism and International Monetary Fund - on Wednesday at 19:30 to continue negotiations on the first review of Greece's programme.

    After his previous meeting with the institutions, Katrougalos said that the talks will continue on issues relating to the architecture of pension reform, such as replacement rates and the national pension.

    A round of meetings between Greek ministers and the institutions was held on Tuesday, with the last scheduled to be held at 18:00 to discuss the issue of bad loans. Earlier, sources said that the talks were on energy issues, corruption and other aspects of the Greek programme.

    [03] Refugee boy in Piraeus port confirmed to have hepatitis A

    An eight-year-old refugee boy at the Piraeus port passenger terminal has been confirmed to have hepatitis A and was admitted to Agia Sophia children's hospital in central Athens, authorities reported on Tuesday. Doctors are also monitoring the boy's family and proceeded to carry out vaccinations.

    The head of the Piraeus Medical Association Nikos Malesiotis told the ANA-MPA that the specific case was manageable and that one other child has come down with chicken pox.

    This was the second case of hepatitis A diagnosed among refugees arriving in the country.


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