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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-18

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Merkel pleased with EU-Turkey deal and readmission of refugees
  • [02] Gov't says 12,000 Greek farmers to first return illegal subsidies given in 2008-2009

  • [01] Merkel pleased with EU-Turkey deal and readmission of refugees

    BRUSSELLS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis) – German Chancellor Angel Merkel expressed on Friday her satisfaction with the deal achieved earlier between the EU and Turkey on a plan to tackle migration flows in Europe and the readmission of refugees and migrants from Greece to Turkey as of Monday, noting however that implementation will be monitored.

    Speaking to journalists after the summit meeting in Brussels, Merkel said the return of refugees and migrants from Greece to Turkey will take place through a permanent mechanism whose mode of operation is still under discussion. She also expressed hope that all member-states will participate.

    The Chancellor also urged refugees stranded in Idomeni, the makeshift camp in Greece's northern border, to leave and find shelter in one of the temporary camps set up by the Greek government, noting they no longer have a reason to stay there.

    Commenting on recognizing Turkey as a safe third country, Merkel said Greece has already recognized it through its bilateral deal on readmissions, but added that Turkey will have to implement the Geneva Convention on refugees.

    Asked about Cyprus, the Chancellor expressed hope that the Cyprus issue will be resolved soon, while she added that the visa waiver for Turkish citizens will only be implemented if Turkey fulfills its obligations arising from the deal.

    In her closing remarks, Merkel said that today's deal is proof that Europe can overcome great crises.

    [02] Gov't says 12,000 Greek farmers to first return illegal subsidies given in 2008-2009

    Rural Development Minister Evangelos Apostolou on Friday said that 12,000 Greek farmers that received the highest amounts will first be asked to return their share of some 215 million euros in illegal subsidies handed out to 95,000 farmers through the "Hatzigakis package" of 2008-2009. The subsidies were ruled illegal in an irrevocable decision of the European Court of Justice, which has ordered that they be recovered.

    Replying to SYRIZA MP Stavros Arachovitis in Parliament, the minister said that all legal avenues for contesting the court's decision had been exhausted. He said the first notices for repayment will be sent to 12,000 farmers that received state assistance exceeding 5,000 euros each, from which the Greek state expects to recover 40 million euros in total.

    Giving examples, Apostolou said that a farmer that was given the sum of 12,000 euros at the time would now be asked to return 7,000 euros.

    In addition to the Hatzigakis subsidies, Greece also faced action over the 'Kontos package' worth 108 million euros and the 'Moraitis Package' worth another 500 million euros, he warned.


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