A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Greece and other recession-hit European countries as they undergo harsh austerity measures in exchange for a bailout. At the heart of it is the Troika, say trade unions, civil society and rights activists.
The start of Greece’s six-month presidency of the EU was marked by a ceremony Wednesday in the Greek capital attended by the EU commissioners. But protests were banned and there was no in-depth talk about the raging controversy over the bloc’s handling of the Greek debt crisis and the renewed concerns about the vitality of the Eurozone.
A Nov. 19 paper by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU diplomatic corps, considers the possibility of the European military getting involved in the south Mediterranean in an effort to curb the influx of irregular migrants and refugees into Europe.
Human rights groups have circulated evidence in the last few days indicating that Greece, Italy and Egypt illegally detain and push back Syrian refugees.
While the relentless war in Syria continuously adds to the number of refugees travelling west to Europe, Greece is fast becoming a nation they are choosing to avoid.
Greece has started unravelling its civil sector further in an attempt to persuade the Troika - the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission - to commit more bailout money by next October.
With no end in sight for the ongoing two-year war in Syria, the ensuing humanitarian crisis continues to escalate, with over 1 million refugees having fled to neighbouring countries and at least another 3 million displaced within Syria.
Any sense of tranquility that hangs around the mountain of Skouries in northern Greece, 80 km east of Greece’s second largest city Thessaloniki, is a façade. Home to some of the oldest forests in Greece, the pristine region is now a battleground, as the local population takes on the Canadian mining giant Eldorado Gold Corporation and its local subsidiary, Hellas Gold.
Zeki Gorbuz, a Turkish asylum seeker in Greece, who was arrested on Feb. 12, remains detained today due to an international warrant that was transmitted by Turkish authorities to Greece just one day before his asylum interview. Turkish media were quick to report the arrest, describing Gorbuz as a radical leftist and regional leader of the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLCP), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government.
As fighting rages on throughout Syria, civilian families desperate to escape are fleeing west to Greece.
Faraj Alhamauun, a Syrian national now residing in Istanbul, was detained while crossing Greece, in the hopes of heading north, last September.
Saddled with a long list of woes brought on by an economic crisis, debt-stricken Greece now finds itself tackling a different kind of austerity than the one implemented by its European creditors: this time it is press freedom, not public budgets, on the chopping block.
Publicly funded research is paying towards security systems that the EU is inviting major multinationals to put together to keep unwanted migrants out.
The European Union is implementing a new border management system with tougher migration control the core aim. Major security and weapons companies are already reaping the benefits.
Ignoring the thousands of protestors gathered outside the Greek parliament on Wednesday, the government voted in public spending cuts amounting to 17 billion dollars in an economy already on its knees from a lacerated budget.