Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 301

Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

ECJ ruling on refugees: no more excuses to delay transfers from Italy and Greece

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 10 settembre 2017

european parliamentBruxelles. European Parliament rapporteur for relocation decisions, Ska Keller (Greens, DE), and Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) welcome decision by the European Court of Justice. The Court ruled today against Hungary and Slovakia’s appeal against the EU decision to relocate refugees from Greece and Italy, stating that the scheme “actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate”. Ska Keller said: “Now that the ECJ has dismissed the actions of Hungary and Slovakia against the redistribution of refugees, there is no excuse. Finally, those member states which have so far boycotted redistribution must also deliver. Solidarity in the EU is not a one-way street. Government leaders such as Viktor Orbán cannot demand more money for border protection, while blocking the reception of refugees from Greece and Italy.” She added: “This ruling is a milestone for the EU. The ECJ confirmed that solidarity is a key principle of the common asylum policy. All member states must now live up to their obligations; it is insane that most countries are still lagging far behind. The European Commission should also follow-up with the infringement proceedings initiated against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland for not doing their part”. Claude Moraes said: “Member States cannot dodge their responsibilities; today’s verdict has shown this. The Parliament has consistently called on Member States to quickly uphold their commitments, since the adoption of the relocation mechanism in 2015. Yet two years later, only 28 000 people out of the 160 000 have been relocated.”
According to Moraes, “the fact that collectively Member States have relocated less than a quarter of the modest figure of 160 000 people from Italy and Greece draws attention to significant gaps in the EU’s response to the biggest refugee crisis on the continent since World War II. We urgently need to have in place an organised and compassionate response.”
Against the background of severe migration and refugee crises in the summer of 2015, the EU adopted two emergency decisions to relocate thousands of refugees. 160 000 asylum seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status from Italy and Greece were to be relocated by September 2017 to other member states where their applications would be processed. Both Hungary and Slovakia appealed the European Court of Justice to annul the second Decision, which foresaw the relocation of 120 000 asylum-seekers, denouncing what they considered wrong legal grounds and arguing that it was not proportionate nor adequate for the purpose sought. Last June, the European Commission announced infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their obligations under the relocation decisions. Neither Hungary nor Poland have so far relocated anyone, while the Czech Republic has not done so since August 2016. According to UNHCR data, around 50 000 asylum-seekers are still stuck in Greece. Italy had a record number of arrivals in 2016, with 181 436 migrants and asylum-seekers reaching its shores. So far this year, 99 742 people have arrived in the country, mainly from Libya.

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Great success for Greece and “The Smile of the Child”

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 15 giugno 2017

cartina-grecia-centrale-atticaA 16-year-old missing girl from Poland found in Greece thanks to a coordinated mobilization “The Smile of the Child” in cooperation with European Organizations of child protection and the competent Greek authorities succeeded in identifying the 16-year-old girl who went missing on the 1st of June in Poland and travelled to Greece without being noticed by any authority or person. The identification of the missing girl proves the importance of the cross-border cooperation and constitutes an important success for “The Smile of the Child” and Greece. “The Smile of the Child” is founding member of the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children (Missing Children Europe -MCE) and participates as member of its Board of Directors to the effort to tackle the sexual and psychological exploitation of children and identify children who have gone missing all across Europe.
On the 8th of June “The Smile of the Child” received a call to the 116000 European Hotline for Missing Children from a person who wanted to keep its anonymity regarding a 16-year-old girl accompanied from a young man on the island of Lefkada in Greece. Based on this information the Organization immediately mobilized and found out that the 16-year-old girl went missing from Poland while a search had been activated since the 1st of June. “The Smile of the Child” contacted the International Police Cooperation Division SIRENE, and, subsequently, the Police Department of Lefkada to which it forwarded the available information.The competent authorities were immediately mobilized and thanks to the provided information the 16-year-old girl was found to the hotel where she was staying.“The Smile of the Child” almost simultaneously contacted ITAKA -Centre for Missing People, its partnering Organization in Poland, which had already proceeded with a publicity appeal, and informed them that the missing girl had been identified in Greece. According to information provided by the Police Department of Lefkada, the 16-year-old girl returned to Poland putting an end to the agony of her own people. “The Smile of the Child” handled with professionalism one more case of a missing child, activated its international partnerships and mobilized all the competent authorities to trace the missing minor. It is worthwhile to mention that in this particular case the 16-year-old girl traveled from Poland to Greece without being noticed from anyone. The participation and help of everyone is necessary in order to locate missing children at risk whose disappearance regardless of color, origin or religion is a very serious issue no matter the reason. “The Smile of the Child”, in the framework of the international partnerships that it has developed, has the know-how to handle cases of missing children with professionalism and expertise. Find out more about the international partnerships of the Organization here: https://www.hamogelo.gr/gr/en/diethneis-sinergasies/

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Refugees in Greece: MEPs to check reception centres, asylum procedures and relocation

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 24 maggio 2017

cartina-grecia-centrale-atticaA delegation of the Civil Liberties committee will be in Greece from 22 to 25 May to check the functioning of several reception centres and assess the management of asylum procedures and relocation schemes. MEPs will visit Athens and the islands of Kos and Lesvos. They will meet national and local authorities, as well as representatives of the EU, other international bodies and NGOs.In the context of their current legislative work on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, MEPs aim to understand better the functioning of “hotspots”, notably in view of the EU-Turkey migration deal, and the role of EU and national actors in dealing with the large number of arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants. The conditions in the Greek reception centres have often been raised by MEPs, particularly regarding vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied minors. The EU´s assistance to Greece for dealing with the registration and management of asylum procedures, the implementation of the relocation decisions and the returns of migrants and asylum-seekers to Turkey in virtue of the EU-Turkey deal are also subjects of interest for the delegation.

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Refugees in Greece: Civil Liberties MEPs discussed the situation with Migration Minister Mouzalas

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 12 marzo 2017

cartina-grecia-centrale-atticaMEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee discussed on Thursday with Greek Minister of Migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, the situation of the refugee and migrant population in the country and the possible ways forward.Mr Mouzalas underlined that the living conditions of migrant and asylum-seekers in Greece have significantly improved in the last months, although the situation in the Aegean islands continues to be “difficult”. Special efforts are being made regarding unaccompanied minors, he added. The Minister complained about the “hypocrisy” of the EU institutions and other member states, for pointing their finger at Greece for the treatment of refugees while at the same not providing the help they committed. He welcomed the proposal by Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE) to make the relocation of asylum-seekers mandatory: “this is a good basis”, he said.
According to UNHCR data, around 46 000 migrants and asylum-seekers continue to be stranded in Greece. Conditions have been particularly dire during the winter in the islands, where there are still over 13 000 people.
EU countries agreed in 2015 to relocate 63 000 asylum-seekers from Greece to other member states over two years, but so far less than 10 000 persons have effectively been transferred.

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MEPs urge EU countries to take more asylum-seekers from Italy, Greece and Turkey

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 17 settembre 2016

mediterraneoEU countries must honour their pledges to accept refugees relocated from Greece and Italy, to relieve migratory pressure on these two “frontline” countries, and at the same time discourage irregular entries by opening up legal and safe routes to the EU, MEPs said on Thursday.In a non-binding resolution approved by 470 votes to 131, with 50 abstentions, Parliament rejected a European Commission proposal to take 54,000 places from a scheme for relocating asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU member states, and use them to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey in the EU instead, as part of the migration deal agreed between Turkey and EU leaders last March. Under the Commission proposal, EU countries could deduct Syrian refugees needing international protection who they take in from Turkey from the numbers of asylum-seekers whom they have pledged to relocate from Greece and Italy.The deal between Turkey and EU leaders requires the EU to take in one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian returned from the Greek islands to Turkey. Parliament objects that the intra-EU relocation scheme should not be mixed up with the resettlement one, which involves a non-EU country. “Resettlement should not take place at the expense of relocation”, says the text prepared by Ska Keller (Greens, DE). MEPs note that the need for emergency relocation from Greece and Italy to other EU member states is expected to remain high, pointing to the urgent humanitarian situation in Greece and the risk of deterioration in Italy. During the debate in plenary, Keller underlined that the relocation scheme is a true solidarity instrument that “needs to be strengthened, not watered down”. The problem, she added, is that member states are “simply not doing enough” and complained that some countries have not even taken a single refugee.In the resolution, MEPs stress that even though EU countries have agreed to relocate a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers within two years (two separate decisions were taken in 2015, for 40,000 and 120,000 places, respectively), only a small percentage of people have so far been relocated (see updated figures). They therefore urge EU countries to make available at least one-third of their promised relocation places by 31 December 2016.
The text also asks that Afghan, Iraqi and Eritrean refugees be made eligible for relocation within the EU. It notes that in 2015, Afghans were the second largest group of asylum-seekers in the EU, with an unprecedented number of around 180,000, many of whom were unaccompanied minors with special protection needs.

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EU-Turkey deal: Next days will be crucial, human rights must be upheld, says Civil Liberties Chair

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 22 marzo 2016

turchia-ist3The EU should offer support to Greece to ensure returns to Turkey are carried out in full respect of international law and human rights, according to Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee Chair, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK).Following the agreement reached by EU leaders and the Turkish government on Friday 18 March, Mr Moraes said:“The EU-Turkey deal agreed last week in response to the refugee crisis is already showing worrying signs which the European Parliament has previously warned. As stated by President Martin Schulz, we cannot “outsource” our problems to Turkey. We must observe international law and human rights.Following the decision to carry out readmissions of refugees and asylum-seekers to Turkey it is important that Greece is given much needed support from member states without delay to ensure its asylum conditions are significantly improved to carry out returns in full respect of international law. Greece cannot be left alone to shoulder the responsibility of the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War”.
Mr Moraes set out some key concerns:“Just last week in a joint meeting of the Civil Liberties and Development committees with Commissioner Styliades, MEPs were given assurances that the relocation of 160,000 people in need of international protection from Italy and Greece was still in place. Under the deal, relocation appears to be put on hold which raises key questions as to what guarantees will member states give to support the thousands of persons stuck in Greece following the border closures along the ‘west-Balkan route’. Member states must not ignore their existing commitments to take in people in clear need of international protection”.
“On the issue of smuggling, as spring approaches it is important that we move the narrative towards enhancing safer and legal routes to Europe to avoid more deaths at sea. Focusing on strengthening borders and sending people back will merely offer smuggling networks the chance to expand to other parts of the Mediterranean and Agean, which will lead to more dangerous routes taken to reach the EU”.
“As the refugee population continues to increase in the world, the EU needs to take a global approach to migration based on the principle of solidarity between states. The European Parliament and Civil Liberties committee in particular, will be watching every step of the way to ensure that this deal observes international law and if it does not we will call it out”.

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Member States must play their part in alleviating the pressures faced by Greece, said Civil Liberties Chair

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 11 febbraio 2016

ateneGreece should not be used as “a push-back for Member States” in case the Dublin Regulation on asylum applications is again fully applied to the country, Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes said, following a Commission’s announcement on Tuesday on the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration.Parliament will continue to play its key role as watchdog “to ensure that the crisis is dealt with in an organised and compassionate manner”, the Chair stressed.The Commission on Tuesday reported on the implementation of the priority actions under the European Agenda for Migration and highlighted key areas where immediate action is needed.Reacting to the Commission’s communication, the Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), said:”I welcome the efforts of the Commission to ease the pressures faced by Greece and improve the infrastructure in view of a possible resumption of some transfers under the Dublin Regulation. The recommendations addressed to Greece proposed by the Commission outline key areas for improvement in order to have in place dignified entry points that meet basic humanitarian standards. Moreover, the recommendations will offer a better coordinated response for managed migration by increasing the registration of migrants arriving in Greece.However it is important that including Greece in Dublin will not simply be used as a push-back for Member States as this would merely ring-fence Greece from the rest of the EU, trapping thousands of asylum-seekers and increase pressure on a country that is already struggling to respond to migratory flows. Solidarity is essential, Member States must play their part in alleviating the pressures faced by Greece. Last year Member States agreed to re-distribute 66,400 refugees from Greece as part of the emergency relocation mechanism, however, thus far, only 15 Member States have offered places with only 218 people relocated. This is a European crisis and not only a Greek crisis. The EU urgently needs to offer legal and safer alternatives for refugees and asylum-seekers in order to target and reduce the operation of smuggling networks and dangerous routes taken.The LIBE committee which I chair will be holding an exchange of views with experts and the Commission on the state of play on hotspots at the end of this month. Parliament will continue to play its key role as watchdog in order to ensure that the crisis is dealt with in an organised and compassionate manner.”

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Greece: IFRC Secretary General calls for increased response to humanitarian and health needs for vulnerable migrants

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 9 novembre 2015

ateneMore must be done to respond to the needs of vulnerable migrants in Greece and across Europe as the scale of humanitarian needs increase, urged Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the end of a two-day visit to Greece.“Deteriorating health on the migratory route is a major concern. The chain of immunization for children is broken, people on the move are exposed to many health challenges. We have a double duty to respond to humanitarian needs and basic health needs,” said Mr Sy. “We need – the Red Cross and Red Crescent, governments and humanitarian partners – to maintain our efforts and respond effectively and efficiently, to save lives and protect people’s dignity.”More than 600,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, making it the primary entry point into Europe for vulnerable migrants. The Hellenic Red Cross has been responding to the needs of people since the onset of the emergency, supporting people as they arrive on islands, as they transit through Athens, and as they continue their journey north.
The Secretary General met with the leadership of the Hellenic Red Cross, and visited the Eleonas accommodation centre in Athens where the Red Cross is delivering relief items. He praised the response of the Red Cross and its volunteers.“The Red Cross volunteers and staff who I met are tremendously dedicated, and are treating people with empathy and care,” he said. “In a complex context they are demonstrating every day a commitment to our humanitarian principles. Volunteers are however overwhelmed, and we all must do more and do it faster to respond at the level which is commensurate to the magnitude of the challenges.”Dr. Avgerinos, President of the Hellenic Red Cross, said that: “The places where humanitarian needs are greatest shift on any given day. We are constantly adapting our response to evolving needs and are committed to a flexible, long-term approach. We count on the support of the IFRC and express appreciation for the help we have received from the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to enable our humanitarian response.”On 23 October, the IFRC quadrupled its Emergency Appeal for Greece, and is now seeking 12.6 million Swiss francs to support the Hellenic Red Cross in reaching 200,000 people with a range of interventions including first aid, emergency medical care, psychosocial support and search and rescue services.During his visit, Mr. Sy met with Dr. Ioannis Mouzalas, Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy; Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Dr. Andreas Xanthos, Minister of Health; and Minister of Labour: H.E. Mr. Yiorgos Katrougalos. They discussed the ongoing situation and the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The Hellenic Red Cross and the IFRC are working closely with the Ministry of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, the Ministry of Health and authorities to ensure a coherent response.Across Europe, more than 25,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are providing support and protection to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people on the move. The IFRC has launched six country-specific Emergency Appeals totalling over 70 million Swiss francs to aid these efforts.The Red Cross and Red Crescent has launched a call to make universal the responsibility to protect vulnerable people and respect their dignity in any place, under any circumstances, regardless of their legal status: Sign the petition at http://www.ifrc.org/protecthumanity. Help make the responsibility to #ProtectHumanity universal.

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Ecoweek from Greece to Kosovo: teaching and learning

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 8 ottobre 2015

kosovoOn Saturday October 3, one month before the opening of the ECOWEEK conference in Thessaloniki, ECOWEEK held its international conference and workshop presentations in Pristina, Kosovo. Architecture students from the University of Prishtina ‘Hasan Prishtina’ presented proposals of design, design-build, and visionary design activist projects in selected locations in the city.This is the second international conference and sustainable design workshops ECOWEEK is organizing in Kosovo. The workshops of ECOWEEK, which last for one week, expose young Architecture students not only to the principles of sustainability and sustainable design, but also to the importance of locality and entrepreneurship as well. Students experience the development of social cohesion and mutual support, re-use of public space, restoration of life in abandoned places in the city and are empowered to dare to think, envision and do.
The modern history of Kosovo is more or less known. The country became independent in 2008, but has not been fully recognized by the world community. With unemployment reaching 45% and unemployment among young people exceeding 55%, the country’s economy is based by 15% from funds that come from migration – based on official data and by a larger percentage per unofficial estimates. Migration of young people and young professionals who flee the country in search of work and a better future in Europe. But given the current crisis of thousands of refugees moving from Syria to Europe, through Turkey and Greece, Europe has reached its limits in absorbing additional refugees. Whether they come from the Middle East or Eastern Europe or the Balkans.
So the question is how to address unemployment through sustainable design? One solution is to create new jobs to absorb the young professionals. According to the International Monetary Fund, the creation of new jobs in Kosovo are not enough to absorb young professionals. The solution proposed by ECOWEEK was to nurture entrepreneurship and empower young people to create themselves their employment through planning processes and initiating projects on their own. In addition to envisioning and shaping the future they want.
So, during the ECOWEEK workshop in Pristina., a team of architects, communication designers and internationally acclaimed artists, opened new perspectives for young architects. They guided them to discover their own way to act in their city, claiming, for example, the public space for pedestrians that has nearly disappeared from uncontrolled construction and the dominance of cars. To redefine the open space in which they live, creating welcoming meeting points, for rest and socializing. To reuse wisely ‘waste’ materials and give them new uses – instead of ending up in a landfill, a stream or a forest, threatening the natural wealth and biodiversity of the country. Learning from the traditional manufacturing techniques – almost identical to the techniques of the building guilds of the Balkans – for the use of local materials, including adobe and local passive solar solutions. One of the workshops dealt with proposals for the design info point in the park Germia northeast of Pristina, which the Municipality isinterested to build in collaboration with the local WWF.
In other words, by empowering and educating, young architects in Kosovo, ECOWEEK is assisting them in two ways: on one hand ECOWEEK offers young people in Kosovo a platform to develop their professional knowledge and skills and realize their potential in their own city, and their own country. Second, by strengthening the local community ECOWEEK is offering an alternative solution to migration, a huge problem currently facing all of Europe. Finally, this process of empowerment gives us an important lesson: by teaching we learn the value of entrepreneurship, courage and action, procedures which may also help also young people in Greece.

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MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 11 settembre 2015

european parliamentParliament backed temporary emergency rules to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states over two years in a vote on Wednesday. In the migration debate, most MEPs welcomed the Commission’s new proposals outlined by Juncker in his state of the Union speech, stressing that more contributions to solidarity will be needed.”We have a humanitarian crisis and we need to act on it now. Relocating 40,000 refugees is just the start. Let this measure be the start of a rights-based, a fair and a common asylum policy, in solidarity with all member states and in solidarity with the refugees,” said Parliament’s rapporteur, Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE), in the debate on Tuesday.Ms Keller also stressed the need for a “permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states.” The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system.The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions.
To relieve the significant asylum pressure from Italy and Greece, “but also to act as an important test case with a view to the upcoming legislative proposal on a permanent emergency relocation scheme”, Parliament agrees that “an initial total of 40,000 applicants shall be relocated from Italy and Greece” over two years (24,000 from Italy and 16,000 from Greece). To adapt to rapidly changing refugee flows and trends, “a further increase shall be considered” in the course of the application of these emergency measures (i.e. during the two-year period), MEPs add.A separate proposal for a permanent emergency relocation scheme must also be based “on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states, including a significant increase in the number of available relocation places”, MEPs stress. It should be built on clearly defined criteria, allowing it to be triggered “on the basis of transparent and objective indicators”.
The EP proposes that asylum seekers should be given the possibility, before they are relocated from Italy and Greece, to rank member states by order of preference, according to criteria such as family ties, social ties and cultural ties, for example language skills, previous stays, studies and work experience.”While applicants do not have a right to choose the member state of their relocation, their needs, preferences and specific qualifications should be taken into account to the extent possible,” says Parliament, since this could facilitate their integration into a particular EU country. Parliament also stresses that special attention should be given to unaccompanied minors.
Parliament has stated its position today, under the consultation procedure (based on Article 78(3) of the Treaty), on the temporary emergency rules for the relocation of the 40,000 asylum seekers initially proposed by the Commission on 27 May. It will be consulted in the coming months on the additional figure of 120,000 to be relocated under the second emergency proposal announced today.
On 20 July, EU interior ministers agreed, as a first step, to the relocation of 32,256 persons and to update the figures by December with a view to reaching the overall number of 40,000

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Poll shows 2/3 Europeans critical of EU handling of ISIS and Greece

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 12 agosto 2015

ateneBrussels. Around two-thirds of Europeans believe the European Union is not responding effectively to two of its biggest current challenges, the rise of the Islamic State and the Greek debt crisis, according to research commissioned by Cambre Associates and carried out by Opinium.Some 7,000 adults in seven western EU countries polled between 29 June and 10 July 2015 were also largely unimpressed by Europe’s approach to its other big headache, the migrant crisis.”The results of this poll underscore that the EU is confronted with perhaps its most difficult period since its creation in 1957. Strong leadership and clear vision are needed urgently if the EU is to successfully ride out the current state of crisis and regain the confidence of its citizens,” said Tom Parker, managing director of Cambre Associates. “Particularly alarming is the resounding thumbs-down given to the EU’s handling of the Greek debt crisis.”James Endersby, managing director of Opinium, commented: “Citizens of Europe are concerned about a number of huge global and regional issues. The Greek crisis and rise of IS have obviously needed a swift and robust response but it’s clear from our study that not many of us are happy with how Brussels has dealt with either.“ In a breakdown of the survey results, 67% of respondents condemned the EU’s handling of the rise of Islamic State as bad, while only 5% thought this has been handled well. Italians were the most likely to rate this as bad (75%), followed by France (71%).The EU fared almost as badly for its handling of the Greek debt crisis, with 62% of survey participants critical, as opposed to 12% who were positive.Italians were the harshest, with 76% saying the EU dealt badly with the Greek debt crisis. By contrast, 17% of Germans gave the EU a positive rating as against 56% who were critical. The Dutch were similarly divided, with 19% favourable and 53% unimpressed. On migration, 60% said the EU has mishandled the arrival of refugees from Libya, against just 8% who were positive. Italians were almost twice as likely as Germans to be critical, at 84% versus 48% respectively.Equally, 83% of Italians think it is unfair that they have to process all of the migrants coming from North Africa. A majority of all other countries surveyed agreed, although the UK was the least sympathetic with 55% believing this to be unfair and 13% thinking it is fair.Showing how relatively hardline the UK’s stance is, 41% of British adults think refugees from North Africa who reach their country should be returned to Italy. Whereas other respondents from outside Italy broadly disagreed with this approach. However, most of the respondents did agree that Italy is within its rights to prevent ships from offloading anymore refugees at its ports, with those aged 55+ most likely to agree with this and those aged 18-34 least likely (59% vs. 49% respectively).
On another hot topic for Europeans, the poll showed divided opinions on the EU’s handling of the UK referendum on membership of the bloc. While 35% of respondents think the EU has dealt with this badly, a mere 15% were positive. Most critical were Italians (46%), the British (41%) and the French (40%), with the Germans (28%) and the Dutch (27%) taking a softer line.The southern EU states were the most likely to believe that EU countries should continue to progress towards “ever closer union”, with 56% of Spanish, 54% of Portuguese, and 47% of Italians backing this.However, 47% of British and 42% of Dutch adults said that “EU integration has gone too far and EU countries need to repatriate powers”. EU founding states France and Germany were evenly divided by comparison. Germans narrowly favour closer union (30% pro-integration vs 24% pro-repatriation), while the French are only just opposed to closer union (24% pro-integration vs 32% pro-repatriation).

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Save children and families in crisis-hit Greece

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 luglio 2015

bambini-diritti-infanzia1It goes without saying that the population in Greece is currently undergoing an extremely difficult financial and social situation. As a consequence, children and families in our country are at risk! 40% percent of the child population in Greece (700.000 children) is already running the risk of poverty and social exclusion, while in recent days due to capital controls and its immediate consequences to market liquidity, shortages and effective purchasing potential a soaring number of children and families is expected to fall victim of the worst effects of this crisis. “The Smile of the Child” is the largest NGO for children in Greece which has become a reference point for every child and developed into an important national and international actor in the field of child protection. In 2014 alone it has assisted 82.000 children and their families in need. Through its various actions of welfare, health and direct intervention for children at risk, “The Smile of the Child” has managed over the past 20 years to overcome all the obstacles for the benefit of children.Today, our Organization is facing an insurmountable and unprecedented challenge that puts at risk the thousands of children supported by “The Smile of the Child”. Equally worrying is the fact that “The Smile of the Child” is no longer capable, due to this crisis, to address the soaring number of needs and requests for help and assistance received in the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056.Until now and over the past 20 years we managed with great difficulty, but in an efficient way, based on the exclusive support of citizens and businesses in Greece, to stand by more than 1.000.000 children and families with children.

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Statement by Martin SCHULZ, EP President on the situation in Greece following the Referendum

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 6 luglio 2015

Martin-schulz“The ‘no’ side has won the referendum with an overwhelming majority and we have to respect the vote of the Greek people. In full sovereignty they expressed a clear ‘no’ to the proposals on the table in the eurozone. This is a difficult day: there’s a broad majority in Greece and the promise of Prime Minister Tsipras to the Greek people that with the ‘no’ the position of Greece for negotiating a better deal would become better is, in my eyes, not true…
“…We are in a difficult situation, the Greek people said no, but eighteen other states of the eurozone agreed about the proposals to which the Greek people said ‘no’. But this is democracy in Greece and democratic governments and parliaments in other countries had another view a different view. It is now up to the Greek government to make proposals which could convince the eighteen other member states of the eurozone and the institutions in Brussels that it is necessary, possible and even effective to renegotiate, but this depends now on the proposals coming from Greece…”
.. But, nevertheless we have to respect the sovereignty and the will that the greek people expressed today in the referendum. The promise of the minister of finance that the banks will open tomorrow and that money will be available for tomorrow and Tuesday seems to me very difficult and dangerous. And, therefore, because I believe that the Greek people will be, during the week and even every day in a more difficult situation, I think we should tomorrow, at the latest on Tuesday for the eurozone summit discuss about a humanitarian aid programme for Greece…”
“…Ordinary citizens, pensioners, sick people or children in the kindergarten should not pay a price for the dramatic situation in which the country and the government brought the country now. Therefore a humanitarian programme is needed immediately and I hope that the Greek government will make in the next coming hours meaningful and constructive proposals allowing that it is meaningful and possible te renegotiate. If not, we are entering a very difficult and even dramatic time.”

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Finding hope in the midst of Greece’s financial crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 4 luglio 2015

As the atmosphere of political and economic uncertainty intensifies in Greece, the consequences of the financial crisis are evident in the public. Haggard figures find a home in the pavements begging for change, literally and metaphorically. Citizens, fired with indignation, are taking the streets to protest the unfair policies. More recently, people afraid of what the future will bring for Greece’s economy, had been queuing in front of ATMs trying to take hold of their life savings until the Prime Minister of Greece, Tsipras, announced today that all banks have been closed and the maximum amount of money that can be withdrawn in a day from an ATM is 6o euros.Like the majority of the Greek population, I was feeling weary and hopeless while thinking about what the future holds for this country. Yet something happened which gave me the strength to look at the future from the lens of optimism once again.Yesterday I visited the YouSmile studio in Marousi, which is the youth branch of the well known Greek NGO “Smile of the Child” (Το Χαμόγελο του Παιδιού). This organisation was established after a 10 year old boy called Andreas, who was suffering from cancer, wrote in his diary that we must unite and help all children who are suffering in Greece despite their ethnic background or social class. This could happen, he wrote, by the creation of an organisation called “The Smile of the Child” because “every child deserves a smile”. Unfortunately he passed away soon after writing this in his diary but his father made “The Smile of the Child” the purpose of his life. 20 years later and this organisation has helped nearly a million children and their families all over Greece.I had the privilege to be part of a large gathering of young people ranging from the age of 13 to 20, where we got the chance to share our aspirations as volunteers and our concerns about our society. We played an ice-breaker game, where we had to pass a ball around and talk about the reasons we decided to volunteer in this organisation. I cannot describe to you how heart-warming this meeting was from me. I was struck by the selflessness and purity of everybody’s words and the genuine interest we all had for helping our society. As I heard my fellow volunteers voice their thoughts, the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Menander came to my mind.Our beloved country is facing great hardships at the moment yet it is in such times when humanity really shines. It is in such times that we must remain hopeful and strong. We must carry each other now. We must help each other in anyway possible. We must not give up! Mr. Giannopoulos, who founded “Smile of the Child” said to us yesterday “Children are not the future like we usually say. They are the present so we can have a future.” It is up to us, especially the youth, to bring a change in our society.After meeting up with all these lovely people yesterday, I was reminded of the power of the human soul, where no matter the difficult circumstances people are in, they are still able to dream and fight for a better future. After witnessing the dedication and the willingness to help by my fellow volunteers, I feel empowered and ready to face anything because I know we will make it! I know we will survive! I feel blessed to be a citizen of this beautiful country because beyond the dirty games of corrupted politicians who have paralyzed Greece’s economy, I see a future of young Greeks who are determined to resuscitate Greece and I am proud to be one of them. This is how I know that, like Sam Cooke famously proclaimed in his song, “A change is gonna come. Oh, yes it will!”

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Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Claude Moraes, regrets EU minister’s failure to reach agreement on the migration package

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 17 giugno 2015

european parliamentThe Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee responsible for migration and asylum, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), regrets the failure of EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers to reach an agreement on the migration package, including the asylum distribution key, in their meeting in Luxembourg. Mr Moraes calls on EU leaders to make significant progress at the next European summit, on 25 and 26 June, in order to ensure genuine solidarity.Reaction of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee Chair, Claude Moraes, on the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting:”I am deeply disappointed that EU governments have failed to reach an agreement on the migration package including the asylum distribution key, shelving what were essentially modest proposals of 40.000 asylum seekers for the whole of the EU. To leave both Italy and Greece without solidarity and a sense of responsibility sharing is a grave concern. We expect to see significant progress at the Brussels summit next week and further discussions at the end of July where genuine solidarity must be reached”, said Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes.”My concern is that if we do not achieve a managed, compassionate and organised approach, we may see retaliatory or more desperate measures by those countries under the most pressure, namely Italy and Greece. It is also deeply unfair to put the greatest burden on those countries who have been participating more than others in resettlement programmes”, Mr Moraes added.

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Expert Comment: Why Greece and Cyprus May Be Better Off Without the Euro

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 15 marzo 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is no long-term relief in sight for the troubled Greek economy according to Loizos Heracleous, Professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School. Professor Heracleous said: “Greece has only managed to wrest the four-month extension of a stability program. Soon, the newly elected Alexis Tsipras administration will have to start implementing the cost-cutting measures that it had promised voters it would avoid. The question is whether the austerity program will help or hurt Greece.“Austerity programs, several economists argue, have lost their credibility. When governments reduce fiscal stimuli, it tends to lead to deeper recessions. To be sure, policymakers have to tackle the structural issues, such as bloated public sectors and high national debt, in Cyprus and Greece. However, that should be done over time, and, ideally, when those economies are strong enough to deal with reductions in government spending rather than when they are at their most vulnerable.“Clearly, the exit of both Cyprus and Greece from the European Currency Union is a distinct possibility. The scares about what would happen if they left are unjustified, especially in the medium term.“A return to the national currency would give the governments of Greece and Cyprus control of key economic levers rather than having to bear the fiscal inflexibility and targets necessitated by a single cross-national currency. In fact, Cyprus and Greece probably don’t need to be part of the Eurozone to grow. Cyprus’ growth was higher between 1980 and 2004, before it joined the Eurozone, and it has been particularly low since 2008, when it adopted the Euro. There’s no reason why its economy cannot be strong without being part of the Eurozone, or that foreign currency deposits will flee the island if the local currency is not the Euro.“An alternate way forward may be to use higher government spending to assist vulnerable people, to lend to business, and to execute projects that inject money into the economy. The state can do that in conjunction with structural reforms that will, over time, reduce the size of the public sector, increase the flexibility of labour, improve tax collections, invite foreign direct investment, and get debt under control. The relatively cheap national currencies would provide a boost to exports, real estate, manufacturing, agriculture (for instance, olive oil production), and services such as tourism.”
Warwick Business School, located in central England, is the largest department of the University of Warwick and the UK’s fastest rising business school according the Financial Times. WBS is triple accredited by the leading global business education associations and was the first in the UK to attain this accreditation. Offering the full portfolio of business education courses, from undergraduate through to MBAs, and with a strong Doctoral Programme, WBS is the complete business school. Students at WBS currently number around 6,500, and come from 125 countries. Just under half of faculty are non-UK, or have worked abroad. WBS Dean, Professor Mark P Taylor, is among the most highly-cited scholars in the world and was previously Managing Director at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. (photo font: Wikimedia)

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In a recent visit to SOCAR, Swiss company AXPO highlighted the importance of Azerbaijan’s role in the energy sector. AXPO have a 5% participation in the TAP Trans Adriatic Pipeline

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 18 ottobre 2014

Azerbaijan16This project will be providing energy security to Europe by transporting natural gas from the Caspian region to across Europe, with routes from Greece and Turkey through to Albanian and the Adriatic Sea before finally reaching Southern Italy. TAP will connect with TANAP (Trans Anatolian Pipeline) at the Greek-Turkish border. Europe will expect to receive volumes of Azerbaijani gas by January 2023.The project will be among the main topics of discussion at the 2nd Azerbaijan & Caspian Sea Oil & Gas Week 2014, 19 – 21 November at the Four Seasons Baku. This leading forum will bring together senior level delegates from Azerbaijan’s growing oil and gas industry. It will assess the latest developments in upstream, midstream and downstream projects.Representatives from National and International Oil Operators will present the future outlook for Azerbaijan’s Oil and Gas industry including SOCAR Turkey, BP, TOTAL and NOCAR. The event will include a 3 day conference and workshop analysing new areas of development and investment in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas projects.Over the past 16 years Azerbaijan has seen $60 million in foreign investment for the oil and gas sector. It continues to be a leader in oil production. Shah Deniz Oil field is the largest in Azerbaijan with reserves between 1.5 – 3 billion barrels. It has put Azerbaijan as a leader in oil production. The TAP project will guarantee continued development of the national economy.
As one of the world’s most ancient oil countries, Azerbaijan continues to draw upon its energy resources to increase its own economic turnover, done largely by co-operating with industry leading companies. This year presents the 20th anniversary of the “Contract of the Century”; a significant point in oil strategy for Azerbaijan and the Caspian region. It involved 11 great oil companies representing 8 countries and it has had an exceptional impact on the economy.
The Azerbaijan and Caspian Sea Oil & Gas Week 2014 is now in its 2nd year and continues to bring together global leading specialists and leaders in the energy sector. Oliver Kinross are a leader in delivering summits of high quality with networking opportunities for the industry.

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Friend of the Sea sponsors

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

veneziaVenice monk seal conservation project. Friend of the Sea has made an important donation to LIPU (Italian major birds’ conservation organization). The donation will support a project for the protection and conservation of habitats in the Venice Lagoon which hosts monk seal and marine birds.Monk seals are normally found in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea, mainly in Turkey, Greece, and Croatia, but last summer a specimen unexpectedly appeared in the Lagoon after been sighted on the southernmost point of Istria peninsula.The Mediterranean monk seal used to be widespread throughout the Mediterranean Sea, but in 20th Century it was brought to the brink of extinction by habitat changes and fishermen.The LIPU project aims at assessing monk seal populations and movements in the Northern Adriatic, and how they can be better protected. An awareness campaign is also carried out to locals and tourists.“Friend of the Sea has helped over the years several projects to protect endangered species, such as albatross and boto dolphins in the Amazon river.” Explains Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “The certified products this way carry an added value as they contribute to these conservation projects through Friend of the Sea.”

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The way out of the Cyprus economic crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 17 settembre 2013

English: Map of Cyprus showing all Municipalit...

English: Map of Cyprus showing all Municipalities and communities with over 750 people (government-controlled area, 2001 census) or over 500 people (Turkish-occupied areas, 1960 census), as well as 34 former Improvement Boards with population less than 500/750 people. The map was designed by Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This policy paper presents the current situation in Cyprus, and proposes two scenarii of a way out of the Cyprus economic crisis: a reframing of the current Troika’s philosophy, or an eventual temporary exit from the euro area.After having analysed the current economic, political and social situation of Cyprus, the president of the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs Andreas Theophanous presents two hypothesis which could lead to better deal with the crisis in Cyprus. The first consists in a reframing of the Memorandum of understanding applied by the Troika’s and its philosophy and implications. The second elaborates on how a possible temporary exit of Cyprus from the euro area could be an alternative option. The author concludes by a wider reflexion of the political dimension of the options Cyprus faces.

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New study: Job creation at stake as hospitality sector adapts to austerity

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 15 settembre 2013

English: Various Euro bills.

English: Various Euro bills. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bruxelles Tuesday 17 September in the European Parliament (18.30 – 20.30) A new study shows the critical role the hospitality sector plays in creating jobs and fighting unemployment across Europe at a time of austerity. The 300-page study by Ernst & Young, backed by the industry association HOTREC and The Brewers of Europe, shows that the hospitality sector provided 29% more jobs in 2010 than in 2000, whereas in the wider economy in the same period, the total number of jobs increased by just 7% At a time of austerity, governments are tempted to raise revenue by boosting taxes both in hospitality and in sectors whose health is closely tied with the health of the hospitality sector, such as brewing. Such a move can strike a heavy blow to a crucially important job creator. For example, beer creates 2 million jobs in the EU, with the vast majority of these being created in the bars and restaurants across Europe. Misguided government policies could thus deepen the crisis for Europe’s youth, whose jobless rates are typically double the average, topping 50% in Spain and Greece.

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