SYRIZA has stated its complete opposition to the purchase of a 2.7km-long floating barrier to prevent refugee and migratory flows, while Union officials have also addressed the issue. Τhe competent Minister N. Mitarakis spoke of conveying a message that “we are not a free-entrance country, and we are taking every step to protect our borders”. “We are looking at any means that could help us protect the borders of Greece, which also operate as the borders of Europe. Let everyone understand this. Things have changed”, the government spokesman stressed.
It is recalled that according to the Government’s plan, Greece will be supplied with a 2.7km floating barrier at a cost of 500,000 euros for a pilot run. The goal is to prevent any more immigrants and refugees from arriving from Turkey to the Greek islands. Questions arise, on the one hand, on whether this measure violates human rights and access to asylum and on the other whether it will be effective, as it covers only a small part of the so-called refugee pathways. Furthermore, the question remains whether there is an issue of safe navigation.
SYRIZA: European and international rules are violated
“The tender for the purchase of a floating barrier to ‘prevent’ the entry of refugees into the country by the sea is an act of shame that constitutes an attack against humanism and the sense of solidarity of our people, while it also violates European and international standards”, the three responsible SYRIZA divisions underlined in their announcement, describing the policy of the Mitsotakis government as a “slap” for human rights.
They even raise questions regarding the cost. They are specifically talking about thoroughly specific notices of highly costly barriers that are completed within five days, “which resemble more a gift to some dams manufacturers than an actual effective intervention”. “How else can it be explained that half a million will be spent on 2.5km-long barrier?”, they wonder.
SYRIZA poses a question to the Commission
At the same time, SYRIZA’s spokesman speaks of communication manipulations that end up in the dark. “These moves are indicative of the anxiety that has taken over the New Democracy administration to show any kind of work on the refugee issue, after the successive impasses that it has faced after just six months of governance”, Al. Charitsis underlined. Meanwhile, MEP K. Arvanitis, addressing the Commission, stated that the realization of the barrier project and its possible acceptance by the Commission would mean that international law is ignored, speaking of “criminal disregard for the asylum procedures, dooming in particular the refugees arriving from the war zones”.
KINAL, which calls on the government to put a “barrier to ridicule”, also fired shots. According to KINAL, this is a rather inappropriate measure. “The 2,700 meters of the “floating guarding mechanism” protect coasts from marine pollution, garbage and jellyfish. They are useful. The brilliant idea of using them as a measure to stop the flows proves that the government is on the brink”, the party commented.
Commission officials express concern, Amnesty International fires shots
Speaking to reporters, a Union official expressed reservations, stressing that it should be clarified whether the floating barrier is in breach of the Union’s rules on respect for human rights and the asylum procedure. For his part, Amnesty International Director of Research for Europe Massimo Moratti spoke of a worrying escalation in the current Greek government’s efforts to “make it as difficult as it gets for asylum seekers and refugees to reach its shores, generating greater risks for those who are desperately seeking safety”. Amnesty International even raises serious questions regarding the ability of rescuers to continue to provide life-saving assistance to people attempting a dangerous sea crossing to Lesvos. /ibna