Idomeni: 15 arrests of activists – Deficiencies in the planning for the refugee crisis

Idomeni: 15 arrests of activists – Deficiencies in the planning for the refugee crisis

Athens, April 13, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Fifteen arrests of refugee sympathizers made the police in Idomeni, under intensive checks after the incidents and what has been reported for specific individuals who allegedly incite refugees and immigrants.

As it became known from the Hellenic Police, the arrests were made in the Axios bridge, from which necessarily pass those entering the country from FYROM, as they move into the Greek territory towards the border.

In particular, those arrested were: five Germans, two Britons, a Dutch, an Austrian, a Portuguese, two Swedes, one Czech and two Greeks.

The arrestees declared themselves in solidarity to refugees, but, according to the authorities, no one belongs to an NGO.

All were taken to the police station for identification.

From those 15, a German national was taken to the prosecutor for carrying a weapon and more specifically a knife.

Deficiencies in the planning for the refugee crisis

“Important progress” from Greece to address the shortcomings in the management of external borders notes the European Commission’s report.

However, the same report, which assesses the action plan submitted by Greece in response to recommendations of the Council, notes that “further improvements” in the action plan and its implementation are needed, in order to address deficiencies in their entirety.

According to the Commission, the assessment is a further step in the context of the road map “Back to the Schengen”, in order to remove controls at internal borders and the smooth functioning of the Schengen before the end of the year.

This roadmap makes clear that if migratory pressures and documented deficiencies at external borders continue until May 12, the Commission will propose the activation of Article 26 of the Schengen Code in order to permit the maintenance of controls “established borders” and “for a limited time”.

Dimitris Avramopoulos welcomed “the continuing efforts of the Greek authorities to improve the situation”, stressing, however, that Greece should implement “all the recommendations of the Council and the Commission” to address the “unprecedented pressure at the external borders Europe”.

The action plan

In particular, the Commission’s evaluation found that the action plan submitted by Greece details how Greece will strengthen the staff for the registration of immigrants, that it would increase the hosting facilities and would upgrade the computer systems and create an effective coastal system surveillance.

However, the Commission considers that, for various actions, further clarification is necessary, in order to evaluate properly and to be able to monitor their implementation. Greece must send this information by April 26.

Financing

According to figures published by the Commission, Greece has been granted since the beginning of 2015 emergency aid of EUR 181 million to address the refugee and humanitarian crisis.

The beneficiaries of these funds are the Greek authorities (a total of EUR 75 mln to ministries, police, army, coast guard, asylum service, first reception service, etc.), as well as international and European organizations and NGOs (EUR 106 mln in total to the International Organization for Migration, the European Asylum Support Office and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

Moreover, Greece has been prepaid the EUR 159 million from the EUR 509 million of European funds it is entitled under the national programs for 2014-2020 (EUR 294.5 mln from the Fund for Asylum, Immigration and Integration) and EUR 214.7 mln from the Fund for the Internal Security).

As part of this funding is also included the funding of the transport costs of asylum seekers who are relocating to other EU countries (EUR 500 for each relocation, a total of EUR 35.1 mln, mhile EUR 13.5 mln were Prepaid to Greece in February 2016).