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Anti-Greek circus in full motion: kick Greece out of the Schengen area

So, the European Union does not know how to deal with the refugees and threatens to suspend Greece from Schengen passport-free travel zone, if Athens does not accept to hand out its borders controls to EU and Turkey. It was November 27th, when the first official threat came out from the lips of Eurogroup head, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. He warned that countries which fail to adequately guard Europe’s borders could find themselves outside the Schengen borders. In order to make it look ‘smoother’ he put in the same top also these countries that “do not take in a fair share of refugees”.

Today the Financial Times makes a big story out of these threats, thus announcing that Greece could be suspended from Schengen as soon as of mid-December.

FT Greece Schengen

 picture by @stratosathens

In short, the article puts all the blame on Greek government thus claiming that the EU is “frustrated” that Greece does not “accept EU help”, “joint patrols with Turkey”,  “deployment of 400 Frontex staff to immediately reinforce its border with Macedonia,” [FT means the Former Republic of Macedonia] and “humanitarian aid.”

“Greece’s relatively weak administration has been overwhelmed by more than 700,000 migrants crossing its borders this year. Given the severity of the crisis, EU officials are vexed by Athens’s refusal to call in a special mission from Frontex, the EU border agency; its unwillingness to accept EU humanitarian aid; and its failure to revamp its system for registering refugees.”

Everything is nicely set and said in the FT article as it re-chews the EU blackmailing threats and does not addresses crucial issues like:

Which agreement dictates that Greece should accept joint patrols with a non-Schengen, non-EU member country like Turkey.

What is the specific mandate for the 400 Frontex staff and who will come up for its expenses. The Frontex mission is supposed to be a s0-called ‘RABIT’ mission (Rapid Border Intervention Teams) that was used in 2011 at the borders between Greece 7 Bulgaria.

“The Rapid Border Intervention Teams have the task of surveillance of external borders, short-term intervention mandate in times of “urgent and exceptional pressure, especially the arrival at point of the external borders of large numbers of third-country nationals trying to enter the territory of the member State illegally.”

And here we have the first paradox: The refugees at the border with FYROM try to leave Greece not the other way around. FYROM is not a Schengen member.

What are the EU’s conditions to provide humanitarian aid for the refugees in Greece and if Greece accepts the “EU’s civil protection mechanism” how many thousands of refugees will be bottled up in Greece and for how may years?

How exactly will the Frontex at Greece’ northern borders and the joint patrols with Turkey operate and under which legal framework and how exactly will they prohibit refugees from coming to Europe?

“If the EU follows through on its threat, it would mark the first time a country has been suspended since passport-free travel was established in the Schengen Agreement of 1985,” the FT cheerfully notes although everybody knows that the Schengen zone was established in 1995.

Furthermore, FT does not explain that while member states can temporarily suspend Schengen passport-free movement, there is no legal base for the Schengen “authorities” to suspend the provisions and ‘punish another member state. It’s typical EU legislation, just like in the case of the Eurozone: provisions stipulate how members can enter but not how they can exit…

Citing four senior diplomats, FT notes that “EU’s home affairs ministers will meet upcoming Friday and will make clear, that “more drastic measures will be considered if Greece fails to take action before a summit of EU leaders in mid-December,” and that “the suspension warning has been delivered repeatedly to Greece this week, including through a visit to Athens by Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.”

Of course, a Schengen suspension will not affect at all the refugees inflow, it will only impose passport controls for Greek citizens. So, what will be the gain for Europe and the Schengen member countries? Practically, minimum to zero. They will punish Greek passport holders. So what? The real gain will be political and thus for the conservatives on Europe.

Ask the Germans

The German conservatives are reportedly furious, as furious as Germans conservatives can be and move the strings into a new show “Blame Greeks for all evil of this world”.

“The Germans are furious and that’s why people are talking about pushing Greece out,” a EU diplomat was quoted as saying by the FT. He said “the red line for the Germans was not allowing Frontex to come in and help them.”

EU affairs news portal Euobserver, notes that

“The idea of suspending Greece from the Schengen area has been floated in the EPP, German chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right political family, since the height of the migration crisis late summer.”

Germany’s  satellites, the eastern European countries joined the chorus line. Hungary’s PM Orban demanded already in September that EU should take control of Greece’s borders. Last week, Slovakia’s PM Fico called to expel Greece from the Schengen area, saying “We just cannot put up with a member country that has openly given up on safeguarding the Schengen area borders.”

It is worth-noting is that these countries refuse to take in refugees.

The new war

International and local press reproduces today the “furious” claims putting all the blame of Refugee Crisis on Greece. Main thing, they wash their hands of the crisis.

  1. “Greece has also refused to take on many of the 300 available eurodac machines for fingerprinting and registration of refugees in the single EU database, citing problems with Internet connections and staff training. Greek officials say they already use 45 eurodac machines and 15 are underway.”
  2. “EU diplomats complain that Greece has not fulfilled its promise to organize three flights to resettle refugees in other member states. Partly due to registration problems in Greece. Only 159 refugees from 160,000 have been resettled in Europe. (via Greek euro2day)
  3. “Earlier this year, Greece delayed the disbursement by the commission of a €30 million aid package to face the refugee crisis when it did not provide the necessary documents.”
  4. “The commission has also been waiting, since August, for Greece to request the activation of the EU civil protection mechanism that would trigger support from other member states.” (euobserver)
  5. “Greece is breaking Schengen rules” (a UK journalist on my Twitter TL)

Things are not as simple as they seem to be and claimed by the EU diplomats, the furious Germans and the press. Things are complicated 1. due to issues of Greece’s Foreign Policy (Turkey, FYROM) and 2. because it is understandable that Greece does not want to keep thousands of refugees on its territory.

Why should it?

The suspicious ambitions of the Frontex

In a recent interview with China’s news agency Xinhua, the head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri said that

“Under current rules Frontex has no access to security and criminal databases in order to run systematic security controls to ensure that documents used by immigrants arriving at the European Union’s external borders are fully checked.”

Therefore Leggeri pledges for an expansion of the Frontex mandate and will call on EU member states that Frontex “should be granted more autonomy and more room for manoeuvres”. Otherwise the checks conducted by Frontex are very basics.

The Frontex allegedly plans to move its regional office from Piraeus, Greece since 2010 to Italy.

Furious? Who is Furious here?

I don’t know who is more furious here: Merkel’s arch-conservative party friends who want to exploit Greece for one more time and the Refugee Crisis for political gains? The Frontex that demands expansion of its mandate” Or we, Greeks, who watch for one more time the same anti-Greek circus set in motion.

It is interesting that small and broke Greece is perceived as the source of all European problems, be it the Eurozone- or the Refugee-crisis.

Just wondering, what will come up next…

Links:RABIT

Dijsselboem threatens Greece with Schengen expulsion

PS A great Thanks to @calliope for her valuable assistance

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14 comments

  1. Athena Emmanouilidis

    What fault??? Europe recruited these people to go to Europe!(with the promise of money, housing, tvs etc).They want to make sure Europeans intermarry with these people (migrants) to make it easier so that in 1-2 generations there will be no Greece anymore, no Italy no Germany.They will make it one country.Europe.

    • Don’t worry, Athena, Greece will be forever a country of proud and pure Hellenes. All “these people” want is to get out of Greece. I hope they may go and live somewhere else, as they wish.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      I (and the gods also) would appreciate and warmly welcome an inter-marriage program if the first steps to be required would mean to allow religion only to grown-ups or put it directly into madhouse.
      But in two generations there will be no Greece any more anyway as the climate-change – made by oil-corrupt automobile-terrorism – made it too hot to live in and nobody took the measures to have cheap to nothing electricity out of wind-turbine-run ships and wooden framed wind-mills.
      And in one generation the brains of the people will be retarded so much from using mobiles and internet that there will be no intellectual capacity for any more.

  2. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    What comes next? Very simple: If Russian tourists boycott Turkey may be bombs will blast at Greek beaches to boost tourism somewhere else… welcome in Libya!
    Since Nice-G-8 when Sarkozy said “Papandreou stinks like Zaziki” (or something that way, “leaked”) they haven’t learnt that they can’t impress nobody with that bullshit as Greece is no real member of Schengen, without passport the only way to leave Greece is hiking or on a fisher-boat and as we’ve seen recently even terrorists are too stupid to buy an inland-ticket without passport.
    There’s also no sense in reinforcing the border with Yugoslavia as it must stay open to ship consumer shit from south to north but I guess some hunters will have their fun shooting over it at some Frontex-pigs…
    Anyway this are just typical “leaks” and they can’t sell that to the German public, not after Germany feels like welcome-champion and “Refugees Welcome” will compete with the people and “tourists” of Lesbos for the Nobelprize; this will all boomerang back heavy to the anti-Europeans that close(d) their borders to refugees.

  3. The EU should blame Merkel, not Greece. And the EU supported the wars in the ME so they have themselves to blame as well. And when countries such as Hungary and Croatia close their borders they get criticism of the EU. But it is always easier to blame a small country troubled with economic crisis.

  4. This is a remarkable turnaround in EU politics. When I was in Brussels a few months ago, all the blame was being placed on Hungary for the migration debacle. Now the Germans have decided to blame Greece (again) for a complete fuckup of EU policies? The situation is getting worse and worse for the future of Europe; Greece has nothing to do with it. Moreover, as has been repeatedly explained to persons hard of thinking, there is nothing that any country can do to impede migration (and especially refugee) flows arriving by sea. Any attempts to stop them would result in deaths and crimes against humanity, along with the Law of the Sea, the UN Convention on Refugees, and ECHR and EU law. Basically, the Germans need to have their heads examined if they are serious in these statements: no country could cope with the arrival of 650,000 refugees in less than a year, arriving on small islands, in a country where the economy has been collapsed for 5 years.

    If the Germans want to help Greece, they should keep their ignorant mouths shut and pay up for the expensive management of mass refugee flows.

  5. A typical nonsense : first somebody invites refugees (and some economical migrants, too). When Hungary tries to do something to block the flow, it is criticized totally.
    Then the obvious happens : all the poor from the world come to seek a better future. This is a normal reaction – even if an asylum request is not accepted, migrants can try to disappear, to work clandestinely – and earn much more than in their country… Billions can come, or at least hundreds of millions.
    And then suddenly strange ideas and who is guilty ? Yes, the countries on the way. But Slovenia and Austria can build fences. What can Greece do ? Build fences around thousands of islands ?
    Anyway, I would not take it as an attack “specially aimed at Greece”, but just another idea how to try to regulate something that cannot be regulated and to shift the blame on somebody – Greeks are just a casual victim in this case…

  6. Hmm. I think “migrant issue” and Schengen noise is diversion & distraction lipstick covering devastating geostrategic goals of NATO, Israel and Turkey…..concerning Greece.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist.

    I hope I am wrong.

  7. What they should do is patrol inside Turkey, on land. That is where the refugees are contacted by, and do deals with the criminals who arrange sailings on unsafe boats and inflatable ones, sell them life jackets etc and collect a lot of money. The activity must be clear to see, on land. Once at sea the danger is huge and made even more so if there would be attempts to chase them. The responsibility for this is not ours in Greece. On no account should Greece accede to such interference. This refugee crisis has been created by careless statements from within Europe, not by anything done, or said, or promised in Greece.

    • What “they” should do is stop bombing and shooting up the home countries of these people. Stop installing psychopaths prepared to sell their own mother for power as “friendly leaders”, stop trying to hijack their economies and stop stealing their resources. It would mean that they don’t have to run for their lives and don’t have to look elsewhere for a better life because they can build one in their home country. But then, the Baretta’s, Vickers, FN’s and other death-mongers who really run the show would not be making their money, would they…

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      If, it would has to do much more with hopeless people that are desperate enough to believe in hype because if one is in a safe situation one would never trust any politician or the internet but it also would say that refugees are too stupid to think. That there were not any bottleneck-situations on Turkish shores implies that this was not happening and the refugees come anyway, related to bombs and the Turkish army that needed space for their planned anti-Kurdish actions.

  8. Anything to save Mutti!

  9. So Greece is not doing the registration job properly. Really. Then how come they immediately traced back (allegedly) at least one maybe two of the Paris bombers to Greece. In fact they were allegedly tracked throughout the Balkans but then “lost” after Austria. I am highly suspicious of all this let alone bomb/fireproof passports …. how many in Europe are questioning the route of oil from Syria (IS) to Turkey.