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Council of Europe trolls Greece: “Austerity hampered access to Health Care”

The Council of Europe and Commissioner of Human Rights are trolling Greece. With several years delay, the European officers have discovered that the austerity measures demanded by the same EU officers and institutions have hampered citizens’ access to health care system and education.

The Council of Europe is urging urged Greece to improve living conditions and integration of migrants and to “reverse the adverse effects of austerity measures on access to health care and education,” a statement by the CoE said on Tuesday.

After a visit to Greece, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović expressed also particular concern about “the negative impact of several austerity packages on the human rights of people in Greece.” Mentioning “shortages in staff and equipment and disruptions in the Greek healthcare system coupled with budget cuts in patients’ wages and pensions have hampered access to health care,” the commissioner urged “the authorities to increase their efforts to recruit medical staff, remove obstacles to universal medical coverage, and support the mental health sector and the inclusion of persons with disabilities.”

The full press release by the Council of Europe. the press release is accompanied by a …cute video.

Greece should take urgent steps and adopt long-term policies to improve the reception and integration of migrants and to reverse the adverse effects of austerity measures on access to health care and education”, says Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, publishing the report on her visit to Greece carried out in June.

The Commissioner warns that despite the commendable efforts made by Greece’s people and authorities to welcome migrants, the reception conditions remain well below acceptable standards, especially on the islands. “The authorities have to urgently address the poor hygiene conditions, the psychological distress and the uncertainty that are threatening the health of migrants and asylum seekers on the islands. They should in particular accelerate transfers to the mainland and improve migrant reception capacities there too. Greece’s European partners should demonstrate their solidarity by supporting Greece in its efforts to improve reception conditions”, says the Commissioner.

Commissioner Mijatović is also deeply concerned about the reported poor shelter conditions and the lack of social support that most unaccompanied migrant children experience in Greece and is alarmed by the deprivation of liberty of those detained under the “protective custody” regime. “Greece’s authorities should tackle this problem with more resolve and in particular immediately stop the detention of unaccompanied migrant children. Migrant children should also have access to inclusive education, so as to increase their chances of integration.”

Noting that Greece is becoming a country of destination and is no longer merely a country of transit, Commissioner Mijatović underscores the need to invest in integration through a comprehensive and long term policy focused in particular on family reunification, long term residence and citizenship, education, vocational training, language and integration courses, and the fight against racism and discrimination against migrants.

“I am also particularly concerned at the negative impact of several austerity packages on the human rights of people in Greece” says the Commissioner. Reported shortages in staff and equipment and disruptions in the Greek healthcare system coupled with budget cuts in patients’ wages and pensions have hampered access to health care. “I urge the authorities to increase their efforts to recruit medical staff, remove obstacles to universal medical coverage, and support the mental health sector and the inclusion of persons with disabilities. In the education sector, budget cuts have led to a marked deterioration in pupils’ well-being, teachers’ working conditions and school equipment. “The authorities should lift all barriers to effective access to education, including through targeted policies to include vulnerable children, children with disabilities and Roma children”.

The Council of Europe is an international organization whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Note that the Council’s two statutory bodies are the Committee of Ministers, comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, and the Parliamentary Assembly, composed of members of the national parliaments of each member state.

Where was the CoE and the Commissioner for Human Right all these last 8 years we have been reporting about the economic crisis and the effects of austerity measures on health care and other sectors of people’s lives? About the thousands of people who could no longer afford their medication?

Urging Greek authorities to improve conditions in health care by hiring staff  and other nice thing is like officially admitting that one has no idea about

1)the austerity measures and the primary surplus targets Greece has to achieve in the next 40-60 years

and

2) that in the last two years, the millions of uninsured citizens have access to public health care free of charge

PS Blessed are the ignorant. Amen!

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2 comments

  1. Maybe they are concerned that migrants don’t get good enough health care?

  2. What unbelievable disconnection from reality. So 40% of Greeks are now in poverty, and they expect royal treatment of migrants when Greek hospitals can’t even get basic supplies? Germany expects Southern Europe to bear the entire burden of the migrant crisis without real funding, and what can Greeks do when its economic base is destroyed and has no hope of ever repaying the debt? And we’re on the brink of a worldwide recession that will compound those problems.

    To our credit, we Greeks are friendly towards foreigners as much as we can be, but the Council of Europe lives in a dream world where big money sits on top of a hill and the waste rolls down the hill. It’s so outrageous that it’s beyond self-parody. I just visualize these technocrats living it up in some castle in Liechtenstein and protected by thousands of police and military.

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