|Sunday, 18 April 2021|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM Tsipras on Independence Day: 'Next page of our history belongs to a new Greece'The Greek revolution of 1821 was the result of European and Greek Enlightenment and a carrier of modern values of freedom with social justice, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in his message ahead of the Greek Independence Day on Friday.
"In today's struggle in defense of universal values of humanity, volunteerism and solidarity especially in conditions of an unprecedented economic crisis, the people demonstrate strength, dignity, pride and faith in their strength," Tsipras noted.
"The next page of our history belongs to a new Greece, free from the traumas of the economic crisis and the guardianship of lenders, a model of democracy, social solidarity and culture for the whole of Europe," he added.
 EU response to terrorism at the center of Thursday's ministers' meetingBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki) - A meeting between European Union's justice and security ministers along with representatives of European institutions are currently convening for an extraordinary meeting in Brussels, following the terrorist attacks in the city.
"We're here to share our condolences with the Belgian people and then to emphasize that we stand firmly for our way of life, for our liberty and strongly convinced to fight terrorism wherever we can. And then also we will once more look at our previous arrangement that we've made and make sure … we share the information," Dutch Internal Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk told journalists as he arrived for the meeting.
"We need to speed up things we've set in motion already. I think it's important that ministers talk to each other and conclude that they should be exchanging information at a high level and more than what they've been doing so far," Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, said.
"I also believe we need to speed up some of the proposals we've put on the table to find the money to make sure terrorists can't use credit cards of pre-paid cards, to make sure we can track where weapons are, to make sure we can actually do better at working together we're working together and making sure these people don't get the instruments to reign terror on Europe," he added.
On his side, Commissioner in charge of Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos noted that "it is time to pass from words to actions."
"The lives of our citizens, the safety of our citizens is at stake. I hope the outcome of this meeting will open the door for more and deeper cooperation among all states," he said, adding that the framework being prepared on terrorism, which includes creating a European passenger name record (PNR), must finally be enforced.
 Government to submit bill for implementation of the EU-Turkey deal next Wed.The government will table in parliament on March 30 a draft bill that will address issues relating the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, the head of Greece's coordinating body for the management of the refugee crisis said on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting of Government Refugee and Migration Policy Council chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Giorgos Kyritsis said ministers discussed all the issues arising from the EU-Turkey deal and more general problems concerning the management of the refugee crisis.
He said that, starting next week, the government will also intensify efforts to relieve the situation at the makeshift camp of Idomeni by providing means of transport to refugees and migrants to be transferred to accommodation centers.
He said that similar initiatives could be taken to resolve the problems in Piraeus. "The logic is that all non-organized structures like Idomeni and Piraeus must seize to exist. Now we're making efforts towards both directions, but the government believes that the issue of Idomeni is a priority," he said. "Soon after, that is in the next week, we'll starts [similar] efforts will also start in Piraeus."
Asked how the government will accommodate 14,000 people who are stuck in idomeni considering centers nearby are already filled to capacity, Kyritsis said the government can quickly make more than 2,000 positions available in existing centers and that more spots will be freed as of Monday.
Responding to a question whether any EU officials have arrived to staff asylum services, Kyritsis said they are expected to arrive by March 28, but that nobody has arrived yet.
Asked to whether Greece plans to adopt any legislative directives proclaiming Turkey as a safe third country, he referred to a comment by government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili who had said that "the Greek side doesn't fin I necessary to legislate on this."
Kyritsis also announced that the government is preparing 30,000 more spots in the next six months, adding that the locations are "more or less delimited", but noted that any announcements cannot be made by him because the issue is still being discussed with local authorities.
Responding to a critical comment on the hotspots being turned into detention centers, Kyritsis said they are not detention centers but "closed centers, in the sense that refugees must be under some restrictions and be available to Greek authorities."
"The mentality is not to imprison people," he added.
 Europe needs to re-examine approach to terrorism, Toskas says on arrival for EU ministers' councilBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ C. Vasilaki) Europe needs to "redesign" its entire approach to dealing with terrorism, Greece's Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said on Thursday as he arrived for an EU Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council.
"We are coming here today firstly to express our condolences to the Belgian people and the families of the victims. We are coming to show our solidarity in the struggle against terrorism," Toskas said, while at the same time noting that the tactics adopted until now had not brought results.
"I think it is time to redesign the entire effort to combat terrorism, one that is based on social aims and not contrary to social aims. Isolation until now has not given anything. There has to be a redesign, a re-examination of the method for tackling terrorism, to which we are all naturally opposed," Toskas added.
With respect to creating a European-wide record of airline passenger data (Passenger Name Record - PNR) and the exchange of information, the minister said Greece supported its adoption and said that "these measures, these technical measures for protecting travellers and passengers must be taken".
Asked about the negative reactions of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and NGOs to the EU-Turkey agreement on migration, Toskas said that Greek authorities were working with all NGOs and the UNHCR, because they goals of accepting refugees and migrants was shared "but under specific rules".
"This is the proper time to declare that we have to combine the democratic values and freedom in Europe with security in a balanced way. Historically this balance was achieved and this specific period the fear has to be confronted by these values," the minister said in a brief statement on his arrival in English.
He underlined that the external borders in Greece were controlled and that despite the continued big flows of refugees, they were all being screened and identified according to the proper European rules.
 PM's tweet welcomes ERT, ANA-MPA Arabic programming for refugeesPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday hailed decisions by the state broadcaster ERT and the ANA-MPA news agency to offer news content in Arabic in order to help refugees in Greece.
"We welcome ERT & @amna_news' decision to help refugees by offering much-needed, credible programming in Arabic," Tsipras posted on his @tsipras_eu twitter account.
As of mid-March, the ANA-MPA launched a new website in Arabic providing free news and other useful information for migrants and refugees at the address http://www.ana.gr/arabic.
The site's content includes useful tips, links, guidelines and announcements issued by the Coordinating Body for Refugees for Arabic-speaking refugee populations in Greece. It is accompanied by multimedia news content, maps and other features.
It provides full coverage of news from Greece relating to refugees in the country, as well as the more important news items of the day within the country and those relating to the Arab world in general. It also features a list in English of all the day's news headlines in Greece.
The website is mobile- and tablet-compatible and includes links to other ANA-MPA websites in Greek, English and Turkish.
ERT has also started broadcasting news programmes in Arabic.
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