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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-01-12

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] ND will lead the country out of the crisis with a 'different policy mix', Mitsotakis says
  • [02] Amnesty International: Refugees at risk of freezing on Greek islands due to 'inhuman EU policies'
  • [03] UN refugee agency empties refugee camp in Vayiohori

  • [01] ND will lead the country out of the crisis with a 'different policy mix', Mitsotakis says

    The next government will be that of New Democracy, which will successfully lead the country out of the crisis by adopting a different policy mix, main opposition ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday, in a meeting with local government officials and business people on the island of Kos.

    "A condition for this is that we escape from the vice of populism," Mitsotakis added, stressing that ND will not make promises that it cannot keep. "We will leave behind us the days of easy promises, the long lists of measures and actions that, as a rule, are never implemented. Those few things that we say, we will turn into action," he said.

    Mitsotakis said that growth would come from the private sector and not a state sector bloated with new hirings, as in the past, while ND's policy will be to lower taxes and trim spending in the state sector. He also emphasised tourism, which he said was an essential element of growth in Greece, calling for targeted policies and the development of alternative forms of tourism.

    Among others, he welcomed the concession of 14 regional airports in Greece to an international consortium as a very positive development and referred to the refugee and migration problem, where he claimed the present government had been proved "inadequate". He stopped short of promising that the hotspot on Kos will close, however, noting that its existence was foreseen by the agreement between Greece and the EU.

    [02] Amnesty International: Refugees at risk of freezing on Greek islands due to 'inhuman EU policies'

    In a strongly-worded announcement on Thursday, Amnesty International blamed "inhuman EU policies" for trapping refugees on Greek islands where they risked freezing to death in the snow. Since the EU-Turkey agreement was signed in March, the organisation noted, European leaders had been "warehousing" asylum seekers on Greek islands so that they could send them back to Turkey.

    "Shocking images of men, women and children surviving in snow-covered tents, in below-zero temperatures, are a black stain our collective conscience and reflect the human cost of the EU-Turkey agreement. Amnesty International's mission to the Greek islands in December showed that the current dismal conditions should have been predicted and measures taken to avoid them," an Amnesty press release said.

    In addition to mistakenly considering that the rights of these people would be respected in Turkey, the returns had also not taken place in the way that EU leaders expected, Amnestry International Greece researcher Lia Gogou pointed out, leading to overcrowding, increased concern and lost hopes.

    "At this time and at these below-zero temperatures, human lives are at serious risk. For this reason, the Greek Section of Amnesty International asks European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to take immediate action and, more specifically, to make human lives and top priority and work with the governments of other EU member-states to take the refugees off Greek islands to other European countries."

    [03] UN refugee agency empties refugee camp in Vayiohori

    The UN's refugee agency evacuated dozens of refugees and migrants from the makeshift camp in Vayiohori, central Macedonia, and transferred them to hotels in the municipality of Thessaloniki, the agency said.

    "The last 16 people were transferred by the UN refugee agency to hotels in the municipality of Thessaloniki," an agency spokeswoman, Stella Nanou, told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), adding that another 28 people were transferred by bus on Wednesday and the center is now empty.

    The people who lived in Vayiohori were from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Morocco and Algeria. Asked about how the camp will be used now, Nanou said it will be decided by the competent authorities.


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