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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-03-16

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Pavlopoulos to IOM's Thompson: Greece is fulfilling its obligations towards refugees
  • [02] EU-Turkey agreement on migration must remain in force, Avramopoulos says
  • [03] Greek post office to investigate contractor for negligence over parcel-bomb sent to Germany

  • [01] Pavlopoulos to IOM's Thompson: Greece is fulfilling its obligations towards refugees

    Greece is fulfilling its debt towards refugees despite the economic crisis, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Thursday, during a meeting in Athens with the Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador Laura Thompson.

    Pavlopoulos asked for IOM and UNHCR's support in supporting the refugees currently living in Greece.

    "We asked for the support – which is anyway due – from some of our partners in the European Union who have not understood that they are Europeans. And being European is a great honour; but it also but entails significant obligations. And one of these is solidarity in these large humanitarian issues," the President said.

    On her side, Thompson said Greece has made a lot of progress on all issues and conditions are better, which will allow the country to manage the issues and the refugee population which is living here.

    "We are making a great effort in the European Union, not just with the EU authorities, but also with member-states, to recognize this effort and gain everyone's support," she said, adding that she will discuss with Greek ministers how the situation has developed, what progress is being made and how IOM can help further.

    "It's a great honour and you can certainly count on our support in the coming years," Thompson said.

    [02] EU-Turkey agreement on migration must remain in force, Avramopoulos says

    The current tense climate must not be allowed to affect the EU-Turkey Statement on migration, which must remain in force, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizeship Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Thursday.

    The Commissioner made the statement while visiting the Aegean island of Lesvos, accompanied by Malta's Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela representing that European Council Chair and Greece's Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, in order to inspect the progress that has been made one year into the agreement.

    Avramopoulos stressed that the deal with Turkey must continue to be implemented in all its aspects. "Proof of the successful implementation of the Statement is the comparison with the situation that existed last year, when roughly 10,000 migrants a day crossed the Aegean instead of an average of 40-50 a day. The losses of life have declined sharply," Avramopoulos said.

    The Commissioner also underlined the need for a collective European response to the refugee crisis, which had show that no one state or island could cope with such huge pressures alone.

    Avramopoulos said he was satisfied to see there was good progress in improving facilities at the island's hotspots and the weaknesses revealed during the severe weather front earlier in the winter, which was made possible by European funding. He promised that the work will continue, while noting that the more vulnerable groups have already been transferred to the mainland.

    He said that an increase in the closed reception centres will help speed up the returns of irregular migrants, while the Commission was continuing to cooperate with Greek authorities to speed up asylum procedures, with an increase in the number of European Asylum Office (EASO) experts on the islands.

    [03] Greek post office to investigate contractor for negligence over parcel-bomb sent to Germany

    The contractor in charge of screening Greece's air mail for explosives and dangerous items is to be thoroughly investigated for "possible oversights" that allowed a parcel booby-trapped with explosives to reach the German finance ministry, Hellenic Post (ELTA) announced on Thursday.

    ELTA's management said the post office was cooperating fully with Greek security forces to investigate the incident, while it would exercise all its legal rights with regard to the firm in charge of operating its security screening system.

    The announcement also noted that ELTA's electronic system for screening air mail sent abroad was the "latest-generation cutting-edge technology." It included an x-ray scanner and an Explosives Trace Detector approved by the competent European authority for certifying air travel security screening equipment, while it was last updated on January 17.

    The system is installed and operates at the Athens international airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" and its operation has been contracted out to a specialised firm with the certification required by law. This is responsible for conducting the screenings at the airport when mail is delivered in order to be loaded onto aircraft.

    "We stress that Hellenic Post follows all the procedures foreseen by the Universal Postal Union and all the security regulations for the transportation of air mail items. We must also point out, however, that similar incidents have happened in many post offices in the world," the announcement concluded.

    The package with explosives was sent to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Wednesday from the region of Attica and cited as its sender New Democracy Vice-President Adonis Georgiadis. The package arrived at the ministry mailroom and was found to contain explosive material. It was neutralised by German police.


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