10 votes

Taking hard line, Greece turns back migrants by abandoning them at sea


  1. arp242
    (edited )
    It was alluded to in the article already, but the real problem isn't really Greece but how asylum applications work in the EU; many member states are reluctant to accept refugees, leaving much of...
    • Exemplary

    It was alluded to in the article already, but the real problem isn't really Greece but how asylum applications work in the EU; many member states are reluctant to accept refugees, leaving much of the burden on the countries where people arrive first simply due to geography, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain – which also happen to be some of the poorest countries in the EU and are genuinely struggle processing the people coming in. It looks like these days much of the burden falls on Greece.

    Remember Greece is a small country with a population of about 10 million. If you look at the charts it looks like other countries are pulling their weight, but Germany has a population of 80 million and is processing slightly less than double as many people as Greece, to say nothing of countries like the Netherlands which are larger yet process only a third of the people.

    Never mind that, you know, Greece struggled with more than a few problems on its own in the last decade, as you may have heard. The pandemic will likely put a lot of strain on Greece, which just barely to recover from its previous very severe economic crisis.

    The big problem is that politicians are scared of the anti-immigration parties, and for good reason too. Anti-immigration parties have been drawing significant votes in many countries and the votes have been going up for the last 15 years. A pro-immigration viewpoint would quite likely be in their favour, which no one really wants. Part of the issue is that there are some legitimate problems as well, which I expanded on before. These problems are kind of unrelated though, but "all foreigners are alike" in the minds of these people, so meh.

    Back around 2015 there were plans to open a refugee shelter for ~700 people in my Dutch home town of about ~220,000 people, and the aggressive vitriolic opposition against it was bizarre. The comments people left on Facebook were unbelievably disgusting; I still get angry over it. Eventually the location (a disused elderly home) was firebombed (and it wasn't even housing refugees yet; it was still occupied by some squatters). The entire thing was a disgrace. It did get opened though.

    In short, much of this can be blamed not just on Greece's right-wing anti-immigration rhetoric, but just as much (if not more) on the general rise of this sort of stuff in many EU countries. I ... don't know what a realistic solution for this would look like, because the political situation is hard; part of the problem is that it all happens "in another country"; a country which won't vote for you. So there's very little to gain directly by campaigning for this for anyone. Considering politics in general has shifted quite a bit to the right I can't really blame the left parties for not making this a top-priority issue.

    Of course, there is something to gain: the long-term survival of the EU, as well as doing the right thing for the sake of it. But long-term thinking and ethics are not exactly our democratic system's strong points, but that's a different topic.

    Ideally, the EU should pick this up, but the EU is ruled by representatives of the member states, so this doesn't happen either. We've seen this with the Greek debt crisis 10 years ago as well: the EU governmental system is extraordinarily inept in dealing with these kind of crisis. The entire system hangs in a limbo of being too integrated to not do something, but also not integrated enough actually do something. This is a big problem for the EU and most EU politicians are aware of it, but no-one seems to know how to fix it so ... it just muddles along. I suppose that it's "good enough" (or, "not bad enough to fail") but I fear that at some point it'll break and that'll be the end of the EU.

    12 votes
  2. skybrian
    From the article: [...]

    From the article:

    The Greek government has secretly expelled more than 1,000 refugees from Europe’s borders in recent months, sailing many of them to the edge of Greek territorial waters and then abandoning them in inflatable and sometimes overburdened life rafts.

    Since March, at least 1,072 asylum seekers have been dropped at sea by Greek officials in at least 31 separate expulsions, according to an analysis of evidence by The New York Times from three independent watchdogs, two academic researchers and the Turkish Coast Guard. The Times interviewed survivors from five of those episodes and reviewed photographic or video evidence from all 31.


    The harsher approach comes as tensions have mounted with Turkey, itself burdened with 3.6 million refugees from the Syrian war, far more than any other nation.

    Greece believes that Turkey has tried to weaponize the migrants to increase pressure on Europe for aid and assistance in the Syrian War. But it has also added pressure on Greece at a time when the two nations and others spar over contested gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.

    For several days in late February and early March, the Turkish authorities openly bused thousands of migrants to the Greek land border in a bid to set off a confrontation, leading to the shooting of at least one Syrian refugee and the immediate extrajudicial expulsions of hundreds of migrants who made it to Greek territory.

    2 votes