segunda-feira, 29 de fevereiro de 2016

Merkel pede à UE para não deixar a Grécia “mergulhar no caos” / 'I will do my damn duty' on refugees, says Merkel / Angela Merkel’s ‘damned duty’

Merkel pede à UE para não deixar a Grécia “mergulhar no caos”
PÚBLICO 29/02/2016 - 09:07 (actualizado às 09:24)/ PÚBLICO

Milhares de migrantes e refugiados acumulam-se em território grego, sem conseguirem seguir viagem por causa do encerramento das fronteiras nos Balcãs.

A União Europeia não pode deixar a Grécia “mergulhar no caos” face à crise migratória, avisou a chanceler alemã Angela Merkel ao final do dia de domingo quando milhares de migrantes e refugiados se amontoavam em território grego depois do encerramento das fronteiras em vários países dos Balcãs.

Cerca de 600 pessoas estavam bloqueadas esta segunda-feira de manhã no posto fronteiriço de Idomeni, no Norte da Grécia, junto à Macedónia, depois de quatro países dos Balcãs terem decidido impor novas quotas de entrada para travar o fluxo de migrantes e refugiados.

Esta segunda-feria, tal como no sábado e no domingo, a Macedónia só deixou passar 300 pessoas que estão no campo de Idomeni, que tem capacidade para acolher 1500 pessoas. Skopje decidiu na semana passada recusar a passagem aos afegãos e reforçar o controlo de documentos de identidade dos sírios e iraquianos.

A situação vai agravar-se certamente depois de a Eslovénia e a Croácia, países membros da União Europeia, mas também a Sérvia e a Macedónia terem anunciado na sexta-feira que vão limitar a 580 o número diário de homens, mulheres e crianças que podem transitar para os países do Norte da Europa.

Estes países dos Balcãs seguiram o exemplo da Áustria, que decidiu há mais de uma semana limitar a entrada diária a 80 requerentes de asilo e a 3200 pessoas em trânsito.

Yiannis Mouzalas espera que o fluxo de migrantes acabe por diminuir quando a informação destas novas restrições chegar à Turquia, de onde parte a maioria dos candidatos à imigração. “Penso que o fluxo vai diminuir quando as notícias do encerramento do posto fronteiriço de Idomeni forem difundidas. Estamos a preparar uma campanha de informação destinada à Turquia.”

O ministro espera que esta iniciativa, juntamente com a chegada prevista de navios da NATO ao mar Egeu, consiga reduzir o número de chegadas à Grécia em cerca de 70%.
O Governo de Atenas avisou que o número de pessoas bloqueadas na Grécia pode triplicar em Março, para chegar aos 70 mil, devido às quotas impostas pelos países dos Balcãs para travar o fluxo dos que querem seguir viagem para vários destinos europeus

“Será possível acreditar que os países da zona euro lutaram até ao fim para manter a Grécia no euro (…), para agora, um ano mais tarde, deixarmos a Grécia mergulhar no caos?”, perguntou a chanceler, visivelmente indignada, num programa do canal público ARD.

“O meu dever e a minha obrigação é garantir que esta Europa encontre um caminho conjunto” para enfrentar a crise migratória, lançou Merkel, sublinhando que mantém contactos regulares com o primeiro-ministro grego, Alexis Tsipras. Para o próximo dia 7 está marcada uma cimeira UE-Turquia que se prevê de difícil consenso entre os cada vez mais divididos estados-membros da UE.

“Segundo as nossas estimativas, o número daqueles que estão retidos no nosso país irá rondar entre as 50 mil e as 70 mil pessoas no próximo mês”, declarou este domingo o ministro grego da política migratória, Yiannis Mouzalas.

“Actualmente, há 22 mil refugiados e migrantes na Grécia”, disse o ministro numa entrevista ao canal Mega Channel.

'I will do my damn duty' on refugees, says Merkel
Published: 29 Feb 2016 08:55 GMT+01:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that her chosen course in Germany and Europe's refugee crisis was the right one in a TV interview on Sunday night, despite admitting to moments of doubt.

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"My damn duty and obligation consists of finding a collective way for this Europe [to address the crisis]" Merkel told presenter Anne Will in her second appearance on the Sunday night talk show in five months.

While she admitted to being pressed hard on some issues – "you at least haven't given me an easy time of it," she told Will at the close of the conversation – the Chancellor appeared much more relaxed and confident than during her last live interview in October.

When Merkel was confronted with the angry mobs that have opposed refugees arriving in their towns and even abetted arson against asylum housing in recent weeks, she reminded viewers of the German Constitution's most sacred principle that "human dignity is inviolable".

"These are citizens who are doing something that I deeply reject," she said – although she was happy to discuss people's fears if they remained peaceful and were prepared to listen.

That earned her strong applause from the studio audience.

Isolated in Europe?

The response from the public was weaker when discussing the actual measures Germany is taking to reduce the numbers of refugees arriving.

Merkel stuck to her well-rehearsed plan: European nations should work together with Turkey to secure their collective external borders, allowing them to uphold the Schengen free-movement area despite some nations' fears of migrants.

Meanwhile, by improving conditions in refugee camps outside Syria's borders and deploying all the West's diplomatic strength to bring about a ceasefire in the war-torn country, the Chancellor hopes to reduce the numbers of people starting on the long trail towards Europe.

"This may all be going too slowly for some people," she said, but "belief can move mountains".

"I am firmly convinced that the path I have started down is the right one," she went on.

What about Austria?

But she had little new to say to Will when the journalist confronted her with Austria and the western Balkan nations' decision last week to close their borders – in apparent contradiction of what was agreed at the last European summit on February 18th.

That's left thousands of migrants stranded in Greece - the first point where most refugees fleeing through Turkey set foot on European soil - which is already struggling under the numbers arriving.

"This is exactly what I'm afraid of," Merkel said. "If one person sets his border, the other has to suffer. That is not my Europe."

"We can't leave [Greece] in the lurch," she added, especially after so much effort had been expended to keep the Hellenic Republic in the Euro single currency last year.

European leaders will gather again on March 7th in Turkey for further talks, she said, in an extraordinary summit brought forward from the planned next meeting on March 18th.

She will be hoping that there are more signs of progress – even small – that she can bring back to her people next week.

But even so, neither slow progress nor a bad result for her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at upcoming regional elections will turn the Chancellor aside.

"I don't see anything that could cause [my policy to fail], because everything has been thought through and is logical. No-one doubts this logic," she said.

"Even [Bavarian state premier and outspoken critic of the refugee policy] Horst Seehofer says 'I wish you success on this path'.

"Unfortunately, some people just don't believe in it."

Angela Merkel’s ‘damned duty’

German chancellor criticizes Austria and defends Greece on migration.

By JANOSCH DELCKER 2/29/16, 12:09 AM CET Updated 2/29/16, 12:18 AM CET

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday night criticized countries along the so-called Balkan route into Europe for closing their borders to refugees and defended her more liberal approach to the migration crisis.

“If one [country] closes its borders, another one has to suffer – this is not my Europe,” she said in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD.

Earlier this month, Austria announced a cap on the number of refugees it plans to allow into the country. As other states along the Balkans route limit or block border access, a bottleneck of migrants has been growing in Greece, the first port of arrival that had previously waved most arrivals on north further into Europe.

Merkel said that Austria’s decision in particular has put great strain on Greece and compelled the EU to hold an additional summit on migration with Turkey on March 7.

“If Austria hadn’t made this decision, we could have waited until our regular council [session] on March 18,” she said. “We can’t just desert Greece. This is why we will talk – with Greece – about how we can re-install the Schengen [open border] system, step by step.”

Asked about a comment by Luxemburg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn that Europe was in danger of “anarchy,” Merkel replied that her job as a politician was to solve a difficult situation, not to describe it.

Migrant families wait to enter a registration camp after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Gevgelija

Facing pressure at home from her conservative allies in the Christian Social Union to place a cap on refugees allowed into Germany, Merkel rejected such proposals.

“I personally think it’s wrong,” she said, “And I am not being wilfully obstructive here, I am being honest.”

While Merkel is known to dislike TV appearances, Sunday’s hour-long interview was her second in five months.


Janosch Delcker  

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