Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘military’

After Pagani (…?). 20 acres of military estate to be turned into refugee settlement.

Posted by clandestina on 9 November 2009

This is a translation of this enet article.  Many thanks to Efi for the translation.

Stapsa for clandestinenglish

20 acres of military estate to be turned into refugee settlement

There are a lot of legends connected to the Hill of Karatepe in the island of Mytilene, Lesbos. During the Roman era, Dafnis and Chloe’s love story is said to have taken place on this hill. When Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire,  the Mytilene branch of the “Filikoi”, the secret organisation said to have prepared the 1821 Revolution,  had hid on it. In World War II, the German forces attacked it, and during the Greek civil war it was a place of torture. Currently both the hill and the area surrounding it belong to the Greek military forces.

20 acres of this estate are going to be turned into an “exemplary refugee camp”, as the Minister of  National Defence, Mr. Evangelos Venizelos stated in a recent press conference in Athens. This ambitious plan is a cooperation between the Ministries of Citizen Protection and National Defence, and the Hellenic Army National Staff.

A year ago, the head of Lesbos prefecture, Mr. Pavlos Vogiatzis, had requested for the land to be granted to the prefecture. However, the Ministry of National Defense initially rejected his request, although the Ministry of interior had announced that they were looking for an estate that would host a new refugee camp, since the living conditions in the already overpopulated “Pagani” camp in Lesbos were deteriorating.

The 20-acre-estate is located close to the local fire brigade; in 1974 the Mytilene Charity Insitutions had sold the land to the National Defense Fund for the symbolic price of 50,000 drachmas in order to cover military housing needs or defense plans.

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The FRONTEX job: the first ever deportation coordinated by Frontex on the high seas

Posted by clandestina on 9 July 2009


Frontex handover of migrants to Italy results in forced repatriation

Karl Stagno-Navarra

The European Union border agency Frontex operating from Malta has for the first time ever coordinated a mission that led to the forced repatriation operation of migrants at sea.
74 illegal migrants sighted last Thursday afternoon by a Maltese private aircraft at approximately 126 miles south-east of Malta, was transmitted to a German Puma helicopter participating in Operation Nautilus IV that is being coordinated from Malta.
Senior military sources revealed with MaltaToday that the German helicopter was instructed to work closely with the Italian coast-guard in the area, that picked up the migrants Friday morning, and handed them over to a Libyan patrol boat.
The Italian army is participating in another joint patrol along with France, to monitor the Sardignia-Lampedusa route.
The mission has been defined as the first ever forced repatriation operation coordinated by Frontex on the high seas. Even though the migrants were intercepted by an Italian coast guard boat, the same migrants, that included women and children were identified by a Frontex asset that followed the operation through.
Meanwhile Italian police have reportedly been in contact with the Maltese authorities, after 10 migrants who escaped from Safi and Marsa detention and open centres, were apprehended in Sicily.
The migrants were caught on the Ragusa coast shortly after being ferried by a Maltese speedboat.
The news re-opens past issues with the Italian authorities following a series of tragic trips by speedboats driven by Maltese criminals that exploit the migrants and secretly take them to Sicily.

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Immigration in the Greek military agenda

Posted by clandestina on 8 July 2009

Athens. Greece’s government council for foreign policy and defense (ΚΥΣΕΑ) is to hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss illegal immigration, Greek ANA-MPA agency reported.
At the meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the council is expected to allow the use of Ritsona drill ground as a center for accommodating illegal immigrants before their repatriation.


Apart from the above, the agenda of the meeting and the ways “domestic” and “geopolitical” issues pertaining to immigration interweave are absolutely terrifying (info from this eleftherotypia article).

The military wants to form a new – military, of course – service to guard Greek sea borders; the Port Police do not want to compromise their jurisdiction, yet, they are said to acknowledge that they cannot cope with immigrant flows.

The issue of Greek military’s “humanitarian” missions in NATO war fronts (in the countries of origin of refugees, that is) will be dealt.  NATO puts pressure to the Greek government to contribute more (…).  The issue for the Greek government is… to return to a previous regulation under which its military expenditures do not appear in the state’s annual budget (so that theeconomy’s indices look better vis-a-vis the forthcoming elections and to the EU’s superintendence).   In a similar vein, the minister of defense put pressure on the EU to exempt the military (“humanitarian”) expenditures from the calculation of the trade deficit, since much of it is due to these military expenditures.

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French navy war ship intercepted 200 immigrants in the Aegean in June

Posted by clandestina on 6 July 2009


2502French Navy Completes 5th Frontex Mission

A French Navy ship, the PSP Arago, has completed what is reported as the Navy’s fifth Frontex mission.  The PSP Arago was based in the Aegean Sea 3-29 June 2009 and operated out of several Greek ports.  It reportedly intercepted over 200 migrants in 7 interdictions; the migrants were turned over to Greek authorities.

French naval ships have participated in Frontex missions since 2008. French naval surveillance airplanes have participated in such missions since 2006.

Click here for article (Le portail des sous-marins).

Click here for the Préfecture maritime de la Méditerranée web site: Intervenir – Participation aux missions Frontex.

Jump to Comments

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The asylum crisis and the rise of racist violence in Greece – by Hellenic League for Human Rights & European Association for the Defense of Human Rights

Posted by clandestina on 5 July 2009

Statement asylum and racist violence in Greece EN – pdf

The asylum crisis and the rise of racist violence in Greece

Open letter to the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Karamanlis

and to the Minister of Interior, Mr. Pavlopoulos

HLHR – AEDH joint statement

Brussels-Athens 3rd June 2009

The Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR) and the European League for Human Rights (AEDH) express their deep concern about the emergency of the asylum system and the rise of xenophobia and racist violence in Greece. HLHR and AEDH propose policy solutions and immediate remedy action in order to avoid escalation of phenomena of violation of human rights with a highly negative impact on victims and society.

HLHR and AEDH are concerned about a proposed Greek Presidential Decree which will further deteriorate Greece’s asylum system crisis. The proposed amendments to Presidential Decree 90/2008, which incorporates into Greek law the provisions of the EU Procedures Directive include:

– The abolition of the Appeals’ Board as second stage instance for the substantial examination of an asylum application. This leaves asylum-seekers without the right of appeal for a substantial examination of their application at a second instance. In case of a rejection, which is the outcome of the overwhelming majority of asylum applications in Greece (98,62% in 2008), asylum seekers may only apply for a review by the Council of State which only examines the legality of the procedure but does not exercise a full control of all the legal and factual aspects of the cases.

– Decision authority on asylum applications is left to the regional and local Police Directors throughout Greece, without an effective role of non-police bodies and NGOs. Existing Appeals’ Boards, maintained for the pending appeals, will become an advisory body with no decision making power.

In the past years the Greek authorities have abstained from protecting promptly and efficiently the rights of asylum seekers, women, children and elderly. The percentage of granting asylum status have been among the lowest in Europe (1,38% in 2008 for asylum and humanitarian status grants) and admittedly Greek state has been reluctant in providing effective protection of unaccompanied minors against detention and expulsion despite urgent recommendations by national and international bodies [1].

In the same time, large numbers of asylum seekers seek every weekend to submit an asylum application in the Athens police headquarters. During such process and after clashes with the police, 3 asylum seekers have died under undetermined conditions in the last 6 months.

Areas of the historic centre of Athens are inhabited, rented or occupied, by undocumented migrants and asylum seekers under precarious or inhumane conditions, while xenophobic public discourse about ‘ghettos’ and criminality of migrants is on the rise [2].

Day-by-day racist Islamophobic incidents and violence by organised far-right groups against asylum seekers occur in the centre and suburbs of Athens, without effective intervention by the Police in protection of the victims, while official statistics have not ever recorded any racist crime in Greece.  Boat-prisons and military detention camps in the outskirts of Athens are discussed or announced as policy for sweeping asylum seekers and undocumented migrants out of the city centre.

HLHR and AEDH urge the Greek authorities:

  • To refrain from any action or legislative initiative that would entail further violation of human rights of undocumented migrants, therefore to preserve second instance substantial examination of asylum applications, to refrain from mass rejections and guarantee effective and transparent first instance decisions for granting asylum status to those entitled to international and humanitarian protection.
  • To design policies, which would be guided by a human rights-based approach and would guarantee efficient results for both the undocumented migrants and Greek society.
  • To involve fully and as soon as possible civil society, competent NGOs and academic centres and most of all, migrant associations and organisations in migration policy planning and implementation.
  • To proceed with full integration and granting rights to migrants, who live for many years in Greece, in order to achieve political participation through public representation, and counterbalance xenophobia in local communities and at a national level.
  • To provide effective protection of vulnerable groups, such as women, children and elderly by protecting from expulsion where needed and by providing to unaccompanied minors effective representation, tutorship and social care and protection specific to their needs.
  • To reform and to implement an efficient asylum system by endorsing recommendations by the competent international, intergovernmental and national civil society bodies and organisations.
  • To proceed as an EU-border member State to the necessary steps for the activation of the European Directive 55/2001 about mass influx of displaced persons for those ethnic and vulnerable groups needing humanitarian protection for fleeing their countries under war and turmoil. This could cover those persons that according the Greek state are not entitled to asylum status but yet they need provisional protection.
  • To provide a reasonable path to regularisation of status for those migrants already employed into the widespread Greek informal economy.
  • To provide effective protection and assistance to racism, discrimination and hate crime victims by activating and efficiently implementing existing anti-racist and anti-discrimination law provisions.
  • To refrain from any comments, political action or discourse that could further boost and provide fertile ground for dangerous, rapidly escalating and social cohesion threatening xenophobic trends and violence.

[1] According to the comments of Greek authorities to the report by Thomas Hammarberg Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, CommDH(2009)6 (4.2.2009) ‘the Aliens Law has not included an individual provision for the exclusion from arrest and detention for deportation of unaccompanied minors who violate the migration legislation. Besides, the prospect of an opposite provision would increase the problem of the “children of traffic lights” and child labour in general.’ (Appendix, p.23). The Greek Ombudsman has proposed the abolition of detention and expulsion of unaccompanied minors since October 2005.

[2] According the Greek National Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia – RAXEN NFP (HLHR-KEMO) The increasing trend of racist violence and Islamophobic incidents have been alarming since the election of a far-right political party in the Parliament in autumn 2007. The Greek RAXEN NFP is leaded by HLHR

Pierre Barge, President AEDH

Miltos PavlouDirector, HLHR-KEMO RAXEN NFP

Dimitris Christopoulos, President HLHR

Fax : 0030-210-6990258,,

Pierre BARGE, président
AEDH, Association Européenne pour la
défense des Droits de l’Homme,
Membre associé de la FIDH
33, rue de la Caserne
B- 1000 Bruxelles
Tél : +32(0)25112100
Fax : +32(0)25113200 ;

Miltos Pavlou, Director HLHR-KEMO RAXEN NFP
Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR)
HLHR-KEMO-National Focal Point on Racism and Xenophobia
Bohali 63, Athens 11524
Tel : 0030-210-6990258

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Greek Government’s “Six-point plan” for the war against immigrants in the Aegean

Posted by clandestina on 23 June 2009

source: ministry of foreign affairs release

Article of Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis in the Athens daily ‘Kathimerini’

The problem of illegal migrants is one of the 21st century’s global challenges. Europe and our country are at the heart of this global problem due to their geographical position as a gateway to Europe from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and we are exposed to these migratory pressures. This problem is particularly acute for our country’s border regions and, more specifically, our eastern border in the Aegean Sea.

For the past few years we have persistently and methodically tried to turn our positions into EU-27 positions because this problem cannot be understood easily by all the European countries, e.g., those countries without sea borders. Since 2004, Greece has been playing a leading role in the creation of a common, integrated European policy on these issues. The problem’s labyrinthine dimensions do not allow for oversimplification based on domestic interests. In fact, they require an integrated plan; that is, a mobilization of human and other resources, use of national and European means, partnerships, synergies, and painful negotiations.

Bearing this in mind, a network of complementary actions could relieve the islands of the Aegean from these pressures and lay the foundations for successful treatment of the problem. This network of actions is based on 6 axes:

1.         A ship of sufficient tonnage to be used as a first reception and transport centre. This ship will sail near the islands of the Aegean where illegal migrants have been arrested, it will take them on board and carry them to the reception centres already in, or due to be put into, operation. The ship must be equipped with the necessary logistics infrastructure so as to ensure a complete health check of illegal migrants and to cross-check their identification data in order to ascertain their country of origin reliably and in a timely manner.

2.         An immediate relaunching of EU-Turkey negotiations on the conclusion of a readmission agreement and an immediate implementation of the existing Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol. Given that these issues have become part of the framework of relations between the EU and Turkey, our neighbouring country is jeopardizing its European future by dragging its feet.

3.         Use of a specific port on the Turkish coast for the return of illegal migrants who have reached our country through Turkey. This will be a major step that will certainly contribute to the relief of our insular areas. The use of a Turkish harbour in conjunction with the operation of a ship as a reception centre creates the necessary conditions for the faster return of illegal migrants.

4.         Conclusion of European and bilateral readmission agreements with the countries of origin for the overwhelming majority of illegal migrants (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia). Development aid as well as political and economic cooperation can be used as leverage in speeding up the conclusion of these agreements.

5.         Intensification of joint operations on a permanent basis under FRONTEX, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, on the way towards the creation of a European Coastguard. Our proposal for the creation of a specialised FRONTEX branch in Greece is included within the same framework.

6.         Full use of every potential for financing all the necessary actions with additional EU funds and utilization of European and bilateral programmes.

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Greek government’s immigration plans – the summer of oppression gears up – military dungeons across the Aegean

Posted by clandestina on 12 June 2009


Four days after the European elections that saw far right parties rising in prominence across Europe, the Greek government announced measures aimed at curbing illegal immigration. Greek daily “Ta Nea” reports(translation from Greek):

Felony offenses for slavers and the creation of financial immigrant reception centers for 12 months are two of the immediate measures announced by the government to address the problem of illegal immigration. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos pointed out the european dimension of the issue, saying that no country can face the problem on it’s own. He also said that the Greek prime minister will broach the issue at the upcoming EU Summit, next week, and press for readmission treaties to be signed with third countries, as well as for signatories, like Turkey, to accede to treaties.In a previous article, “Ta Nea” quoted sources within the government and provided more details about the plan (translation from Greek):

The Defence Ministry sent a list of 11 military camps that could be used as concentration facilities for illegal immigrants arrested by police. The camps have been decomissioned but their facilities are in particularly good condition, the army department of infrastructure assured the police. Sources within the Interior Ministry told “Ta Nea” that the camps available are strewn across various parts of Greece. Greek police didn’t insist in creating just one big camp in Attica, fearing that it could be easily accessible to anti-statists attempting to cause unrest.

The government’s proposals attracted strong opposition criticism. George Papandreou, the leader of Socialist PASOK, described the measures as “sketchy and inadequate” and proposed instead an eight-point plan foreseeing the boosting of border controls and a drive to upgrade parts of the capital that have turned into ghettos for migrants. The Communist Party accused the government of seeking to imprison migrants in “concentration camps.”

The government is accused by the opposition of pandering to the nationalist LA.O.S. party, which doubled it’s seats in the European Parliament, after ethnic tensions flared in recent months in downtown Athens. The center-right Greek government of Kostas Karamanlis, besieged by scandals and the dire condition of the Greek economy, came second at the European elections behind the socialists, losing for the first time in 15 years.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday chaired an inner cabinet meeting devoted to illegal immigration and the positions that Greece will adopt at the upcoming European Union summit. Reporting on the results of the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that illegal migration was the issue expected to dominate the next meeting of the European Council.

According to Pavlopoulos, the main focus at the moment was to convert the EU’s FRONTEX organisation into a European coast guard and to promote re-entry agreements. He underlined that each country separately would be unable to deal with the problem and that this required a common EU effort and policy.

The minister pointed out that the issue of migration had also been discussed by EU interior ministers on the Thursday before the elections, adding that Greece, along with other countries, had since 2005 been at the forefront of efforts for a common European policy on migration, efforts that had led to the European pact for immigration and asylum.

He again called on the EU to exert pressure on third countries to sign re-entry agreements for illegal migrants, stressing that Turkey must finally observe Community rules.

Referring to the problems caused by immigrants but also drug addicts in the centre of Athens, Pavlopoulos said the transfer of the headquarters of the drug rehabilitation agency OKANA to a new location decided by the health ministry would be speeded up, and announced plans to build a mosque in the city and a Moslem cemetery at Schisto. A coordinating committee will be set up in order to ensure the immediate implementation of the measures, he added.

Deputy interior minister for public order issues, Christos Markoyiannakis, said the government intended to introduce harsher penalties for immigrant smugglers, who would henceforth be charged with criminal offences rather than misdemeanours. In addition, the government intends to build organised centres where any illegal immigrants that are apprehended will be able to stay for up to 12 months.

Pavlopoulos said a sharp increase in illegal immigration had been worsened because Turkey, with which Greece shares a border, was not adequately enforcing an agreement to take back migrants facing deportation from Greece.

In 2008, Greek authorities arrested more than 146,000 illegal immigrants, a 30 percent increase from the previous year and a 54 percent jump from 2006, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.

The measures announced Thursday follow the surge in support for a rightist party in European Parliament elections last Sunday, as well a violence protest on May 22 by Muslim immigrants in central Athens, protesting the alleged defacement of a Quran by a Greek policeman.

Earlier this week, police clashed with rival groups of demonstrators near the center of the capital, when local residents tried to block mostly Asian immigrants from entering a public playground.

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New Frontex boat in Mitilinis harbour since two days…

Posted by clandestina on 6 June 2009



Since two days a new boat working for Frontex is in the Harbour of Mitilini.
40 officers will stay for 1 month for the Operation Poseidon-trying to keep refugees away from the greek coast.

Also an Austrian helicopter is expected the next days to take part in the operation.
The polish airplane that took part till end of may at the operations in Lesvos.   The tourists may be schocked seeing it at night hunting refugee boats with its lights in the sea!!!

Anything else is murder!

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When they say policies don’t work they just want to give more money to the police…

Posted by clandestina on 1 June 2009

…The policy of degrading immigrants works just fine, the point is how money is shared between states, police agencies etc.  This is an article we found here…Bold fonts are ours.


RIGHTS: Greece Cannot Take Very Much More

 Analysis by Apostolis Fotiadis

ATHENS, Jun 1 (IPS) – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has asked the European Commission to call a meeting between the agency and countries around the Mediterranean to work out a joint strategy to deal with irregular migration.

Guterres has proposed a meeting between Italy, Malta, Libya, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other partners following Italy’s recent ‘push-back’ of migrants to Libya. 

But while Italy is being internationally chastised for the refoulement of refugees that effectively annuls the country’s responsibilities arising from international treaties, most notably the Geneva convention, neighbouring Greece is building up state-sponsored persecution of irregular migration that has gone largely unnoticed. 

Since 2005 when traffickers shifted from the worn-out Spanish and Italian routes to less guarded ones, and the influx from devastated states like Iraq and Afghanistan multiplied, the number of migrants crossing into Europe through Greece has skyrocketed. 

Rising social closures and anti-immigrant institutional arrangements in Europe, most notably the Dublin II regulation, have led to an increased concentration of migrants in Greece. 

Under the Dublin II regulation asylum applicants must register their data in the first country where they come in contact with authorities. It becomes that country’s responsibility to assess their status thereafter, and anyone moving to another country would have to be sent back to the country where he or she was initially registered. 

Dublin II has been widely criticised by human rights activists as a device to raise the walls of ‘Fortress Europe’, and for developed states to reduce their responsibilities at the expense of border states. 

In less than five years hundreds of thousands of migrants have gathered in an overburdened country that has no experience in dealing with a migration influx. Greek politicians have no idea how to adapt policies to a newborn multicultural environment – and no will to do so. 

Since 2000 all Greek administrations have avoided implementation of European directives on reception, asylum procedures, family reunification and long-term residence status, despite their incorporation in national law. 

According to the Greek Ombudsman on migration, viable economic activity for economic migrants has been denied, pushing them into the vast and ruthless informal market as cheap labour. 

Second-generation migrants have been socially isolated. On their 18th birthday they fall into a limbo of semi-legality that threatens them with expulsion to their parents’ country of origin – where they may never have been. 

Not least, Greek authorities have denied access to asylum and refugee status by politically directing approvals to below 1 percent, and refusing claims for refugee status made on humanitarian grounds. 

Responsibility for controlling the irregular flow of migrants and regulating asylum and refugee issues has been placed with the police, notorious for their abysmal human rights record. 

“Asylum has been completely abandoned,” Spyros Kouloxeris, coordinator of the legal assistance programme of The Greek Council for Refugees told IPS. 

“There is no efficient infrastructure, or plans to create one,” he said. “Instead we have the announcement of new legislation that will only worsen the situation. We are facing an imminent collapse of existing asylum procedures.” 

Between 36,000 and 40,000 applications are pending, he said. “The responsible personnel are inefficient, exhausted, and stigmatised. They literally do not want to go on with this. It is more than a priority that asylum is transferred from police jurisdiction to a specialised authority.” 

But the government is headed the opposite way. With encouragement from mainstream media producing hysterical reports on migration, the government is considering a response that advances policing at the expense of integration. 

This will be assisted by an additional budget of 200 million euros for the police up to 2013, 148 million euros of which will come from the European Union for policing equipment and new technologies. 

It is in this climate of fear that many migrants gather in the central districts of Athens or in slums around the ports of Patra and Igoumenitsa that provide sea links to Italy. Desperation at these places has led to increased criminality, and created lawless zones. 

Rioting by Muslim migrants after reports of the desecration of a copy of the Quran by a policeman show that the situation is explosive, and requires quick and deep political response. 

“Perhaps these incidents are a taste of the future,” Thanos P. Dokos, director-general of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) wrote in Kathimerini, a major political daily. 

“It would be good to hasten some measures like establishment of official religious sites and cemeteries for religious minorities, as well as recruitment of migrants into police. Still, it is obvious that our country lacks a national strategy for controlling the phenomenon of irregular migration, and that so far efforts have been scrappy.” 

Many are now looking to the “Stockholm Programme” on freedom and justice, now that Sweden has taken over EU presidency for the second half of this year. The programme will address migration and asylum issues. (END/2009) .


And what is this “Stockholm Programme” then? We found the following article at no racism net…


Turn off the Stockholm Programme – No Future for the ‘Future Group’!


Following Tampere 1999 and Hague 2004, the EU plans to decide the next five-year plan on “Justice and Home Affairs” (JHA) this year.

After the implementation of data retention and new databases, the creation of “Frontex” and the “European Security Research Programme” , the “harmonization” of terrorism laws and more surveillance of the internet, next severe changes are foreseen to bet set in the new guideline.

Under swedish EU presidency in the second half of 2009, probably in November or December, the ministers of interior and justice will meet to agree the new “Stockholm Programme”.

A self-announced “Future Group” of some of the ministers, initiated under german EU presidency 2007, already published the wishlist “European Home Affairs in an open world”:

An EU population register, ‘remote’ forensic searches of computer hard drives, internet surveillance systems, more implementation of satellites and ‘drone’ planes for surveillance, automated exit-entry systems operated by machines, autonomous targeting systems, risk assessment and profiling systems, e-borders, passenger profiling systems, an EU ‘entry-exit’ system, joint EU expulsion flights, dedicated EU expulsion planes, EU-funded detention centres and refugee camps in third countries (even “overseas”), expansion of the para-military European Gendarmerie Force, deployment of EU Battle Groups, crisis management operations in Africa, permanent EU military patrols in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, more power for EU agencies, interlinking of national police systems, an EU criminal record, a permanent EU Standing Committee on internal security (COSI) dealing with operational matters, more partnerships with the security industry.

By 2014, the ministers wish to establish a “transatlantic security partnership” between the EU and USA, that can be seen as a kind of domestically NATO. NATO strategists on the other hand approach to internal politics by claiming in the paper “Towards a grand strategy in an uncertain world” that military could only supply “strong defence” if there is a “strong homeland security”.

The blog tries to collect calls, background texts, links, dates and material in different languages for campaigning against the meeting in Stockholm.

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“The growing threat of radical Islam […] encroaching also on the Western Balkans” said the Chief of Greek para-state administration in warmongers exchibition

Posted by clandestina on 23 May 2009

This is a Kathimerini article.  More to the point, as regards “terrorism” and “illegal migration”,  this is the State Department talking.  And this is a war, a war proper.  This article has it all, both ” innovative ““green projects”, and restructuring of the nation’s defence industry”..



Director of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) Ambassador Ioannis Corantis speaking on the threats of international terrorism and illegal immigration.

ATHENS– With international terrorism thriving, Greece should be prepared to tackle new and more potent forms of terror, exchanging intelligence information with other nations and combating illegal immigration, Greece’s Director of National Intelligence said Friday.

Ambassador Ioannis Corantis made the remarks during an unprecedented conference staged on the sidelines of Athens International 2009, an exhibition focusing on defence, security, energy and civil aviation in Southeast Europe.

“Terrorism remains the main international threat, but it is continuously evolving, with new methods of operation that require new means of response,” Mr. Corantis said. “Greece must be prepared to react [because] the magnitude of prospective attacks may increase.”

The head of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) did not elaborate, but he underscored the growing threat of radical Islam spreading across Europe, encroaching also on the Western Balkans, including Bosnia, Albania, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

He said there were growing trends of European-based militant jihadists returning to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq for training, while radical religious leaders in Europe and the Internet were facilitating the growing reach of religious extremism.

“The Internet has become an ideal means for spreading radical Islam,” Mr. Corantis told an audience of Greek and foreign diplomats, defence officials and politicians. “It is a cheap and undetectable tool terrorists use to disseminate their propaganda.”

With growing numbers of people fleeing Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus, Mr. Corantis stressed the need for Greece to grapple with the rising tide of illegal immigration.

“We are doing everything to guarantee that those coming in are nothing more than what they claim to be: illegal refugees seeking a better life,” he said. “It’s not an easy task. But that Greece remains safe and untouched by radical forms of Islam bears proof of our hard and effective work.”

Earlier this month, the US State Department expressed concern over the “drastic increase” of illegal immigration, suggesting that Greece “could become a transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United States.”

Mr. Corantis said Greece was open to exchanging intelligence information with allies but denied any existence of Al-Qaeda terror cells in the country.

“The concern may be there, but there is not a single kernel of proof, that militant Islamists have either entered the country or that Muslims residing here are turning radical.”

Last year, more than 140,000 illegal immigrants arrived in Greece, mostly via Turkey, up from 118,000 in 2007 and 96,000 in 2006.

Thousands more are said to arrive undetected.

Once caught, however, undocumented migrants are fingerprinted, held for a few days in overcrowded detention centers and then released with orders to leave the country within 30 days.

Most, though, end up in the Greek capital because Turkish officials no longer respect a bilateral agreement to return illegal refugees, according to Greek police officials.

“We need a concerted effort of cooperation among various agencies to grapple with illegal immigration,” Mr. Corantis told the conference.

Organized in cooperation with the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Relations (ISTAME) and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), the conference touched on a range of security and defence-related issues.

A keynote speaker, Deputy Defence Minister Yannis Plakiotakis underscored the need for regional cooperation in Southeast Europe.

“The Balkans are no longer the powder keg of Europe,” he said. “Still, the state of affairs in the region is fluid and volatile.”

“We believe that regional cooperation and joint action operations can afford tangible solutions to a string of problems plaguing the region; it can help countries focus on a host of issues that unite rather than separate them.”

Earlier, Louka Katseli, the shadow finance minister of the socialist opposition PASOK party, warned of the need for “qualitative government reforms” to safeguard stability, security and development in Greece.

“The need for quality government is so much more pronounced now within this period of economic turmoil,” she told the conference. “Swift and efficient government intervention is the only way out the crisis… enabling social cohesion and promoting social prosperity.”

Mrs. Katseli also called for measures to improve Greece’s competitiveness, including investments in innovative “green projects,” and restructuring of the nation’s defence industry.

“With the necessary planning, Greece’s defence industry can focus on new and select activities and markets that can guarantee financial gains and a competitive edge,” she said.

Drastic spending cuts and a new regulatory system in defence procurement projects were also required, Mrs. Katseli said, to increase spending in social security, education and investments.

Held at Athens International Airport’s Metropolitan exhibition center, Athens International comes at the height of Greece’s 2006-15 military procurement programs.

Defence spending in Greece runs at around 3 percent of GDP, one of the highest levels in the EU and NATO, partly because of a policy to keep an arms balance with neighboring Turkey.

Though both NATO allies, Greece and Turkey remain at odds over air-and-sea boundaries and flights in the Aegean Sea.

Despite longstanding differences, relations between the two countries have improved significantly in recent years, cementing strong energy links with the creation of the Greece-Turkey-Italy Interconnector, a project that entails the creation of a pipeline that will transfer natural gas from Caspian countries to Western Europe, Minister of Development Kostas Hatzidakis told the conference.

Athens International kicked off last year focusing almost exclusively on defence. It has since then come to encompass Greece’s key infrastructure industries, including energy, security and civil aviation.

The exhibition runs until Sunday

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