Friday, June 26, 2015

Refugees: Austria versus Greece

I could not find any statistics about 'refugees' in Austria. What the government publishes refers to 'first time asylum applicants'. I assume that refuges who cross the border into Austria become automatically 'first time asylum applicants'.

From January-May 2015, Austria registered 19.571 first time asylum applicants. That's about 3 times the level of the previous years. The most important countries of origin were Syria, Afghanistan, Irak and Kosovo. Over 1.000 of the asylants do not have accomodations at this time. Essentially, they have to sleep on floors in asylum camps. The 19,571 first time asylum applicants represented about 0,2% of Austria's population.

For months, the Austrian government has debated what to do with those asylants without accomodations. Some proposed the erection of tents while others argued that housing asylants in tents was unworthy of a civilized country. The latest proposal was to allocated the 1.000 'homeless' to the regional districts of which Austria has 95. That would have meant about 10 per district. Yesterday was high noon to resolve this issue once and for all.

On the nightly TV news, one could see the most important representatives from the two coalition parties, from the Chancellor down, sitting around a huge table. There were at least 10 people on each side. And once again, the meeting was adjourned without a solution. Instead, both sides were blaming each other for playing politics on the backs of asylants.

I then switched over the the German ARD where they showed a report about refugees on the island of Kos. What is happening there truly defies description. According to Wikipedia, Kos has a population of about 33.000. If their refugees accounted for the same percentage of the total population as in Austria (0,2%), then Kos should have had at most 70 refugees so far this year. As it turns out, that's less than the number of daily arrivals.

And then the report showed how the locals did their best to take care of these refugees. How food was collected from hotels and how the locals put it into individual packages. Throught the report, it was obvious that the locals cared about the refugees and did their best to help them. Their motto seemed to be: we are living through tough times as a country but there is always enough to help people in need.

Watching that report, I couldn't help but think how distorted the view of Greece and Greeks has become in the process of the debt quarrel. It certainly wouldn't hurt if the negotiators in Brussels took time out to watch the ARD report. It might affect their judgment.


  1. 2 minutes to understand the hypocricy of the EU:

    Short story: "Dublin II Treaty". Alias: How the noble, ethically superior north, for many years, uses the south Europe as a closet for humans that doesn't want.

    What happens is: EU has FRONTEX to "assist" the local authorities with immigrants. 90% of immigrants to Europe, come to Greece and get trapped to Greece, so that northern Europe isn't disgusted by seeing their faces. According to Dublin II Treaty, the country that first identifies an immigrant/refugee is the "first entry" country. If these people are arrested in other countries, they will be sent back to the "first entry country". This is why EU is keen in "assisting" with Frontex. Because the more you "help" Greece identify them, the more the northern countries can send back to Greece and then go on media and condemn Greece for inhuman detention centers and for Golden Dawn.

    You think Kos is bad? Agathonisi has 60 inhabitants and several times, they were waking up with double and triple the number of immigrants overnight, even pissing inside churches.

    A good thing for defaulting, is that Greece once has rotten good relations with Berlin, will be glad to open the borders and get out of Dublin II and let the refugee that wants to go to Germany, actually go there, instead of getting trapped in Greece, until some noble north european souls, after years, accept to take 40.000 of them between two dozen countries.

  2. he Aegean island's 150-strong population has been overwhelmed as it tried to cope with an influx of immigrants that by last week had surpassed 4,100 in number.

    How many more can Kos take? Thousands of boat people from Syria and Afghanistan set up migrant camp in popular Greek island - with holidaymakers branding the situation 'disgusting'

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    That's what Greece is for. So that the disgust, doesn't reach the noble north. But it will... Some brains in the north think that Greece will become Europe's India, amassing every soul that wants to go to Europe and have them trapped there. They 're mistaken. At the end, it will explode and they will get everything concentrated in one huge wave.

    1. Asylum claims in germany are expected to hit 450,000 this year. So far, like the greeks it would seem, voluntary efforts have appeared to supplement the - completely swamped - official procedure.

      It's in the north too, in other words.

    2. It doesn't matter how many requests you have, but how many you accept and how many you send back to the "country of first entry".

  3. " It certainly wouldn't hurt if the negotiators in Brussels took time out to watch the ARD report. It might affect their judgment."

    You can't be serious! This has been going on since 2003. The whole purpose of Dublin II Treaty, is that all immigrants stay trapped in the south. And you expect them to "feel" something watching that their plan has worked? They should pat themselves on the back.

  4. This is Dublin II in a nutshell:

    If the 20.000 you got, where not identified elsewhere in EU before getting to Austria, you have to keep them. For the record, everyone is refugee asylum, since they come with no papers and claim they are all from war zones.

    - Refugee goes to Greece, says he wants asylum in Sweden.
    - Sweden replies: "No, thanks, Dublin II! YOU keep him, since you detected him first". (that's why the North Europeans never say no to more Frontex).
    - Sweden EU commissioner for immigration (former), then comes out and lambasts Greece for the treatment of immigrants.

    Perfect! Maybe they should also watch this video in Brussels so that they can have a good laugh alltogether!

    1. The original Dublin Convention of 1990 was instigated mostly by the UK, and signed in international law, with the sole intent of stopping any legitimate refugees from reaching the North of Europe. The convention was more recently incorporated in the EU treaties with the clear support of all of northern Europe (and the stupidity of governments of the South), and has always remained in intent to put the burden on Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus.

      Already, Italy and Greece (in breach of the law) are allowing asylum seekers to leave their countries and go to France, Germany, and the North. Since Greece is about to go bankrupt, its best strategy is to denounce the EU provision known as the Dublin Regulation under exceptional derogation rules, and place the burden directly on the rich EU countries. The EU has very little to offer Greece at this time; in my view, Greece should consider leaving and forming regional and international alliances with major powers. With the low quality personnel currently in European governments, Europe will fall apart anyway.

    2. To Guest (Xenos)

      I agree and i believe it is a matter of time, before Greece starts breaking bonds with EU. It will likely do so at stages. Now the first stage may begin, but i think it is more plausible that first we will clean out the domestic arena first. By that i mean, that i think there will be elections in August or September. Tsipras is going far beyond his mandate and while the prospect of freeing the country from the troika is extremely appealing, nobody has authorized SYRIZA to decide on the strategic orientation of the country or to turn it to a mediterranean Venezuela under the pretext of freeing it from the troika. Because if you let SYRIZA free hand, this is what it will do, as this is the only thing that knows to do.

      The referendum of this Sunday, for a proposal that is no longer on the table, ultimately comes down to this:
      "Do you want to deal with SYRIZA first and the Germans later or the opposite?".

      Even if Tsipras loses the referendum and a national unity goverment takes his place, it will be again a matter of time, before they will have to change strategy and exit the EZ and start breaking treaties with Europe.

  5. I apologize if some posts resulted double, but i have internet problems and i think they weren't sent correctly.

  6. Lesvos: From 720 refugees per month, up to 7200 on May.

    According to what you want to believe, 300.000 to 2.000.000 more are waiting at the turkish coast.

  7. According to UNHCR, the number of recognised refugees in Austria in 2013 was about 29,000.This is a very low proportion of the population, even by EU standards.

    However, the countries which are refusing to accept any refugees or asylum-seekers at all are eastern Europe. These are also the countries which have most strongly opposed flexibility with Greece over the eurozone debts.

    I think it just goes to show that the European project is collapsing, largely from something I opposed very strongly in the 1990s, which was the rapid enlargement of the EC to build an empire. The inclusion of 29 countries now, with no proper governance structure, was an extremely stupid idea -- along with the implementation of the euro (although not the idea of the euro itself). Everyone is paying the price now for the very low quality of all European politicians over the last 20 years. Bad decisions, arrogance, lack of studies and forward thinking -- everything that has come to characterise the neoliberal agenda of developed countries, along with the financial crisis with the same origins. The incompetent crooks remain in power, even if they are not the same individuals.

  8. Well Put Mr. Kastner,

    The irony is that in the country which holds the strongest stance Greece politically, for good and bad reasons, the media is the most balanced on showing all aspects of not just Greece but everywhere.

    I must say aside from the main stream propaganda of German news there is also a large hard core which gives real news and real facts on what is really going on on all issues, not just Greece.

    I have commended them via email many times for giving the truth even if the truth hurts.


    PS: The speech did come after all more or less. We have reached critical point in history. We are all now responsible for our actions. But to be honest after 5 years of this crisis, today after many many years i feel relieved even if the outcome is a grexit wich will certainly be painful, but at least it will be a new road and new direction with new horizans. Once again i thank you for all your articles. I truly hope one day people of power will listen to you.

    1. Good luck. I hope (and expect, in fact) that Greece will get the humanitarian assistance which it will very likely need.

      Hopefully at least that can be given without the finger-wagging and moralising.

    2. @ AnonymousJune 28, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      The referendum will backfire to Tsipras. On June 17, Tsipras was saying during Austria's PM Faymann visit: "I am not the type of man that in difficulties i throw the ball to the people. If there is an agreement, it will be the goverment that will lift the weight of the decision and the same in case of non agreement".

      In 2011, Tsipras was accusing George Papandreou, that his referendum would be like "playing the country in dice".

      So what changed in 10 days? Nothing. Simply Tsipras is trying to save his party's cohesion and inability to carry out the memorandum, by throwing the ball to the people, asking them to vote in 6 days, on a plan that the commoner has never seen in whole and that the creditor's side has withdrawn.

      I think Tsipras will lose the referendum, because people who were questioning his ability in the past months, are now having confirmation and after a defeat in referendum, they will have to go to elections. There, if SYRIZA wins, it will be default and dracma, with Tsipras turning the country in Venezuela and himself as Hugo Chavez. If the coalition of pro-European parties wins (i expect there will be such coalition), there will be a new deal with the EU, but that sooner or later will eventually turn to Grexit, because the population either way won't be able to support the troika madness forever.

      It's getting down to this, as far as i am concerned: With what party do you want to default? With SYRIZA and Golden Dawn or with more moderate ones? Ah yes, because this Sunday, there will be the following alignment:

      - SYRIZA + ANEL + Golden Dawn : they ask to vote against the plan (No).
      - The rest of parties ask to vote in favour (YES).
      - The KKE is neutral on the memorandum, while supports rupture with EU. In poor words, the KKE would like to default, but doesn't want Tsipras to become Chavez, because this would prohibit KKE from doing it.

      No matter how much i want i loath troika and Germany, i have lived through the junta and i know very well about the red junta that we avoided before that. And i will not let Greece fall in the hands of SYRIZA, ANEL (also called "the sprayed ones", because their leader isn't sure about whether airplanes are spraying with chemicals the population for mind control or not) and Golden Dawn to decide the strategic orientation of the country.

    3. My Friend,

      Regardless of theory and analysis,

      We can accept reforms which are constructive but not "reforms" which destroy our toursism, naval power and military defense. The signiture of any such agreement, is complete capitulation. Such data not mentioned by the mainstream media. It very good such a move was made with the referendum.

      Please do not be delusional that Greece will not suffer. There is no easy solution nor will there be no lack of pain whatever road we choose.

      What pain would your prefer is the choice. Pain which is less painful but your children and grandchildren will be born knowing only to bow their heads and obey. Or pain of learning to rebuild yourself who you lost in the "goodtimes" but prevail as who you are in the long run.

      It is not about parties anymore and thank god the more this drags on the more people realize this. There are many people that still fear and dread pain. Without pain you have no value for what is worth it in life. The political structure will follow what that is what the people want. Whether Syriza is a temprory party or not, they will be left in history as the spark that created change. Change will come. Change is hard for most people to accept when lives are built on mundain everyday life style.

      I don't care about my politcal structure but what i hold above all is the well being of my countrymen. We can not capitulate even if it means they will make the biggest economical war on us.

      It is not about us anymore. It is about our children and grandchildren. Look into their eyes and you automatically knock down the walls of false pretentions. Things will be hard but if it is for the good ofour children, so be it. We know what it means to sacrifice, but it is one thing to do for country and children, and one thing to do it as an order to pay out debt which nothing more than modern slavery.

      Mr. Kastner has suggested many times suggests for solutions within the system. I have no doubt that our government has made such requests. The requests have fallen on deaf ears. To both ND andSyriza. Hence there is a prejudice. The yes vote is noting more than capitulation. the no vote whether it is a winner or not is not the point. The point is the people will speak. And even if we do follow "their" road.... I gaurantee to you in 1 year from now the "no" will not be 40-50% but 90-95%.

      It is not a time for fingerpointing in Greece. It is a time for gathering as a nation.


    4. I would like to add...

      Sorry for the Greek Mr. Kastner.

      «Εσείς οι Σπαρτιάτες δεν φοβάστε ποτέ?»
      «Ποιος σου είπε πως δεν φοβόμαστε? Γιατί θαρρείς τιμούμε με τον Φόβο ως Θεό κι υψώσαμε ιερό του στη ακρόπολη?»
      «Και τότε γιατί παριστάνετε τους ατρόμητους?»
      «Κάνεις λάθος. Το πρώτο πράγμα που μας μαθαίνουν στην Σπάρτη είναι: «Φόβος γλιτώνει, φόβος σκοτώνει»»
      «Που σημαίνει»
      «Ότι ο φόβος είναι διπρόσωπος. Ευχή μαζί και κατάρα. Μοιάζει μαχαίρι δίκοπο. Πιάσε τον απ ‘τη λαβή και θα γίνει όπλο σου. Αν λαθέψεις, θα σε κατακόψει.»
      «Ωραία λόγια, που αποδεικνύουν πως δεν ξέρετε τι θα πει φοβάμαι. Η μήπως φοβάστε τον φόβο?»
      «Τρέμω τον φόβο που παραλύει τα γόνατα, ψάχνω τον φόβο που με ψυπνά και με κάνει πιο δυνατό…»


    5. To V,

      Beware of liars using democracy as pretext to save a country. See Gounaris 1920. Quoting the Spartans has nothing to so with Tsipras. If Tsipras was a Spartan or Metaxas, he would either take the decision, or tell the people the TRUTH: "Dracma or euro". Tsipras instead says "NO" doesn't mean dracma, but means new mandate for more intense negotiations within the euro. I am sorry, but i have seen enough greek politics to know when someone has failed. And Tsipras has failed. If you think that Tsipras' Venezuela will be better than troika, you are mistaken.

      If anything, i have done many correct political predictions in this forum, for many months now. So i will stand by what i said. I also believe that Greece will get out of the euro. But not in SYRIZA's Venezuela. And Greece won't change economy model, by following the failed model that PASOK established in 1981 and is the same applied by SYRIZA.

      Since the elections, what did SYRIZA care for? For hiring back the cleaning staff that was getting paid double the money of a hospital doctor, re-establishing ERT, because 80% are SYRIZA voters and having a controlled television was missing to SYRIZA's array of media and giving 6 euros per day increase to DEI (Public electricity company) workers. As well as lifting the cap to the upper limit of paying tax arrears, so that rich can get 50% discount too. In the meantime, the real part of the economy, has been put in the freezer. Now, tourism is taking a hit. Because in SYRIZA they are so incapable, that don't even know that you don't default in the middle of the tourist season.

      I am sorry, if you think that SYRIZA will save Greece, go ahead and vote them. I won't vote for a red junta to fall upon Greece.

    6. To V:

      Something else to add to you and take it as a fatherly advice. I have always been critic to SYRIZA, because i never trusted their ability to do anything concrete. Use your memory and try to go back to December and try to fine one thing, that SYRIZA said and came true. There is nothing. Nothing at all.
      - There isn't 1 in a 1000000 chance that Merkel will deny our plan (Tsipras).
      - We will wrap everything in an easily digestible package so that Schauble can pass it from his parliament, don't worry (Varoufakis).
      - "Those who warn of Grexit and closed banks are fear mongers and terrorizing the voters."
      - The "Alliance of the South" will go against Germany following SYRIZA.
      - "Greece is the canary in the mine that shows what will happen to all other countries".
      - "The goverment won't do referendum" (June 17).
      - We will raise salaries, pensions, 13th pension, abolish ENFIA, tear the memorandum to pieces with one law.
      - We will write off the majority of the debt.

      And probably 100 more things i forget. And you want these people to handle the drachma? Are you sure?
      Let me tell you this. Tsipras is doing the referendum with no debate, with the people going blind to vote a plan that doesn't exist, because he is panicked. And wants an alibi. Tsipras sees that his party's cohesion is at stake. If he takes full responsibility and agrees, Kouvelakis is right: The people will ask "what's the difference between left and these?". If he takes responsibility for the drachma, he is afraid the people might ask "who gave you mandate?".
      I am retired and i don't even live in Greece. I have no economic interests in Greece, other than real estate property. But i have lived in 3 countries and i 've seen many, many people and learnt to weigh them in few minutes, because you must treat them differently according to their character. And i wouldn't trust SYRIZA to run a suvlatzidiko, let alone the passage to the drachma and the reconstruction of the economy with a model different than before. Assuming they will not take advantage of the situation to turn you to Venezuela. I have already booked a ticket for next Sunday. I am flying to Greece, because i know a charlatan when i see one. And SYRIZA is a charlatan. Unfortunately, the Greeks always liked honeytongued politicians. I don't know how many failed predictions a politician must make, to convice that he has zero ability to see into the future. But a politician that can't see into the future, is good for nothing.

      Kalo voli. Good luck. I will again come to vote in Greece in favour of Grexit, when someone who is not lying will be frank for it and when i will be certain that has no hidden agenda. The ideal goverment for Grexit, would be a national unity goverment with technocrats.

  9. This was Tsipras' plan behind the referendum:

    Minister Stratoulis has been caught on phone camera, while talking to pensioner. He basically admits that they want to go to the drachma.

    The dialogue goes like this:
    - Minister: Either you will vote NO and you will give the chance to liberate the fatherland, so that we can see what policies we can have, to bring growth, to give jobs or you will vote YES and say "I want the Schauble pension".
    - Pensioner: I am a simple man.
    - Minister: I am simple as well. Do you want me to tell it to you in simple way? What's your pension?
    - Pensioner: 1000 euros.
    - Minister: They ask me to give you 240 pension and 30 euro subsidie. So you want this?
    - Pensioner: No.
    - Minister: We will do whatever it takes. If you want to have money in pocket, why do you care? Does it interest you to be in the euro without money in your pocket? We will do whatever necessary so that you will have money in your pocket.

    Of course, Tsipras forgot to say this to the people... Tsipras intended to get an easy "NO" on Sunday, fail the whatever negotiations and go with the "will of the people" to the drachma. And given the initial chaos, one can expect that the use of the army would be needed and Tsipras would install a Venezuelan regime...

    This video with minister Stratoulis will do immense damage to SYRIZA's plans. I wouldn't be surprised if Tsipras cancels the referendum. It all comes down to this now. Does Tsipras prefer to stay in power or return to the opposition?

    The referendum can't be won after this, because it reveals that SYRIZA had hidden agenda, which has very little to do with democracy. Either Tsipras will save face accepting somehow the troika plan and will stay in power or he will fall on his sword on Sunday and have elections in August. If he wins, he can still default to the drachma. If not, he will return to the opposition proudly saying "i didn't kneel to the troika and i was deposed by Draghi".

  10. mfg