Saturday, February 13, 2016

Greece & Schengen

I fail to see the connection between Greece & Schengen on one hand and the refugee crisis on the other. Currently, many predict that the EU's hidden agenda is to exclude Greece from Schengen for 2 years so that the migration of refugees to the rest of Schengen can be significantly reduced.

Except, why would that be so?

All that Schengen means is that, between Schengen countries, there is no cross-border traffic. Instead, all traffic is completely free as though there were no borders. Greece does not neighbor on any other Schengen countries. One can only get from Greece directly to another Schengen country by ship or by plane.

I am not aware that any of the refugee traffic from Greece to the rest of Schengen takes place via ships or planes. Instead, all of it seems to follow the land route through the balkans. If the countries bordering on Greece from the North, which are not Schengen countries, were to seal their borders with Greece, the refugees would not get to the rest of Schengen whether Greece remains in Schengen or not. At the same time, if refugees can overcome these borders, they will get to the rest of Schengen whether Greece remains in Schengen or not.

Of course, all the refugees could suddenly switch to scheduled flights and/or cruise ships and enjoy free travel within Schengen that way but, frankly, that strikes me as a very unlikely scenario. Some say that refugees would take boats from Greece to Italy. Ok, but they could do that whether Greece is in Schengen or not.

In short, I wonder why the EU is threatening an exclusion from Schengen, temporary or not, when such an exclusion does not seem to offer any improvement in the refugee crisis. Perhaps there is indeed another hidden agenda on the part of the EU.


  1. Well it seems that we are getting somewhere. Yes there is a hidden agenda. One that is easy to see through the current posturing. a) The threat to kick the Greeks out keeps the local yahoos in the electorate (german, austrian, french, whatever) happy by sounding tough and appearing to do something to protect the national borders. b) the threat carries an implied threat to A. Tsipras:if you do not shape up we will switch our support to FYROM and, under the border protection narrative, we will let them have anything they want, including the name. This is something that A. Tsipras cannot tolerate politically under any circumstances. The pressure on SYRIZA from this is the worst imaginable and, I suspect, very effective.

  2. What is more accurate is that EU threatens with excluding itself from Schengen, since there is no way to boot a country from the treaty. Only a country can leave the treaty by its own will. What the EU can do, is recommend to other countries to seal its borders towards another country (Greece is in this case).

    The issue is political and rather simple. The Europeans don't want refugees, but being hypocrits, can't openly say so. Because they have to keep the facade of moral values, humanism etc. So ideally they 'd like to keep them in Greece or send a message that "Greece will be your last destination, you have no hope to go further". This can be done by sealing the northern borders of Greece and by transforming Greece in a detention camp ("hot spots" aka concentration camps). As Bruegel Institute pointed out, by the current rate that Europeans countries accept relocation, it will take 100 years to relocate refugees from Greece. At the same time, Germany put pressure to Greece to accept (actually "request") NATO warship patrols in the Aegean. Because as everyone knows, warships exist to intercept small boats packed with refugees that have double the speed of a typical warship.

    The isolation of Greece is a means to put pressure to SYRIZA to accept the transformation of Greece in a huge detention camp, under the threat of turmism/export damage. Because that's the only point of excluding Greece.

    Likewise, the warships aren't there to "help" refugees, but to intimidate them not to cross the sea. Because you don't send a 3000 ton warship to "help" a fast craft arriving from Turkey with 20 passengers. That's a job for a coast guard small and fast vessel, not a NATO destroyer.

    The final plan is: "Bottleneck the refugees in Greece, so that word spreads in the middle east, that the road to central europe is hard and thus better stay in the middle east". And Europeans can go back to play humanists.

  3. If i may add to my previous comment, you must always try to see the true purpose behind the declared one. Take for example the policy adopted by Denkark an Norway to confiscate valuables (including those of sentimental value) from the refugees. Is it really for financial reasons? Will Denmark save its economy from the wedding ring of the Syrian refugee? No. The real purpose is deterrence. It's to spread the word to Syria that "Denmark is a bad place to go, where they will even take your family jewelery, so better not go to Denmark". The same applies to Schengen and to the NATO warships. If Europe really wanted to help the "border control", they would send coast guard ships, which are built to intercept small and fast vessels. Not warships. NATO warships are there to intimidate, not to help "control". Similarly, european policemen (including Austrians) have been deployed in the FYROM side of the border. Does this make an instutional sense, from the moment that FYROM isn't in EU? Should the greek borders be the last "european" border where to send european policemen? Well, the real purpose is that nobody cares about that, it's simply easier to control the FYROM border and seal it if necessary and let Greece deal with the problem!

  4. In case you haven't heard, there was recently also a clash between the greek immigration minister Mouzalas and his belgian counterpart. Mouzalas said on a british TV channel that the belgian one asked him (apart a 400.000 people detention center in Greece) to "push back" the arriving boats. The belgian minister took offense when Mouzalas also used the term "drown". Well, the "push back" wording is the facade, but what Mouzalas described, is the reality. Because when you "push back" a plastic boat into the sea, laden with women and children, most of which don't know how to swim and often slice their boat to make it sink as soon as they see a coast guard vessel to force it to rescue them, you are proposing to drown them.

  5. Hi Mr. Kastner,

    I have been waiting for some time for you to make a thread on this subject.

    As i have told you many times, Greece is the punching bag of the eu. This refugee crisis is another example. Likewise i do not like the way the eu is handling this specific crisis under the "traits" we uphold as europeans.

    Schengen or not, threats or not our borders will be closed.

    The projected is being pushed by both Austrian and Hungarian officials and there is word that the borders will be patroled by Fyrom, Hungarian and Austrian forces police military? How nice. How we are bulding walls again in the eu.

    Ok. with that fence it is thought that if the borders from greece are closed it will deter the refugees from wanting to make the trip to Greece. Let me ask? Who will tell the refugees? Nobody. Greece is being pushed to make these refugee camps which will then be checking these refugees for credentials as to be sent to other eu nations. hmmm. doubt that. We are having 7 camps being built in Greece which will house these refugees for an extended period of time. How and what these affects will take on our country can be speculated.

    Then we have the water borders of Greece. Well if Troika didn't stop compressing the defense budget we would be able to patrol our own waters. But no. there is also another agenda. "Greece is incompetent" to protect its own waters, so we will ask the help of Nato. Multiple amounts of war ships to come patrol our borders with turkey, another NATO nation. The eu and and NATO could simply tell Turkey to stop the refugee transfer to Greece. Do you actually think these NATO ships are there for the refugee crisis? no way. They are there as to be in the region when war between Turkey and Russia breaks out. Or at least another build up of cold war borders between the west and russia.

    The eu is giving 3 billion to turkey (who is now asking for 9 billion and open visa's for Turkish with EU) and how much money to greece? A couple of hundreds of thousands euro. And turkey is still flowing those refugees into Greece. Which by the way is now 9 bil euro business in the Turkish black market.

    So in a nut shell?

    Close the borders in a way so Greece can take no legal action against the eu under schengen law. Putting up a fence in a non schengen country is a perfect way to do this. Refugees will not go through Bulgaria or Albania. To dangerous. Block off greece so refugees stay in greece and not on our EU other Eu grounds. Looks nice for these respective politicians that they are handling the problem. On a bigger scale to make us feel nice give some pennies to greece to house these poor people who have suffered, but not in my country, leave them in Greece, they are toilet anyway. On a bigger scale, bring in NATO to patrol the Aegean for the "refugee crisis" but in reality to "back" Turkey's aggressive behavoir against Kurds, who seek their own nation fighting ISIS, which is a black market ally of Turkey. Russia is the only nation saying this outload, but because Turkey is a NATO nation we need to support them.

    Sad. The eu and the big powers couldn't give a crap about these refugees. One child died on tv 6 months ago and the world was shocked. Since then hundreds of kids and babies have drown since then, aside form adults.

    All of the above is also part of Tsipras agenda as he is a leftist. He will do anything to be on Merkel troikas side and get those few crumbs from the table as to feed his few voter bases even it means selling off the country. I don't know which is worse The local agenda, the eu agenda or NATO's "the wests's" agenda. In any case they all translate to crap for Greece.

    Greece is the toilet and punching bag of the EU if not of the general region.


    1. Perhaps you could explain something to me.

      Say a plastic boat carries 20 people and 2.000 people cross per day. That would make 100 plastic boat per day (or less, if they are larger ones, but still quite a lot).

      I presume (at least I would hope so) that the boats stay in Greece (instead of being returned to Turkey). That would mean up to 100 boats, including motors, are wasted every day.

      Every boat has a driver. That means there would be up to 100 drivers every day.

      Who is providing all those boats? Who is arresting the drivers? Where do they get so much boat and driver supply? Why don't the TV pictures show the sea between Turkey and Greece full of boats all the time?

      I am not trying to be cute but these questions have been on my mind for some time. Thank you!

    2. Mr. Kastner,

      The time where Turks smugglers would drive the boats by themselves at every trip, is long gone. This was happening before the aspirant refugees were so many and was done mainly by night. Now, the Turks smugglers only sell the boat and life jackets and indicate easy crossing points (some greek islands are less than 3km away from the turkish coast). Samos is 1.5km from Turkey. Kos, is one of the farthest away (7km). A good swimmer can actually cross without boat up to Samos. If you remember for instance the case of the young Aylan, that was drown, later it was revealed that the driver of the boat, was his father.

      The father, is now back to Syria, to Kobani no less. There are are turkish shops that have changed their wares to sell life jackets and survival equipment. There was even a known factory producing fake life jackets that caused many drownings. The factory was eventually shut down, with no further repercussions to the owner.

      Not all boats arrive intact to the islands. Only those that aren't intercepted by the greek coast guard or Frontex. Those that are intercepted, are usually sunk slowly upon sight, to force the rescue and avoid being sent back to Turkey.

      If your television isn't showing you arrivals, you can have a taste with this:

      The Frontex leader in Greece, said last month, that patrolling the entire border is impossible, because the coastline is too long. The turkish smugglers themselves, have connections with the turkish coast guard, which has an excellent monitoring system of all the coastline, but no will to stop the boats whatsoever, so the smugglers, now only drive by night and only when they are assured that the greek and FRONTEX patrols are far away. On the other trips, especially in daytime, one of the refugees takes the helm after swift lessons. It's not like you need to be a sail expert to go 3km across.
      For the same reason, it's hard to catch a smuggler, because by the time a Frontex vessel gets signal that the boat is crossing, he has unloaded and is returning to Turkey. By the time the Frontex or greek vessel arrives, he is safely in turkish waters. But like i said, nowdays, most of the crossing is done without the smuggler. The local mafia simply sells the boat, information on when to cross and warranty that if the first crossing fails, they will have a 2nd boat to attempt the crossing. One of the reasons that smugglers no longer drive themselves, is that the market is saturated with high demand. With so many wanting to cross, they simply make easy money without risking themselves.

  6. Mr. Kastner,

    Austrian Minister of external affairs stated today, "we will help Greece economically with the maintenence of the refugee crisis.

    Gee thanks. When we have 1 million refugees and our tourism industry drops because tourists do not like going to Samos, Kos, Mitilini etc. and see concentration camps, will Austria compensate Greece in lost GDP as well?

    And to be honest why dont they just call them that. The meaning of concentration camps is in the word itself. To concentrate something into a specific place, "camp". There is no eu country that is willing to take on some refugees. Hypocrits!!! So lets create some "hot spots" in Greece. What a sham.

    At least Mrs Merkel had the damn descency to say it outloud, ok we will take on refugees but after the war the refugees will need to go home. At least that is fair understanding to a riddled people.

    The most disapointing of all is the lousy handling our government is doing to present the reall problem and saying the truth out loud. But what do you expect from politicians and bad ones at that.

    You know Greeks may be what we are but even though we complain about the refugee crisis it is greeks who take them in and take care of them. Meanwhile you have eu counterparts critisizing us that there are some malpractices against these people and bad treatment of refugees. Well i would expect this under such a big problem and with such a big influx but at least we try. We as greeks know very well what it means to be a refugee. That is why we care aside from our good conscience.

    Meanwhile we are being critisized by the eu of the mishandling of the situation, while they are in there "clean of refugee countries."


    1. Dear V,

      That the Europeans were expert hypocrits, was well known, you only have to look at history. The problem though was that for GREEK interests, Tsipras is the responsible to blame. Tsipras, decided to change the "detention" policy of New Democracy, that was acting as deterrent for the refugees. Of course, with the previous policy and Dublin II, Greece has also been the human dumpster of Europe for like 12 years. A Greek that walks in downtown Athens often feels that there are 30 Afghans and himself alone in the street. For a foreign visitor there are "30 mediterranean looking Greeks".

      This was a wonderful period for norther Europeans. Cecilia Maelstrom from Sweden, the Commissioner, would yearly then lambast Greece for the low rate of asylums given and the "poor living conditions in the detention centers". European readers would sip their coffee reading the news, shake their head with dismay and think "Those terrible Greeks, again...".

      And SYRIZA came and the party for the north Europeans is over. Detention? Of course not? Asylum? But of course! And now the horrified Europeans, from their high moral horses, just spilt their coffee while reading the newspaper that "now they are coming for us, the greek despicable barrier is down".

      What can a European born and raised with the values of Humanism and Englightenment do? Merkel, being a practical woman, saw this as an opportunity to solve the german demographic problem and provide with cheap labour the german firms. But the other Europeans don't want to and soon enough, the reactions from inside the party, made Merkel change her position.

      What to do? What to do! Why, return to the status quo ante! Recreate the greek dumpster of course! We will call that "control the flow". As if the refugees living from Syria, do that in a "flow".

      The problem as always, is hypocrisy. The EU is supposed to have obbligation towards asylum seekers (that pesky UN!). But doesn't want them on their soil really. They want few of them at a time, just fill their demographic needs ocasionally. So, how do you do that, without violating your stated principles and without losing your face of democratic, UN abiding, lawful and humanitarian state?
      By dumping them in Greece.

      Consolation prize for Tsipras: Now Cecilia Maelstrom won't complain anymore! As a matter of fact, they just removed Greece from the "Dublin II blacklist". Greece was removed in around 2011 exactly for the "poor living conditions". Now, after spending 1 billion euros from the greek state budget, Tsipras has won a place back as the official dumpster.

      At the same time, you hear parties in Germany or Hungary with positions more extreme than Golden Dawn's. But heaven forbid, they aren't neonazi! They are humanists with patriotic ideals.

      Morale of the story: Dear V, don't vote Tsipras again. It's better to be on Cecilia Maelstrom's black list and be the slow motion human dumpster of the Europeans, than to be the fast moving human dumpster of Tsipras.

    2. Dear Anonymous 3:44,

      I can not say that i am not disapointed with the eu the, USA, the west in general and our local politicians. But from all of the above, we have to agree that the worst of them all are our own politicians. The rest are looking for their own good. Only few rays of light such as Mr. Kastner allow me to have hope that there are people aside from greeks, who show a concern. Just to maintain a blog on Greece is proof enough.

      After seeing our Minister of Defence on the show Enoikos last night, i felt at ease and uneasy at th same time. Nato will help patrol but from the middle of the Aegean sea? Use of radar only? and will inform greek/turkish/frontex authorities that x boat is coming across. If this is the solution then i am sure this will not work. If NATO ships are not taking part of shipping the refugees back, there presence will be waste on the specific issue. And i assume the prescence of NATO will be for everything but the refugee crisis. 1 so turkey feels nato is close with the escalation with russia. and 2. to help eu politicians show to their voters they are doing something.

      With NATO in the area, why has the the construction of the double fence on FYROM Greece border not stopped? Because there is no intention to stop it regardless of what measures Greece and the general commnity make. Any refugee will be stuck in Greece in the "hot spots" and then wait for a possible transfer to some other eu nation.

      As for my voting preferences.
      I can say that i am naive. I try to believe in my government and try to find anything good even if i dislike the many bads. I consider myself a true patriot and true concerns for my country. I can easily leave but choose not to because i believe in my country and my contribution to improve it. Even though it is exhausting.


    3. conitnued....

      I have voted the rainbow of spectrums in Greece because i have no specific tie to any ideology. I prefer logic and ty to select a party that portrays logic. I failed this when i voted ND Karamanlis in 2004, failed when i voted him again 2nd time when he came clean, i voted him a 3rd time but PAP's rhetoric stole the show. Then PASOK Venizelos Pasok because although he is dirty he is very smart and has good logic nad has done some good things. I liked him over Samaras because he was more honest about the changes that were needed while samaras lied through his teeth with the zapeio plans.

      But in retrospect not voting ND in 2015, because i wanted to punish Samaras for his lies, although he did do some work with both Adonis, Mitsotakis, Hardouvelis etc. I made huge mistake "believing in Syriza". I did not expect them to come through with what they said from thessaloniki plan but i hoped they would make the changes and measures required by troika then to be less painful. Plus our internal changes which we drastically needed. I also invested hope in Varoufakis and he proved to be a person of no worth with everyday issues.

      I have stated many times. People like Varoufakis have nice ideas for other to implement or use. He is not a duer. He is a retared genius and excellent linguist and is why they pay him to talk. He is not to run anything in real life. Voting for them will go down as the biggest mistake i have made in my life. I even miss Samaras. I even have the picture that i took of the voting ballot. I thought it would be history for the good or for the bad. In the end is was really bad. Syriza is worse than KKE. They are fascist communistcal party.

      This september i voted for Potami as ND was in shambles but it was a wasted vote.

      Life though i believe is giving us one last chance. I have a small basket of hope with Mitsotakis and company because they are politicians under samaras who can get things done on the ground. I believe they will win. Maybe Levendis can help push them to form a large coalition. In the meantime i would like as much crap changes that are need to be made, even if made in bad way so when ND does come the will do what is best and fix things better. If privatizations go as planned, by end 2017 start 2018, maybe we can start feeling better about ourselves.
      And with infrastructure changes maybe by 2020, the country can find a quiet balance. In the meantime i work as hard as possible to create value in my country which bring jobs, which the most important key to this damn crisis (economical).


  7. Here are also the economic impact of the crisis before the closure of the borders:

    - Stournaras (Bank of Greece) estimates 600 millon euros for 2016.
    - Mouzalas (immigration minister) estimates more than 1 billion.
    - For 2015, according to various ministers, Greece has spent from 400 million to 1 billion (each minister says a different number).
    - EU money given for the crisis for the perdiod 2014-2020: 475 millions. Of these, 50 million have been disbursed towards Greece so far.

    But, here comes the Cavalry. EU greek commissioner Avramopoulos, anounced today 12,7 million aid to Greece:

    Indirect costs:

    - Unknown to tourism, some articles talk about 35% reduced reservations to islands with detention centers, like Kos.
    - Unknown to tourism and exports if borders close. Stournaras has warned of "heavy cost" should that happen.

  8. The eternal Greek hyperbole. There are only two attitudes in Greece. The bullying, threatening, "we will flood Europe with millions of migrants, and, we will play the music and they will dance". The other one, that is prevalent now, is the victim role. The pendulum swings fast through logic, reality and reason, the state of mind that is necessary for all dialog. Sometimes I think that Greeks feel more comfortable in the victim role, it fits better, like an old pair of shoes.
    It is interesting to watch the change. How they are able to synchronize it, when they are bullies they ALL are, when they are victims they ALL are. The collective denial that they have ever been anything but what they are now.

    1. So trite and so vacant as any armchair ethno-psycologist can be! Talk about hyperbole!
      Besides, when watching from far above, anybody can sit and make ponderous observations about pendulums that swing fast "through logic, reality and reason, the state of mind that is necessary for all dialog". You are not fooling anyone; your bias and wounded nationalism, it shows.
      Plus, if you could put aside your moralising slander for a moment, you'd realise that, at international politics, alternating between bullying and victimhood is a luxury that only the powerful can afford. The refugee crisis is no exception.

  9. Now that's what the Europeans call "control of the border"!
    Dogs are good swimmers! I wonder, if a herd of german shepherds could be given to Greece and unleash them from the islands upon sight of refugee boats and bite them while in the water. We would then call it "pushing back".

  10. @ Anonymous Feb. 16, at 9,34 PM.
    I was only Observing Greece, as I see it on the ground; I thought that was what this is all about. The only "ethno psychologist" opinion I express is the Greeks penchant for the victim role, an opinion I share with many Greeks.

  11. Broadly, there appear to be three positions within the EU member states regarding Greece and the migrant crisis.

    1. Visegrad Countries + Austria + Slovenia: Build big fences along the macedonian / fyrom border. Do everything possible to close the land borders from Greece. ie: effectively strand any migrants within Greece. This is not specifically anti-Greece - Austria has just announced much the same towards italy, for example, along an interior Schengen border. If Schengen collapses, this group will not be too bothered. (Although they probably should be, since it will cause a recession)

    2. The "pretend to not be affected" group. (France, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, even Spain). They just want the numbers of migrants to come down and for somebody else to take them. To achieve this, they are not above using symbolic and empty gestures such as threatneing to exclude Greece from Schengen. I think the European is about on this line.

    3. The directly affected states. Greece, Germany, Italy. These appear to be the ones who have more understanding for the legalities and complexities of the Greek position, because they know just how hard migration is to control in practice.

    Austria used to belong in this third group. Indeed Chancellor Faynmann, just last summer, was given to lecturing the Hungarians on how nasty they were being to refugees. But it's a coalition, and he's fallen into line with his coalition partners at the ÖVP, who run the interior and foreign ministries.

    Sweden also used to be in this group. But it appears to have been so overwhelmed by migrant numbers, that it's been forced into the first group, much against its will.

  12. No, to expel Greece from the Schengen area makes no big change to the refugee flow into Europe. But the threat of it has made it possible for the Greeks to do in 6 days, what they have not been able to do in the last 6 months. To establish a half way functioning registration system for migrants.
    No doubt a lot of European countries would like to keep/establish national border controls. The reasons can be anything from barring to sorting to register migrants.
    To extend the border controls to 2 years it must be shown that "the Schengen external borders are inadequately secured". The situation in Greece could be said to supply that argument. So Schengen would still exist and everybody would be a member, including Greece. Schengen would of cause not function, but what the hell, they also have a Stability Pact.

    1. Dear Lennard,

      Please, the Greeks didn't sack Troy for Helen. They did it for the gold. The "registration" is only an excuse invented by north Europeans, to justify the built fence in FYROM and the NATO in the Aegean. If registration was the issue, there is the FYROM border pass, which doesn't allow non Syrian-non Afghans to pass.

      Let me tell you something more. In the same summit where Greece agreed to make hotspots, it was also agreed that other europeans countries would relocated 160.000 refugees from Greece and Italy. Less than 1000 have been relocated, but all Europeans seem to "forget" that. So Greece had implemented 30% of the deal, the Commission said". What part of 160.000 is 600 (which i think was the number of relocated refugees?).

      The truth is, that everyone is looking for excuses to dump the problem to someone else. So they create pretexts all the time. The greek ministers say that other ministers from certain countries that on paper would accept relocations, have particular requests: "I don't want Africans", "I only want entire families that have children", "i don't want Afghans", "I only accept Syrians, but not men in their 20s, as we have political problem here with rapes". But never mind, let's talk of the despicable Greeks and the hotspots that are "supposed" to hold 50.000, when this number will get saturated within a week. And once this happens, what next? Well, we will find another excuse.

      Oh, where are the fine days, where Greece would accept 80.000 in 1 year and keep them all, leaving us happy and "clean"!

    2. Mr. Kastner,

      Since you are interested in the matter, here the latest from the mafia front. Like i said, the turkish smugglers now take the less risky approach. And now new nationalities arise:

      Island of Chios. From a total 150 of prisoners on the island, 20 are boat drivers. The most common nationalities are Syrian, Afghans and Egyptians. They are now on hunger strike, complaining of too harsh sentences. The turkish drivers don't partecipate to the strike.

      As you may imagine, their point, is that they weren't "professionists".

    3. Mr. Lennard,

      What's the saddest part in all this hypocricy race, is that both by UN law (which supersedes national law) and by EU asylum law, you can't "push back" asylum seekers, with any excuse. You are obbligated to accept them. Soon, your last fig leaf will drop. In the sense, that Greece will be happily processing more than 50.000 registered refugees per week. Let's see if you will take them or whether your mark will once more drop.

    4. Personally, I take a somewhat cynical view on the question of violating treaties, EU law and/or international law. One of the major lessons since 2010 is that contracts and/or treaties do not have to be considered as carved in stone. Legal arguments can always be construed. Yes, there may be some ultimate judgment at the end of the day by some international court but the end of that day will be way in the future.

      In retrospect, one wonders what the designers of Dublin 2 (or 3?) had in mind when they determined that the country of entry has to take care of all asylants. Didn't anyone raise the issue at the time that there are only 2 primary countries of entry, Italy and Greece? Didn't Italy and Greece figure out what they were getting into by signing that treaty?

      Reality won over theory and Dublin 2 (or 3?) went out the window. Merkel said publicly that it was no longer operational. Ok, good for common sense. Terrible for any belief in a state of law.

      Regarding the oft-quoted Geneva Convention. I looked it up but failed to read all of it because it was too long for me. Still, in the parts which I did read I found enough clauses where smart lawyers could construe all sort of things. For example, there were references to states of emergencies for the recipient country and/or comments that no country could be expected to overburden itself.

      Austria has just broken EU and/or international law by setting upper limits on asylants. At least so the EU Commission has accused Austria in writing. Austria's response is that they have several legal opinions attesting them compliance with laws and treaties. Ok, here we go again...

      Incidentally, today will be the day of truth for Austria. The government has loudly broadcast that no more than 80 asylum requests will be accepted beginning today and a maximum of 3.200 per day will be allowed to transit to Germany. When asked how they would control the 80 per day, Austria's politicians have twisted and turned but never gave an answer. By the end of the day, we will know (unless today happens to be a day with less than 80 asylum requests).

    5. Mr. Kastner,

      Thank you for proving my point to Mr. Lennard! I couldn't have said it better myself! If only one could veto Dublin II! Alas, it can't be vetoed...

      Where is the european noble spirit? The values? The total population of Europe is over 500 mln. And all those noble souls, sons and daughters of Renaissance, can't absorb a couple of million refugees...

      "The law is applied to our enemies and interpreted for our friends".

  13. Here is a sample of the semi-sunk boats, Mr. Kastner, towed and tied to the dock:

  14. I have in my contribution tried to envisage what I think will happen, without stating my preference for any possible scenario. I think that the various governments all act in what they think is the best interests of their nation. I do not think that any country intend it to be a punishment for Greece. I do think that some of them know that it will cause problems for Greece, and accept that as the least of two evils.
    I think that Greece would act in the same way if they had the might to do so. Greece has frequently expressed their intentions when they have thought to have the upper hand, they did not seem magnanimous. Most people can still remember the statements of "we will play and they will dance, we will send them millions of migrants (rather prophetic), we will do a Souli on them (at that time I advocated that he should actually do so) or YV's stop paying and give Germany the finger".
    Now some people say that these are the words of a few blabbermouths. It would be an insult, were I to characterize top politicians, newly elected by Greeks, as such. The more so since they were wildly cheered for their words by the majority of Greeks. I must therefore take the words at face value.

    1. Mr. Lennard,

      I adore, when Europeans, preaching morality, their superior culture and such, go so far as to find subterfuges such as yours, to cover their nakedness. Your EU values, your UN obbligations, scrapped in a second, using as excuse the pre-electoral speeches of Tsipras or the idiocies of Kammenos.

      In 1919, the "good Europeans" of the time, allies of the Greeks, stood on the decks of their warships, watching the Greeks getting drowned or slain, by the tens of thousands and some of them pouring boiling hot water to those Greeks that were trying to save themselves by climbing from the anchor chain. At that time only the Americans lowered their boats to help their allies' civilians. The rest were playing Mendelson on their grammophones. 20 years later, the "bad" Europeans were doing the killing themselves, but they were listening to Mozart.

      You see, we know who you really are, all too well. Both the "good" and the "bad", Europeans.

      Oh, for the history, after some time in Greece, you should really learn the basics. It was Kugki, not Souli what you are referring to.

      In the meantime, after bringing democracy to Afghanistan, now the Afghans seem to not have found their democracy yet!

      Oh, Mr. Lennard, i don't envy you. How sad must it be , to be forced to live in Greece for you. I hope you find enough consolation in the blog.

    2. 1. Varoufakis always said that Greece should default within the eurozone, so (the finger thing aside) I don't get all the fuss about this particular statement of his. As for Kammenos, he is definitely a far-right populist and an idiot, but everyone can see the connection between the financial and the refugee crisis in Greece. And let me predict that the refugees who will be trapped here will try ANYTHING to get out. There is simply no future for them in a state which currently can't take care of its own people.

      2. "Greece has frequently expressed their intentions when they have thought to have the upper hand, they did not seem magnanimous."

      Oh, give us a break. There was not a single moment when "the Greeks thought to have the upper hand". The only reason the people embraced the amateurish brinkmanship of Syriza was their deep frustration and desperation. Not even Tsipras expected them to be so desperate as to vote for "No" in his referendum. With the banks closed and all.

    3. @ Nikos
      Yes, Varoufakis has been consistent in his plea for a Greek default within the Eurozone. At the same time, he set the precedent that a socalled first world country would threaten default. That, up until Varoufakis, had been the privilege of developing countries.

      Regarding the second point, I do recall the time when the EU entered into the East-Expansion in a big way. The new countries in the East were to receive new subsidies, particularly agricultural subsidies, and the major recipients until then were to show solidarity by giving up some of their subsidies. Greece, if I recall correctly, objected violently, if I am not mistaken Greece even threatened to veto something.

  15. @ Anonymous Feb 22, 0528 PM.
    I would have welcomed your criticism of my observations, opinions and conclusions, it may have been interesting. Your description of my character, European character and European/Afghan history I find less relevant.