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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How To Magically Transform A European Problem Into A Greek Problem

If only the EU had known a year ago how easy it was to solve the EU's migration problem! And the solution is here:


For those who cannot read the small print of the above twitter exchange, the logical sequence is this: (1) close the borders in Austria; which leads to (2) a closing of borders South of Austria; which leads to (3) an accumulation of migrants in Greece; which then (4) forces Greece to close its borders in the middle of the Aegean. And the latter may not even become necessary because once the migrants see that they will end up in Greece instead of Germany, they will not take the journey across the Aegean any longer.

Now, why didn't anyone tell me before that this was going to be so easy?!?

29 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Kastner,

    The authorities of the EU and respective countries make some very bad under estimations.

    1. One the will of the refugees. You leave your destroyed country and nowhere to go. You are initially in Turkey which you are viewed with a half eye at best, so you seek to go somewhere better. The ultimate goal is any western eu nation.

    2. Turkey is gladly fullfilling the task of the desire of the migrants refugees and illegal aliens, but trumping them up into boats and send them to Greece with patrols of Nato/ No Nato, Greece wanting / Or Not, Frontex / Or not. Turkey is gaining from every aspect as a country by sending these people. 1st because the black market of handling these people is a huge profit. 2nd The drop a problem on a foe of their's, Greece. 3rd Allows leverage to get more money from the EU and threaten the EU to create a nightmare to get what they want. 4th Even to push Greece out of its geopolitical position.

    3. The combination of points 1 and 2, mean the influxes will continue and i believe will grow further due to increased tensions in Syria. By the summer peak season 1 million refugees will have passed to/through Greece. Do you think th will of these people will be to remain in Greece or Turkey? They have nothing to lose other their lives. How naive these authorities are. Even today the refugees stuck at Lamia because the buses will not ship them north, decided to walk to FYROM. They said, "We were not scared of the sea crossing we will be scared of the land road?"

    How ever tall the fences/walls are made, to box off problems, history has shown practically and symbolically, that human will will over come how ever high the fences/walls are.

    In the meantime Germany is shaking the hands with the Turkish dictator and scolding Greece. Yes my dear european compatiates. Greece is the problem.

    Sincerely,

    V

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    1. Your point 1 is very weak.

      The refugees escaped the war and their destroyed country just by going to Turkey.

      What is now the motivation to leave Turkey (which, by the way, is a muslim country with culture much more compatible to theirs) to go somewhere else?
      The only thing that you are able to find to say, at this point, is that they "are viewed with a half eye at best".

      So, you mean that Greece can solve the problem by just starting "viewing them with a half eye too"?

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    2. Sorry for my late reply but i just saw this....

      Firstly, refugees and "illegal aliens" are not coming only from Syria, but from Morroco, Lybia, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine (if they can get out), and All the way to afghanstan. The arab spring has brough them all to us and via turkey which has an organized black market to do so. It is not just syrians which is a neighboring country.

      They are viewed with a half eye and mistreated by turks because as you may not know there are dozens of sectors of muslims and the majority of types do not like each other very much. Turks see them only as a euros. And a tool to put pressure accordingly. In the meantime they mal treat them. None of those refugees would not make the trip and seek to stay in turkey which is a authortative dictatorship.

      On the other hand greece and greeks do not do as the turks. There may be some few bad apples but in general the whole migrant people are treated quite well. Ofcourse this is not advertised. The camps being created even now are not only by country but by religious affiction.

      To solve the problem? Sure there is an answer. Stop the wars and the "arab springs" etc doen for the last 5 years. And even if they stopped right now, migrant crisis wll continue for many years because their countries are completely destroyed.

      Sincerely,
      V

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    3. Look there are constant wars in the third world. Their highly religious societies are full of oppression and disaster because theocratic countries are like that, and that is why in greece we need to keep the priests away from power and tax them. However just because they have wars in Africa it doesn't mean they should all come and live with us.
      Neither do I believe that Merkel cares so much about people over there. She doesn't care if people lose their homes in southern Italy or Greece to the banks

      I expected all of the eurozone to emulate the policies if Denmark.

      High living standards for Europe, a finance minister in Paris for the whole eurozone, and Schäuble to be sent to be sent on an intensive course to study the work of US president hoover who started the great depression with austerity policies and contributed to Hitler being elected.
      Austerity destroys the economy. If banks were crazy then the management needs to be replaced the central bank prints money to recapitalise them and then we start again with reboot. Just like they did in Sweden in the 1990es.
      Another point Merkel needs to direct her pity and policies to young Greeks who have 3 jobs and no home delivering pizzas although they have a PhD and punish people with strange earnings and links to Siemens.
      If the eurozone means anything to the germans they need to invest in it. Forget the middle east that is a mess and always will be a mess whole the USA and putin fight proxy wars there. What is the suggestion that we take everyone with a pulse and give them an apartment and 2000 euros a month because Syrians didn't have the sense to overthrow their dictatorship?

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  2. Cynically, it looks like a Real Politic solution:
    - Remove the pull incentive to come to EU (a bit like the Australia solution)
    - Set EU in a role it knows very well to manage, which is to fund humanitarian actions.
    - Will even help in the Brexit debate.

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    1. Yes but the pull incentive is still there. Merkel still says come to migrants while giving them free healthcare a flat and a consumer lifestyle.
      I think 4 billion people in the world probably would be tempted by such an offer. As a greek I ask that Germany stops giving free money to people and then be surprised that everyone plus dog is trying to pass Greece's borders.

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  3. Say, Klaus, since you're Austrian, what is your opinion about Austria's initiative to get together with the Balkan countries (excluding Greece) and stop immigrant flows, thereby containing them inside of Greece?

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    1. Before anything else, one has to bear in mind that Austria, so far, has one of the highest migrants acceptance ratios (migrants as % of total population), certainly higher than that of Germany. So Austria can make the moral claim to say "before you criticize us, do as much as we have done!"

      Austria can also hide behind Dublin 2 (or 3) which states that refugees must stay in the country of entry. Since Austria can never be the country of entry, any refugee who makes it to Austria could only do that because someone else violated treaties.

      Finally, I think Austria's primary objective is to trigger action on the part of the EU by showing how much damage can be caused if the EU does not act.

      So much for the "what's". As regards the "how's", I think it is totally unacceptable how Austria treats Greece with words and actions. Not to invite Greece to the Vienna meeting is an injury. To justify that by claiming that Greece really hasn't demonstrated any interest to be constructive in the refugee crisis is adding insult to injury. As an Austrian, I find that most embarrassing.

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    2. Mr. Kastner,

      How many migrants did Austria accept?

      Sincerely,

      V

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    3. 95,000 in 2015, after 28.000 in 2014 and 17.500 in 2013. For 2016, the government has set a limit of 37.500 but it has not explained in detail how they will accomplish that.

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    4. BTW, 95.000 migrants against a population of 8 million Austrians. Greece took in, in 2015, 11.000 migrants against a population of 11 million Greeks.

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    5. Not only the two countries aren`t equally rich but refugees don`t want to apply for asylum in unemployement - striken Greece. Nevertheless, Greece should be open to grant asylum to many more refugees,should they apply,and to my knowledge this is something we are not avert to, but all this doesn`t excuse Austria essentially demanding from Greece to turn itself into a huge concentration camp.

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  4. There's probably wide popular support in Germany for the austrian action, although it's condemned by government statements. And there's nothing to say it's only Germany and France that can have pre-summit meetings to try and stitch up a common tradition.

    Nevertheless, the action is extremely damaging to the EU, and will provoke a humanitarian crisis in Greece in the near future.

    As for the (true, with the likely exception of Sweden) statements that Austria has taken one of the highest % shares of refugees per head of population, that would have rather more force if the country were not making common cause with other EU member states who refuse categorically to take any asylum-seekers.

    The concerted action by Austria and the West Balkan states is a disgrace all round, in terms of adherence to International Law. And it won't stop the migration flow. It will probably raise the price however, as people rely on people-smugglers to take them on longer routes around these fences

    And to the extent that this higher price reduces demand, it will probably reduce the flow.

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    1. In defense of Austria, I have to say that the government, particularly the not overly sympathetic Interior Minister, has been thankfully honest about their intentions. Interior Minister: "Our intent is to provoke. Our intent is to initiate a domino effect. We want to cause a chain reaction of reasonableness. Etc." It is obvious by now that the refugee problem will not become a "European problem" out of voluntariness. It will either be forced to become a European problem or it will destroy the EU. Incidentally, Tsipras is doing the same thing when he says Greece will veto everything until there is a fair burden distribution throughout the EU. I agree with him.

      Let me quote a little American story. Somewhere in the Deep South, little Willie tried to get his donkey to move, but the donkey just didn't move. Big Will came along and said "Boy, you are doing it all wrong. You've got to reason with the animal!" Little Willie cried "Show me how you do that!" Big Will took a 2x4 and slammed it on the donkey's back. And --- the donkey jumped forward. Little Wille cried out again "But you said you would reason with the donkey". "Yeah, boy," Big Will said, "but first you've got to get his attention!"

      All clear?

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    2. The story is clear, sure. But you don't really believe it, do you? A "chain reaction of reasonableness"? Gaining attention? It will have precisely the opposite effect. Here's why:

      This crisis has been building for years. People having been drowning for years. The war in Syria has been getting worse for years. And the numbers of asylum-claims in Europe rose tenfold from 2007 to 2014

      Did this long gestation register with most EU voters? Not even remotely, no. Which is why large numbers of people quite genuinely believe the (laughably false) notion that Merkel (and Faynmann actually, though it's rarely mentioned) "caused the crisis by inviting in all refugees".

      There's only one thing that gets european voter's attention. Large numbers of arrivals on their doorstep. Absent visible recent migrants, the problem won't be solved, just like it wasn't during the gestation period. Because it will be invisible.

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    3. I think one needs to differentiate between the stock (those who are already on the European continent) and the flow (those who will arrive going forward). The stock would appear to be the easy part. A million or two can't be a problem for a union of 400 million. It's just a matter of fair distribution. If the EU can't even manage that, then all is lost.

      The flow is where wisdom is required. Here the Austrian Foreign Minister made an interesting comment last evening. The cost of refugees, once they are in, say, Germany, is far higher than it would be if they stayed in, say, Turkey. Weird numbers have been floated and I remember one number was that it would cost Germany 50 billion in the next years or so. Well, if one could, for half that amount, provide refugees a decent life in Turkey until they can return home, it would seem to be a good deal for everyone. Except, 3 billion or so, the amount the EU is presently considering, won't suffice.

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    4. I still believe that Merkel wants to solve the ageing population problem by letting vast numbers of mostly young refugees from the 3rd world. Except she is pretending it is for humanitarian reasons..
      Do you think the deflation is a natural condition for an ageing society Mr. Kastner?

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    5. @ Macko Usko
      As a non-economist, I wouldn't dare to professionally comment on such a hotly debated issue like deflation. All I can say is: just about everyone who is supposed to be in the know says deflation is one of the worst things that can overcome an economy. I have no idea whether there is a linkage to an ageing population.

      Only, from a personal perspective, I love deflation because my pension remains stable whereas my costs decline. On second thought, my pension does not remain stable because part of it was supposed to be interest income. That part has now disappeared. So I correct myself: I hate deflation...

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  5. Of all the wrong things all the European states are doing, Austria is doing the least wrong, they face reality and provoke a make or break. Either we agree to a controlled flow and distribution or we close (the borders or EU, take your pick). if it was left to the EU the situation would not be addressed for the next year or two.
    The Austrian interior minister said to the meeting, that it was a provocation. I kind of admire her courage. As you wrote, the morality cannot be questioned, Austria has taken their share, plus one.
    PS. The only thing to blame her is some of her dubious allies.
    Lennard

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  6. Austria, Germany, Sweden etc. all have problems facing the logistic of the many migrants, at least they have organized societies that can half way handle it. Greece is not famous for her organizational efficiency.
    I am looking at one of the migrant camps every day (and right now). Depending on what newspaper you read it is nominated for 4000-2000-1500 guests, the total area is 23000 square meters, it just won't work. There are a few dilapidated buildings on the area, and the army has equipped it with 30 tens of 2 by 3 meters. Korydallos is 350000 square meters and nominated to 850 inmates, it presently holds 2200. Yes, I know Greece started preparations too late, but that is neither here nor there. If they don't get an efficient organization in to arrange this, it is going to be a nightmare. It's got to be an international organization with heavy political backup that can silence all Greek squabbles. To execute the project any army is perfect, they ought to know everything about housing, feeding and transporting large number of persons.
    The camp started operating 3 days ago, the first day the migrants were milling around making themselves familiar with the environment. Now they arrive by bus in the morning from Piraeus port, they don't even bother to go into the camp (they have heard it on the jungle telegraph). They go straight to the main road and disappear by bus or taxi, who knows where.
    More from Camp Electra later.
    Lennard

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    1. Should they be forced to stay inside the camp?

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  7. With each passing day, Greece resembles more and more a failed state. Mind, it was a process that had already started in the "good days", after decades of bad policies and anomie.

    As for Austria's re-nationalization of it's borders and immigration policy, it just proves that the European Union - and the Eurozone in particular - are in an advanced state of decomposition.

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  8. Dear Mr. Kastner,

    Some information. The agreement with NATO is that they are to patrol waters anything north of the island of Agathonisi. Seen on below link.

    http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/grdodecanese.htm

    Basically slightly south of Samos. Hence all migrants moving to greek islands south of Agathonisi are free to move to greek islands without obstructions. This was at the request of Turkey as the dodecanisa islands are de militarized hence no Nato war ship can go into these waters.

    So basically the inflows to Kos and other local islands there will be uncontrolable. Meanwhile Turkey has started to send migrants to Kastelorizo island. The last greek island between Rhodes and Cyprus. Permenant inhabitants 120 people. Last week they had 1000 migrants sent to their island.

    The influxes towards Greece will not be stopped even though Turkey has agreeed to take back collected migrants from the sea if they don't make Greek land. How is that to happen when Nato can not patrol water in the dodecanisa where there are no international waters inbetween turkey and Greece?

    As so everybody understands what Turkey's itch is with Greece, is the law of borders. The borders of islands in international law is 12 nm from the base of land. Turkey refuses to accept that and states 6 wants and 6 miles. The reason they want 6 nm is because then there are more international water for them to pass freely into the aegean. At 12 nm they can not and need to formally ask permission from Greece to pass.

    Why do they want to have free movement? Because it leads to the possibility to make claims on petrol and natural gas deposits in the Aegean and lower south east Mediteranean which under the 12nm law they have no claim.

    So their goal is to get what they can by using this crisis to their advantage.

    As for migrants. We As Greece are already building more concentration camps but we do not have the authority to force them to stay. The migrants do not want to stay in Greece even if the rest of Europe wants to make a huge concentration camp out of Greece. The UN even asked if they can be housed in hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki. It is pathetic how the world is viewing this crisis.

    The migrants are leaving their destroyed countries and are trying to get to big nations to have a better future. They will not settle for Greece or Balkans states. They will move whether they regimes of big countries protest or not.

    Sincerely,
    V

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  9. Fear not, the NATO warships as of today are in the Aegean and have started patrolling. Success is imminent.

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  10. The Austrian interior minister has stated a logic (but provocative)fact. "If Schengen external borders must be adequately secured, and Greek external borders cannot (as Greece claims) be secured, then, Greek external borders cannot be Schengen borders".
    Greece, wanting a piece of the action, stated that they have introduced "internal border controls" between the islands and the mainland "to ease congestion on the mainland".
    Lennard

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    1. The statement is anything but logical or factual. There is no army of an enemy state invading the borders for them to be appropriately secured. Thus, if the Austrian government is so fond of taking initiatives, it should explain loud and clear how exactly it expects Greece to secure European external borders against refugees. If only but to call a spade a spade...
      Besides, Austria and its western Balkan newfound allies have already broke European and international law on the matter, simply because it no longer fits them (or as you have put it yourself elsewhere, "cause we can") and so this last excuse that got you all hot and bothered with its "logic" is, once again, transparent self-interest masquerading as "matter-of-factly" and "holier-than-though" assessment; plus, it capitalizes on the resentment that a certain audience with certain sensibilities inside Austria feels against Greeks (but not only them...) because of the debt crisis and its all the more provocative since all these transit countries face a burden much lighter than Greece on the matter. Indeed,some of the numbers circulating are almost "cute".
      And, yes!, that goes also for Austria not only because of its very recent harsh restrictions on the number of refugees traversing its territory but also since there is a sizable difference between asylum requests registered and those actually granted; case in point, Sweden, who after having received almost 160.000 (!) applicants now it plans to expel 60.000 to 80.000 of them - how and where to it's not sure yet.
      Furthermore, as rational and pragmatic solutions go, it is telling that countries advocating numerous and / or vast concentration camps for refugees (and their nationals casting aspersions concerning their efficient operation ...) seem to do so under the strict condition that they'll be well south of their southernmost borders. (Tell me not … "cause we can so...").
      To be continued
      Lykinos

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    2. And the rest …
      You've gleefully mentioned also that " Austria, Germany, Sweden etc. all have problems facing the logistic of the many migrants, at least they have organized societies that can half way handle it. Greece is not famous for her organizational efficiency." While this might be true to a certain extent, it is not the impression one gets following German-speaking (but not only them) media. On the contrary, they paint a rather hysterical picture, going as far as giving even "civil-war" undertones, and certainly corresponding to a noticeable rise of their respective far right movements, which is all the more striking not only because they are in a much better position to take up the challenge, but also because they haven't even began to fell a fraction of the consequences that the (must endorsed from their part) austerity has imposed on their southern partners, to which the refugee crisis have come to be added. As for your claims on another thread that Greeks are somehow reaping what they sowed because Kammenos first "weaponised" the refugees against their creditors, are way to ridiculous to merit a serious answer, except of course that it seems to be a rather popular "argument" amongst certain internet commentators, who usually share the same, German, language (although not always) but definitely the same political convictions, to which opposing commentators usually retort the, also unjustifiable, argument that Merkel committed the original sin with its magnanimous open invitation. You are in good company, Lennard!
      Last but not least, given your obsessive Greek-bashing in each and everyone of your post and your rather "forward" suggestions, seems pertinent to me to call your motivations into question; after all, sentimental people, blind to their own prejudices and with strong moralistic tendencies obvious to everyone but themselves, aren't they the very first to insist that their bias be taken for the standard against which every logical and rational and pragmatic and coolheaded and scientific and whatever conversation should be measured?
      Ah! As for me, i hope it is clear that l' m not trying to hide behind "logic" where my sympathies lie...
      P.S. Don't worry Lennard! In the end, Austria will get its way! "Because we can so!" The EU has already started orientating itself towards such a "solution" under a humanitarian pretext of course ... So that in the end all that will remain will be hurt feelings on the internet... Plus, you'll get to blame those Greeks for "squabbles" and always playing the damn victims! Isn't that grand?
      Lykinnos

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  11. The tourist season has not started yet, and there are still lots of vacant board and lodging in Greece that could be mobilized in 24 hours. Typical are the vacant overnight ferries and hotels. I am quite sure EU would agree to a (costed) plan to use them. It is only for a month, until a more permanent solution could be found.

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  12. @ Lykinnos.
    I have read your comment with interest.
    Lennard

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