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Europe does not know the refugee problem in depth and behaves in an outrageously naive manner

07 October 2015 / 20:10:28  GRReporter
1887 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

On the day that a record number of 7,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Athens, the Greek police detected one of the biggest trafficking channels that ensured the passage of hundreds of applicants to Western Europe through Greece.

In the operation they arrested 12 foreigners, nine of whom nationals of Pakistan, one Egyptian, one Iraqi and one woman from Syria.

They had acted together since May this year, creating six sub-groups that carried out different activities. Depending on how they helped the candidates to go to Europe, they used a different methodology. The first way was to assist foreigners to illegally arrive in Greece by air, the second to help them illegally leave Greece by crossing the land and sea borders, the third to receive the migrants arriving from Turkey to Kos and the fourth to secure their illegal sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.

In these cases, their collaborators in Turkey fuelled the boats with a small amount of fuel not sufficient for them to be able to continue their journey so that the Greek coast guard could find the people and transport them safely to the island of Kos. After the migrants arrived in Greece and before they departed to Western Europe, the traffickers kept them locked in a flat to avoid the likelihood of them contacting other trafficking networks. Those who were involved in the network issued fake identification documents to their customers by changing the photo of their actual owner with that of the migrant who wanted to leave. In addition, they "issued" fake Pakistani and Syrian passports. They used modern equipment and the end result seemed quite authentic. The police are still investigating the case to find their accomplices.

Earlier today, the European Commission spokeswoman said that the centres for registration of refugees in Greece would start operating within two weeks at the latest. Additional staff and experts would probably be sent to Greece to help the Frontex forces.

Meanwhile, boats full of migrants and refugees continue to arrive on the island of Lesbos and the debate about how long this flow will continue and if Europe is able to take so many people is intensifying. The voices of analysts who warn that their integration into European societies is impossible and the forced cohabitation will inevitably lead to clashes are already frequently heard.

GRReporter asked for comment Andreas Andrianopoulos, director of the Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations at the American College of Greece. He is a former minister and political analyst with extensive knowledge of the countries of Central and South Asia. He is the author of several books, two of which are devoted to Islam and its spreading.

Mr. Adrianopoulous, why do you determine the numerous migrant and refugee waves as an Islamic invasion in Europe?

I am saying that this is likely to happen. I have no evidence that this is true at present but I have sufficient reasons to suppose so. We should not forget that the civil war in Syria began three years ago. Why have we witnessed a mass and sudden influx of Syrian refugees over the past six months?

The second issue is that about five months ago the Islamic caliphate announced that it would fill Europe with 500,000 migrants, among which there would be Islamic militants. The moment it was announced we witnessed an intensifying refugee wave.

The third question is why nobody is setting off to the rich Muslim countries and all are turning to the West. Significantly, a large number of the so-called refugees are travelling to Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. These are Muslim countries that however have serious social and economic problems and are unable to take care of them and send them to other countries, for example in Europe.

We see, however, that no refugees are going to countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that these countries are close to Syria. The same is true for Azerbaijan.

Nor is it correct to assert that all participants in these migrant flows are refugees. For example, about 270,000-300,000 migrants have arrived in Hungary over the past four months, only 30% of them being from Syria. The rest have arrived from 18 other countries. Therefore, why on earth should we talk of political migrants fleeing Syria?

All these things are making me ponder what is happening. I think that the West has not explored the issue in depth, behaving in an outrageously naive manner.

Hungary has already reproached Greece for the increased flow to Western Europe. What is the responsibility of the Greek government? Is it an accidental coincidence with SYRIZA coming to power?

I think that the statements that Greece is responsible for the increased flow to Hungary were not particularly successful, because not only Greece is facing the challenge to deal with refugees. The same is true for Italy. Other countries would have a problem with the refugee flow if they were located not so far away and if they had not taken timely measures.

Countries such as Greece, because of the border with Turkey and its proximity to the Middle East, and Italy, because of its proximity to North Africa and mainly to Libya, are the first edge of Europe. The Greek governments are certainly responsible because they have taken no measures and have made it clear that Greece is an open space that anyone can enter without any problem.

Tags: SocietyDivide between refugees and illegal migrantsEuropeIslamMigration policy
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