While the region is equipped to deal roughly with 2,000 migrants, more than 20,000 are now waiting to continue their journey, with some 13,000-14,000 people trapped in Idomeni on the border with Macedonia, with another 6,000-7,000 held in reception centers. “Greece, or any other European country, will no longer be a transit country”.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Thursday for sanctions on European Union states that refuse to take in their share of the incoming refugees, and demanded that the practically dormant procedure for relocating refugees stranded in Greece to other members of the bloc should be drastically accelerated.
Officials say the demolition will affect between 800 and 1,000 people, although charities working there say there are more than 3,450 people in the southern half of the camp being demolished, including 300 unaccompanied children.
“I am not losing hope, but when I see people who have stayed here for 16 days or 12 days, it’s not much of a hope for me, or for anyone to hear this”, said Hala Haddad.
“This is an explosive mix which could blow up at any time”.
The two countries on the frontline of Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II.
Hala Haddad, left, a 19-year-old English literature student from Syria’s now pulverized city of Homs sits at a camp in Idomeni, northern Greece, on the border with Macedonia, Thursday, March 3, 2016. He also announced the first 95 million euros in aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey for education and humanitarian projects. But such promises do little to soften public anger.
“We have the (phone) number but we don’t know what they look like”.
The situation in Greece has sparked growing criticism of countries that have capped the number of migrants they are willing to let in, with a domino effect of border closures in the Balkans.
Over 55,000 migrants arrived there in February, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, amid a constant stream of people braving the perilous Aegean Sea route from Turkey to Europe.
The European Commission set out a timetable on Friday for restoring open borders in Europe by the end of the year as EU leaders cajoled Turkey to act to stop the flow of migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and beyond.
“Greece has been, as it always is, the weakest link in the organism and shows the biggest symptoms of disease”, he told Reuters.
“To many in Europe, the most promising method seems to be a fast and large-scale mechanism to ship back irregular migrants arriving in Greece”.
The EU on Wednesday unveiled a â‚¬700-million (RM3.16 billion) emergency aid plan for Greece and other states hit by the migrant crisis, in what would be the first time humanitarian cash has been used within Europe instead of outside the bloc. Business leaders and the central bank have warned that the uncertainty could be a drag on the economy.
Despite opposition from several European Union member states, in particular Hungary and Slovakia, the European Union in late 2015 adopted a quota system under which 160,000 refugees who have landed in Italy and Greece would be shared out.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos insisted on Thursday that cuts in basic pensions were a “red line” for the government. “Secondly, our fantastic single market still needs a major push if we want to exploit its full potential”, Rutte said.
“I’m not saying only my story”.