Greece has been at the heart of the European refugee crisis for more than three years, since the first migrants began to flee war-torn states across the Mediterranean to find refuge in Greece, as well as Italy. Yet now it is being blamed by the EU for not pulling its weight.
— Ben Ward (@Benjamin_P_Ward) January 26, 2016
Greek author and leading expert on politics Paschos Mandravelis has told Sputnik the EU was being totally unfair on Greece and was treating Athens as its whipping-boy to divert attention from its own shortcomings.
"In a political situation which is in turmoil all over Europe, the politicians want to show that something is being done, so they kick the weakest country in Europe – which is Greece."
The refugee crisis exploded in 2015 as more people fled Syria, Iraq and neighboring countries, following an upsurge in airstrikes against Daesh, also known as ISIL, and the proclamation by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that her country’s doors were 'open' to refugees.
Greece has struggled to deal with the vast influx of migrants, hampered as it is by a lack of a common immigration policy within Europe, EU’s failure to agree a relocation package for refugees and a general collapse of EU’s external borders security.
Mandravelis told Sputnik that the refugee crisis has a lot in common with the economic crisis.
"Brussels doesn’t know what to about it and so it kicks the weakest link in the chain, which is, unfortunately, Greece again. The politicians in Europe – just because they don’t know what to do and are under a lot of pressure from the far-right – want something to appease the public. So they shift the responsibility to Greece, which is always a 'voluntary candidate' [for blame]."
Greece Neglects Obligations
Nonetheless, the European Commission this week berated Greece in a damning report that concluded Greece had "no effective identification and registration of irregular migrants and that fingerprints are not being systematically entered into the system and travel documents are not being systematically checked for the authenticity or against crucial security databases, such as SIS, Interpol and national databases”.
"On this basis, the draft report concludes that Greece is seriously neglecting its obligations and that there are serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border controls that must be overcome and dealt with by the Greek authorities," a draft report stated.
Greece is already suffering under a huge austerity package imposed on it by its creditors – the Troika comprising the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. This has led to widespread strikes over tax rises and major changes to the country’s pension schemes.