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Crete & Greece
January - February  2016
Greek Minister Mouzalas told BBC: Belgium MP said ‘push migrants back to sea’
28 January 2016
Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas told BBC that Belgium told him to “push migrants back in the sea”.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Evan Davis he talked about what will happen next to the Schengen Agreement – and
what the European Union can do to help resolve the migrant crisis.

Asked on the issue, Mr. Mouzalas said that Belgium told Greece: “Go against the law!We are afraid! We don’t care if
they are drowned” adding that “hopefully no other minister accepted it”.

Regarding the refugee camps, he said that “the only time in history where there were camps for 400,000 prisoners
was the Nazi period. And refugees are not prisoners, they have rights”.
German historian pleasantly surprised by acquittal by Crete court
11 February 2016 ekathimerini
German historian Heinz Richter on Wednesday expressed surprise after being acquitted by a court in Rethymno,
Crete, of charges that his 2013 book “Operation Mercury: The Invasion of Crete” denied Nazi war crimes and
defamed the Cretan people.

“I still can’t believe it entirely,” Richter told Kathimerini a few hours after hearing the news of the verdict, which he
was unable to attend due to health reasons.

Fifteen months after a Cretan prosecutor filed the country’s first case under recent anti-racism legislation against
the writer, the court ruled that the case not only lacked merit, but also that the article of the law that was cited is
Read more
Protesting farmers drive tractors through Athens
12 February 2016 ekathimerini

More than a dozen tractors rolled through Athens on Friday, honking
horns and flashing lights outside parliament as thousands of Greek
farmers thronged the capital's main Syntagma Square to protest tax
hikes and pension reforms.

The two-day protest kicked off Friday morning with clashes between
riot police and Cretan farmers wielding shepherd's staffs that left 10
policemen slightly injured and smashed windows at the agriculture

Music blared from loudspeakers and protesters braving rain lit a bonfire near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at
the foot of parliament, while about 20 tractors parked nearby. Tents were set up in the adjacent central Syntagma
Square in preparation for an all-night sit-in.
Read more
Kos aiming for referendum on hosting hot spot
9 February 2016 ekathimerini
The municipal council on Kos, where some residents have strongly opposed efforts to construct a processing center
for migrants and refugees, on Tuesday decided to hold a referendum on the island to canvass locals’ opinions
about the so-called hot spot.

“Since government officials and the local MP believe that the majority of citizens on Kos are in favor of the hot spot, I
have given instructions to the municipality’s general director to explore the options for holding a local referendum
immediately so the people can decide if they are for or against the hot spot that is in the process of being
constructed,” said Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis.
SETE: Over-taxation Limiting Greece Tourism Potential
26 February 2016

Greek tourism enterprises are deeply concerned about the future,
despite three consecutive record years in tourism numbers, according
to the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas

“Today we are at a turning point. Tourism is facing the extreme pressure
created by unprecedented conditions under which Greek entrepreneur-
-ship lies”, he said while delivering a speech at the General Meeting of the
Bank of Greece on Thursday.

According to Mr. Andreadis, some 40 percent of the country’s tourism enterprises are currently facing serious
sustainability issues, mainly due to over-taxation. Meanwhile, the sharing economy and illegal accommodation
practices amount to some 250 million euros in lost income.  “This is because the government has yet to ensure a
fair framework and fiscal symmetry with respect to hotels and lodges”, he said.
Commission warns of humanitarian crisis as emergency measures prepared
28 February 2016 ekathimerini

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis in Greece unless
“all sides assume their responsibilities” in the coming days, as both the European Union and Athens hammered out
emergency measures.

“There is no point in playing the blame game any more. We simply have to do everything possible to control the
situation,” Avramopoulos said in an interview with Kathimerini’s Sunday edition, pointing at the conclusions
reached at last week’s EU meeting of interior ministers.

The Greek official called for the implementation of a deal signed between Brussels and Ankara in November to slow
the migrant flow; he urged EU states to fulfill pledges to accept asylum-seekers for relocation; and condemned
“unilateral actions” taken by several countries, such as the introduction of border controls and Vienna’s cap on
asylum seeker numbers.
Read More
Greece seen as safe and good value holiday option, finds research
18 February 2016 Travel Weekly

Greece is perceived to be a safe, value for money destination for
holidaymakers this year, latest research shows.

Up to 45% of respondents admitted that the refugee situation was an
issue for them as far as Greece is concerned.But the negative impact
appears relatively greater for France and only marginally lower for Croatia.

More than a third of those surveyed in the UK, Germany and US said they
would like to visit Greece this year, with up to 80% saying that they considered the country a safe holiday

Almost half of British respondents and 40% of Germans said they thought that Greece was better value than Spain,
Italy and France.
Minoan Group has received “verbal confirmation” of Crete project
February 2016 Alliance News via

Minoan Group PLC on Wednesday said it has received “verbal confirmation” that it has received the necessary
signatures for Greek government approval of its resort project on the island of Crete, though it hasn’t received formal
confirmation yet.

The company said there have been reports in Greek travel media that the remaining signatures for approval have
been delivered.

“The importance of the Presidential Decree cannot be overstated. If the rumours and the verbal confirmation are
indeed correct, then I am delighted that after such an extended time we now have the signatures of every required
member of the government. We are grateful for the hard work of various government ministers and our advisers,
particularly at this time when Greece is grappling with many major issues,” Christopher Egleton said.

Shares in Minoan were up 447% at 9.16 pence on Wednesday following the announcement.
Greek court hears appeal against airports deal, including Chania airport
08 January  2016  ekathimerini
The Council of State on Friday began hearing an appeal by a collection of
groups against the privatization of Greece’s regional airports.

The government recently signed a deal with German firm Fraport for the
40-year-lease of 14 airports around Greece but the municipalities affected,
bar associations, Civil Aviation Authority employees and others have
appealed against the decision, claiming it is unconstitutional.

Fraport is due to invest more than 1.4 billion euros during the period of the lease but activists claim that the
agreement is detrimental to the Greek economy.
City of Athens seeking out location for cremation services
05 January 2016  
The Municipality of Athens has formally announced that it is seeking out a suitable area for rent or purchase
within Attica in order to establish a crematorium.

According to the post on the city website, the area in question must be between 2,000 to 4,000 square meters and
within the limits of Attica. Any interested parties must contact municipal service in writing by the 24th of January.

Reactions from the Church and other religious groups have so far prevented local authorities in Greece from setting
up the necessary facilities to carry out cremation services.
Winter Sales begin on Monday 11th January
10 January 2016
The winter sales will begin on Monday, January 11 and will last until  Monday, February 29, 2016.

Mid-season sales will run from Tuesday, May 3 to Wednesday, May 10  and Tuesday, November 1 to Thursday,
November 10.

According to the law, stores can remain open the following Sundays:
January 17, April 24, May 8, July 17, November 6, December 11 and December 18.
Private sector workers to go on strike on Feb 4
15 January 2016  ekathimerini
Greece’s biggest private sector union, GSEE, decided on Friday to call a
24-hour strike for Thursday, February 4, in protest at government
reforms and particularly a contentious overhaul of the social security

Meeting in Athens, GSEE’s executive committee decided to ramp up the
pressure against the government’s proposal and to join forces with other
unions opposed to the reforms, including the country's umbrella union
for the public sector, ADEDY.

In an announcement, the committee accused the government of turning “a social issue into a fiscal issue” and of
“pitting one group of workers against the others and pensioners against each other.”

Farmers, meanwhile, were also on the protest trail on Friday, staging rallies in several parts of the country.
Financial prosecutors call depositors named on Swiss bank list
14 January 2016 ekathimerini

Financial prosecutors have begun summoning Greeks with deposits in Switzerland, whose names are on a list
recently supplied by German authorities, to explain where they got their money from and if they have paid the
necessary tax.

The first 20 notifications have been sent out, a source said, and judicial authorities plan to send another 20 to 30
per day so that around half of the depositors on the list will have been questioned by the end of February.

The western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia handed the Greek Finance Ministry in December more than
10,000 data sets on accounts held by Greeks in Switzerland, mostly at UBS. The total amount of deposits is
estimated at close to 4 billion euros.

Sources said the list contains the names of businessmen, entertainers and priests, among others.
15 January 2016  AP via ekathimerini
Greek authorities say a baby has been found dead after a boat full of migrants reached the small eastern Aegean
Sea island of Farmakonissi, while 63 people were picked up alive.

The incident raises to four the number of deaths that Greek authorities recorded Friday, as migrants continue to
make the short but dangerous sea crossing from nearby Turkey to Greeces Aegean islands despite the winter

Earlier, three children drowned and 20 people were rescued when another boat carrying migrants foundered off the
islet of Agathonissi.

Greece is the European Union’s busiest entry point for asylum-seekers. About 850,000 people entered the country
last year, nearly all by sea, many fleeing the war in Syria.
Three people arrested by the Police for the double murder at Sfinari, Kissamos
21 January 2016
It seems that the Police may have found the people behind the double murder of a 78 year old man and a 66 year
old woman, at Sfinari, Kissamos, almost a year ago (see

According to information, three people have been arrested by the Police, and the investigation is ongoing.

The elderly couple were found dead by their son, on February 17, 2015.

Police officially announced that those responsible for the double murder are the 47 year old son of the couple and
two more men (aged 49 and 34).
Three earthquakes measured 4.7R, south of Crete
21 January 2016  via

Three earthquakes measured 4.7R south of Crete on
Thursday morning.

The epicenter of the three quakes was southeast
of Gavdos island at a depth of 66km.

All quakes happened within three minutes, from
11.22 a.m. to 11.24 a.m.
Seamen decide on additional two-day strike next week, January 27 & 28
21 January 2016  via ekathimerini
The union representing Greek seamen, PNO, on Thursday decided on fresh strike action for January 27 and 28, on
top of a two-day strike that ended on the same day.

The union is protesting the government’s planned pension reform, which will affect the seamen’s social security

The strike will begin at 6 a.m. on January 27 and end at 6 a.m. on January 29, meaning there will be no ferry boat
services to and from the islands.

Also on Thursday, the 14 unions that comprise PNO agreed to join a general strike on February 4.
At least 44 migrants dead as boats sink on way to Greece
22 January 2016  AP via ekathimerini
At least 44 people including 20 children have died after their boats
sank on their way from Turkey to Greece on Friday, with dozens of
other migrants reported missing, coastguard officials in Greece and
Turkey said.

The Greek coastguard said they had rescued 74 people after two
boats ran into trouble off the Greek Aegean islands of Farmakonisi
and Kalolimnos in the early hours.

They recovered the bodies of 17 children, 17 women and 10 men. A search operation, backed by a helicopter from
EU border agency Frontex, was under way for dozens of people still missing from the boat that capsized off

Separately, the Turkish coastguard said they had found the bodies of three children on Friday after a third boat
sank near the seaside resort of Didim, the Dogan news agency reported.
Seaplanes to fly over the Ionian Sea in the summer
26 January 2016
The Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Ministry and the Shipping and Island Policy Ministry in cooperation
with the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund ((HRADF) are planning to grant licences for the construction of
waterways on the islands of Paxoi, Zakynthos, Cephalonia and Lefkada as well as in Patras with the view to creating
the first network of waterways in Greece.

According to AMNA the first waterway in Greece will operate at the port of Corfu. Procedures for the licencing of
another 50 waterways are underway.