Posted: August 11, 2013 Filed under: EU, International, Politics | Tags: Immigration
10 August 2013 Last updated at 22:43 GMT @BBC NEWS
The facility at Amygdaleza was set up to repatriate undocumented migrants
Greek riot police have been deployed to end a riot at a migrant detention facility north of the capital, Athens.
Detainees threw stones at the police guards, injuring at least 10 of them, and set fire to their bedding in what police called an “unprovoked” attack.
The rioting began when the detainees were informed that the maximum time they could be held at the facility had been extended from a year to 18 months.
Some 1,500 are kept under guard at the Amygdaleza “closed hospitality centre”.
It is one of several facilities set up since last year by the Greek authorities to repatriate the thousands of undocumented migrants in the country.
Human rights groups say migrants have been subjected to abuse by guards at the camps, and that they have been denied proper healthcare.
Last week, Muslim detainees were beaten during prayers, while an Afghan detainee died in July of an infection that had been ignored by months, according to the leftist KEERFA movement.
It is thought that up to 95% of undocumented migrants entering the European Union arrive via Greece, and because border controls make it hard to continue into the rest of Europe, many end up stuck there.
Posted: June 8, 2013 Filed under: Activism, Economy, EU, International, Politics | Tags: ALTER SUMMIT
Alter Summit live !
Follow the plenary session of the Alter Summit with all European movements and organizations in Athens.
This event will be organized with the Greek social movement with the support of civil society organizations, trade unions, NGOs, political and cultural personalities from all around Europe.
The Alter Summit in Athens will be a step forward in the building of more convergence between movements opposed to the current anti-social and anti-ecological policies promoted by European governments and institutions.
Follow the Livestream of the plenary session of the Altersummit from 7PM to 10PM ! http://www.altersummit.eu
All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français] [italiano]
Posted: May 24, 2013 Filed under: Economy, EU, International, Politics
Posted: April 24, 2013 Filed under: EU, Politics | Tags: democracy, Human Rights
Citizens’ consultation to shape an EU of democracy, fundamental rights and participation
8 May 2013, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1P EU London
Moderated by: the AIRE Centre, Migrants’ Rights Network, Demos, Electoral Reform Society, Participedia, European Alternatives, OneEurope, the Churchill Group…
Many people agree the EU needs to change: but there are changes for the better and changes for the worse. The UK government’s position regarding the EU is to promote an EU based only on a single market – to continue the opt-out of the EU charter of fundamental rights and to opt out of the European Convention on human rights, to impose barriers to the free movement of people from other parts of Europe to the UK, to try to negotiate out of all social legislation coming from the EU. Is there another option available? Can we engage positively for an EU which better protects and promotes fundamental rights? Can we promote an EU which is more democratic and based on bottom-up participation? Can we make an EU which gives more progressive rights to workers, families and citizens in the context of economic and social crisis?
The citizens’ consultation organised in London on May 8th 2013 will try and address these questions by giving citizens’ a say on what the European Union should look like and engage them in elaborating their vision for an EU of democracy, fundamental rights and participation. Participants will join hundreds of others who have already taken part in similar consultations all over Europe in the past three years to elaborate concrete proposals for the EU, which will be brought together in a Europe-wide Citizens’ Manifesto.
For more information and the full program please see our webpage here.
Registration for this event is required: please email email@example.com or register online. European Alternatives can guarantee a number of travel bursaries, covering 50% of travel and accommodation costs from anyone travelling from anywhere in the EU: for more information and to apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: April 17, 2013 Filed under: EU, Politics, Society | Tags: austerity
UCL Labour Rights Institute
Cure the disease and kill the patient – Labour rights in Greece after 3-years of Austerity
Tuesday 14 May 2013
5.30 – 7.30pm at the UCL Faculty of Laws
- Dr Aristea Koukiadaki (Lecturer in Employment Studies, University of Manchester);
- Dr Lefteris Kretsos (Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations, University of Greenwich);
- Dr Giuseppe Casale (Director, ILO Department of Labour Administration);
- Colm O’Cinneide (Reader in Laws, UCL; Vice-President of the European Committee of Social Rights)
This small symposium focuses on the state of labour law in Greece after 3-years of austerity and deregulatory reforms partly introduced to satisfy the requirements imposed by the EU Commission-ECB-IMF Memoranda of Understanding accompanying the country’s two main bailout packages of May 2010 and February 2012.
In recent years, even months, the issue of rapidly declining labour rights standards in Greece has become the subject of intense academic debate and (more recently) human rights litigation, with a number of regional and international organisations assessing recent reforms against Greece’s international human/labour rights obligations. In 2011 a Report of the ILO High Level Mission to Greece, explicitly noted that ‘overall, the changes being introduced to the industrial relations system in the current circumstances are likely to have a spillover effect on collective bargaining as a whole, to the detriment of social peace and society at large’ and reminded Greece of its obligations ‘under ratified Conventions to promote the practice of collective bargaining in general’. These concerns are, if anything, more forcefully expressed in last year’s 356th Report of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association (cf. page 249-274). The European Committee of Social Rights, in two recent decisions of 2012, was even more explicit in declaring the Greek state in breach of Articles 1, 4, 7, and 10 of the European Social Charter.
This event proposes to debate in greater detail the labour law, inductrial relations and human rights implications of these reforms from a national, European, and ILO perspective.
The event is generously supported by the UCL European Institute.
Posted: March 28, 2013 Filed under: Economy, EU, International, Politics, Society | Tags: Costas Douzinas
The more you obey the more you get punished – that’s the troika’s way. But a second spring of discontent is in the air
- by Costas Douzinas guardian.co.uk, Thursday 28 March 2013 11.25 GMT
Demonstrators hold banners as they protest outside the European Union House in the Cypriot capital Nicosia. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP/Getty Images
The “new world order” announced at the end of the 1980s was the shortest in history. Protest, riots and uprisings erupted all over the world after the 2008 crisis, leading to the Arab spring, the Indignados and Occupy. A former director of operations at MI6, quoted by Paul Mason, called it “a revolutionary wave, like 1848“. Mason agreed: “There are strong parallels – above all with 1848, and with the wave of discontent that preceded 1914.”
Many on the left have been more circumspect. The philosopher Alain Badiou welcomed the Arab spring but did not think it would lead to a “rebirth of history”. For Slavoj Žižek, 2011 was the “year of dreaming dangerously”. A melancholy of the left descended as the protest wave started receding. But on this occasion the pessimism was premature. Resistance against austerity and injustice is again in the air. In Bulgariaand Slovenia, protesters unseated the government. In Italy, the overwhelming anti-austerity vote has shaken the parties committed to the Berlin orthodoxy. Large marches and rallies in Portugal and Spain have undermined governments and policies and a new push for anti-austerity unity is emerging in Britain. In Greece, the parties that brought the country to its knees and are now administering policies causing the well-documented humanitarian catastrophe and rise of fascism are on the brink of exit. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 19, 2013 Filed under: EU, Politics, Society | Tags: Tsipras
An interview with Alexis Tsipras of Syriza.
By Yiannis Baboulias @ New Statesman.  Published 19 March 2013 12:45
An interview with Alexis Tsipras of Syriza.
Alexis Tsipras (centre), after a speech outside Athens University in June 2012. (Photo: Getty.)
In the past few months, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Greek left-wing movement Syriza  and widely tipped as the country’s next prime minister, has been on an international tour, trying to build a broad coalition of support for his party’s anti-austerity policies – and, perhaps, to convince the world’s political elite that a Syriza government is not such a terrifying prospect. Last week was London’s turn. The New Statesman caught up with him at the end of a busy schedule of meetings and talks, en route to see Tottenham Hotspur play Fulham.
NS: You’ve just given two lectures in London: one at the LSE, and one at Friends House, a well-known venue for left-wing events. How did you find the audiences?
Tsipras: Both at LSE, where I expected the audience to be a bit colder but it turned out that most were friendly, and at the [Friends House] one organised by Syriza London, the participation was amazing. At the second one I was surprised to see that almost 600 hundred people turned up. And not just Greeks either, many were British.
And I think this means that Syriza is not just a party with interesting positions, but a force that can bring change to the political landscape of Europe – not just for Greece, but for all the people who now need to reclaim their right to a decent society, justice and hope; against those who want to see them subjugated to this austerity that doesn’t just kill wages and pensions, but democracy itself.
Would you say you have political allies in Britain?
I had the opportunity to meet with two teams from the Labour Party: an official one headed by [Jon] Cruddas, the party’s head of policy-making, and another one with four to five Labour MPs. I got the impression that the Labour party today is in soul-searching mode, and the debate around austerity is on, so Greece is for them an interesting case study. Bearing in mind that in previous years they followed neoliberal policies, today Labour are deeply troubled about everything that has happened in Greece and especially by the collapse of PASOK [Labour's social-democratic Greek sister party]. They’re following the situation closely and I dare say they are one of the few parties so close to power in Europe with whom we share a lot of positions and with whom we can be in constant communication. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 16, 2013 Filed under: EU, International, Politics | Tags: Syriza, talk, Tsipras
Event Date 15 March 2013
173 Euston Road
London NW1 2BJ
Public talk by Alexis Tsipras (head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group, and Leader of the Opposition) with a brief introduction by Tony Benn
The London branch of SYRIZA is putting on a public talk by Alexis Tsipras – the head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group, and Leader of the Opposition with a brief introduction by Tony Benn.
Unfortunately, Tony Benn could not attend due to ill health, so his statement was read out by Paul Mackney (Co-Chair Greek Solidarity Campaign)
Posted: March 15, 2013 Filed under: EU, International, Politics, Society | Tags: Greek Crisis
Never mind the balance of payments, some may say, what about the endless personal catastrophes in Greece: the soaring suicide rate, the rising human toll of stress and despair brought on by humiliation, unemployment, sheer helplessness? The individual suffering caused by these mistaken policies can easily be overlooked by academic economists, but it is also grist for the literary mill—in fact, it is hard for Greek writers today not to reflect, in one way or another, on the despair and malaise.
In an interview with himself, Kasdaglis stresses one of the key differences between the present circumstances and World War II. At least then, he reflects, there was enormous hope and pride to set alongside the suffering. Now all one can do is write in the hope of finding some way out of hopelessness—but looking at his country’s leaders, this is not easy. George Papandreou is “the boy with the PlayStation”—the toy in his case being Pasok, the party he inherited, and perhaps Greece itself. Kasdaglis asserts that Antonis Samaras of New Democracy—the opposition leader at the time he was writing—is a demagogue who, the author predicts, will backtrack on all his criticisms of the government the minute he is in power. (Since becoming prime minister in June, Samaras has done Kasdaglis the favor of confirming his predictions.) The interim prime minister, economist Lucas Papademos, is a decent technocrat who, on account of his former role shepherding Greece into the eurozone, must be considered one of the architects of the mess. At the same time, the author, in his mid-50s, is just old enough to remember the junta and wants to remind younger readers of what a genuine dictatorship is. The current political climate, for all its absurdities and problems, is not a dictatorship, and Greeks should not confuse it with the junta, even as the smell of tear gas wafting across central Athens takes Kasdaglis back to the days of the Polytechnic uprising at the end of 1973 and causes him to wonder whether the police have changed at all. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 6, 2013 Filed under: EU | Tags: Greece
|Alexis Tsipras has a tough job. He is leader of the Syriza Party of Greece, a left party that has risen meteorically in the past three years: from 4.6 percent of the vote in 2009 to 27 percent last June. It is now the most popular party in the country and Tsipras could be the next Prime Minister.Unlike most of the eurozone’s leaders, he knows what is wrong with Greece and the eurozone, and so does his party: austerity. “We have become the guinea pig for barbaric, violent neoliberal policies,” he said at a forum at Columbia University Law School last week, in which I participated.
Tsipras notes that Greece’s fiscal problems could be resolved if the rich paid their taxes. The IMF’s latest numbers [PDF] concur on this: according to the Fund, “annual uncollected net tax revenue [is] at 86 percent of collections in Greece, against an OECD average of 12 percent.”
The European authorities – the so-called “troika” of the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) – took what was a manageable problem that was caused by a world economic recession, and made it into a serious depression. More than 26 percent of Greeks are unemployed. The economy has shrunk more than 20 percent since 2008, including a 6 percent decline in 2012; the IMF projects another 4.25 drop this year.
The Syriza party has proposed an end to the budget tightening that has caused the depression. The troika wants Greece to stay the course, and says growth will turn positive next year. But they have been saying this for years now, and it hasn’t happened – in just two years the IMF lowered its GDP projections by 7 percentage points. Greece is now in its sixth year of recession, and the social costs have been enormous. According to the IMF this month [PDF]: “Greece is beginning to face an ‘unemployment trap’: the length of the Greek recession entails the risk that the skills of the long-term unemployed will become obsolete…”
And even if 2014 were to be the year that things finally turn around, how long would it take Greeks to recover their living standards under the programme of the troika? From the IMF’s projections, it looks like at least seven more years. And while most of the budget tightening of 2012 came from tax increases, the programme that Greece has signed on to calls for big, painful spending cuts this year and beyond.
So even if the troika’s programme “succeeds” in that the economy finally begins to grow again, a lot of unnecessary suffering lies ahead.
What is the alternative, if Greeks refuse to submit to the “barbaric, violent, neoliberal” experiment any longer? Clearly it would involve exiting the euro, and re-negotiating the Greek debt. Read the rest of this entry »