Greece is in danger of having to accomodate hunderds of thousands of refugees after Germany decided to temporarily suspend the Schengen Treaty.
The Schengen agreement guarantees the right of free movement across the borders of European Union member states. However, on Sunday Germany closed its borders with Austria refusing to receive any more refugees. As a result, hundreds of thousands refugees might end up trapped in Greece and Italy, which are the main entry points to Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that, “Greece must take responsibility for the protection of the EU’s external borders, which are currently not secure.” Now Athens is forced to keep more refugees and migrants who are not likely to be forwarded to the European destination of their choice
New Aegean Sea tragedy as 34 refugees lose their lives
Meanwhile, a new maritime tragedy occurred on Sunday morning in the sea area off Pharmakonisi island, adding to the large number of victims of the exodus from Syria and Afghanistan.
A wooden boat carrying an unknown number of refugees and migrants capsized off Pharmakonisi. The Hellenic Coast Guard collected the bodies of 34 people near the boat. Among the dead refugees were four babies and eleven children.
The coast guard rescued 68 people while 29 others managed to swim to Pharmakonisi.
Greek interim Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou criticizes Merkel for her comments
Greek interim Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou criticized the comments of the German Chancellor about Greece’s alleged failure to protect its borders saying that it is hard to guard 16,000 kilometers of sea borders without the help of the EU.
Thanou was at the island of Lesvos on Sunday inspecting the processing of refugees. She reiterated that the refugee issue is not solely a Greek problem but a European problem and called on European nations to assume their share of responsibility.
On Tuesday, Greece will receive 33 million euros from the EU as a first tranche of funds allocated to deal with the processing of migrants.