Friday 28 July 2017

Migrants, finances and tensions in the aegean

The last time I commented on any serious Greek news was a year ago.  The plight of refugees,  the Greek economy and what the turkish sultan, Ergodan is plotting next  are just part of the daily babble.  We hardly notice.   More so at the moment because we are no longer inside the house all day glued to the television being depressed by constant news broadcasts.  

 We live outside, in the shade, seeking a breeze and the relief of a little greenery,  sheltering under the grape vine, the canopy of the lemon trees, enjoying  the soothing freshness of a clump of begonias, a pot of basil, the spreading mint,   all kept alive with twice daily waterings in this heat.

Two different pots of basil.  The one at the back is small leafed basil and the one in front a winter basil which can grow up to a metre high and withstands very low temperatures

Now and again we are jolted back to the everyday problems of this country. 
- A severe earthquake on islands crowded with thousands of homeless refugees.
- Greece returns to financial markets.
- Another violation of Greek airspace by turkish fighters or confrontations with Turkish shipping and shots fired across the bows

Refugees - 

62,407 refugees are now stranded in Greece.  15,222 of these are in camps and other accomodation on the islands close to Turkey.   Lesvos, Leros Chios, Kos and Samos.  

The European Commission has just announced a new emergency aid package of 209 million euros.  Also in an effort to improve quality of life the UN refugee agency is providing 22,000 rented homes on the mainland and 2,000 on the islands.
The aim is to get people out of camps and give them some sort of normal life.

That all sounds very rosey but there are many problems  and outbreaks of violence.     Families are divided, many with relatives already in Europe are stranded in Greece and cannot be reunited.   There are many cases of sexual exploitation and violence between different national groups.  And refugees continue arriving from the coast of Turkey in makeshift vessels.  They are a forgotten problem, especially by european countries who are quite happy to have them constrained in Greece.

Greek Economy -

'Greece returned to the private debt market this week for the first time in years.....' (Bloomberg) . Doesn't mean much to me but it is supposedly positive news.  

The economy is apparently showing signs of life and the big boss, German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble says 'Greece is on a good path'.

Standard and Poors, an american financial services company, upgraded Greece's credit outlook from stable to positive.

None of that means much to the people like us.  There were more pension cuts scheduled for January 2018.  That is when we will know how our economy is progressing, or not.

Greece v Turkey

Military aircraft from both countries frequently engage in mock dog-fights after invasion of Greek airspace, sometimes resulting in a crash and loss of life. Often the planes are armed with live amunition.

Tensions  have been escalated by Ergodan disputing Greek ownership of many Aegean islands.  Anywhere from 18 to 100 (depending on who is spouting the rubbish) Greek Islands are coveted by Turkey

Erdogan giving us a blast of vitriol

286 Turkish citizens fled to Greece and have requested political asylum after the 'military  coup' last year.  Turkey is not amused and has demanded their extradition. Greek courts so far have refused.

And some trivial news to end this serious post.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge have arrived on the island of Kerkyra (Corfu to you) for summer holidays.  They are staying at the Rothschild estate.

This is not a pic from Corfu but you get the idea
(Daily Mail)

They both looked a bit overdressed but when one is not hauling ones own suitcases and stepping from private jet to high speed boat one can dress a tad more formally. 

Rothschild estate, Corfu. Holiday camp of blue bloods and millionaires


  1. We get a lot of news about Turkey here in Vienna, as you might expect. Today's Turkey news highlights the plight of 33 persons arrested for wearing t-shirts with the word HERO printed across the chest. Anybody wearing such a t-shirt is considered to be a potential terrorist.
    The only thing I know about the Greek economy is that Germany made 1.7 billion profit on the loan. Hopefully they will forward that amount to Greece, but they are not rushing to do so.
    Lovely blog you have.

    1. Thanks Gwil. Germany has made many billions out of the Greek crisis. For sure we won't be getting any of it back.
      Greece is still trying to get the last of itS ww11 reparations. We won't be getting that either.
      Makes me wonder how Turkey operates. They have arrested and dismissed millions of teachers, policemen, military, civil servants. Who is running the country?
      I saw the news about the HERO t-shirts. Just another excuse to get rid of a few more enemies.

    2. Many academics have not been seen since the attempted coup and I guess that this is the same for military, policemen and civil servants, not only were they dismissed they were also locked up.

  2. Standard and Poors raising of credit rating is good news for Greece and investment from outside but I see not where they have got the basis for this.
    Nothing has changed in terms of Greek economy.

    I write less about politics these days because I don't think people are interested in anything other than Trump and Brexit and on their own terms only. As you know I follow Erdogan and Turkey closely as well as the EU and Angela Merkel. But write about them, not much.

    1. We certainly don't see any change in the economy. Whatever the bankers say it means nothing to us until we see an increase in the pension instead of another cut!
      I used to be passionate about Merkel and Turkey but I'm sick to death of both of them!!!

    2. It actually took a lot of research to write this post and I could have written a lot more. But it's depressing news.

  3. The fact that some families are divided is a sad one. They should go out of the way to make sure they are reunited as soon as possible. It sounds like areal human crisis out there and that isn't good.

    1. It is a human crisis. Reuniting families means germany and other countries taking more refugees and they do NOT want them!!

  4. Public debt is in Greeces case are the financial injections given to buoy up the economy. it means that Greece is on track to repay all that they have to within the time dictated. Personal debt is all the loans credit cards etc that the people and small business have.

    Greeces credit rating is getting higher because the government is making so many cuts and is able to pay back. its the same the British government with its huge cuts to get rid of the deficit

    What diffence does it make to the little man? not much really. we will all still carry on trying to pay for things and hoping it will stop raining.

    I have no idea what should happen with the refugees. It sounds all miss world, but we need to stop what ever is happening in their own country to stop the flow. very idealistic I know. a bit of world peace and everyone having food. a bit more love a lot less hate.

    1. That is the only way Sol to solve the refugee problem . Stop the war in Syria and help repair the country. Ha ha, pie in the sky!

    2. And send them all home again. Dont forget that bit.

  5. Pretty much the islands now belong to the rich and famous
    It's getting scary now in the world
    I'm just a mummy so I can't solve all the problems, so I'm sticking to jus toy own for now
    It was just too dam depressing listening to the news
    Enjoy the summer, there are signs of spring coming here. But my old bones just don't feel it yet!

    1. The rich are partying non stop on Myconos and on their private estates. Corfu has a few of them.
      They should each take a few hundred refugees too look after the grounds and scrub the floors.

  6. 1. Erdogan is a dangerous bastard. 2. Why wasn't I invited to Rothschild's place?

    1. 1. Nasty, and too close for comfort
      2. Just phone and let them know you're coming! They'll get the west wing ready for you and your Entourage, Bok, Freddie and Lady M

  7. NATO overcomes Greek-Turkish tension to set terms of Aegean mission ... as well as returning to Turkey any migrants NATO crews rescue.