Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Latest: Germany presses Turkey to take back migrants

Germany's interior minister is pressing for Turkey to take back migrants trying to cross the Aegean Sea as European Union leaders prepare for a summit with Turkey expected on March 7. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says after meeting Sweden's justice minister Tuesday that securing the Greek-Turkish sea border is important "and that includes people being returned to Turkey, and not being received in Greece first." The European Union is worried about new police restrictions being imposed on people traveling along the main migrant route through the Balkans. The Czech prime minister says the European Union should stop migrants along the Balkans' route if the measures taken by Turkey and Greece are not enough. The head of Europe's border control agency says more border officers, ships and planes are needed to guard Greece's sprawling maritime border, where most migrants enter the 28-nation European Union. Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said in Berlin Tuesday that newcomers who don't meet requirements for protection and are considered economic migrants are supposed to leave Greece within a month. Since the vast majority arrive on boats from Turkey, that means they should return to Turkey. Separately Tuesday, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said a study found 94 percent of Syrians and 71 percent of Afghans who arrived in Greece in January cited conflict and violence at home as their main reasons for traveling there. Police have removed hundreds of migrants from a camp at Greece's border with Macedonia following a protest that halted freight rail services to other Balkan countries. Macedonia at the weekend began stopping Afghan migrants at the border, and slowing the rate at which asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq were allowed to cross the border — leaving thousands stranded in Greece, where an average of 4,000 migrants and refugees each day.