After a fire in the refugee camp: The first children from Moria arrive

After the devastating fire in the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, the German government has promised to take in a total of 150 unaccompanied minors. The first 50 of them should arrive in Germany this week.

After the destruction of the Greek refugee camp Moria, affected refugee children will come to Germany for the first time next week. The arrival of around 50 unaccompanied minor refugees is expected on Wednesday, as a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced on Sunday on request. “Bild am Sonntag” reported on it first.

Around 400 unaccompanied minors were brought to mainland Greece after the fire. Germany has promised to take in up to 150 of them. The Moria camp on the island of Lesbos was almost completely destroyed by the fire. Around 12,000 people previously lived there.

Together with the around 50 affected children, children in need of treatment from Greek refugee camps are to be brought to Germany with their families on Wednesday. According to the ministry spokesman, there are around 20 children and their immediate relatives – a total of a good 90 people.

They belong to a group of a total of 243 children in need of treatment and their families, whose admission Germany had already agreed a long time ago. The first people from this group arrived in mid-April. According to the ministry spokesman, there are now more than 500 of the approximately 1000 people in Germany.


Refugee camp in Greece: “Am I too thin-skinned for all of this?” – Politics

Stella Kunzendorf, prospective doctor, looks after refugees on Samos as best she can. In her notes she writes about excessive demands and doubts – and how much strength a quiet “inshallah” can give.

“All of Moria is on fire!” So my roommate rushed into our kitchen early that morning two weeks ago. Since then, the situation here has come to a head. Here, that means: two islands away from Lesbos, on Samos, in a small clinic run by an NGO. A few hundred meters away is the local camp, which currently houses 4,500 people. It is designed for 660.


After the fire at Camp Moria – new camp, old problems – politics

The strategy of the Greek government is apparently working. According to official information, around 9200 people have now moved into the new, hastily built refugee camp on Lesbos; almost three quarters of those who were driven away by the fires that destroyed the Moria refugee camp the week before last. Most of the 12,700 inmates took refuge on the main road in the direction of the island’s capital, Mytilini, where they were stuck for days. The police had cordoned off the area, many people crouched on asphalt under makeshift improvised sun protection roofs, had too little water and food. And while helicopters were unloading materials for a new camp at an old target range called Kara Tepe, groups of migrants continued to protest against the government’s plans to move them to this new camp – instead demanding “freedom” and a perspective on the island to be able to leave.

Aid organizations that tried to provide the stranded with water and food complained of massive hindrances to their work by the Greek authorities – and suspected, not least, the intention to wear down the people in their resistance and to induce them to move into the new to go to tent camps fenced in with NATO wire. The authorities distributed leaflets in various languages ​​stating that only those who went to the Kara Tepe camp would have a chance to process their asylum applications.

Kara Tepe is largely closed to outside observers. The organization Reporters Without Borders accuses the Greek authorities of “using violence to prevent journalists from reporting on how they deal with the crisis situation in Moria”. Reports that leaked out from the new Kara Tepe camp point to inhumane conditions. There was too little water, only one meal a day, and the only thing you got to sleep on on the stony floor was a blanket, said an inmate of the SZ on the phone.

In the corona tests, which everyone must undergo before entering Kara Tepe, 243 infected people had been identified by Monday, according to the government in Athens. Anyone who receives a positive result will be isolated in a separate section of the camp. Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrysoides said on Monday that 350 police officers had been deployed to protect the tent camp; their number will be doubled in the next few days.

According to the Greek government, the hastily built camp in Kara Tepe is a temporary solution, but there are doubts. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which was involved in setting up the tent camp, has stated that it is an “emergency aid” facility that is not suitable for long-term accommodation. A spokeswoman for the UNHCR asked the Greek government to clarify what the “future use of this area” should consist of. In any case, one is available to participate in “long-term solutions”, “including further safe and orderly transfers to the mainland as well as relocations with EU support.”

Meanwhile, a fire broke out in another Greek refugee camp on Sunday evening. In Vathy, Samos Island, part of the camp that housed unaccompanied minors reportedly burned. According to the authorities, three containers burned down before the fire department brought the fire under control. The organization Doctors Without Borders reportedly treated several people who had inhaled smoke and renewed their longstanding criticism of the conditions in the camp: “4500 people in Vathy are still without protection and dignity. This is not a safe place! ” Like Moria, Vathy’s camp is many times overcrowded; officially it has space for only 650 people.


Moria refugees: Seehofer disappointed in Austria – politics

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has criticized Austria’s attitude in dealing with refugees on the Greek islands. “I am disappointed with the attitude of our Austrian neighbors not to take part in accepting a manageable number of people in need of protection from Greece,” said the CSU politician Spiegel. “In such a situation, Europe has to show its unity. If we do nothing, we will strengthen the political margins.”

After the fire in the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos, Germany agreed to take in another 1,553 people, especially families with children, after up to 150 unaccompanied young people.

In the foreseeable future, all EU states would have to participate in a solution to the refugee issue, demanded Seehofer: “Anyone who does not show solidarity in migration policy cannot claim solidarity elsewhere either.”

According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, a total of ten EU countries and Switzerland are taking part in the admission of a total of 400 unaccompanied young people. In addition, only Germany has so far agreed to take in more people.

The ÖVP of Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, which is clearly tending to the right in foreigner policy, has been the government in Vienna with the Greens since the beginning of 2020. While the smaller green coalition partner has spoken out in favor of accepting refugee children from Moria, Kurz categorically rejects such a step. The government in Vienna, however, sent an airplane with 55 tons of relief supplies for Moria to Athens. Kurz ‘ÖVP is part of the European People’s Party, which also includes the CDU and Seehofer’s CSU.

Holocaust survivors demand the admission of Moria refugees

Previously, Holocaust survivors had asked the “Dachau camp community” to accept refugees from the burned down camp in Moria. You should be allowed to leave for Germany immediately, the board of directors around the former concentration camp inmate Ernst Grube said on Thursday.

Since 1993, more than 40,000 people have died fleeing war, persecution and threats to their lives. They all tried to find a safe haven in Europe. But the EU and the federal government did “nothing essential” to remedy the situation, said Grube.

The contemporary witness, born in Munich in 1932, was persecuted in Nazi Germany because of his Jewish mother and liberated from the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1945.

The Dachau camp community now also demanded the closure of the camps on the EU’s external border and in Greece as well as decentralized accommodation and care for the refugees. Germany in particular must take responsibility and accept those seeking protection.

Remembering 1938 when it came to Jews from Germany and Austria

The camp community also remembered the Évian conference in 1938, at which representatives from 32 countries and 24 aid organizations discussed the problem of the rapidly increasing refugee numbers of Jews from Germany and Austria, which was already incorporated into the “Third Reich”. “The result was almost zero. Tenor of the states: We are not a country of immigration, we could be confronted with problems,” said Grube, according to the announcement.

The arguments of then and now politicians were alike. Hundreds of thousands of people could have been saved during the Nazi era. “Instead, most of the people who dared to flee were arrested at the borders and sent back to the Nazi regime. The path to the Holocaust also has this prehistory.”


Moria: Germany takes 1,500 more refugees – politics

Interior Minister Seehofer emphasizes that the people who are brought from Greek islands in addition to the minors who have already been promised are “people who have already successfully completed their asylum procedures”. The Green Group leader Göring-Eckardt speaks of an “alibi offer”.

The offer of the federal government to bring another 1,500 refugees from the Greek islands met with approval in Germany, but also with criticism. In the CDU in particular, there are reservations about going it alone. Nevertheless, the Union and the SPD agreed on Tuesday to approve the proposal. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) was also satisfied. “In addition to the already promised refugee groups, we will take over 400 families from five Greek islands,” he said Süddeutsche Zeitung. “These are exclusively people who have already successfully completed their asylum procedures and are entitled to protection.”

After the fire in the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, Seehofer had promised 150 unaccompanied minor refugees to enter Germany. Ten other EU countries are taking part in the campaign. In Germany, Seehofer’s decision sparked criticism. In view of the plight of more than 12,000 refugees who have become homeless, the German offer is completely inadequate, said the SPD, the Left and the Greens. A number of cities and federal states pressed for permission to take on more refugees from Moria.

Seehofer refused, also on the grounds that there should be no single German approach to the refugee issue. Now he has agreed with the Federal Chancellor to take over 1,500 more vulnerable people. They were named by the UN refugee agency, said Seehofer. Germany is acting in consultation with Greece, but without the support of other countries. “Up to now there is not a single EU state that is taking part,” said Seehofer on Tuesday afternoon. Germany is trying to get further support. “But we can’t wait forever.”

The fact that Germany is now going ahead on its own, although the federal government had previously refused, caused displeasure among CDU internal politicians in the Bundestag. They warned of a dead end. Seehofer and Merkel presented their plans to the Union parliamentary group on Tuesday evening, and there was no objection from the MPs. The SPD also agreed to the solution on Tuesday evening, but, according to party leader Saskia Esken, expects that Germany will soon take in many more refugees. It was clearly agreed with the Union that Germany would make an appropriate contribution within a possible European contingent, said Esken. “It will certainly move in a similar order of magnitude as we are now acting.” CSU boss Markus Söder praised the federal government’s initiative as a very good compromise. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) said he was happy, happy and full of praise. The Green parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Katrin Görin-Eckardt, on the other hand, called for the takeover of 5,000 refugees from Greece. The government’s plan is an “alibi offer”.


Fire in Moria: five suspects arrested – politics

Another person is being sought in connection with the alleged arson on the island of Lesbos. Thousands of refugees lingering on the streets refuse to move to a newly built makeshift camp. They fear that the conditions there could be as bad as in the burned down Moria.

According to government reports, the Greek police arrested five suspects after the Moria refugee camp was destroyed by alleged arson. Another person is wanted, said the Minister for Civil Protection, Michalis Chrysochoidis, on Tuesday. “They are young migrants.” He did not provide any further information. According to media reports, two of the arrests did not take place in Lesbos but in northern Greece, where the underage suspects were flown to by police circles.

The Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos burned down completely last week. Previously, more than 12,000 refugees had lived under inhumane conditions in the camp, which was designed for just 3,000 people. Most recently, a lockdown due to several corona cases in the warehouse had worsened the situation. Initial reports indicated that fires may have broken out in various parts of the camp due to arson. Since the fire, most of the former camp inmates have been living on the streets of Lesbos, and there is a lack of water and food.

Only a few hundred have moved to a camp hastily set up by the government. Thousands more refuse to move into the new temporary accommodation. They fear that the living conditions in the new camp will be just as bad as in Moria and hope that they will come off the island. There are reports that people are being locked up in the new camp and that cell phones have been picked up, for example.

The government announced that only 1000 migrants have wanted to go to a new temporary camp in the Kara Tepe region, which is already equipped with 5000 beds and is being expanded. “Nobody will leave Lesbos without first being in the interim camp,” said Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on the radio station Skai. “We have informed them that they have to go to the facility, but they refuse,” said a police representative, who did not want to be named, told Reuters. “You want to leave the island.”

The federal government is ready to allow another 1,500 refugees from Greece to enter Germany. As the Southgerman newspaper learned from government circles that it concerns 400 families whose asylum procedures have already been completed and who are recognized as entitled to protection. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) approved the proposal. It is to be submitted to the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag on Tuesday evening.

At the weekend, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that in any case a permanent reception camp for refugees would be built on Lesbos to replace the destroyed Moria camp. This was originally designed for around 2800 people. Lesbos is close to the Turkish coast, which is why many people are stranded there on the run.


Short vs. Merkel: The sudden return of the migration duel

PSuddenly the television viewers see a young man on the screen, whom at that time hardly anyone in Germany knows. It’s Sebastian Kurz, 30 years old and Austrian Foreign Minister for almost four years. “I will certainly not interfere in the German debate,” says the politician, who was tuned into the “heute-journal” on this January evening in 2016. And then immediately interferes. In the years that followed, Kurz became Angela Merkel’s central European opponent when it came to migration. With the fires in the Moria refugee camp, the old conflict between Kurz and Merkel has become topical again.


Moria: Signal to accept more refugees – politics

The federal government has signaled its readiness to accept further refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos. After the fire in the Moria refugee camp, a “unique emergency situation” arose, said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) spokesman, Steffen Seibert, in Berlin. He confirmed that deliberations are ongoing in the federal government about the admission of further refugees. He did not comment on the specific size or duration of the talks, but spoke of an imminent decision.

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) announced on Friday that Germany would take in between 100 and 150 unaccompanied minors who had become homeless as a result of the camp fire. Seehofer himself spoke of a “first step” and held out the prospect of further admission, especially for families with children. Seibert referred to this. The situation of many refugees on the island is appalling.

According to the government spokesman, Merkel would also welcome the establishment of a new refugee camp under EU responsibility on Lesbos. That would be a step in the right direction to Europeanise responsibility. If accommodation and care for the people on the island were the responsibility of the EU Commission, this was basically a good thing because it made it clear that it was a matter of European responsibility for a European problem, said Seibert. “If we deal with it together, there is also a greater chance that we will achieve results that are humane and that every country can bear.” The EU states have been wrestling for a new regulation of the European asylum policy for years.

The coalition partner SPD urged a solution within 48 hours on Monday. After the first step, the acceptance of unaccompanied minors, a “substantial second step” must now follow, said Vice Chancellor and SPD candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. Germany is the country with the largest population and the best economic performance in the EU. Scholz said that they agreed with the other governing parties to find a solution quickly.

The co-chair of the SPD, Saskia Esken, had demanded a commitment from the CDU and CSU on Sunday evening on ZDF to bring a four-digit number of people from Greece to Germany.

Several leading CDU politicians, including the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet, rejected the SPD’s demand. “Ultimate demands are never good in a coalition,” said Laschet before the CDU leadership began deliberations in Berlin. This is a humanitarian issue and an overall solution. That can’t be measured in three- or four-digit numbers.

Laschet said it had to be ensured that in the future admission would be regulated by European reception centers, with Greece also having to support this. This would lead to an orderly system of migration and the protection of the EU’s external borders. But that means that you need a fresh start on the Greek islands. If Germany could make an even bigger contribution here, “that would be good”. North Rhine-Westphalia offered admission for around 1,000 migrants.

Saarland’s Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) warned against rush actions and party-political tactics. Hans said it was not about the decision of a party, “it is the job of the federal government to advertise that we can find a solution in Europe”. The image should not always arise that only Germany is ready to do something here. But the German part in a solution must be a strong one.

Many in the Union fear the reception of a large number of people a signal with a pulling effect: the more would be accepted, the more would follow or would be encouraged to flee in the first place.