While the threat of Covid-19 has resulted in deserted streets in all the major European cities, the first signs of spring have seen people flocking to the beaches in Portugal and Greece, while in Norway this weekend people headed to their holiday cottages in the mountains. In this article Paulo Pena descries how these first weeks of isolation have shown us to be more equal than perhaps we'd like to think.
Condemnation of the Trump administration’s decision to detain and separate minors from their families at the Mexican border has been almost unanimous. But do European governments treat minors migrants any better? This is the question that launched Investigate Europe’s investigation in 2019, and which led us to those parts of Europe most under pressure from the arrival of migrants. From the remote island of Mayotte in the Comoros Archipelago, to cosmopolitan airports in Berlin, Lisbon or London – everywhere we found examples of children being detained, against international rules, whose only crime is that they are trying to enter European territory without permission.
When Greece asked other countries to divide 2,500 of the country’s then 4,500 single minors between them six months ago, most rejected the request. Investigate Europe asked the governments why. Their answers reveal that a common and humane European asylum policy has become a fiction. The European consensus is to help Greece keep refugees out. Now a feeble and reluctant “coalition of willing” is emerging. It is likely too little, too late to avert more chaos in the country tasked with containing migration.
The task of receiving refugees has largely been left to Greece. While asylum centres in northern Europe shut down, 40,000 children and adults remain crammed into refugee camps on Greek Islands in unsanitary and dangerous conditions. Without a collective approach this winter, there are warnings that the entire system may collapse.
Image: Le Petit Journal. Greece and Macedonia were pressured by the US, NATO and the EU to sign a deal that most people in both countries reject. And yet, according to the narrative adopted by western media it was solely Russia who “meddled”, “orchestrated”, “agressed”. Evidence on the ground shows a much more mixed and disturbing reality.
Photograph: Christos Loufopoulos / Flickr. Launching a spin campaign on three fronts (Brussels, Italy, Greece) the EU Commission argued that since 2010 not only were there no cuts in Greece’s firefighting budget but on the contrary spending for the firefighters’ service actually increased. However, a simple fact-check of the official data tells a completely different story: From the outset of the Greek crisis until today