IOM warns of tensions at Greek-Macedonian border

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The European Union’s police agency says 23 suspects have been arrested in raids targeting an organized crime gang that smuggled thousands of migrants into Europe.

The International Organization for Migration estimated in late November that almost 860,000 migrants had landed in Europe so far this year, with over 3,500 dying while crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety.

A young refugee girl is carried by a volunteer off a vessel to the…

A stranded migrant boy plays yesterday at a makeshift camp next to the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece. More than 3000 people have drowned trying to reach Europe on packed, flimsy boats this year.

 On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported exclusively that Greece would on Friday be given until mid-December to gain control of its borders or face suspension from Schengen.

The victim, believed to be a Moroccan citizens, died when he climbed “onto a carriage of a stationary train near the border and touching a high-tension cable overhead”, local police spokesman Petros Tanos has been quoted as telling AFP.

Diplomats in Brussels were briefing that the country could be kicked out of the EU’s passport-free travel zone, known as Schengen, if it did not do so.

Greece activated the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism on Thursday, agreeing to allow EU border agency Frontex on its frontier with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and to trigger the Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) for extra help with patrols in the Aegean.

Mouzalas said the FT report reflected “commonly used” criticisms against Greece “by these member states”, without naming the states.

“The chancellor and other members of the German government have repeatedly noted how important freedom of movement under Schengen is to us, and that the possibility of preserving this, which we want, depends very directly on how we as Europeans are able to protect and effectively control our exterior borders”, Seibert said.

Greek authorities have been struggling to accurately register all migrants entering the country but mistakes are frequent and some migrants use fake papers.

Unable to cope with the flow of people, countries further north have erected razor-wire fences and reintroduced border controls, casting doubts about the viability of the 26-nation Schengen system.

“The situation in Idomeni must stop”, he said.

The deaths of migrants at sea are all too common.

“The scale is huge and the Commission is working very closely with the Greek authorities to assist them in this challenge”, the EC said.

“The door is in Turkey”.

Fico slammed the quota programme as a “total fiasco” and said “we have to find another way” of dealing with the EU’s migrant inflow.

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