Greece blasts Austria as migrants get stranded

IDOMENI, Greece - Greece made a strongly worded complaint to Austria Tuesday for drastically restricting migrant crossings, as police at the Greek border with Macedonia removed hundreds of Afghan migrants stranded at a camp there.

See Full Article

Athens has criticized Austria's decision last week to cap the daily number of asylum applications and migrants crossing the country - an action that has left thousands stranded in Greece.

The Austrian ambassador to Greece was summoned to the foreign ministry to receive the complaint Tuesday after Austria invited officials from western Balkan countries to a meeting on migration in Vienna Wednesday, excluding Greece.

The ministry described the meeting as a "unilateral move which is not at all friendly toward our country."

More than 1 million migrants and refugees reached the EU last year, with more than 80 per cent of them travelling from Turkey to nearby Greek islands. Arrivals have continued this year at an average of 4,000 each day

The Austrian initiative prompted Macedonia at the weekend to stop Afghan migrants at the border, and slow the rate at which asylum-seekers from Syria and Iraq were allowed to cross the border.

In France, hundreds of migrants camped in the port of Calais face a deadline Tuesday evening to move out. , However, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve insisted the evacuation would be "progressive."

In an early morning operation, police at the Greek-Macedonian border ordered mostly Afghan migrants on to buses bound for Athens, in the south of the country. Journalists were not allowed to approach the area.

The migrants were to be taken to an army-built camp near Athens that was set up last week, following European Union pressure on Athens to complete screening and temporary housing facilities.

Mirwais Amin, a 20-year-old Afghan migrant, said he was separated from relatives after being stopping from reaching the border and camping out at a nearby site.

"Macedonia isn't letting migrants through. I can't understand why," he said.

"I can't get to the (border) camp, and members of my family are there. It's cold here and we have no food."

The relief agency International Rescue Committee late Monday said Macedonia's decision to turn Afghans away was "yet another example of arbitrary, unilateral decisions by individual states threatening to cause serious humanitarian consequences for desperate refugees."

Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch, accused EU countries of turning a blind eye to plight of Afghan asylum-seekers.

"Once again, Europe is resorting to closing its borders to asylum-seekers, instead of coming up with realistic policies to address the plight of those fleeing war and repression, he said.

"By pushing the refugee crisis back into Greece and Turkey, other European and EU countries are ignoring their obligations toward legitimate asylum-seekers."


Fisnik Abrashi in Prague, Czech Republic, contributed.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Afghanistan: Car bomb near stadium kills 12, says official

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- An official says in says 12 people have been killed and 40 others wounded in a car bombing outside a sports stadium in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Aminullah Abed, the chief of the province's public health department, in Helmand province said the 12 killed and 40 wounded were received at a hospital in Lashkar Gha on Friday. Source
  • Smoky condo fire in Vietnam kills at least 13, injures 28

    World News CTV News
    HANOI, Vietnam -- Residents startled awake by loud noise and smoke signalled for help with lit mobile phones and crawled onto cranes from their balconies to escape a fire Friday at a large condominium complex in southern Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City. Source
  • EU nations plan 'additional steps' against Moscow over nerve agent attack

    World News CBC News
    European Union member states agreed at a summit in Brussels to take further punitive steps against Russia in the coming days for the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, U.K., as Moscow accused the bloc of joining a London-driven hate campaign against it. Source
  • U.S. Congress invites Mark Zuckerberg to testify at future Facebook user data hearing

    World News CBC News
    ?The leaders of the U.S. House energy and commerce committee on Friday wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailing new concerns about the social media company's use of data and formally requesting that he testify at a future hearing. Source
  • Trump says he is 'considering' veto of $1.3 trillion budget

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump cast doubt on whether he would back a US$1.3 trillion spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown Friday, saying he was "considering" a veto over concerns about young "Dreamer" immigrants and border wall money. Source
  • Austrian lawmakers vote against smoking ban in restaurants and bars

    World News CBC News
    Austria's lower house of parliament voted to scrap an impending ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, backing the coalition government despite opposition from health campaigners and opposition parties. The ban is due to come into effect in May and would bring Austria more into line with fellow European Union countries, many of which have far stricter smoke-free legislation, including Britain, Hungary and Bulgaria. Source
  • China urges U.S. to 'pull back from the brink' on trade as tensions rise

    World News CBC News
    China has urged the United States to "pull back from the brink" as U.S. President Donald Trump's plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion US in Chinese goods, while events in the South China Sea and at the United Nations suggest a broader pattern of worsening relations. Source
  • B.C. man to meet birth mother for the first time thanks to DNA test

    Canada News CTV News
    On the day that Michael Henry Ponic turned 50 in 2016, his wife’s birthday gift filled him with dread. She had bought him a DNA online testing kit so he could try to find his birth mother. Source
  • Toronto's giant pandas are on the move: Bears travelling to new home at Calgary Zoo

    Canada News CTV News
    They’ve settled into their custom crates and they’re ready for takeoff. Toronto’s beloved pandas are saying goodbye. On Friday morning, the four bears began their journey to their new home at the Calgary Zoo. Source
  • Inflation heats up to 2.2% in February as energy and food prices spike

    Canada News CBC News
    The cost of living went up at a 2.2 per cent annual pace in February, its highest level since 2014, mainly because of a sharp increase in the price of energy. Statistics Canada reported Friday that the inflation rate rose to a 2.2. Source