The rise of right-wing extremism in Europe

Europe is facing a rising tide of right-wing extrem­ism. Extremist parties — whether called right-wing or far-right or ultra-nationalists — are in government in Finland, Austria, Slovakia, Hun­gary and Poland. So far, those groups are in gov­ernment just as coalition partners but indicators are that Europe is experiencing a distinct move to the right amid rising rhetoric against migration and the idea of open bor­ders. This is something that could become a threat to European unity, particularly given Britain’s decision to leave the European Union fol­lowing a referendum in which the main issue was migration. In light of what is the worst ref­ugee crisis since the end of World War II, a number of EU govern­ments have taken stances that seem to go against the stated objec­tives and values of the union, par­ticularly in terms of human rights and freedom of movement. The European Parliament has seen the rise of right-wing extremist parties, with 23% of the members of the body belonging to far-right-wing parties.

Courtesy : The Arab Weekly


Migrants try to keep warm as they cross the Macedonian-Serbian border

Migrants try to keep warm as they cross the Macedonian-Serbian border in early morning sub zero temperatures in Miratovac, Serbia. Migrants have been braving sub zero temperatures as they attempt to cross the border from Macedonia into Serbia.  

More than four million Syrians homeless due to conflict

Syria’s conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead and pushed millions more into exile. The conflict has also had a profound effect on the children who lost their homes or got caught up in the bloodshed.
Drawings of young refugees living in Turkey illustrate their memories of home and hopes for their future. The pictures also point to the scars borne by 2.3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, more than half of them children.

Crying in the cold : Syrian Child refugees in Europe

Two-year-old Seraj from Syria is crying in the cold. Yesterday he arrived in Vinojug, a transit centre for refugees on the Macedonian border with Greece. He came with his parents, his cousin, his four-year-old brother and his baby sister. The family spent the night in a plastic shed with nothing to keep them warm but a few blankets as temperatures dropped below zero.
Now they are waiting, with hundreds of other refugees, for a train to take them through Macedonia to the Serbian border. But nobody knows when the train will depart. Or if it will depart at all.
 There are many children among the 3,000 refugees that arrive in Vinojug each day. Half of the Syrian refugees that now come to Europe are underage, according to figures from the European Ombudspersons for Children. But the refugee centre is simply not equipped to accommodate them. 
Pregnant women and those with babies and toddlers are sleeping on the ground in tents or plastic cabins. There is no heating and it isn’t even possible to heat milk for a baby’s bottle.
The situation in the centre is chaotic. The train that people have been waiting for since yesterday has finally arrived. Hundreds of refugees throng along the railway. Children are crying, men are shouting, policemen are angrily ordering the crowd to form lines.
 In the middle of this chaos, Marc Dullaert, the chairman of the European Ombudspersons for Children, is talking to mothers, fathers and children. His organisation recently established a task force to protect the rights of child refugees and he has come here to see the situation with his own eyes. “I am deeply shocked by the conditions here,” he says. “Why do these children have to sleep on the ground in the freezing cold?”
He says this situation is not restricted to Macedonia: refugees encounter similar conditions in all the European countries they pass through. “There’s a total lack of coordination to offer child refugees a safe passage through Europe,” he explains. “These children are extremely vulnerable. They often go through traumatic experiences.”
 In January, the Ombudspersons for Children will present a report on the plight of child refugees with recommendations for the European Commission. “Nowadays, all the talk is about the numbers of refugees Europe wants to allow and about closing borders,” says Dullaert. “Whereas the biggest issue should be the situation of these children.”
“The cold is the worst thing now,” says 16-year-old Murhat, Nouha’s nephew. His round face is white and he looks exhausted. His arrival yesterday in Vinojug was a frightening experience for him. “We were waiting here, hoping a train would come, but it never arrived. Then the police came. They told us to go into the tents and they pushed and hit us. "We shouted: don’t hit the children, but they didn’t listen to us,” Nouha says angrily.
 It is about 5pm and completely dark when the train packed with refugees finally arrives in the Tabanovce transit centre, close to the Serbian border in northern Macedonia. There’s no lighting in the train and the smell in the carriages is unbearable.
When the doors open, people stumble out, disorientated and dazed. One child has wet his pants and his father calls out for help. Families with very young children simply sit down on the platform to eat the bread that is offered to them.
In Tabanovce, there is only one heated space. It’s the child-friendly area set up by SOS Children’s Villages, an NGO that works to protect the rights of children. It’s a simple prefab cabin with a few toys and plastic children’s chairs scattered around the room. On the walls there are drawings – simple pictures of houses, trees and cars – made by the children.
“I feel so guilty about not being able to do more,” says director Julijana Nakova Gapo. “A lot of babies are undernourished. Children are exhausted, they are coughing, they have temperatures. There are many women who are pregnant. We had several births here. But we can offer only basic care.”
Tears well in her eyes as she watches the mothers and children trying to make themselves comfortable on blankets on the floor.
“We had children arriving in summer clothes, in sandals and T-shirts. Mothers were wrapping their children in garbage bags. We didn’t have enough clothes to give to them, so we gave them our own socks.”

Migrants come ashore on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos

Migrants and refugees come ashore on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos after travelling by boat from Turkey.

Migrant Crisis : A woman tries to protect her daughter

A woman tries to protect her daughter as refugees scuffle with the Greek police in their effort to reach the borderline with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni.

Migrants line up as the wait for a food ration

Migrants line up as the wait for a food ration distributed by the Banque Alimentaire of Calais at a camp in northern France. The European Union is offering funds and aid to help France cope with growing numbers of migrants near the northern city of Calais. It comes as thousands of migrants have been scaling fences near the Channel Tunnel linking the two countries and boarding freight trains or trucks destined for Britain.

Greece referendum – Divided Greece votes in bailout referendum

A referendum to decide whether or not Greece is to accept the bailout conditions proposed jointly by the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) on 25 June 2015, is due to take place on 5 July 2015.[1] The referendum was announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the early morning of 27 June 2015, and ratified the following day by the Parliament and the President. It will be the first referendum to be held since therepublic referendum of 1974, and the only one in modern Greek history not to concern the form of government.
The Syriza-led Greek coalition government had previously publicly indicated that it might choose to call a referendum, or call fresh elections, if it was not able to secure an acceptable deal in the bailout negotiations. The referendum was announced by Tsipras in the early morning of 27 June 2015.[1] No prior notice of the decision was given to the Eurogroup. In the early hours of 28 June 2015, Parliament voted on whether or not the government’s proposed bailout referendum should be held, with 178 MPs (Syriza, ANEL and Golden Dawn) for, 120 MPs (all other parties) against and two MPs abstaining. It was approved by the President that evening.
Voters will be asked whether they approve of the proposal made to Greece by the EU, the IMF and the ECB during the Eurogroup meeting on 25 June. The proposal consists of two documents, titled"Reforms For The Completion Of The Current Program And Beyond" and “Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis.”. The question will contain two choices stated as “Those citizens that reject the proposal of the three institutions vote ‘Not approved/No’” and “Those citizens that agree with the proposal of the three institutions vote ‘Approved/Yes’”.

Hundreds of migrants rescued by the EU Navy vessels

Migrants sit on the deck of the Belgian Navy vessel Godetia after they were saved at sea during a search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coasts. Hundreds of migrants were rescued by the Godetia, which is part of a EU Navy vessels fleet taking part in the Triton migrants rescue operation.

Greece’s pension problem

Pensioners take part in a rally against austerity in Athens. Greece spent 17.5 percent of its economic output on pension payments, more than any other EU country, according to the latest available Eurostat figures.