Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Macedonia Fence Issues

I sat last night and watched the state-run Channel One (ARD) news (the late show), and it bulked up a good bit on the immigrants stuck at the Greek border with Macedonia and kinda surprised that the Macedonian authorities had put up a fence and had real cops there to maintain security.  Pepper spray was used (at least it looked like it).  Some immigrant gal had fainted and the camera guy for ARD got a big close-up of her for the German spectators to get hyped or angry.

The thing is.....this talk of the Macedonia border shutting down....has been going on for two months.  Everyone and their brother knew that the day was coming and it wasn't much of a surprise.  If you didn't make an effort to cross back in December or January.....you pretty much lose all your big chances.

At some point, after the protest crowd had done enough damage.....it appeared that the Macedonia cops decided to open the gate, but this was simply a short-term thing (I think) until more cops arrived.

Right now, the biggest hostility down in the region is on the island of Kos.....where refugees initially arrive from Turkey on rafts and try to make the first step toward mainland Greece.  Just about everyone (at least Greeks) on Kos is frustrated by the mess.  They see tourist number decreasing.  Toward the end of 2015, the experts claimed that 2015 had seen roughly a three-percent decrease in tourism.  A number of folks who own businesses on Kos still think it looks badly for them in 2016.

So far, no Greek politician or party has stepped up to really change the flow of refugees.....which is kinda surprising.  My guess is that there's a fair amount of cash flow related to the refugees and some folks really don't want the pattern to shift right now.

What happens if the Greek-Macedonia path is shut down?  I've sat there for months looking at the changing landscape and political frustrations in the region.  Sooner or later.....that path will shut down. I'm kinda shocked.....no German journalist or intellectual ever sits there and analyzes this to the next path.

My guess?  Someone will find an older freighter and start to stage 500 refugees somewhere off the coast of Albania or Italy.  You are talking about two or three days but they could easily get to some point.....20 miles off the coast of Albania, and start dropping people off there.   You'd have to up your cost factor.....probably doubling or tripling the money necessary.

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