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Sabiena Stefanaj @en

Winter ices migrants flows but not concerns

Miscellaneous di

Only a year ago, in 2014, the most important route into Europe for migrants was across the Mediterranean sea, in boats of up to 800 passengers from the North African coast to Italy (Lampedusa sas primary destination) or Malta: the southern route. So far in 2015, migration along the alternative eastern route has rised.



Matter of fact, during 2012 a fence was erected on the border between Turkey and Greece, forcing migrants to take boats from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands or travel north to the Bulgarian border. In 2014, Bulgaria began building its own fence to prevent this.

In September 2015 alone, 156,000 immigrants took the eastern route compared to just 7,000 in the same month the previous year.

The Schengen area makes things easier once the migrants have entered Hungary or Slovenia, but, on the other hand, things are getting much harder to deal, to administrate for these countries. In early July, Hungary began building a fence on its Serbian border, forcing the migrants on the west route through Croatia, often entering Hungary from there and a second fence was built on the Croatian border in October, pushing people up to Slovenia. Actually, Slovenia is building a fence itself. Balcans countries are struggling in order to face the situation. Albanian Government has already stated that the country will make what’s in it’s possibilty to mitigate the pressure in the area.

European countries are forced, under pressure, to find long term solutions, Germany in first place.

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and most powerful woman in the planet, is facing risks on her own political body, over migrants crise . When migrants began to arrive in large numbers over the summer, she announced publicly that they were to be welcomed rather than turned away. Considering that an imponent number of Syrians living in Turkey have been able to make a living only because of temporary employment or casual labor, but , as Turkish economy has begun to deteriorate, unemployment has grown by being unaffordable, those Syrians are also leaving Turkey. So, what’s next?

Germany is home to the vast majority of past Turkish immigrants into Europe, and tensions have long been high over the issue. Syrians have a explicit and strong case for asylum, and it is extremely hard to repatriate them. The European Union wants to keep the Balkan countries from confronting one another over migrant flows. At the same time, the bloc wants to keep borders within Europe as open as possible to preserve the union’s structure while apportioning them fairly across the Continent. The Oct. 25 summit likely discussed all of the possible solutions along the migrant route and most summits during last two years have tried the same.

As temperatures drop immigrant flow will arrest the emergency. The latest flows have also revealed a drop in the portion of migrants from Syria and a rise in Afghan and African migrants, partly because of cheap Turkish Airlines flights to North Africa. Unlike Syrians, authorities will find it much easier to send back migrants from these points of origin.

But the fact is that war keeps on radicalizing in Syrian territories, which is much more than a preview on warmer season to come: migrants are most likely not stopping their desperate journeys.


Sabiena Stefanaj


Romania: citizens against Government

EUROPA/Europe/Politics/Report @en di

Corruption is the plague and there is not much time left for citizens to allow it anymore. Romania’s president nominated former EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos as the nation’s new prime minister Tuesday, after protests over a nightclub fire that killed at least 48 people brought down the government.



“Victor Ponta is giving up his mandate. Someone needs to assume responsibility for what has happened. This a serious matter and we promise a quick resolution of the situation,” party head Liviu Dragnea told journalists in parliament, Reuters reported. “You probably noticed thousands of people last evening and what they demanded,” he added.

President Klaus Iohannis said Romania needs “a clean person, a person not involved in scandals, a person of integrity.”

Protests broke out late on Nov. 3 in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, and demonstrators demanded Cabinet resignations over allegations of corrupt permitting that led to a nightclub fire and 32 deaths, Reuters reported.
The demonstrators specifically demanded the resignation of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the nightclub is located.

Stratfor sources indicate that as many as 20,000 people gathered in Bucharest, and youth and student organizations called for more participants on social media. Similar demonstrations have broken out simultaneously in Brasov and Ploiesti. The government passed legislation on Nov. 3 that would grant the power to emergency authorities to immediately close venues that do not have permits or defy safety regulations. The three nightclub owners have declined to comment.

On Wednesday evening, thousands massed in Bucharest’s University Square and in at least three other cities, calling for early elections and better governance.

Donors queued at blood centres and volunteers took food and drinks to Bucharest hospitals for medical staff and victims’ families.

The protesters also criticized the powerful Romanian Orthodox Church, accusing it of failing to address an outpouring of national grief.
“We want hospitals, not cathedrals!” they chanted.

The ensuing political fallout has alread, claimed Ponta who is awaiting trial on charges of corruption made in June.
District mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone said he would build a monument outside Colectiv. He said that “as far as the local authority was concerned, the club had all the necessary paperwork”.

On the other hand, romanian citizens claim that bribes were paid to mantain the clubs open, while not even a fire estinguisher was found in the inside. That is clearly the point.


Sabiena Stefanaj


Migrants and borders: Slovenia and Croatia face Hungary’s fence effects


The endless floyd of desperate migrants keeps the Balcan countries in permanent emergency state. Slovenia and Croatia are facing problematics while Orban’s Hungary had it’s border blocked up by that fence.


More than 12,000 migrants have crossed into Slovenia in the past 24 hours and thousands more are expected, prompting authorities to ask the rest of the European Union for help dealing with the flood of people.
EU officials said Austria, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland offered to send police reinforcements.

“We are standing by Slovenia in these difficult moments, Slovenia is not alone,” European migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said after meeting Gyorkos Znidar. The EU executive later said Slovenia had formally requested tents, blankets and other supplies under the bloc’s disaster relief programmed.
Croatia also decided on Thursday to seek international help, the news agency Hina reported. The government in Zagreb said it would ask for blankets, winter tents, beds and containers. Since mid-September, 217,000 refugees have entered Croatia

Slovenia’s Interior Ministry said Croat police were dumping thousands of undocumented people on its border “without control” and were ignoring telephoned Slovene requests to contain the surge.
On Tuesday morning, a train carrying more than 1,000 people from the Croatian town of Tovarnik and some 20 buses of full of refugees from the Opatovac refugee camp were headed toward the Slovenian border.

Migrants began streaming into Slovenia last Friday, when Hungary closed its border with Croatia. Before then, they were heading for Hungary – a member of Europe’s Schengen zone of visa-free travel – and then north and west to Austria and Germany. Sealing the border diverted them to Slovenia, which is also a member of the Schengen zone.
The daily cost of handling migrants was costing the former Yugoslav republic €770,000 Gyorkos Znidar said.

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called an extraordinary meeting of several European leaders for Sunday, 25th. Juncker has invited the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

Not a single migrant has entered Hungary from Croatia since the border was closed with a fence protected by razor wire, soldiers and police patrols.

Orban said “Hungary’s border fence had been meant to turn migrants back from Europe, not divert them along a different path to Germany, and that he had asked Hungary’s Balkan neighbors to help send the migrants back”.
“The right thing to do is not to ensure their passage into Europe but to take them back to the refugee camps they started out from,” he said. “The further they come from their troubled countries, the more difficult it will be for them to return. Therefore these people must remain and humane conditions must be created for them in those places”.

While EU’s efforts seem to be not-sufficiently able to take control of the situation created during Balcan borders, Orban spaces his far-right way of thinking not considering the fact that what’s happening with millennial migrants is much more than a “migrant crisis”: it’s an anthropological change, a continuum circle of people that keeps on walking countries, borders while trying to make their lifes better and safer.

A price of late globalization, maybe; a war and destabilization of the Middle East’s bill to be payed also by occidental countries, indeed.


Sabiena Stefanaj


Italy’s ENI on fields of gas

The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday it has discovered a “supergiant” natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the largest-ever found in the Mediterranean Sea. “Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds,” Eni said in a statement. “The discovery, after its full development, will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”

“Eni will immediately appraise the field with the aim of accelerating a fast-track development of the discovery,” the energy company said.

The discovery of potentially the world’s largest natural-gas field off the Egyptian coast will be an enormous alternative for Egypt and the Mediterranean in terms of energy stability. “It is close to the facilities so the time to market will be very good…that is part of our strategy to…continue to do our exploration in the mature area where we have a deep geographical knowledge and we can take advantage of our facilities and that will make the unit cost in terms of capital very positive” the CEO said.

State-backed Eni has market capitalization of around 54 billion euros and is the biggest foreign producer in Africa. It has operated in Egypt for more than 60 years through its Egyptian subsidiary IEOC and is one of the main energy producers in the country, with a daily output of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

“The Egyptian government is very happy with this find,” ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdelaziz stated, adding that the gas would be extracted for domestic consumption only. “We hope to become self-sufficient by 2020,” he added. The egyptian government cannot yet place a monetary value on the discovery, he said.

In June, Italy’s ENI signed an energy exploration deal with Egypt’s oil ministry  following an memorandum of understanding signed in March during an investment conference, allowing the Italian major to explore in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.

ENI’s influence in diplomatic exchanges has always been of great relevance and the weight of this ultimate discovery will grow the italian presence in the area for sure.


Hungary and that mournful fence

Europe/Politics di

The hungarian government is building on Hungary-Serbia border a 4 m high and 175 km long fence in order to keep away the mounting influx of asylum-seekers, best known as “livelihood immigrants”. Hungarian institutions are running an obstinate and unfriendly policy on immigration issue. This provocative and hostile way of facing the situation reflects its pressure by changing asylum rules quite often recently. Billboards on Hungarian highways and buildings carry messages reading, “If you come to Hungary, you must respect our laws,” or “If you come to Hungary, do not take Hungarians’ jobs!” and so on. Are this slogans printed in arabic? Of course they aren’t: they’re printed in hungarian only, which cleares the meaning of what the government is expecting to achieve by hungarian locals.

Thus, immigrants, asylum seekers wich enter in hungarian territory from the Balkans, should expect to face the rejection of their requests in Hungary. The government has actually introduced a number of restrictive amendments which would expand the scope of “asylum detention”, accelerate asylum procedures so that a final decision could be taken within a few days, and limit the possibility to appeal. The regulation deprives virtually all applicants of individual assessment and fair procedure and thus puts tens of thousands at risk. As Amnesty International points out, Hunagry, definitely, dodges its obligations under national and international law to assist asylum-seekers.


Fact checking

Hungarian’s 175 km long border with Serbia facilitates human smuggling via land routes from the south and an enormous pressure on its reception infrastructure (financed by and large by EU funds). With 42, 000 applicants registered last year, Hungary was the recipient of the second largest amount of asylum claims per capita. So far this year the influx has already surpassed 80, 000, a number that rockets the country to the top of the EU list. And whereas in 2014 almost half of all irregular migrants came from Kosovo, around 80 per cent of this year’s migrants flee from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On May 19, Prime Minister, Victor Orban, roared his disappointment on EU’s allegedly permissive refugee policies, calling the Commission’s quota plan “idiotic and falsely”, by “depriving Hungary of the right to protect its national borders”. As a result, the European Council proclaimed the country a special case and the subsequent Justice and Home Affairs council in July accepted that Hungary – as the one and only member state – does not take part in any one of the EU’s newly established relocation and resettlement mechanisms.

A large scale public campaign, the “National Consultation on Migration and Terrorism” was launched and sent to 8 million Hungarians. Two notions, “migration” and “terrorism” arranged to create a dangerous, a hate-policy combine, supported by the idea of migrants that are grabing huangarian’s jobs. UN High Commission for Human Rights and the Council of Europe expressed grave concerns about the far right populist trend in the Hungarian immigration debate.


Now, for truth sake, asylum seekers in Hungary, quite the 80 per cent of them, consider to leave the country once they receive an affermative response. Durin 2014, only 9 per cent of all cases were concluded by granting refugee status or subsidiary protection. (For comparison it was 35 per cent in the UK and 40 in Germany). Thus, what for is all this yelling about? Is this just some clear, and poor demagogic propaganda? Is Orban trying to gain some easy achievement using immigration emergency all across european countries?
What’s left to be said? Memory worths it all: hungarian revolution in 1956 created a wave of 200,000 immigrants who gained the respect, the solidarity and the welcome of other countries and people from all over the world. Ironic that in the country that helped bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall by removing its western barriers along the Austrian border in 1989, the idea of this outrageous fence is highly divisive and a symbol of rising worries across Europe about the country’s political future.

Elezioni UK: vincitori, vinti e affari futuri

Europe di

“Hanging on in quite desperation is the english way – Sopravvivere in una quieta disperazione è il modo all’inglese”, così cantavano i mitici Pink Floyd nel lontano 1972, versi che descrivono alla lettera l’attuale situazione emotiva dei laburisti inglesi nel post voto popolare del 7 maggio scorso. Il Regno Unito rimane decisamente conservatore e spiazza ogni previsione di “sfida all’ultimo voto”. Hanno vinto i Tories.

Circa 11 milioni e 300 mila voti per 331 seggi su 650, ovvero 24 in più rispetto al 2010, sono una conferma piena al mandato di Cameron. Quelli che hanno determinato la vittoria dei Tories e la disfatta dei Lab sono stati i cosiddetti swing voters, ovvero coloro che cambiano schieramento politico e che decidono per temi, argomenti o vantaggi volta per volta. Nel sistema elettorale inglese uninominale questo atteggiamento è decisivo alla conta finale. In definitiva, i conservatori sono cresciuti del 0,7% e i laburisti del 1,5% rispetto al 2010, quindi chi ha deciso vincitori e sconfitti sono stati i voti raccolti dalle altre formazioni politiche “secondarie” quali UKIP con il 12,6% e soprattutto l’ SNP di Nicola Sturgeon con il loro 4,6%. I scozzessi hanno spazzato via i laburisti guadagnando 56 seggi su 59 previsti per loro in Parlamento. Il linguaggio empatico, indipendentista e molto più di sinistra dei laburisti ha premiato. Non pervenuti i lib-dem di Nick Clegg fermi a soli 8 seggi, 49 in meno rispetto al 2010, crollo clamoroso.



Come funziona il sistema elettorale inglese del “first-past-the post”?

I parlamentari britannici vengono eletti attraverso il sistema dell’uninominale maggioritario secco. I partiti si contendono 650 collegi su tutto il territorio ed in ognuno di essi a vincere, ovvero a guadagnarsi un seggio in Parlamento è il candidato che prende più voti. Gli elettori possono esprimere una sola preferenza e a governare è il partito che si è aggiudicato il maggior numero di parlamentari. Sistema imperfetto : Il candidato deve assicurarsi solo la maggioranza semplice ed è possibile quindi che la maggioranza di persone in quel collegio abbia in realtà votato anche per altri candidati. Succede che un partito che in molti collegi non arrivi primo, possa aggiudicarsi, sì un gran numero di voti, ma conquistare pochi seggi. E’ successo a UKIP proprio in questa tornata elettorale. Allo stesso modo, il partito che alla fine forma il governo potrebbe in realtà aver ricevuto meno voti del suo rivale. Ogni collegio, inoltre, è diverso, a cominciare dal numero di elettori che lo compongono: un candidato che vince in un piccolo collegio può quindi aver ottenuto molti meno voti di uno che ha invece perso in un collegio molto imponente, ad esempio i grandi centri urbani, le città. Esattamente quello che è successo ai laburisti, vincenti nelle città più importanti, ma perdendo nei centri non urbani.

I britannici votano la promessa dell’economia e il ridimensionamento del tasso di disoccupazione, mentre penalizzano la “speranza”, l’equità e l’attenzione alle classe lavoratrici, tanto proclamata dai candidati del Partito Laburista in campagna elettorale. Votano un Cameron pragmatico e penalizzano un timido Miliband, troppo impacciato, troppo serioso, troppo “senza polso”, almeno nell’immaginario mediatico rappresentato.

Votano anche un probabile futuro fuori dall’Europa?

David Cameron ha dichiarato all’indomani del voto, “Possiamo fare della Gran Bretagna un luogo dove il buon vivere è alla portata di chiunque abbia voglia di lavorare e fare le cose in modo giusto”,- e ha aggiunto, “ però, si, ci sarà un referendum sul nostro futuro in Europa”. Il Brexit, questa volontà degli inglesi di ufficializzare le distanze dal continente politico, potrebbe prendere forma nel 2017, probabile anno del referendum. Jean-Claude Juncker ha definito “non negoziabili i fondamenti dell’Unione, come la libera circolazione di persone”, punto debole fisso dei rapporti con Londra. Centro nevralgico della finanza europea, la City significa troppo per l’UE e di certo non sarà una passeggiata affrontare un eventuale ricorso per separazione. I negoziati in corso per il TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partenership) che vedono il Regno Unito protagonista saranno decisivi in questo di mediazioni tra USA e UE.


Sabiena Stefanaj

Cell terror in Italy desintegrated

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

Due to a 10-year investigation which had began following a probe into illegal immigration, italian counter-terror police arrested 18 people Friday, suspected of links with Al Qaida. A terror cell that was organizing a bomb plot against the Vatican, investigators said.

The arrested are afghan and pakistani nationals, including Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards and a spiritual leader of a minor muslim community in Sardinia.

By all of the arrested there are also some suspected of involvment in the October 2009 bombing of the Meena Bazaar in Peshawar, Pakistan, that caused the death of 100 people and more than 200 injured.

Those arrested are also suspected to be involved in a fall down design of the Pakistani government, police said.

Italian prosecutor Mauro Mura stated in a press conference in Cagliari (Sardinia) that the terror suspected, were planning an attac at the Vatican in 2010, and a suicide bomber had arranged to land in Rome. Matter of fact, the plot went no further and the suicide bomber left Italy without explication, prosecutor Mura said.

The authorities told that this operation has included the investigation on 7 italian provinces “targeting an alleged organisation dedicated to transnational criminal activities inspired by al-Qaida and other radical organisations pursuing armed struggle against the west and insurrection against the current government of Pakistan”.

Recordings indicate that the involved used to talk “ironically” about the pope, Benedict XVI and were trying to rise  jihad in the whole Italy. An unidentified imam who used to perform in Brescia and Bergamo, northern Italy, is believed to be another key leader of the terror cell.

“There was evidence that the 2009 Peshawar attack was substantially planned and financed from Olbia, Sardinia, and that Italy-based militants had taken part in it”, Mario Carta, an officer in the anti-terrorism unit behind the investigation, said.

Another weighty aspect of the terror cell involvement is the international funds deliver in Pakistan from Italy, avoiding the italian currency controls, as once happened when € 55258,00 were sent on a flight from Rome to Islamabad.

“From what it appears, this concerns a hypothesis that dates from 2010 which didn’t occur,” Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement. “It has therefore no relevance today and no reason for particular concern.”

Back in the day, Pope Benedict XVI was facing resentment due to a 2006 speech when he only paraphrased a Byzantine emperor who characterised some of the teachings of the prophet Muhammad as “evil and inhuman”.

The Charlie Hebdoe’s offices terror attac and the ones at a Copenhagen’s speech debate and at a cafe in Sydney had raised a heavy climate all across Europe and counter terror police operations are becoming much more persevering in these days.

Sabiena Stefanaj
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