Jeremy Gaunt Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:15:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Migrants seen boosting and hurting economies – it depends where Thu, 05 Nov 2015 14:25:45 +0000 LONDON (Reuters) – Two institutional forecasters came up with different projections on Thursday for what the economic impact of hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees will be on Europe’s economy.

A boost to output and improved public finances, the European Commission suggested in its latest economic forecasts. Already a toll, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) concluded in a similar offering.

The contradiction is not as stark as it may seem. Both groups were looking at different types of countries on the migrant route.

The Commission was studying countries likely to receive the migrants as workers; the EBRD at countries through which the migrants flow – or outside Europe, where they wait to move on.

The Commission said that gross domestic product for the 28-nation European Union could be lifted by more than a quarter of a percent in 2017 if the migrants were skilled and around 0.18 percent if not.

The EBRD, however, cut its growth projections for Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Greece – transit countries for the huge migrant flow from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It also pointed to a heavy economic hit on non-EU Turkey, which hosts many of the refugees for Syria who either stay or move on to Europe.

Not all the downgrading was due to migration, but these latter countries bear the costs of refugee camps, security and transport without getting the benefit of new workers. Some are looking for EU aid as a result.


For the recipient countries, however, the arrival of a new wave of workers can be a boon, at least according to research by both University College London and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) think tank.

A paper by the former in 2014 found that European immigrants to Britain contributed more than 20 billion pounds ($30.57 billion) to UK public finances between 2001 and 2011.

It also calculated that what it called “productive human capital” had been added that otherwise would have cost Britain 6.8 billion points in spending on education

The OECD’s report was broader. It suggested, also in 2014, that immigrants make important contributions to the labor market, and give more in both taxes and social contributions than they receive in individual benefits.

But it also said that while immigration may lift an economy overall, it does not necessarily do so in a way that makes everyone richer.

“There is little doubt that where migration expands the workforce, aggregate GDP can be expected to grow,” it said. “However, the situation is less clear when it comes to per capita GDP growth.”

Because of the timing, neither study could look at Europe’s current migrant situation. More than 760,000 people have already crossed the Mediterranean heading for the EU and the United Nations said on Thursday it expected around 5,000 a day would cross from Turkey over winter.

($1 = 0.6542 pounds)

(Editing by Mark John)

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Record producer’s music A-Z: Madagascan royalty to dead racehorses Wed, 21 Oct 2015 14:40:32 +0000 LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – A is for “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, a
jazz classic partly written by a Madagascan royal; G is for
“Greenville”, a Lucinda Williams country putdown redolent of
20th-century Russian Acmeist poetry.

Veteran music producer and author Joe Boyd is nothing if not
eclectic in “Joe Boyd’s A-Z”, a podcast series running on
iTunes, acast and his own website.

Already up to J, it runs the music gamut – country, reggae,
blues, folk, world, bluegrass, Americana, jazz and gospel.

Each drills deep into an aspect of music inspired by Boyd’s
more than 50 years in the business working with artists such as
Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Toots and the Maytals,
R.E.M. and Taj Mahal.

Along the way there have also been books – “White Bicycles:
Making Music in the 1960s” and a yet-to-be published delve into
world music – and film work, including on scores for
“Deliverance”, “Clockwork Orange” and “McCabe and Mrs Miller”.

Now come the podcasts.

“Music is my business and my life,” Boyd told Reuters in his
London flat, a music geek’s heaven of obscure records, old- and
new-style audio devices, books and vintage photos of the likes
of Percy Sledge and Jimi Hendrix.

Towering over it all are more than 5,000 LPs and some 30,000
CDs. It is from these that “A-Z” is drawn.

Boyd, an American who has spent much of his career in
Britain, said he prefers to listen to music via song rather than
artist, especially when travelling.

“I don’t want to hear Billie Holiday for an hour in a row,”
he said, adding that he likes to pick one song alphabetically in
his collection and let it all run on from there.

As a result his podcasts are either “horizontal” or
“vertical”, by which he means they either follow a single song
or leap from one to another by theme.


An example of the former is A, which essentially presents
various versions of the 1920s song “Ain’t Misbehavin'”. It is
not, however, simply about Fats Waller’s definitive version
versus the rest.

Boyd weaves in the tale of one of America’s first black
diplomats, John Waller (no relation to Fats), his post-U.S.
Civil War assignment to Madagascar, the French invasion of the
island in the 1890s, and the birth of his grandson, a great
nephew of Queen Ranavalona III.

The child, Andriamanantena Razafinkarefo, cut his name down
to Andy Razaf and went on to write the lyrics to the early 20th
century classics “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, “Honeysuckle Rose”, and
“The Joint Is Jumpin'”.

In the upcoming L, Boyd goes vertical, taking The Pioneers’
reggae song “Long Shot Kicked The Bucket” and segueing into
Richard Thomson’s folk-rocky “Angels Took My Racehorse Away” and
Bill Monroe’s bluegrass version of “Molly And Tenbrook” – all
three about a racehorse that dies.

To finish up – illuminating the wealth found in musical
genres – Boyd brings in Carlos Gardel, whose 1935 tango song
“Por Una Cabeza” (“By A Head”) links a tragic addiction to horse
racing with a passion for women.

“Joe Boyd’s A-Z” can be heard free-of charge at:


(Editing by Michael Roddy and Ruth Pitchford)

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Congratulations Mr Tsipras, now fufil the deal, Europe tells Greece Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:44:07 +0000 ATHENS, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Alexis Tsipras, his re-election
victory still warm, received congratulations from across Europe
on Monday that carried an underlying message: “Now get on with

The “it” is reforming the Greek economy as laid out in an
86-billion-euro ($96.6 billion) bailout that Tsipras agreed in
July before calling a snap election. He won that vote on Sunday
with a stronger mandate than forecast in pre-election opinion
polls, and now has few dissidents in his leftist Syriza party.

There is clearly an underlying concern in European capitals
that Tsipras, in a strong position at home, may renege on some
of the reforms tied to the bailout, particularly given how
reluctantly he agreed to it.

“We have much work ahead and no time to lose,” European
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote to Tsipras,
adding: “We will support the new government in its efforts.”

Jeroen Dijesselbloem, the hardline Dutch head of the
Eurogroup of common currency finance ministers, which negotiates
with Greece, said on Twitter he was looking forward to “continue
accompanying Greece in its ambitious reform efforts”.

German government spokesman Steffen Siebert was even more
pointed: “The third bailout programme remains valid also beyond
election day,” he said in Berlin.

For his part, during his election campaign Tsipras barely
mentioned the bailout, an open wound for many Greeks who have
suffered from harsh austerity during one of the worst
depressions to hit an industrialised country in modern times.

He and his Syriza party have pledged to meet their bailout
obligations, albeit promising voters that they will protect the
most vulnerable from the worst of the impact.


Syriza’s election manifesto speaks of “grey areas” such as
labour relations – still an important issue in a country which
is heavily unionised – pension reform and cutbacks by the end of
the year.

It also talks about needing to deal with huge numbers of
non-performing mortgages burdening bank balance sheets while at
the same time meeting a party pledge to protect primary homes.

The EU creditors are more focused on meeting targets than
taking specific actions, so there is some wiggle room for this
kind of thing.

But the bailout fights over the first half of this year were
often about Greece saying it could achieve results without
taking hard decisions. The lenders disagreed.

Tsipras, in the meantime, has begun to focus on obtaining
the debt reduction many inside and outside Athens believe Greece
needs from the creditors to make reforms to the economy

“The immediate objective of the coming period is the full
restoration of stability in the economy and in the operation of
banks, and broadening the ground we gained in negotiations, with
the first crucial battle debt relief,” a Syriza official quoted
Tsipras as telling party officials on Monday.

The EU lenders have accepted the need for some kind of debt
relief – probably, EU officials have told Reuters, by limiting
payments to 15 percent of economic output in any given year.

But to get that, Greece will have to prove it is taking the
steps required under the bailout.

($1 = 0.8905 euros)

(Editing by John Stonestreet and Peter Graff)

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Greece’s Tsipras to demand EU action on refugees Mon, 21 Sep 2015 11:13:28 +0000 ATHENS, Sept 21 (Reuters) – As an icon for many on Europe’s
left, Greece’s newly elected prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, can
be expected to rattle the cages of the continent’s elite
whenever he can.

After Sunday’s solid re-election, he may start with the
migrant crisis, which he believes is emblematic of the European
Union’s failure to stick with its founding principles of unity.

“When the Mediterranean turns into a watery grave, and the
Aegean Sea is washing dead children up on its shores, the very
concept of a united Europe is in crisis, as is European
culture,” he told a campaign rally last week.

European unity, Tsipras reckons, was also sorely lacking
when the EU began imposing harsh austerity on his country when
it needed to be bailed out over debt.

But not unlike in the debt crisis, Tsipras must balance his
outrage at what he sees as the European Union’s failure to
respond to the migrants with a need for its help in meeting the
cost to frontline Greece.

And as over debt, the criticism goes both ways.

Most of the refugees who make their way to Europe arrive via
Greece, which transports them from its islands to the mainland,
from where they trek north via the Balkans. Croatia said on
Monday it would demand Greece stop moving the migrants on.

Athens received 33 million euros ($37.2 million) in EU aid
earlier this month to help cope with the migrants. But Nicos
Christodoulakis, caretaker economy minister during the election
campaign, said a lack of preparation meant Greece was missing
out on up to 400 million euros in EU aid for the crisis.

Tsipras’ first international meeting after re-election will
be a Wednesday discussion in Brussels with his EU counterparts
about the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants pouring
into Europe, many via Greek islands that border Turkey.

Officials from his leftist Syriza party say he will ally
again with other EU countries bordering the Mediterranean such
as Italy and demand that the bloc shares the burden of dealing
with hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“Member states (must) take and share the responsibility,
that’s where the rupture is,” a senior Syriza official said.

The European Commission wants a quota system among EU
countries to take up the refugees, but many countries, notably
Britain and those in eastern Europe, are opposed.


Of the record 430,000 refugees and migrants who have made
the journey across the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year,
309,000 have arrived via Greece, according to the International
Organization for Migration.

Athens has been accused of just letting them go without
proper registration.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to have Greece emptying its
refugee camps and sending people towards Croatia via Macedonia
and Serbia,” Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on

But near-bankrupt Greece is ill-equipped to deal with the
situation. Those of its islands which have borne the brunt of
the arrivals have been easily swamped by the numbers: Athens has
been forced to run a relay of three ships to the mainland from

The human cost – the “watery grave” to which Tsipras
referred – is also on constant display.

Over the past weekend alone, 13 migrants died in Turkish
waters trying to reach Lesbos when a boat carrying 46 people
collided with a dry cargo vessel and capsized.

Six of those killed were children and 20 others were
rescued, according to a Turkish coastguard source.

A girl believed to be five years died on Saturday and 13
other migrants were feared lost overboard after their boat sank
in choppy seas off Lesbos.
($1 = 0.8861 euros)

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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Greece’s Varoufakis turns on former party and leader during vote Sun, 20 Sep 2015 12:47:50 +0000 ATHENS (Reuters) – Two fiery supporters-turned-opponents of Greece’s leftist Syriza party rounded on its leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday, implicitly accusing him of capitulating to mainstream European interests and of betraying the Greek people.

Yanis Varoufakis, who as finance minister infuriated Greece’s international creditors by refusing to go along with their demands for austerity in return for cash, said the general election being held on Sunday was “to nullify” the wishes of Greeks.

Zoe Konstantopoulou, the firebrand former parliament speaker who sought to delay a vote on accepting a new bailout, said voters would punish those who had ignored their wishes.

Greeks voted overwhelming in a referendum in July against accepting a European Union and International Monetary Fund cash for reforms plan, only for then-prime minister Tsipras to accept a more stringent one in order to keep Greece in the euro zone.

“The people will thwart the plans of those who want to push them into a corner and impose bailouts against their will,” Konstantopoulou said as she voted. “The new generations know who betrayed them and will take initiatives to restore democracy in our land.”

Varoufakis said in a statement to The Press Project, a Greek website, that Sunday’s elections served two purposes.

“First to nullify the brave ‘No’ which 62 percent of the Greek population (under media fear-mongering and closed banks-capital controls) said to dead end, humiliating and irrational bailout programs and memoranda,” he said.

“Second, the ‘legalization’ of the capitulation that followed the signing of the dead end, humiliating and irrational 3rd (bailout) memorandum.”

Tsipras was in what was expected to be a close election fight with the conservative New Democracy party.

During the tense and ultimately failed negotiations against creditor-imposed austerity, the Varoufakis and Konstantopoulou were vehemently opposed to compromises with the EU/IMF that involved further economic sacrifices by Greeks.

Varoufakis, in particular, became something of an international celebrity, given his fluent English, rugged good-looks, penchant for motorbikes and blunt pronouncements to mainstream officials such as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

He said he would vote for Popular Unity, an anti-bailout group that split from Syriza. Konstantopoulou had already said she would back them.

(Reporting by Jeremy Gaunt; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Greeks vote on whether to give leftists another chance Sat, 19 Sep 2015 21:05:00 +0000 ATHENS, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Alexis Tsipras, the firebrand
Greek leftist who lost his bitter fight with Europe’s
establishment to end its harsh economic austerity against his
country, seeks re-election on Sunday a month after he resigned
as prime minister.

His Syriza party is in a tight election race with the
conservative New Democracy party of Vangelis Meimarakis, who
accuses Tsipras of incompetence in dealing with international
creditors who have been bailing out the debt-strapped country.

Opinion polls suggest Tsipras may have the edge, but so
narrow a one that a win for Meimarakis would not be surprising.

Neither party, however, is expected to get the roughly 38
percent of the vote generally seen as needed for a clear
majority in the 300-seat parliament.

That means whoever gets the most votes – and a 50-seat bonus
that goes with it – will need to form a coalition, probably with
one or both of the small centrist To Potami and socialist PASOK

The election is being watched closely outside Greece because
the winner will need to oversee deep economic reforms required
for an 86-billion-euro ($98-billion) bailout Tsipras was forced
to broker in August with Athens’ euro zone partners.

The new government will also have to arrange a
recapitalisation of the country’s banks, and the unwinding of
capital controls imposed in June to prevent an implosion of the
financial system.

Both Syriza and New Democracy have pledged to do that – but
there are differences on the margins over such issues as labour


Sunday’s vote will be the third national ballot this year
after the general election in January that brought Tsipras to
power and a referendum in July on whether to accept a new
bailout deal and austerity plan from the European Union.

The answer to the latter was a resounding “no”, but with
Greece close to tumbling out of the euro zone, Tsipras went
ahead and agreed a new deal he did not want.

He then resigned and called a snap election.

Multiple trips to the ballot box and disappointment at being
rebuffed by Europe, however, have sapped the energy of many
Greeks for this election – which has been relatively low key.

“It would have been better not to have these elections.
Three elections within the same year is quite hard on the people
but as a citizen I will do my duty,” said Athens resident Yannis

On the eastern Aegean island of Kalymnos, a taxi driver who
gave his name only as Manolis was less tolerant of the situation
and the years of economic hardship Greeks have endured,

“I don’t care, probably I won’t even go (to vote),” he told
a visiting Reuters reporter.

“All the politicians are the same – idiots.”

(Additional reporting by Kirsten Donovan in Kalymnos and Gina
Kalovryna in Athens; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Campaigning over, Greeks prepare to vote Sat, 19 Sep 2015 09:27:05 +0000 ATHENS, Sept 19 (Reuters) – A political calm before the
storm enveloped election-weary Greece on Saturday with all
campaigning and polling suspended ahead of Sunday’s vote, which
promised to be tight and possibly indecisive.

The election is being watched closely from outside Greece
because the winner will need to oversee deep economic reforms
required for an 86-billion-euro ($98-billion) bailout brokered
in August with Athens’ euro zone partners.

Former prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist Syriza party
appeared to be slightly ahead of conservative rival Vangelis
Meimarakis’s New Democracy, if a flurry of late polls on Friday
are correct.

But neither party looked set to garner the roughly 38
percent of the vote generally seen as needed to get a majority
in the 300-seat parliament as a result of a 50-seat bonus
awarded to the party with the most votes.

Tsipras used a final pre-election speech on Friday to try to
shore up support from former Syriza voters whom he fears may
stay away from the polls, disillusioned by his being forced to
backtrack on promises to end the austerity that has accompanied
consecutive international bailouts.

“Not one vote should be lost, we should not be beaten by
abstention,” he said at a rally that lacked much of the passion
seen when he stormed to power in January.

Meimarakis accused Tsipras of “false promises” and called
his term of office this year a “disaster” for Greece.

“Our aim is that the European countries no longer have to
give us loans because we finally want to end this crisis,” he
said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper published on


Friday’s polls broadly showed that Syriza will get the most
votes and, with the 50-seat bonus, it could forge a coalition
with the centrist To Potami party and the socialist PASOK.

Most parties — including Syriza and New Democracy — are
committed to the bailout, albeit with different emphases on such
things as labour reform. Polls give the pro-bailout parties
combined support of 65 to 70 percent of the vote.

But the implementation of the bailout may be at stake. The
two main parties, for example, disagree on pivotal matters such
as freeing up the labour market, collective bargaining and

Frustrated voters may also swing to the two extremes of the
political spectrum. The polls show Golden Dawn, a far-right
party that sports an old Greek symbol closely resembling a
swastika as its emblem, coming third, albeit a distant third.
The KKE, Greece’s hard-core communists, might make it to fourth.

Many Greeks, meanwhile, appear weary of politics. Sunday’s
vote is the third national ballot this year after January’s
election and July’s referendum on whether to accept a bailout.

On the Greek island of Kos, a travel agent told a Reuters
reporter that people were “bored, complacent” and that no
politicians had come to campaign this time.

“I think they are scared to come,” a bike shop renter said.
“People are angry, there is nothing they can tell us anymore.”

(Additional reporting by Kirsten Donovan in Kos and Michael
Nienaber in Berlin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Swastika look-alike, hammer and sickle float above Greek election Fri, 18 Sep 2015 13:40:03 +0000 ATHENS, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Three fresh-faced children
appear on the TV screen and, to the sound of kiddie piano music,
declare that they want Greece to belong to the Greeks.

Golden Dawn, on Greece’s extreme far right, is the only
answer to what they see as a creeping takeover by foreigners,
the ad implies.

A little later, clips from the TV show “Game of Thrones”
appear, warning Greeks, as in the original, that “winter is
coming” but that for them this means more poverty-inducing
austerity imposed by the European Union.

KKE, Greece’s hard-core communists, will overthrow the
system, it says.

The two parties – one sporting an old Greek symbol closely
resembling a swastika as its emblem, the other the Soviet hammer
and sickle – are far behind the leaders in Sunday’s election.
But they may come third and fourth, respectively, providing
noisy opposition from right and left.

Opinion polls show that the leftist Syriza party of former
prime minister Alexis Tsipras and the conservative New Democracy
Party of Vangelis Meimarakis are neck and neck – but dominant,
gathering roughly 60 percent of the vote between them.

Next down the list, however, is Golden Dawn, a party with
many of its leaders in prison yet drawing as much as 8 percent
of the vote. That would give it more seats in the 300-seat
parliament than the 17 it had in the last one – most likely
making them the third largest party.

Accused of neo-Nazi tendencies, Golden Dawn may take more of
the vote than the polls suggest because of a reluctance among
some voters to publicly admit their support.

“I don’t want to be a minority in my own country,” says one
of the fresh-faced kids in the ad.

It was Golden Dawn to which former finance minister Yanis
Varoufakis was referring when, earlier this year, he warned his
German counterpart Wolfgang Schaueble that forcing more
austerity on Greeks could prompt a swing to the far right.


At the other end of the spectrum is the KKE, a communist
party of the old school, founded in 1918 following the Bolshevik
revolution in Russia and with a long history of enduring
imprisonment, exile and even execution.

It is not as much of a pariah in the eyes of mainstream
Greeks as Golden Dawn, not the least because of its resistance
to Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

But its message remains essentially unreconstructed, little
different from the days of the Cold War. Greece is drowning in a
“capitalist financial crisis”, it says.

There are some signs the KKE may do better than it has come
Sunday. One poll gave it 7.7 percent, but most show it with 5 to
6 percent running for fourth place with the socialist PASOK
party and the centrist To Potami.

But the party may be attracting some former Syriza
supporters who were dismayed by Tsipras’ concessions to
international donors.

“You tried them… Now with the KKE there is a way,” it

Neither party is likely to be considered as a coalition
partner by the eventual winners, particularly Golden Dawn.

But if, as some in Europe would like to see, Syriza and New
Democracy formed a grand coalition, Golden Dawn could become the
official opposition.

(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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Greeks see potential for new wave of migrants across Turkish land border Thu, 17 Sep 2015 13:46:26 +0000 ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece said on Thursday it was possible that large groups of refugees from Syria may be about to seek entry into the country from its land border with Turkey.

This would be a relatively new entry point to Greece for the refugees, tens of thousands of whom have braved small boats and sometimes dangerous seas this summer to get from Turkey to Greek islands such as Kos and Lesbos and onwards into the European Union.

“From our side, we are preparing for a possible new wave from the Evros border,” said Rodolphos Moronis, spokesman for Greece’s pre-election caretaker government.

The Evros river divides Greece from Turkey in the far northeast, south of Bulgaria.

Moronis said there was no international agreement with Turkey to prevent refugees passing through the border.

About 30,000 people, mainly fleeing the war in Syria, were shipped to the Greek mainland last week, mainly arriving in Piraeus, west of Athens.

Like others, they nearly all moved north through the Balkans, hoping to reach Germany or other wealthy northern EU countries.


One of the Greek ships being sent in a relay by the government to collect people from Lesbos docked at Piraeus on Thursday with 1,986 migrants on board.

Two other boats were en route, according to the maritime website

“We need to have a good life, you know. We have a lot of educated people, qualified people, but we have no chance to live in Syria anymore,” said one refugee arriving in Piraeus, who described himself as a professor from Aleppo, in Syria.

Some countries, notably Hungary, have closed their borders to the refugees, threatening a backup into other countries, including Greece.

That was not lost on at least one of Thursday’s arrivals in Piraeus.

“I don’t how we can go to Germany, because Hungary has closed the door,” said Zia, a Syrian from Kobani.

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Greece says country cannot handle migrant inflows Fri, 07 Aug 2015 10:46:28 +0000 ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s infrastructure cannot handle the thousands of migrants landing on its shores from places like war-torn Syria and Afghanistan and needs European Union help, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday.

“Now is the time to see if the EU is the EU of solidarity or an EU that has everyone trying to protect their borders,” he said after a meeting with ministers dealing with the influx.

The United Nations refugee agency earlier called on Greece to take control of the “total chaos” on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed.

European Union member states must also do more to share the burden of Greece, where 50,000 people arrived in July alone, said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe, after visiting the Greek islands of Lesbos, Kos and Chios.

“The immigrant flow to Greece is beyond of what our state infrastructure can handle,” Tsipras said. “We have significant problems to face it and that’s why we have asked help from EU.”

Greece, along with Italy, has been on front line of a huge wave of migrants seeking safety and a better future in Europe.

But Greece’s economy is falling into recession again after having only just recovered from six years of depression brought on by its debt crisis.

It is currently negotiating with EU and the International Monetary Fund for a third bailout of as much as 86 billion euros for stave of financial collapse.

With that background, it cannot handle the increasing pressure from thousands of penniless refugees from war and poverty.

Within just one hour on Thursday, Reuters journalists on the island of Lesbos saw two boatloads of refugees landing on the Greek territory, one carrying roughly 40 Syrians, the other the same number of Afghans.

The European Union has sought to share the burden of the refugees across it countries, but the response has been mixed.

Britain has said it will not participate, but is currently struggling with its own crisis as thousands of migrants seek to enter via the Channel Tunnel.

Hungary is also preparing to build a fence along its border, where migrants from the east seek to enter.

Hopes were fading, meanwhile, of finding more survivors from a shipwreck in which 200 migrants are feared drowned near Sicily.

(Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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