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Indebted Greece now faces migrant crisis

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 01:36

Hundreds of migrants continue to arrive on the Greek holiday island of Kos, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns the issue of migration is much more of a challenge for Europe than the Greek debt crisis. Greece is asking its EU partners for a comprehensive strategy to help deal with the crisis, as new data shows 21,000 refugees landed on Greek shores last week alone. Kirsty Basset reports.

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Despite its crippling debt crisis, the shores of Greece are a far more attractive prospect for hundreds of migrants, who continue arriving on the holiday island of Kos - than war-torn Syria. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REFUGEE FROM SYRIA, SALAH, SAYING: "I just want humanity. I just want to live like any human, like any man, any people, with freedom." In an interview with ZDF television, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said waves of migrants are a bigger challenge for Europe than Greece's debt crisis. Nearly a quarter of a million migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration. Numbers have surged this summer, as calmer weather makes the voyage slightly less risky. Seven Investment Management's Justin Urquhart Stewart. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "It is a crisis and unless it's handled properly, it will actually, only get worse." Last week the European Commission approved 2.4 billion euros of aid over six years for countries struggling to cope. Greece will receive 473 million euros. And there are plans for a further 13 programs to be approved later this year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "Europe is quite capable of looking after these people. The numbers may sound quite significant but certainly by the time you get to the UK, these are relatively small." The Greek Prime Minister might have an economic crisis on his hands, but he's being urged to do more. The U.N refugee agency says Greece should start by appointing someone to coordinate a response on the ground, so that it, and other organisations can start to help.

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Indebted Greece now faces migrant crisis

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 01:36