Migration and Struggle in Greece

Eurofortress Elections: anti-immigrant legacies…

Posted by clandestina on 19 May 2009

Government and Opposition parties (Nea Dimokratia and Pasok) compete in hypocricy, resorting to the scant residues of pretexts.  After the Euroelections the parliamentary ones will come, the Opposition will be government… The anti-immigrant legacy will be in good – and familiar – hands, no worries… Bilateral aggreements, bilateral crimes.

This is a mix of Kathimerini and ANA-MPA articles…


PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday slammed the government’s immigration policy as a complete failure, as Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis heralded the creation of a separate body that would oversee the management of the center of Athens, which a growing number of illegal immigrants are making their home.

Papandreou was speaking in Patras after visiting the coast guard at the local port, close to where hundreds of migrants have set up a makeshift camp as they wait for the opportunity to board ferries for Italy.

“In Patras, we can see the complete failure of the government’s policy on illegal immigration,” said the PASOK leader.

He accused the government of lacking a clear policy on who should be granted asylum, of failing to develop a coherent policy on how to assimilate migrants in Greek society, of not ensuring the proper protection of the country’s borders and of being unable to reach bilateral agreements to secure the repatriation of some migrants.

Papandreou said he has ascertained “the full and overall failure of the governmental policy on the issue of illegal migration and on refugees”, adding that the result of that policy was hardship and suffering for the local societies, and downgrading of the lives of migrants and refugees, as well as hardship on the Harbor Corps employees.

He said that “a serious government should have done six things, which have not been done”, elaborating that the country today lacks: serious guarding of its borders due to a downgrading of the Harbor Corps with respect to means and staff; a clear-cut policy on how and who is categorised as a political refugee and who is sent back; a clear-cut policy on how to incorporate the legal migrants and refugees into the Greek society and economy; and a clear-cut policy on boosting the guarding of the country’s ports so as to send a powerful message to all the illegal immigration rings that Greece will not be a gateway for illegal immigrants to the rest of Europe.

Further, Greece has not activated its bilateral agreements with neighboring Turkey that provide for the return of all illegal immigrants coming to Greece via Turkey which, Papandreou said, PASOK had implemented when it was in government.

Also, the establishment of immigrant/refugee camps only worsened the situation rather than solved the problem, adding that the problem can be solved by a serious government through cooperation in the European Union.

“This problem can be solved by a more serious government that is capable of working with the European Union,” said Papandreou.

The government responded by announcing that it would be adopting a plan put forward by Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros to create a body that would coordinate the work of various services, including the police, in the so-called historic center of Athens.

Markoyiannakis gave no further details about how or when this body will operate but he told Skai Radio he has plans to increase the police presence around Omonia Square, where the crime rate has reached alarming levels. It is also the site of an abandoned court building where over 500 migrants are squatting.

Markoyiannakis added that there are plans to move a methadone center from the area, which many locals believe is the cause of the drug-related crime in the neighborhood.

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