Gerapetritis: The three axes in the treatment of immigration

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The three axes on the basis of which the Greek government has moved in the immigration / refugee issue, are developed, in an article in the newspaper “Ta Nea”, by the Minister of State, George Gerapetritis.

As he notes in detail, the first axis is that “our borders, land and sea, are now effectively guarded. Border guarding is not only a necessity and a sovereign right of the country but also a legal obligation. As far as the borders of the European Union are concerned, it constitutes an international commitment of the country (Articles 42-46 of the Treaty on EU and 77-80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, Regulation 2016/399, Regulation 2016/1624) “, recalls and adds:

“Guarding takes place with the control and legal deterrence at the border by the armed forces and the security forces. At the same time, search and rescue operations are being organized where necessary, saving lives at sea from the dangers posed by organized trafficking networks. “On the other hand, those immigrants who are within the Greek territory are provided with the opportunity and assistance to apply for asylum, in accordance with international law.”

The position of the Greek government is also that “no repatriation of these people to the country of origin takes place, as some unjustifiably and selfishly claim, and every complaint is controlled by the independent National Transparency Authority. “As a result of this policy, migration flows have been reduced by about 90% compared to 2019”, the same article also states.

The second axis is that “with substantial interventions of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, the process of processing asylum applications has been drastically accelerated and the accommodation structures are constantly being upgraded. With the new modern regulatory framework, the backlog of asylum applications has been reduced by 75% compared to July 2019, with the result that the number of people living in the country’s structures has been reduced by about 55% in total – and especially in the islands by about 80%. At the same time, the new modern accommodation structure is already operating in Samos, today the new structures are delivered in Kos and Leros and the new structures in Lesvos and Chios were launched, so that refugees and immigrants can live in humane conditions, leaving in the past the images of shame from the naughty and saturated structures of the islands “.

A separate reference to unaccompanied minors is made by the Minister of State, who, as he points out, “implemented a relocation program for 1,000 children to other European countries, more than doubled the number of long-term accommodation places and an extensive operation to locate unaccompanied minors.” “The result was a 60% reduction in the number of unaccompanied children and a crucial improvement in their quality of life.”

The third axis, the choice by the Greek government, as a central policy, “[της] legal immigration against illegal and irregular border crossings, and [της] structured social integration of refugees. This conscious attitude serves national and European interests, as it reduces the public safety risks posed by illegal immigration, especially in the context of the hybrid war of manipulation of migration flows we have experienced in the recent past, and responds to national and European values. “Even after the change of regime in Afghanistan, our country has welcomed, upon a relevant invitation, more than 700 Afghan citizens, primarily women who moved in the public sphere and were therefore at risk and their families.”

The article by Secretary of State concludes with something written by British author Mohsin Hamid: Mass migration is inevitable as water levels rise, climate change evolves, fertile lands dry up and wars continue. Given this, concludes G. Gerapetritis, “Greece has been responding to the existing ecumenical problem for the last two years with a commitment to the principles of humanity, from which it has always relied, but also consistently to the needs and possibilities of the economy and society.”

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