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Greece: Migration in the Spotlight

» Karamanlis in Talks with Spanish PM Zapatero

karzap1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Tackling illegal migration is a priority for Europe and Greece has been working closely with its EU partners and on a bilateral level with other Mediterranean countries in order to come up with solutions, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said Monday july, 13 after meeting his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid.  Resolving the problem, Karamanlis said, would require a three-level approach: adopting common policies on a European level, on a national level and finally, efforts to financially support the migrants’ countries of origin. Karamanlis also referred to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, saying that this has been acting as a “bridge” for bringing non-EU countries of the Mediterranean closer to the EU to discuss ways to tackle illegal migration.  On his part, Zapatero said that reinforcing Frontex and ensuring that EU migration policy is accompanied by close cooperation with the migrants’ countries origin and transit will be among the priorities of the Spanish EU presidency, from January 2010.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek Mediterranean Partnership

» Greek  FM on Refugees and Migration

unhcr1278Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed Monday, july 13, the necessity of finding a balance between the need to protect Greece’s borders and that of protecting the rights of asylum seekers forced to abandon their homes.   Addressing an event to raise public awareness on refugee issues, organised by the Greek office of the UN High Commission for Refugees with the support of the Greek foreign ministry, Bakoyannis stressed the need for “European solidarity in practice and not just in words” to countries like Greece, which has been facing a surge in illegal migration.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs –Dora Bakoyannis’ Speech at the presentation of public awareness campaign on refugees  Greek News Agenda: Diplomacy on Migration

Bakoyannis at OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis visited Lithuania on June 30, on the occasion of the 18the annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.   Speaking before the Assembly, Bakoyannis focused on three issues: the need to take the OSCE forward in the economic and environmental dimension; the objective of building lasting stability and security in Georgia; the process of launching a new high-level dialogue on European security.  In Lithuania, Bakoyannis also held bilateral talks with the political leadership of the country (photo), who expressed support for the “Corfu Process” launched last weekend. The minister will visit two of the OSCE’s most important missions in Baku and Yerevan today.

Greece on Illegal Migration

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece received support from many countries, both from the Mediterranean region and from central and northern Europe, for its position that the issue of illegal migration and its handling requires European solidarity that must be shown in practice.  This is what Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said following an EU General Affairs Council held in Luxembourg yesterday, ahead of the EU summit in Brussels on June 18-19.  According to the minister, this display of European solidarity could be shown through upgrading Frontex to manage the external borders of the EU – which in the case of Greece would mean greater presence of patrol boats in the Aegean – and the financial support to deal with the plight of illegal migrants.  Bakoyannis stressed  that immigrants are people with rights, desperate and lacking financially, who place all their hopes on a boat.  Bakoyannis also stressed that Greece’s intention is for specific references to be made in the final communiqué of the EU summit regarding the repatriation conditions, with the agreements that the EU must sign with the countries of origin. 

British Foreign Minister on official visit to Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, currently on official visit to Greece, held talks on Tuesday (26.5)  with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and leader of the opposition George Papandreou.  In statements after their meeting, Bakoyannis and Miliband said that the discussion covered a wide range of subjects, including the Cyprus issue, Turkey’s and the Western Balkans’ European perspective, as well as developments in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and climate change. Miliband stressed the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue “by Cypriots and for Cypriots” adding that achieving the desired solution would require courage and flexibility. He also praised Greece’s stance over the past 10 years with respect to European Union enlargement to Turkey and the western Balkans, describing it as “strong, clear and brave.” Kathimerini daily: British FM backs pact ‘by Cypriots

Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis at OSCE Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Foreign Minister and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairperson in Office Dora Bakoyannis addressed the opening session of the 17th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum:  “Management of migration and its correlation and its linkages with economic, social and environmental policies dora171to the benefit of stability and security in the OSCE region,” which began yesterday.  In her keynote address, Bakoyannis underlined the need to adopt medium- and long-term policies aimed at dealing with the problems stemming from illegal migration on a global scale, and urged OSCE states to further increase co-operation on migration issues and develop comprehensive and effective policy frameworks.  “We have all witnessed the increasing trends of migration as an effect of globalisation. The recent developments of the financial and economic crisis complicate the problem and its multifaceted character calls for a more focused and co-ordinated approach by the international community,” she said.  The three-day meeting focuses on the development impact of migration and gender-sensitive approaches in migration related policy-making. The forum will also review OSCE commitments in the economic and environmental dimension focusing on migration, and identify possible follow-up OSCE activities in that field.   OSCE Press Release: Economic crisis sharpens need for effective migration management, say OSCE Forum participants (18.5)  

Greece – USA Relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg on May 15.  During a long meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the latter briefed Steinberg on a series of regional issues, including matters related to the Aegean, the Balkans, Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus and the FYROM “name issue.”  On his part, Steinberg cited Greece’s pivotal role as a United States partner in Southeastern Europe and in international affairs, stressing Greece’s contribution in Afghanistan and in the efforts to deal with many global challenges, ranging from piracy to non proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Finally, Steinberg was pleased to announce that the visa waiver programme is being reviewed, bringing the existing bilateral relations one step forward.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-USA bilateral relations

Greek PM Meets with Outgoing NATO Secretary General

karamsceff(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday (May 14) in Athens with the outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.  Pointing out that during Scheffer’s term the alliance was enlarged twice, while in the field of operations NATO was called to meet very demanding challenges, Karamanlis praised the efforts to promote the Alliance’s relations with Russia as well as the progress made in relation to Ukraine and Georgia and the countries of the ‘Partnership for Peace’, the ‘Mediterranean Dialogue’ and the ‘Istanbul Initiative.’  On his part, the NATO SecGen stressed that “Greece’s participation in NATO’s operations and missions was and still is very important.” He also referred to energy and internet security issues as well as to the participation of Greek Navy frigates in the efforts to combat sea piracy.  De Hoop Scheffer also met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.