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PM`s George Papandreou visit to Poland

Prime Minister George Papandreou visited Poland on April 7 for talks with his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk and the country’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, in view of the Polish presidency of the EU, during the second term of 2011.
The two Premiers discussed the priorities of the Polish Presidency, especially in what concerns the Common Agricultural Policy, migration, as well as developments in the Middle East. Papandreou also made a special reference to his great-grand father’s Polish origins and the flourishing Polish community in Greece. 
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Learn Greek Abroad On-Line

The teaching of Greek abroad will soon go online with a new e-learning programme being developed by the Centre of Intercultural and Migration Studies at the University of Crete.
The Centre is establishing a pilot Greek Diaspora school network that aims to eventually operate on an independent basis.
Greek teachers from schools abroad will visit Crete in July to participate in the creation of the project as partners. The teachers will participate in a two-week training programme at the University, following a 10-hour teleseminar briefing on Greek-language teaching methodology that they will undergo before their arrival. The programme is sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Illegal Migration Action Plan on track

The Ministry of Citizen Protection, in a press release issued on March 9, reiterated that Greece with the assistance of the European Commission and European funding is making immense efforts to implement the Greek National Action Plan on mixed migration flows, despite the disproportionate burden that is being placed on the country as a result of the influx of a large number of irregular migrants.
The Ministry announced the new actions that are currently being implemented, stressing Greece’s commitment to deal with the problem as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Immigration Policy:Interview of Giorgos Tsarbopoulos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In an interview with a Greek daily (Ta Nea), Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, head of the Greek branch of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) comments on the government’s decision to overhaul Greece’s migration policy.
Tsarbopoulos admits that the draft law on granting citizenship to immigrants is a positive initiative but needs to be supplemented.
He says that naturalisation should be the first step within a broader social integration policy. Similarly, asylum policy needs to be enhanced by a well organised hospitality and welfare safety net.
What is important about the new asylum policy is that it disassociates itself from the police and that a new independent body is created to address the issue.
UNHCR recognises that within the European Union, the Dublin II Regulation has placed a disproportionate burden on Greece and advises other EU countries not to send back asylum seekers when their reception is deemed precarious. 
Greek News Agenda: UN Refugees High Commissioner in Athens & A Joint Letter on Immigration; UNHCR: 2010 Regional Operations Profile – Greece

President of Hellenic Republic Briefed on Immigration Agenda

Pavlopoulos - Papoulias(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The course of Greece’s migration policy was the topic of discussion between President Karolos Papoulias and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Addressing the press, the minister mentioned that Greece “has played a decisive role in drafting the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum as well as in the evolution of Frontex –an agency monitoring EU’s external boarders-, which is now conducting operations in the Eastern Mediterranean all-year-round”. The minister also stressed that Turkey’s obligation to fulfill the terms of its bilateral agreement with Greece on illegal migration has now become an obligation of European-wide dimensions, paving the way for the signing of an EU-Turkey readmission agreement by the end of 2009.   Greek News Agenda: Immigration Agenda 2010-2014

EU Migration Agenda 2010 – 2014

passport1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Informal Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs, which is taking place from July 15 until July 17 in Stockholm, discussed the guidelines of a 2010-2014 agenda on illegal migration, according to which, EU members agree to boost funding for Greece and other member states guarding the European Union’s external borders and call upon Turkey to cooperate on curbing illegal immigration.  In addition, EU ministers agreed to support efforts to strengthen the EU border-control agency Frontex and to create a Common European Asylum applying to all incoming migrants. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that guarding the Union’s borders is not purely a Greek problem but an EU affair, which requires close cooperation among the member states.  Pavlopoulos said that he is pleased to see that the European Pact on Migration and Asylum signed in Paris becomes a solid base for further negotiations and stressed that there is a difference between addressing migrants’ reception upon arrival, asylum granting procedures and legal migrants’ integration in a society.

Karamanlis – Berlusconi Focus on Energy & Migration

karamberlouskoni(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Illegal migration was the focus of discussions Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis held in Rome with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi. In brief statements after the meeting Karamanlis said that the EU should act for the solution of the problem, in particular towards the signing of repatriation agreements with the migrants’ countries of origin and transit and the strengthening the EU’s border agency Frontex. Berlusconi struck a similar note, calling on all member states to contribute to efforts to tackle the problem.  The two Prime Ministers also discussed energy issues, especially the progress made in the two major projects currently underway, the South Stream and the Turkish-Greek-Italian (ITGI) natural gas pipelines.  “The agreement signed just Wednesday, July 15, between Greece and Bulgaria for an offshoot of ITGI gives this project even greater importance,” said the Greek PM.

EU Solidarity Needed to Tackle Migration

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Acknowledging Greece’s concerns on the problem of illegal immigration, EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Jacques Barrot expressed fears that the uncontrolled influx of illegal immigrants could threaten stability in the reception countries and called for solidarity within the EU – an issue that will be raised Thursday, july 16,  at an informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs EU ministers in Stockholm. Barrot warned that the influx of immigrants and refugees threatens to destabilize certain countries, including Greece. The Commissioner expressed understanding for the particular problems faced by Mediterranean countries, noting that, if these were left by their EU partners to deal with the issue on their own, the problem would probably be exploited by extremists.  The issue of illegal immigration is going to be at the centre of talks Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis held Wednesday, july 15, in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi.  Kathimerini daily: Dramatic appeal on migrants by Barrot

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

Greece: Migrant Parents Learning Greek

MigrantsMigrant mothers and fathers of young children can enrol in a growing Greek language and history educational programme beginning in September 2009.  A continuation of “Mom Learns Greek,” which started in 2008, the new sessions have spots for 800 mothers. The project is organised by City of Athens’s Development Agency, and  Migrant Services, the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute and the Education Ministry’s Vocational Guidance Centre.  The 2008 programme began with one section and in January 2009 had grown to seven sections. In total, 740 migrant parents have taken part. Free of charge, it is part of the larger framework of the “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows” of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals.  Athens Plus (3.7.2009): More migrant moms learning Greek  ( p. 17)

EU Aid for Migration Comes with Terms

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The European Union through its representative Vice-president of the European Commission and responsible for justice, freedom and security, Jacques Barrot pledged to assist Greece in its efforts to deal with the influx of migrants, but said that the country must improve the process of reviewing asylum applications with the involvement of specialists, and make better provision for vulnerable migrant groups such as women and children.  Barrot, who is currently visiting Greece attending the works of the European Popular Party’s Study Days, met with both the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister, reassuring them that the European Union intends to pressure Turkey to honour its bilateral agreement with Greece. Barrot also said the EC would help Turkey strike up repatriation agreements with migrants’ countries of origin.  Kathimerini daily: EU vows to help with immgration; Greek News Agenda: Diplomacy on Migration & Illegal Migration: Going European 

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. 

Book for the Greek Diaspora

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greek Diaspora and Migration since 1700, Society, Politics and Culture, edited by Dimitris Tziovas, University of Birmingham, UK, Ashgate, May 2009. The Greek diaspora is one of the paradigmatic historical diasporas. Though some trace its origins to ancient Greek colonies, it is really a more modern phenomenon. Diaspora, exile and immigration represent three successive phases in Modern Greek history and they are useful vantage points from which to analyse changes in Greek society, politics and culture over the last three centuries.   Modern Greek Studies Association:  www.mgsa.org (North America) & Journal of Modern Greek Studies: www.press.jhu.edu/journals; European Society for Modern Greek Studies: www.eens.org (Europe).  The Society for Modern Greek Studies: www.moderngreek.org.uk/society (Great Britain). International Communication Policy Forum: Interview with Professor Dimitris Tziovas (in Greek).

Greek Think Tanks

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   ELIAMEP Thesis 1/2009: Attempting the Impossible? The Prospects and Limits of Mobility Partnerships and Circular Migration  In ELIAMEP Thesis 1/2009 Anna Triandafyllidou, Senior Research Fellow at ELIAMEP, argues that mobility partnerships and circular migration as proposed by the Commission in its respective Communication are not likely to work. The author holds that many if not most neighbouring countries will be unable to comply and implement the conditions set by the EU. At the same time, it is questionable whether one should tie schemes of legal migration to the efficiency of the source country in combating irregular migration, as this is both economically irrational and politically questionable. ELIAMEP: Books, joint & team publications 

Migration Front Line

GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos has penned an article titled: “The migration front line,” in the daily “Guardian” (21.1.2009) on the issue of migration. Pavlopoulos acknowledges the problem of illegal immigration for both Greece and Europe, especially in these times of economic stress, as well as the necessity for co-ordinated action. Pavlopoulos mentions the specific measures the state has taken in order to cope with the increasing number of illegal immigrants entering Greece, i.e. the establishment of reception centres complying with UN specifications, the adherence of Greek legislation with the Geneva convention and other international treaties regarding asylum seekers and the “rational planning” of immigration policy. Furthermore, the minister stresses the need for closer collaboration with the European Union, focusing on the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. This entails the operation of Frontex, the right of immigrants to be treated on a case-by-case basis under international law, upgrading of living standards, and other requirements. Finally, Pavlopoulos refers to the selection of Athens as the venue for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, in November 2009.

Illegal Immigration Population in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Hellenic Migration Policy Institute: “Estimate of the illegal immigrant population in Greece This paper calculates the number of illegal immigrants in Greece based on the Number of Foreign Students, on arrest and Deportation Data, on the Estimates of Immigrant Associations, on the Estimates of Local Authorities, as well as the Estimates of the Hellenic Police Force. There is now an extensive bibliography on modern immigration to Greece, which covers a broad range of problems relating to the inflow of large numbers of illegal immigrants after 1990, part of whom have become legal. However, limited efforts have been made to estimate the illegal immigrant populations existing in the country. The only safe estimates available as to the number of immigrants are those deriving from the three legalisation schemes and the 2001 census. During the 2001 census, 672,191 immigrants were in Greece (including those legalized under the 1998 legalisation scheme and those illegally staying in the country). 367,860 illegal immigrants applied for status in the legalisation scheme of 2001, but only 217,000 qualified for residence and employment permits. In the third legalisation scheme of year 2005, there were 145,000 applications, far below those of the two previous schemes. As a result of the three legalisation schemes carried out, a total of 604,215 valid residence and employment permits were granted to immigrants in Greece in 2005 and 695,979 permits in 2006. However, these data do not provide an accurate estimate of the illegal immigrant population, given that it remains unknown. The Hellenic Migration Policy Institute (www.imepo.gr)’s mission is to research and understand the phenomenon of migration and conduct studies, which contribute to the design and implementation of Greece’s  immigration policy. 

Athens to Host Global Forum on Migration, 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Next year, Athens will host the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), and the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation will undertake the organisation of the event – which will take place in November 2009. The GFMD is a voluntary, cross-border initiative launched by the UN secretary general’s office and aims to display the potential and challenges of international migration. The two-day forum is expected to be attended by 200 participants and representatives of non-governmental organisations from around the globe.  Hellenic Migration Policy Institute: www.imepo.gr

Greece: Questions and Answers for Immigrants

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A new brochure by the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute comprises 22 questions and their respective answers on the maun issues that all immigrants have to face during their stay in Greece: “I live in Greece, What should I know? 22 Questions & Answers on issues related to the everyday life of immigrants during their stay in Greece   The brochure is also available in the Greek, Albanian, Arabic, Chinese and Russian language.