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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
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Draft Law on Naturalisation and Voting

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a cabinet meeting yesterday that focused on a bill drafted by the Interior Ministry, which will grant new rights to expatriates and immigrants.

The bill – which has been approved by the cabinet – grants an estimated 250,000 immigrants legally residing in Greece more than five years and expatriates the right to elect and be elected in local government elections. Furthermore, the draft bill allows second generation immigrants to be naturalised.”Granting citizenship to overseas Greeks as well as immigrants is a wager that Greece has no right not to win,” the premier said, noting that conditions of security, safety, and social justice should be created. The transfer of populations, he noted, “has reached dimensions that cannot be controlled and it is natural that this provokes concern.”  The premier noted that he UN’s High Commissioner on Refugees Antonio Gutieres -who is expected in Athens – has approved these measures on immigration.