Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS)
Newsletter on Immigration to Greece
Editor: Ioannis Kolovos
77% of Greece’s population growth is due to immigration
According to Eurostat data Greece’s population grew by 35,000 people in 2009, 27,000 of whom were immigrants. The immigrant inflow to Greece is much higher than the EU average (2.4 compared to 1.7 per 1,000 inhabitants).
The relevant newspaper article (To Vima, 28/7/2010) can be found here (in Greek only)
A new independent Asylum Service is to be established
A special committee which reviewed Greece’s asylum policy recommends that a new independent asylum service should be established and that two asylum processes should be set up. Moreover, the 45,000 pending asylum cases should be reviewed by a special committee.
Dublin II Treaty makes illegal immigration issue worse for Greece
In 2009 Greece received 10,083 requests for the re-admission of illegal immigrants who were arrested in other EU countries but claimed to have entered through Greece. The number of requests almost doubled compared to 2008 (5,169 requests)
FRONTEX operational office to be based in Piraeus
The agreement for the establishment in Piraeus of a FRONTEX operational office for Southeast Mediterranean was signed on August 2nd by Citizen’s Protection Minister Mr Michalis Chryssochoidis and FRONTEX Executive Director Mr Ilkka Laitinen. This office will oversee the co-ordination of operations for the better guarding of EU’s external borders and will help combat illegal immigration. The office’s opening is scheduled to take place on October 1st.
State Department: Greece could be used as a transit route for terrorists
In its recent report on Terrorism in 2009, the State Department points out that “Greece is increasingly an EU entry point for illegal immigrants coming from the Middle East and South Asia and there was concern that it could be used as a transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United States. The number of illegal immigrants entering Greece, especially through the Aegean Sea, increased dramatically in 2008 and 2009, with more than 100,000 illegal immigrants, nearly half of whom originated from North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, arrested each year”.
The State Department’s full report can be read here (in English)
Circular 13: a real eye-opener!
Circular 13 of the Ministry of Interior lays down in some detail the way Citizenship Committees should inquire whether an applicant for Greek citizenship adequately meets all the criteria. Interestingly, the circular points out that a “sham marriage” or marriage of convenience should not result in the rejection of a citizenship application (p. 13)! Moreover, the circular emphasizes that the Committee should not ask questions regarding the political, philosophical and religious views of the candidate. One can only wonder how the committee will be able to trace elements of political extremism and/or religious fundamentalism without asking such questions!
The circular can be read in full (in Greek only) here
“Immigration cannot be dealt with smoothly”
Athens University of Economics and Business professor Theodore Lianos argues that the situation in Greece as far as immigration is concerned “is extremely unpleasant and at the same time it is impossible to be dealt with smoothly”. It would be interesting if professor Lianos expanded on his view and laid down a specific proposal on the issue.
Greece lays down its plan for the management of immigration flows
The Ministry for Citizen’s Protection has submitted to the European Commission the country’s National Action Plan for the Management of Immigration Flows. The plan deals with the issues of immigrant reception, detention and repatriation and with the process for asylum claims.