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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-16

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK spokesman on party's renewal
  • [02] Public less 'immigrant-friendly' than politicians

  • [01] PASOK spokesman on party's renewal

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, said on Wednesday that PASOK leader George Papandreou's proclaimed objective, ever since he took over the helm of the party, is for PASOK's renewal "and does not have age criteria but concerns structures."

    Athanassakis was responding to press reports regarding to what Papandreou was alleged to have said during statements he made on Tuesday to parliamentary reporters.

    The PASOK spokesman said that "nowhere in the press was the total two-and-a-half hour discussion presented" and that "only excerpts of what he said were reported."

    In reference to terms such as "placing in retirement" or "burdens", the spokesman clarified they were used by reporters and not by Papandreou himself.

    The PASOK spokesman added that "there will be no opposition between the old and young" generation, stressing that "in the new structures which have been shaped in PASOK, an old member to be constantly renewed cannot be excluded."

    Regarding the deputies, Athanassakis stressed that "the judgement on who will be elected or not, belongs exclusively to the people and this was reiterated yesterday by Mr. Papandreou," adding that "it is the people who 'place in retirement' or renew the mandate."

    [02] Public less 'immigrant-friendly' than politicians

    Greeks are particularly wary when it comes to immigrants and their contribution to the country according to a study conducted by Alpha Metrics, showing a divergence of views on the issue between the public and the country's political leadership, since both the government and the opposition have shown support for a policy that will 'embrace' immigrants and acknowledge their contribution.

    The study's findings were presented during a conference on immigration policy, organised by the Immigration Policy Institute (IMEPO) and the Hellenic Leadership Institute, on Wednesday.

    Of the 1,000 people interviewed throughout the country, 45% did not consider immigrants' presence in Greece beneficial at all; 32% considered it 'slightly' beneficial, while 22% expessed a positive attitude to immigrants living in Greece.

    Asked whether immigrants contribute to the country's economy, 32% responded "not at all"; 29% responded "slightly"; 28% said "considerably"; and 10% said "very much."

    Furthermore, 40% disagreed that immigrants have helped make Greek society more 'open', while 8% believed immigrants had contributed greatly in this respect.

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, who opened the conference, said that Greece has a long way to go in terms of adopting the right immigration policy. However, he noted that the recent law passed by the government is a significant step in this direction.

    Voulgarakis emphasised that Greece is not France and will never become France, adding that the country's political leadership wants Greece to be open to the "contradictions and developments of the times."

    On his part, Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis said that for years Greece did not have the "right" immigration policy, resulting in thousands of economic immigrants flocking to the country.

    He expressed optimism that the new law, drafted by the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation in cooperation with the Public Order Ministry, will help solve the problem.

    Deputy Minster of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Thanassis Nakos referred to the latest developments in Paris - where immigrants have been rioting for nearly three weeks - noting that these have brought the immigration issue to the international forefront in a particularly pressing way.

    Nakos referred to the ministry's programmes which aim to inform those interested in migrating to Greece as well as those who lived and worked in Greece previously and wish to return to their country.

    Deputy Labour and Social Protection Minister Nikos Angelopoulos said part of the problem is due to a lack of information, since immigrants contribute both to the country's economy and productivity and to the social security system.

    "The entry of 330,000 immigrants in the social security system was a shot in the arm," he said.

    "Immigrants must feel that they are participating in the quest for a common goal," main opposition PASOK MP Michalis Chryssohoidis pointed out.

    In order to achieve this, the government must make immigrants' integration a priority.

    Chryssohoidis added that realistic policies, that will not encourage xenophobic tendencies, are necessary.

    As for integration, he noted that it does not mean simply access to the job market, but political rights after a reasonable length of time, as well as rights to health care, education and welfare.

    Finally, IMEPO President Alexandros Zavos said that according to international organisations' reports, the French had been expecting the "explosion" that rocked Paris' suburbs.

    "We are learning from Europe's experience, we are studying the measures that the other 25 EU member states implement, but we are not adopting them indiscriminately and without adjusting them to Greek reality first," he added.

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