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ND opposes migrant citizenship bill January 12, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Yunanistan.
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Main opposition New Democracy will vote against a tabled draft bill changing, among others, the country’s naturalisation code, ND leader Antonis Samaras underlined on Monday, referring to a high-profile initiative by the government to grant citizenship to eligible second-generation children of migrants.

Samaras, a former minister who recently assumed the party’s helm, also pledged to repeal any provisions of the draft bill when his party comes to power.

Moreover, the ND leader repeated his warning towards the government not to proceed with the mass legalisation of migrants, as he said, “without preconditions now being implemented by most European countries”.

“The government did not listen to this plea,” he charged, adding that he has already conveyed a memorandum to the relevant interior minister spelling out the reasons that ND’s deputies will oppose the draft bill.

“In the memo there are comparisons with measures taken by other European countries, so it can clearly be demonstrated that ND is within the European reasoning, whereas the government bill is beyond any reasoning; it simply serves obvious petty political expediencies,” he said.

Additionally, he said other European countries not faced with the wave of illegal immigration now plaguing Greece have, nevertheless, adopted stricter conditions for granting naturalisation and citizenship.

“Instead of being careful … we are moving away from common sense, our (European) partners and our own best interests,” he said.

Samaras said the specific draft bill will facilitate the even greater flow of illegal immigrants towards Greece, “who will merely have children in Greece, which in turn will automatically be granted Greek citizenship, thereby legalising their parents…”

“Greeks are a people, not a population. What transforms a ‘geographical area’ into a unified country and the ‘local population’ into a people is its identity,” he emphasised.

Samaras countered that the Greece-born children of legal migrants in the country should be granted, following an application, citizenship upon reaching adulthood and after completing nine years of compulsory education.

“Greece is an open, democratic society and we do not want to turn the country into a closed fortress, however, we will not allow it to become lawless,” he concluded.

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