Greece and Europe’s immigrants February 2, 2011Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Yunanistan.
Tags: EU, Greece
Regarding the news article “Countries halt return of migrants to Greece” (Jan. 27): The Greek government is taking action to address the huge influx of illegal immigrants.
A presidential decree issued in November aims to immediately and reliably examine Greece’s backlog of more than 45,000 asylum claims.
In addition, all new requests for asylum will be covered by a law passed by Parliament in January.
The new law establishes three institutions: A central and regional office of Asylum Services; a Refugees Authority, which will examine appeals against decisions by the Asylum Services, with the participation of U.N. staff; a First Reception Service, as well as a Mobile Reception Unit, to insure a rapid screening by experts of each new asylum application, with emphasis on medical assistance and human rights.
The new law also provides for the incorporation of the E.U. directive regulating matters concerning the return of citizens of non-E.U. countries to their country of origin.
But putting aside Greece’s many efforts to address this Continent-wide problem, the long-standing E.U. policy of sending refugees back to the country of entry neither helps the dire refugee crisis nor does justice to the disproportionate burden placed on Greece, both in financial and administrative terms.
Efthymios Aravantinos, Paris
Press counselor, Embassy of Greece in France
Obama’s Cairo promise
In his 2009 Cairo speech, President Barack Obama acknowledged that tensions between the Western and Muslim worlds have “been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a cold war in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”
Mr. Obama failed to say directly that long after the fall of the Berlin Wall many of these countries were still being treated as proxies, with their leaders propped up by the West (including Hosni Mubarak).
A withdrawal of U.S. support for Mr. Mubarak would hasten his demise and enable Mr. Obama to live up to the commitments he made in that speech.