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One third of the police is fighting illegal immigration

20 November 2010 / 14:11:35  GRReporter
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Ministry of citizens protection presented a bill, which it hopes will reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country. How is it going to achieve this?

First I want to say that the bill is one of the aspect of the comprehensive national action plan on the control of immigration flows, which was proposed in September and was adopted by the EU. The response was such that the competent Commissioner and the European authorities promised as a whole to fund the program for a period of three years. Ie based on any need, on every research and on the proposals that will arise for the parameters of the plan the appropriate funding will be provided.
In the first stage which is currently underway, very soon the Presidential Decree on the method of reviewing the previously collected applications for asylum will be ratified and published. We hope the guidelines will help to tackle this huge number of applications - nearly 54,000 – which we failed to address in recent years. Within its frames will act expert committees and committees which will deal only with processing of the applications.
Parallel is already discussed a draft, which was originally approved for a new Office of refuge, a new Office for first registration as well as for the process of implementation of the Directive 118 of 2008 on common standards and procedures applicable in the  Member States in the Greek legal system concerning the returning of illegally residing citizens of third countries. The Office for initial registration will consider whether an illegal immigrant should be deported or should be provided with international or any other type of protection. From there on, immigrants who wish to submit applications for asylum will be able to do so in one office which will only have this task. Ie it will not deal with immigration as a whole, as done before by the police. People who will work there will be specially trained to perform the specific work. All this system will co-operate with the other member states of the EU. We are open to any kind of cooperation.

And what will happen to the Dublin II Regulations, according to which Europe returns illegal immigrants in the first country where they entered through because it has the responsibility for carrying out the procedure for refugee status and for the decision whether to obtain such status?

We believe that the Dublin II Regulation is unfair because the moment we are a host country for 90% of the illegal immigrants as those who left Greece or are believed to have slided in and are located somewhere in Europe are returned back here. Ie on the one hand we have inflows from third countries and on the other hand coercive institutional inflows from the EU. Therefore, we believe that it is unfair to Greece to be forced to adopt this whole number of illegal immigrants. I also think that no EU member country could not withstand and cope with this influx of illegal immigration. Their number is very large. We are talking about 250-300 people a day. This forces us to use 1 / 3 of the police force in the country to deal only with illegal immigration. We understand that these people are unhappy, that they come from countries where civil wars are held or are governed by regimes that do not respect human rights. But on the other hand, they come in a small country that is in poor economic condition. This causes major problems in the social symbiosis.
We have already turned to the competent authorities of the EU and on a political level. The Prime Minister himself turned to his colleagues and told them that here we are talking about a blatant injustice to Greece, which is currently the "deep pot" of immigrants. All of them are here. And it is unfair for a country with a population of 11 million to deal with problems that amount to the 500 million population of Europe or, if you prefer, to deal with such problems in its economic status compared with the other member states. I think that the revision of the Dublin II Regulation will demonstrate in practice the meaning of solidarity in the EU.

When did these large flows of illegal immigrants begin?

What I can say is that over the past five years, flows have increased, but in the last 1-2 have grown tremendously. Last year, 126,000 immigrants were registered, and to date we have already pass 100,000 for this year. We think that maybe we will reach last year's number. Fortunately we have the help of Frontex and maybe we will register a decline in some percentage, especially in the last months of the year. But Frontex will be here for a period of time, for two months. And it is possible that after these two months the flow to increase again not because we can not protect our border, but because the EU will not be here. The Rapid Border Intervention Teams are located where there is a need for them for a period of two months. We hope that the cooperation will be good and that if the need arises, RABITs will come here again. Anyway, Frontex is only body responsible for the protection of the external borders of Europe. And because 90% of the general problem is here, we hope that Frontex will be here even after those two months. We believe that until the final solving of the problem the EU should be here with its operational forces.

Tags: illegal immigration European Union Frontex RABITS Athanasios Kokkalakis
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