“The 2015 refugee crisis and its European management” 5/11/2018

The 2nd session titled “The refugee crisis of 2015 and its European management” took place in the context of the Training Seminar “The European Migration Management in the Eastern Mediterranean: The EU, Turkey and Greece” on November 5th, 2018. Coordinator was Professor Yannis Valinakis President of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence and the speakers were Dr. Stefanos Vallianatos Hellenic Culture Foundation representative, Konstantinos Filis, Director of Research of the Institute of International Relations, Ioannis Karageorgopoulos, Vice Commander of the Hellenic Coastguard. and Honorary Director of the Security and Policing Division, Ms. Angeliki Fanaki Director of the Hellenic Red Cross Programme Management Department and Doctor Apostolos Veizis, Project Manager of “Médecins Sans Frontières”.

Mr. Vallianatos referred to the origin of the migratory movements of the period, particularly affecting Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Special mention was made of the situation of Syria with the 250,000 dead, the ongoing embarrassment and ISIS, with the aim of establishing a territorial establishment. For this state, the consequences of non-existence and inability to form a civil society emerged.

He was followed by Mr. Konstantinos Filis, Director of Research at the Institute of International Relations, who developed the management aspect of the refugee issue on the part of the European Union. There were significant differences in the current crisis of 2015 compared to others, such as those of the 1990s. Special reference was made to the ways in which the refugee issue was met and the prevailing political formations.

Mr Karageorgopoulos stressed the fact that Greece, with a 2,000 km sea front and potential landing sites in 25 different Aegean islands, is a transit area and not an end destination. He also presented the official data and the percentage breakdown by nationality of the refugees who have landed in Greece and the rapid increase in flows from 2015 onwards, comparing them to the relevant statistics of the previous decade.

The Greek Red Cross was represented by Dr. Angeliki Fanaki who started her presentation with a video, with snapshots of the action in the field. Extensive reference was made to the question of the regular funding of the agency and the raising of additional funds from its headquarters in Switzerland. The speaker enhanced her speech by referring to the impact and great contribution of the volunteers in helping the beneficiaries.

The final speaker Mr. Apostolos Veizis, Program Officer of the organization “Doctors Without Borders” emphasized on the organization’s dual role: medical practice and testimony. Testimony refers to the accurate and clear reproduction of the real situation, both in the structures and in other areas, where the organisation operates. The presentation ended with a series of photographs about the real situation inside the camps.

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