“The Special Role of Greece” 21/10/2019

The educational seminar “European Management of Migration in the Eastern Mediterranean: The EU, Greece and Turkey” was successfully completed, with the last session titled “The Special Role of Greece”.

Coordinator of the seminar was Mr. Ioannis Stribis, Assistant Professor at the University of the Aegean and Programme Director of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence of the University of Athens. 

The opening speech was delivered by Mr. George Christianos, Deputy Commander of the Hellenic Coast Guard. The guest presented the strategies followed by the Coast Guard as part of its maritime surveillance, search and rescue service, with particular emphasis on the intensification of patrols in the eastern Aegean islands.

The focus was also on the need to continuously raise the issue in the EU, in order to assist it with financial and operational means, and to strengthen co-operation with the Turkish authorities. Finally, Mr. Christianos highlighted the problem of organized trafficking networks, the tactics followed by traffickers, as well as the dangers posed to navigation, concluding that the management of the migration-refugee issue is a challenge, not just for national authorities but for the whole EU.

Nest speaker was Mr. Dimitrios Mallios, Brigadier General and Commander in Chief of the Aliens and Border Protection Division of the Hellenic Police. During his speech, he dealt with the official actions that have been carried out at the land borders of the country since 2010 in the Evros region. Mr. Mallios focused, primarily, on the need to rationalize the process of examining asylum requests in order to give international protection status to those who are truly entitled to it.

Finally, Mr. George Lianos, Lieutenant Colonel of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, discussed the contribution of the armed forces to the management of the migration-refugee issue. Indicatively, he focused on hospitality structures operating inland, the provision of food, in particular, to informal structures, as well as to the functional and health needs to be met. His presentation was particularly enlightening about NATO’s contribution, in tackling organized trafficking in the Aegean, while acting as a stabilizing factor in the region. The Lieutenant Colonel concluded that the Armed Forces are responding to the increasing challenges of recent years, without departing from their main purpose of protecting the country’s security.

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