EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR 7/10/19-14/11/19

“European Management of Migration: The EU, Greece and Turkey”

 

The Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the University of Athens organised an educational seminar titled “European Management of Migration: The EU, Greece and Turkey”, and announced up to 30 scholarships.

The seminar took place within the framework of the European project “European Governance of Migration: The External Dimensions” (2017-2020), co-funded by the European Commission and the University of Athens. The Scientific Coordinator of the project is Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence – University of Athens.

The course consisted of five weekly afternoon meetings, along with three researchers’ workshops and is addressed to university students, graduates, researchers of relevant specialties, students of police, military and coast guard academies, as well as to any interested person.

 

Overview 

Migration is a global phenomenon and various management efforts have been undertaken world- wide. This seminar focus on the roots of the massive migration/ refugee flows mainly from the East Mediterranean/ Middle East (i.e. Syria, Iraq. Lybia etc.) and their journey through Turkey to the EU. The seminar also examines the general theoretical and historical framework and the roles of transit countries, with the aim to identify the differences within the EU member states while further exploring Greece’s part.

Participants had the opportunity to be part of a research group and publish Policy papers or had an active role as rapporteurs. The programme also offered traineeship opportunities for university students, graduates, doctoral students or young professionals.

The lectures delivered in Greek and a distance learning option was also available.

 

Programme

Meeting Date Title
1st Monday 7/10/2019 Modern types of Migration- History and causes
2nd Thursday 10/10/2019 The 2015 refugee crisis and the EU management acts
3rd Monday 14/10/2019 The European crisis management- Recent developments
4th Thursday 17/10/2019 The role of Turkey
5th Monday 21/10/2019 The special role of Greece
Researchers Workshop Thursday 7/11/2019 1st researchers’ meeting
Researchers Workshop Monday 11/11/2019 2nd  researchers’ meeting
Researchers Workshop Thursday 14/11/2019 3rd researchers’ meeting

 

Recent Migration Types – Historical Context and Causes

 

The first session of the Educational Seminar “European Management of Migration in the Eastern Mediterranean: The EU, Greece and Turkey” titled “Recent Migration Types – Historical Context and Causes” was successfully help on October 7, 2019. Coordinator of the first seminar was Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the European Center of Excellence Jean Monnet. Speakers were Mrs Alexandra Tragaki, Associate Professor at Harokopio University, Mr Angelos, Tramountanis, Researcher at the National Center of Social Research, Mr Kostas Vlachopoulos, Researcher at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, and Mr Erasmia Roumana UNHCR representative.

 

The session began with the presentation of Ms Tragaki, who approached the demographic aspect of the phenomenon. Starting with the importance of the issue of migration as a regulator in the demographic composition of the European population, she analyzed in detail the concepts of migration. Through various theories that have been supported throughout the years, Ms Tragaki demonstrated the complexity of the causes that drive migration, and her analysis was completed by presenting key demographics, according to the latest UN data available on countries of origin and place of residence.

 

The second speaker, Mr. Tramountanis focused on the historical evolution of the issue of migration, since the emergence of slavery, as one of the first forms of forced displacement. Mr. Tramountanis also presented the political and economic context, as well as the different reasons that have influenced migration flows.

 

Mr. Vlahopoulos, a researcher who has dealt with the presentation of immigration in Greece since the early decades of the 20th century proceeded with his presentation provided particular statistics on the numbers of legal and irregular migrants by period, their countries of origin and their way of entry into the country, focusing on the recent past, from 1990 onwards, with particular emphasis on 2015, a landmark year for Greece, since then the number of people crossing the borders has increased by 20 times.

 

The seminar concluded with the presentation of Ms. Rοumana. The speaker focused on the role of the UNHCR, which began its course by ensuring the implementation of the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Refugee Status. She clarified the definition of refugees and economic migrants, and concluded with the presentation of the Global Compact on Refugees.

 

The session ended with participants discussing with the speakers and having the opportunity to ask for clarifications, express concerns and raise questions on the topic. The seminar was hosted at the European Public Law Agency (EPLO) conference hall in Plaka, Athens.

 

“The Refugee Crisis of 2015 and its European Management: Experience and Lessons”

 

The second session entitled “The Refugee Crisis of 2015 and its European Management: Experience and Lessons” was successfully held in the framework of the Training Seminar “European Management of Migration in the Eastern Mediterranean: The EU, Greece and Turkey.” on October 10th, 2019.

Coordinator of the second seminar was the Assistant Professor of the University of the Aegean and Director of the programme, Mr. Ioannis Stribis. Speakers were Mr. Stefanos Vallianatos, head of the Department of International Relations of the Hellenic Foundation for International Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Karageorgopoulos Vice Admiral of the Coast Guard and Director of the Security and Policing Division, Ms. Zaharoula Tsirigoti, former Lieutenant General of the Hellenic Police and Inspector General of Aliens and Border Protection Division, and Mr. Apostolos Veizis, Program Officer of “Doctors Without Borders”.

 

The session began with Mr Vallianatos’ presentation, who approached the phenomenon of migration by focusing on the factors behind its creation. He first analyzed the reasons why Greece is a country with increased refugee flows, as well as Europe’s role in enhancing them. He then referred to the complex historical, political, environmental and social factors that affect migration from Middle Eastern countries and pointed to the historical course of individual states, which has led, in many cases, to migration.

 

Following, Mr. Karageorgopoulos focused on the management and control of the maritime borders of the 2015 refugee crisis. He referred to the difficulty of Greece’s geographical characteristics in managing the migration phenomenon and analyzed in detail the dimension of the 2015 refugee crisis. He, finally, emphasized its response to all the parts involved and the challenges of rescue operations. He summed his speech by outlining some concerns for managing similar crises in the future.

 

Next speaker, Ms Tsirigoti, provided a historic overview of refugee flows in Greece over the last three decades, with an emphasis on the great refugee crisis of 2015, which increased the number of people crossing the country’s borders by 20 times. She then referred to the difficulties they faced due to inadequate infrastructures of the host country, as well as with the lack of support from Europe, while concluding her presentation by presenting the implications of the EU agreement with Turkey.

 

The session ended with the presentation of Mr. Veizis. The speaker focused on the medical and humanitarian aspect of dealing with the 2015 crisis, focusing on the effect of policies that followed and their impact on vulnerable people. He went on, by citing important data on refugee mental health and concluded by highlighting the challenges they faced and some suggestions for prevention.

 

The session ended with participants discussing with the speakers while having the opportunity to ask for clarifications, express concerns and raise questions on the topic. The seminar was hosted at the European Public Law Agency (EPLO) conference hall in Plaka, Athens.

 

“The European management of migration / refugee flows. Recent developments”

 

The 3rd session entitled “The European Management of Migration / Refugee Flows – Latest Developments” was successfully completed on October, 14th, 2019,  in the framework of the Training Seminar “The European Migration Management in the Eastern Mediterranean: EU, Greece and Turkey”. Coordinator of the seminar was Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the European Center of Excellence Jean Monnet. The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Koumoutsakos Georgios, Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection responsible for immigration policy.

 

The Deputy Minister underlined the geopolitical importance of Greece as a country of transit of migrant and refugee flows, while he also emphasized the need for EU co-operation on the issue of migration and refugee flows. This co-operation is essential as it serves the security interests of the EU and its Member States, therefore Greece as well. Presenting briefly the new government’s intentions on immigration policy, Mr. Koumoutsakos finished his speech with suggestions for more effective management of our borders. Indicatively, he pointed out the need to strengthen the second instance committees handling asylum requests and to define more clearly the vulnerability criteria for those in need of protection.

 

Mr. Georgios Markopouliotis, head of the European Union Delegation in Greece, began his speech with a brief overview of the Union’s objectives in the field of migration. The speaker focused on the strengthening of solidarity between Member States, which he emphasized as necessary for more efficient flow management and fight against traffickers’ tactics. As he has pointed out, this is a long-term and integrated effort that requires sustainable structures rather than ad hoc solutions.

 

Mr. Grigorios Apostolou, head of the Frontex Liaison Office in Greece, focused on the role of the Agency to coordinate operations at the Union’s external borders. In his speech, Mr. Apostolou delimited Frontex’s jurisdiction over that of the national authorities, outlined the measures taken after the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015, and concluded that Frontex could work with third countries outside the Union with the aim of safeguarding the external borders.

 

The session continued with the speech of Mr. Dimitrios Pagidas, Head of the Athens Office of EASO, who in turn presented the contribution of the Office resulting to more efficient management of asylum procedures. According to Mr Pagidas, there is room for improvement in the process of implementation of a common asylum system, such as the harmonization of procedures and the encouragement of solidarity between states.

 

Last speaker, Ms. Emmanouela Tsapouli, the UNHCR representative, provided a clear picture of the current situation, including a large number of statistics in her presentation. Ms Tsapouli stressed the increasing trend of asylum requests in Greece since 2015, despite the gradual decrease in the number of refugees and migrants arriving. In conclusion, she presented the UNHCR’s proposals on the ongoing debate on the reform of the Common European Asylum System.

 

The session ended with participants discussing with the speakers and having the opportunity to ask for clarifications, express concerns and raise questions on the topic. The seminar was hosted at the European Public Law Agency (EPLO) conference hall in Plaka, Athens.

 

 

 

“The Role of Turkey”

 

The 4th session in the framework of the Training Seminar “European Management of Migration in the Eastern Mediterranean: The EU, Greece and Turkey” entitled “The Role of Turkey” was successfully completed on October 10th, 2019.

 

Coordinator of the seminar was Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the European Center of Excellence Jean Monnet. Speakers were Mr. Konstantinos Filis, Executive Director of the Institute of International Relations, Mr. Kostas Ifantis, Professor of Panteion University and Kadir Has University and Secretary General of the European Center for Excellence Jean Monnet and Mr. Thanos Dokos Director General Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).

 

During the opening speech of the seminar, Mr. Konstantinos Filis focused on the phenomenon of Syrians residing in Turkey and how the issue is being managed by the Turkish government. It began by detailing the demographics of Syrians’ presence in Turkish territory since the outbreak of the 2011 war to date and referred to events that affected the sharp increase in flows from 2015 onwards, such as the strengthening of the Islamic State and Russian intervention in the Syria. He then analyzed Turkish policy towards the Syrians and the Turkish president’s proclamation of “security zones”, as opposed to the more favorable policies they had faced in the past. Finally, he pointed to the large number of refugees and immigrants that Turkey has to manage, a tool which he uses as a lever for pressure on the European Union.

 

Mr. Kostas Yfantis then spoke, who in turn highlighted Turkey’s role as host to the largest number of refugees and immigrants from any other country in the world, as well as the financial burden of the phenomenon this. He added that the Turkish government’s policy against Syrian populations had a significant impact on increasing flows and continued with the analysis of post-2015 Turkish foreign policy, which is security-oriented and seeks strategic alliances beyond NATO. Finally, he referred to the position of the Syrian Kurds in the Turkish perception of security and analyzed the aims of the Turkish intervention in Syria.

 

The seminar concluded with a presentation by Mr. Thanos Dokos, who analyzed, in detail, the factors driving global migration, such as economic growth and conflict. He then continued by explaining the reasons why Europe is an important migration destination, such as increased employment opportunities. He characteristically said that the phenomenon of increased flows is causing important dilemmas such as security issues and social stability problems. He concluded his speech by presenting the Turkish policy on refugee management.

 

In the discussion that followed, attendees were able to share their professional experience and develop their concerns. The seminar was hosted at the European Public Law Agency (EPLO, Polygentou Street 2 and Dioskourou, Plaka, Athens.

 

“The Special Role of Greece”

 

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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