Five days before the elections, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras presented a package of measures that his party would apply, if elected, to solve two of the most pressing issues of Greek society: crime and illegal immigration.
In his introduction, he said that the security of citizens is a prerequisite for democracy. "In recent years, patrolling by police has been demonized and many crimes have remained unpunished," said the leader of the "blue".
"But this is only the political side of the problem. The lack of security is threatening jobs and development. In Greece, we were doing exactly the opposite of what other European countries were doing."
In the 12 measures, Antonis Samaras drew particular attention to the acts of hooded youths, rioting in central Athens and other cities as well as to illegal immigration.
The first suggestion of New Democracy is changing the legislation, the treatment of criminals and the procedural process for the capture and conviction of offenders. One of these measures is to capture the participants in the riots so that they can be identified and convicted. Here, Antonis Samaras gave the example of young people, who carry Molotov bombs in their rucksacks but cannot be arrested so easily.
The second measure is the introduction of means for limiting the perpetration of crimes, which do not jeopardize human life. "These are the tanks which spray water under pressure and are used during demonstrations in many European countries. It should be possible to isolate and capture individuals, who use violence." According to Antonis Samaras, these tanks could extinguish fires set in the streets. "We could possibly avoid the tragedy of Marfin Bank, if we had such facilities available," he added.
Thirdly, the "blue" stated increased police patrols in neighbourhoods, whether foot or motor patrols. "For this purpose it is necessary to exempt the police from doing bureaucratic work and integrate various types of police squads." For large urban centres, New Democracy suggested that police helicopters should be used. They should be equipped to capture the possible execution of criminal acts or a criminal’s attempts to escape from the authorities.
The fourth measure is the union of all departments dealing with organized crime cases.
Fifth, New Democracy suggested a change of attitude towards criminals. "All serious crimes should be considered one by one as well as how they are punished. For some, the penalties are insignificant, which prevents witnesses from testifying accurately, because they fear that the criminals will come out very soon and will most likely threaten or attack them." In this regard, Antonis Samaras proposed expansion of the witness protection programme.
The sixth suggestion is “relieving” the overcrowded Greek prisons. "This could happen by extraditing the foreign prisoners to their home countries, where they would serve the remainder of their sentence after the signing of interstate treaties. The second step is for the three new prisons, not functioning at present due to lack of staff, to start functioning immediately and third, changing the code of prisoners in order to break down the criminal gangs, operating inside the facilities themselves."
Antonis Samaras put tackling petty crime seventh and gave the example of areas, where large numbers of addicts gather. "Small criminal groups form in these places initially, which quickly grow into large gangs." He said drug addicts would be removed from the specific areas and treated as patients. Persons who have no dependence on drugs, however, will be severely punished.
The eighth proposal of the New Democracy leader is making a doctrine of domestic security following the example of those existing in Western Europe.
The last three proposals are related to illegal immigration. "Illegal immigrants are not simply economic migrants. They have entered the country illegally and have already committed a crime in this way," said Antonis Samaras and determined as a mistake the legalization of all illegal immigrants and granting them the right to take their families to Greece, "as some others are promising."
In this regard, the "blue" think it is necessary to guard borders more effectively with the help of natural obstacles, i.e. fences and technical means, such as infrared cameras, and their findings should be submitted to the Turkish authorities and the forces of Frontex that should be increased.
The tenth measure is the establishment of reception and detention centres for illegal immigrants away from urban centres and the stay there will not be longer than the month preceding their extradition. "Newcomers and those captured for committing crimes will stay there at first."
Eleventh is the undertaking of a Europe-wide initiative for a new policy of giving asylum and extradition. "Diplomatic pressure at European level should be exercised on the countries from which immigrants come in order to take them back," he said and pointed out that many of these countries say that immigrants are not their nationals. They, in turn, lie about their nationality in order to obtain the status of political refugees. Antonis Samaras stressed that Europe must take drastic measures to limit the influx of illegal immigrants in connection with Turkey. "This issue could become a condition for negotiations between Turkey and the European Union."