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Greece attempts to integrate immigrants

07 January 2010 / 16:01:52  GRReporter
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According to the index of integration Greece is on penultimate place in Europe. Petition supports the right of immigrants to gain citizenship and vote in elections after the acute xenophobic comments, which appeared online, where the draft of the Greek government’s new bill is uploaded. 

Meanwhile defenders of immigrant rights started a campaign on Facebook  called "you become Greek and are not born one." Greece occupies the last places in the list of European countries in terms of immigrant rights. The attempt of the government to update the legislation met sharp response from the far right. 

"The changes that the government plans regarding giving citizenship and the right to vote to immigrants are on average level compared with the laws which apply in other European countries," says the petition signed by teachers Miltos Pavlou and Prof. Anna Triandafilidou. The petition aims to collect signatures of citizens who wish to start a positive dialogue for the upcoming reform, since the bill was bombarded by xenophobic comments. 

"It is worth it to imagine a new Greek society," says title of the petition, which notes that because none of the previous governments did anything on time to deal with issues related to immigrants and the code for obtaining citizenship, Greece is last among all European countries regarding to the reforms.

The Migrant Integration Policy index of the European Organization ΜΙΡΕΧ, says that Greece is on penultimate place among 28 countries in Europe in terms of obtaining citizenship and grants the country with 25 out of 100 points. The last country in this list is Austria. In the other category of the index (participating in elections) Greece is third from the bottom, only with 14 points. After Greece are only Lithuania and Latvia, and in this category Austria has climbed to the 17th position with 32 points! 

Emigrants are treated the best in Sweden, which firmly occupies the first position, because it most successfully manages to integrate new citizens into the public and political life of the country. Emigrants there receive long-term residence permits and right to work, participate in the political life of the country by voting and are given citizenship. Also one of the first places occupies Portugal after the reforms in 2006.

These indexes show that Greece is not dealing well with integrating immigrants and establishing their rights. According to the two teachers Mr. Pavlou and Mrs. Triandafilidou nothing incredibly will happen after the bill is voted - Greece will only implement regulations give citizenship to immigrants, similar to that of EU countries. 

"After declaring xenophobic policy war for many years towards immigrants, Greece is among the minority of EU countries that prevent the participation of all immigrants in society. In half of the European countries immigrants have the right to vote and in 18% of them, immigrants can be elected during local elections," also says the petition.

The problem of the country is that its policy does not allow democratic participation of immigrants and those people serve only to produce goods. The petition also mentions some clarifications in connection with obtaining citizenship and a request to be given the right of immigrants with long-term residence permits to obtain the right to be elected in local elections. 

Tags: Immigration EU GreeceSociety
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