Greece

Immigrants - Minorities

During the last 20 years, Greece has experienced big changes: revenue increases, empowerment of the democratic institutions and creation of new infrastructure works. At the same time, entering the European Union facilitated the spread of people, funds, goods and ideas. In a relatively small period of time, Greece became a country with many migrants who came seeking for a better life, and also, a country with a significant investing presence abroad. Basic country data were shifted as well as established mentalities, attitudes and behaviors, due to the increasing communications, as well as to the "osmosis" with people and institutions of third countries.
In today's Greece, one can encounter a "migrant mosaic" that reaches 10% of the total population and which originates from countries with different cultural, historical, political and social status. Apart from the two major national-cultural groups, the Muslims and the Roma people, since the mid-'80s and mostly during the '90s, there were other migrants of Greek origin, such as the Russian-Pontiacs repatriates and those originated from North Epirus, migrants from former communist countries of the Balkans and of Eastern Europe, as well as citizens coming from countries of Asia and Africa. In a smaller degree, there was the repatriation of Greek migrant people from Western Europe, America and Australia, as well as the migration of citizens of western countries.
As a result of this migratory flow, coexistence problems with the indigenous people appeared based on the migrants' diversity in many fields, such as their position in the Greek labor market, in economy, as well as their limited social presence in the local society. The socio-cultural changes influenced also the Greek school. Today, approximately 10% of the pupils who study in Greek schools have a different cultural origin and another mother-tongue language than the Greek one.
The state initiative develops a few and insufficient activities regarding every citizen of a third country who legally lives in Greece, while, in certain occasions, young people, old people, women and other individuals who belong to social vulnerable groups receive state care. It should be noted that some of the activities developed may concern in a period of time before the entrance of the migrants in the country, that is, in the period that they are still in their country of origin, while the rest of the activities are implemented in all levels of governance (central, regional, local) with the active involvement of all stakeholders (NGOs, migrant communities, social partners etc).
Regarding the educational services, measures and policies have been taken aiming to the creation of proper conditions in order for migrant people to be interested as well as included in the Greek educational system; however, the existing institutional framework is not being actually and properly implemented.
Regarding the provision of health and accommodation services, measures and policies have been developed aiming to the creation of proper conditions in order for migrant people easily access and use these services; however, those migrants who lack legal papers deal with great difficulties accessing the health system and usually they are being excluded.
Regarding the migration policies, it should be noted that there is the great need for an improvement of the administration concerning the process of the migrants' legalization and a more realistic treatment regarding the process of their entrance, residence and issuance of legal documents, as well as the need of accessing to enfranchisement rights, especially for the migrants of second and third generation. It is also necessary a more dynamic approach regarding their social inclusion and, at this point, the examination of the experiences of other EU members could be useful for the administration and the formation of migratory policies in Greece. Furthermore, it is imperative for the EU and the EU members to coordinate and update their migratory policies, in a way that will enable migrant people to organize future plans for themselves, as well as their families.

 

Following there is a list of useful links to Greek websites concerning migration issues: 

Minority Groups Research Centre - www.kemo.gr
Greek Council for the Refugee - www.gcr.gr
Hellenic Migration Policy Institute - www.imepo.gr
PR.A.K.S.I.S - Projects for Development, Social Support and Medical Cooperation - www.praksis.gr
Social Solidarity - www.so-sol.gr
ANTHROPOS - Portal for NGOs in Greece - www.anthropos.gr
UNESCO Centre for Women and Peace in the Balkan Countries - www.unescocenter.gr
Greek Helsinki Monitor - www.greekhelsinki.gr