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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-22

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM chairs cabinet meeting on immigrants

  • [01] PM chairs cabinet meeting on immigrants

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday chaired a cabinet meeting which focused on an interior ministry's bill that grants citizenship to overseas Greeks and immigrants.

    "Granting citizenship to overseas Greeks and immigrants is a wager that Greece has no right not to win," the premier said, noting that conditions of security, safety and social justice should be created.

    The transfer of populations, as he said, "has reached dimensions that cannot be controlled and it is natural that this provokes concern."

    "The changes that are taking place are touching even our identity," Papandreou noted, indicating that "fear is a bad guide and we cannot have security if we do not include into our society alsoo those who live in our country."

    He further termed as "positive the fact that all Greek political parties agreed in principle, apart from some extremist elaments, with the way the government touches the issue, and this gives a new dimension of patriotism, based on an open society."

    Papandreou also announced the UN's High Commissioner on Refugees Antonio Gutieres was expected in Athens.

    On his part, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis said that European Union policies were directed towards incorporating immigrants.

    The bill, as the minister said, "opens the door to second generation immigrants, the institution of naturalization is being harmonised with the state of law and the right to vote and be elected is being granted to overseas Greeks and immigrants leaving for a long time in Greece."

    According to estimates, some 250,000 overseas Greeks and immigrants are expected to participate in next year's local government elections.

    Only those that were born and have been living in Greece for more than five years, the children that are born in Greece and are being declared by their parents as well as children that have been studying in Greek schools for many years, have the right to become Greek citizens.

    The cabinet also discussed the issue of road safety, while the prime minister set, as his government's target, the reduction of road accidents by 40 per cent until 2015.

    Archbishop attends cabinet meeting

    Security, justice and humane treatment is the aim of the government's migrant policy, Prime Minister Papandreou told the cabinet meeting, also attended by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.

    This was the first time that a Primate of the Church of Greece attends a cabinet meeting.

    The prime minister also said he was "shocked" by "the pain of the planet" gathered at the Centre for Homeless and Immigrants of the City of Athens, which he had visited earlier in the day accompanied by the Archbishop.

    Papandreou underlined that tackling the problems of human beings could be the "foundation for a cooperation between the State and the Church," adding that the Archbishop's presence at the cabinet meeting underlined the government's recognition to the Church's humane contribution.

    The premier said that immigrants in the country "constitute a large part of the Greek society", adding that "all those who persist in treating immigrants as second class citizens delude themselves in front of the problems that may arise."

    "Our migrant policy's aims are security, justice and humane treatment," Papandreou said, underlining that it was the State's obligation to support the Church in its work.

    On his part, Archbishop Ieronymos said that the Church has prepared special programmes for homeless and poor people. He also asked the State's help for part of the property owned by the Church to be used in welfare and philanthropic action.

    Ieronymos also invited the prime minister to attend a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Church.


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