The Regional Governor of Attica, Ms Rena Dourou made an intervention during a meeting that was held at the Hellenic Parliament earlier today, on the occasion of the visit by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Sub-committees in our country, to address the dimensions of the refugee/migration crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean.

After stressing that the migrant/refugee phenomenon is probably the major phenomenon of the 21st century, the Regional Governor of Attica, Ms Rena Dourou, pointed out that ‘the matter of reception and integration of refugees/migrants we are faced with, is not a conjunctural but a systemic matter. On the one hand, it may put to the test the social cohesion of host societies, primarily the societies in which refugees/migrants are to be integrated. On the other hand, it is a matter illustrating the ongoing EU policy’. Ms Dourou continued that ‘it is a matter of human rights and security, both for the refugees/migrants and for the host/integration societies’.

Furthermore, after briefly presenting the steps taken by the Region of Attica with regard to the refugee crisis, the Regional Governor of Attica noted that the Region of Attica belongs to the category of host regions in which refugees/migrants ‘do not wish to settle permanently’. 

‘The case of Attica strongly suggests the need for: 1) clear legislative framework at European and national level, in order for local and regional authorities to be able to address the needs, 2) new financial tools, based on the principle of mutualisation of responsibility, accessible to the Regions. It is also important to ensure that the regions will have access to the existing financial tools as well as to relevant funds such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)’, underlined the Regional Governor of Attica, while stressing that the keyword is ‘new synergies to meet needs’. 

Key points of the speech made by the Regional Governor of Attica:

• The current situation has highlighted the deficiencies and shortcomings of the ongoing EU policy, the failure of the Dublin Regulation. It has also indicated that any threats of closing passes (as in the case of the Brenner pass in the North of Italy), sealing frontiers or raising fences do not really address the matter.

• The situation demonstrates the need for a truly common asylum system and a true European refugee and migration policy. A challenge to be addressed collectively, as all of us, in our respective roles, must bear the burden.

• The objective is to establish a kind of cooperation which, in order to be effective, must take account of all levels of governance, particularly those in the front line when it comes to dealing with issues raised by the refugee/migration.

• LRA’s can and must become part of the solution, not part of the problem. This will require resources and an appropriate legislative framework.