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Refugees: Visit of a Congress delegation in Attica Region, Greece

At the invitation of Rena Dourou, Governor of the Attica Region, the Council of Europe Congress President Jean-Claude Frécon paid a visit to this region from 6 to 7 September 2016, accompanied by a delegation, to examine the Region’s policy for receiving and integrating refugees. They visited, in particular, the Elaionas and Skaramargas camps, as well as the Logistics centre for the supply of relief items for the refugees. This visit to Attica took place in the context of the preparation of the report “From reception to integration: the role of local and regional authorities facing migration” by the co-rapporteurs Yoomi Renström (Sweden, SOC) and György Illes (Hungary, ILDG) who were members of the delegation. The report will be submitted to the Current Affairs Committee for approval in October 2016 and subsequently to the Congress for adoption at the March 2017 session.
Press release

 
Meeting with the Governor of Attica Region
The President of the Congress and his delegation held a meeting with Governor Dourou and her colleagues to examine the Region’s policy for receiving and integrating refugees. “In the Attica Region, and throughout the whole of Europe, the problem is not only the reception but also the integration of refugees” said Governor Dourou, stressing the political necessity of establishing a network of European regions to jointly discuss the priorities and practical steps that need to be taken. An initiative supported by Jean-Claude Frécon. “The Congress must persuade national governments of the extreme urgency of involving local and regional authorities in the solutions applied by the national authorities” he added, pointing out that to date, Europe had not always made full use of local and regional authorities’ initiatives and reception capacities.
 
KEDE: Congress President says local and regional authorities can help bring about a solution to the refugee crisis
“Greece must not become a giant refugee camp. Because of its geographical situation, your country is the first country of reception for refugee families before they are redirected to other European countries,” said Jean-Claude Frécon speaking to the members of the executive board of KEDE, the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, on 7 September 2016, during his visit to Attica region. “The policy of ‘fend for yourself’, of closed borders and administrative obstacles has no future and will only lead to the rise of populist movements everywhere. Our countries will achieve nothing of any value if they do not involve the local and regional authorities, because we in these authorities can help bring about a solution,” he said. The Congress President also held an exchange of views with Georges Patoulis, President of KEDE, Michalis Angelopoulos, Chair of the Greek delegation to the Congress, and with Greek elected representatives. They discussed implementation of the Congress recommendation adopted in 2015 following the monitoring of the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the possibility of a post-monitoring process.
Speech by Jean-Claude Frécon
 
"Local authorities have helped preserve the dignity of Europe by showing their humanity vis--vis refugees," says Greek Interior Minister
Congress President Jean-Claude Frécon and the President of KEDE (Central Union of Municipalities of Greece) Georges Patoulis, accompanied by Michalis Angelopoulos, Chair of the Greek delegation to the Congress, met Greek Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis on 7 September 2016, at the Interior Ministry in Athens. They held a broad exchange of views on the situation of local and regional authorities in Greece and also discussed the difficulties relating to the massive reception of refugees and the policies pursued at local and national level. “The local authorities have helped preserve the dignity of Europe by showing their humanity vis-à-vis refugees,” said the Greek Minister. In addition, one year after the adoption of the monitoring report on Greece, the Congress President asked the Minister about implementation of the recommendations in the report and the Greek government’s planned reforms. In particular, he welcomed the government’s willingness to engage in political dialogue with KEDE and the Greek local and regional authorities. Following these talks, the Congress President said he was confident that there would be fruitful political dialogue with central government, the Greek local and regional authorities and their associations.

PHOTOS - FLICKR

Meeting with Rena Dourou, Governor of Attica Region, and visit of the refugees camps
Meeting with KEDE - Central Union of Municipalities of Greece
Meeting with Greek Minister of Interior Panagiotis Kouroumplis
 
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31st SESSION - 19 to 31 October 2016

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