Migration flows in Greece: The way ahead
Monday 18 April – Tuesday 19 April 2016 Divani Caravel Hotel
1st International Conference on Migration Management
The European and Development Programs Division (E.D.P.D) of the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, as Programme Operator of the Programme " Capacity Building of National Asylum and Migration Management Systems" co-financed by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA Grants), organized successfully a two-day International Conference «MiGR2016 - Migration flows in Greece: the Way Ahead» which aimed to present all the aspects of migration in our country.
At the conference the Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Mr. Panagiotis Kouroumplis, the Norwegian Minister of Justice, responsible for Immigration and Integration Ms. Sylvi Listhaug, the Deputy Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction- Citizen Protection Mr. Nikolaos Toskas, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikos Xydakis, the Secretary General of Public Order Mr. Dimitrios Anagnostakis, the Secretary General for Reception Mr. Odysseas Voudouris, the Deputy Secretary General of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Mr. Tzanetos Philippakos, the Secretary General for Gender Equality Ms. Fotini Kouvela. The Ambassadors of Norway, Mr. Jørn Gjelstad, and of the Netherlands, Mr. Caspar Veldkamp, representing the Presidency of the European Union, attended the opening session.
During his opening remarks on the first day of the Conference, the Minister of Interior welcomed Ms. Sylvi Listhaug, and emphasized that the cooperation among the States of Europe is important and that the support provided by Norway in this field is highly appreciated by the Greek Authorities.
The Norwegian Minister Ms. Sylvi Listhaug, also addressed the Conference stating that visiting Greece, the country from where the great migratory flows to Europe start, made her understand the situation through Greek eyes.
All politicians as well as the two Ambassadors attended the official lunch on the Conference’s first day.
The Conference itself, was part of the EEA Grants scheme to reinforce the Bilateral Relations between Greece and Norway. Its purpose was to present a complete overview of migration matters in both countries. Several stakeholders of the migration system were invited and participated such as the Hellenic Police, represented by the Chief of Staff of Hellenic Police Lieutenant General Ms. Zacharoula Tsirigoti, and Police Major General Mr. Grigorakis Emmanuel, the Frontex, the First Reception Service and the Asylum Service, the International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, the National Centre for Social Solidarity and many institutions of civil society.
Norway and the European Union actively participated with the presentations of the Director General of UDI, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration,, the Norwegian Refugee Council, which supports Greek authorities by deploying staff in hosting structures for migrants, a representative of PRIO, the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, representatives of the European Commission, other academic institutions such as ECRE as well as several NGOs which are active in many regions of Greece with great migration and refugee presence. During the conference, the audience had the opportunity to attend audiovisual cultural events and exhibitions held in collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy and the First Reception Service.
The two-day Conference had as main conclusions the following:
a) There is a need for close cooperation between governmental and non-governmental bodies, with good coordination of all stakeholders in national asylum and migration system, in order to be able to address effectively the critical issues of the current migration situation,
b) The Relocation scheme of migrants is expected to bring the foreseen results in 2016, following the current mitigation actions.
c) During 2016 Greece has to face new challenges such as the effective implementation of the Agreement between the European Union and Turkey.
Finally, it should be noted that both the attendees of the conference and the representatives of UDI - the Programme Partner whose support at the Conference was valuable - commented positively on the organization of the MiGR2016 Conference, which helped to depict the current situation in both Greece and Norway.