PM Alexis Tsipras’ statement on World Refugee Day

ANA-MPA/ANDREA BONETTI

Prime Minister Tsipras’ statement on the World Refugee Day

The only way to manage the challenge of refugee flows is an integrated European approach

20 June 2019

World Refugee Day is a day dedicated to the uprooted all around the world that nowadays approximate 70 million people. The whole of the Old Continent, due to the drama of the violently displaced people during the past years, was called upon to reshape its collective conscience and to choose between xenophobia and racism on the one hand and hospitality and confirmation of the principles of humanity and solidarity on the other.

The Greek people stood before this challenge with bravery. They managed the largest population movement in Europe since WW II, demonstrating solidarity and humanity.

We set as our primary duty to walk the same path with tens of thousands of our fellow citizens, who supported in practice the protection of human life and human rights.

Today, approximately 75.000 people have access to healthcare services, while all the refugee-children have been vaccinated, according to the National Vaccination Programme.

In 2018 alone, Greece granted asylum to 15.806 applicants. During the school year 2018-2019, 12.500 children attended classes, either in the public schools or in Reception Structures for Refugee Children Education, while Nursery Schools operate in all Hospitality Structures and the Reception and Identification Centres.

For the integration of refugees and migrants in the Greek society, the designed and implemented programmes offer the following: a) Greek and English language lessons with 15,000 beneficiaries in a 3-year period, b) training and jobs in the agricultural sector for 2,000 international protection beneficiaries, c) training and jobs in the tourism sector, via the Manpower Employment Organisation ( OAED) for 3,000 international protection beneficiaries and d) skills recording of asylum seekers aiming at the facilitation of their access to the labour market.

The only way to manage the challenge of refugee flows, is an integrated European approach. A fair distribution of the burden within Europe is required, along with better cooperation with third countries. What people need most, in order not to leave their home, is peace. Our country, implementing an active foreign policy, constitutes a stability factor in a destabilized area.