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Greece: President calls for greater solidarity

At the end of an official visit to Greece from 7 to 8 May, Anne Brasseur has welcomed the commitment by Greek politicians in their great majority to Council of Europe values, democracy and human rights, against a background of huge economic and financial difficulties, whilst calling on Council of Europe member states to show greater solidarity.

“I applaud Greece’s strong attachment to the values of the Council of Europe, to democracy and to human rights. Against a background of huge economic and financial difficulties, Greek politicians in their great majority are committed to those values. I am aware of the large sacrifices which Greek citizens are having to make. The population has suffered, and continues to suffer, from the budgetary restrictions which are necessary.

Greece faces two major challenges: the management of migratory movements and the combating of racism and xenophobia. But Greece can and must not fight these battles alone. As PACE emphasised in Resolution 1820 (2011), the world’s asylum seekers and refugees cannot be protected unless responsibilities are shared between States. We must show greater solidarity.

The fight against xenophobia, racism and mounting nationalism requires a single resolute response from all democratic parties, over and above political dividing lines. We need to find a common platform to bring to an end a dangerous tendency observed in Greece and elsewhere in Europe.”

During her visit she met the President of the Republic, the Speaker of Parliament, the Minister of the Interior, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Secretary General responsible for Civil Protection at the Ministry of Public Order and Civil Protection and representatives of parliamentary political groups. She also visited the police station at Petrou Ralli and spoke to some migrants being held in very difficult conditions. “While conditions of hygiene are being met, I was particularly dismayed by the extent of the restrictions on detainees’ freedom of movement and by their absence of prospects, which leave individuals in despair. We must work together to achieve standards which bring better conditions for persons held in such centres both in Greece and elsewhere in Europe,” she concluded.