NEWS

Deportation provision may return, says PM's aide

A contentious provision that would lead to any immigrants who make false claims against law enforcement officers being deported from Greece is likely to be brought to Parliament for a third time, the government’s general secretary Takis Baltakos said on Friday.

The proposal is part of a new immigration code that Parliament was debating this week. It was withdrawn after complaints from opposition parties and coalition partner PASOK. Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos intervened to have the provision removed from the bill a second time. But Baltakos insisted on Friday that such a law is needed.

“There are complaints from police unions across the country about false, groundless and unfair complaints against them,” he told Vima FM. “These affect the lives of humble people on 700 euros per month.”

Baltakos’s insistence, as well as his hardline views on a number of other issues, prompted Venizelos’s ire. The PASOK leader referred to the official, who is a close aide of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, as an “old problem.” He said this week’s tug of war over the provision was “comical.”

Balktakos, however, brushed off accusations that he has far-right beliefs. “Of course I am an anti-communist. That’s not in question,” he said. “I was born that way and that is how I will die.”

A Wall Street Journal article in December reported that during a meeting with an official from a human rights organization, Baltakos claimed that the government was “not interested in the human rights of foreigners.” The quote attributed to the prime minister’s aide was never denied by the government.

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