Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Safety comes first

COMMENT

TAGS: Migration, Terrorism

There is no way the European Union can stand in for the Greek state in some of the obligations the latter has.

The refugee crisis is by no means over. In fact, many people think that the agreement between the EU and Turkey regarding the resettlement of migrants is hanging by a thread. There are fears that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will turn on the so-called tap in order to use the flow of refugees as leverage against a Europe that is clearly weak at the moment. The officials that are dealing with this issue do not even want to think about if this disastrous possibility becomes reality. The Greek state and government have come up short on this issue until now. There is ample funding available but Greece has been unable to absorb this money so far.

Very experienced European nongovernmental organizations find it very difficult to believe that a European country can display such dysfunction. Even the construction of hosting facilities in areas that have been chosen specifically for this purpose has proved difficult due to bureaucratic and legal complications.

Greece, however, has to take measures in the area of security as well. It is clear that this is what Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas had on his mind when he recently apologized to one of his predecessors for criticizing him for the reception conditions when he was in office.

The time has come for the government to overcome any reservations it has and to create closed and guarded facilities for illegal migrants. Their constant mixing with genuine refugees creates an explosive situation and lays the basis for the radicalization of some of these people.

We are facing the possibility that we will see an incident in Greece similar to the attacks that have taken place in other parts of Europe. The country’s security forces are extremely stretched and possibly unprepared to deal with such events. It is wrong for us to assume that Greece is not vulnerable to Islamist terrorism or extremist lone wolves.

Today’s situation has nothing to do with that in the 1980s, when Greece had some kind of informal protection. We have to make sure we are ready to prevent developments that would have an extremely high economic cost and unpredictable political and social consequences.

Those who follow these matters closely are deeply concerned. This is not scaremongering, it is the logical consequence of what is happening around us. We are only a short distance from the action and it is easy to get across our border.

Since our country does not have a tendency to focus on security issues, to act methodically and to plan, it would be best if we prepare for the worse so we might have a chance of preventing it.

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