OPINION

Athens Law School madness

In vain we search for a rational explanation of the ludicrous events that are unfolding on Athens University?s Law School campus. Two groups of left-wing activists petitioned the university?s rector to allow them to accommodate some 300 immigrants on the school?s premises. The rector called a meeting with the relevant authorities to discuss the petition, which was, in turn, rejected. The decision reached by the rectory stated that any attempt to bring these migrants into the building would be deemed illegal.

Aware of the fact that the university has no security of its own, the rector of Athens University, according to his statement, contacted the office of the citizens? protection minister, outlined the problem he was facing and suggested, among other things, that police officers be posted outside the Law School campus to avert any attempt at bringing in the illegal migrants. The police claim that no such petition was ever made by the rector.

Let?s leave the head of Greece?s highest education institution to argue with the chief of public order over who is telling the truth and who is not. Because it is clear that the government did not feel obliged to act on the issue and preferred instead to dismiss the problem as being a matter of universities being out of bounds to police, placing the responsibility on the shoulders of university officials. The rector, meanwhile, suggested a meeting with the participation of the relevant ministers and local officials in order to discuss Greece?s immigration policy. The situation could not be more ludicrous.

The government obviously did not want to act pre-emptively because that would force it into a conflict with activists and migrants that would brand it as being anti-progressive. It is also obvious that the rector does not want the police to be brought in to expel the migrants that have been brought onto the Athens Law School campus illegally because he is afraid of a reaction from the student body. The result is that Greece looks like a country that is lacking in governance and has an inert state mechanism.

The Greek government has proven that it can only act on orders from third parties. Had immigration policy been a part of its bailout memorandum with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, a solution would have been found. Maybe it would be the wrong solution, but it would be a solution nonetheless. As things stand, education and immigration remain, to some extent at least, under the jurisdiction of Prime Minister George Papandreou?s government.