Policy void is stoking tension

The situation in and around Aghios Panteleimonas Square in central Athens, where tensions between locals and a burgeoning population of migrants and refugees have been mounting for years and have even led to violence on numerous occasions, is threatening to spin out of control. People who live nearby and have firsthand experience of the situation speak about the area as though it were a war zone. The government has done next to nothing thus far on a practical level to deal with the pressing issue of illegal immigration, and, when it is asked to respond on the issue, officials either change the subject or make all sorts of vague comments. Greece needs a comprehensive policy to deal with illegal migration, first to stem the flow of new arrivals and then to manage the population that is already in the country. It also needs a comprehensive program to help immigrants who are in this country legally to become better assimilated into society. If the government does not begin to deal with this issue seriously, the consequences are anyone’s guess, though it is near certain that they will be dire.

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