Whether one agrees or not with the views of historian Antonis Liakos – who said that Greece due its demographic problem needs to take in one million refugees – the government must take specific decisions regarding how refugees and migrants will be integrated into Greek society.

Only piecemeal measures have been taken to date and there is no comprehensive plan to address a longstanding problem.

One must not forget that in the 1990’s Greece grappled with an intense flow of migrants from Albania and former Warsaw Pact countries.

There was no comprehensive plan back then either and the issue was “self-regulated”, in contrast with other European countries that came up with efficient solutions that benefited both refugees and local societies.

A few days ago a report in the daily Ta Nea indicated that the agricultural development ministry is preparing a plan  – in collaboration with the ministries of migration and of labour and with the OAED unemployment bureau – to offer agricultural field work to refugees and migrants.

Essentially the government wants to establish an OAED for migrants with a similar registry of workers who can move to agricultural areas which have a labour shortage.

This is a positive move but it does not suffice. Much more must be done in cooperation with many more organisations because the problem is complex.

What is certain is that the country’s political leadership can no longer sweep the problem under the rug or pretend that it will be resolved on its own.

The government must take the bull by the horns immediately.


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