10 March, 2007
The vice-president of the 'Andreas Papandreou' Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME) Maria Eleni Koppa, associate professor at Athens' Panteion University, addressed the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington on Thursday.
In her speech on “Migration and Security issues in Southeast Europe: the Greek perspective”, she described the current situation concerning migration flow in the era of globalization, underscoring its positive attributes and the western countries’ need for immigrants.
Koppa referred to the fact that thousands of immigrants flooded into Greece in the '90s after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. She underlined that the majority of migrants living in Greece come from Albania, with Albanians currently making up 67 percent of the foreign immigrant population in the country. She also referred to the assimilation and security problems that had arisen initially.
Koppa stated that Greece today is a multicultural society with 10 percent of its population being foreign immigrants.
Regarding illegal migrant trafficking by organized crime, she stated that Greece is a transit point and not a final destination for immigrants, who come mostly from countries in Asia and Middle East.
Greece's ambassador to Washington Alexandros Mallias in his address referred to the initiatives undertaken by Greece, such as the establishment of refugee camps in FYROM and Albania during the war in Kosovo to deal with the large refugee wave and the successful assimilation of large number of migrants into Greece.
Source: Athens News Agency