Greece: A tale of two migration stories. By G. BIRD & A.R. BEATTIE

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Monday, January 7, 2019
Greece: A tale of two migration stories. By G. BIRD & A.R. BEATTIE

Cite as: Bird, G. & A.R. Beattie, 2018, 'Greece: A tale of two migration stories', EUROPP European Policy and Politics.

Greece is in many ways a country of contradictions, a result of a financial crisis in 2008 of which the country still feels the effects, and a humanitarian crisis that consolidated them. A country that on the one hand welcomes tourists and investors, advertising the advantages of Greek (and subsequent EU) citizenship and, on the other hand, relies on the visual presence of Frontex to patrol its borders, and was one of the intended beneficiaries of the EU-Turkey deal and the subsequent planned returns it was supposed to facilitate. These contradictory migration policies establish a clear message of who is, and equally who is not, welcome. For the 16,000 refugees stuck on the islands as a result of the negotiated EU/Turkey deal the message is clear. They are not welcome.

These contradictions are visible in the very landscape of the country and within the policies and practices surrounding the experience of refugees and informal migrants. There is a tram stop, currently unused, just outside the Greek parliament buildings and the botanical gardens in the Syntagma region of Athens. The tram stop is being used to advertise for future citizens and it asks the question in Greek, English, Chinese and Arabic, ‘Dreaming of a new life in Greece or the EU?’. It then goes on to state, ‘Invest in property. Change your life!… Greece’s unique investment program provides Permanent Residency, ability to apply for citizenship and ability to register your company in Greece and 26 Schengen countries through a property investment of €250,000’.

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