Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.




Order by : Name | Date | Hits [ Ascendant ]

Obligatory Solidarity: Does the EU Need a Formula for Redistributing Asylum-seekers Internally?

Date added: 11/08/2012
Date modified: 11/08/2012
Filesize: 242.5 kB
Downloads: 879

Roderick Parkes and Natascha Zaun

Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM)

In the wake of recent EU Council conclusions on "practical solidarity" between EU states, and with a refugee crisis brewing in Syria, debate has reignited about the burden on certain Member States and the need for a system to redistribute asylum-seekers throughout the EU.
This idea has been greeted with scepticism by governments since it contradicts the logic driving current efforts towards the EU-wide harmonisation of asylum law. In fact, precisely because this idea goes against misguided efforts at harmonisation it should be recommended.

GREECE Report prepared for the SOPEMI 2010 meeting

Date added: 08/09/2012
Date modified: 08/09/2012
Filesize: 597.01 kB
Downloads: 1295




Anna Triandafyllidou and Michaela Maroufof


Greece has not been hit particularly hard by the global conomic recession that started in 2008. Actually the effects of the recession and the internal acute crisis of public finances became visible only in late 2009. The Greek crisis is less connected to the global financial recession and more to structural problems of the Greek economy (low productivity, low competitiveness), the segmentation of the Greek labour market and a public debt that has skyrocketed during the last years.
The drastic austerity measures adopted by the Greek government in spring 2010, imposed to a large extent to Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have included horizontal cuts in the salaries of public employees, increases in both direct and indirect taxes, cuts in public expenses including for instance the abolition of certain semi-public bodies and agencies and the reduction of certain types of welfare allowances. In parallel the government has introduced important changes in the national welfare and pension system, increasing the age of retirement and abolishing a large number of exceptions to the general regime, including those aimed at mothers with children who previously could retire much earlier. Further cuts in social services and welfare provisions are actually expected in the coming months as well as structural changes such as the liberalisation of all the closed professions (transport, lawyers, chemists, butchers, notaries, auditors) and of the energy market. The crisis and the measures taken to reduce the public debt and re-organise the state finances have had both a material and a psychological effect on the Greek market.
Consumption has decreased dramatically hitting hard the retail and overall trade sector as well as leisure services such as tourism and catering. Households have reduced their expenditure for vacation or eating out and have postponed or indeed cancelled any plans for the purchase of more durable goods (e.g. electric appliances, cars, but also of course the purchase of a home). For some the reason has been that they can no longer afford it, for others it was a precautionary measure, to save money and wait to see how the situation will develop in the near future. Banks have become extremely careful in giving loans to customers by fear that they will fail to repay them.
The crisis has led to an increase in unemployment rates, which in October 2010 climbed at 13.5%. However, the crisis has hit hardest the economic sectors where immigrants are largely employed. Construction in particular has been receding already in 2008-2009 as a result of the global recession but currently has reached a stalemate. The estate market is in crisis and constructors are not developing new housing projects. At the same time public works have been stopped or reduced in size, some have been postponed for the future.




GREECE: Report prepared for the SOPEMI 2011 meeting

Date added: 08/09/2012
Date modified: 08/09/2012
Filesize: 1.51 MB
Downloads: 820

Anna Triandafyllidou

(with the assistance of Michaela Maroufof)

The main source of data on legally staying immigrants in Greece is the stay permit database of the Ministry for the Protection of the Citizen (former Ministry of Interior).Table 2.1.1 and Graph 2.1.1 below present the legal migrant stock in Greece from January 2004 till December 2011 (estimate), excluding seasonal migrant workers.
The highest number of legal migrants present in Greece was registered in January 2010 with over 600,000 valid permits. Since then there is a continuous decrease in the number of valid stay permits, which fell to just over 550,000 at the end of 2010 (553,916 on 1 December 2010) while it is expected that on 1 December 2011 the number of valid stay permits will be more than 100,000 lower, i.e. 447,658.

Migrant Integration in Europe: What role for the media?

Date added: 07/31/2012
Date modified: 07/31/2012
Filesize: 200.65 kB
Downloads: 768


MEDIVA Project, co-funded by the European Fund for Integration of Third Country Nationals


Media in new migration countries (such as Ireland, Italy and Greece) cover migration related news rarely (between 0.5% and 1.5% of total news items). In the MEDIVA Diversity Indicators we have adopted a rule of thumb: migration-related news should be roughly equal to the percentage of migrants in a country's population. It is clear that this is not the case in countries that have  experienced incoming flows in the last 20 years.

Media in the old migration countries are much more aware of migration issues although this is clearly more the case in the Netherlands than in the United Kingdom. The selected Dutch media reviewed cover a wide range of migration related topics and news items (accounting for between 9% and 15% of total news items). In the UK the percentage of migration or migrant related news ranges between 1% and 7%, much lower than in the Netherlands but close to the overall  percentage of migrant and ethnic minority population in the country.

Migration is not yet a 'news' issue in Poland as migrants represent approx. 1% of the total population. There were hardly any stories covered in the media outlets reviewed. Within this quite limited coverage, migrants are represented in neutral or positive terms in the selected Irish media while the representation of migrants and migration is markedly negative in Italy and Greece (with
50% or more of news items on migration presenting migration as something negative for society or the economy). The few times when migrants are represented as active subjects taking part in social life, they are 'doing bad things' (e.g. provoking conflict, causing harm or indeed committing crimes). Of course there are notable exceptions of positive stories about migrants in the selected media of the three 'new' host countries.

In the selected Dutch media migrants have a more positive and more active presence: they are quoted in many of the news that concern them. In the Dutch TV news channels (both public  broadcasting and private commercial channel), this was the case in 50% of the items. Migrants were represented and quoted also in mainstream news, in particular in the Dutch commercial TV channel investigated.

Migrants and (In)tolerance Discourses in Greek politics

Date added: 07/31/2012
Date modified: 07/31/2012
Filesize: 712.22 kB
Downloads: 816


During the last 20 years the country has been rapidly transformed from a migrant sending to a migrant receiving country and currently about 0.8 million of its 11 million population is of foreign origin. Moreover, during the last three years Greece has been faced with a European and international migration crisis: while increasing numbers of people are fleeing war and poverty from Asia and Africa, the Greek Turkish border has become the main gate to Europe. The onset of the current financial crisis in early 2010 has deteriorated the situation. Unemployment grew dramatically among long term settled immigrants and working class natives. There has been an important increase in the crime rate and a generalized sense of insecurity in the centre of the capital of the country, while adding to this, extreme right wing groups have taken the situation ‘in their hands’. Departing from images and incidents taking place in the centre of Athens, an all the more xenophobic discourse started spreading and dominating the way public opinion interprets the ‘other’ living in the city. Large parts of society appear as prone to morally accept incidents of racist violence and hate speech.
Central to this change has been the unprecedented rise of far right parties, actions and discourse in the public sphere. LAOS (The People's Orthodox Rally), is considered to be an extreme right wing formation that won 5.63% of the vote in 2009 national elections and 7.14% for the elections for the European Parliament. LAOS has participated in the provisional grand coalition government formed to deal with the crisis (from November 2011 till February 2012) thus further legitimising its position in the Greek political system. Golden Dawn, on the other hand, is a nationalist far right organization, whose members have been repeatedly accused of carrying out acts of violence and hate crimes against immigrants, political opponents and ethnic minorities. Golden Dawn, with a clear racist and Nazi political position, operates in certain ‘troubled’ urban areas in terms of ‘field work’ and establishes a state within a state offering security to local residents. This radical organization won a sit in municipal elections in the city of Athens (5.3%) and entered the parliament in 2012 national elections getting an 6,97% of the national vote.
This re-composition of the extreme right in the country runs in parallel with a conservative unfolding of Greek identity and a generalized political crisis unfolding in the 1990s, since when sensitive issues of national identity have re emerged and national particularities surfaced as the opposite pole to reform and globalization. Such a tendency appears severely intensified during the current crisis. However, the relationship and dynamics between the extreme right discourse and mainstream public opinion, party and official state discourse in Greece has not been thoroughly studied.
This study explores the recent discourses on diversity and tolerance in Greek political life. It investigates what has been defined by different political actors as intolerable, tolerable or acceptable cultural difference – hence it questions what intolerance/tolerance/acceptance means for each actor and how they re-define and use it to draw boundaries in Greek society. These boundaries cut across and overlap with different dimensions: natives/nationals and Others/aliens, tolerant and intolerant people/parties, racist and non-racist, democratic and authoritarian, right wing vs. left wing forces.
We examine here the political and discursive deployment of toleration in two different case studies and see how tolerance relies on the construction of images of ‘ingroup’ and ‘outgroup’. Our main scope is to gain a better understanding of why and when some aspects of difference are rejected. We seek to answer the question what kind of difference is tolerable/acceptable in Greek society and why? We also examine whether Greek society is becoming more or less tolerant towards specific groups and why.