“We need to bring forward legislation to address this matter in a serious manner”
During the discussion of the refugee problem at the 33rd Meeting of the Regional Council, the Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou, stressed the need for transferring the necessary resources and implementing legislative amendments in order for Local Government to be able to address this issue effectively.
“Our country is facing a dual challenge: to guarantee security and respect the human rights of both citizens and refugees”, emphasized the Regional Governor.
The key points of her speech:
Despite bureaucratic obstacles and the difficult economic climate, the Region of Attica will fulfil and even exceed its responsibilities in order to meet these challenges.
We still have to go a long way before we can address the refugee problem while respecting human rights at the same time. This battle will be won only through concerted action taken by both the central and local governments.
To this end, I ask you to prepare a legislative amendment and a reform of the Kallikrates framework in order for the Region of Attica, being the main refugee hosting area, to acquire the supervisory and coordinating role necessary, and contribute effectively to planning, allocating and managing refugee flows within its spatial competence.
Therefore, we have to bring forward a sound legislative amendment, on the basis of relevant studies, which will facilitate the regions’ action in general and the actions of the Region of Attica in particular with regard to the handling of this issue. The amendment submitted by the Interior Ministry can form an initial basis on which to build a new, comprehensive legislation addressing fully this matter. This is a mandatory prerequisite in order to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles and enable the Region of Attica to take effective action.
Secondly, we request that all Kallikrates’s changes relating to the powers of Local Government be implemented immediately, in direct cooperation with the government, in order for Local Government to be equipped with the necessary institutional tools to address this problem.
Thirdly, these amendments should be accompanied by the transfer of appropriate resources to ensure decisions and initiatives are implemented. This is a critical prerequisite that should not be overlooked.
At the same time, we must not overlook the issue of human rights. In this context, we now need a mosque in Attica in order for Muslims to be able to perform their religious duties, and we also need cemeteries for both Muslims and Jews.
We need to take this decision in order to respect basic human rights and safeguard our national security.
We ought to make clear our determination to proceed with our actions, to strengthen our initiatives, which are already being implemented in cooperation with the various Mayors, to fight for an expansion of our institutional powers in order to tackle a European problem that needs to be addressed at a national level.
If these decisions are taken today and we proceed immediately with their implementation, then all of us will have risen to the occasion.