YouTube – Council of Europe

20181107 coe interview“The history of humanity is actually the history of migration. European history is one of the most telling examples. Especially these days, when the 35th Session of the Congress of the Council of Europe coincides with the events marking the 100th anniversary since the end of World War I, responsible, among other things, for the mass movement of people. Periods of economic crisis as well as climate change are creating new refugee and migration flows, thus testing the coherence of European societies and the resilience of core European values.” This was stressed, inter alia, by the Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou in her mediabox interview on the occasion of theCongress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe 35th session in Strasbourg.

A long lasting battle against prejudice and ignorance

“The migration/refugee phenomenon is a challenge we are called upon to tackle by fighting against prejudices, preconceptions, ignorance – i.e. all the factors paving the way for neo-Nazism and xenophobia”, observed the Regional Governor of Attica, while she recalled that “Europe had paid a very heavy price in the past, when it lost this battle”.

“Adopting yesterday the Report on “Border regions facing migration phenomena” is the best way to pay tribute to the fundamental values of the Council of Europe, namely, democracy, human rights, the rule of law” stressed Rena Dourou.

The demand for solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility prevail in the aforementioned Report, which does not concern border regions only, but it rather attempts an integrated approach to the phenomenon.

It therefore underlines the need for policies that facilitate the process of integration of refugees/migrants into local communities, for example through access to the labour market.

Need for a clear institutional framework and synergies

At the same time, the Regional Governor of Attica stressed the need for a clear institutional framework at all levels of government — local, national, European — to effectively tackle the phenomenon of migration, as a systemic phenomenon rather than a crisis.

Rena Dourou noted that “synergies are needed with all stakeholders involved in the effective reception and integration of refugees/migrants”. By way of example, the Regional Governor of Attica cited the Logistics Centre, established and operated by the Region of Attica, acknowledged as a good European practice.

“The Report we voted yesterday is moving in this direction, namely the establishment of synergies between all levels of government. Indeed, this Report is based on an integrated approach — something that has been made clear in the course of the preceding debate as well”.

Corruption undermines democracy

Finally, when asked about the fight against corruption and in the light of the Report on the European Code of Conduct for all those involved in governance at local and regional level, the Regional Governor of Attica stressed, inter alia, that “this is a long lasting battle that remains today as relevant as ever”, while she added that “It is now well known that, failure to tackle corruption creates the conditions for the rise of the right-wing and populism. For, corruption undermines democracy.”

After praising the initiative on a European Code of Conduct, Rena Dourou stressed the need to build a “large and sustainable front to fight corruption, with specific, public commitments and responsibility”. The Regional Governor of Attica added: “Just like as we have attempted to do in the Region of Attica, in cooperation with the European Union and Transparency International, under the Integrity Pact in Public Procurement”.

Watch the Mediabox interview with Rena Dourou on the report “Border regions facing migration phenomena” on the occasion of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe 35th session in Strasbourg –

YouTube – Council of Europe, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Erenvg_80

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