Symβiosis represented in the Thessaloniki Municipality Migrants' Integration Council

municipalityThe inaugural meeting of the Migrants' Integration Council was held last Wednesday, November 2, 2011 in the City Hall, in the presence of eleven members and two alternate members, as well as the President of the Municipal Council of Thessaloniki, Panagiotis Avramopoulos.

During the first meeting of the institution, the President of the Municipal Council referred to "the difficult economic conditions for the city and country, which in addition constitute conditions of social and cultural crisis", and expressed his confidence that institutions like the Council for the Integration of Immigrants can solve problems and be a bulwark to xenophobia.

"Until now, migration issues were faced mainly from various organizations on a voluntary basis. It is a positive that now there is the legal framework that enables a structured body to address all the problems of immigrants, to prioritize and create the conditions so that they smoothly integrate and coexist with local communities ", said Panayiotis Avramopoulos.

The President of the Council for the Integration of Immigrants, councilor Christos Eleftheriadis said that six main areas of priorities were set during the debate: housing, employment, education, public debate, legal issues, and racism, as well as xenophobia.

The Council initially dealt with the axis of public debate, by accepting the proposal by the municipal and Vice Director of DEPTHE Sofia Aslanidou that radio time is allocated in Thessaloniki City Radio FM100 in order to highlight the problems of immigrants and refugees in the wider region urban area.

Christos Eleftheriades also stressed that the Council for the Integration of Immigrants dealt with the problem of the Shelter for Refugees and Asylum seekers, which is located within the geographical boundaries of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, who remains though, however, without the administrative authority.

According to the constitutive legal act, the Migrant Integration Council consisting of eleven (11) members and two (2) alternate members, whose membership is honorary and unpaid. Involving councillors Ch. Eleftheriadis, Chairman of the Board, and members of An. Telidis, Ch. Yatagana, Ch. Matis, Tr. Mitafidis, M. Konstantinidis and El. Tzioutzia.

Also participating are representatives from the following organisations: Despina Syrri, from "Symbiosis", Constantine Tsitselikis, Greek Union for Human Rights, Foteini Kyriafini, municipal staff and Iris Haidinaj, Association of Albanian Immigrants "Mother Teresa".

As alternate members the following were appointed: Muhtar Fazli, for the Afghan community and Fanny Oflidou, from 'Odysseas'.

Soon there will be a proposal by the Municipal Council of Thessaloniki board on further participation of alternate representatives and members of refugees' and immigrants' associations to the Council for the Integration of Immigrants.