Chapter 4- Selected social backgrounds and the specification of the intercultural competences needed
Greece has been experiencing a rise in mixed migration flows since 2015. Since then, several measures have been taken to make sure the integration of refugees into Greek society. At the legislative level, the Greek government approved Law 4415/2016, entitled “Arrangements regarding education in Greek, intercultural education and other provisions.
” The law specifically concerns Intercultural Education programs, which build relationships between different cultural groups to eliminate inequalities and social exclusion. Intercultural Education Schools, which began in 1985, are transforming into experimental schools of Intercultural Education.
Additionally, the current National Strategy for Social Integration was issued in July 2019-following revisions and developments of the National Social Integration Strategy of 2013. The principle of the active participation of the State, Institutions, and civil society lies at the core of the National Strategy of 2019. The main objectives
of the Greek model for social integration are:
- Create and maintain an open society that respects diversity.
- Protect the rights and outline the obligations of third-country nationals in a non-discriminatory manner that ensures social equality.
- Foster interaction, collaboration, dialog and constructive criticism between culturally or ethnically diverse communities, promulgating democracy and equality.
- Promote diversity, tolerance and social cohesion.
- Motivate all individuals to protect the common good and encourage the contribution of all individuals to the development of the country.
Simultaneously, national and international human rights organizations are facilitating projects with the aim of enhancing the integration system. One of those programs is the HELIOS project
facilitated by IOM Greece. In collaboration with national authorities and partners with long experience of the examined topic, through the HELIOS project IOM aspires to promote the integration of beneficiaries of international protection currently living in temporary accommodation schemes into the Greek society. To that extent, the HELIOS project is providing the following components: Integration Courses; Accommodation support; Employability support; Integration monitoring; and Sensitization of the host community. Another example is the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation (ESTIA
) programme, which aims at improving the living conditions and developing social integration actions for asylum seekers. Additionally, the Greek government is providing Help Desk
for Social Integration, a service which is exclusively offered to recognized refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.
Greece's policy for integrating beneficiaries of international protection has been criticized
over the past years for not offering lasting solutions to third-country nationals. However, during the last years there have been specific developments for integrating asylum seekers and third-country nationals who have been granted the status of international or subsidiary protection.