The Washington Times:
Greece has been hit by a “devastating” wave of illegal immigration from chaos induced by Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and continued instability in South and Central Asia, according to Athens’ Ambassador to the United States Christos P. Panagopoulos.
“For a country of 10.11 million, to have 1 million [immigrants], most of them illegal in a period of hardship and economic crisis, it’s devastating,” he told editors and reporters of The Washington Times.
Greece, also suffering from economic upheaval because of a huge national debt, has imposed stiff austerity measures, precipitating a recession that has left the country with an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent and public unrest.
Mr. Panagopoulos said most of the illegal immigrants came from countries in “destabilized regions,” like Pakistan, Afghanistan and more recently Libya and Syria, the latter engulfed in a 23-month-long civil war. Most entered Greece across the short land border or long, island-dappled maritime frontier with Turkey.
“Unfortunately, our Turkish friends are not very cooperative on this issue,” he said.