Discrimination against Albanian immigrants in Greece : a historical, political and sociological approach

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Liakopoulou, Aikaterini
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At the beginning of the 1990’s Greece suddenly transformed from a country of emigration to a country of immigration, when a huge flow of Albanian immigrants entered its territory. Greece was caught completely unprepared to deal with the new phenomenon. The state’s migration policies were almost inexistent and the first proper law, which was adopted in 1991, was designed to curb migration and facilitate removals. Up until now, the Greek state is still trying to create a sufficient migration law. The Albanians’ immediate need to work was and keeps on being abused by Greek employers, who discriminate the former and treat them as ‘second-class’ citizens. More than 15 years have passed and the immigrants’ children have also a strong presence into the Greek society, particularly in the schools. The Greek educational system, however, failed on helping these children to integrate and forced them to deny their culture and mother tongue. The Greek Media played an even more active role in the discrimination process by promoting the image of the ‘bad’ Albanian, who is a criminal and constitutes a threat to the nation. The Greek society adopted this idea and racist attitudes were created. Today, while tenses have abated, there is still hope for change, but radical measures have to be taken in order for Greek people to accept Albanians as equal members of the society.
Second semester University: University of Copenhagen.
emigration, Albania, emigration and immigration law, Greece, migrants, minority groups