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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demetris Dollis briefing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Greek Diaspora

Deputy FM, Demetris Dollis, during the briefing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Greek Diaspora on Wednesday, appeared determined to drastically change long-standing circumstances in Greece’s Greek Diaspora policies, with an intention to mark a “brand new” course, through the organization of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad (GSGA), the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), but also the area of Education.

Being an immigrant himself, since the age of 15, with an active political career in Australia, but most importantly a diligent Greek citizen upon his return to Greece and participation in public affairs, Mr. Dollis addressed the members of the committee without mincing words, focusing on the need to implement a broader reorganization, based on key objectives and priorities which will allow us, through a correct approach, as he stressed, to refrain from losing the Greek Diaspora, which forms a national part of our nation.

Committed to financial transparency and provision of information, he requested the close collaboration of Standing Committee members, beyond partisan differences, “without dogmatism and honestly” to create a new planning, with common responsibility, which will lead to a permanent state, leaving something for the future, “otherwise we will lose the game”, as he stated.

“We must initiate a realistic discussion and create a more permanent framework through a new collective discussion”, he stressed, explaining that the main priority is the attraction of Greeks abroad who are not listed in any organizations and constitute the vast majority. Given this fact, as he stated, Greek language through teaching programs integrated in the educational system of the host countries, is an issue of great importance, which is already under discussion with the Deputy Minister of Education, Fofi Gennimata. Pre-school education is also considered as a very important issue, as well as Greece’s capacity to offer multilingual education, accessing both cultures and societies where our Greek Diaspora resides.

“I am not a Minister who gives orders”, underlined Mr. Dollis, explaining in strict tone that as a Diaspora Greek and as a man who chose to become a Greek citizen, cannot support a state-fed body, such as SAE. “I cannot pay for the offices and not pay for teachers”, he stated. He also stressed the need for an autonomous SAE, with new terms on the meaning and ways of representation and a modern role.

Due to the broad nature of the issue, it was decided to devote an entire session of the Standing Committee, so that the committee on its part will be able to substantially submit its proposals. At the same time, he proposed the establishment of a special committee led by the President of SAE and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Greek Diaspora for the creation of a new operational framework for SAE.

The re-organization of the GSGA is also currently under way as the Deputy Minister stated, which is currently governed by a difficult regimen and cannot operate under the new circumstances. A key issue is the lack of a General Secretary, as he added himself, but also the fact that its basic issues deal with the rest of the state, meaning that we must build a more “efficient, strengthened GSGA, which can also address the state issue, with regards to the responsibilities of ministries”.

In response to questions posed by committee members, Mr. Dollis also clarified the Diaspora vote issue, which he had not mentioned during his briefing. “It is a very serious matter, examined under the framework of the new electoral bill by the Ministry of Internal Affairs”, he stated, stressing however that there is a great number of parameters which must be taken into account, as well as many unanswered questions, as Greeks abroad, have experienced a lot of conflict on this issue. He also proposed a special session of the committee in order to have a substantial discussion on this issue, in the presence of the competent representative from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Source: ANAMPA

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