Nationwide Survey on Refugee Crisis in Greece
Survey and Analysis of Results
Analysis by Dimitris Rapidis and Mario Schmidt
Backlogged in the Greek islands and faced with mounting risks and uncertainty, tens of thousands of refugees are trying to cross the country and continue their route in Europe. The mismanagement of the refugee crisis and the lack of cooperation between EU member-states turn the work of the Greek government extremely difficult.
Nonetheless, and as we have already witnessed back in August (see here), Greeks continue to vigorously endorse the policy and efforts of the government on that field. Precisely, 7 out of 10 are satisfied with Tsipras' government on the handling of the crisis, whereas more than 8 out of 10 see negatively the lack of cooperation in EU level.
Similarly, 66% believe that the EU-Turkey Action Plan aimed to foster cooperation between both sides will not yield any significant result. As of the biggest problems caused by or potentially linked with the massive inflow of refugees, almost 1/2 consider the increasing death toll as the most dangerous problem and threat, followed by the social unrest (23%) and a possible tension between Greece and Turkey (15%). The last one is correlated to the perception of Action Plan as an already failed choice, but also to the belief, by 55%, that the dismantling of Evros fence could create security issues between Athens and Ankara rather than offering a safe passage for the refugees.
The work of Alternate Minister of Migration Policy Yannis Mouzalas, a pioneering surgeon and activist, is positively seen by more than 1/2 of Greeks. This is added to the positive views on the government policy, while it is interesting to highlight that Mr Mouzalas is not an elected MP, but he first served in this post in the interim government preceded snap elections in September 20. PM Tsipras entrusted him with this sensitive role, especially during such times, and he is so far paying off Premier's decision.
On the evaluation of opposition parties' policy response to the refugee crisis, To Potami (The River), along with Golden Dawn, gather the lowest rate (3/10) while front opposition Nea Dimokratia and the Communist Party share the first place (6/10). The Socialists receive 5/10 and the newcomer Centrists Union remains shallow with 4/10.
In the last question, respondents clearly unveiled their inner thoughts after comparing the current repercussions of the refugee crisis with those of the economic crisis. Almost 1/3 stated that the damage caused by both issues is equally deep, while 28% believe that economic crisis has caused and still cause deeper damage in the country. Another 15% consider that these topics are irrelevant to each other, i.e. meaning that both cause damage to the country but there should not be connected or waged comparatively.
Two are the major observations we can draw from this survey: the first is that the Greek government gathers mostly positive views on the policy it follows despite the difficult and complex repercussions of this delicate, painful and pending topic. This should further mobilize the government, but mainly EU officials and the member-states that impede a proper and more just burden-sharing. The stakes for the government and the risks for the refugees are high, and this should motivate other actors before upheavals of any kind take place.
The second observation is that Greeks do not endorse cooperation with Turkey at any cost, being skeptical on the efforts of Ankara to tackle its own domestic flows and dismantle a broad network of traffickers. Similarly, more than half of Greeks have second thoughts on bringing down Evros fence, considering that it could pose a security threat for the country, mainly triggered by an unexpected reaction from Turkey with respect to the joint monitoring of refugee crossings.
November 6, 2015