Georgia Dimari, The Securitization of Migration in Greece: 2011-2019. A Discourse and Practice Analysis

European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities ISSN 2285-4916 ISSN-L 2285-4916 Volume 9 Issue No.4 October 2020 pp.1-13.Published: 25 October 2020
European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities ISSN 2285-4916 ISSN-L 2285-4916 Volume 9 Issue No.4 (October 2020), pp.1-13.


The Securitization of Migration in Greece 2011-2019: A Discourse and Practice Analysis


Georgia Dimari

Centre of Human Rights, Department of Political Science

University of Crete

Greece



Date of submission: September 11th, 2020 Date of acceptance: October 15th, 2020 Date of publication: October 25th, 2020


Abstract

The European migration crisis, and in particular, the ongoing Greek refugee crisis that burst in 2015, have resulted in the resurgence of the constructivist depiction of migrants - and since 2015 of refugees - as a threat to host countries. Yet, in the case of Greece, the securitization of migration and its various political, social, and economic implications have largely remained underexplored. In this context, the primary goal of this paper is to present the findings of a PhD research revolving around the evolution of the securitization of migration in Greece through the decoding of the security logic that governs and drives political elites in terms of speech acts and securitization practices for the period 2011-2019. The main hypothesis and central argument of this paper, that is, that migration in Greece from 2011 to 2015, but also the refugee crisis of 2015 to 2019, are subject to continuous securitizing procedures, are confirmed through the use of the methodological approach of discourse analysis in speech acts of political elites (Copenhagen School) in conjunction with the examination of securitization practices (School of Paris).More specifically, the discourse analysis focuses - separately but also synthetically - on the periods 2011-2013, 2014-2018 and finally on 2019, attempting to unfold the securitization patterns and the (institutionalized) emergency measures that were applied in Greece during the periods under examination. For each period, speech acts, securitizing actors, referent objects, and extraordinary measures as well as securitization practices were examined. In total, discourse analysis (Copenhagen School) was performed on 116 texts such as Program statements, Parliamentary Debates, Press Releases, Television Interviews, Police Statements, Church Statements, Political Party Programs, and Internet Websites, Newspapers and Legal Texts. Moreover, a large number of separate securitization practices, as stated by the Paris School of Security, were examined. The result? - Migration in Greece from 2011 to 2019, is highly securitized.
Keywords: Securitization, Migration, Greece, Refugee Crisis

1. Introduction

The refugee crisis that started unfolding in Europe during the summer of 2015 revealed the multifaceted and ever-evolving face of migration as a global phenomenon. Wars, clashes and repression in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afganistan and others culminated in the unprecendeted attempt of more than 1 million migrants and refuges to cross the European borders (UNHCR, 2018a).

Amidst the refugee crisis, Greece became the forefront of mass migrants’/refugees’ arrivals that were crossing the Mediterranean during that period (Archick, 2016). Speaking in numbers, until the 5th of May 2018 1.080.656 migrants/refugees had entered Greece (Fragouliotis, 2018). According to UNHCR (2018b) statistical factsheets (UNHCR, 2018b), the total number of migrants/refugees in Greece on May 2018 accounted to 60.000, including approximately 14.000 in the Greek islands of the North Aegean (UNHCR, 2018a).

Adding this situation to the internal political developments in Greece since 2010 - a period of escalation of the economic crisis - the result has been the creation and perpetuation of an anti-migrant climate. Indeed, the far-right Greek party ‘Golden Dawn’ increased its votes from less than 0.3% in 2009 to 7.3% in May 2010 and to 6.9% in the general elections of January 2015 (Karyotis & Rüdig, 2015). Despite the fact that the economic crisis that hit Greece in 2008 had already sparked an increase in Golden Dawn voters, the mass arrival of immigrants in 2015, which was combined with fears associated with the perception that they pose a threat to Greek identity and national security contributed to the maintenance and gradual increase of the party’s percentages (Grigoriadis & Dilek, 2018).

Empirical findings support the view that an overall public insecurity and biased stance against migrants/refugees emerged in the post-refugee crisis Greece. More specifically, in the Political Barometer of Public Issue (2018a), in a nationwide sample of 1003 people, voters of SYRIZA and New Democracy, when asked if consider that there is a threat from the refugees for the security of Greece, 53% of SYRIZA voters stated that they consider them a threat with 63% of New Democracy voters supporting the same. In the Political Issue of Public Issue (2018b) for April, in the same question in a sample of 1009 people, 47% of SYRIZA voters stated that they consider them a threat with 67% of New Democracy voters supporting the same view.

As Techau (2014) argues, threat perceptions are vital in the activation of hostility towards migrants/refugees. As such they are considered to form the foundation of a wide set of anti-migrant stances and feelings that culminate into acts of opposition towards migration as an overall phenomenon, to prejudiced stances, to exclusive practices and to perceptions revolving around the argument that migrants/refugees constitute a security threat for the host state.

But how can these perceptions be embedded in the Greek security and migration political continuum? Could they be integrated as separate components of a securitization of migration framework in the Greek case? This paper empirically supports the argument that they do.

2. Research Purpose and Main Research Question

The purpose of this paper is to examine the securitization of migration in Greece for the period 2011 to 2019. The paper thus focuses on speech acts of political elite actors (Copenhagen School of Security) as well as on securitization practices (Paris School of Security) pertaining to the migration-security nexus.

The main research question tackled is whether migration in Greece from 2011 to 2019 is securitized. For the purposes of giving a clear cut answer on the central research question, an examination breakdown takes place. More specifically the research time frame is divided into three distinct periods: 2011 to 2013, 2014 to 2018 and 2019, where there are examined both separately as well as synthetically speech acts, referent objects, securitizing actors, emergency measures and securitization practices.

The reason why this separation takes place is the importance of each period separately in terms of migration and security policies. In addition, different government formations constituted the state / political actors per examination period, posing the need to investigate the existence, or non-existence, continuity or discontinuity of the securitization of migration rationale in Greece.


3. Theoretical Foundations and State-of-Play

The post-cold war era marked the shift of security analyses towards concepts pertaining to the widening and deepening of the security agenda. Therefore, the traditional approaches on security were shaken, on the grounds that security was not merely a military issue, but rather a political, economic, societal and environmental one as well. In addition to the widening of the security concept, a deepening one took place built up on the argument that security should be open to objects other than the state, such as people, societies and humanity overall (Buzan et al, 1998).

It was in this context that securitization theory emerged as a response to the necessity of new security analysis frameworks. Taking as their starting point Oli Wæver’s original framing of security as a speech act, with securitization constituting the particular form of verbal constitution of a particular issue into an existential threat, Buzan et al (1998), the founding fathers of the Copenhagen School of Security, further articulated it, arguing that securitization is the process that can move politics beyond the established normality, framing an issue as either a special or excessive one such that it requires a different kind of handling. For the Copenhagen School thus, securitization is regarded as an extreme form of politicization, including five sectors of analysis: military, political, economic, societal and environmental (Buzan et al, 1998).

Yet, according to Copenhagen School, not all issues can be the object of securitization, as, it argues, an issue goes through three processes before being securitized (Stritzel, 2007). The first condition for successful securitization is an existential threat to a referent object, which is something that is threatened and needs protection. Second, a successful securitization requires an actor who has some power to implement emergency measures when managing such matters and third, emergency measures taken to deal with threats must be justified in the sense that public opinion must accept them and comply with their use (Paris, 2001). It should be noted here, though, that the Copenhagen School is not interested and therefore does not deal with whether there exists an actual threat in the context of its analysis framework (Buzan et al, 1998). The Copenhagen School’s theory formulation is inextricably linked with processes of constructing and formulating threats though speech acts.

As far as migration is concerned, it is studied in the context of the societal sector of security as articulated by the Copenhagen School (Wæver, 1999). The societal sector is organized around the basic concept of identity. Thus, analyses focus on how migrants entering a country are constructed as a threat to an existing national identity and may therefore erode it and threaten its existence in various ways (Skleparis, 2011).

Another securitization approach was elaborated by the Paris School of Security Studies, extending the theory developed by the Copenhagen School (Collective, C.AS.E, 2006). Didier Bigo, the leading scholar of the Paris School, argues that security is often characterized by the delivery of entire security sectors to "professionals of unease" who are in charge of managing existing threats and identifying new ones (Bigo, 2002).

More specifically, according to Bigo (2001), securitization, as a phenomenon, is observed beyond speech acts, recognizing that the threat can also be created by daily habits and practices and cooperation between security experts (such as police and military). This approach is state-centered, which means that micro-level practice and networking standards can reveal different securitizing procedures than those revealed only by speech acts (Wæver, 2011).

Hence, practical work, disciplinary procedures and expertise are just as important as all forms of speech. In other words, the actions of bureaucratic structures or networks associated with security practices and the specific technologies they use may play a more active role in securitization processes than speech acts (Lenoard, 2011).

But what is the research state-of-play of the securitization of migration in Greece? Although a number of scholars have been involved in research concerning the issue under investigation (Lazaridis & Skleparis, 2016; Swarts & Karakatsanis, 2013; Paraskeva-Gizi, 2017; Bossis & Lampas, 2018; Gropas, 2015; Voutira, 2013; Triantafyllidou et al., 2014; Furman et al., 2016; Rozakou, 2012; Karakoylaki et al, 2018; Iliadou, 2017; Lazaridis & Konsta, 2015; Grigoriadis & Dilek, 2018; Karyotis & Patrikios, 2010; Karyotis & Skleparis, 2013, 2014; Skleparis, 2018; Triandafyllidou & Dimitriadi, 2014; Giannakopoulos et al., 2013), their research focuses on very distinct and short periods of analysis with an emphasis on individual practical or speech actions by political elites and on issues that touch on the issue of securitization but do not examine it thoroughly and in detail.

A very interesting research has been conducted by Karyotis (2012) covering the securitization of migration in Greece during the 1990s. His research constitutes a bibliographic panorama of the securitization logic of the Greek political elites in the 1990s through the use of discourse analysis. Another interesting research is the doctoral dissertation of Kalantzi (2017), which explores the securitization of migration in Greece for the period 2000-2014, using both the Copenhagen School and the Paris School as analytical frameworks, covering the huge research gap from 2000 to 2014. However, both studies miss the turning point of migration policies in Greece and their respective securitization components from 2015, when the refugee crisis triggered the emergence of a new security apparatus in Greece, until 2019.

Therefore, this paper covers the research gap between 2015 and 2019, starting in 2011 in order to determine whether the securitization patterns in Greece are continuous and evolving or whether they are a by- product of the refugee crisis.

4. Methodology

The main research question tackled is whether migration in Greece from 2011 to 2019 is securitized. In order to answer the central question of the paper, it is deemed fundamental to use the research methodology proposed by the Copenhagen School of security, whose position is that the security threat is constructed through speech acts, such as the public discourse of political elite actors, indicating discourse analysis as the adequate framework to examine security related speech patterns (Buzan et al, 1998). Yet, the interdisciplinary nature of the central research question as well as the social nature of the construction of threats, call for a scientific approach that will not be contained in a unilateral analysis. On the contrary, an approach that will draw from the examination of both internal and external structures which have a different impact on the securitization of migration in Greece during the timeframe examined is needed. Therefore, discourse analysis will be used along with the approach of the Paris School, whose position is that the security threat is constructed by non-verbal actions, such as images, acts of violence, institutional structures, bureaucratic practices and the use of specific technology that reproduces the security logic (Bigo, 2002).

As Didier Bigo (2001) points out, such a strategy can reveal interesting differences between everyday practices, on the one hand, and formal perceptions formed through speech acts, on the other. Therefore, in order to study the securitization of migration in Greece, it was deemed necessary to blend speech acts with practices.

Hence, this analysis focuses on speech acts of political elite actors as well as on securitization practices adopted during the period 2011-2019, with a particular emphasis on the respective government elites as well as on the Golden Dawn and the Greek Solution. The sources investigated were statements by high-ranking officials of the respective governments and the Golden Dawn and Greek Solution, while they were extracted via the internet using keywords such as the word migrant and names of the respective political elite actors per examination period, combined with words such as: threat, risk, national security, health, labor market, terrorism, national interest, national identity.

The first examination period covered the period from 2011 to 2013. Speech acts of government elites and the Golden Dawn and practices regarding the construction of the Evros Fence, Operation Aspida and Operation Xenios Zeus were examined. Twenty-four government documents and statements were analyzed, as well as statements by the police and 10 Golden Dawn publications on its official website.

The second examination period covered the period from 2014 to 2018. Speech acts of government elites and opposition, representatives of the local government and the church and the Golden Dawn regarding the creation of hot spots were examined as well as the European Union –Turkey Statement of the 18th of March, 2016. In total, 35 government documents and statements were analyzed in conjunction with European Union documents and 9 Golden Dawn statements both from its official website and other similar websites.

The third examination period covered the period 2019 and specifically the period from the election of New Democracy from July 7 until the end of October 2019. The speech acts of government elites and as well as of Greek Solution (due to the dissolution of Golden Dawn) and practices for the management of migration were examined. In total, 27 government documents and statements from the Government of New Democracy and 11 documents and statements from the Greek Solution were analyzed.

Discourse analysis (Copenhagen School) was performed on 116 texts such as Program statements, Parliamentary Debates, Press Releases, Television Interviews, Police Statements, Church Statements, Political Party Programs, and Internet Websites, Newspapers and Legal Texts. In addition a large number of separate securitization practices as stated by the Paris School of Security were examined.


5. Results

5.1 First Period: 2011-2013

The results of the discourse analysis clearly show that migration in Greece for the period 2011-2013 is securitized. In addition, it constitutes a procedure through which migration enters the Greek security agenda not necessarily due to the nature or objective threat posed by migrants and refugees. On the contrary, it is constructed as a threat because it is presented as such. Apart from the rhetorical depiction of migration as a threat, as defined by the Copenhagen School, the securitization process in Greece for the period 2011-2013 is not limited only in speech acts. Rather, there is a dialectical and reciprocal relationship between speech acts and practices and the mobilization of technological means as defined by the Paris School, which reproduce the logic of security.

Therefore, the speech acts of the political elite actors, as well as their reproduction by the media (media), seem to have been one of the catalysts for the construction of a rhetoric charged with fear towards migrants and refugees, who are presented as carrying multiplier risks for the host country, with special reference to the threat against the identity of the nation. Thus, it is concluded that for the period 2011-2013, the securitization of migration in Greece followed an upward evolutionary course, climaxing in the construction of the Evros Fence and the Aspida and Xenios Zeus Operations.

The following table presents the speech acts, the securitizing actors, the referent objects, the emergency measures and securitization practices for the period 2011-2013 (Table 1).

Table 1: Components of securitization of migration in Greece for the period 2011-2013

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Securitization of Migration in Greece, 2011-2013

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Speech acts

Illegal migrants, smugglers, issue of national security and survival, issue of national sovereignty, internal security, Greece is not an open vineyard, a bomb for health, invasion, deterrence, a choice with strong symbolism, crime, criminals, thieves, public Security, migration bomb, threat, alteration of society, we are in danger, unemployment, alteration of population, terrorism, danger to life, threat to national identity, threat to public health, serious diseases, social jungle, recapture our cities, robberies and murders with Kalashnikovs, "Hellenization of criminals", Greek physical integrity.

Securitizing Actors

Government of Loukas Papadimou, Government of New Democracy, High-ranking Police Officers, Golden Dawn.

Referent Object

National, political, economic and societal security.

Emergency Measures

Evros Fence, Operation Aspida, Operation Xenios Zeus.

Practices

Technological means of surveillance, Helicopters with thermal cameras, Schengen Information System (SIS II), Border security forces, 1,881 police officials, Special vehicles with jeep thermal cameras, long surveillance binoculars, night binoculars, police dogs and boats.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

In conclusion, for the period 2011-2013, the first hypothesis of the paper is confirmed, which is that migration in Greece in the period 2011-2013 has been securitized.

5.2 Second Period: 2014-2018

The discourse analysis conducted for the period 2014-2018, supports that securitization of migration in Greece has been evolving and reaffirming. Re-affirmation signifiers that re-establish the security logic are the construction of the hotspots in the Greek Northern Aegean Islands of Lesvos, Samos, Leros, Chios and Kos and the EE-Turkey Common Statement of March 2018.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that Greece does not act in isolation. Its decision to prioritize EU border security over the lives of migrants and refugees stems from broader EU policies, confirming what Kalantzi (2015) describes as the Europeanisation of the securitization of migration. At the urging of the EU, Greece is creating a permanent capacity to guard its borders. Indeed, as the international literature suggests, the EU and its Member States have provided significant financial and material assistance to Greece to police its borders as part of efforts to control irregular migration to the EU via Greece (Angeli et al, 2014).

The following table presents the speech acts, the securitizing actors, the referent objects, the emergency measures and securitization practices for the period 2014-2018 (Table 2).


Table 2: Components of securitization of migration in Greece for the period 2014-2018

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Securitization of Migration in Greece, 2014-2018

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Speech acts

Urgent need, strengthening measures, national issue, security, challenge, unprecedented flows, danger, chaos, containment, delinquent behavior, strengthening ELAS, public health, jihadists, jihad, ISIS, potential terrorists, flow deterrence, crisis, big problem, preventive measures, illegal migration, order in chaos, we got rid of 130,000 immigrants, the migrant will not enter the camps and do what he wants, we do not know what will follow, we are being tested by migration, the biggest challenge in modern European history, illegal migrants, deportation, border closure, fear, geographical integrity, the Aegean will remain Greek, they kill the homeland, the Greek people cannot stand this anymore, poverty, the Greeks are a minority, Greece to the Greeks, national crime, catastrophic policy.

Securitizing Actors

Political elites, Syriza Government, New Democracy Opposition, Local Government.

Referent Object

National, political and societal security.

Emergency Measures

Hot Spots, EU Turkey Common Statement March 2016

Practices

Frontex, Eurodac, EASO, Eurojust, Europol, Technological means of surveillance, Smart technology, ELAS, Secret services, Police.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

In conclusion, for the period 2014-2018, the second hypothesis of the paper is confirmed, which is that migration in Greece in the period 2014-2018 has been securitized.

5.3 Third Period: 2019

The discourse analysis that was conducted for the third period under examination, ie 2019 reveals the key role the securitization discourse - both in the case of New Democracy and in the case of the Greek Solution - has in terms of shaping and imposing external and internal limits of exclusion of the "other" both as a citizen as well as a potential member of the political community. Indicative is the statement of New Democracy that “the common belief is that this is now an migration problem and not a refugee one” (General Secretariat for Information and Communication, 2019), in an effort to legitimize the emergency measures and their acceptance from the public, over-politicizing the issue and devaluing, in essence, its humanitarian dimensions. In this context, the above analysis distinguishes two important elements. First, in the case of access to both Greek territory and the Greek political system, securitization shapes the results by determining the conditions of access. Second, the speech acts and the practices and measures that follow are contributing to the marginalization of migrants and refugees both symbolically and socio-economically.

The following table presents the speech acts, the securitizing actors, the referent objects, the emergency measures and securitization practices for the period 2019 (Table 3).

Table 3: Components of securitization of migration in Greece for the period 2019

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Securitization of Migration in Greece, 2019

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Speech acts

Illegal immigrants, security policy, they should not walk on streets, overthrowing the universe, avoiding the concentration of immigrants, border guard dogma, European border police, challenge, security & migration, open vineyard, steady flow, national identity, demographic problem, corruption, reclaim our homeland, danger, economic and social cohesion, smugglers, migrants not refugees, to clean the place national interest, security of Greece, minefield, rapists, pedophiles, fence, wall, terrorism, increased surveillance, increased surveillance Evros will be sealed, defense of security goods, outbreak.

Securitizing Actors

Political elites of the New Democracy Government, Greek Solution.

Referent Object

National, political and societal security.

Emergency Measures

6 Measures of Conference of the Council of Ministers 15/7/2019, Withdrawal of Greek SSN (Social Security Number20/6/2019 by Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Giannis Vroutsis, 7 Measures of Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) 31/8/20, 3 Measures of Conference of the Council of Ministers 21/9/2019, Integrated Immigration Management Plan Issue 2019/2020 2/9/2019, Measures of the Council of Ministers, bill for the acceleration and tightening of the asylum application and granting procedures 30/9/2019.

Practices

Technological means of surveillance, National Maritime Surveillance System, patrols, 15 naval vessels, upgrade of logistics, simple and thermal cameras, drones, increase of police controls, 10 new vessels.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

In conclusion, for the period 2019, the third hypothesis of the paper is confirmed, which is that migration in Greece in the period 2019 has been securitized.


6. Analysis of Findings

From the above analysis, it comes out that migration in Greece for the period 2011-2019 is securitized.

The results of the present study reveal the evolving securitization patterns of Greek political elite actors from 2011 until October 2019. The securitization of migration in Greece in the period under review has a stable pattern that is interpreted both according to the theory of the Copenhagen School and the theory of the Paris School. At the same time, another conclusion drawn from the above analysis is that securitization of migration in Greece for the periods 2011-2013 and 2014-2018 is institutionalized. Regarding the period of the New Democracy government in 2019, institutionalized securitization is considered only the revocation of the Joint Ministerial Decision for the granting of Greek SSN (Social Security Number) to immigrants by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Giannis Vroutsis. Another very important finding is that the post-2015 period the refugee crisis was also securitized, indicating that there is a shift in securitization patterns, raising humanitarian issues and concerns.

As the empirical part shows, the speech acts that lead to emergency measures towards migrants are accompanied by similar securitization practices, mainly with the culmination of the supply and application of technological equipment by respective Greek governments and with the closer cooperation of European organizations with the ultimate goal of shielding the Greek and consequently the European borders.

Therefore, there is a constant reaffirmation of the securitization of migration in Greece, from 2011 to 2019. As far as the referent object is concerned, it is mainly national identity, which is particularly reflected in the speech acts from the far right, such as the Golden Dawn and the Greek Solution, while in terms of the respective governmental political elite actors that were examined, there is a more complex value network which the political elite actors are ‘called’ to protect through emergency measures and the adoption of practices, such as the labor market, the country's political stability and the national interest, always in conjunction with the preservation of national identity which seems to be a constant factor in the production and perpetuation of the securitization rhetoric in the public policy sphere.

One question that arises at this point is whether the link between migration and security is a stable and enduring feature of modern society and politics in Greece during the period under examination. The answer is yes. In fact, during the period 2011-2019, as Knudsen (2001) eloquently states, securitization is the process that raises the issue of migration in a constant emergency continuum, having as a result the non-contestation of the implementation of emergency measures.

In other words, from 2011 until today, the dominant political discourse in Greece, is constructing migration as a potential threat to the security and preservation of the Greek identity. Security in Greece, especially in the period following the 2015 refugee crisis, has become the common framework through which migration is dealt with in Greece. Overall, concerns about the potential danger that migrants and refugees pose for the country, as well as the extensive set of institutional practices governing migration are what reinforce the security / migration nexus. The construction of migrants and refugees as a matter of security and threat communicated to the Greek public is increasingly legitimizing the management of migration and the refugee crisis in various ways that challenge their treatment as individuals who have equal security rights towards Greek citizens.

What the discourse analysis reveals is that identity is in fact the central core that subordinates, transcends and leads each of the other three security axes, with the whole discussion focusing mainly on an argumentation revolving around the issue of ‘us’ versus the threatening ‘others’, in a Schmittian logic (Schmitt, 2008).

At this point it is important to note that the research findings are consistent with the C.A.S.E. study (2006), which states that migration often overlaps the rhetoric of economic security (labor market) and societal security (national identity). Indeed, in the Greek case of securitization of migration, national identity-related securitization processes are mainly intermingled with concerns pertaining to the Greek labor market (Kotroyannos et al, 2019).

Therefore, for the period 2011 to 2019, the problem of securitization of migration does not exist individually. What puts immigration in an excellent position against security is that it can be viewed as a threat in various sectors, such as economic, political, and social. In other words, as Castles et al (2013) argue, migration falls into the realms of securitization in every aspect of social and political life.

This situation has not left refugees and migrants in Greece intact. The adoption of a series of emergency measures has resulted in numerous violations of human rights of refugees and migrants (Barbulescu, 2017). Emergency measures that were adopted in Greece, such as the containment of refugees in closed camps (RIC) as well as the severe restrictions revolving around their movement and mobility in Greece’s mainland and the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement have resulted in an international demand for the protection of human rights of these vulnerable groups and the overall transformation of receipt conditions of Greece as a host state (International Amnesty, 2017a; 2017b).

7. Conclusions

From the present research it is concluded that the securitization of migration in Greece from 2011 until October 2019 is characterized by a recurring pattern of securitizing speech acts and practices. In addition, from 2015 onwards, the refugee crisis is also securitized. Therefore, there arises the issue of the elaboration and implementation of holistic strategy for the de-securitization of migration in Greece that will take into account both the security concerns of the host society as well as the security, prosperity and the smooth integration of migrants and refugees in the Greek state.

But what could be the maximum strategy in terms of measurable results for the de-securitization of migration in Greece?

The elaborated strategy should take as its foundation the argument that security is a substantive right of a state and its citizens, as well as a substantive right of all people and therefore of people who are not citizens of the host state. This people include third-country nationals, migrants, and refugees. Despite the fact that the Copenhagen School in developing its theory of securitization does not take into account the existence or non-existence of real threats, nevertheless (Buzan et al, 1998), the proposed strategy should be based on existing concerns for the safety of Greece and the European host countries in general. These existing concerns revolve mainly around the issue of terrorism.

Indeed, the discourse analysis revealed that the political elite actors in the period under consideration, widely use the words "terrorist", "terrorism", "jihadist" and many others that depict in a general way the migrant and the refugee as a threat to the very life of the citizens of Greece but also of Europe in general. However, it should not be overlooked that, according to official data from Wainwright & Stock (2016) on behalf of Europol, during the refugee crisis, Greece was actually a point of entry or passage for terrorists during their path to targeted European territorial states. Therefore, in the analysis and formulation of a desecuritization strategy, the reality of terrorism should not be ignored.

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Cite this paper:

Dimari, G. (2020) The Securitization of Migration in Greece 2011-2019: A Discourse and Practice Analysis, European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities ISSN 2285-4916 ISSN-L 2285-4916, pp. 1-13.


Author Information

Affiliation: Centre of Human Rights, Department of Political Science, University of Crete, Greece.


Corresponding Author

Correspondence to: Georgia Dimari: zeta_dim@hotmail.com