Spatial transformations through migrant crisis in Greece

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Although migration is not new, in recent years Europe has to deal with an entirely unanticipated reality. Since European migration crisis began in 2015, the number of people that have arrived at European Union borders through regular or irregular channels has continually increased. This migration surge rapidly became the largest and most challenging that Europe has faced since the World War II (European Union, 2016a). The term “migrant crisis” is preferred instead of “refugee crisis” explained by analyzing the desegregation of migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by nationality. According to UNHCR (2017a), Syrians constitute the 6.4% of total arrivals in the Mediterranean and 38.5% in Greece. This statistics constitutes an indisputable proof that Europe and Greece, in particular, faces a migration crisis with intense refugee waves. Since 2015, a large proportion of migration flows has directed to Europe through the countries of the Mediterranean – South (Metcalfe-Hough, 2015). Greece is the country of first entry for the vast majority of migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by sea or land because of its geographical location. Greek Islands of the Aegean Sea have greeted more than 70% of arrivals between 2015 and 2016 (UNHCR, 2017a). Thus, throughout this period, the country has been converted into a transit zone for migrants to Central and Northern Europe. Migration/refugee movements formed “corridors” from East to Western Europe; through Turkey and Greece to the mainland EU, which is their final destinations (Frontex, 2016).
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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