The influx of refugees and immigrants making their way across the Mediterranean to Europe in the last couple of years has been estimated as the biggest since the Second World War.
- In November 2015, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) reported that as many as 710,000 refugees had entered Greece since the beginning of that year, making it the main gateway into Europe (Frontex 2015).
- According to the International Migration Organization (May 2016), Greece saw an increase from 2014’s 34,442 immigrant/refugee arrivals to 853,650 in 2015.
- From January 2016 to May 2016, 155,837 (34%/children 44%/men, 22%/women) immigrants and refugees entered Greece.
For most, Greece is not their chosen destination. With its ongoing economic crisis and high unemployment, most refugees seek transit through Greece to other nations (and relatives) in Western Europe. But, new barriers by many countries has made further travel more difficult.
This means that almost 10% of the total Greek population is made up of refugees, a substantial proportion in what has been a predominantly homogeneous, Greek-Orthodox population. These demographic changes have created the conditions for anxiety among native Greeks, who are faced with their own economic struggles due to failed governmental economic policies and mismanagement. The whole nation faces the many difficulties in the pursuit of a productive living,especially those caused by the austerity measures required by the international financial community in relation to the economic “bailout” of 2010.