President Grants Citizenship to Three Migrant Fishermen for Mati Fire Rescues

January 2, 2019

ATHENS – President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Wednesday granted Greek citizenship to three migrant fishermen for their heroic efforts to rescue people fleeing the disastrous Mati fires from the sea on the night of July 23, 2018.

Receiving the three men, who arrived at the presidential mansion accompanied by Interior Minister Alexis Charitsis and SYRIZA MEP Konstantina Kuneva, the president noted that in signing the decree granting them citizenship a month earlier, “ Greece has done its duty toward you for what you did, and this was what humanism and solidarity indicate.”

“ The Greece that welcomes you is the Greece of humanity and solidarity,” he said, noting that their naturalisation as Greek citizens also made them citizens of Europe.

Pavlopoulos said that the three fishermen, two originally hailing from Egypt and the third from Albania, also served as a shining example through their self-sacrifice for certain European partners, since the original vision for Europe was one based on humanity and solidarity.

“ Let certain partners realise that to be a European is a great honour but also comes with responsibilities,” the president said, sending a message ahead of the European elections against the forces of populism and xenophobia that ran counter to the European values of humanism and solidarity.

Charitsis, on his part, noted the great gratitude owed to these people who, alongside Greek colleagues, had helped rescue dozens of people on the night of July 23. He stressed that their actions highlighted the value of solidarity and contributing to society at a time when voices of intolerance and xenophobia were being raised in Europe.

He also highlighted the importance of naturalising thousands of other foreign nationals that meet the legal criteria and requirements, saying that a law has been tabled that will accelerate the naturalisation process for these individuals.


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