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European countries should make refugees their citizens: Former Greece PM

Panaji: European nations should offer a chance to refugees to be their citizens and invest in their education which could help solve problems plaguing “ageing Europe”, former Greece Prime Minister George Papandreou said here today.

“As far as refugees are concerned, we should give them a chance to become European citizens by investing in their education. It can help the problems of ageing Europe,” Papandreou said while delivering a lecture at “D D Kosambi Festival of Ideas” organised by the state government.

He said by investing in refugees, including those from Syria, one should see opportunity to rebuilt our society.

“Creating opportunities for them is what should be our approach. We should invest on the human beings. At the end, we are all citizens of the world,” he said.

Papandreou said the refugees should be allowed to experience the nature of democratic societies.

Referring to Syria refugee crisis, he said, “People who are leaving Syria don’t want to go back and they are looking for freedom and opportunities for future. Europe can try and invest in them (Syrian refugees)”.

Citing the situation in India where Bangladeshi immigrants have been settled, he said, “Not all, but some (refugees) will return back to their homeland some time. Bangladeshi who came to India due to various crisis after living here have gone back and set up their businesses in the hometown”.

The Greek politician said the ongoing troubles in Syria are due to a “proxy war”.

“If international community do not sit together and see the common vision for Syria, we will have more refugees from that country,” he added.