“The Federations should act as Migrant Information Centers in order to provide reliable information, help regarding residence permit acquisition in cases this is required along with employment and financial support to the Greeks that the financial crisis has made them migrate again” stressed in an interview to “In-On” magazine, the vice-president of the Cretan Association of Europe and board member of the World Council of Cretans, Mr. Stavros Perdikis.
Our role -he underlined- is restricted in helping young Greek immigrants in their first contacts with public services get them in touch with other entities of Greeks living abroad and also inform them about Greek-interest enterprises along with finding housing when needed.
Question: What kind of help does the Council give to Cretan immigrants in European countries in terms of information and help in finding a job?
Answer: Till recently, when we referred to Cretan immigrants to Europe we meant our fellow citizens that had left Crete seeking for a better life somewhere between the end of ΄50s and till the end of ΄70s and those of the 2nd and 3rd generation who were born and raised in the foreign countries their parents had settled down. Those people are now integrated in the local societies and address to the local services for issues regarding information or finding a job.
Quite recently, due to the economic crisis our country faces, a new migratory movement is born towards the countries of the European Union. The people involved are mainly young people qualified with University degrees that can speak one or some of the most widely-spoken languages of the European Union and are already aware through the internet sites of the potentials regarding job finding as well as the practical aspects of their settlement. All the above combined with the fact that Greece as a full member of the European Community provides them with the opportunity to circulate and work in the countries of the European Union without problem or limitation, our role is restricted to helping them in their first contacts with various public services and bodies that deal with Greeks abroad and also inform them about the existence of enterprises of Greek interest and if needed house finding.
Question: To what extend has the Council contributed in helping Greece at these moments of crisis?
Answer: Today, in an especially difficult period for Greece, much more problems come to light than those we were already aware of. The World Council of Cretans alone is not capable to solve these problems. However, it can highlight them, it can make suggestions and it can try to find solutions in cooperation with the relevant public bodies.
The great power of the World Council of Cretans lies in the Federations where there are not only administrative officials but also ordinary members that love and feel sympathy for our country Greece and through their experience, knowledge and their posts, they offer valid services aiming at the reinforcement and projection of Greece in every level. Our main concern is the promotion and strengthening of the position of Greece along with our homeland Crete.
Question: Tell us about the plans of Europe regarding the service of the new World Council of Cretans.
Answer: Any kind of action on behalf of the Federations the World Council of Cretans consists of, are always within the framework of the common goals and decisions of the World Council of Cretans. As referred in his speech after his election, the President of the World Council of Cretans Mr. Antonis Tsourdalakis, said that we must continue the action of the previous Board and try to get in touch with more people and make the World Council of Cretans the best known to the wider Hellenism giving it longer range. Another important issue that the World Council of Cretans should play a significant role concerns the new stream of immigration due to the economic crisis our country faces. We constantly see on a daily basis dozens of our fellow countrymen leave their homes seeking for a better future for their families. Therefore, our Federations around the world should become information centers, provide reliable information and help regarding residence permit acquisition in cases this is required along with employment and financial support. The World Council of Cretans is not the one that can get the country out from its «economic lethargy»; however, it could play a vital role in the promotion of Cretan products to the countries that Greek population lives helping in this way the economy of Greece. In cooperation with the Council of Greeks Abroad and the international networks of Macedonians, people from Epirus, Messenia, Arcadia and Cyprus as well as all the other bodies that deal with Greeks abroad we should demand the creation of a Ministry of Overseas Greeks. A Ministry staffed with technocrats and scientists who live abroad. The Ministry will be able to organize and coordinate the scientific, business and political potential of Hellenes abroad for the benefit Greece mainly. It will be a one stop shop for all the cases the Greeks who live abroad have and now are facing the incredible jumble of Greek bureaucracy. Actually, this is the kind of bureaucracy that stifles any business endeavor of the Greeks abroad who wish to invest in Greece.
Question: What are the activities of the World Council of Cretans in Europe?
Answer: The World Council of Cretans is a tertiary institution of Cretans all over the globe and it consists of four federations:
– The CRETAN FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
– The PAN-CRETAN FEDERATION OF AMERICA
– The PAN-CRETAN FEDERATION OF SOCIETIES
– The PAN-CRETAN FEDERATION OF EUROPE which embraces a large number of Cretan societies from all countries of Europe.
Through the activities of these societies, the World Council of Cretans attempts to preserve the cultural heritage of our ancestors, the democratic traditions of the Cretans and also preserve the customs of our Nation through the organization of cultural events.
We fight to preserve the History, the cultural tradition of Crete and the way this will pass not only to the younger generations but also to the communities that Cretans live and activate.
We try to cultivate an interactive exchange of ideas regarding technology and sciences through good cooperation and coordination so as to face our common problems in the best possible way. Also, we struggle for the economic development of Crete always showing respect to our heritage and the defense of Greece and Hellenism in general in any legal way when the interests are at stake.
Stavros Perdikis was born and brought up in Kentrochori in the municipality of St. Vassilios (Rethymnon-Crete) and he is the third child of Charidimos and Chrysi Perdikis. Till 1992, he lived in Herakleion and later he settled down in Brussels. Since 1993, he works as an employee of the European Union in the Council of Europe.
Since 2004, he has been elected chairman of the Cretan Association of Belgium for the fourth consecutive time by the Cretans of Belgium. He has been a member of the board of Directors of the Greek Community. He has been a member of the board of Directors of the Pan-Cretan Association of Europe and during the last elections for the new chairman and the board of directors of the World Council of Cretans the delegates elected him Vice-president of the Cretan Federation of Europe in the newly-elected Board of Directors.