Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in an exclusive interview with Financial Times, said he is is ready to strike a deal with Angela Merkel to make it easier for Germany to send asylum seekers back to other European countries, giving the embattled chancellor an important boost before a crucial EU summit.
Tsipras said he was open to a special agreement with Berlin to curtail the “secondary movement” of refugees that arrive at the EU’s southern border but then journey north to Germany. Ms Merkel is under intense pressure from her Bavarian conservative coalition partners to convince governments to speed up return procedures for asylum seekers already registered in other EU countries. They are threatening to break up the coalition if she fails to get results at the end of this month. “We don’t care about the fact that maybe we’ll have some returns from Germany if this will help, in order to give the signal to the smugglers [that Europe is tackling illegal migration flows],” said Mr Tsipras.
EU diplomats say Berlin has approached Italy, Greece and all its neighbours with the aim of signing bilateral arrangements, potentially with the offer of financial incentives for frontline states carrying a heavy burden.
“We have to find a way, in the framework of the international law, to share the burden and to not have this unfair position for the frontline countries but also for Germany,” he said. “Because it’s not fair all these people to go to Germany, if we believe that this is a European problem.”
*Read the article in full at Financial Times