Greece’s Alternate Civil Protection Minister responsible for Migration Policy, Giorgos Koumoutsakos raised the issue of Greece’s border integrity in a published interview with the newspaper To Vima on Sunday.
The Minister raised the issue in the context of the sudden rise again of illegal immigrants and refugees on the Greek islands in the Aegean saying “it confirms the major issue of the protection of our borders”.
“What is wanted is the change of philosophy because the philosophy of the previous government undervalued the dimension of safety and this was a huge mistake because the migration issue has two dimensions. The respect to human rights and the protection of safety and we do not disregard any dimension, on the contrary, we link them”, Koumoutsakos said.
“The first reception countries as Greece should not be left alone. This is my target” he stressed while referring to the readmissions to Turkey he said that the EU-Turkey agreement is “a European agreement with a Greek-Turkish aspect which constitutes the main tool for the readmissions.
The Minister went on the say that Turkey “must tackle the trafficker rings and Greece to send back the migrants and this will come as a result of the government’s new law initiative for the acceleration in the asylum-seekers procedures and in parallel EU to do its share.
He noted that it took him by surprise that Europe discussed twice the issue of the migrants’ flow to Central Europe when the major problem is in the east adding that Greece set the matter to the Finnish EU Presidency and will be discussed at a working group on Tuesday in Brussels.
Moreover, the migrants and refugees flow issue is on the agenda of his visit on Monday to Cyprus while he expressed the hope for a consensus among Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria “in order to constantly raise the Europeans’ awareness to the need to focus attention on the eastern Mediterranean.”