France’s Deputy Interior Minister Mr Laurent Nunez announced on Monday that his country will host 400 migrants in Greece requesting asylum, with priority given to families and other vulnerable individuals.
Nunez made the announcement following his meet with Greece’s Alternate Minister of Migration and Asylum George Koumoutsakos, in which the French agreed to collaborate on six measures to help out with the migrant/refugee issue.
The French Minister also said that his country will also send 24 specialists on asylum, with options of increasing their number and extending their tour of duty in Greece to three or four instead of the current two. The number of French officials aiding EU’s Frontex guarding agency will rise from the current 176 to 200.
Issues under discussion included collaboration on merging flights of individuals being returned from France and Greece to their countries of origin after their asylum applications have been rejected, the option of having the French embassy in Greece issue the return permits (laissez-passer), and the possibility of adding a third French official at Greek airports as a link for secondary transfers within the EU.
Nunez said the measures belong to a framework “of close and trusting collaboration between two countries,” and described his visit as related to “the solidarity France is obliged to express.” The increase of migration flows since summer 2019 he said calls for a stronger presence, especially when an EU member state finds itself in difficulty.
Koumoutsakos spoke of the need for a vigorous EU policy for asylum and migration and said that “Europe urgently needs a policy that can address new factors.” Both Greece and France, the minister said, believed that there should be “an operational and effective balance between the principle of responsibility and that of solidarity.”
He also called on Turkey to collaborate more on the EU-Turkey Joint Statement on the return of migrants, and called its “repeated statements and threats that at some point it may open the migration doors to Europe as particularly unproductive.” Such statements help nobody, neither Turkey nor Europe nor anyone in the region, he added.