Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today with the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, at Maximos Mansion.
They discussed, among other matters, the European Commission’s proposals on the new Migration and Asylum Pact, which relate to the issue of migrants and refugees, as the countries of first entry currently bear the disproportionate burden.
The two sides agreed that substantial improvements are needed, on the basis of solidarity, so that responsibility for managing the migration issue is not exclusively relegated to the countries of first entry.
They also stressed the need for full compliance with the EU – Turkey Statement, which was agreed on 18 March 2016, for the effective management of the matter. They also discussed developments on the reception of refugees and migrants in Greece.
The Prime Minister and the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, had the following dialogue at the stat of their meeting:
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Always a pleasure to have you in Athens. I understand you had an interesting and productive visit to our islands, where you had the chance to observe firsthand the challenges of protecting the borders of the European Union. And I am very interested in having the discussion on the New Migration and Asylum Pact, in order to understand how we can find a compromise solution that will implement the premise of fair burden-sharing amongst all EU Member States when it comes to addressing this very, very complicated task. But again, welcome to Athens and it’s a pleasure to see you again.
Commissioner Johansson: Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here. Thank you very much for your warm welcome. We had a very productive day yesterday, I think, together, Notis and I. And we have good cooperation on a lot of things. I think we achieved a lot of things the last year together, with the decongestion of the islands and dealing with the fire in the Moria camp and building of the new facilities. But it was good to be on the ground, talk with the locals, talk with the migrants, talk with mayors, NGOs. So that was a good day.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: For us it is important to recognize that essentially a year after the incident in Lesvos, the fire at Moria, the big sense of insecurity that was obvious in all the islands, that we have made significant progress in terms of decongesting the islands, and that we are moving ahead, with the help of the European Union, with the construction of permanent facilities on the islands that are a step-change compared to what was there in the past. So again. I would also like to thank the European Union for its overall support in addressing this very complicated challenge.
Commissioner Johansson: We have, you know, a special task force with Beate. A lot of people here. I also announced yesterday that we now signed 276 (million euros) for the construction of new sites.
The meeting was attended, on the Greek side, by the Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi, the Director of the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Bureau Eleni Sourani and diplomat Grigoris Delavekouras, member of the Diplomatic Bureau.
The meeting was also attended by Beate Gminder, Deputy Director-General in charge of the “Task Force Migration Management” in DG Migration and Home Affairs and Gosia Pearson, Member of the Commissioner’s Cabinet.