Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in the online discussion organized by the Africa – Europe Foundation, which debated migration and mobility, in view of the 6th European Union – African Union Summit which will take place on 17 and 18 February 2022.
During his intervention, the Prime Minister presented the three-pillar, Greek proposal on the effective management of uncontrolled migration, which poses a risk to human lives: border protection and eradication of smuggling networks, exclusively legal and organized migration routes and actions to tackle the underlying causes that encourage people to move from Africa to Europe.
“So I think that if we take action on the three fronts, the EU offering legal migration opportunities, effective border protection to really tackle, to eradicate, to eliminate the criminal trafficking, to break down their business model and action to address underlying drivers behind people feeling that they must leave their homeland, that would seem to me to be a reasonable and well-balanced approach to address this challenge,” said the Prime Minister.
In this context, Kyriakos Mitsotakis also pointed out the need for closer cooperation between African countries and Europe on the issue of the returns of those who are not allowed asylum status.
Referring to Greece’s experiences, the Prime Minister noted that, beyond migration, Greece was also confronted with the “unacceptable practice” of the instrumentalisation of desperate people for geopolitical purposes, at the expense of the country and the European Union.
“We need to be really clear here, both European and African countries, that we need to condemn in the strongest possible words any attempt to use migrants for geopolitical purposes,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, adding that the Hellenic Coast Guard has “saved thousands of people at sea” without any compromise in terms of respect of human rights.
During his intervention, he focused particularly on the historic ties between Greece and Africa, stressing that “Greece’s commitment towards Africa is stronger than ever” and covers a wide range of topics of common interest, like tackling the consequences of the climate crisis, demographic challenges and security. He also stressed the solidarity shown by Greece towards African countries during the pandemic, as it has offered 5 million doses of vaccines, either through COVAX mechanism or at a bilateral level.
“Greece is a direct neighbor of Africa. We are connected to, rather than separated – through our common sea, the Mediterranean. We cannot be absent from this discussion,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis.