Mitsotakis: Europe is treating “Greece as convenient ‘storage’ for refugees & migrants

November 19, 2019

“Europe is treating first arrival countries like Greece as convenient ‘storage’ for refugees and migrants. Is this European solidarity?” Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview with German daily Handelsblatt on Tuesday. At the same time, he announced the hiring of additional personnel to better manage refugees and migrants flows.

During a meeting with regional governors, Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the hiring of dozens of border and hotspot guards and Asylum Service employees.

400 guards will be hired for the Evros land border with Turkey, 500 will be employed for the Asylum Services and 800 will be sent to the hotspots on the islands for border and camp protection.

Following the recent strong reactions of local communities to re-settlement of asylum-seekers to the mainland, Mitsotakis called on regional governors to show solidarity with the islands.

“I can’t be fighting a battle and asking for solidarity from Europe when there is none among us,” he noted.

In an interview with German daily Handelsblatt the Greek Premier  reiterated that continuing migrant flows arriving from neighboring Turkey are an “unacceptable development,” adding “we cannot continue like this.”

He stressed the official Turkey is trying to use migration as a lever to pressure Europe into making concessions.

Addressing the European indifference to the issue, Mitsotakis said that a EU member-state cannot enjoy the benefits of the Schengen zone but at the same time refuse to share in its burdens, as some eastern European countries are doing.

He criticized the unwillingness of EU member states and especially Hungary to share responsibilities and in particularly about issue of “unaccompanied minors.”

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“Would it hurt them so much if they could receive one hundred of these children?” Mitsotakis said.

“Europe is treating first arrival countries like Greece as convenient ‘storage’ for refugees and migrants. Is this European solidarity? No. I will not accept this any longer,” the Greek Prime Minister stressed underlining that “this is not a Greece-only problem.”

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