Greek Migration Ministry denied the report of German daily Bild that an alternative Plan B is needed should Turkey walk out of the EU-Turkey Migration Deal to stem flows to Europe.
“The minister denies Bild’s translation of his comments,” the immigration ministry said in a statement, publishing what it said were Mouzalas’s answers in Greek to Bild’s questions.
According to the statement, Mouzalas had actually said: “Greece is committed to the EU-Turkey deal, which depends on both the EU’s support and on Turkey’s duty to respect it.”
“Clearly we are concerned, but for now the number of people arriving on the Greek islands (since the deal was enforced in March) does not indicate that the deal is not being respected,” he said.
Τhe Ministry published Bild’s Questions and Mouzalas’ answers, as follows:
Question : Should Europe proceed with a Plan B soon, in case Turkey abandons the Agreement on the refugee issue? (based on the statements made by Mr. Tsavusoglu, as well as on the fact that the problem is not a Greek one but a European one).
Answer: Greece is focused on the EU – Turkey Agreement, an Agreement which is dependent upon the European support on the one side and the obligation of Turkey to abide by what has been agreed on the other side.
Up to now the Agreement is well kept. We have a refugee flow, which cannot be an indication of non-compliance. More precisely, the number of refugees arriving on the islands, some days is zero, some days is close to one-hundred. It is a number of people upon which we keep an eye one way or another. But , as an example, I have to mention that the percentage of people (arriving) in relation to the same period last year is 95 – 97% reduced. Of course, we are following (the events) closely, of course we are worried, but up to now, I repeat, the number of people arriving on our islands is not an indication of non compliance towards whatever has been agreed.
The Hellenic Government has timely informed all the European Institutions about the dangers that are under way after the recent developments in Turkey. The refugee issue, as has been officially approved by the EU during this whole period of time, is a European problem and its solution is a European responsibility.
Up to now, there has been a financial and technical support towards our country, but the vital answer is the distribution of refugees in all the countries of the European Union by analogy. It is not possible for three – four countries to bear the whole refugee burden, while the rest of the countries are criticizing us, whether we did it right or wrong, with their borders closed and without welcoming any of the refugees that they are about to receive by analogy . By now, we all know what is going on and we all know the answers that are suggested. There is no magical way. They are people fleeing their country, because of the war situation. The basic question at issue is to put an end to the war. From that moment and on, we as the European Union shall support these countries, which are close to those facing the problem. We have to contribute so that Jordan, Lebanon and other neighboring countries find themselves in a position to welcome and host refugees on their territories always in respect of human rights. Following this, the refugees coming from Turkey should be given the opportunity to be distributed in EU countries based on population and other criteria. The same should be applied for Greece, so that they are distributed in the EU countries by analogy.
Question: Should the EU hasten its support to Greece with personnel on the islands? (based on our today’s article that a sufficient number of experts has not been deployed in our country)
Answer: The European Union after our constant demands has increased its personnel dealing with the handling of the refugee crisis. The number we asked is higher than the one been approved and the number of people arriving is lower than the one that has been approved to arrive here and contribute to the solution of the problems arising from the refugee issue.
We continue to ask for the enhancement of these services with EU personnel by always highlighting the importance of the support that has been offered by those who have arrived up to now.
unofficial translation via ERT
Based on this text, it looks as if Bild (and Berlin) had the idea of a Plan B and not Greece.
Germany unhappy with EU Turkey Deal progress
A day before the Mouzalas’ interview Bild criticized the EU for having left Greece alone with the Refugees problem.
Citing EU Turkey Deal data by the European Commission Bild wrote on Tuesday that deployed to Greece were:
- only 66 out of promised 1589 Frontex officers
- only two out of 60 Deportation experts
- just 92 out 0f 475 promised Asylum- experts
- and just 61 out of 400 promised translators.
- from 30 promised lawyers, not a single one went to Greece.
“This has the effect that asylum procedures are very slow and that the relocation and deportation scheme does not work as it was planned in the context of the EU Turkey Deal.
Since March 18th, when the EU Turkey deal went into effect
- a total of just 849 refugees were relocated from Greece to other EU countries,
- while 468 benefited from the 1:1 formula, according to which Greece sends one Syrian refugee back to Turkey and Turkey sends on Syrian refugee to an EU member state.
The EU commission plan was foreseeing the relocation of 6000 refugees each month.
Why this sudden Greek support by the conservative, populist German daily? One should ask the government in Berlin and the conservative coalition partners CDU/CSU to which Bild is close. Apparently Berlin wants a Plan B fearing of Erdogan and his threats to start sending refugees and migrants to Europe again.
German Human Rights Minister has already asked for a Review of the EU Turkey Deal.
PS things are more simple than they seem.