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Greek PM: “Consequences for EU members not sharing the migration-refugees burden”

“There must be consequences for EU member states that choose to not bear the burden of the migration-refugee problem,” Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Wednesday.

With a clear hint to Turkey’s threats, Mitsotakis said that “Europe is not threatened with balckmails. However, he warned that Europe “must be prepared for the possibility of a new refugees and migrants wave.

In an interview with French news agency AFP, the Greek Prime Minister said that the European Union has been “generous” with Turkey.

Speaking about the new arrivals, he said that arrivals to the Aegean islands have increased to such an extent that “we now face a very serious problem.”

A day before the summit in Brussels, Mitsotakis said that he will raise the issue of burden-sharing with other leaders.

He added that he considers the approach by some member states that there is no migration-refugee problem as “unacceptable.”

He described as “unacceptable” also the Turkish invasion in Syria. “It destabilizes the country and provides an opportunity for the defeated jihadists to rebuild. It is another factor of instability that could cause new pressure through refugee – migration flows,” he said.

He expressed concern about the 3,000-4,000 unaccompanied children hosted in Greece, and said that it would not be too difficult for the partners to agree on a plan of solidarity to help Greece.

He reiterated that his government priority is to speed up the asylum process and that those not granted asylum to return to Turkey.

“More European assistance is needed,” he added.

He pointed out at the technological infrastructures for the identification of boats before they even sail off the Turkish coast and the possibility of contacting the Coast Guard of the neighboring country, so that the boats can be stopped before reaching Greek territorial waters.

PS It is worth noting that Mitsotakis has fully adopted the new narrative promoted by some more right-wing members of his government: the claim that economic “migrants” are the overwhelming majority of the people arriving from Turkey and that they are not “refugees.”

In this sense, migrants are not eligible for asylum and can be deported back to Turkey with express procedures.

All through the interview he speaks of a “migration-refugee issue”, where it used to be a “refugee issue” in Greek until end of August.

The wording distinction is striking, even though is not confirmed by official data.

Against all international laws, the Greek right-wing government claims that only Syrians are “refugees” and the rest of those arriving are “economic migrants.”

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  1. How much more abuse can Europe’s gatekeeper, Greece, take from Brussels and Ankara before it explodes?

  2. A refugee is a person escaping a war zone, or targeted by their government.
    There are both refugees and economic migrants in Greece and the statistics bear this out:
    those from Mongolia, Algeria, Morocco, Turkistan etc are economic migrants.

    • No, you have posted rubbish here. The 1951 UN Convention on Refugees defines numerous grounds of persecution, of which fleeing from war is actually an unintended case for protection. Equally, Greece is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, which affords more grounds for humanitarian protection, but does not specify the legal instrument to be used.

      There is no such thing as an “economic migrant” in law. This is right wing terminology, attacking the right of asylum.

      The nationality of a person does not determine their claim to protection. Each case is taken on its merits.Your opinion of which people are entitled to international protection is just ignorant, and apparently one shared by the current Prime minster of Greece.

      • It is now “right wing rubbish” to say that some of the migrants don’t qualify as refugees? Why then are migrants tested to see if they qualify and those who don’t are deported?

        It is really tragic that stating simple facts is now attacked with smears and insults. You are not doing your side (I presume you have a side, since you politicised it) any favours with this behaviour.

        You are correct that there is no “economic migrant” in law, however it is disingenouos to deny there is economic migration in fact. Greece experienced a wave of economic migration from Albania in the 1990s after Enver Hodja died, and economic migration from eastern Europe and Poland after the wall came down. There was economic migration from Africa and eastern Europe in the early 2000s in the years leading up to the Olympic games, which produced real suffering after the crisis dried up jobs. Well documented on this site.

        • You did not state a single correct fact. That is my definition of rubbish. The “fact” that varying proportions of specific nationalities achieve refugee status means little, especially when different countries grant totally different proportions to the same nationalities — e.g. a range of 0-90% for Afghans across the EU. My comments here are not “smears”:they are accurate representations of reality.

          And you persist with this right wing terminology of “economic migration”. Did it never occur to you that Britons who move to Greece could be described as economic migrants, if they work? Yet they never are (disregarding the special status, until now, of Citizenship of the EU).

          Migrants are migrants. People move for a number of reasons, and often not for only one reason. Placing people into politically-determined categories — especially those with negative connotations — is not describing reality. It is a way to attack them. The only two categories that are accurate to use are “asylum-seeker” and “refugee” These are defined in law.

          There are plenty of problems with migration; and Greece now has more than its fair share of problems, anyway. However, using the vocabulary of the far right is not going to help anyone, other than the Far Right.