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The Interior Ministers of Germany and France on a visit to Athens

05 February 2016 / 18:02:41  GRReporter
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The Interior Ministers of Germany Thomas de Maizière and France Bernard Cazeneuve are visiting Athens to explore the options to help Greece cope with the influx of migrants to the islands and the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with them has just ended.

The French Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said after the meeting that he had a sincere and fruitful dialogue with the Greek Prime Minister. With regard to the refugee issue, he stated that in 2016 the European Union would not be able to withstand the same flow of migrants as in 2015, stressing the need for negotiations with Turkey on complying with its commitments to continue.

The French Interior Minister also pointed out the need for Greece to be supported in dealing with the refugee crisis, and for Frontex to be strengthened if necessary. In this regard, Greece will be supported by experts in the verification of fake documents.

Earlier, upon welcoming the foreign guests, the Greek Prime Minister said that the refugee crisis was a problem that affected all of Europe. He also stressed that Greece had taken a great burden, but at the same time, people continued to die in the waters of the Aegean Sea. Alexis Tsipras said that Greece respected the agreements and commitments it had undertaken to manage the refugee crisis, adding that everyone should fulfil their commitments.

Thomas de Maizière: "A carrot and stick for Athens"

Germany’s Interior Minister also met with several members of the Greek government to be informed firsthand on the progress of construction of the so-called hot spots on the Greek islands, but also to push for some other matters, such as the faster and more complete functioning of the identification centres, their possible expansion in Athens and other Greek cities, the closer cooperation between the Greek and Turkish coast guard, etc.

The "stick" however will go along with a "carrot" in the form of a better material and technical assistance for Athens in guarding the Greek-Turkish border. After 1 March, Frontex will be provided with two boats of the German Federal Police and 100 German policemen. This support is a sign of recognition that Greece cannot cope alone with the huge refugee and migrant wave, flooding the hundreds of larger and smaller Greek islands located opposite the Turkish coast.

Tags: Ministers of the InteriorThomas de MaiziereBernard CazeneuveRefugee crisis
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