Greece’s Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy George Koumoutsakos has accused Turkey of exploiting the migration crisis to pursue its “geostrategic goals,” while urging European Union governments to do more to share the burden of hosting refugees.
“We have a very difficult partner on the other side of the Aegean,” Koumoutsakos said in reference to Turkey, on the second day of the Inaugural Southeast Europe & East Med conference in Washington, adding that the EU had been “too slow” and often “unable” to make the necessary decisions to contain the problem.
While welcoming the fact that the European Commission incoming chief Ursula von der Leyen has made the issue a priority area, the conservative minister predicted that a new comprehensive pact on migration will emerge only during the German presidency in the second half of 2020.
Speaking about Greek government plans to implement a stricter legal framework regarding asylum and border controls, he said a decision has been made to set up five detention centers to hold migrants who are slated for deportation until their departure. “It is a more robust policy” than before, he said.
But he did call for greater burden-sharing in the EU. “Greece will do its share, but it cannot do it alone,” he said.