Greece will not become a country of first entry for Afghans seeking refuge from the Taliban as it does not border Afghanistan, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.
“We aren’t going to adopt past practices of ‘we’ve opened up and we’re waiting for you,’” he insisted in comments to Real FM radio Monday.
Tens of thousands of Afghans currently reside in Greece, and a very large percentage of them now have asylum, he said.
“Greece cannot be a first host country for Afghan refugees and this message has been sent first of all by the premier, but also by all of us in all our bilateral or multilateral contacts,” he added.
Regarding the EU’s position, Varvitsiotis noted that “Europe has swept the issue of refugees and migrants under the rug,” stressing Greece and the other Mediterranean countries’ serious reservations about the Commission’s proposal for the new Pact on Asylum and Migration.