NEWS

French minister praises ‘Greek model’ of migration control

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French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has praised the “Greek model” of migration control and vowed France’s support in bolstering border security when it assumes the European Union’s six-month rotating presidency on January 1.

“We ask other southern EU countries to do what the Greeks have done to control our external borders better and other countries to agree to a system of solidarity,” Darmanin said during a visit to a controvesial migrant camp on the eastern Aegean island of Samos on Sunday, praising the new facility.

The Samos camp is a controlled facility with watchtowers and barbed wire, where the gates are locked at night and migrants have to be given permission to leave the premises. Dozens of non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, accused Greece of pursuing “harmful policies focused on deterring and containing asylum seekers and refugees” after the camp’s inauguration last month.

“We would like all the countries on Europe’s borders to implement a similar policy of control and registration for people who enter European territory,” Darmanin told a press conference with Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis in Athens on Monday after returning from Samos.

“France is aware that Greece is not only protecting its own borders but the borders of Europe as a whole,” he said, adding that the French presidency must plan “very specific proposals” so that other European countries do more to help their partners on the Mediterranean Sea.

Mitarakis for his part accused the European Commission of “complete inactivity” as negotiations for the EU’s new Migration and Asylum Pact drag on. He said that regardless of the course of those talks, the EU should be contributing more vigorously to border protection, external relations and returns.