Greek PM to push EU peers for illegal immigration crackdown, growth measures

Arriving at a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he would “push” for solutions to the problems of illegal immigration and youth unemployment that are particularly keenly felt in the bloc’s external border states.

“We’re here to push for more Europe, for better Europe,” Samaras told reporters, adding that talks on digital union and banking union were also on the agenda as well as “more jobs and growth, especially jobs for the young generation.”

The Greek premier said that he was also keen «to make sure we find the right solution to the long overdue problem of illegal immigration which is of paramount importance for countries in the southern Mediterranean region.”

Samaras, and the leaders of another eight countries on the EU’s external borders including Italy, Spain and Malta, are reportedly seeking a more active role by the EU in tackling the flow of undocumented migrants into their countries.

The Greek premier is expected to underline to his EU peers Greece’s inability to deal with a relentless influx of undocumented immigrants amid a deepening recession.

He is also expected to present EU officials with a 12-page policy framework agreed with his coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos which explains why Greece cannot handle any more austerity measures and pushes the case for debt relief.

Samaras did not respond to reporters’ questions about demands from Greece’s foreign creditors for another 2 billion euros in savings next year.

According to sources, Samaras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the summit. Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades also met with Merkel briefly, the sources said.