Greek President hails EU plans to fine states refusing asylum seekers

Greek President hails EU plans to fine states refusing asylum seekers

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has welcomed plans by the European Union's executive arm to impose stiff financial penalties on member states refusing to take their share of asylum seekers.

“It is very important that the European Commission, and the EU's migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos personally, have decided to uphold certain obligations, even through the imposition of sanctions,” Pavlopoulos said during a meeting with the UN's special representative for migration, Peter Sutherland, in Athens on Wednesday.

“Everyone in Europe has to realize that this is a place of rights as well as responsibilities,” Pavlopoulos said while thanking the UN for assisting the implementation of the EU's policy on immigration.

In his comments, the UN representative called for greater international solidarity for Greece and other European nations on the frontline of the migration and refugee crisis.

“What Greece and Greeks have achieved during these difficult times is something that you can be proud of. Europe can also be proud of Greek solidarity toward the refugees,” he said.

“These are the European values, may of which were born in Greece,” he said.

The Commission has said it wants to more fairly share responsibility for migrants arriving in Europe. Under proposals unveiled earlier this month, countries that decline to take their quota would face a fine of 250,000 euros for each person refused.

A number of countries in Europe, including Poland and Hungary, have been reluctant to take in refugees.

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