Irish minister pledges solidarity with Athens

Irish minister pledges solidarity with Athens

Ireland’s Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has voiced her country’s support for Greek efforts to handle the lingering migration crisis, while criticizing plans to reactivate the so-called Dublin regulations, which state that asylum seekers must seek protection in the European Union member-state they first arrive in.

In an interview with Kathimerini following her visit to Athens last week, Fitzgerald, who is also Ireland’s deputy prime minister (Tanaiste), said Greece, severely hit by a debt crisis, deserved European support and solidarity.

“We want to see Greece on the same path,” she said in reference to Ireland’s economic recovery.

Fitzgerald said that in her meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras she had pledged that Ireland would take in 1,100 refugees from Greece as part of the relocation program. “That is, between 80 and 100 persons per month until September,” she said.

Fitzgerald also criticized a recent proposal by the European Commission that the Dublin rules be gradually brought back to force. The idea is popular among many EU governments.

“Frontline countries such as Greece need more support, and not to be sent back migrants and refugees,” she said, adding that Europe needed a new legal tool to deal with the problem.

Fitzgerald said it was important that the EU-Turkey deal to stem migrant flows remained in place. She said all sides should do their best in order “to maintain stability.”

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