Greece will not be turned into migrant warehouse, says minister

Greece will not be turned into migrant warehouse, says minister

Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas criticized Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Friday over their stance towards migration, saying the Greek government will not allow Greece to turn into a “warehouse of souls."

Kurz has demanded stronger control of the bloc’s external borders and the implementation the EU’s Dublin Regulation on asylum rules, while Orban called on Thursday for undocumented migrants to be returned to Greece, noting that it is the first country of arrival even if all migrants are not registered there.

“As a government, we will not accept turning the country into a warehouse of souls,” he said in an interview with radio station Parapolitika.

“There are European leaders who are trying to impose a policy of autocracy, a policy of fortress-Europe. Mr Kurz and Mr Orban are trying to impose a phobic agenda. This will not be accepted. Mr Orban is creating ba narrative which has nothing to do with reality,” he added.

Commenting on the deal Greece signed with Germany for the return of of migrants and refugees, he said those who will be returned from Germany will remain in the mainland and not go back to the islands.

The deal, struck last week, aims to minimize the flow of the so-called secondary movement from point-of-entry countries – like Greece and Spain – to Germany.

Vitsas said Germany has already accepted 2,000 requests for family reunifications and 900 are still pending, adding that talks on the “technical aspect” of the returns are underway and are expected to be completed by the end of the month. Reunifications will start in August, he added.

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