Athens poised to sign migrant returns deal with Berlin

Athens poised to sign migrant returns deal with Berlin

Athens is prepared to sign a bilateral deal with Berlin for the return of refugees that were first registered in Greece, according to Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas, who gave separate interviews to Spiegel Online and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung respectively.

Vitsas, who was expected to meet with German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at the summit of European Union interior ministers in Innsbruck which began on Thursday, said that a deal could be closed before the end of July.

Greece is, so far, the only country that appears willing to sign a bilateral deal with Germany, as Austria and Italy remain negative.

Ministers at the summit discussed setting up “controlled centers” within the EU and “disembarkation platforms” outside Europe to deal with asylum claims.

Seehofer has said he hopes that deals with Greece, Italy and Austria could be signed at the beginning of August.

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