Greece to submit in Brussels ‘robust’ plan for migrant returns, minister says

Greece to submit in Brussels ‘robust’ plan for migrant returns, minister says

Greece will submit at the meeting of EU Home affairs ministers next Monday a proposal for a “robust” European mechanism for the return of migrants, Greece’s Alternate Minister for Migration Policy George Koumoutsakos said Thursday.

The minister was speaking at a special joint session of parliamentary committees on migration, attended by visiting UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

The minister said Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria have already formed the Eastern Mediterranean group, and is cooperating bilaterally with other Mediterranean frontline states, such as Malta and Italy.

“The direction of our positions is clear. In the new European migration and asylum policy, a balance must be struck between the responsibility of the countries of first entry and the solidarity of other member-states that should implement burden-sharing policies and actions,” he said. 

“Greece is at its limits,” he continued, referring to the capacity and living conditions in the island migrant camps.

“This requires a rigorous policy that by no means ignores human rights, but at the same time serves the greater good of Greeks’ safety, as well as that of the country.”

The two-day meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels will discuss the future of EU migration and asylum policy and the future of EU internal security.

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