Following criticism by Amnesty International and other human rights groups, the government on Friday continued to defend its plan for a floating barrier in the Aegean to curb an increased influx of migrants from Turkey as the European Commission and Germany appeared to distance themselves from the scheme.
Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis referred to a “positive measure that will help monitor areas close to the Turkish coast,” adding that the floating barrier “sends out the message that we are not a free-for-all and that we’re taking all necessary measures to protect the borders.”
Rights groups have condemned the measure amid fears that it will increase the risks faced by migrants crossing the Aegean.
German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert refused to comment on the news.
The European Commission said that although the protection of external borders lies in the hands of European Union member-states, EU law applies when physical barriers prevent asylum seekers from applying for protection.