NEWS

German migrant rap rebuffed

The government yesterday dismissed criticism by German authorities about Greece’s treatment of illegal immigrants, noting that Germany is not burdened with the same influx of illegal migrants as Greece and does not have the right to judge. «Instead of criticizing us from a safe distance, Germany could accept into its territory a number of illegal immigrants who have entered Greece illegally and examine their appeals for asylum there,» said Constantinos Bitsios, the Interior Ministry’s general secretary for immigration. Bitsios dismissed the comments of Germany’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble as a «cheap show of force,» noting that Germany had solved its own immigration problem, at the expense of Greece, thanks to the European Union’s Dublin II Regulation, which obliges migrants to lodge their asylum appeals in the first EU country they enter, usually Greece, Italy or Spain. The Dublin Regulation is expected to be invoked by French authorities who are reportedly planning to return to Greece dozens of Afghan migrants evicted from a makeshift settlement razed by police in France’s northern port of Calais earlier this week. Greek authorities have stressed that they cannot accept mass returns of migrants from other EU member states, as reception centers on Aegean islands and along the land border are packed. In a related development, unrest was said to have returned to a migrant reception center on the Aegean island of Lesvos due to overcrowding. Earlier this month, hundreds of migrants were released from the center and given ferry tickets to Piraeus but the facility is said to be heaving once again, as dozens of would-be migrants arrive on the island from neighboring Turkey every week. European Commission officials and Turkish government representatives yesterday reportedly agreed to start talks regarding the repatriation of illegal immigrants in December.