Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas urged European Parliament President Martin Schulz to boost the body’s role in the refugee issue during a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
According to a ministry press release, Mouzalas described the situation in Greece by asking for Schulz’s support on the following issues:
- Ensuring the EU-Turkey deal is implemented by all sides as “it’s the only way for a legal and safe transport of refugees to Europe.”
- The relocation of refugees from Greece to other member-states, especially concerning unaccompanied minors, as the procedure has essentially stopped. By the end of 2016, 33,000 people must have relocated, but so far only 5,000 have done so.
- The resettlement of refugees for humanitarian reasons from Turkey to Europe so as to send the message of a legal transport to Europe.
- The creation of a European return mechanism – instead of the system implemented today, whereby each member-state returns people separately. This will facilitate the return of migrants to their country of origin.
- The amendment of the Dublin regulation concerning the asylum petition process in a way that doesn’t burden solely the countries of first entrance.
In response Schulz expressed his solidarity with Greece, noting that many member-states have essentially abandoned Greece, and that authorities must speed up relocation while at the same time, he criticized Greece for delaying returns to Turkey.