Greece and the United Kingdom signed a bilateral agreement on Wednesday in which the two countries pledge to significantly increase their cooperation to limit irregular entries of migrants to Greece.
The UK shows a particular interest on the matter since it left the European Union, as the kingdom itself regularly sees illegal migrants crossing the English Channel from France to Great Britain.
The joint action plan was signed via teleconference by UK Immigration Minister, Chris Philp, and Greece’s Alternate Migration and Asylum Minister, George Koumoutsakos.
”Illegal migration is facilitated by dangerous, malicious criminals, taking advantage of the desperate situations that many people find themselves in. They do not care about the safety of the people involved,” Philip stated after the signing of the agreement.
”The joint action plan will deliver on our commitment to keep our borders secure and will discourage those considering making the dangerous and illegal journey into Greece, through Europe, and in many cases to the UK,” he added.
I signed an agreement today on behalf of the UK Government with the Greek Government to continue supporting them in tackling dangerous illegal migration routes through Greece. The criminal gangs who facilitate this will be stopped and brought to Justicehttps://t.co/i2X8509Z1t pic.twitter.com/rJ9qcuogoL
— Chris Philp (@CPhilpOfficial) April 22, 2020
In Athens, the plan was signed at the Migration & Asylum Ministry by Koumoutsakos, in the presence of British ambassador to Greece Kate Smith.
The strategic plan provides for the reallocation of unaccompanied minors from Greece to the United Kingdom and the reunification of refugee children with any relatives who are already in the UK.
Judicial cooperation between the two countries will also provide a working basis for exchanging know-how and executing procedures regarding the process of asylum appeals.
Translation support at refugee reception and identification centers and Greece’s Asylum Service are also foreseen in the agreement.
Additionally, the Greek Coast Guard will stage joint search and rescue operations in the Aegean Sea with the United Kingdom’s Border Force.
A strategic dialogue at the highest level at least once a year was also agreed upon as part of the document.
Με την υπογραφή Στρατηγικής Συνεργασίας Δράσης οι Υπουργοί @GKoumoutsakos και @CPhilpOfficial σφραγίζουν την εξαιρετική #UK–#GR συνεργασία στο #μεταναστευτικό. Οι προκλήσεις της παράτυπης μετανάστευσης, η παράνομη διακίνηση και η προστασία της ανθρώπινης ζωής μάς αφορούν όλους. pic.twitter.com/vrJOrIWcpt
— Kate Smith (@KateSmithFCO) April 22, 2020