In an interview on Sunday, Greek Immigration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis recalled that just one year ago Greece stalwartly protected the European Union from a Turkish-instigated breach of the border at Evros using troops from FRONTEX.
“Migration flows have decreased by 90% now,” Mitarakis noted, adding that “in the last eight months, more people are leaving than coming.
“Immigration is no longer the number one problem, as it was in the days of SYRIZA,” Mitarakis continued.
“We have many opportunities, from now on, to discuss Turkey,” he added.
Mitarakis: Turkey following “strange tactics”
“One of them is the joint Council of Ministers of Interior and Immigration on Monday, where we will talk about Turkey,” the Minister told Greece’ SKAI television.
He added that “Turkey is trying to negotiate a better relationship with the EU but unfortunately follows a strange tactic. It goes one step forward, one step back.
“The neighboring country must stop the flow and accept the returns of those who are not entitled to international protection,” The Immigration and Asylum Minster continued.
“Europe will give Turkey a roadmap for taking positive steps,” he stated, before adding “beyond that, Turkey must know that Europe will be against it if it does not abide by what has been agreed.”
Mitarakis then declared that “Turkey must choose which policy to follow.”
Addressing several accusations regarding actions taken by officers of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the minister said it was part of a “war” waged by the Left.
Officers from FRONTEX have been accused of breaking international law in their campaign to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the European Union by way of Greece, including pushbacks and other actions.
“The European Left is waging war against FRONTEX in the European Parliament, trying to limit its ability to protect Europe’s borders,” Mitarakis charged.
FRONTEX’s role to “prevent illegal entry into Europe”
“FRONTEX must and does follow European regulations, but its role is to prevent illegal entry into Europe,” he explained.
On Monday, Mitarakis held successive meetings with security forces and elected officials, during his visit to his native island of Chios.
He first met with the mayor of Oinousses, George Daniel, and then visited the Chios Police Department, the Chios Port Authority and the Naval Observatory XI – 21 at the Chios Naval Station.
At the end of the visit, the Minister of Immigration and Asylum made the following statement:
“The Greek Police play a key role in the safety of citizens. Especially in the Aegean islands, to deal with the effects of immigration. I am glad that in 2021 we no longer face the problems of previous years and I hope in the coming years we will never relive the difficult years we lived after 2015.”