The European Commission's proposal for the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum dominated a meeting on Tuesday between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson. The proposal concerns the management of the migration-refugee problem, where a disproportionate burden is currently being borne by the first-reception countries.
According to sources, both sides agreed that substantial improvements are needed on the basis of solidarity, so that front-line member states are not solely responsible for managing the migration problem.
They also stressed the need for full implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement of 18 March 2016 for the effective management of the problem and they discussed developments regarding the reception of refugees and migrants in Greece.
The prime minister spoke about a compromise solution that will be based on the fair distribution of the burden among EU member states.
"It is important for us to recognise that essentially a year after the Lesvos incident, the Moria fire, and after this great sense of insecurity that was evident on all the islands, that we have now made significant progress in terms of the decongestion of the islands. We are moving forward with the help of the EU, with the construction of permanent facilities on the islands, which is a decisive change, compared to what has happened in the past. I would like to thank the EU for the overall support it provides in tackling this very complex problem," Mitsotakis underlined.
On her part, the EU Commissioner noted that there is very good cooperation on many issues adding that in the last year the EU and Greece have achieved a lot together, such as decongesting the islands, but also on the occasion of the fire in Moria, the construction of new structures.
She said that it was good to have had the opportunity to visit and talk with people on the ground, including local residents, migrants, mayors and the NGOs. "We have an action team, with Beate Gminder, a lot of people here. I announced yesterday that we have signed for the allocation of 276 million euros for the construction of new facilities", she pointed out.