Greek Citizen Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis underlined Greece’s determination to protect its borders while addressing a discussion held Wednesday on migration, asylum and guarding Greece’s borders, before the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee. He also emphasized the need to implement a re-admission agreement between Turkey and the European Union.
Chrysohoidis urged the EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers’ council meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday to vote in favor of the re-admission treaty with Turkey, suggesting that the obstacles raised were linked to pre-election strategies in France. He was also strongly critical of moves by France and Germany to reintroduce border controls in contravention of the Schengen Treaty.
Replying to a statement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Europe’s borders were “like a sieve,” Chrysohoidis pointed out that in order for a country to protect its borders, its neighbors had to do the same.
“Turkey does not guard its borders,” he underlined, stressing that Turkish migrant traffickers threw women and children into the sea near Greek islands, forcing Greek authorities to rescue them.
He asked that the European Parliament and European bodies implement the re-admission agreement with Turkey, imposing specific obligations with countries with which the EU had made such agreements, and asked that they assist in the absorption of funds for detention centers for migrants, as well as additional funds and the exchange of knowhow. The minister also called for an exception to memorandum rules on hiring civil servants for staff employed by Greece’s political asylum service.