Alternate Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas responded to statements made by German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière on Sunday that suggested that Germany could send migrants back to Greece. Speaking with radio station Praktorio 104.9 FM on Tuesday, Mouzalas said that the comments made are “out of place” and “do not help” the situation.
“The issue has taken excessive dimensions. But such statements do not help,” Mouzalas underlined adding that this statement served internal interests ahead of the German elections. The Greek minister spoke of the “very positive role” played by Germany and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “There was a European agreement from the past, when refugee flows were 5,000-10,000 annually, when an undocumented migrant was arrested and sent back to the EU member state in which he first arrived,” he said. “This member state was usually Greece or Italy. This is not applied any more because it was unfair. This could be applied when there were 5,000-10,000 migrants a year. When there are 850,000, it does not make sense.”
“The European Commission and the European Councils decided to establish a Commission that will examine a new way that will be based on distribution,” he said. “You cannot speak of readmission to a country with 60,000 refugees. The 60,000 refugees correspond to 580,000 in Germany. And you cannot talk about these things when you have promised and have voted that 30,000 refugees should have been relocated from Greece to Europe in 2016 and only 3,500 relocations have been carried out yet.”