ATHENS - Migration is an issue Europe must learn to live with in the coming years, and needs better management, European Commision Vice President Margaritis Schinas said on Thursday, prior to his meeting with newly-appointed Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi at the Commission offices in Athens.
"Europe provides the sole framework we have in order to manage the multiple aspects of the issue, and Greece is a European champion in receiving EU financial help from migration funding," Schinas said. The prominence of the migration issue for the future and its management, the EU framework to resolve it and the major funding Greece has received compared to other countries are three issues "in which I was happy to see political parties agree," Schinas said following a three-hour discussion in the Greek Parliament.
He also requested that the new Migration Ministry maintain the standing in funding that Greece has on the issue.
Following the meeting, Mitarachi said that the priority of the ministry and of Alternate Minister George Koumoutsakos was to "accelerate planning and implementation, rather than looking for new premises" for the ministry, which was re-established as of Wednesday. He explained that the ministry's main priority is the new asylum policy, adding that "the faster processing for asylum can take place on the islands," where "migrants have been waiting in limbo for years, being unable to either move on with their lives or be returned if they did not qualify for asylum."
The new multi-faceted centers for migrants and their EU funding was another issue discussed with Schinas, he said.
"It is of critical importance that Greece is seen as a country implementing a balanced migration policy that respects international laws and provides international protection to those who are entitled to it, returning to Turkey those who do not qualify for international protection with the Joint Statement in a speedy and effective manner," Mitarachi said, referring to the EU-Turkey statement on migrants' returns.