ATHENS — Migration & Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi called for national agreement and unity "at a critical time for the future of the country and the EU," during a briefing of parliamentary parties on the new EU migration pact proposal held on Wednesday.
In statements later, Mitarachi said the EU asylum framework had to be enforced "so that first-line countries do not have to bear an unequal burden in a migration crisis."
At the meeting in the Keranis building in Agios Ioannis Rentis, a suburb of Piraeus, the minister underlined the government's stance in the negotiations, including a joint European system that distributes responsibility equally among member states, and a joint system of returning migrants whose applications for asylum are not approved. "We are asking for national understanding and the greatest possible agreement on these positions, at a time that is critical for Greece's and Europe's future," Mitarachi told MPs.
New Democracy MP Ioannis Lambropoulos praised the minister for briefing parties on the pact under European discussion. MPs however expressed their concern that Greece would again bear the brunt of migration and of housing migrants, without other EU countries assuming their responsibilities.
As MP Giorgos Psychogios of the main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance said, the pact should present long-term solutions that respects human rights, "respects the front-line countries, and introduces a proportional and obligatory distribution of migrants, with censure to those not observing them."
The proposed pact appears to place a lot of weight on Greece, Movement for Change (KINAL) Giorgos Kaminis said, "remaining a country where migrants and refugees are trapped," while other EU countries are not obliged to do the same and Greek islands suffer the most.
Similar concerns on housing and processing migrants were voiced by Communist Party MP Maria Komninaka, Greek Solution MP Constantine Chitas and MeRA25 MP Evangelia Abazi.