Greek PM: We Do Not Want a Repeat of the 2015 Uncontrolled Migration Flows

September 1, 2021

ATHENS – "Politics for me requires being a manager and at the same time a leader in order to solve problems and manage crises, big and small ones. Today we need to produce results because that is what people expect from us. Being a leader means first of all telling the truth and occasionally making unpopular decisions. We are in this position and we have to make decisions that others are afraid of making because of the political cost they may have. A leader must also be able to distinguish what is important and what is less important, with a view to the immediate future but also to what the long-term strategy requires. That's the job of the politicians today," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday during his introductory speech at a panel in which he participates in the framework of the Bled Strategic Forum 2021, in Bled, Slovenia.

"I agree with what David Sassoli said and I share his ambitious agenda regarding reforming the European institutions, but I would politely disagree with his assessment regarding the decision taken yesterday by the European Council at the level of ministers regarding Afghanistan. What we said was very clear that we do not want a repeat the uncontrolled and unregulated massive massive migration flows we experienced in 2015. And I stand by this as a country that was a victim to a policy which ended up in highlighting significant failures of the European institutions because we have not yet been able to agree on a common migration and refugee path. But we agreed that there is a need to protect our borders, which we must do in a disciplined and principled manner, with full respect to international law, but we must also acknowledge as Europe and European institutions that we need to learn from our mistakes. And I think that what happened in 2015 was a mistake, we openly acknowledged it and we addressed the need to further support the social dimension of the refugee issue in the case of Afghanistan, but at the same time we are sending a very clear signal to smugglers and all those who exploit human pain and desperation that they cannot repeat what they have been systematically doing for the past years."


WASHINGTON - Although human rights groups have chided Greece’s record in dealing with refugees and migrants, alleging pushbacks the government denied happened, the US State Department said Greece’s record is essentially status quo.

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