ATHENS – Greek Migration & Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi welcomed the European Union ministerial support for providing temporary protection to refugees from Ukraine on Thursday.
In an interview to Athens-Macedonian News Agency, Mitarachi said that the proceedings included a decision by the EU not to apply the regulation obliging first-entry countries to shoulder the legal burden of arriving migrants. Instead, he said, “there is now a single European area of protection, something that is important to Greece in negotiating the new EU migration agreement.”
Mitarachi said the negotiations were difficult, as there was a disagreement whether protection should be granted to non-Ukrainian nationals as well. The final decision will rest with each country as to third-country nationals, he said. Greece “will not automatically grant protection to non-Ukrainians, but we will give them the right to apply for asylum, if they have a personal reason justified by the Geneva Convention and they cannot return to their countries,” the minister clarified. An exception will be made for certified refugees, who will immediately receive a 12-month-long residency and work permit. Nobody will be unprotected in Europe, he said, as the legal acquis of Europe covers them all, he added.