NICOSIA — "For the last two years under the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece has been implementing a strict but fair migration policy based on the protection of borders and the separation of refugees entitled to protection under international law, which Greece fully abides by, from undocumented economic migrants whom we deport, as provided by national and European legislation," Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Friday from Cyrpus.
"Greece has in the last 12 months achieved a positive balance of more legal departures from our country – either through deportations or through voluntary returns or relocations – than the number of arrivals of undocumented migrants," he added.
After a meeting with the Vice President of the Democratic Rally party, Harris Georgiadis, Mitarachi stressed that the crisis in the EU did not arise due to the forthcoming new Pact. "It came about precisely because the necessary solidarity with the first reception countries is lacking under the current framework of the Dublin Regulation. That is why Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Malta have established a strong alliance, the MED5 Mediterranean countries, where – together with my friend Nikos Nouris – we are working to bring about a new Migration and Asylum Pact that will meet our needs," he explained.
Mitarachi went on to emphasise three points:
"The first point is the external dimension. Preventing illegal entry into the EU. Frontex must play a key role in this, as must cooperation between the EU and the countries of transit and origin.
The second – especially important for us – is to have a common and effective European deportation mechanism, in order to send the clear message that our countries are not gateways for smugglers.
"And thirdly, also very important, is that Europe must now actively demonstrate its solidarity."