PARIS – With the European Union closing its borders to refugees and migrants, largely dumping the problem on Greece and Italy, visiting Greek Premier and French President Emmanuel Macron met to talk about finding a bloc-wide answer to the problem.
Making his first road trip since winning July 7 snap elections in ousting the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, Greece’s Conservatives leader aimed to get support in France and then Germany for his hopes of restructuring economic targets set by his country’s EU lenders.
Greece has more than 70,000 refugees and migrants in detention centers and camps – including approaching 20,000 on islands near Turkey which lets human traffickers operate during an essentially suspended swap deal with the EU.
Mitsotakis said the migrant and refugee crisis must not weigh only on the countries that are on the front line like Greece, Italy and Spain while Macron criticized Italy’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who refused to allow migrants onboard a rescue ship to disembark.
Macron said “unacceptable decisions have been taken, again” and stressed that countries “must find a European solution,” although none has been offered for more than four years when the refugees and migrants began pouring onto Greek islands and then to other more prosperous EU countries before the borders were shut to them.
Conditions in the detention centers and camps aren’t fit for humans, more than 20 rights groups, activists, NGO’s and volunteers have said and the numbers arriving on islands is beginning to rie again with New Democracy yet to come up with plan to deal with it.
Most of those in the camps and centers are seeking asylum so they won’t be returned to Turkey and then to their homelands in the Middle East and other countries where they fled war and strife and economic conditions for a better life.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)