ATHENS — Addressing the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday stressed the need for a "new, ambitious policy for migration and asylum," noting at the same time that "we are looking forward to the Commission's proposals" within the next month.
On his part, Schinas stressed that "Europe cannot fail twice in such an important issue."
"The government has moved very fast and a temporary facility has already been set up to take care of refugees and migrants who can no longer be housed in Moria," he said, adding that such a tragedy may raise awareness again. "In order for everyone in Europe to realise that this problem cannot be managed by the host countries alone, by the countries on Europe 's external borders."
Mitsotakis pointed out that the mistakes of the past should not be repeated and that any new asylum-seeker facility on the island must have a different model of operation and administration, while the greatest-possible European participation should be discussed, "so that it is clear and functional, but also on a symbolic level, that this great effort of the first reception and identification, of the process, of the fast asylum process, is not only done by the member-states, it is not only done by Greece, but it is done with much more active European participation."
On his part, Schinas pointed out: "In cooperation with the government and the authorities, we are planning the future. A medium-term perspective for a new facility that will operate with new standards, with better facilities, so that we can now make sure that Moria is a thing of the past."
Moreover, Schinas congratulated the Greek authorities for their immediate response. "Thanks to their work, the worst on the island was avoided, we are dealing with the immediate needs," he said.
He stressed that "we are drawing up a new European policy on migration and asylum which will help us avoid the mistakes of 2016 and we will do everything in our power to have all the governments of Europe by our side in this new beginning. Because Europe – I have already said – cannot fail twice on such an important issue."