“Turks landed on Pserimos island!”, a rumor based on a deposition of a local resident that he saw some “shadows” moving on the island…
Bilateral relations, the refugee issue, the various crisis areas, and Cyprus, were among the issues discussed at the working dinner on January 23 evening in Berlin to the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias by his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
In his statements to the Greek and international press after the meeting, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Niko Kotzias, excluded once again the possibility of joint patrols of Greek and Turkish coastguard, and proposed Fronex to readmit those migrants that are not entitled to asylum, to Turkey, after their identification in Greece .
Foreign Minister Kotzias openly condemned, taliking to the press, the proposals for exclusion of Greece from Schengen.
Asked to comment on the recent Financial Times article , according to which Brussels and Berlin consider a proposal of Slovenia to strengthen care at the border between Greece and FYROM, which would result in trapping thousands of people in Greece, Mr. Kotzias noted that such a question had never been put from the German side and stressed that
“the Greek Foregn Ministry’s policy is to prevent any wrong thoughts to be translated into policy recommendations.”.
He added that
“these plans ( proposed by some new in the EE countries) have not understood how the Schengen works and what is its significance”
and underlined that
“sometimes the new members of the EU have yet to consolidate the Europeanism which is something they should do.”
The Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias after his meeting with his counterpart in Berlin presented the Greek proposal for Frontex aid in the Aegean waters that Greece is asking for, in accordance with the fact that Greece requested by the European agency 100 vessels to be send to Greece, to carry back to the hotspot islands in Turkey, immigrants will be rejected for asylum.
According to the Greek Minister of Foreign affairs
- The audit of the refugees flows should be done in Turkey,
- Frontex must strengthen its fleet
- while all newcomers, refugeees and migrants should be identified in the Hotspots in Greece that have to be completed as soon as possible , and also
- there should soon be an agreement with Ankara refugees to be repatriated should board the vessels of Frontex and be transported back to Turkey.
In this way, the Greek Foreign Minister estimates, the number of those attempting to cross to Europe will be limited .
As regards to the discussion on the joint patrols of Greek and Turkish coast guard, Mr. Kotzias explained that this
“would put us automatically to the problems which we already have to solve with Turkey, but not to the refugees problem solving, while the is no reason to confuse the refugee crisis problems with more general Greek-Turkish relations problems “
The role of Frontex Foreign Minister Kotzias underlined,
«has nothing to do neither with the joint patrols or with the Greek-Turkish issues. It is a third, neutral factor for the Turks and could help to the readmission of those who are not entitled to asylum.
This is our proposal, ” the minister said, adding that such action would require about 100 additional ships. The search and the rescue, minister Kotzias clarified , are under the sovereignty of the Greek state.
“The Frontex may facilitate to the readmission of those who are not entitled to asylum.”
The minister said Frontex should deploy about 100 boats in the narrow stretch of water separating Greece from Turkey, the main launching pad for 850,000 refugees and migrants who reached Greece’s shores last year.
Greece has repeatedly called on Frontex to help send back people deemed ineligible for asylum in Europe, such as migrants from Morocco and Pakistan.
“The border is not in Lesbos, it really [is] in our minds and in our hearts ,” Ai said.
In addition to this stop, the 58-year-old Ai told Associated Press he expected to visit Lesbos several times over the next year, or even beyond, if the crisis persisted beyond 2016. He said about six to 10 of his students in China and Germany would be working at the studio.
Ai praised the people of Lesbos for having a “very good understanding” of the refugees’ plight,their needs and for being “very helpful and very tolerant”, but emphasised they had limited resources to deal with the issue.
Ai reportedly told media that some of the projects will be public works, adding that they will aim especially to honour the lives of refugees who have died.
“I think that good art only comes out from when we have strong beliefs in aesthetics and human dignity. This can never be separated,” he told the Associated Press.
Ai used social media to document his trip to the Greek island
“As an artist, I have to relate to humanity’s struggles… I never separate these situations from my art,” he said. The artist is as well-known for his clashes with the Chinese authorities as for his work.
He praised the impressive work of several foreign non-governmental organisations, notably in the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. He added that there was a lack of awareness of the situation in Europe and the rest of the world and a willingness to act.
The island has been the main point of entry into the EU for hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past year and the studio would produce several projects with themes related to the refugee crisis from him and his students, Ai told reporters.
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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to visit Ankara on November 17 for talks that are expected to focus on the refugee crisis, as is already announced.
The decision for the visit came amid growing pressure on Greece to cooperate with neighboring Turkey. AlexisTsipras will conduct talks representing the EU, as Martin Schulz stated from Lesbos during his recent visit with the Greek Prime Minister, according to the local press reports. Turkey is the key transit country, Tsipras has repeatedly underlined, for refugees and migrants seeking a better life in Europe.
Meanwhile, the European Union wants leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies to also help tackle a growing migration crisis when they meet in Turkey this month to discuss tax cooperation, trade and climate change.
EU Chairman Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker will push at the November 15-16 meeting for a global response to the challenge faced by Europe from the influx, Reuters reported.
In a letter by the two men to other EU leaders, they wrote: “Meeting in Turkey in the midst of a refugee crisis due to conflicts in Syria and elsewhere, the G20 must rise to the challenge and lead a coordinated and innovative response to the crisis that recognises its global nature and economic consequences and promotes greater international solidarity in protecting refugees.”
Registration of refugees on the Turkish shores insists Greek govt
”Greece isn’t the point of entry” into the EU for refugees from Syria, the ”gate is Turkey, our neighbor”, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras has stated on Wednesday Novembber 4th, at the ceremony for the reallocation of 30 refugees from Greece attended by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, EU Commissioner for migration and home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (rotating president of the EU Council)..
”The objective is to go from reallocations to resettlements”.
”The least dangerous solution” for refugees and ”the most effective” provides for a cooperation between the EU and Turkey ”so that the whole process of identification and reallocation begins along the Turkish coasts”.
The need to reach an agreement with Turkey that enables the creation of registration and identification points in the country for the resettlement of refugees in the European Union has been the definite thesis of Greece on the EU borders contro; issue, since the very first moment that the joint poatrols in Aegean scenario had been expressed.
“What happens in the Aegean is a crime that must be stopped,” the prime minister reiterated talking from Lesbos . “What is required is to come to an agreement with Turkey so as to reduce the flows by combating traffickers,” he added.
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