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.