The government of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has declared a change of course regarding the management of the refugee crisis that has been characterized by the opening of fenced-off detention centers on the front-line Aegean islands.
The EU also wants controlled facilities on the mainland in Greece, faster asylum examination processes, and readiness to deport more of the migrant prisoners to Turkey and other countries of gateway origin.
The new Greek government is trying to find a way to alleviate the burden from the islands that are closest to Turkey by sending a stern message to Ankara that asylum seekers, who are most likely not to be granted international protection, should not consider trying to illegally cross into Greece.
The fenced-off detention centers should be fully functioning by the end of next spring, while the new asylum processes will apply coming into effect on January 1, 2020.
Mitsotakis has also welcomed the delivery of 10 new vessels for the Greek Coastguard by the Greek Shipowners’ Association.
However, should Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, refuse to adhere to certain commitments to halt the migrant flow, the new measures put forth by the current Greek government will be insufficient to deal with the current crisis.
After hosting 4 million refugees for the EU and USA, Ankara has refused to fully and properly implement the joint EU-Turkey Statement, and has thus allowed hundreds of asylum seekers to reach Greece’s eastern Aegean islands on a daily basis.
Ankara’s so-called breach of the agreement has been particularly hard on Greece, which shares both a land and maritime border with Turkey.
This has been further exacerbated by the refusal of fellow EU members Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland to accept asylum seekers.
The EU blames that this has left Greece and its far larger Mediterranean neighbor Italy to shoulder most of the social and financial burden?
Those who are close to Mitsotakis have bitterly noted, that there appears to be little will or appetite within the Brussels bubble to listen to Greece’s concerns and the ability of Europe to muster enough solidarity to act decisively.
The Greek prime minister has gone so far as to compare Brussels’ stance on the management of the refugee crisis as resembling ostriches who bury their heads in the sand in times of difficulty.
Mitsotakis is now set to travel to London for a NATO summit on December 3-4, 2019.
Tensions with Turkey are also at an all-time high after the Turks began putting into operation Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries despite the objections of nearly all of the Alliance’s members, particularly the US regime.
The German government is pushing for a new mechanism that would include an automatic relocation of asylum seekers after they have submitted an application on the EU’s external borders.
This new mechanism would, if adopted, become permanent by the time Germany takes over Europe’s rotating presidency after the end of June 2020.
New Europe / ABC Flash Point Migrant News 2019.