Gerovasili on the refugee issue: We will use all means to find a solution

Gerovasili on the refugee issue: We will use all means to find a solution

Athens, March 2, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The government is preparing its positions for the special summit, which the premier will present to the political leaders next Friday. It will have been preceded by a cabinet meeting a day earlier on Thursday. As explained the government spokeswoman in the press briefing, the main axes of these positions is the commitment to a fair and proportional distribution of burdens, the accelerated resettlement, the establishment of a resettlement scheme from Turkey as soon as possible, the exclusion of unilateral actions and the commitment for immediate humanitarian assistance to Greece.

Greece is in constant consultations with its partners and has made it clear that it will use all possible diplomatic means in order to find the best possible solution to the refugee flow management issues, Gerovasili said. In parallel, Greece has submitted to the European Commission a contingency plan of EUR 480 million with the detailed staff requirements, technical assistance etc. This amount is equivalent to cover the needs of approximately 100,000 refugees. The money will be disbursed to the Greek state and then part of it could go to the UNHCR, while the government could allocate them to organizations based on what feels more flexible. The government spokeswoman also said that the government will closely monitor the progress of NATO operations, in order to assess their effectiveness in addressing the human trafficking from the turkish coast towards Greece.

At the front of the internal management of the refugee crisis, the government spokeswoman said that the state apparatus has been mobilised and especially the Armed Forces are implementing what they have undertaken and at the same time feed about 10,000 people every day. Moreover, the government is in constant contact with the local government, the Church and organizations that provide any kind of necessary assistance to refugees.

Gerovasili said the government does not want to counterbalance the refugee crisis with the economic crisis. However, the refugee crisis should make Europe to change the way it thinks towards issues of economic crisis.

The government spokeswoman took questions on the use of diplomatic means the government is thinking of using. Gerovasili referred to the axes with which Greece is going at the summit, as well as Friday’s the meeting of political leaders. Regarding the countries that have resorted to unilateral actions, she said that Greece will go as far as to block certain decisions. “The thought is this: Do I block decisions that burden Europe as a whole? And countries which are friendly and support the country? Obviously this would not be one of the best options. From then on, however, at another level we should exhaust diplomatic means in order for the country not bear alone the burden of such a problem. Such problems have not been discussed. But the intention of the government is the one that was described yesterday (Monday) by the prime minister”, said the government spokeswoman, noting that Greece can not handle alone the problem that has arisen with the closed country borders, if Europe does not intervene.

She further said that there is a contingency plan to create humane conditions for refugees, without this meaning that it is easily manageable. Therefore, she said, a permanent solution is needed for the weight each country will lift, regarding the number of refugees it will accommodate.

On Ankara’s tactics against NATO activity, she said it is an attitude that does not help. The head of the NATO mission is in Turkey, Gerovasili said and expressed hope that Turkey will understand that there can be mutually beneficial solutions. The Greek government on its part will fight so that Turkey will be convinced that there is no other way than cooperate to address the refugee crisis.