The need for an extraordinary European Council to be convened at the level of leaders on refugee developments is underlined by SYRIZA, accusing the prime minister of lack of initiatives at a time when the situation at the Greek-Turkish border in Evros and the islands is dramatic.
“EU leadership’s visit to the border is meaningless without serious pressure on Erdogan, who violates the EU-Turkey Agreement. There is a need for fair sharing by all member states so that Greece does not become a storehouse of souls”, Vice President of the European Parliament, Dimitris Papadimoulis, said before Mitsotakis’ and the EU’s leadership visit in Evros.
At the same time, the main opposition party has strongly criticized the recent Foreign and Defense Government Council’s (KYSEA) decisions, in particular the decision to “freeze” asylum applications. As the former Minister of Immigration Policy D. Vitsas emphasized in his statement, the five measures taken by KYSEA are part of a bad and dangerous policy.
“Suspending the examination and asylum procedure is ineffective and at the same time contrary to international law and human rights. Nowhere and under any conditions is there a provision for the suspension of an application, as well as the examination of an asylum request”, he stressed.
SYRIZA says no to violent pushbacks
SYRIZA has also expressed concern over the pushbacks in Evros and the Aegean. “The cancellation of the Erdogan blackmail requires genuine European solidarity and not just words! The ND government must immediately put a brake on extremities that harm our country”, D. Papadimoulis said.
There were also complaints and videos circulated from the Turkish side showing a Greek costal patrol boat intercepting a boat with refugees and migrants while they appear to be firing warning shots. “These practices are against International Maritime Law and International Conventions. It is up to the Government and the competent Minister to respond immediately whether the rules of search, rescue and security are respected or if we have returned to the dark ages of illicit pushbacks”, said the former shipping minister N. Santorinios.
Immediate decongestion, solidarity, respect for International Law
In any case, the main opposition reiterates the need to formulate a national strategy on the refugee issue, with the consultation of political forces, under the condition that the government abandons the policy of authoritarianism and respects international conditions and human rights. The main demand of SYRIZA is the de-congestion of the islands by transporting vulnerable populations inland, solidarity and fair sharing with transports from Greece to the EU and from Turkey to the EU, as well as the simplification of asylum procedures with respect to International Law.
Alexis Tsipras, meanwhile, is expected to make contacts at the international level to launch progressive solidarity initiatives and respect for International Law, against the Visegrad logic and racism, as SYRIZA typically says. In fact, the leader of the main opposition will give an interview on the matter tonight at “Mega” television.
Joint statement by the co-chairs of the European Left
At the same time, in a joint statement, the co-chairs of the European Left -GUE-NGL-, Martin Schirdewan and Manon Aubry say that “just like 2015-2016, Greece cannot and should not be left alone in the management of the refugee-migrant issue”. As they point out, the crisis at the Greek-Turkish border and the management of refugee-migration flows “is not a bilateral issue between Greece and Turkey, but there is European responsibility”.
In this context, they underline the need to “put in place a human rights and solidarity immigration policy”, while advocating for solidarity between Member States and call for a replacement of the problematic Dublin asylum system.
Finally, the European Left has called for the refugee-migrant crisis at the Greek-Turkish border to be discussed at the next plenary session of the European Parliament, with a resolution condemning Turkish President Erdogan’s extortion policy, while also supporting the request for an extraordinary EU Summit, in order for EU and the Member States to find solutions based on respect for human rights”./ibna