Greek Foreign Ministry reacts to German complaints about guarding the borders

Greek Foreign Ministry reacts to German complaints about guarding the borders

Athens, October 14, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The complaints of the German Chancellor for the guarding of the borders in the Aegean and the need for a “coordinate” action for tackling the refugees crisis, has ultimately resulted in a Greek-German diplomatic incident. The Greek Foreign Ministry, in a written statement of is representative Konstantinos Koutras, answered in detail on Tuesday, explaining that the issue of joint patrols on the border with Turkey is out of the question.

“We would like to remind our friends and partners in the EU and NATO that for years now Greece, which is at the crossroads of the refugee crisis, underlines the need for a “coordinated” European action regarding the management of the refugee and immigration crisis. An action which will involve, inter alia, the strengthening of FRONTEX, the revision of the inapplicability of the Dublin II system, the strengthening of countries that act as transit station for and also host refugees, the implementation of the Greek-Turkish Readmission and of the EU-Turkey Readmission Protocol.

It should be understood by all that Greece, at huge cost, protects its borders which are the external borders of Europe. It goes without saying that the strengthening of the European contribution to this demanding task is not only welcome but also necessary.

This crisis is obviously a major European, if not global, problem, and a European problem should be given a European solution. The great European challenge regarding the refugee issue is to develop a “coordinated” situation involving the countries from which refugees originate, the countries from which refugees cross, and of course Europe, the humanitarian ideals of which require the reception of war refugees. Greece ‘s position is that we need to examine the causes of the problem and the EU united to work intensively and constructively to find a just and democratic political solution not only to the Syrian problem, but also the issue of Libya. The EU should, at the same time, develop a comprehensive strategy to support Jordan and Lebanon – countries which also receive massive refugee flows – as well as stability in Egypt.

In this context, the Greek Government seeks multilevel cooperation with Turkey to better address the refugee crisis and the fight against illegal trafficking networks. This, however, goes without saying that it can only take place in an organised manner, in areas such as exchange of information or the readmission.

There is no need, finally to note that Greece, which guards Europe’s borders in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, never dreamed to instruct its military naval or armed forces in general, to address war refugees nor can  it discuss novel ideas that have seen the light of day recently, such as the joint Greek-Turkish patrols of maritime borders.

It’s time to finally stop the accountability game and focus on the solution”, the statement concludes.

European Commission: We did not propose joint patrols of Greek and Turkish Coast Guard

Shortly after the Greek Foreign Ministry, with a written statement of its representative Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission clarified that the issue of joint patrols on the border with Turkey is out of the question, while he denied that the European Commission has proposed joint patrolling of the Turkish and Greek Coast Gueard in the context of the action plan for the refugee crisis.

“At no time did the Commission proposed such a thing”, Shinas stressed, answering a journalist’s question on Thursday, as to whether the European Commission has proposed joint patrolling of the Greek and Turkish Coast Guard.

As stated by the representative, what is noted in the EU Action Plan for cooperation with Turkey is that Turkey should strengthen controls at land and sea borders and that the refugee issue needs the cooperation of Greece and Turkey.