Athens, August 24, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
“I have repeatedly stressed that the Migration issue today, aggravated as it is, with all its peculiarities, is a matter not only of security, but mainly a matter of humanity”, said the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos during his meeting with Minister Health Panagiotis Kouroumplis.
Moreover, he added that “such an issue, with the extent it has taken, there is no other way, but to deal with it together in the framework of the European Union, with a common European policy. This, in fact, is the obligation of the European Union and its institutions”.
Pavlopoulos also stood on the need to immediately convene a summit to address the migration issue, saying: “in this effort there should be a cooperation with the UN, particularly in regard to Asylum requests. As is known, Asylum matters are under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, especially UNHCR. As such, this summit needs to be done in cooperation with the UN and to understand that as things stand, this is a matter of European solidarity. Solidarity, which can’t remain unexpressed when we are faced with a humanitarian issue”.
He assured that his side will do all it can in that direction and appeared satisfied, because as he said “other such views have been expressed in this direction, first and foremost that of German chancellor Angela Merkel, on the Asylum issue, on which she stressed the need to develop a common European asylum policy under the new, tragic unfortunately circumstances we are faced with”.
On his part, the minister of health said: “the migration issue threatens to drown us as a country and must exhaust all efforts at a European level to make them understand that this is not only a Greek issue. The migration problem can take explosive dimensions”. He too asked to have a summit on the issue, stressing that “Europe can’t remain apathetic”.
Referring to his recent visit to the Aegean island of Mytilini, Kouroumplis said that “there are unimaginable problems”. As an example he mentioned his visit to the hospital, with the personnel explaining that apart from the other problems, there is the need for interpreters.
What’s more, the health minister said that all the problems that were created by the banking crisis have been dealt with. He noted that the planned pharmaceutical expenditure for this year amounts to EUR 1.388 billion from EUR 1.620 billion last year.
At the same time, he referred to the 4,500 recruits SYRIZA had announced in the health sector, but as he said “there are procedures to be followed, as you know, ASEP and the other more complicated procedures with the doctors, which is more time consuming, and thus we are dealing with this difficulty with auxiliary staff”. He added that 700 of the recruits are for hospitals in the Aegean and Thrace, western Macedonia and Igoumenitsa, and revealed that the ministry is considering a provision that will enable physicians, after completing their basic training, to be able to choose whichever position they want in any hospital across the country.
He noted that the institutions were initially demanding for EUR 1.6 billion pharmaceutical expenditure, and they were finally persuaded to keep it at EUR 2 billion, while he added that “we are the only country where rich and poor pay the same amount in pharmaceutical expenditure”.
Kouroumplis also mentioned the effort of the ministry for the production of medicines in Greece, as “Greece has both high expertise and companies that are very good”.