Minister calls for more efforts to stop crossings
Alternate Minister for Citizens’ Protection Yiannis Panousis has called for more efforts to be made to stop undocumented migrants from crossing to Greece from Turkey. Speaking to Parapolitika newspaper on Saturday, Panousis also said that other European Union member-states need to be more willing to accept migrants and refugees. “You have to stop them in Turkey,” he said. “You cannot do this in the sea, you cannot drown them. There also needs to be a redistribution within Europe based on proportionality, but few are accepted.” EU ministers failed to agree on July 20 on how to redistribute a total of 40,000 mostly Syrian and Eritrean migrants from overstretched Italy and Greece. They agreed to start relocating a little over 32,000 of the arrivals among the EU’s 28 members in October, falling around 8,000 short of the target agreed by EU leaders at a summit in June. Panousis’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chaired an emergency government meeting to discuss ways to tackle the refugee and migrant crisis. New Democracy accused Tsipras of holding a similar meeting four months earlier and failing to take any action since then. The conservatives also accused the prime minister of not acknowledging the work done by the Greek coast guard to rescue migrants crossing by sea from Turkey. The opposition party accused Tsipras of “continuing to send invitations to all illegal immigrants” to come to Greece.