Greece reaffirms commitment to EU-Turkey deal
Photo credit: Ekathimerini.com. Greece’s Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas.
TMP – 14/11/2017
Greece’s Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the EU-Turkey deal, which aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by allowing Greece to return to Turkey new irregular migrants.
In an interview with local newspaper Kathimerini, Mouzalas said: “Despite the difficulties of [the Turkey-EU deal], which has grey areas Europe must clarify, it is a useful agreement for Greece.”
He added that the influx of migrants and refugees to Europe was being financed and guided by people smugglers and can only be addressed through deals such as the EU-Turkey one.
“Migration and refugee flows of this magnitude have to be dealt with with agreements of this sort,” he said.
According to the country’s Migration Ministry, the number of irregular migrants crossing into Greece has fallen sharply since the EU-Turkey deal came into effect.
The latest figures published by the International Organization for Migration also show a drop in the number of arrivals. In the first 10 months of this year around 23,000 people crossed into Greece from Turkey, compared to roughly 170,000 last year and 780,000 people in 2015.
Since 2015, a number of European countries have begun fencing and closing off their borders, in an attempt to regain control over immigration. Electric fences and walls have been erected at the borders between Macedonia and Greece, Hungary and Serbia and Austria and Italy, making it much more difficult and dangerous for migrants to enter the European Union.