Greece joins Italy in blasting Visegrad Four for “sabotaging” migrant relocation
Speaking to the public television broadcaster, ERT1, the Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said Athens is angry over EU’s failure to alleviate the pressure from the cumulating refugee flow.
Brussels and member states are failing directly, as regards to the redistribution of the population, and indirectly as regards to exerting pressure Turkey to implement the return-migration agreement.
“It’s not about solidarity with Greece, it’s a duty,” Mouzalas said.
Neither relocation nor EU-Turkey agreement work
That was in the context of 111 Syrian refugees leaving Greece for Finland, a minuscule fraction of the refugees that should have been relocated, as crisis-stricken Athens is at the forefront of Europe’s biggest migrant crisis since World War II.
Only 5,000 of the 33,000 refugees that should have been relocated have left Greece in 2016 alone.
Mouzalas condemned the “sabotage” to the relocation program by the Visegrad Four group, which includes Slovakia, holding the Presidency of the European Council.
Mouzalas also blasted the failure of Brussels to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, under which migrants who reach the shores of Greek islands can be sent back to Turkey.
Visegrad Four: Italy wants the disruption of structural funds
Greek authorities are overwhelmed as migrant file asylum application trying to delay their return to Turkey. EU member states do not want Greece to transfer migrants for processing to the mainland to avoid pressure to their own border.
Athens and Rome demand from the V4 group to comply with the European Commission’s mandatory refugee relocation plan. The plan envisages the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy across the bloc. The European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told the Polish Rzeczpospolita last Thursday that the European Commission remains committed to the plan.
Speaking to Italy’s public broadcaster, RAI1, Matteo Renzi said he would veto EU funds to countries that refuse to comply with the mandatory relocation plan. “We give 20 billion (euros) to Europe so that we can get back 12 — and if Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia want to preach at us about immigrants, allow Italy to say that the system is no longer working.”
“If you build walls against immigrants, you can forget about seeing Italian money. If the immigrants don’t go there, the money won’t go there either,” Renzi clarified.