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Press Office

16 May 2022

Participation of Hellenic Parliament delegation in Inter-Parliamentary Conference on migration challenges

A Hellenic Parliament delegation, MPs Lazaros Tsavdaridis and George Kaminis, members of the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice, participated in the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Migration Challenges, held in Paris, on May 15 and 16, in the framework of the parliamentary dimension of the French Presidency of the EU Council.

In the first thematic section of the Conference, the current state of affairs together with steps to be taken were discussed, in the light of the war in Ukraine and seven years after the 2015 migration crisis. Mr Tsavdaridis stressed, among other things, that our country already hosts more than 26,000 Ukrainian citizens, while it has undertaken the additional commitment to host 500 Ukrainian refugees from Moldova, but also to financially support the country for hosting Ukrainian refugees. He also underlined the European Union's huge effort to manage the migration phenomenon, which should not be undermined by any attempts of instrumentalisation and condemned Turkey’s  practices, as it not only ignores its obligations to curb migratory flows and dismantle traffickers’ networks operating in its territory, but also raises false complaints against our country regarding alleged push-backs and deportations.

Mr Kaminis noted that Greece has taken on its share of responsibility and exhibited solidarity to Member States currently being at the centre of the crisis, also calling on the other Member States to adopt this stance. Taking stock of the 2015 refugee crisis management and the subsequent 2020 Evros incidents, he stressed the need for European joint efforts to manage its migration challenges, without relying on third countries, mentioning the failed case of Turkey as a privileged partner and absolute arbiter of European migration policy in the context of the 2016 Joint Statement. He also underlined that Turkey's behaviour was copied by Russia and Belarus on the eastern border of the EU and by Morocco on the southwest. Closing, Mr Kaminis noted that the migration challenge cannot be addressed by countries or organisations on an individual basis, but requires coordinated action.

In the second thematic section of the Conference, proposed measures for EU external borders effective protection were discussed. Mr Tsavdaridis underlined that the effective guarding of Greek borders,- which are also EU borders, has produced impressive reductions -over 85%- in migration flows in the last three years. Referring to the European Migration and Asylum Pact under negotiation, he argued, inter alia, that it should provide for the mandatory relocation, with fair criteria, of asylum seekers to all EU Member States, in order to achieve fair distribution of burden and tangible acts of solidarity.

Mr Kaminis stressed the need for balancing safe search and rescue at the border and the fight against cross-border crime. He also noted that the fight against cross-border crime requires judicial and police co-operation agreements with third countries, as well as strengthening border control mechanisms together with providing support to Member States. Specifically referring to independent border guard mechanisms, Mr Kaminis emphasised respect for fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-refoulement and access to asylum process, while highlighting as key elements independence from governments,  transparency through public reports, trained, adequate and qualified staff and sufficient financial resources. Closing, he suggested their operation in coordination with the Fundamental Rights Officer and the Frontex Observers.

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