Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, on Wednesday met with the German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth.
The main subject of discussion was the refugee/migration issue. Mr. Xydakis highlighted that Greece is meeting its commitments to its European partners, while it is expected to fulfil all of the obligations it has undertaken within February.
He noted that Greece has recently persisted in requesting assistance and support from the European Union on all levels, but has only received a part of the assistance requested. He stressed the need for the European Union to focus on the geopolitical causes of the upsurge in the refugee phenomenon, characterizing the manner in which Europe reacts as a “crash test” for the course of the Union.
Mr. Xydakis added that Greece has upheld Europe’s humanitarian ideals – rescuing over 100,000 people on Greece’s maritime borders in 2015 – with Germany doing the same by taking in one million refugees.
There was an exchange of views on Turkey’s role, characterizing Ankara’s willingness to provide work permits to Syrian refugees as a first positive step towards reducing refugee flows; a step that should be accompanied by additional actions in the same direction. They agreed that the main goal is to bring the conflict in Syria to an end, and that even a ceasefire would send a first positive message to the Syrian refugees who have been forced to flee their country.
Mr. Xydakis stated that Greece supports the new steps for the creation of a European border guard/coast guard, stressing, however, the need for respect of the national sovereignty of the member states and, thus, for careful planning of the new corps.
The Alternate Minister briefed his counterpart on the latest development in the Cyprus issue, while he stressed with regard to the FYROM issue that Greece has supported its neighbouring country throughout these years, even on an economic level, and that the Greek government wants a mutually agreed solution. Mr. Xydakis expressed his certainty that the dialogue that has been launched between Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias and his FYROM counterpart is moving in a positive direction.
Finally, Mr. Roth requested a briefing on the progress of the Greek programme and the social security reforms being promoted by the Greek government, acknowledging that the reform task is difficult, just as broad social security reform would be in Germany. The two collocutors agreed that Greece needs investments aimed at combating unemployment, and that Germany can play a very positive role in this direction.
SOURCE: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece
PHOTO: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece flickr