Greece seeks comprehensive European solution to migrants following deal with Germany

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-18 18:50:20|Editor: zh
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by Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Greece seeks a comprehensive, European solution to tackle the migration and asylum procedures challenges Greek officials stressed in Athens after the announcement on Friday that a bilateral deal with Germany was sealed on returns of asylum seekers and family reunifications.

The German Interior Ministry announced on Friday that the two countries have reached an agreement for the return of people who have applied for asylum in Greece and then are found on Germany's borders with Austria.

In exchange Germany has committed to address delays in family reunification applications and offer more assistance to Greece in the management of the challenges.

Details on the context of the deal will be announced after an exchange of letters in coming days between the relevant ministries in Greece and Germany which will include an administrative arrangement, Greek Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas said, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.

"Greece and Germany support the adoption of European solutions and reject one sided measures being taken by member states in relation to asylum and migrants," he said. According to Vitsas, the return of asylum seekers concerns those who have applied in Greece after July 1st, 2017.

Furthermore, under the deal Germany will take initiatives to support the reception centers Greece operates on five of its islands, AMNA reported.

Over one million people landed on Greek shores since 2015 to reach central and northern European countries seeking refuge from war zones and extreme poverty.

About 60,000 remain in the country after the closure of borders along the Balkan corridor in March 2016.

Despite the impressive drop in flows since spring 2016 dozens of people still cross the Aegean Sea or the land border with Turkey in the north risking their lives.

"We want a comprehensive solution for migration, not just guarding borders. We need to share arrivals and we need to see how Europe will support development programs so that people will stay home," Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Yorgos Katrougalos told local radio "Kokkino" (Red).