Greece rebuffs refugee travel abuse claims from northern Schengen states

In response to a letter from six northern Schengen states calling for action to prevent the "secondary movement" of refugees from Greece, the Greek government has argued that "the focus needs to be placed on preventing primary flows," meaning stricter border controls.

The letter (pdf), signed by Notis Mitarachi, the Greek Minister for Migration and Asylum, says:

"Our principled position, as expressed on many occasions at the JHA Council, is that the focus needs to be placed on preventing primary flows. Should smugglers beat us at the external borders, inevitably they beat us at our internal borders too. We need to work more closely with FRONTEX and support the agency in its critical role to protect our external borders."

Mitarachi also responds directly to the three proposals made by the six northern ministers, though critical observers are unlikely to see much value in the claim that he is "taking fundamental rights seriously", given the situation for refugees in Greece and the ongoing violence meted out by the Greek state at its borders.

The letter to which Mitarachi is responding is available here.


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