Alternate Citizen Protection Minister for Migration George Koumoutsakos underlined that the European Union must set up a "robust mechanism" for returning migrants to their countries of origin, while speaking at the Economist congress "The third Sustainability Summit for South-East Europe and the Mediterranean," held at Goulandris Natural History Museum in Athens on Wednesday.
Koumoutsakos said that "returns are an extremely complicated and difficult issue, according to the rules of the international law." He proposed that the EU offer incentives to the countries (of migrants' origin) to cooperate and impose sanctions on the countries that refuse to take migrants back, adding: "We will continue with determination, pointing out to our partners in Europe that Greece is the EU's border and that it's their responsibility to protect the European borders."
He said that the Greek government, in the last two months, has been handling the issue "in conditions of mini-crisis", adding that "obviously two months are not enough for the changes made by the current government to become apparent." The minister also underlined that "we can't let the country's outlying islands feel abandoned. The local communities have shown courage, hospitality and kindness but they have reached their limits and we should support them, taking part of their burden".
Finally, he said that, at the upcoming EU Summit, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis "is determined to play a decisive role in the condemnation of Turkey's policies in the eastern Mediterranean and to send a clear message regarding Syria".