Austria and Greece have emphasized the need for stronger EU external border protection. Greece does not want to become “a fulcrum and a transit country” for refugees from Afghanistan, said Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis today during a working visit by European Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP) in Athens. “The pressure on the external borders is increasing,” said Edtstadler. She assured Greece of further support.
Austria will “not leave countries on the EU’s external border alone”, assured Edtstadler. “Austria and Greece are in the same boat,” was the number of asylum applications concerned. Edtstadler pleaded that a total of 14 billion euros, which the EU Commission made available to protect the external border, should be used as sensibly as possible, for example through drones.
Common line also towards Turkey
In the conflict with Turkey, too, Austria is “fully committed to its Greek friends”, stressed Edtstadler. Varvitsiotis said he hoped for further cooperation with Turkey on migration issues. He would also like to thank Austria for its support so far in protecting the EU’s external border in Greece.
At the same time, the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister also called for more efforts to be made for a European asylum policy. Europe must share the external dimension and deportations strong and at the same time the burdens in relation to those asylum seekers who come to Europe. Europe needs a better division, has to better secure its borders and implement a humanitarian policy. Austria strictly offers the distribution of refugees in the EU.
During her visit today, Edtstadler also met the Greek Vice Minister for Migration Integration, Sofia Voultepsi, as well as the Minister for Climate and Civil Protection, Christos Stylianides. The latter thanked Austria for its support in the fight against the recent serious forest fires in Greece this summer.