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26/08/2016

Greek MEP: We’re better than the Danes

Justice & Home Affairs

Greek MEP: We’re better than the Danes

Eleonas Refugee Centre. Athens, September 2015.

[Martin Leveneur/Flickr]

Unlike Denmark, which seizes refugees’ jewellery, Greece upholds EU values, a Greek MEP said on Friday (29 January). EurActiv Greece reports.

Interviewed by the BBC, Syriza MEP Stelios Kouloglou [GUE-NGL] stated that the EU was looking to scapegoat Greece for the refugee crisis.

“They [EU partners] complain about the external borders. What does this mean? If a dinghy comes with sixty people, what do you do? You kill them? It is unbelievable!” the leftist MEP stressed.

On Wednesday (27 January), the European Commission blasted Athens for its handling of the refugee crisis, saying it had “seriously neglected” its duty to protect the bloc’s frontiers.

The executive’s report triggered strong reactions in Athens, with the government calling it “politicised”.

>>Read: Greece calls Commission’s Schengen report ‘politicised’

The report also raised the prospect of border controls with the rest of the passport-free zone.

Not like Denmark

Kouloglou noted that Frontex was satisfied with Greece’s efforts to address the refugee crisis, despite its struggling economy.

“The society in Greece is displaying an unbelievable spirit of solidarity. We are protecting humanity’s values, not like in Denmark, where they are seizing the property and jewellery of the refugees. In addition to that, we are in an economic crisis […] and we are still delivering,” the Greek lawmaker stressed.

On 26 January, Copenhagen overwhelmingly voted in favor of reforms aimed at dissuading migrants from seeking asylum by delaying family reunifications.

>>Read: Even Social Democrats vote in favour of Danish ‘jewellery’ law

The Danish parliament also allowed the authorities to seize valuables, under legislation that sparked widespread condemnation.

Nobel Peace Prize

According to Greece’s Migration Minister, Giannis Mouzalas, there will be “at least two Greek proposals” for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Press reports in Athens suggest that the candidates will be an 85-year-old elderly woman as well as a 40-year-old fisherman, who voluntarily contributed and saved refugees’ lives in Aegean Sea. 

Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, told EurActiv Greece that the Nobel Peace Prize should be granted to those who deserve it.

“With their stance toward refugees, people of Aegean Sea islands, who carry a 4, 000 year history of creative civilisation, have proved all these months that they are worthy successors of this important civilization,” the Greek minister said.

“No matter how many times Europe has treated them in a faint-hearted way, the inhabitants of Aegean islands behaved in accordance with the Greek and EU values, raising the diachronic values of humanity,” Kouroumplis added. 

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