Greece’s migration minister Michalis Chrisochoidis sent a letter to his EU counterparts asking them to help share the burden of 4,000 unaccompanied minor refugees on Greek islands, but just one responded.
Speaking today (6 November) at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), the Greek minister said they are 4,000 unaccompanied minors on Greek islands who live in conditions that “do not honour the EU”.
Chrisochoidis recently sent a letter to the EU-27 asking them to volunteer to share the burden, but received little response.
“One member state responded. It’s not a matter of rules or solidarity, it’s a matter of civilisation,” he said.
The minister called on the EU member states to take their responsibility on the refugee crisis, as well as help implement the March 2016 EU-Turkey statement.
“Greece, with dignity and without any assistance, is trying to deal with a humanitarian flood every day,” he said.
He also presented the government’s new plan to ease the burden on Greek islands, by relocating 4,000 refugees to the inland.
“Just two weeks after this decision, another 2,000 refugees arrived in the Greek islands,” he said, adding that until July flows from Turkey were manageable, but after August there was a 120% increase.
He also criticised the stance of those member states which do not accept refuges, saying that by turning their back or shutting down their borders, they cannot escape from this alarming situation.
MEPs lash out against Erdoğan
In the meantime, during a discussion at the LIBE committee, MEPs from all parties attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and criticised his plans to resettle Syrian refugees in a “safe zone” in northern Syria.
EU Commission official Maciej Popowski said the EU will not give a single euro for refugee relocation if it is not voluntary and in no way supports a forced demographic change in northern Syria as Turkey is pushing for.
The EU has so far provided about €15 billion in finance to Turkey during the refugee crisis.
Many MEPs also criticised EU governments saying they had “become political hostages to Erdoğan’s blackmail”.