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Greece wants to extend EU-Turkey deal on migrants

Migration Minister Dimitris Kaidiris said in an interview with state TV channel ERT that Greece plans to reach agreements on migration, according to Euractiv.

Migration minister Dimitris Kairidis said:

We want an agreement. The climate is positive. The agreement will be mainly Euro-Turkish. This is a Euro-Turkish problem.

The minister notes that it is important to amend and “expand” the 2016 agreement “at the initiative of Greece, as we have a more direct interest” as a state at the forefront of migration.

In the “EU-Turkey Statement” in March 2016, three key points were agreed:

  • Turkey takes all necessary measures to stop people travelling illegally from Turkey to the Greek islands;
  • anyone who arrived on the islands illegally from Turkey can be returned there;
  • for every Syrian returned from the islands, EU member states will accept one Syrian refugee waiting in Turkey.

In exchange, Turkey will receive 6 billion euros to improve the humanitarian situation of refugees in the country, and Turkish citizens will be granted visa-free entry to Europe. The extension of the agreement will be discussed at a meeting of senior Turkish and Greek officials in Thessaloniki on 7 December.

The breakthrough on migration follows a meeting this week in New York between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Greece has seen a sharp increase in migrant arrivals this year, along with neighbouring Italy. According to the ministry, more than 18,000 people arrived in the country in the first eight months of this year, 106 per cent more than in 2022. Erdogan has repeatedly warned that he could flood Europe with refugees, while Greece and Turkey accuse each other of failing to honour the 2016 agreement.

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