Diplomacy on Migration

Greek PM: Address at EPP Group Study
STUDY-DAYS(1)(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) 
The government’s priorities are to accelerate reforms and tackle illegal immigration, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said on June 29, in his opening address to the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) Group Study Days taking place in Athens.  The premier also referred to the worsening problem of illegal migration, pointing out that Greece was currently shouldering a large portion of the burden that is actually shared by all of Europe, since illegal migrants eventually make their way into other EU countries. “Active solidarity and a fair distribution of the burden are needed,” he stressed, adding that the issue was a top priority for Athens. He also pointed to the progress made in setting up a European coast guard, adding that joint European exercises had taken place in the framework of EU’s FRONTEX agency.
Visit to Migrant Centres
oast1European Commission Vice-president Jacques Barrot, responsible for justice, freedom and security, who is in Athens to attend the EPP meeting, paid a visit on June 29 to reception facilities for illegal migrants on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, accompanied by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. In statements afterwards, he acknowledged that Greek  authorities faced a difficult task but also stressed Greece’s obligation to provide refuge for migrants arriving on its shores.  Barrot accompanied by Pavlopoulos also visited the migrant centre in Evros, north-eastern Greece, near the Greek-Turkish border.  The Commissioner called for a strong stance to be adopted by Europe vis-a-vis migrant traffickers, adding that all countries of Europe should demonstrate their solidarity to countries which are more exposed to illegal immigration, such as Greece. Hellenic Migration Policy Institute: Statistical Data on Immigrants in Greece; European Commission: Towards a Common Immigration Policy  ELIAMEP- Clandestino: Stocks of Irregular Migrants: Estimates for Greece