Germany lambasts Greece's migration policy

Interior minister criticizes Athens for allowing recognized refugees to travel from Greece to Germany.

Germany lambasts Greece's migration policy

Germany’s interior minister on Wednesday harshly criticized Greece for its so-called "secondary migration" policy of allowing recognized refugees to travel from Greece to Germany.

"The majority of all asylum applications (in Germany come from migrants) who have already applied for asylum in Greece or have even received protection," Horst Seehofer said at a press conference in Berlin on the state of migrants in Germany.

"We gave Greece a lot of humanitarian aid. We helped more than 3,000 refugees after the fire (in the refugee camp) in Moria. And when you help a country like this, you can also expect a consensus to come when it comes to secondary migration, when people who have already found protection simply move on," he added.

Seehofer pointed out he had personally negotiated a contract with the Greek migration minister, according to which Athens would receive financial help from Germany to ensure that accommodation, care, and medical aid are provided to refugees in Greece.

Germany is ready to pay Greece €50 million, but, according to Seehofer, Athens has "not yet signed the contract."

The minister said: "This can't stay that way! Any delay is not tolerable!"

As a result of the high number of refugees recognized in Greece who applied for protection again in Germany, the German Interior Ministry is now examining the possibility of introducing border controls for flights from Greece.

"That would be a very effective measure, which I will also take if we do not come to a common approach with Greece," Seehofer said.

According to press reports, there already has been a surge in asylum applications of recognized refugees coming from Greece.

Big problem

There has been a significant increase in migration to Germany in recent months of refugees who have already been granted protection in Greece.

Many of the new arrivals reportedly used air travel as their primary means of transport, according to a recent report in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

In other related news, Seehofer accused Belarus of actively supporting a state-organized wave of human trafficking, calling it "hybrid warfare."

Seehofer said Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was using illegal migration as a "political weapon" against the EU and Germany, saying this was a "big problem".

He added that Russia was responsible for the influx of thousands of migrants who have come over from Belarus to Europe since the summer.

The key is not in Minsk, but in Moscow, said Seehofer, suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been giving green light to Lukashenko for this action.

Earlier this month, Germany has expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian crisis along Poland's border with Belarus, as migrants from mostly the Middle East continue to flock there in a bid to enter the EU.

International aid organizations have warned that with night frosts setting in and winter fast approaching, the conditions for migrants on the Poland-Belarus border region are becoming increasingly critical.

Several migrants are already known to have died in the border area in recent weeks.


Hüseyin Demir