Greece will help Lithuania cope with illegal immigration across the Belarusian border.
Athens hosted a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and head of the Lithuanian government Ingrida Simonite. They called on the EU to work together to overcome the migration crisis. The Greek Prime Minister said at a press conference after the talks:
“We agreed to coordinate our positions during the negotiations on a new European Pact on Migration and Asylum. Our common goal is a just and effective common European policy.”
In the first half of this year, almost 2,000 illegal immigrants were detained at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. This is 22 times more than in the entire last year. The reason lies in the position of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who, in response to European sanctions, announced in May that the country would no longer be a barrier for illegal immigrants on the way to the European Union. Ingrida Simonyte said at a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister:
“We want to clearly state that Lithuania is not a corridor and not a road to the European Union: to Sweden, Germany and other countries. If there is a need to apply for asylum, there is a special procedure and legal instruments.”
Measures are also being taken from the “other side”. Gabrielus Landsbergis, Lithuanian Foreign Minister, met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein. The latter promised to conduct a comprehensive investigation into criminal networks involved in the illegal transportation of people to the European Union. Lithuanian Foreign Minister visited Turkey this week. He urged the Turkish authorities to reduce the number of flights from Istanbul to Minsk as much as possible.