Welt analyzes Athens’ growing concern about the increase in Afghan refugee flows and the position of Brussels.
A new wave of refugees from Afghanistan threatens to deepen the rift between Athens and Brussels, says Die Welt, an influential German news outlet.
Many member states of the European Union have a positive attitude to the tough protection of their borders by Greece. Recent events in Afghanistan may again affect Greece, and this is of great concern. Welt talks about the processes of recent weeks, the debate within the EU and the disagreements that have arisen over the means of managing the new wave of refugees.
During the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia, disagreements over EU responsibility and Greece’s role arose between Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister, and David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament. At the same time Mitsotakis said that “2015 cannot be repeated,” to which Sassoli objected: “We cannot pretend that Afghanistan is not our business.”
The German newspaper notes that recent years “have revealed a deeper political split between Brussels and Athens.” For Greece, illegal immigration is a serious threat to national security. For its part, the European Union insists on solidarity in the face of humanitarian crises like the Afghan one. A government source in Athens told Welt:
“Greece views migration and refugee flows as a serious problem for itself and the EU as a whole. Among other things, there are concerns about the penetration of jihadists into the stream of refugees. “
The Welt report talks about the strengthening of Athens border control:
“Greece plans to increase patrolling in the Aegean Sea. So far, the EU has supported the Greek border guards. But the money ran out. Athens approached Brussels for emergency funding, but was refused (…) because the Commission first wants to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of countermeasures in the Aegean.
Welt also notes:
“Despite the fact that Brussels is upset with the position of Greece, many member states are positive about the tough protection of the Greek border. For example, Austria and Slovenia are categorically against accepting refugees from Afghanistan. However, no one wants to be held responsible for bad images at the border. Therefore, it is good and convenient for Greeks to take on an uncomfortable role. The German government also avoids open criticism in Greece. The Foreign Ministry only declares that the protection of the external borders of the EU is regulated by international and European legislation. “