Kalinak: Greece’s Attitude Main Problem in Dealing with Migration Crisis

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Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak in a chat with his Maltese counterpart Carmelo Abela ahead of the EU interior ministers meeting on migration in Brussels. (Photo by TASR)

Brussels, February 25 (TASR-correspondent) – Greece’s attitude is the main problem in dealing with the migration crisis, and this must be changed, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said after a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

“Everyone is proposing a stricter approach, and it seems that Greece has been pressurised. The EU is now more willing to safeguard the Greek-Turkish border, but the success of talks between Greece and Turkey to a certain extend depends on Athens’ attitude,” said the Slovak minister, adding that the debate was quite heated.

According to Kalinak, the Greek delegation in Brussels attempted to make “pathetic” excuses that it’s all the Turks’ fault. Meanwhile, Turkey has disappointed the EU by not sending its interior minister to the talks.

“Plan B as promoted by the Visegrad Four – meaning a closure of the Greek border, keeping migrants outside – resulted in outrage from Greece, which claims that it isn’t able to protect its border. Nevertheless, it doesn’t want to begin protecting it either, calling on Europe to display solidarity,” said Kalinak. He pointed out that Greece last year opted for the easiest solution – letting all migrants go through its territory further to Europe. This isn’t acceptable for most EU countries any longer, however.

The ministers on Thursday also debated practical solutions for creating common EU border guards, with the Dutch presidency of the EU Council settling in advance many issues in the legislative process with the European Parliament.

Kalinak further reported that certain EU countries want to open talks on the Dublin Protocol in March or April in order to push through the permanent quotas for the distribution of migrants – just under a different name. “This is unacceptable for us,” said Kalinak, adding that reality also confirms Slovakia’s attitude, as only 583 migrants have been relocated in this way out of 160,000 originally planned.