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Greece assumed the Presidency of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development

Greece, represented by the competent Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Dimitris Kairidis, assumed the Presidency of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) today in Brussels. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Margaritis Schinas, the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Migration, Ms Ylva Johansson, the Permanent Representatives of Greece, Ambassador Yannis Vrailas, and of Turkey, Ambassador Farouk Kaimakçi, and the Director General of the Centre, former Austrian Foreign Minister, Mr Michael Spindelegger, attended and addressed the ceremony.

The ceremony was also attended by New Democracy’s Members of the European Parliament, Ms. Elise Vozemberg and Mr. Stelios Kymouropoulos, the permanent representatives of many European countries, executives of the European Commission and many journalists from Greek and international media.

The Greek Minister, Mr. Kairidis, told reporters: "Greece takes over the presidency of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) today, at a very critical time, when the international environment is constantly burdened with new crises. We must continue our fight against illegal smuggling, collaborating with European countries, countries of origin and transit countries. At the same time, we must ensure alternate legal routes for migration in accordance with the needs of the Greek and European economies. This is what Greek immigration policy stands for and this is the role and the key message of the Greek Presidency. Against the forces at the extremes, we stand for a policy of solutions, European solutions, based on European values and common European interests."

On his part, the Director General of the Centre, Mr Michael Spindelegger, mentioned: "We need strong leadership and Greece is a country that has it. We need a clear message and the Minister and his team have given us a clear direction."

During the public discussion, Mr.Kairidis outlined the objectives of the Greek Presidency and referred to the previous Turkish presidency, highlighting that recently there has been an improvement in cooperation with Turkey on migration management issues. Mr. Kairidis expressed his concern about developments in the Middle East. He also referred to the Greek government’s new initiatives for legal migration with conditions and rules that are in accord with the needs of the Greek economy, including the bilateral agreements achieved with friendly countries, the modernization of the administrative system, and the upgrading of the legal migration mechanism.

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