Mitarachi and Karner agreed on a New European Conference in Greece as a follow-up to the Vilnius initiative

Joint Statement of the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi and the Federal Minister of Interior of Austria at Vienna, Gerhard Karner 

The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, and the Austrian Federal Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, reached an agreement in order to hold a European Conference in Greece in 2023 in Vienna, following the Vilnius initiative. 

In joint statements delivered at the end of their meeting, the two Ministers underlined the need to strengthen cooperation in the management of migration. At the same time, they stressed the need to continue the Vilnius initiative, in which Greece, Austria, Lithuania and Poland had participated, regarding the strengthening of the external borders of the European Union. This time the European Conference is expected to take place in our country within the first seven months of 2023 with the main subject being this time the reduction of migration flows to the European Union.  

In his statement, Mr. Mitarachi sealed the excellent cooperation between Greece and Austria in the management of migration, while at the same time he referred to the urgent need for a common European border management policy of the Union, in accordance with the rules of International Law, which will be a priority not only for the front line countries, such as Greece and MED5, but also all European countries.  

Among others, Mr. Mitarachi confirmed the practice of smugglers and the routes followed for illegal travel to the countries of the Western Balkans, as this is a standard policy of the circuits and in the case of Greece, with nationalities coming from sub-Saharan Africa to Türkiye.  

Regarding the practice followed by Türkiye the last days, the Minister of Migration and Asylum stated that the shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea and the shameful incident in Evros with the 92 naked migrants, increasingly demand the need for Türkiye to assume its commitments and obligations.  

Mr. Mitarachi recalled, once again, in the context of the strong rhetoric followed in recent days, the obligation of implementation of the 2016 EU- Türkiye Joint Statement, as Türkiye committed to implement. 

In conclusion, Mr. Mitarachi underlined the importance of finding solutions that will allow solidarity between all countries, while ensuring the fair distribution of the migratory load.  

From his part, Mr. Karner thanked Mr. Mitarachi and Greece as a whole, for the effective management of migration and the fight against smugglers. In particular, Mr. Karner stressed that the biggest and common goal should be to prevent illegal migration flows and reduce smuggling networks. At the same time, the Austrian Minister, underlining the importance of strengthening European cohesion and adopting a common policy in the management of migration, confirmed that the system at the external borders is at the limits of its capabilities and that is why it is necessary to address the issue comprehensively. Finally, Mr Karner pointed out that new measures should be taken at European level and new regulations should be created to prevent incidents such as those that have come to light. 

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