The Minister for Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, had working visit to Bratislava, where he met with the Minister of Interior of Slovakia, Mr. Roman Mikulec, at the invitation of the latter.
The two ministers focused on the current migrant situation in Europe and the bilateral cooperation between Greece and Slovakia, in the framework of which Slovakia has committed to provide healthcare financing to the Aegean islands amounting 1 million euros, as well as the negotiation of the European Migration and Asylum Pact.
The two sides agreed on the need for strong and effective protection of the EU's external borders, as a necessary condition for the sustainable management of migration and the prevention of secondary flows within European territory
The Slovak Interior Minister acknowledged the Greek efforts, which have significantly improved the situation in the Aegean islands and reiterated his country's support, as evidenced by Slovakia's participation in the joint health financing program with Austria with 1 million euros from Slovakia and 2 million euros from Austria
On the issue of negotiating the European Migration and Asylum Pact, the two Ministers acknowledged that there are many points of convergence but also areas of diversity on the issue of solidarity, pledging to continue working together, both bilaterally and within the Med-5 and Visegrad teams of which they are members respectively, in the search for sustainable solutions.
After the meeting with Mr. Mikulec, Mr. Mitarachi stated the following
It is with great pleasure that I am visiting today Bratislava, following an invitation by my Slovak colleague. Together with Minister Mikulec, we held extensive and fruitful talks on the migration management in our countries and in Europe, our bilateral cooperation and the ongoing negotiation of the new Pact on Migration and Asylum. Greece and Slovakia share many common positions regarding our common European asylum and migration policy. We both emphasize the need to effectively safeguard the EU external borders in a way that will prevent mass irregular flows. We also agree on the need to boost our cooperation with third countries -what we call the external dimension of migration-, enhance returns through a centralized European mechanism and reinforce the role of FRONTEX in both border control and returns. When it comes to solidarity, our views may differ on some points, but I notice that Slovakia is a country that does not shy away in terms of support provided to front-line Member States, like Greece. Our view, as jointly expressed by the like-minded group of Med-5, is that solidarity to front-line Member States, must be meaningful and impactful. The project of Slovakia’s financial contribution for medical services in the Aegean islands that was signed today with the IOM, with a total budget of 1 million euros, is an important contribution to our efforts and we thank Slovakia for this.