The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Mitarachi, held a series of meetings in Geneva with the General Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mr. António Vitorino and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi.
The talks took place in a constructive atmosphere and provided the opportunity for Mr. Mitarachi to present Greece's progress in the management of migration, the reception of asylum seekers, acceleration of asylum procedures and integration over the last three years, as well as the ongoing challenges from the pressure on the external borders of the European Union in conjunction with the reception of Ukrainian displaced persons as a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Furthermore, he informed his interlocutors of the policy of effective guarding of European borders with full respect for International Law and fundamental rights.
Mr. Mitarachi made extensive reference to the recent decisions of last week’s EU Council of Ministers of Home Affairs to promote a Declaration of Solidarity for the benefit of front-line Member States, calling for the full support of the High Commission/UNHCR and the IOM in the effort to achieve fair burden-sharing at European level and effective solidarity through an automatic relocation mechanism, also based on the principles of the United Nations.
Furthermore, Mr. Mitarachi and Mr. Vitorino agreed on the need to create more legal migration channels as a counterweight to the action of smuggling networks that put human lives at risk at the EU's sea and land borders. Mr. Mitarachi presented to the Head of the IOM the recent agreement between Greece and Bangladesh, in respect of which Mr. Vitorino expressed IOM's availability to assist our country.
Mr. Mitarachi presented to the High Commissioner for Refugees the Greek position on the creation of a Common European Area of Protection for beneficiaries of international protection, based on the recent decision of the EU Council that recognized the right of free movement within the European Union for Ukrainian beneficiaries of temporary protection.
The meetings provided an opportunity to review Greece's bilateral cooperation with the two UN organizations. Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the level of cooperation and exchanged views on possibilities for further deepening.