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Meeting of the Minister for Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, with the Minister for Migration of the Netherlands, Mrs. Ankie Broekers-Knol

Notis Mitarachi: ‘’We are ready to work with all European partners in order to ensure a fair burden sharing in migration.''

Ankie Broekers-Knol : ‘’We agree on the need to prevent primary flows as a means to reduce secondary movements, to effectively protect our borders, apply quick procedures and enhance our ability to return those not entitled to international protection through a common European mechanism.’’

The Minister for Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, had a meeting today with the Minister for Migration of the Netherlands, Mrs. Ankie Broekers-Knol

At the epicentre of their discussion were the negotiations of the new European Migration and Asylum Pact, the ongoing situation regarding migration in Greece, as well as the cooperation between the two countries on unaccompanied minors, within the framework of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed by both parties.  

After the meeting, Mr. Mitarachi made the following statement

'I am pleased to meet today the Minister of Migration of the Netherlands, Mrs Ankie Broekers-Knol, an experienced politician, with whom we had the opportunity to discuss the challenge of migration management and the ways to jointly tackle it at a European level.

The governments of our countries have developed in the recent years a growing level of mutual trust and understanding, and a cooperation based on common principles and values that link Greece and the Netherlands as European partners being at the core and the forefront of the EU’s evolution. I trust that we will keep on this level of cooperation also with the new government of the Netherlands, when it is formed.  

With the Minister we discussed our bilateral cooperation on migration and the results of the MoU that was signed exactly one year ago and set the basis for a joint project on opening three shelters for unaccompanied minors in Athens and developing a program for guardianship of minors. Minister Broekers-Knol had the opportunity to visit one of the shelters in Municipality of Dafni yesterday.  

Regarding the Pact on Migration and Asylum and the ongoing negotiation, we concur that a new system needs to be put in place replacing Dublin III, as the current one has proved to be insufficient. Our countries work towards achieving fair and sustainable solutions that will be common European ones.  

We agree on the need to prevent primary flows as a means to reduce also the secondary movements, to effectively protect our borders, apply quick procedures and enhance our ability to return those not entitled to international protection through a common European mechanism.   

For Greece, this system must be complimented by a strong solidarity component, when it comes to asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection, and we stand ready to work with the Netherlands and other European partners in order to ensure a fair burden sharing in migration management  

The Minister for Migration of the Netherlands, Mrs. Broekers-Knol, in turn, stated:

It is good to be back in Athens. Which has been too long because of Covid. The fact that we were able to meet each other today is very positive. Thank you very much for the wonderful display of Greek hospitality. The main reason for my visit was to discuss the valuable ongoing cooperation with you, that is Greece, and to talk about issues of common interest.  

I used this visit to Athens to be able to personally visit one of the shelters for unaccompanied minor migrants that we have set-up as part of our shared programme on strengthening the reception and guardianship of unaccompanied minors in Greece. With the realization of these shelters we have been able to provide young refugees with a safe home.  

This programme is a very good example of the intensive co-operation between Greece and the Netherlands established over the past years. In that regard, I reaffirmed the readiness of the Dutch migration services to continue to work with their Greek partners to address common challenges and and support them to continue their efforts to structurally assist Greece to manage migration and asylum effectively.   

Today, we discussed the current developments related to asylum and migration management in Greece. I complemented my colleague minister of Migration & Asylum mr. Notis Mitarachi, whom I hold in high esteem on the many positive achievements over the past two years particularly in the area of asylum procedures and reception, but I also shared some concerns regarding the bordermanagement.  

We finally took stock of the ongoing discussions about our common European migration and asylum policy. We both fully agree about the need for better results on returns.   

We also agree that a structural, effective and predictable solidarity mechanism is needed which must go hand-in-hand with member states taking responsibility for managing asylum and migration. For the Netherlands, this means that we ensure that we have strong national systems with effective procedures to deal with current and future migration flows.  

We both regret the lack of progress in the ongoing discussions. As you know, there are different views between member states and yes we have to recognize these differences. There should be no competition between addressing primary arrivals versus secondary movements, solidarity versus responsibility, efficiency versus respecting fundamental rights. These are all aspects that should be part of our common, comprehensive approach.  

We underlined our willingness to constructively work together on these proposals.  

Again, thank you very much for welcoming me here today. I do hope you will be able to come to the Netherlands and it will be my honor to welcome you, so that we can continue our constructive discussions.  

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