Mitsotakis, Merkel discuss devt’s in migration border issue, coronavirus epidemic

The attempted entry to Greece of a large wave of migrants from Turkey and the repercussions of the coronavirus in public health and the economy were the focus of a meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday.

At a meeting scheduled after the German-Hellenic Economic Forum the same day, Mitsotakis updated Merkel on the Turkish actions at the border in Evros region, and noted the involvement of Turkish authorities in creating and continuing the mass violation of European borders at Evros and spreading fake news that heighten the crisis.

Greek government sources also said that Mitsotakis referred to images in the media showing a Turkish military vehicle, funded through EU resources, trying to take down the fence protecting Greek and European borders in Evros. Chancellor Merkel said that the joint EU-Turkey agreement of March 2016 includes both the funds Turkey is receiving from Europe and obligations that need to be respected. The issue of the refugee-migration problem relates to the EU’s existence itself, she said.

Both agreed that the time leading up to the EU summit on March 26 should be used constructively to ensure Turkey lowers tension and to discuss improvements to the joint statement on migration. They also discussed the joint patrolling of the Greek coast guard with Frontex in Greece, and collaboration with the Turkish coast guard, in order to control migration flows better, and the returns of migrants from the Greek islands and the mainland to Turkey.

They also discussed the new draft EU budget and the repercussions of the coronavirus to public health and the economy, at an EU-level.

Both leaders referred to expanding the current Greek-German economic and trade collaboration into new sectors such as green energy, renewable energy sources, pharmaceuticals and agricultural economy.