Syriza urges Greek Parliament, gov’t to address pushback claims in Europarliament report

The Greek Parliament and the government must address the concerns about pushbacks of migrants in Greece raised by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament in a report reviewing EU border agency Frontex’s role, the main opposition party said on Saturday.

Referring to the results of the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group’s (FSWG) report published on July 15, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance said that pushbacks continued but the EU’s border agency Frontex ignored them and Greek ministers never pursued the allegations. Despite having warned early on, it said, about the repercussions of such illegal actions, “in all cases the official response by the state was that [the allegations] were either lies or Turkish propaganda,” the party said.

The Greek authorities’ response insult the sense of a state of law, while ministers lied to the Greek people, “who were a model of solidarity during the years of the great economic recession,” it added, besides insulting desparate people.

“We ask for an investigation by the Greek Parliament, where we have requested explanations several times and responses by related ministers, using all means we have, but without result,” Syriza said. After the LIBE report, it said, “the Greek government ought to come to Parliament on this very serious issue, assume its responsibilities and brief fully and without one-liners all parties and citizens,” it said.

Among other points, the report includes the following:

– “The Greek Ombudsman, who has been investigating alleged cases of pushbacks for years, released an interim report in April 2021 on pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish land border, in which he noticed the lack of investigations and proper responses by Greek authorities and urged for investigations, as the claims of violations are persistently accompanied by denial from the country’s authorities.” (pages 3-4 of LIBE report)

– “The FSWG did not find conclusive evidence on the direct performance of pushbacks and/or collective expulsions by Frontex in the serious incident cases that could be examined by the FSWG. However, the FSWG concludes that the Agency found evidence in support of allegations of fundamental rights violations in Member States with which it had a joint operation, but failed to address and follow-up on these violations promptly, vigilantly and effectively. As a result, Frontex did not prevent these violations, nor reduced the risk of future fundamental rights violations.” (page 5)