Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is prepared to offer a besieged Chancellor Angela Merkel a helping hand on the crucial issue of migration, he told the Financial Times in an interview, as he is “ready to conclude an agreement with her on the return of asylum seekers in Germany to other European countries, bolstering her ahead of today’s crucial EU summit on migration”.
The article cites European diplomats who said that Berlin has approached Greece, Italy and their neighbours in order to conclude bilateral agreements on migrants, in return for economic incentives for frontline countries which are exceptionally burdened.
Tsipras told FT that he is not concerned if there are certain returns of migrants from Germany, if that would help send a message to traffickers that Europe is prepared to confront illegal migrant flows.
Tsipras said he is open to striking an agreement with Berlin in order to limit “secondary movements” of migrants that reach the southern borders of the EU and subsequently travel north to Germany.
In that way Athens would be offering a helping hand to Merkel, who faces insufferable pressures from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer to expedite the return of asylum-seekers that were registered in other countries before reaching Germany.
Merkel is eager to demonstrate that bilateral agreements can be effective in handling the problem in Germany.
For Tsipras, an agreement with Germany would not have a significant impact on Greece, as he said that only 50-100 asylum seekers monthly pass the country’s northern borders.
“I think the dilemma with which we are confronted is more serious than agreements on secondary movements. The dilemma is what kind of Europe do we want?” the Greek PM said.
“We must find an agreement in the framework of international law to share the burden and not have an unjust situation in frontline states or in Germany,” he concluded.