Athens takes its case to Berlin for burden-sharing in new EU migration pact
Just weeks before the EU is scheduled to begin thrashing out a new migration and asylum pact, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis will hold talks with German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in Berlin on 20 February and will present Athens' proposals for a swift processing of asylum applications and an equitable EU-wide burden-sharing plan.
Acceptance of that sort of plan will likely meet resistance in many member-states which are comfortable with Greece shouldering the burden on its own.
The Mitsotakis government's plan to build closed reception centres on the most heavily burdened islands - Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Chios, and Leros) has triggered a strong backlash among residents as before coming to power New Democracy had pledged to move most migrants and refugees to reception centres on the mainland and has now broken its promise.
Plans for closed centres have triggered harsh criticism from rights groups and main opposition SYRIZA who view the planned centres that are to be built on these islands as inhumane.
Seehofer has maintained a very tough line against the settlement of migrants in Germany but it is unclear if Berlin will be receptive to closed centres - with day passes to exit for migrants who have been in Greece for longer periods and have no criminal records - which New Democracy MPs depict as a means to dissuade refugees and migrants from making the often dangerous passage from the coasts of Turkey to the Greek islands, which have been severely congested for several years.
"They must know that we don't want them here," New Democracy MP Konstantinos Bogdanos, among the party's most right wing members said of economic migrants on 18 February.
Mitarakis will be joined in the Berlin talks by Alternate Migration Minister...