EU “extremely concerned” about migrants’ pushbacks, urges probe in Greece, Croatia
Published reports about illegal pushbacks of migrants at the Greek border in the Aegean Sea as well as in Croatia should be thoroughly investigated, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said on Thursday. The Commissioner was referring to investigative reports by several European media outlets about violent migrants’pushbacks by state officials in Greece, Croatia and Romania. Greece has strongly denied the allegations.
The commissioner was responding to a relevant question during a press conference at the online High-level Resettlement Forum on Afghanistan.
EU Commissioner Johansson called the report of violent pushbacks “shocking” and indicated that “orchestration of violence at our external borders” and the existence of “convincing evidence of misuse of EU funds.”
She also insisted again on the importance of Greece establishing an independent border monitoring mechanism, something Athens has flatly rejected as we have previously reported.
Johansson added that she will discuss this matter further at the meeting with Greek Asylum & Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis later on Thursday.
At the same time, in a separate statement issued earlier on Thursday Mitarakis strongly denied all pushback allegations.
“The Greek borders are also EU borders, and we operate within the framework of International and European law for their protection,” Minister Mitarakis underlined.
According to an investigative report by ten European media outlets, among them German Der Spiegel, Greek Coast Guard officers participated in illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, while reference is also made to the involvement of state officials in similar cases in Croatia and Romania.
Pushbacks report in Greece, Croatia, Romania: in German DER SPIEGEL here and in English here.
It is not the first time reporters have investigated and wrote about illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, nor the first time the EU is “concerned” and not the first time Greece strongly denies all allegations.