Keridis: If Frontex withdraws from Greece, it will shoot itself in the foot

Fri, 7 Jul 2023 10:19 GMT
"If the EU border protection agency Frontex withdraws from Greece, it would be tantamount to shooting itself in the foot," said Minister of Migration and Asylum Keridis.
Keridis: If Frontex withdraws from Greece, it will shoot itself in the foot

Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum Dimitris Keridis stated that if Frontex, the European Union's (EU) border protection agency, withdraws from Greece, it would be "tantamount to shooting itself in the foot".

Keridis responded to Frontex's criticisms against his country following the capsizing of a boat carrying irregular migrants in Greece last month on the Greek Radio and Television Corporation ERT.

Stating that he had received the minutes of the minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting of the Agency, which was organised after the migrant tragedy off the Peloponnese and where a discussion on Frontex's presence in Greece was also held, Keridis made the "preposterous" assessment about the possibility of the Agency's withdrawal from Greece.

Keridis stated that Frontex's doing so would be "tantamount to shooting itself in the foot" and added: "There is no doubt that we want the presence of Frontex in Greece. I think it is inconceivable that they would leave our country."

The Frontex Director said that they had informed Greece about the boat carrying migrants before it capsized

Frontex Director Hans Leijtens said that they had detected a capsized fishing boat with irregular migrants off the coast of Greece's Peloponnese and reported it to the Greek local authorities.

Leijtens said: "My colleagues spotted the fishing boat in which 600 people, probably tightly packed together by people smugglers, were heading towards Greece. As it was our duty, we reported the boat to the local authorities. It is extremely sad that the boat sank on Wednesday and that another tragic accident has occurred."

Allegations of "negligence of the Greek coastguard"
In the news in the Greek press, it was reported that a migrant who survived the tragedy said in his statement to the prosecutor that the boat sank when the Greek Coast Guard teams started to pull it with ropes.

Another migrant was quoted as saying, "The Greek Coast Guard boat tied a rope to the boat and while pulling the boat, the boat started to sway left and right due to excessive speed and capsized."

The Efimerida Ton Sintakton newspaper published in Greece claimed that the ship was removed from the scene by the coast guard teams in the news report, which included the statements of the captain of the oil tanker named "Faithful Warrior" passing through the point where the disaster occurred.

In the news article, which claimed that the Greek Search and Rescue Centre was aware of the dangerous swaying of the overloaded boat, it was stated that questions about why the coast guard teams chose to remove the oil tanker instead of calling the oil tanker to the scene for possible rescue operation should be answered.

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the main opposition Radical Left Alliance (SYRIZA), visited the port of Kalamata, where migrants who survived the disaster were taken to get information about the incident, and said that migrants told him that the Greek coast guard was trying to push the boat towards Italian waters.

Disaster at the Greek coast

On 14 June, a fishing boat carrying irregular migrants capsized in international waters 47 nautical miles from Navarin in Greece's Peloponnese Peninsula, killing 82 people and rescuing 104 people who were brought to the port of Kalamata.

According to the non-governmental organisation Alarm Phone, there were about 700 people on board.

(AA, Ayhan Mehmet)

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