European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot warned last week that Greece could be threatened by social unrest from the huge flow of illegal migrants arriving on its shores via Turkey.
“There is a major threat to the equilibrium of Greek democracy because of the uncontrollable flow of migration,” Barrot told a press conference in the Belgian capital, days after he met with Greek leadership to discuss, among others, the increasingly urgent issue of illegal immigration.
Barrot, who also holds the justice and home affairs portfolio on the Commission, was briefed on Greece’s displeasure at the fact that Turkish authorities are doing little to stop the clandestine flow of mostly Third World migrants through the EU candidate-state and onto Greek and EU territory.
While in Greece and following a tour of several migrant reception centres, Barrot also called on Ankara to do more to prevent illegal immigration from its territory.
“Turkey has to help us fight the facilitators and traffickers who push people to make risky journeys… We can’t simply remain motionless. We have to get much firmer control from the Turkish Government. We would also encourage the Turks to sign a readmission agreement,” the French Commissioner stressed, adding that similar protocols with Pakistan and other South Asian nations, the home countries of many would-be migrants, are necessary.
Barrot said he intends to jumpstart debate on the issue of migration and its effects on the Union during an informal meeting of EU interior and justice ministers next month in Stockholm.