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Statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Delavekouras regarding the EU-Turkey readmission agreement
Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory Delavekouras made the following statement regarding the text of the draft EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement, which was presented at yesterday’s meeting of the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and is to be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 24 and 25 February 2011:
“Following the relevant mandate the European Commission received from the Council in 2002 for the conclusion of an EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement, and following the relevant negotiations, it appears that the two sides are very close to agreeing on the text.
From the outset, Greece stressed how important such an Agreement would be to both Greek interests and those of the Union and its member states, and participated actively in the whole process, guided by the defence of these interests.
The completion of the negotiations and the conclusion of the Agreement indicates the European nature of the problem of illegal migration, with is not just a Greek or Greek-Turkish problem, but a common European problem, as noted in the Conclusions of the European Council.
At the same time, it contributes toward preventing and deterring illegal migration from Turkey to Europe via our sea and land borders – which are also the EU’s external borders – and strengthens European cooperation with Ankara on this issue, which is a longstanding pursuit of our country.
The Agreement, which runs along the lines of similar agreements that the EU has signed with other third countries, will facilitate the readmission of persons who enter our country illegally, given that it provides for a simplified readmission process. Any problems that might arise will be dealt with by the Joint Committee on Readmission.
Our country sees the progress that has been achieved as positive and looks forward to the completion of the negotiations and necessary legal procedures at the soonest possible time, so that the Agreement can go into effect as soon as possible and function as an additional factor for deterrence, control and optimum handling of the increased migration pressure our country is under, particularly on our eastern borders.”