German Federal Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière has said that Greece should take back migrants who came to Germany over the last year.
Mr. de Maizière told German media, “We have done a lot in Europe to improve the situation in Greece,” saying that the stabilised situation in Greece could lead to the return of the implementation of the European Union (EU) Dublin Regulation, reports Die Welt.
The agreement allows European countries to deport migrants to the first EU country they landed in.
Discussing the huge wave of over a million migrants who had come into Germany and the EU last year, the Interior Minister said that sending migrants back to Greece would allow countries like Hungary to dismantle border fences and fortifications.
Mr. De Maizière also denied a relationship between the rise of anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany party (AfD) and the migrant policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We are seeing the rise of right-wing populist parties throughout Europe. Germany was long the exception,” he said.
“Some forces of the AfD I see are longing for a supposedly idyllic world of the West German Federal Republic; however, it never existed,” the Interior minister claimed.
The AfD saw an enormous victory over the CDU, the party of both Mr. De Maizière and Chancellor Merkel, on Sunday in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern regional election relegating the ruling party to third place in the polls.
A year after the migrant crisis began, the minister defended the open border policy of the Merkel regime saying, “Given the large number of immigrants, the closure would have led to situations on the border, which nobody wanted or would have accepted.”
He added, “It is pure illusion to believe that a border closure would have saved the country or the continent before the high immigration.”
Though the minister claims the situation in Greece has improved due to the EU migrant deal with Turkey, the Greek government has complained that they cannot handle the number of migrants currently in the country as resources have been stretched to the limit.
The looming collapse of the EU-Turkey migrant deal due to the disagreement over stipulations for Turkish visa-free travel to Europe may make the situation even worse.
Ankara has given a deadline of the end of the year to implement visa-free access, which some say could lead to a torrent of Kurds and other minorities fleeing the country as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to crack down on opposition groups after the failed coup in July.