The resumption of the strategic dialogue between Greece and the United Kingdom on immigration was among the topics of the meeting held today between the Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Dimitris Kairides, and the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Greece, Matthew Lodge.
Mr. Kairides underlined the importance that Greece attaches to cooperation with the United Kingdom, both on a technical and political level, given that the two countries now face similar challenges in the immigration issue. At the same time, Mr. Kairides welcomed the ongoing search for practical solutions by the United Kingdom in dealing with irregular immigration.
The two interlocutors exchanged views on the latest developments in immigration, at the international and regional level, but also on the particular challenges faced by the governments of the two countries in their relevant internal and external policies.
In this context, the Greek minister informed Mr. Lodz of the government's decision to rationalize legal immigration, with conditions and rules, while strengthening its action to combat the criminal networks of traffickers, who with their practices endangering the lives of irregular migrants.
Special mention was also made of Turkey's role in the management of migration flows in the Southern Mediterranean, but also more broadly in Europe.
The British ambassador informed the minister about the recent memorandum of cooperation signed by the United Kingdom with Turkey regarding the fight against migrant smuggling networks, which is expected to enter into force soon. The memorandum, among other things, provides for the joint action of the British and Turkish authorities, even against the producers of inflatable boats in Turkey, which are currently used for illegal trafficking, both in the English Channel and in the Aegean.
For his part, Mr. Kairides emphasized that "Turkey is of particular concern to us, as it directly or indirectly affects irregular migration routes in the Eastern Mediterranean", underlining that "as the EU we seek to reach some kind of agreement with Turkey soon in order to deal with the flows even better".
Messrs. Kairides and Lodge agreed on the need to continue the dialogue on immigration, with the British ambassador extending an invitation to the minister to visit London and meet with his counterparts.