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Pushing back refugees: Baerbock wants to clarify allegations against Frontex

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To: 07/28/2022 18:29

The European border protection agency Frontex is accused of ignoring the refoulement of refugees at sea by the Greek coast guard. During her visit to Athens, Foreign Minister Baerbock said this was “incompatible with EU law”.

In Greece, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock criticized the illegal rejection of refugees at the EU’s external borders and called for systematic investigations. “If we look the other way, then our values ​​will perish in the Mediterranean,” she said after visiting a refugee camp near Athens and the border protection agency Frontex at the port of Piraeus.

European values ​​should also apply at the EU’s external border. “It’s often about the weakest: it’s about men and women who have been on the run for years, it’s about young children,” Baerbock said.

“A big topic for Annalena Baerbock is migration and flight”, Frank Jahn, ARD Berlin, currently Athens, during Foreign Minister Baerbock’s visit to Greece and Turkey

tagesschau24 14:00, 28.7.2022

Baerbock: “Respect human rights around the clock”

Aid organizations have for years criticized that Greek border guards systematically push migrants back to Turkey so that they do not seek asylum in Greece. There are also repeated media reports of these so-called pushbacks, in which Frontex is also accused of involvement.

A secret EU report accuses EU border protection agency Frontex of deliberately turning a blind eye when refugees are pushed back out to sea by the Greek coast guard. On 129 pages, the report documents “how the European border protection agency Frontex was implicated in the illegal machinations of the Greek coast guard”, writes the “Spiegel”. The border guards are therefore in the Aegean “systematically helpless asylum seekers from the sea”.

Baerbock went on to say that the EU “must be able to ensure even more effectively that human rights are respected around the clock at Europe’s external borders”. Pushing refugees back across the EU’s external borders is “incompatible with EU law”, she said.

Joint rescue at sea

The foreign minister also called for more support for Greece to secure the EU’s external border and for a joint European sea rescue service to save drowning refugees trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean. Aid organizations are currently taking on this task. But she demanded: “In the medium term, this task must once again become a state task.

According to the UNHCR refugee agency, since the beginning of the year, around 6,250 people have been able to cross the border into northeastern Greece or cross by boat from the west coast of Turkey to the Greek islands. There were always boat accidents and deaths. Athens and Ankara blame each other for this state of affairs.

Commemoration of the victims of the Second World War

At the start of his visit to Greece, Baerbock commemorated the victims of German occupation during World War II. The Greens politician visited the former Nazi headquarters prison, where thousands of resistance fighters and civilians were imprisoned and tortured between 1941 and 1944. She then laid flowers at the Athens Holocaust Memorial .

The foreign minister went on to stress that a “line” should never be drawn under the Nazi past. But she also reiterated Germany’s rejection of Greek reparations claims. Greece, like Poland, continues to make claims for compensation and calls for negotiations on this subject. Germany, for its part, considers that the question is closed and refers to the two plus four agreement on the foreign policy consequences of German reunification from 1990.

Travel to Turkey

Baerbock will meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Athens on Friday. She then goes to Turkey. The double visit to the two NATO partners is important for her, especially in these difficult times when Russia is trying to split the Western alliance, the green politician said in an interview with the newspaper “Ta Nea”.

Relations between NATO members Greece and Turkey have recently deteriorated massively again. Ankara disputes the sovereignty of the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean, such as Rhodes, Samos and Kos, and calls on the Greek army to withdraw. Turkey emphasizes requests for overflights of Turkish fighter jets over inhabited Greek islands.

Source www.tagesschau.de

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