Greece wants EU help sending migrants back to Turkey
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias pose for media before talks in Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal HanschkeGreece wants EU border agency Frontex to help send back to Turkey migrants deemed ineligible for asylum in Europe, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told reporters on Jan. 23.
The minister's comments came a day after he shared this proposal with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steimeier in Berlin, Greek news agency ANA and a ministry source said.
Frontex currently operates 15 patrol boats in the Aegean Sea, whose mission is to assist Greek coastguard in their surveillance and rescue operations.
The minister said Frontex should deploy about 100 boats in the narrow stretch of water separating Greece from Turkey, the main launching pad for 850,000 refugees and migrants who reached Greece's shores last year.
Greece has repeatedly called on Frontex to help send back people deemed ineligible for asylum in Europe, such as migrants from Morocco and Pakistan.
Athens also wants Ankara to be pressured into honouring repatriation agreements signed with Greece and Europe.
Kotzias' remarks came as Austria, Hungary and Slovenia put pressure on Greece to stop the flow of migrants and refugees through its territory.
Athens and EU powerhouse Berlin are in talks on the migrant crisis -- Europe's worst since World War II.
The focus of these talks is not to stop the flow of refugees, but rather to manage it better.