INTERVIEW - Greece has a strategic partnership with Egypt: Greek migration minister

Eman Youssef in Athens , Thursday 9 May 2024

Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum Dimitris Kairidis talks about his official visit to Egypt on 8-9 May and the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Dimitris Kairidis
Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum Dimitris Kairidis with Journalist Eman Youssef during the interview.

 

Minister Kairidis assured that the goal is to eliminate illegal and promote legal migration based on the bilateral agreement signed in 2022. 

Eman Youssef: What are the main objectives of your visit to Egypt? What are the topics that will be discussed during the visit?

Minister Kairidis: Egypt is an important country that has historically played a crucial stabilizing role in a volatile region, especially in managing migratory flows.

We in Greece have always recognized Egypt's contribution and urged our European partners to do more in support of its efforts to cater to the millions of refugees and migrants who have taken shelter within its borders.

I am coming to Egypt on a follow-up visit to the recent trip of President of the European Commission Von der Leyen and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. We aim to deter illegal migration and promote legal migration based on the bilateral agreement we signed in 2022. 

EY: What are the plans to enhance cooperation between Greece and Egypt on issues related to migration and asylum?

Minister Kairidis: We have a very ambitious agenda, as far as Greek-Egyptian cooperation in migration is concerned.

We share a strong and old bond with Egyptian society, and the geographic proximity helps seasonal workers come to Greece, to work in agriculture and tourism.

After years of decline, the Greek economy is now booming and experiencing substantial labour shortages.

EY: Are there any potential agreements or initiatives that may be implemented during your visit to Cairo?

Minister Kairidis: We have an agreement to take advantage of, at its full potential. When that occurs, we can explore additional pathways.

At the same time, we must work together to abolish illegal migration that feeds criminal networks of smugglers, endangers human life and dignity, creates all sorts of problems for public safety, and produces anxieties and political tensions with broader consequences.

Finally, we in Greece have one of the best-performing Asylum Services in Europe, with a long and well-established experience in dealing with asylum applications.

We are already sharing this experience with many of our European partners and are eager to cooperate with our Egyptian friends in that and related regards.

EY: What specific goals do you hope to achieve during your visit regarding addressing the challenges facing both countries?

Minister Kairidis: Greece has a strategic partnership with Egypt. We represent two ancient people who have made invaluable contributions to human civilization.

Moreover, we are two countries prioritizing peace, stability, and harmonious coexistence in a region of great geostrategic tensions.

In a few words, we are natural partners, and we should exploit this background in the difficult field of migration management as well, for the benefit of all stakeholders involved — Egypt, Greece, the immigrants, and the host society.

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