As greater numbers of migrants make their way to the Greek islands from Turkey, Germany’s Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has called on EU member states to step up and provide more support to Greece and Turkey.
Seehofer warned that if the EU fails to address the migration situation in Turkey and Greece, a new mass migration of people from southern Europe into Germany – similar to what was seen in 2015 – could occur, Spiegel Online reports.
“We have to help our European partner more with the controls at the EU’s external borders, we have left them alone for too long,” Seehofer told Bild.
“If we do not, we will see a wave of refugees like 2015 – maybe even more than four years ago,” he added.
As things currently stand, growing numbers of migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, are making their way from the Turkish coast to Greece’s the Aegean Islands. As per the 2016 EU-Turkey Refugee Agreement, migrants are required to remain on the islands until their asylum applications are processed.
But as the number of migrant arrivals have increased drastically in the past few months, migrant facilities operating on the Greek islands have become overwhelmed.
In August, Greece saw close to 7,000 migrants arrive by boat, the highest number since 2016.
Last week, two people were burned to death after angry migrants living in Moria – a camp on the Greek Island of Lesbos – set several temporary housing units ablaze and prevented firefighters from putting it out.
The German Interior Minister also called EU member states to do more to assist Turkey.
“Turkey is doing a great deal in welcoming refugees, which is also in our interests,” Seehofer said.
On Thursday and Friday, Seehofer traveled to Turkey and Greece in an attempt to salvage the quickly deteriorating migration pact between the EU and Turkey. He promised Athens and Ankara that Germany would support them in dealing with refugees and border guards.
In July, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that if European governments didn’t do more to help Turkey deal with migrants, then it would let them flood into Europe.
“We are facing the biggest wave of migration in history. If we open the floodgates, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months. We advise them not to try our patience.”