On 26 -27 September, an ICMPD delegation, led by Director General Michael Spindelegger, embarked on its first bilateral visit to Samos and Athens following Greece's accession to ICMPD in 2021. The delegation was welcomed by Mr. Dimitrios Kairidis, Minister of Migration and Asylum, and visited the Closed Controlled Access Centre in Samos.
Director General Michael Spindelegger emphasised ICMPD's cooperation with Greece to be further strengthened during the upcoming ICMPD Steering Group Chairmanship of Greece in 2024. He acknowledged the immense pressure and challenges Greece endures, especially given the current high levels of arrivals in Europe via the Mediterranean.
The discussion in Athens on the future cooperation with the Ministry of Migration and Asylum extends to other ministries involved in various areas of migration, including irregular migration, border protection, and return and reintegration. These discussions are vital for Greece and within the broader context of ICMPD's cooperation with other ICMPD member states and partners in the region. Furthermore, Greece's actions in forging labour migration partnerships with countries like Bangladesh and Egypt, align seamlessly with ICMPD's extensive expertise in the Silk Routes or South Mediterranean regions. ICMPD is fully equipped to provide valuable support to Greece in these areas.
During his visit to the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, ICMPD Director General met with the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Dimitrios Kairidis, and Deputy Minister, Ms. Sofia Voultepsi, and many of their colleagues in lead positions. The cross-ministerial meeting with delegations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the Permanent Representation of Greece to the EU, the Ministry of Citizen Protection/Hellenic Police, and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Police/Hellenic Coastguard gave Mr Spindelegger and his delegation the excellent opportunity to exchange on a wide range of topics.
This visit underscores ICMPD's commitment to working closely with its member states, particularly those facing complex migration challenges. The delegation gained a comprehensive understanding of Greece's migration situation. ICMPD expresses its unwavering support to Greece in addressing these pressing issues.