FRENCH Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has applauded the “Greek model” of containing immigration, promising French support for similar tactics.Mr Darmanin visited a controversial migrant camp on the Greek island of Samos, described as a “closed and controlled access” camp outfitted with barbed wire and watchtowers. Mr Darmanin, praising the new facility, said: “We ask other southern EU countries to do what the Greeks have done to control our external borders better and other countries to agree to a system of solidarity.”
However, human rights organisations have challenged Mr Darmanin’s approval in the wake of the facility’s opening.
Amnesty International criticised the camp, arguing that it “prevents effective identification of vulnerable people” and “limits asylum seekers’ access to services.”
Medecins Sans Frontieres, denouncing the camps, said in September: “All of this to detain people whose only ‘crime’ is seeking safety and stability.
“In addition to the mass rejections of asylum applications, this new center is another symbol of the complete rejection of refugees and of their right to seek asylum.”
For asylum seekers within this camp, free movement in and out of the facility is only allowed from 8am to 8pm.
Upon exit and entry, they are subject to fingerprint identification and an electronic badge check.
The Interior Minister’s visit comes ahead of France assuming the presidency of the European Union in January 2022.
Many see this proclamation as Mr Darmanin setting a tone for a new agenda for the six-month rotating presidency.
The Interior Minister said: “We would like all countries on Europe’s borders to have the same policy for controlling and registering people entering European territory.”
In a joint press conference in Athens with Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis, Mr Darmanin told the audience that “France is aware that Greece is not only protecting its own borders but the borders of Europe as a whole.”
He added that France would plan “very specific proposals” on how other European countries could contribute to migration control in the Mediterranean Sea.
Mr Mitarakis has previously condemned the European Commission for what he called “complete inactivity” on migration control.