Berlin has 'absolute confidence' in Greek government's actions on migration

Berlin is monitoring developments on the Greek islands very closely. The recent increase in arrivals must be "taken seriously into account", the German governments spokesperson said.

The German government has "absolute confidence" in the actions of the Greek government for the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement regarding the handling of refugee and migrant flows, the German government's deputy spokesperson Martina Fietz said on Friday.

Referring to an observed increase in the number of migrants arriving at the Greek islands in recent months, Fietz said it was of crucial importance that there be a rapid and significant increase in the return of migrants to Turkey.

She said Berlin was monitoring developments on the Greek islands very closely and that the recent increase in arrivals must "taken seriously into account", though pointing out that the numbers remained lower than in the period before the EU-Turkey agreement on migration.

The central idea behind this was to guarantee adequate safety for refugees in Turkey and create prospects so that they would have no reason to migrate to Europe, Fietz noted. The numbers showed that "this has effectively been achieved," she added, while highlighting the importance of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, through which the EU provided support to refugees in Turkey.

"We consider that the statement of 18th March 2016 between the European Union and Turkey was a success and will continue to be implemented," she said, adding that the Greek government has stated its intention to continue working within the framework of the statement and that, in this context, "it is of decisive importance to quickly and significantly increase the number of returns."

"The new Greek government - I stress this once again - shares this view and we have absolute confidence that the Greek government is taking the right steps and stand ready to support it, both in an EU framework and bilaterally," Fietz added.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the possible causes of the hike in migrant arrivals in Greece, repeating that Berlin is following developments with concern and is in contact with the Greek government in order to provide support, if necessary, as it is with the government in Turkey.

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