Greece could pay down its foreign debts by hosting deportation centres, giving Europe another option in tackling the migrant crisis, Czech President Milos Zeman said yesterday.
Zeman, speaking in a broadcast interview with Czech television channel Prima, said that the idea came from one of his advisers and called it “an original idea that could kill two birds with one stone”.
“Detention centres would be built on Greek islands to where migrants from Europe would be deported ... and Greece would, by maintaining these detention centres, pay its otherwise uncollectible foreign debt,” he said.
The European Union is holding a summit with Turkey today on how to handle the migrant crisis.
Germany has said that finding ways to help Greece, the main entry point for refugees into Europe, would be a priority.
Zeman has limited policymaking power but has been outspoken on the migrant issue.
He has said the integration of Muslim communities is “practically impossible” and called the influx an “organised invasion”.
The Greek foreign ministry declined to comment on Zeman’s remarks.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, lashing out yesterday at border restrictions that led to logjams, said that Greece would press for solidarity with refugees and fair burden-sharing among European Union states at today’s summit.
Tsipras has accused Austria and Balkan countries of “ruining Europe” by slowing the flow of migrants and refugees heading north from Greece, where some 30,000 are now trapped, waiting for Macedonia to reopen its border so they can continue to Germany.
“Europe is in a nervous crisis,” Tsipras told his leftist Syriza party’s central committee. “Will a Europe of fear and racism overtake a Europe of solidarity?”
Central European leaders have been sceptical about Greece’s ability to limit migrants, many of whom are fleeing war in Syria and elsewhere, and fear Turkey will not manage to stem the number of people crossing the Aegean Sea.
They have said a back-up plan to provide help to Balkan countries along the migration route is important.
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