Speaking on a trip to the United States, Ms Patel praised Greece for taking a ‘very different’ approach to that of the EU, including the controversial ‘pushback’ tactic of returning ships to sea.
“They have not decided to sit behind the EU’s competence bloc,” said the Home Secretary, who earlier this week launched an attack on the EU’s open borders – the Schengen area – for fueling a “mass migration crisis” which has spurred a record increase in illegal Channel crossings.
More than 24,500 migrants have already arrived in the UK this year, nearly triple the total for all of 2020. This figure includes more than 5,000 in November, the highest monthly total on record, despite a downturn colder and riskier sea conditions.
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister, supported calls for tighter controls and warned that freedom of movement in the EU would be “over” if the leaders did not ruthlessly protect the borders of the block.
“We will not just open the doors and let migrants in,” he said. “EU leaders know that if this happens, Schengen is over. Freedom of movement is over.
“Countries like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and others are just going to lift the borders. We need strong external borders. “
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko lured thousands of migrants from countries like Iraq before forcing them to cross borders with EU members Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. The situation on the border with Poland has reached a critical point in the past fifteen weeks.