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Refugee deal was not implemented ‘as desired’: Germany

ATHENS (AA): German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a 2016 refugee agreement reached between Turkey and the EU had not been implemented “as we desired.”

Speaking to media following a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens, Merkel underlined that they had discussed ways to improve the return of irregular refugees crossing the Aegean Sea.

She pointed out that Greece underwent many difficult processes during the economic crisis and said some improvements have been made in the last period.

Congratulating the leaders of Greece and Macedonia on the “Prespa Agreement”, involving Skopje’s adoption of a new official name, the chancellor said the agreement would benefit Greece, its northern neighbor and the “stability in western Balkans and European Union”.

In June, the Macedonian and Greek governments signed the Prespa Agreement which requires Macedonia to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia and Greece to drop its objection to Macedonia joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and becoming a member of the European Union.

For his part, Tsipras stressed that Greece was the country hardest-hit by the refugee crisis, saying that they were in agreement with Berlin on the establishment of a common authority within the EU on migration.