Hardly was Greece’s new Prime Minister sworn-in – he hadn’t even announced his new cabinet- and Alexis Tsipras picked up the phone to complain to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini about a joint EU statement asking for sanctions against Russia. Greece’s discomfort had to do with the fact the “EU had not consulted with Greece before issuing the statement in the name of European member states.
Tsipras’ office told Reuters that the EU should still have secured consent from Athens before issuing this statement.
“In this context, we underline that it does not have our country’s consent. Dissatisfaction with the handling of this was expressed in a telephone conversation between the prime minister and the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Mogherini,” the statement [from Greek PM’s office] said.
In a rare joint statement, EU leaders voiced concern about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and condemned the killing of civilians in the “indiscriminate shelling” of Mariupol.
They asked their foreign ministers to consider possible new sanctions against Russia in response although a final decision is expected to be left until a summit next month.
“Greece has had traditionally good relations with Russia and never strongly supported sanctions against Moscow,” Reuters notes.