European Council President Donald Turk is visiting Athens today to talk about the Refugee Crisis. He met with Prime Minister Alexisi Tsipras and both men agreed that
Unilateral actions by European Union member states to deal with the migrant crisis troubling the bloc is hurting solidarity and must stop.
“We will not allow Greece to be turned into a warehouse of souls! We will accept permanently only so many migrants [a rate] corresponding to our population in the Europe of 28,” Tsipras said during a joint press conference with Tusk and stressed that “Greece already assumed a disproportional weight in the refugee crisis.”
Criticizing a “weak Europe” that cannot solve the problem, Tsipras said that “We ask that unilateral actions stop in Europe. Greece will demand that all countries respect the European treaty and that there will be sanctions for those that do not.”
“We will make every effort to apply the Schenghen treaty and the Geneva convention. We will not push back people in the sea, risking the lives of children.”
EUCO President Donald Tusk sent first of all a message to the millions refugees and migrants awaiting in Turkey to cross over to Europe.
“Here from Athens, I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country. The Schengen rules will enter into force again.”
Doland Tusk who is visiting Istanbul tomorrow to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be stressing in Greece and Turkey that the goal was to eliminate entirely the transit of migrants from Turkey to Greece and that Europeans believed Turkey should be able to bring the numbers down to the “low triple digits” very soon.
Before the meeting with Tsipras, Donald Tusk sent a strong ‘solidarity message to Greece. He tweeted this morning:
“Excluding Greece from Schengen is neither an end, nor a means. Greece will remain part of Schengen, euro area and EU.”
However, a day earlier, Donald Tusk defended the use of barbed-wire fences against migrants and the Schengen-collape, saying that securing the Schengen area’s outer borders was a “pre-condition” to solving the refugee crisis.
“I’m afraid that sometimes you need tougher measures if you, we want really to apply Schengen. Sorry but this is the reality,” Tusk said during his visit to Slovenia.
Tusk full remarks in Athens here.