Speaking at a panel discussion in Davos, Switzerland, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described Turkey as an “aggressive neighbor.” Addressing the migration crisis, he blamed “austerity policies” for “the rise of racism and nationalism in Europe.”
His European partners couldn’t always appreciate the challenges of living with an ‘aggressive’ neighbor such as Turkey, the Greek Prime Minister said during the panel discussion on “Stabilizing the Mediterranean” where he mainly addressed the Migration Crisis.
Speaking about the economic and the migration crisis, Tsipras said when he gained power in 2015, he had not only to deal with the worst debt crisis and the refugee crisis, but also with an “aggressive neighbor, sometimes unpredictable with an aggressive military activity in the Aegean.”
He said that the migration problem is a European and international problem and not a problem of Italy and Greece alone.
“It is necessary to face this problem not as Mediterranean problem that has to do with Greece and Italy, but as a European one and an international one,” Tsipras said.
Tspiras also noted that “Greece managed to handle the migration flows with dignity and in a humanitarian way,” as did Italy.
With reference to the EU Turkey Deal on Migration, Tsirpas said that important is the implementing the agreement, making sure that international laws were not being violated as Greece has been processing thousands of asylum requests, and ensuring that national interests were also safeguarded.
“At the same time we have to take a decision on what we are going to do with this aggressive behavior of Turkey,” he said in response to an observation that Turkey could change its mind on the migration deal at any time.
“For somebody (sic), it is very easy to be also aggressive if they are living in Luxembourg or Netherlands, because their neighbors are Belgium and Luxembourg, and not Turkey. But it’s not so easy for us.”
The Greek prime minister said that “the result of the austerity policy created difficulties” in societies; now, he added, the main political problem is to halt the rise of racist, nationalistic, fascist forces that do not believe in the common goals and values of the European Union.
Tsipras stressed the importance of a common policy on migration, adding that the problem is not that these people are looking for a better future in Europe, but that they cannot continue to live in their own countries.
He even quoted ex finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his famous “rules are rules. This is something that also my friend Viktor Orban need sot understand. Rules are rules” the Greek Prime Minister said directly addressing the anti-migration policies of Hungarian prime Minister adding that one cannot use Europe a la carte.
sources: reuters, amna, tvxs