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Migration crisis: Greece struggles on diplomatic terrain, EU is distanced

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Saturday requested an emergency meeting of the EU’s Foreign Ministers Council on the migration crisis with thousands of refugees and migrants trying to make it to the country.

The request was reportedly put through by Dendias over the telephone to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy & Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, currently on official visit to Sudan’s capital Khartoum.

Earlier on Saturday Dendias held several telephone conversations about the issue with his counterparts of Austria, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and on Friday night with his Turkish counterpart.

Since Friday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis briefed key European leaders about the steps Greece has taken to guard its borders more effectively, after statements by Turkish officials that they will no longer be able to prevent refugees from fleeing to Greece in irregular ways.

Premier Mitsotakis spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Council Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov

After long hours of defeating silence, it was at least the European Council that issued a statement late on Saturday.

President of the European Council Charles Michel explicitly supported Greece’s intensified border guarding, as “the EU is actively engaged to uphold the EU-Turkey Statement and to support Greece and Bulgaria to protect the EU’s external borders.”

President Michel made known he has spoken with President Erdogan and has been in close contact with PM Mitsotakis and PM Borissov to follow the migration situation, and has been closely following the situation in Syria and Turkey.

No institution in Brussels sees violation of the EU-Tukey Deal of 2016, although it referred not only to the islands but also the land borders.

Article 3:

3) Turkey will take any necessary measures to prevent new sea or land routes for illegal migration opening from Turkey to the EU, and will cooperate with neighboring states as well as the EU to this effect.

Late on Saturday, President von der Leyen expressed the support of the European Commission to Greece and Bulgaria, yet, without a word about Turkey.

Next to the polite and diplomatic statements on the new Migration crisis, no effective measures are being discussed in Brussels and in major European capitals.

The correspondent of German state TV reported earlier on Saturday, that in phone conversation with Merkel, Erdogan asked for more financial help to deal with refugees in Turkey.

“Merkel has signaled willingness, but not all EU-member states are willing to do so.”

It is also interesting that another high-ranking member of Merkel’s party, the CDU, and a potential cancellor candidate saw in Erdogan’s aggressiveness and blackmail “a call for help [sic] that should be rewarded with extra funding.

Top on today’s Twitter was the turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu who responded to a Tweet by his Greek counterpart Dendias.

While the situation at the borders of Greece remains tense, media have shown footage of Turkish military accompanying the buses carrying migrants and refugees to the borders.

PS Everybody would be surprise if the EU decides to take measures against Turkey and thus in due time.

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