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.
EU Council statement #Greece #Turkey
“The EU is actively engaged to uphold the EU-Turkey Statement and to support Greece and Bulgaria to protect the EU's external borders.” pic.twitter.com/UtN1U26fiH
— Derek Gatopoulos (@dgatopoulos) February 29, 2020
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.
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.
Our top priority at this stage is to ensure that Greece and Bulgaria have our full support. We stand ready to provide additional support including through #Frontex on the land border. (2/2)
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 29, 2020
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.”
4/ Erdogan argumentiert zweitens, die Flüchtlingszahlen seien dramatisch gestiegen und nicht mehr zu bewältigen. Das stimmt, auch wenn er dafür mitveratwortlich ist. Erwartung an die EU: mehr Geld. Merkel hat Bereitschaft signalisiert, nicht alle EU-Staaten aber sind dazu bereit.
— Stefan Leifert (@StefanLeifert) February 29, 2020
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.
Erdogans Drohnung ist eigentlich ein Hilferuf. Er ist mit dem Versuch gescheitert, in #Syrien mit RUS zusammenzuarbeiten. TUR braucht jetzt🇪🇺& den Westen. Wir müssen Geld & Hilfe bereitstellen, um die Flüchtlinge vorübergehend in der #Türkei zu versorgen. https://t.co/ot3KomdtYa
— Norbert Röttgen (@n_roettgen) February 29, 2020
Top on today’s Twitter was the turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu who responded to a Tweet by his Greek counterpart Dendias.
Look who’s lecturing us on international law! They’re shamelessly throwing tear gas bombs on thousands of innocents piled at their gates. We don’t have an obligation to stop people leaving our country but #Greece has the duty to treat them as human beings! https://t.co/Av0v5GIy5o pic.twitter.com/C9ceVnlx4f
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) February 29, 2020
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.