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Greek PM to ask for additional EU assistance

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Friday that he will ask for more resources to deal with migration. The Greek PM is in Granada, Spain, for the informal summit of European Union leaders.

Talking to reporters before the summit, Mitsotakis said he was glad a preliminary agreement has been reached in the European Council on the migration and asylum directive.

“This is a great relief for the countries of first reception,” referring to the southern EU members that mostly deal with migrant flows.

Mitsotakis added that he will insist that the EU budget on migration be expanded; more resources are needed “to deal with such a crucial issue, which involves the whole of the EU.”

The prime minister added that the EU spend an additional €2.5 billion to respond to natural disasters.

“I had the opportunity to express at the meeting of the European South in Malta my frustration at the relatively limited resources spent on dealing with natural disasters from the European Solidarity Fund,” he said, adding that the extra money is necessary, so that European citizens know that the EU “stands by them in any case if a country is afflicted by natural disasters connected to the climate crisis.”

Referring to the disastrous floods in the region of Thessaly in September, the PM  said Greece’s economy is strong enough to absorb the shock of events like that, but added he was satisfied with the swift European response that “gave our country the greatest flexibility possible to absorb European funds to deal with this great natural disaster.”

Migration and natural disasters will be on the agenda of Friday’s EU summit, but will not be the only items. Another major issue is EU expansion, with Greece and other members saying reforms and the rule of law are crucial in the acceptance of new members.

Mitsotakis will also ask for a change in fiscal rules to give individual members more latitude to apply their own policy mix to achieve convergence with EU goals on the debt and budget deficits. [via kathimerini]

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