Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told German publication Handelsblatt that the European Union is "ignoring the problem" of rising numbers of arrivals in Greece. Roughly 1,350 people arrived on Greece's Aegean islands between Friday and Monday, according to the Greek coastguard and in his interview, Mitsotakis criticised both Turkey and Europe for the migration issue.
“It is unacceptable; we cannot go on like this, Turkey is trying to use the migrant issue as a way to put pressure on Europe and force it to make concessions,” Mitsotakis said.
Η Ελλάδα θα είναι μια άλλη χώρα σε δύο χρόνια από σήμερα. Οι πολίτες είναι αισιόδοξοι ενώ το κλίμα αυτό αντανακλάται και στην εικόνα της χώρας στις διεθνείς αγορές. Οι επενδυτές επιστρέφουν και έχουμε αφήσει πίσω μας την κρίση. Συνέντευξη στη Handelsblatt. https://t.co/j8Yqxnd3wK pic.twitter.com/TOgsIUPs4k
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) November 18, 2019
“I told President Erdogan very openly that he cannot exploit migrants and refugees if he wants to have good neighborly relations with Greece. Lately, every time we try to reach out to the Turkish Coast Guard and point out that a boat with immigrants has left off the Turkish coast, they do not respond at all. This is unacceptable, as it violates the EU-Turkey Migration Agreement,” added the PM.
Only last week, early Erdogan again threatened that he would "open the gates" for millions of refugees held in camps in Turkey, including ISIS members, in response to EU sanctions over Cyprus.
Regarding the EU, Mitsotakis stated: “Europe treats countries of arrival such as Greece as convenient “parking spaces” for refugees and immigrants. Is this European solidarity? No. I won’t accept it anymore”.
When asked by journalists what can be done, PM Mitsotakis responded that Europe can no longer ignore the problem and that the Greek government can not accept the attitude of those who “behave as if this were exclusively a problem of Greece. A solution must be provided on a European level. The European Union should promote the proposals of the German Minister of Interior Affairs Horst Seehofer to reform the asylum system and the Dublin Regulation.”