Turkey cannot blackmail Europe by exploiting migration crisis: Greek PM

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday accused Turkey of using the migration crisis for leverage in international negotiations and said that Europe cannot be blackmailed on this issue.

Mitsotakis made the accusation during the second day of the European People's Party (EPP) Congress in Zagreb where he called for a common EU policy on asylum seekers and on the continent's external border protection.

“It is time to have some honest dialogue and fewer irresponsible statements," said the Greek PM and stressed that Turkey must fulfil its part of the EU-Turkey Statement on migration.

"There are three things we need to do if we want to deal with the migration crisis effectively: Protect our borders, share the responsibility equally among member states and also look into the root cause of the problem, which is war and poverty in some important parts of the world," said the Prime Minister.

Mitsotakis noted that "Europe can no longer pretend that the migration crisis affects only the member states at the union's borders," and called the Dublin Regulation affecting refugees and migrants to EU "lamentably insufficient."

The Prime Minister also emphasised that Greece is at the end of its tether in terms of managing the sheer number of migrants arriving on a daily basis, and as a first-entry country for migrants should not have to bear the brunt of the migratory influx alone.