Austria thanks Greece for protecting Europe’s borders

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, thanked Greece for protecting Europe’s borders during a joint press conference in Vienna on Tuesday with Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Kurz said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "abuses refugees and migrants who have lived in Turkey for years, exploits them and uses them as a weapon" against the EU. "I am grateful that Greece and the Greek government are protecting the Greek and European borders," he emphasised.

On his part Kyriakos Mitsotakis thanked Kurz for a recent humanitarian aid package of one million euros towards migrants in Greece.

"The personnel and technical means that you offered will help to prevent any attempt to enter the border from Turkey," Mitsotakis said adding that the tension at the Evros region needs to de-escalate. Arrivals of migrants from Turkey by sea have dropped to zero these past few days, Mitsotakis noted, exclaiming, "I hope it continues, because it will be proof that Turkey complies."

The Greek PM reiterated the need for co-operation with Turkey, but in terms of equity and not blackmail, adding that Turkey is obliged to contain migration flows under the EU-Turkey joint statement.