NEWS

Austria, Greece bury the hatchet after migrant spat

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (left) and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias arrive for a news conference in Vienna, on Wednesday.

TAGS: Diplomacy, Migration, EU

Austria and Greece's foreign ministers said Wednesday that they have buried the hatchet after differences over Europe's migrant crisis prompted a chill in relations.

"Our ambassador has returned... She accompanied me to Vienna" to take up her post again, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said after talks with his counterpart Sebastian Kurz in the Austrian capital.

Greece recalled its ambassador in March in retaliation for Austria's decision to leave Athens out of a meeting to discuss the flow of migrants through the Balkans.

Athens also refused a visit from Austria's then interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, accusing Vienna of "falsifying the truth" over its border control efforts.

Last year hundreds of thousands of migrants trekked up from Greece through the Balkans, heading for Austria and beyond, particularly Germany and Scandinavia.

Vienna accused Athens of failing to police its borders and register migrants. Mikl-Leitner even called into question Greece's membership of the passport-free Schengen zone.

Since then, however, the Balkans route has been closed down and a deal between Turkey and the European Union has taken effect, slowing the migrant flow.

A spat has also erupted between Vienna and Rome over Austrian measures preparing for a possible closure of the Brenner Pass in the Alps between the two countries.

Austria's tougher line on migrants has however failed to stop support growing for the far-right, contributing to the resignation of chancellor Werner Faymann on Monday.

[AFP]

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