NEWS

Schulz and Tsipras to visit Lesvos next week

schulz-and-tsipras-to-visit-lesvos-next-week

As the death toll escalates and weather worsens in the Aegean, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to visit Lesvos together with European Parliament President Martin Schulz next week.

Ahead of their visit on Thursday to the eastern Aegean island which has borne the brunt of the refugee crisis, the two will meet at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport on Wednesday to witness the departure of a group of Luxembourg-bound refugees, as part of the European Union’s relocation scheme. The two will be joined by Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency.

The issue is at the top of the EU agenda. Although European officials publicly deny that the refugee crisis can have any effect on Greece’s bailout program, behind closed doors they suggest that Athens could in fact extract some rewards if it plays its cards right.

“The refugee crisis has certainly weighed on decisions about Greece,” a European official told Kathimerini on condition of anonymity.

Under pressure from European governments, Tsipras recently agreed to Greece temporarily hosting up to 50,000 refugees pending their relocation to non-border nations. He also agreed to closer border cooperation between Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania.