Greece on Thursday said it would not be left by the rest of the EU to become the “Lebanon of Europe” by hosting millions of migrants and refugees.
Speaking ahead of a crucial meeting in Brussels, Greek migration minister Yannis Mouzalas criticised other countries for “unilateral” actions that affect Greece.
“A very large number (of participants) here will attempt to discuss how to address a humanitarian crisis in Greece that they themselves intend to create,” he told reporters.
“Greece will not accept unilateral actions. Greece can also carry out unilateral actions. Greece will not accept becoming Europe’s Lebanon, a warehouse of souls, even if this were to be done with major (EU) funding.”
Four million refugees have fled Syria for the relative safety of neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations, with more than one million in Lebanon.
Greece is the main entry point for migrants to the EU, with most of them coming over the Aegean Sea to Turkey via the Greek islands.
Athens faces growing pressure to stop “waving through” migrants to the rest of Europe, but it has criticised the response of the EU.
Mouzalas in particular criticised Balkan countries that held talks in Austria on Wednesday at a meeting excluding Greece for agreeing border measures that would affect his country.