While most European Union leaders tentatively welcomed Turkey’s proposals, at least in principle, over the way forward on the refugee crisis, an acrimonious war of words broke out Tuesday between the Greek government and main opposition New Democracy, as the dust settled in the aftermath of Monday’s crucial EU summit.
Although the conservatives said Turkey’s proposals at the summit did have some positives – to take back all refugees and migrants who have entered Europe – party officials slammed the leftist SYRIZA-led government for standing on the sidelines when EU decisions that matter are made, and expressed concern over other aspects of Turkey’s offer, such as accelerating its membership talks and quicker visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the bloc.
The government, however, hailed the Brussels summit for “isolating the countries that wanted to isolate Greece” and accused ND of “undermining” the country’s efforts, urging it to keep a lid on “diplomatically dangerous” statements.
This drew an angry response from ND spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who slammed the government for being weak on diplomacy and having “slow reflexes” when faced with the hostility of countries such as Austria and Slovakia over the refugee crisis.
“SYRIZA is in no position to give us lessons in diplomacy,” Koumoutsakos said.
PASOK urged the government “to safeguard Greece’s crucial interests in coming days without succumbing to discounts,” while To Potami accused the government of “offering Turkey the chance to upgrade itself.”