At a joint summit on Corfu on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni declared that European countries should share the burden of dealing with migration.
Mediterranean countries must “find a way to act decisively, taking a leading role in this debate and in developments,” Gentiloni said. Tsipras, for his part, noted that refugee crises should be handled with solidarity and a shared sense of responsibility, not with “fences and exclusions that undermine our European values.”
Gentiloni called for a change to European regulations on migration “because it is only fair that the weight does not only fall on just some countries.” “This is the message that we will also bring to the meeting in Nicosia in October,” Gentiloni said, referring to a conference of seven Mediterranean countries scheduled to take place in the Cypriot capital on October 10.
Meanwhile in Athens, on the second day of the annual Athens Democracy Forum, which is being organized by Kathimerini and The New York Times, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom praised both Greece and Italy for bearing the greatest part of the burden posed by Europe’s refugee crisis and warned that the problem has not been solved. “We have to be prepared,” Wallstrom said. “This is only the beginning.”
“There was a period in Europe when some countries bought all the blankets and others bought all the barbed wire,” the Swedish foreign minister added, apparently referring to Central and Eastern European countries which did not contribute to the crisis response but bolstered themselves against the influx with fences.