Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Greece has managed the refugee crisis with “dignity” and accused European Union member-states that have resisted relocation quotas of contributing to the bloc’s “existential problem.”
Speaking on a panel on “Stabilizing Europe” at the World Economic Forum in the snowbound Swiss resort of Davos, Tsipras said on the subject of countries like Hungary that have refused to abide by an agreement that each member-state takes in a certain number of refugees in order to relieve pressure on Greece and Italy, that “many countries believe that if a problem is not in their own backyard then it’s not their problem.”
The crisis is not “a problem that is exclusive to Greece, Italy or Europe’s south,” he added, and the European Union must be “braver in setting the issue at the top of its agenda.”
“If we believe the EU is an a la carte organization where some people can reap the benefits without having any responsibilities, then this a problem to our joint future,” the Greek premier said.
He added that austerity has contributed to the problem by paving the way for the rise of nationalist and populist right-wing forces opposed to Europe’s “shared values” vis-à-vis the refugee crisis.