The European People’s Party lead candidate for Commission president in next year’s European Parliament election, Manfred Weber, said that the dismal situation at reception centers for asylum seekers in Greece does not represent the bloc.
In an interview with Kathimerini, Weber urged Greek authorities to act immediately to tackle the unfolding humanitarian crisis at refugee camps across the country.
“The Greek government has a huge responsibility,” he said, adding that Europeans cannot complain about the living conditions at refugee camps around the world when they allow this to happen in Greece.
With regard to a recent summit in Salzburg where EU leaders put on a show of unity over Brexit but were divided on migration, Weber said he was disappointed with what he’s seen at various councils in recent weeks.
“Citizens of Europe see leaders discussing the same issues in Brussels and Salzburg, and not finding solutions,” he said. This is “very dangerous,” Weber said, warning that it strengthens the euroskeptic camp ahead of May’s European Parliament elections, which he described as “decisive for Europe.”
The bloc faces “threats from Trump, Putin and China,” he said referring to the presidents of the United States and Russia, as well as from populists inside the continent who want to destroy the idea of solidarity and rekindle nationalism.
The 46-year-old German politician said that after three years of discussions on migration, he sees three areas that Europeans need to focus on: stricter border controls, solidarity and how to deal with the problem in the future. The problem right now may stem from Syria, but in the long-term it will be focused on Africa, he said, adding that this “will be a huge challenge for us.”