Greek PM to broach refugee crisis at EU summit

Greek PM to broach refugee crisis at EU summit

As a growing influx of migrants from Turkey puts Greece under increasing pressure and amid the threat of a new wave of refugees, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said he will broach the issue of burden-sharing among European Union member-states at a leaders summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Condemning the refusal of some EU countries to join the response to the bloc’s refugee crisis, Mitsotakis told AFP that “there need to be consequences for those who choose not to participate in this exercise of European solidarity.”

Europe must be prepared for the eventuality of “a new migratory and refugee wave coming through Greece,” he said.

Condemning threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to send millions of refugees to Europe as “blackmail,” Mitsotakis said the bloc has been “generous” with funding to Ankara.

Additional funds for Turkey to respond to the refugee crisis is one topic that EU leaders are to discuss on Thursday, along with Turkey’s incursion in Syria, which threatens to create a new wave of refugees. Also on the agenda are Brexit and EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Mitsotakis stressed his commitment to speeding up the asylum process to ease overcrowding at Aegean island camps. But he also called for more European support, including “the technology to identify the boats even before they leave the Turkish shore.” 

Meanwhile the European Commission called for “urgent action” to improve conditions at island camps and expedite the asylum procedure. The EU welcomed recent steps taken by the government to alleviate the pressure on the islands but said an increase in arrivals “has put strain on an already fraught system.”

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