For Greece, Europe's worsening refugee crisis amounts to an "insult to injury" scenario.
Just six months after Angela Merkel and the Brussels cabal put Athens through round after round of "mental waterboarding" on the way to granting the country a third bailout and preventing Greece from marking a messy exit from the common currency, Alexis Tsipras now finds himself on the front lines of a mass Mid-East migration to Western Europe.
To be sure, it's not as though those who are (figuratively and literally) washing up on Greece's shores are keen on settling in the socialist paradise that at times last summer took on the trappings of a Third World country. Rather, Greece is a transit point for those fleeing war to Europe and Athens obviously has limited resources with which to work when it comes to controlling the situation. Greece has been
Now, a day after Austria held a meeting with Balkan nations on how to control the migrant flow without inviting Greece, Athens is recalling its minister. "The numerous splits in Europe over immigration policy were evident on Wednesday when Austria organised a meeting of interior and foreign ministers of several Balkan states in Vienna," The Guardian writes. "The Austrians snubbed the Germans and did not invite the Greeks, provoking a furious reaction from Athens."
“A very large number here will attempt to discuss how to address a humanitarian crisis in Greece that they themselves intend to create,” the Greek migration minister, Yannis Mouzalas told reporters on Thursday. “Greece will not accept unilateral actions. Greece can also carry out unilateral actions. Greece will not accept becoming Europe’s Lebanon, a warehouse of souls, even if this were to be done with major [EU] funding.”
First came the suspension of Schengen, next came referendums on migrant quotas, and now we have the chilling of diplomatic ties. This is a slippery slope to open hostilities and make no mistake, Greece is in no mood to give anyone Brussels the benefit of the doubt.
* * *
Full statement from Greek Foreign Ministry
By decision of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Greece’s Ambassador to Vienna, Ms. Aliferi, is being called to Athens for consultations aimed at safeguarding the friendly relations between the states and peoples of Greece and Austria.
It is clear that the major problems of the European Union cannot be confronted via thoughts, attitudes and extra-institutional initiatives that have their roots in the 19th century, and nor can the decisions of the heads of state be supplanted by directives from police directors. The latter is a major problem for democracy. It points to the need for the European Union to be protected from various parties who are ignorant of history.
Unilateral initiatives for resolving the refugee crisis, along with violations of international law and the European acquis by member states of the EU, are practices that can undermine the foundations and process of European integration.
Responsibility for dealing with the migration and refugee crisis cannot weigh on one country alone. Common sense dictates that effective handling of this complex problem should be governed by the principles of solidarity and fair burden sharing. Greece is working in such a direction.
* * *
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threatens to block all EU refugee decisions if Greece will be left to deal with the crisis alone. Commenting on Austria’s initiative to hold a West Balkan Conference on Migration, Tsipras described it as “unacceptable”.
PM Tsipras said he will block all decisions at an upcoming EU migration summit with Turkey on March 7th 2016, if his country has to deal with the refugee crisis alone.
Tsipras said that from now on Greece “will not assent to agreements” unless all its EU partners are forced to participate in the relocation and resettlement of refugees.
“Greece will not agree to deals if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured,” he added.
“We will not accept turning the country into a permanent warehouse of souls with Europe continuing to function as if nothing is happening,” Tsipras told the Greek parliament on Wednesday.
Tsipras said it was unfair that EU partners had dumped the burden of the migrants on Greece, a country already reeling from an economic crisis.
“We did and will continue to do everything we can to provide warmth, essential help and security to uprooted, hounded people,” he said, adding that Greece would not accept a situation where other EU member states could do as they pleased.
“We will not tolerate that a number of countries will be building fences and walls at the borders without accepting even a single refugee” Alexis Tsipras said, adding that Greece would demand the mandatory participation of EU countries in the relocation of refugees.
Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said this morning that Greece will not allow “unilateral actions” and that it will not “turn into …Lebanon.”