Greece is turning the page after ten years of crisis, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in Brussels on Thursday, and his government will honor the mandate of the Greek people for reforms, new jobs, less bureaucracy and more investments.
At doorstep statements prior to the European Council meeting, Mitsotakis said that "Greece is facing serious strategic challenges that lie at the top of the EU agenda. Migration flows have risen abruptly during the last few months and this is an issue that should be dealt with at European level."
The Greek premier also said that "Greece and Europe cannot stand to be blackmailed by Turkey," and called on the EU to "show much greater solidarity to Greece in handling this issue." He also stressed the need for a Plan B in case the present migration crisis reaches emergency levels.
He reiterated Greece's support "from the very start" on the issue of Turkey's illegal drilling in Cyprus' EEZ. He referred to Greece as "a point of stability in an unstable region," and expressed support for the EU accession of North Macedonia and Albania "as long as they respect the international treaties they have signed, are committed to a state of law and, obviously, respect the rights of minorities."
The European Council is meeting Thursday and Friday to discuss issues that include Brexit; the EU's 2021-2027 budget (Multiannual Financial Framework); Turkey's actions in Syria and its illegal drilling in the East Mediterranean; and the issue of starting EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.
Gov't sources on Plan B
If the European Union's actions to stop the high migrant inflow from Turkey to Europe don't work, the EU must come up with new tools, government sources said on Thursday.
The sources were commenting on doorstep statements by Mitsotakis, in Brussels for the two-day European Council summit.
"If we see that EU actions to stop migration flows from Turkey to Europe are ineffective, then Europe must think of other ways so that (migrants) are not trapped in Greece. The tools for this will become apparent in the near future, and after we agree that everyone must assume their duties," they said.