Greek foreign ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas reiterated the accusations of the government and some EU leaders that Turkey is using migrants as a battering ram to dismantle Europe’s borders.
'Greece does what it does at its borders on behalf of the West,” he declared of Athens’ decision to entirely close its border with Turkey,' Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared.
'In the last 10 days we have shown that we can defend our national and European sovereignty. Greece and Europe cannot be blackmailed by anyone,' the PM told the German-Hellenic Economic Forum.
Erdogan appeared unimpressed by what the EU was offering so far, saying the Union was always offering help but then falling short or not stepping up.
One senior EU diplomat said the EU had squandered the time since the 2016 deal, brushing the problem under the carpet by paying for refugees and migrants to be kept in Turkey.
The coronavirus threat (the first case in Greece was identified today in Thessaloniki) poses a huge challenge to the National Health System and to what is ostensibly the government’s strong suit – the recovery of the Greek economy.
There must be swift moves to alleviate the burden on the islands which are hosting all the migrants and to construct facilities that will provide the necessary living social services.
Mitsotakis called for the enforcement of the EU-Turkey statement that lays out Ankara's and the EU's obligations and said EU solidarity must been taken seriously.
Clearly it is necessary to have a plan to distribute geographically the refugees and migrants and put them up in structures that will not offend their human dignity.
This is a national problem that requires a solution for people who abandoned their countries to seek a better life elsewhere. Greece cannot absorb all these migrant flows.
As long as these flows continue and develop the negative reactions will grow and may spin out of control if migrant flows are not checked.
Refugee and migrant flows cannot be handled without European authorities participating and standing by Greece and without a distribution of the burden.
Our partners are obliged to secure the Greek-European borders and to create a system for the just distribution of refugees.
The main challenge and greatest problem in bilateral relations, however, is Ankara’s persistent claims against Greek sovereign rights in the Aegean.