New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with President of European Parliament Martin Schulz on Wednesday during his two-day visit to Brussels.
Refugee issue and the negotiations between the government and the institutions dominate the agenda of Mr. Mitsotakis meetings with political leaders in Brussels on February 17-18.
Mr. Mitsotakis underlined that Greece’s northern borders should not close and Mr. Schulz shared the same view saying that this is not the solution to the problem. The leader of the main opposition stated that everyone in Europe must undestand that Greece alone cannot solve the refugee problem as it also bears the burden of the economic crisis.
On his part, Mr. Schulz stressed the importance of supporting Greece, but as he said, Greece should show signs that it does its best to meet its commitments.
Both officials agreed on the key role that Turkey plays in the migration issue. However, they said that the cooperation with the European Union falls short of the expectations and its commitments.
Later, Mr. Mitsotakis met with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
“Cooperation with Turkey must reach a point where it can effectively manage refugee and migration flows. The final solution to the problem lies with Turkey and only through an honest dialog between the EU and Turkey can the problem be dealt with in its current dimension,” Mitsotakis told journalists after the meeting.
According to sources, the two officials agreed that closing Greece’s northern borders will not resolve the refugee problem. “I reiterated to Juncker our consistent view that the closure of the northern border will not resolve the refugee problem,” he said adding that despite initial delays, there is significant progress in fulfilling Greece’s commitments towards the EU.
“But the refugee problem will not be resolved simply with the construction of hotspots. Europe must also fulfill its commitments, especially regarding the relocation of refugees from Greece to European countries,” he added.
He will also meet EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos, the president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Guy Verhofstadt, EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici, the Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis, the Vice President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen, and European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu.