Monday

18th Dec 2017

Greek PM threatens to block EU decisions

  • Tsipras (r) warns he will block decisions at the next EU summit if Greece is left alone to deal with the migration crisis (Photo: consillium.europa.eu)

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said he will block EU decisions at the next summit if Greece is left alone to deal with the migration crisis.

He told parliament on Wednesday (24 February) he would not let Greece be turned into a "warehouse of souls".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Greece will no longer agree to any deal if the burdens and responsibilities are not shared proportionally," he said.

Greece was not invited to a meeting on Wednesday in which Austria and other countries along the Western Balkan migration route agreed to tighten border controls.

Austria last week announced a daily cap on the numbers of people allowed to apply for asylum or travel through to apply elsewhere, prompting some Balkan countries to introduce restrictions.

As a result, migrants have been getting stranded in Greece, the main entry point into Europe.

Tsipras said Austria's behaviour was "unacceptable".

He said it was "shameful" that some countries were refusing to implement joint EU agreements and were instead acting unilaterally.

Greece faces 'chaos'

Tsipras also said he would consult other parties to come to a joint stance ahead of the next EU summit focused on migration on 7 March.

"We need a larger political consensus on this issue," he told MPs, adding: "We will not allow our country to turn into a warehouse of souls, with Europe continuing to function as if nothing is happening."

Tsipras made a similar threat at a summit in February to refuse his support for any agreement unless others pledge to keep borders open.

"We will not tolerate that a number of countries will be building fences and walls at the borders without accepting even a single refugee," Tsipras said, adding that his country would demand the mandatory participation of EU countries in the relocation of refugees.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban announced on Wednesday that he would hold a referendum on mandatory relocation, which his government opposes.

A day earlier, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi warned that border restrictions along the Balkan route go against international and European rules.

“We are worried that these closings are happening and that there are no corresponding openings through relocation and resettlement,” Grandi said, adding that there was a risk of “chaos and confusion” in Greece.

’We want to go’

Earlier on Wednesday Tsipras spoke to German chancellor Angela Merkel on the phone and expressed anger over some EU countries failing to stick to common solutions.

They agreed to intensify efforts to implement EU decisions, and begin Nato operations in the Aegean Sea immediately to counter smuggling networks.

Meanwhile in Greece migrants with young children blocked a Greek motorway on Wednesday along the route to Macedonia, demanding to be allowed to travel further north.

Families chanted "we want to go" after police stopped their convoy at Tempe in central Greece, Reuters reported.

Hundreds are camping out at petrol stations and motels along the route from Athens to Macedonia, where authorities are letting 100 people through at a time.

EU upset by Austria's asylum 'provocation'

The decision to cap the number of asylum seekers and wave them on to neighbouring countries is a blow to Germany and has been deemed unlawful by the EU Commission.

EU at breaking point over migration crisis

EU divisions over the migrant crisis reached a new low on Thursday, with Greece saying that it won’t become “Europe’s Lebanon” and accusing Austria of “19th century attitudes.”

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states