Juncker: The two Greek soldiers detained in Turkey must be released

“Greece is a great nation to which the Europeans owe a great deal. Greece is one of the pillars of stability in the Balkans,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday, during his speech at a special session of parliament.

Juncker added that “we cannot leave Greece to deal with the issue of migration on its own,” while adding that “the two Greek soldiers detained in Turkey must be released.”

“We must not again experience the tragic events that prevailed in the Balkans in the 1990s. Especially differences at the borders must be resolved before there is any accession. When the Commission proposes the start of the accession negotiations for Albania and FYROM, this does not mean that a date for accession has been given or even raised. We must not rely on unrealistic announcements. All will be judged using objective and specific criteria based on their values. In the case of Skopje, I must underlined the urgency of finding a solution to the problem”.

On migration flows, Juncker underlined that “we can’t leave Greece to handle the issue on its own. There are countries in the EU that do not care about the issue, who believe it does not concern them. However, they have an obligation to show solidarity toward Greece and offer their assistance. Commissioner Avramopoulos’ contribution in this area was also very important,” noted Juncker on Thursday.

“Greece is first in the absorption of the Juncker programme,” the European Commission President said, adding: “A new era for Greece is starting next August.”