Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis put the migration crisis at the forefront while speaking in a joint press conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz after their Tuesday meeting in Vienna and thanked him for the country’s migration aid to Greece.
“The personnel and technical means that you offered will help to prevent any attempt to enter the border from Turkey,” Mitsotakis said about Austrian humanitarian aid to migrants, part of European assistance.
He also said that the tension at the Evros region needs to de-escalate. Arrivals of migrants from Turkey by sea have dropped to zero these past few days, Mitsotakis noted, exclaiming, “I hope it continues, because it will be proof that Turkey complies.”
Greece and Europe insist on cooperating with the neighboring country, but in terms of equity and not blackmail, the prime minister stressed, adding that Turkey is obliged to contain migration flows under the EU-Turkey joint statement.
Kurz thanked Mitsotakis for his “efforts to make Greece attractive for investments,” and said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “abuses refugees and migrants who have lived in Turkey for years, exploits them and uses them as a weapon” against the EU. “I am grateful that Greece and the Greek government are protecting the Greek and European borders,” he emphasized.
On Greek-Austrian economic relations, Mitsotakis said “we can do more,” and cited tourism. “Over 500,000 Austrians visit our country in both winter and summer,” he noted.
He also referred to the historical ties between Greece and Austria. “The relations of our countries go back centuries,” he said, and in his final comment highlighted that the ambition of both leaders, who are also members of the European People’s Party, “is to face the future confidently, by seizing opportunities.”