President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday received European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos at the presidential mansion in Athens, for a briefing on migration-related issues.
“Europe is open to dialogue. It wants to cooperate with the Member States. But all sides must understand that solidarity cannot be given ‘a la carte’,” the Commissioner said. He was commenting on European court decisions that rejected the arguments of countries, such as Hungary and Slovakia, which had challenged the European Council’s decision for the relocation of refugees.
“The message that we send is that we are open to discuss this with these countries in the month that remains so that the process of imposing sanctions does not continue. We do not want that,” Avramopoulos added.
The Commissioner then briefed the president on a programme to support refugees in collaboration with local communities, costing about 200 million euros. In addition to helping refugees, he noted, it also helped to highlight and promote the humanism and culture of Greeks, who opened their hearts and doors wide to refugees within their communities.
Pavlopoulos praised Avramopoulos and his colleagues, saying their actions “demonstrated what Europe should be,” and noting that precisely this defence of its culture was where Europe’s strength lay.
He also pointed to the work done by Avramopoulos and the Cypriot Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides in order to help restore earthquake-stricken traditional settlements.