Kotzias: ‘Europe needs more Europe’; Gentiloni: ‘Europe should make a commitment’

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, in statements after a meeting yesterday with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni said:

“Today, Europe needs more Europe. And that is why today we welcome the initiative of my friend Paolo for the meeting of the six founding members of the EU. Europe needs more unification.

It needs more social state and democracy. Europe needs to move people more with its visions, its values and its principles. What Europe doesn’t need is attitudes and outlooks that lack a sense of the history of the European Union, of the European endeavor – those who believe that through some simple moves they will resolve complex problems. The problems the European Union is facing today are complex and composite. They don’t need simple solutions that lead to the fragmentation of Europe and a return to nationalism, in the negative sense of the term.

From this perspective, we feel that we are a part of Europe. We are agents, like others, for European principles and values, European visions. Those who will be isolated by this situation are those who think about complex problems in a simplistic manner that is not productive.

If Greece is isolated from Europe, it means there is no Europe. Greece feels very good about its history, its friends, of which Italy is one. I think those who need to worry are those who think that Europe is a courtyard where each member takes any stone it wants and throws it at others.

Paolo Gentiloni stressed: “what we want to see from the European Union on the refugee issue in the coming weeks and months [is] a strong commitment. It seems trite for one to repeat it, but I must say that for quite some time, we, the Italians, urged Europe to act on the migration issue, but without any significant effect.

In this regard, it is incredible for one to consider that the first European Summit Meeting on the migration issue was held in May 2015. A month later, 20 days later, a tragedy that took place on the northern Libyan coast led, unfortunately, to the loss of hundreds of human lives.

Migration was put on the European agenda for the first time in early June of last year. As if Europe suddenly noticed the existence of a phenomenon that was already under way and had very deep roots.

So we expect Europe to make a commitment, if only delayed, and, first, for there not to be unilateral solutions that will have irreversible repercussions for the European Union as a whole and the Schengen Treaty. Second, we expect the European Commission, in accordance with the programme, to set in motion, in March, the revision of the regulations of the Dublin Treaty. We need to avoid unilateral actions that will lead to the collapse of the Schengen Treaty, and we have to set in motion, as provided for – by next month – the revision of the regulations of the Dublin II Treaty.”

Photo: MFA