FM Nikos Kotzias expresses concern on the meeting in Vienna

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias expressed his concern regarding the decision of the Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs of Austria and the Western Balkan countries to hold a meeting on the refugee crisis, on February 24th in Vienna .

Minister Kotzias stated: “Tomorrow’s meeting in Vienna, of the Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministers of Austria and the countries of the Western Balkans, is yet another extra-institutional initiative that violates the letter and spirit of the Treaties of the European Union and International Law on refugees.

Our country’s not being invited to this meeting is perceived as an unfriendly action, as it creates the impression that certain parties, in our absence, want to set in motion decisions that concern us directly. Moreover, initiatives for the meeting of police directors of Schengen area member states with police officials of the countries of the Western Balkans – just hours after the conclusion of the European Council meeting – and decisions that move in a completely opposite direction to the decisions of the European leaders point to a serious democratic deficit. Police directors cannot cancel out the decisions of elected European leaders. These actions conflict with the European culture of consultation and cooperation among all of the member states and they will prove to be ineffective, given that they are attempting to deal with the problem in a fragmentary manner and through rationales of burying one’s head in the sand.

Greece is making huge efforts to deal with a refugee and humanitarian crisis, respecting European values and the provisions of international law. It will continue to be guided on its course by the cohesion and vision of the European Union, persisting is stressing to all sides the need to combat the causes of the crisis and not those suffering from it”.

The Foreign Ministry’s Political Director, Ambassador Petros Mavroeidis had previously delivered a demarche to the Austrian Ambassador in Athens, Andrea Ikić-Böhm,  regarding the conference.

PHOTO: Greek MFA flickr