FM Nikos Kotzias: The EU must meet its commitments on the refugee issue

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Monday attended the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg. The Council’s talks focused on the refugee crisis.

As Mr Kotzias said: “The focus of our discussion today was the refugee issue, and we talked in particular about the issues involved in dealing with refuge flows coming to Europe from the central Mediterranean – especially from Libya.
We concluded that we need to move ahead to the adoption and implementation of a number of measures for stepping up operation SOPHIA, but we made it clear to everyone that this cannot be extended to the east without guarantees to Greece, and we explained our conditions and requirements.We also reminded the Commission and the member states that a number of commitments the European Union has made – such as the relocation of 160,000 refugees and settlement of 50,000 refugees on the Western Balkan route, funding for Greece, which has spent almost €2 billion on this situation – have not been met, just as many of the aspects of the decisions of October 25th have not been implemented. As a result, they need to be implemented. We also talked about EU-Turkey relations and the way to implement the two sides’ joint decisions.”

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is carrying out a two-day visit to Paris. On Tuesday he will have a one-on-one meeting, talks and a working dinner with the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Harlem Désir.
On Wednesday, April 20th he will meet at the French Foreign Ministry (Quai d’Orsay) with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. Following their talks, the two Ministers will make statements to the news media.

While in Paris, Mr. Kotzias will also meet with academics and members of think tanks.

SOURCE: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece
PHOTO: The European Union – From left to right: Mr Jean-Marc AYRAULT, French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development; Mr Nikolaos KOTZIAS, Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr Ioannis KASOULIDES, Cyprus Minister for Foreign Affairs. (Luxembourg 18/04/2016)