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Greece isolated from Europe because of the refugee wave

23 January 2016 / 14:01:18  GRReporter
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Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz qualified Vienna's decision to limit by one-third the number of asylum seekers that his country will let in this year as a "warning alarm" for Europe. "I believe that there will be a European solution in the long run," he said, but until then "we have to defend ourselves."


Sebastian Kurz

The Austrian minister believes that his country's decision will enjoy a positive response. "It will increase the pressure on Europe to find a common solution," he added. "A great deal of countries are just transit ones. For example, that situation was convenient for Greece. This is why I'm not surprised we haven't been able to find a European solution. "The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's reporter, who took the interview, wasn't curious enough to enquire whether the daily retrieval of dead children's bodies from the Aegean waters featured in the Austrian understanding of convenience. "Only when these countries feel really affected for having become a final destination, will they have an interest in a common European arrangement" said Kurtz, thus practically foreshadowing the closure of the northern Greek border organised with Austrian assistance. As a matter of fact, Austria itself is a transit country, having only adopted 90,000 asylum seekers last year, against the 1.1 million seeking asylum in the most desirable country, Germany.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor is obviously on the same wave: yesterday, he said that the fence along the Greek-Macedonian border should be extended to cover the Greek-Bulgarian border as well, and thus stem the flow of migrants into northern Europe. "The first resolute message we must now put across, is that we cannot welcome all refugees in Europe," added French Prime Minister Manuel Valls at Davos. He also pointed out that Germany needs to receive help.

After his meetings in Berlin yesterday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the upcoming peace talks on Syria are key to stemming the refugee flows. Davutoglu added that the €3 billion pledged by the EU to Ankara to deal with refugees "might not suffice". For his part, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble agreed that there is a need for more generous funding to the countries standing on the front line in terms of receiving refugees. In an interview for Spiegel from Davos, Schaeuble said: "If the Schengen area falls apart, Europe is in great danger: both political and financial. Therefore, we Europeans should ASAP invest billions in Turkey, Libya, Jordan and other countries in the region. Each country should chip in as much as it can."

Also from Davos, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will ask the UN to increase the funds earmarked to combat refugee crises by 30% this year.

Tags: Sebastian Kurz Foreign Minister of Austria the refugee question closure of borders Viktor Orban Ahmet Davutoglu Wolfgang Schaeuble
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