Greek PM Mitsotakis: If the EU Wants to Protect Citizens, It Must Protect Its Borders

Αssociated Press

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, reviews Greek soldiers guard at the Kipoi border gate, Evros region, at the Greek-Turkish border on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)

KASTANIES, Greece - Europe must protect its borders if it wants to protect EU citizens, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said following a visit of the border area of Kastanies on Tuesday in the company of EU's top institution heads.

Speaking of the situation at the borders with Turkey, the Greek premier said, "If Europe wants to protect citizens, it must be in a position to protect the borders - what we, along with Italy, Spain and other countries lying at the external borders of the EU are doing. At the same time, we cannot do this on our own. The purpose of creating Frontex was to share the burden of border protection." He referred to the EU's border agency.

He also pointed out that the time elapsed from the last migration crisis was not used wisely to find a way of managing the issue. "The time to do so has come - we must be in a position to show we are working effectively on the issue," he added.

The Greek premier spoke of burden sharing between EU member states, reiterating that "we can't have countries in the EU pushing the burden of managing external borders onto countries that cannot help lying geographically where they do, and at the same time assume no responsibility in anything related to managing the problem."