Athens, Greece – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed that “Turkey has to undertake the necessary steps to reduce the tensions” in the East Mediterranean, according to a joint statement issued on Thursday.
Published following a videoconference held instead of a scheduled meeting in Athens due to coronavirus restrictions, the statement said that two leaders discussed ongoing tension between Turkey and EU member-states Greece and Cyprus, “especially in light of the latest disturbing developments related to Varosha.”
“They expressed their resolve to act on the basis of the European Council Conclusions of 2 October, reiterating that Turkey has to undertake the necessary steps to reduce the tensions in the region, and to engage in a constructive dialogue with Greece, Cyprus and the EU,” the statement said.
Mitsotakis and von der Leyen also discussed the EU’s new migration pact, with the Greek prime minister stressing the need for the agreement “to adequately address the pressures imposed to front line states.”
They “agreed that Europe needs a predictable, fair and resilient migration management system, with the right balance between responsibility sharing and solidarity, and fully protecting European values and fundamental rights including the right to asylum.”
Greece and the commission also reiterated their commitment to support the work of the task Force created by the commission to put in place a joint pilot to manage migration and asylum processes, including by setting up appropriate new facilities on Lesvos, where thousands of refugees and migrants have been left in limbo by last month’s destruction of the Moria camp.