Austria has defended holding a refugee summit with West Balkan states without inviting Greece. Athens,…
Greece’s Foreign Ministry has recalled its ambassador from Austria for consultations. The move has come amid an ongoing row between the two countries over the handling of Europe’s refugee crisis.
Greek and Austrian flags
Athens announced it has asked its ambassador in Vienna to return to Greece on Thursday, after Austria excluded it from a Balkan state meeting on managing migrant flows.
The ambassador’s recall was to “safeguard friendly relations between the states and peoples of Greece and Austria,” Greece’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry said it was “clear that the big problems of the European Union cannot be dealt with, with thoughts, mentalities and extra-institutional initiatives that have their roots in the 19th century.”
Ten Balkan states met in Austria on Wednesday and agreed to coordinate efforts to limit the migration flow along their countries. Greece, which has been managing the fall-out from a “bottleneck” of refugees on the Balkan route, was not invited to the conference.
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Greece threatens to block EU refugee decisions
“Unilateral initiatives to solve the refugee [crisis] and violations of international and European laws by EU member states is a practice which would undermine the very foundations of European unification,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.
“Responsibility for dealing with the migration and refugee crisis cannot burden one country,” it added.
28 EU interior ministers met in Brussels on Thursday to assess the rapidly deteriorating refugee situation. Greece already threatened to block EU refugee decisions if other EU states block relocation and resettlement quotas.
Greece’s close proximity to Turkey has made it the main point of entry for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war, violence, and poverty in their home countries.