The refusal of Poland and Hungary to agree with the rest of the EU leaders prevented the European Council from reaching conclusions on migration, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters on Friday, in a press conference held immediate after the end of the European leaders’ summit.
“It was a long and difficult session at which, unfortunately, we did not arrive at conclusions due to the refusal of Poland and Hungary to agree with the rest of the member-states,” Mitsotakis said, adding that statements reflecting the position of the other 25 member-states will be made by the European Council president later.
The Greek premier also answer questions about his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Vilnius, at the NATO leaders’ summit, noting that it would be their first meeting since they were both re-elected.
“We are both at the start of our governmental term with a strong popular mandate and it will be an opportunity to redefine the framework of Greek-Turkish relations and chart a path toward rapprochement, without, of course, Greece backing down from the red lines we have spoken about publicly many times,” he said.
On migration, Mitsotakis said that, despite the disagreements, “there is univeral agreement on the need to guard the external borders. There was agreement on the level of ministers on the Migration and Asylum Pact, but Poland and Hungary disagreed today.”
Mitsotakis also spoke of “the need to cooperate with the countries of North Africa and crush the trafficker networks so that vulnerable people do not board unfit boats.”
“We must find ways to deter traffickers from putting people into boats,” he said, while noting that “it is a Greek success that far fewer boats depart from Turkey…because they know that the chances they will reach their final destination are limited.”