The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said on Wednesday that the bloc is “determined” to protect its external borders and the territorial integrity of Greece.
Borrell, who was visiting the Kastanies crossing on the Greek-Turkish border, was accompanied on his visit there by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
The two officials walked together up to the border crossing, where the last Greek soldiers are stationed before one comes to the border with Turkey.
“Greek concerns identify with the concerns of the EU… It is clear that we are determined to protect the EU’s external borders and to strongly support Greece’s sovereignty,” Borrell said, adding that Greece’s borders are also the borders of the European Union.
For his part, Greek Foreign Minister Dendias said that Greece is “always open to dialogue but will not enter into talks under duress nor assist the legalisation of continuous violations of legality on Turkey’s part.”
He also referred to recent reports at the Greek-Turkish border of a possible attempt by Turkey to once again push migrants into Europe through Greece.
“Today, after a short interval due to the pandemic, Turkey has once again stated that its land borders with Europe are open, its coast guard is escorting boats loaded with migrants heading toward the Greek islands and it insists on undermining security, stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Dendias said.
Borrell replied that his visit to the Greek-Turkish border allowed him to better understand the situation that Greece faced and may face again in the future.
“100 staff from 20 different countries will remain here to demonstrate the EU’s support,” Borrell stressed.
The EU foreign policy chief also met with the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on Wednesday afternoon, where they worked towards “developing a common agenda to strengthen co-operation on these issues of common interest.”
“We encourage you to establish a minimum level of trust and dialogue with Turkey to stop this escalation,” Borrell said during his meeting with the PM.
“Greece is perhaps the EU member state which has the greatest interest of any good relations with Turkey, and I believe that we must work together to achieve this goal and return to a new normalcy.”
To which Mitsotakis replied: “We are always looking for a constructive relationship with our neighbors, especially Turkey.”
“But trust needs two and in order to start building trust, it is important for Turkey to stop the provocative actions, which clearly violate the sovereign rights of Greece, as well as the sovereign rights of Cyprus.”