Athens, December 30, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Manfred Weber’s statements have brought a “storm” of reactions, with government sources emphasising that the answer to the leader of the Parliamentary Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) has already been given by the Bavarian Foreign Minister.
After a visit to Lesvos the Bavarian Foreign Minister stated that Greece and the Greek authorities are faced with seriousness and responsibility of their duty to refugees.
Weber’s statements on the temporary exit of Greece from the Schengen Agreement caused the ire of other Greek politicians as well, who condemned the bringing up of this issue to the fore.
“Provocative and offensive” called the statements the spokeswoman of the Independent Greeks Marina Chrysovelonis, who spoke of “bullying” attempt by the leader of the PG of the European People’s Party (EPP). In fact, she estimated that the aim of Weber was none other than to “for Berlin and Brussels to impose their positions on how Frontex will operate from now on to guarding the borders”.
Chrysovelonis turned her “fire” and against the New Democracy, which accused of turning a blind eye and not reacting to this issue.
Although ND did not formally condemn Weber’s statements, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Maria Spyrakis and George Koumoutsakos have already taken position on the issue. The candidate for the leadership of the New Democracy Kyriakos Mitsotakis described as “unacceptable” the statements made by Weber and stressed that Greece’s position within Schengen is nonnegotiable.
He stressed that such statements do not help the constructive resolution of the immigration problem and in no way represent the majority of the EPP. “The SYRIZA – ANEL government’s failure to adequately safeguard national and European borders is given. For this reason, Greece has agreed with the involvement of Frontex. In any case, the role of the EPP as an architect of the Schengen Treaty, but also as the guardian of European integration, is to develop policies that will keep the EU united and not firing threats that disrupt the trust between its members. I congratulate ND MEPs for their immediate response”, Mitsotakis said.
A similar position was also expressed by the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs of New Democracy Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who in a statement said that no one can challenge the position of Greece in the Treaty nor the fact that its geopolitical position makes it a border and by choice it is a bastion of the EU in the “extremely unstable and challenging area of Eastern Mediterranean”.
“We are determined to act effectively. This also applies to the tackling of the great challenge, which is the refugee-immigration issue”, Koumoutsakos said, not failing to emphasise that the battle is given on two fronts, the economic and the refugee.
“We will continue to point out errors and omissions. We will continue at the same time, to protect the stay of our country in the Schengen treaty. These things must be recognised by all”, he said.
Weber’s statements also caused the reaction of the ND MEP Maria Spyrakis. “I disagree with the statement of Manfred Weber on Schengen. It is the obligation of all countries to respect the rules on border surveillance. Any discussion on the country exiting the Schengen undermines the achievement of EU citizens to free movement”, said the ND MEP.