Greek PM Tsipras to Ask Opposition Leaders’ Consensus on Managing Refugee Issue

tsipras-paulopoulos_1Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will ask opposition leaders for consensus on the refugee issue in a meeting on Friday that will be chaired by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Tsipras has a five-point framework on tackling the refugee crisis. His proposal will be tabled to the Cabinet on Thursday for discussion and on Friday the prime minister will take it for consultation with party leaders.

On Tuesday, government spokesperson Olga Gerovasili outlined the five points of dealing with the refugee crisis, namely a commitment of European Union member states to a fair and proportionate distribution of the refugee burden, accelerating refugee resettlement, the establishment of a Turkey resettlement scheme in Turkey as soon as possible, a stop to unilateral actions, and commitment for immediate humanitarian aid to Greece.

The intention of the government, as Tsipras claimed in a television interview on Monday, is not to impose its views on other party leaders or ask for a blank check on dealing with refugees. Tsipras’ intention is to have the maximum possible consensus among political leaders.

Gerovasili said that Friday’s meeting is an invitation to dialogue. “When we say dialogue, we mean genuine dialogue and a fruitful exchange of views. The prime minister does not intend to simply communicate his decisions to the party leaders. That wouldn’t be useful dialogue. There would be points where there is convergence, and points where there would be disagreements,” she said.

The meeting will take place ahead of the emergency European Union summit on March 7 where the refugee issue will be discussed. According to government sources, Greece will not veto EU decisions, as it was initially discussed. Instead, the Greek side will lower the tones and go for a more diplomatic approach.