“The answer to refugee flows cannot be an ’emergency’ answer. We must realize that refugee flows will occupy Europe in the long-term and we must therefore work on the issue of causes,” Italian Foreign Minister Paolos Gentiloni told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Thursday, in an exclusive statement on the sidelines of the Conference on Security and Stability in Rhodes. “Italy has proposed a plan. Let us hope that the European Union launches this as soon as possible,” he added.
Gentiloni also noted that every European country had to share in the commitment for the reception of refugees and “not raise a small wall at its borders.” Countries such as Greece and Italy, that were now first reception countries, should not see the rest of Europe stand apart, as though the issue concerned only one or two countries, he added.
“Hospitality must be joint and investment surrounding the causes of this refugee crisis must be much more serious. This is what we will ask for at the summit in Bratislava this month,” Gentiloni said. Asked about the initiative undertaken by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in Rhodes, the Italian minister said it was important to have a meeting focusing on the positive aspects of the Mediterranean, not just its problems.
“It is a very important idea that today the Mediterranean is at the center of our crises and this is natural. It is important to think on the basis of the opportunities there are in the Mediterranean, for dialogue and cooperation, between countries of different regions. I therefore greatly appreciate the fact that this idea is behind this conference. To not look only at the wars and crises but to also look at the opportunities for cooperation between European countries, certain Arab countries and Mediterranean countries generally,” said Gentiloni.