DAVOS, Switzerland – The prime ministers of Greece and Italy warned countries in Eastern Europe on Wednesday that there was no à la carte option available within the European Union when it came to the migration crisis.
Alexis Tsipras and Paolo Gentiloni were commenting alongside the director-general of the International Organization for Migration, William Lacy Swing, during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on the theme of “Stabilizing the Mediterranean.”
“The problem in Europe now is that there are a lot of countries that believe that if the problem is not in their backyards, it’s not their problem,” Tsipras said.
“If we believe that the EU is an organization à la carte and somebody has to have only benefits and no obligations, this is a problem for our future,” warned the Greek PM.
Tsipras acknowledged that Europe had “made mistakes” in Libya, the Middle East and the Balkans in the past, and called for the establishment of a common migration and asylum policy across the continent.
He said “brave decisions” needed to be taken for the future, adding: “we have to at least decide in the EU that the EU is not à la carte.”
The bloc was not only for benefits, Tsipras said, adding that the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, needed to appreciate that “rules are rules.”
He said the migrant crisis was not only the problem of Italy, Greece and Spain, but a European problem that required the implementation of agreements.
The Italian PM backed up Tsipras on the topic of migration, declaring “we should repeat to our friends and colleagues (...) that Europe à la carte is not available.”
Gentiloni said the bloc would be missing the United Kingdom as a member state at the upcoming EU budget talks, and that it would be “difficult to fill that gap.”
He pointed out that member states need not always have the same common policies on everything, but the topic was important when it came to elections.