“The instability that Turkey is causing in the region, as it did last year, either by instrumentalizing illegal immigrants in Evros or by the rest of its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, should not be tolerated”, stressed Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis from Alpbach, Austria, where he participated in a discussion at the European Forum Alpbach 2021 entitled: “Geopolitics and the Position of Europe”.
In particular, Mr. Varvitsiotis pointed out that, on the one hand, Turkey is a large market for European products, which has benefited from the Customs Union and European investment, however on the other hand it is a country that in all foreign policy issues is at odds with the positions and interests of the European Union. “In Libya, in Syria, in Nagorno-Karabakh, in Somalia, in the Gulf, on all fronts, Turkey is on the opposite side of the Union,” he noted, adding that the EU must find a way to address this dilemma.
Commenting on the recent developments in Afghanistan, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that we are entering into a new phase and may face a new wave of migration, for which we should be adequately prepared, unlike what happened in 2015. “We have come to realize how divisive the immigration issue is for member states and European societies, and we need to find a common way to meet this challenge”, he said.
Finally, Mr. Varvitsiotis underlined that the diplomatic credibility of the European Union should build on effective political, economic and strategic coordination, referring to the promotion of European “strategic autonomy”, especially in the field of the defense industry. After referring to the dialogue on EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, he concluded that the European Union should invest more in the Mediterranean Region, as that is where all the challenges it faces arise from, but also where it has multiple benefits to reap.