Remarks by President Charles Michel following his visit to the Greek Turkish border

I would like to thank you for this occasion to visit the Greek borders because it is important in such a situation not to stay in Brussels, but to be present on the ground and to have the best possible understanding about what is happening and what happened the last days here in Greece.

I would also like to express our support for everything you did with your security services, with your team, and with your government the last days. There is one very important point: the Greek borders are the European borders. What you are doing is important for Greece and it’s crucial as well for the future of the European Union.  Our presence together here in your country today is a very strong message that we would like to send to the Greek people, to European citizens and to the rest of the world. We are together because we consider that border protection is essential. And of course, it’s crucial to act in a proportionate manner and to show respect for human dignity and to show respect for international law.

We trust you and we trust your government because we know even if the task is very difficult, even if the task is very complex, that it is very important as Europeans to protect our borders and at the same time to show respect for the international law and for human rights. You mentioned many important points. Indeed, we have an agreement with Turkey [EU-Turkey Statement] on migration and indeed is very important to implement this agreement. That’s why at European level, we will continue to go into the implementation of this agreement.  But we expect from the Turkish side that they will also respect what they promised in the framework of this agreement.

On Syria, it’s important to make all possible efforts in order to give more chance, more possibilities for a political solution, for a diplomatic solution. And it’s why we are also supporting all the efforts made by the United Nations in order to give more possibilities, in order to make more progress. This is a tragedy, a tragedy for many people and it is important to be committed in order to give more hope and more positive perspective in the future.

Today, High Representative Borell is in Ankara in order to express our European message, to express a strong European message. On Wednesday, we will have in Brussels a meeting with the European ministers of home affairs. On Friday, we have in Croatia a meeting with the ministers of foreign affairs. It means that we are acting, we are united, we are together. And in the next days, in the next weeks, we will continue to work together with you, with your government, with all the European institutions, to show that you are able to protect our borders, that you are able to show unity when we need to be strong and to be united. We are able to show that it is possible. Thank you.