EU-Turkey deal cut deaths in Aegean, says Tsipras

Published 06.04.2017 00:46

The EU-Turkish deal is the reason why refugee flows have been minimized and deaths in the Aegean are almost nonexistent, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said yesterday.

Tsipras was talking after meeting European Council President Donald Tusk.

"The deal is hard but necessary," Tsipras added, talking to the media after the two leaders met in Athens to discuss the migration and economic crises.

The EU is confident that Syrian refugees can be returned to Turkey, Tusk told reporters. "Turkey has a track record in protecting refugees," he said, describing Greece as being on the frontline of the refugee crisis. European efforts must be fast-tracked, Tusk added.

On the financial front, Tsipras said the Greek government would not tolerate any more games against its people.

"Every time we are close to an agreement with the institutions, someone shows up with additional demands and violates those already agreed," he claimed.

Tusk, however, said: "No one is interested in punishing Greece."

The European Council President said the crisis alone was punishment enough. "No one has suffered more than the Greek people during the crisis," Tusk added. Tusk's visit comes two days ahead of a European finance ministers' meeting in Malta to discuss the second Greek bailout review.

Waiting for the outcome, Tsipras asked for an emergency summit if a solution was not found at the Eurogroup meeting.

"This endless negotiation must come to an end," said Tsipras, while Tusk added that "our finance ministers should do the work to achieve an agreement."

In the end, both leaders agreed that Greece and its lenders were "very close to an agreement."

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