ATHENS, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 4th August, 2016) - Greece early in September will host a summit of southern EU countries, an official said, in an apparent search for common ground on economy and migration woes. "We are seeking dialogue with states that are facing similar problems (to Greece)," a government source told AFP. "The aim is to have a meeting of the heads of southern eurozone countries." "It's too early to say if a common platform will emerge," the official said, adding that the meeting would likely be held on September 9.
The leaders of Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain will be invited, he said. Greece is struggling to emerge from a six-year economic crisis with European funds, and has more recently called for additional assistance to deal with a migration surge from neighbouring Turkey. Leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has repeatedly called for a more growth-oriented, less austerity-fuelled response to European fiscal shortfalls.
And Athens says that fellow European states are not giving sufficient assistance with the refugee crisis. Brussels in February welcomed the shutdown of Balkan borders that has trapped over 57,000 refugees and migrants in Greece. And despite EU promises, only a few thousand refugees have been allowed to relocate to other European states. Greece is also wary of tension between the EU and Turkey that could scupper a March deal that has drastically limited the migration flow to its islands.
Also on September 8-9, Athens will host a conference of foreign ministers from several European Union, Arab and northern African states on the island of Rhodes. "It will be a meeting on security and stability," a ministry source said. Those invited include Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, the source said.