Austria last week announced that it would hold a meeting of the various stakeholder states on the Balkan migrant route to discuss the evolving crisis. The meeting, taking place today, was scheduled to directly precede an all-EU ministerial-level meeting, taking place tomorrow.
Greece, however, was not invited to the Balkan confab. The Greeks were none too pleased:
Greece’s foreign ministry said that being left out meant that the conference was “an attempt to take decisions in Greece’s absence that directly affect Greece and Greek borders.”
Greece has also accused Austria of undermining efforts to reach a joint European response to the migration crisis by siding with hardline EU members who refuse to take any refugees.
Vienna, however, is unrepentant:
“These meetings (of western Balkan states) take place within a format and with fixed participants,” interior ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck told AFP.
“A summary of the meeting will be provided at talks between (EU) interior and justice ministers on Thursday in Brussels,” he said.
The bigger ministerial meeting tomorrow should make for some compelling reality-TV-like drama as these tensions play out in real time. EU leaders, however, have already lost all hope that the meeting will be at all substantive, if leaks like these are to be believed:
While EU interior ministers meet Thursday in Brussels to improve the implementation of an existing policy that’s widely considered a failure, leading EU officials, including the presidents of the European Commission and Parliament and leaders of the Parliament’s two main political groups, who make up the so-called G5 group, will gather Monday to discuss alternatives.
That’s sure to fix things: another high-level EU meeting. This time they’re sure to sort things out.