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Europe Seeks New Vision | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Athens-EU member states have been severely damaged by the international financial crisis that occurred in 2008 and from the flow of refugees as a result of the Syrian civil war. This situation pushed Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras to call for a “new vision for Europe.”

Leaders from southern European countries met in Athens on Friday in a summit that gathered prime ministers and representatives from France, Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, and Portugal. Tsipras considered that the cohesion of the European Union is a joint goal among its member states, and that Europe has to make more efforts to overcome the current problems it faces.

Southern Europe leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, have sought to reach a joint plan to relieve the European budget crisis and limit the pressure of migration.

This meeting was held a week before the Bratislava Summit that will contribute positively to the cohesion of the European Union and the Eurozone and overcome the deadlock in the continent. The meeting, known as EU MED Summit 2016, aimed at discussing joint problems and the future of Europe, but it never intended to create a front against the union’s member states in the north, according to sources in Athens.

Commenting on the meeting, Hollande said the purpose of this meeting is to protect borders, enhance growth, confront migration, and at the same time develop policies and cooperate in combating terrorism.

He added that the countries of northern Europe suffer from economic problems that compel them to prioritize growth, although France respects some restrictions particularly when it comes to deficit reduction. The French President also stressed the combat of terrorism after security forces have recently succeeded in thwarting an attack in Paris.

Wolfgang Schäuble, the German minister of finance who was attending the meeting of EU finance ministers in Bratislava, considered that the meeting in Athens is a gathering of parties and refused to make more comments. He said that meetings of communist leaders often come out with no smart results.