Ministry responds to Cameron statements

Responding to comments by British Prime Minister David Cameron, according to which Britain would consider blocking would-be migrants from Greece in the unlikely event of the country leaving the eurozone, the Foreign Ministry lodged a complaint with the British Embassy in Athens, noting that Cameron’s comments could “create the wrong impressions” and “hamper efforts to strengthen a climate of trust” in Europe.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after Cameron made his comments, the ministry issued a statement, saying that its general secretary, Ioannis-Alexios Zepos, had asked the British ambassador to Greece, David Landsman, for a meeting. The aim, the ministry said, was “to stress to him that these remarks could create the wrong impressions, hampering efforts to strengthen a climate of trust which is vital for combating the economic crisis in Europe.”

Socialist PASOK, one of three parties in the governing coalition, also issued a statement, accusing the British premier of “insulting” Greece, and called on Cameron to either deny or “rephrase” his comments. “Is the UK, which is not a member of the euro, so concerned about the unity and stability of the eurozone that it is threatening policing measures which violate all the principles, fundamental freedoms and rules of European law?” the statement said. It also suggested that “instead of making insulting comments, which create an artificial nervousness in the markets,” Cameron should focus on “providing further explanation about how the LIBOR was manipulated” and on “attending to his country’s own fiscal issues,” noting that Britain insists on being regarded as the financial center of the eurozone despite not being a member of the bloc.

Cameron made his comments on Tuesday afternoon during a parliamentary committee session and in response to speculation in Britain about the possibility of an influx of would-be migrants from debt-wracked eurozone countries such as Greece and Spain.

“The legal position is that if there are extraordinary stresses and strains it is possible to take action to restrict migratory flows, but obviously we hope that doesn’t happen,” Cameron was quoted as saying. 

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