FLORENCE – With their countries overrun by illegal immigrants seeking asylum or routes to other European Union countries, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi met to discuss ways to combat the incursion.
The leaders have complained that the EU doesn’t do enough to help them, with immigrants using both countries as the southernmost entry point, especially those using rickety boats from Africa or the Mideast, many of which have sank with great loss of life.
Greek sources told Kathimerini that Samaras and Renzi were in agreement during their 2.5-hour meeting that the EU should provide more funding and logistical help to their two countries.
There were also discussions about the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which will transport natural gas from the Caspian Sea via Greece, Albania and Italy to other Western European countries, and common investment projects in the future.
Greece hasn’t yet publicly backed Renzi in his efforts to convince Eurozone leaders that there should be a letup in fiscal targets, fearing a backlash from its international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB.)
Samaras had tried to work with Renzi’s predecessor Enrico Letta to form an alliance of southern EU members so they can lobby on certain issues, such as immigration and regional funding.
There were no comments after the meeting. Renzi simply told journalists that the talks had gone “very well,” according to Italian news agency ANSA.