‘The EU’s top official has today vowed to ‘hold the line’ in support of Greece as the country revealed it had stopped 24,000 people from entering the bloc after Turkey threw open its borders.
Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would provide ‘all the support needed’ to defend the ‘Greek external border, which is also the European border’.
‘Those who seek to test Europe’s unity will be disappointed. We will hold the line and our unity will prevail,’ the European Commission president said.
Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has meanwhile accused Turkey of ‘blackmail’ and launching an ‘attack’ on the EU using migrants as leverage.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan tore up a deal to guard Europe’s borders last Friday in an effort to pressure Western leaders over the conflict in Syria.
Greek border guards said some 24,000 people were stopped trying to cross the border from Turkey between Saturday night and Monday, with tear gas fired to keep the crowds back.
On Tuesday the crowds had largely moved away from official crossing points and were trying to get through by wading or sailing across the Evros/Maritsa river, which runs the entire length of the border. ‘