Czech FM cools rhetoric by inviting Greek counterpart Kotzias to Prague

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek invited Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias to visit Prague as soon as possible and vowed to return the visit on Wednesday, in an effort to restore relations between the two countries which soured after the Czech President said his country will join the Eurozone when Greece leaves it.

Czech FM cools rhetoric by inviting Greek counterpart Kotzias to Prague

The comment made in to Slovak news agency prompted the Greek foreign ministry to order the immediate return of the country’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Panagiotis Sarris, to Athens for consultations. The remark made by President Miloš Zeman was considered by Athens as the last straw is a series of hostile statements towards Greece which started last summer and continued until last week with no sign of abating and despite the moderate response by the ministry’s spokesman, Konstantinos Koutras.

Speaking to Kotzias on the phone, Zaorálek said he regretted the statements made by the President noting that they don’t reflect those of the Czech government, which believes Greece is neither responsible for the economic or the refugee crisis. The Czech foreign minister also asked Kotzias to allow the Greek ambassador to return to Prague.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka also echoed the mood in statements made on Tuesday, as he criticized the President for his comments saying he cannot say who will be in the Eurozone and who will not, considering that the Czech Republic is not a member of the monetary union.

“I’m not in favour of kicking the weakest country,” he said, adding that Greece was the “favourite black sheep” during the economic crisis and is not the “favourite black sheep” during the refugee crisis. “This doesn’t mean it [Greece] has done everything perfectly. I just want to note that Greece wasn’t the cause of the financial crisis; it was the greed of the financial markets. And it wasn’t Greece that caused the war in Syria,” he noted.

Sobotka also said that when his country joins the Eurozone, it may then state its opinion clearly to other member-states. “In the discussion with Greece we must clearly mention the Greek mistakes, such as on the issue of guarding the borders of the Schengen area,” he added.

 

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