Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leveled harsh condemnation at European leaders on Friday after dozens of people drowned off Greek islands in separate incidents, saying that they were shedding ”crocodile tears for dead children.”
“I feel ashamed as a member of the European leadership not only for Europe’s inability to deal with this issue, but also for the level that the conversation is taking place,” Mr. Tsipras said in a public address in the Greek parliament.
“These are hypocritical and crocodile tears, which are being shed for the dead children. Dead children always incite sorrow. But what about the children that are alive, who come in thousands and are stacked on the streets? Nobody likes them,” he said.
Tsipras accused Europe of an “inability to defend its (humanitarian) values” by providing a safe alternative to the dangerous sea journeys.
The European Union has failed to come up with a common policy on how to deal with the influx of refugees crossing into Greece and eventually making their way into other European countries. Without a common policy or even any capabilities to enforce one, nations have taken it upon themselves to handle in the way their leaders and lawmakers see fit.
Hungary, once a key transit spot on the route, built razor-wire fences on its southern borders, first with Serbia and, earlier this month, with Croatia.
“I want to express … my endless grief at the dozens of deaths and the human tragedy playing out in our seas,” he told parliament. “The waves of the Aegean are not just washing up dead refugees, dead children, but (also) the very civilization of Europe.”