A serious incident took place during the joint press conference held by the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, at the Maximos Mansion.

It all started when a Dutch journalist was called on to pose a question and, speaking in English, launched an unprecedented attack on Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Her exact words were: “I have a question for both of you. Prime Minister Mitsotakis, when, at last, will you stop lying? Lying about pushbacks, lying about what’s happening with the refugees in Greece; please do not insult mine, neither the intelligence of all the journalists in the world. There has been overwhelming evidence and you keep denying and lying. This is, like, narcissistic abuse. Why are you not honest? Why don’t you say: “Brussels left us alone, we waited for six years, nobody did anything, we need to relocate, they don’t do it, now I have my say and, yes, I do cruel, barbarian pushbacks”. Why did you stop knocking on Brussels’ door for relocation?”

Mitsotakis, obviously frustrated, responded to the journalist: “I understand that in the Netherlands you have a culture of asking direct questions to politicians, which I very much respect. What I will not accept is that, in this office, you will insult me, or the Greek people, with accusations and expressions that are not supported by material facts, when this country has been dealing with a migration crisis of unprecedented intensity, has been saving hundreds – if not thousands – of people at sea. We just rescued 250 people in danger of drowning south of Crete, we are doing this every single day, rescuing people at sea, while, at the same time, we are intercepting boats that come from Turkey, as we have the right to do in accordance with European regulations and waiting for the Turkish Coast Guard to come and pick them up to return them to Turkey.

So, rather than putting the blame on Greece, you should put the blame on those who have been instrumentalizing migration systematically, pushing people into a desperate situation from a safe country – because I need to remind you that people who are in Turkey are not in danger […] and you should put the blame on others and not us. We have a tough, but fair, policy on migration, we have processed and given the right to protection to 50,000 people in Greece, including tens of thousands of Afghans […]”