ATHENS, April 11, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Mnister Alexis Tsipras (R) meets with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, April 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
By Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa signed a declaration here Monday, calling for an end to austerity policies and more solidarity across the continent in dealing with the refugee crisis.
It was the first time the two southern European countries, which have been severely affected by the financial crisis, signed such a joint declaration aiming to strengthen bilateral cooperation, Greek national broadcaster ERT and local analysts noted.
Costa's one-day official visit to Athens was seen by the Greek government as a strong signal of support to Greece at a critical time for the debt-laden country, troubled with a mounting refugee problem.
While Greece's economic team on Monday was expected to wrap up talks with international lenders' envoys on the review of the bailout program so as to see more aid released to Athens, Greece was at the forefront of the culminating refugee crisis.
In the joint declaration, entitled "Against Austerity, for a democratic and progressive Europe with social justice and cohesion," the two governments stressed the need for cooperation on the European refugee policy on the basis of solidarity and expressed their opposition to unilateral actions and closed borders, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
Concerning the management of the financial crisis, Greece and Portugal argued the eurozone crisis was the result of an asymmetrical process of European integration, as well as the absence of effective tools to tackle it.
For the two countries, policies imposed in recent years by creditors based solely on austerity were ineffective, as they fuelled recession, unemployment, and poverty.
The two governments urged for "a new European social contract" and policies to address common problems of nationalism, xenophobia, and extremism across Europe.
"It is now more important than ever to promote an alternative agenda of solidarity, social cohesion and democracy," Tsipras said welcoming Costa at his office.
Following a press briefing after the meeting, the Portuguese leader visited a refugee hospitality center in Athens.