Greece cannot be turned into a "warehouse of souls" for refugees, PM says

Alexis Tsipras says he will block future deals if other states do not share the burden

Greece, migrants, warehouse of souls, refugees, Alexis Tsipras, parliament

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks to journalists as he departs an EU summit in Brussels | Image: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP/Press Association Images

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said he does not want to see his country turned into "a permanent warehouse of souls" in relation to migrants and refugees.

He is calling on other European Union countries to honour decisions on sharing the burden of the migrant crisis - telling the Greek parliament that if they did not, Athens would block future agreements.

Mr Tsipras has made his position clear, saying: "We will not accept turning the country into a permanent warehouse of souls with Europe continuing to function as if nothing is happening".

"Greece will not agree to deals (in the EU) if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured".

He also said he would meet with opposition leaders to form a common stance on the issue ahead of a summit of EU leaders on the migration crisis in March.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said more than one million migrants and refugees entered Europe last year.

The Geneva-based group said more than 800,000 crossed into Greece from Turkey - including more than 455,000 from Syria and over 186,000 from Afghanistan.

Nearly 3,700 others died trying to cross the Mediterranean amid Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II, it added.

Germany saw around one million migrants arrive, but that figure includes large numbers of people from Balkan countries who arrived earlier in 2015.

The vast majority of the arrivals from outside Europe have used the so-called Balkan corridor - a route that takes migrants from Greece, through Macedonia, Serbia, and then either Croatia and Slovenia or Hungary to Austria and Germany.