EFEAthens

The Greek Prime Minister on Friday told leaders at the summit for Mediterranean European Union members in Athens that ties between the region's nations took precedence over the economic or refugee crises they faced.

In a regional meeting at Athens' Zappeion Hall comprising six southern European representatives of the 28 EU member states, Alexis Tsipras emphasized a binding sense of cultural commonality.

"The Mediterranean isn't just a place of crises," Tsipras said, "it's a space of cultural ties."

The Greek PM said, however, that Schengen countries in the region take the brunt of the crises currently afflicting Europe.

In this light, Tsipras added that the aim of the summit was to prepare collective proposals for the upcoming EU summit in Bratislava, Slovakia, scheduled for Sept. 16.

The economy, social unity, immigration, security and defense are all set to be high on the agenda at today's summit.

In attendance were the heads of government from Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus, while Spain was represented by EU Secretary of State Fernando Eguidazu, since the Spanish acting Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, was unable to attend.